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May 25, 2015

Tech News

Tech News issue #22, 2015 (May 25, 2015)

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May 25, 2015 12:00 AM

May 22, 2015

Sue Gardner

Why I’m working with Tor and First Look

So. A year ago I left my position running the Wikimedia Foundation and began the process of figuring out what to do next. (Spoiler: not yet complete.)

I had eaten, slept and breathed nothing but Wikimedia for seven years — in effect, I had embodied it. That may sound unhealthy but it really wasn’t: there was lots of overlap between me and Wikimedia, and I didn’t mind parking the stuff the job didn’t need. But it did mean that afterwards, it made sense for me to do some self-scrutiny and a kind of reset. What had been actually me versus what was just the job, and therefore what did I want to keep doing, to discard, or maybe revive.

The first thing I did was spend a month in Iceland looking at volcanoes and lounging in hot springs. That was glorious and I recommend it to anyone.

I’d guessed by the time I got back I’d be ready to dive into something, but I was wrong. And so I spent many months in a kind of lazy exploratory mode. Making risotto. Playing board games. Collecting together and synthesizing everything that is known about the gender gap in tech. (Yes, for real. It’s here.) Travelling. Reading. Giving talks. Advising friends.

And simultaneously, trying on possible futures like they were hats. Did I want to run an important cultural institution whose influence was starting to wane? No. How about a campus speaking tour? No. A start-up with a difficult business model and some tough marketing challenges? Ha. No.

My goal has always been the same. I want to work on stuff i) that’s aiming to make the world better for ordinary people; ii) that is actually making the world better, not just trying and failing. And iii) where I can personally be most useful. I care about impact and scope and scale and effectiveness. And so the question for me was pretty simple: where were the biggest and most important problems, that need help from someone like me.

Gradually that answer started to come, at least provisionally, into focus. By now we know that the internet shakeout is well underway, with power and money increasingly consolidated among a tiny number of players. As Bruce Schneier has famously said, the internet’s business model is surveillance: most of the industry makes its money by tracking and stockpiling and monetizing information about its users. (Of those who don’t, many have no obvious business model at all, which is .. not reassuring.) That mountain of user data has turned out to be irresistible to state actors and other authorities, who now find themselves able to know vastly more about the habits and activities of ordinary people than was ever previously imaginable.

This all sucks. Initially it looked like the internet would rebalance the scales and empower ordinary people, but what’s actually happening is the opposite.

So here’s what I’m going to do.

Starting now, and supported by the First Look organisation, I’m beginning two projects related to anonymity, privacy, and free speech.

The first is narrowly focused on Tor, where I’ll be developing a strategic plan for and with the Tor Project.

I’m doing that because Tor is important — it’s the most secure and widely-used anonymity-supporting software that we’ve got. Tor is controversial because (like phones and cars and banks) its users include criminals. But what matters more to me is its use by people like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. I want the organisation behind Tor be as strong and effective as possible, and so I am going to put some energy towards helping make that happen.

My second project will be to research the broader state of “freedom tech” — all the tools and technologies that enable free speech, free assembly, and freedom of the press. I want to figure out, from a user-centric perspective, what kinds of freedom-enabling technology products and services people have access to today, what impediments they’re running up against in trying to use them, what functionality is needed that’s entirely missing from the current landscape, and what kinds of interventions would need to be made in order to start getting it built. Do we need easier, faster funding, and/or other forms of support, for individuals and tiny teams? Or bigger, better-funded organisations, with expertise the space currently doesn’t have? What would move the needle? That’ll be my focus.

I’m extremely grateful to Pierre Omidyar and First Look for funding this, and to the Tor Project for being so fabulously welcoming to me. This is important work, and I’m super-pleased to embark upon it.


Filed under: internet

by Sue Gardner at May 22, 2015 04:19 AM

May 21, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

Editing the Uzbek Wikipedia: Kamarniso Vrandečić

Kamarniso Vrandečić.jpg
Chemistry student Kamarniso Vrandečić started editing Wikipedia with some simple tasks, such as translating articles from Russian to Uzbek. Since 2007, she has made over 7,000 edits to the Uzbek Wikipedia, becoming a major contributor to this growing project. Photo by Karen Sayre, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Kamarniso’s Wikipedia editing adventures began when she discovered the Uzbek Wikipedia in 2007. Realizing the vast potential of what was a small project at the time, she tried her hand at creating and editing articles with no specific interest in mind. “General science and music, history, everything,” Kamarniso says. She took inspiration from the impact she could provide across a wide range of topics. “It just became a part of my life, my daily routine.”

Raised in Uzbekistan, Kamarniso completed her master’s degree in Applied Measurement Science in Chemistry in Estonia. As part of her studies, she worked with chemical compounds, measuring precise quantities — or as she likes to call it, “calculating uncertainties.”

Kamarniso started to edit Wikipedia with some simple tasks. She began by translating articles from Russian Wikipedia to the Uzbek Wikipedia, and making minor edits to existing pages. Soon after, she began translating articles from English Wikipedia as well, improving her Russian and English language skills in the process. Now, Kamarniso has made an estimated 7,000 edits on Uzbek Wikipedia. With these edits, Kamarniso has made a substantial contribution to a growing project, while also learning more about subjects that fascinate her. As she edited articles, she often became more intrigued by their subjects.

Besides editing Wikipedia, Kamarniso expanded her participation offline as well. She has attended several Wikimedia conferences, which put her in contact with many other contributors from around the world. Along with other Wikipedians, she was profiled by the BBC at Wikimania 2012 in Washington D.C. “It’s a really nice experience to meet people all over the world, sharing your ideas. It’s really great,” said Kamarniso. She even met her husband, also a Wikipedian, at Wikimania 2011 in Haifa, Israel.

Kamarniso and her husband moved to Northern California in 2013 and had their first child, Leyla, in 2014. Their “Wiki-family” of three plans to attend Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City. Kamarniso looks forward to reconnecting with community members and discussing solutions to global problems affecting Wikipedia, particularly those involving languages and scripts. She thinks her time and effort are best spent making the Uzbek Wikipedia as rich as English or Russian Wikipedia. There are now over 127,000 articles on Uzbek Wikipedia, many of which Kamarniso helped to create and improve. While she enjoys travel, music and being with Leyla, she says that editing Wikipedia is still her favorite hobby.

Shaila Nathuformer legal internWikimedia Foundation

by Wikimedia Blog at May 21, 2015 07:45 PM

May 20, 2015

Wikimedia Tech Blog

WikiTowns use barcodes to share local information on smartphones

Toodyaypedia plates stg 1 gnangarra fs-1.jpg
Visitors to the small town of Toodyay in Western Australia can learn about historic landmarks by scanning QR codes that bring up related Wikipedia pages on their smartphones. Here are some of the Toodyaypedia plates they created to share local knowledge on mobile phones. Photo by Gnangarra, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 au.

The WikiTowns project lets you learn more about local landmarks by scanning barcodes to bring up related Wikipedia pages on your smartphone. This initiative started in Britain’s historic town of Monmouth in 2011, using QRpedia project, a mobile Web-based system which uses QR codes to deliver Wikipedia articles to users.

When I saw this project at Wikimania in 2012, I immediately thought it was a great new way to share knowledge! After I returned home to Perth, I contacted the City of Fremantle about this idea, and from there the first WikiTown project in Australia took hold: Freopedia. In March 2013, my efforts in developing this and other Wikimedia projects resulted in my nomination for the Western Australian State Heritage Awards. While I didn’t end up winning the award, it gave me and another Wikipedian an opportunity to attend the awards, where we talked with a number of people about new ways to use Wikipedia and the free knowledge movement. The President of the Toodyay Historical Society invited me to join an expedition to visit two very significant historical sites in the Avon Valley National Park in Western Australia. It was during this hike that I met the Shire President and we first discussed the idea of applying the WikiTown concept to their area. From this initial conversation, the Toodyaypedia project was born.

Wikimedia Australia booth at the 160th Toodyay show. Photo by Gnangarra, CC BY-SA 2.5 au.

Over the next six months, we started planning Toodyaypedia, to share knowledge about historic landmarks in the Shire of Toodyay. Our first public event was an information booth at the 160th Toodyay Agricultural Show in October, 2013 (see photo). This was followed by some general editing workshops. Then in January 2014, we partnered with a Shire tourist publication, so that we could use it as a resource for some of the project’s articles. Our first contribution related to Toodyay was a “Did You Know” (DYK) entry about an Michael Cavanagh, the architect who designed the Victoria Hotel. The editor who started the article had previously been working on buildings related to Fremantle and noticed that hotel was one of the last works created by that architect. Two days later, another DYK entry was filed for a residential building used as Toodyays first bank. The editing bug had bitten a new editor, who has since created many more articles. In September 2014, we documented many unique elements that were initially set in place 100 years before, resulting in a DYK that also coincided with the re-publication of The Bugle Call by William Henry Strahan in the newspaper that first published it.

The local community in Toodyay has embraced this project and truly made it their own. They’ve placed QR codes on historical buildings, as well as throughout its two museums. The next step of the project is already underway: a walkthrough of the town, focusing on its residents. The Toodyaypedia project was recently featured in WA Weekender, a lifestyle TV program that showcases “the Best of Western Australia”: watch the segment online, to see how Toodyaypedia works and how others view the project.

WikiTown projects like this one have many benefits:

  • they provide valuable information to town visitors
  • they help diversify and improve content on Wikipedia
  • they give participants a way to engage with new people
  • they give tangible purpose to volunteer efforts

WikiTown projects also create new opportunities for partner organizations to help younger generations in the community gain an understanding of their own history. In the long term, they can help participants enjoy the journey of discovery, now and further into the future.

Wikimedia Australia is ready to help anyone who would like to replicate the success we are having with WikiTowns in Western Australia: maybe your town could be next!

GnangarraVice President Wikimedia AustraliaFounder of Toodyaypedia & Freopedia

by Wikimedia Blog at May 20, 2015 04:52 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Foundation Quarterly Report, January-March 2015

WMF 2014-15 Q3 successes and misses by team.svg
The Wikimedia Foundation’s report for last quarter gives an overview of how we fared on 130 goals by 32 different teams, alongside some key overall metrics.
Download the PDF version (1 MB) or read it as a wiki page.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s quarterly report for the third quarter of the 2014/15 fiscal year (January-March) has been published as a PDF on Wikimedia Commmons and is now also as a wiki page.

Wikimedia Foundation Quarterly Report, FY 2014-15 Q3 (January-March).pdf

This is the second report since we switched from a monthly cycle, to align with our quarterly goal setting process. The report’s purpose is to help our movement and supporters understand how we spend our time, and what we accomplish; in this version, we made several changes that focus more on results and achievements.

One major difference is that goals are counted as either a success (green) or a miss (red, even if they were only missed narrowly – no “yellow”). Also, this report is now a comprehensive overview of all our Q3 objectives, rather than a subset of the quarter’s goals, as delivered in the Q2 report. In a mature 90-day goal-setting process, the “sweet spot” is for about 75% of goals to be a success. Organizations that are meeting 100% of their goals are not typically setting aggressive goals. To reduce the amount of time and effort that goes into producing this report, we are re-using information from the Quarterly Review Meeting documentation.

In this report, you will also find a couple of new pieces of data. The overview slide shows the status of all 130 goals from Q3 on a single page, broken down by department. Additionally we have been able to include site speed metrics as part of our overall report card, and improve the design of the report a bit.

The report’s format is still evolving (as is the quarterly goals review process), and we welcome feedback here in the comments or on Meta-wiki.

Terence Gilbey, Chief Operating Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Tilman Bayer, Senior Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at May 20, 2015 06:58 AM

May 19, 2015

Wiki Education Foundation

Wiki Education Foundation Monthly Report: April 2015

Highlights

  • During a one-day meeting in Houston, Director of Finance and Administration Bill Gong, Director of Programs LiAnna Davis, and Executive Director Frank Schulenburg met with Wiki Ed’s board of directors to discuss Wiki Ed’s strategic options, as part of our ongoing strategic planning process.
  • We saw a significant increase in the percentage of students completing our online training prior to editing Wikipedia. In fall 2014, 28% of students completed the training. This term, we achieved a completion rate of 52%. We think students taking the training is critical to their success as content contributors on Wikipedia, and we’re assuming that the visibility of training completion rates on our new Dashboard contributed to this huge increase.
  • Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson and Communications Associate Eryk Salvaggio attended the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference to kick off MPSA’s Wikipedia initiative, which aims to improve publicly available political science information through Wikipedia. MPSA is encouraging its members to actively participate in curating knowledge on Wikipedia as a community service.
  • UC Berkeley students visited water resource locations as part of the student outreach pilot lead by Outreach Manager Samantha Erickson. As a result, the students added photos to Wikipedia and improved a number of articles by expanding them.

Programs

Educational Partnerships

Eryk Salvaggio at the MPSA conference in Chicago.

Eryk Salvaggio at the MPSA conference in Chicago.

  • Jami and Eryk hosted a seminar and information booth among the 5,500 people attending the Midwestern Political Science Association’s conference in Chicago. The event marked the start of the MPSA partnership and Wikipedia initiative dedicated to improving political science topics on Wikipedia.
  • Jami met with the executive directors of the Association of College & Research Libraries and the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services to discuss opportunities for university libraries to improve Wikipedia. We came to a deeper appreciation of library needs, including the difficulties many libraries face with informing the public about special collections and archives. The power to direct attention to these archives was a tremendous incentive for working with Wikipedia.
  • Jami and Eryk presented strategies for bringing Wikipedia into classrooms at Northwestern University, alongside Dr. Aaron Shaw. Dr. Shaw provided an overview of his own course structure while Jami and Eryk shared more general information to a diverse array of faculty members. The Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching organized and hosted the event.
  • Jami and Eryk met with the University of San Francisco’s Faculty Learning Community to discuss information literacy for first-year students. The FLC was passionate and knowledgeable on the topic of improving information literacy. Ideas for Wikipedia’s place in that mission came from librarians and faculty across a spectrum of departments, inquiring about the kinds of support we could provide for libraries and classrooms. The conversation also touched on possibilities for the student outreach pilot.
  • In a webinar, LiAnna presented Wikipedia as a teaching tool to several hundred people online. The talk was part of iThenticate’s Plagiarism Education Week. (iThenticate is the company behind the Turnitin software, which checks student work for plagiarism.)

Classroom Program

Status of the Classroom Program for Spring term 2015 in numbers, as of April 30:

  • 117 Wiki Ed-supported courses had Course Pages
  • 55, or 47%, were led by returning instructors
  • 2,144 student editors were enrolled
  • 1,115 students successfully completed the online training

Wiki Ed is supporting 117 courses as of April 30. Students are busy editing as many courses are near the end of the spring term, but we’re also beginning to welcome new summer term classes.

The number of students who have completed the online training (1,115) is the highest we’ve ever seen. The percentage of students who have completed the training (52%) is a significant increase compared to previous terms (spring 2014: 25%, fall 2014: 28%). We tie this success to our Dashboard (dashboard.wikiedu.org), which allows instructors to track their students’ completion of the training. We rolled out the Dashboard near the beginning of the term and have made it easily accessible on mobile devices since.

We’ve also noticed that students this semester have been taking more care with their contributions, perhaps partly due to training and partly due to the structure the Assignment Design Wizard has built into more assignments. For example, more students are working in sandboxes and talk pages before editing articles this term. Wiki Ed Content Experts Adam Hyland and Ian Ramjohn, in addition to working with students to provide feedback on their contributions, have also been busy identifying good content from completed courses that has not yet been moved from sandboxes into the main article space.

Student work highlights
  • Multicoloured tanager: Students in Sabrina Taylor’s Conservation Biology course at Louisiana State University took this stub article and added a photograph, along with information about the tanager’s habitat, feeding, breeding, and conservation status.
  • Holmes tremor: Students in Michelle Mynlieff’s Neurobiology course at Marquette University took this stub article and added information about symptoms, treatment, and diagnosis, all supported by the addition of recent, high-quality sources.
  • Sentimental comedy: New article created by students in Amy Hughes’s course on Theater History from 1642 at CUNY, Brooklyn College
  • Fracture zone: Students in Melissa Driskell’s Geotectonics course at the University of North Alabama improved this article by adding illustrations, alongside five descriptive examples of fracture zones supported by eight new sources.
  • Connexon: This stub article in biochemistry was improved by students in Michelle Mynlieff’s Neurobiology course at Marquette University
  • Well-made play: Improved by students in Amy Hughes’s course on Theater History from 1642 at CUNY, Brooklyn College. It’s now 11 paragraphs in 11 sections, supported by six recent sources.
  • Inlet ionization: Students in Kermit Murray’s Mass Spectrometry course at Louisiana State University created this article from scratch. It includes four illustrations and 11 sources.
  • Atlantic blue crab: Students in Sabrina Taylor’s Conservation Biology course at Louisiana State University added 15 sources to this article, dramatically expanding the section on the commercial importance of the crab. The students also added a table showing the value and comparing the value of commercial crab industries across states.
  • Housing segregation in the United States: Students in Anne Chao’s course on Human Development in Global and Local Communities at Rice University re-organized this article and added six examples of legislation related to housing segregation in the US. Students also added information about causes, trends, and effects of housing segregation.
  • Zapata (lithograph): Students in Stacie Widdifield’s Topics in Art History course at the University of Arizona created this article about Diego Rivera’s lithograph. It includes images, and a list of collections where you can view prints of the lithograph.

Communications

A new version of our Case Studies brochure will be ready in May after final touches were applied in April. The brochure, intended to spark ideas and conversations with instructors, expands on our previous Case Studies booklet with new ideas for using Wikipedia in classrooms. Final design changes have also been applied to discipline-specific handouts on Editing Wikipedia articles on Women’s Studies and Editing Wikipedia articles on Ecology.

Eryk and Interim Classroom Program Manager Ryan McGrady began planning a knowledge production brochure, which will tackle Wikipedia as a model for illustrating academic and theoretical concepts. We expect to have it printed by June.

Blog posts:

Digital Infrastructure

This month, Product Manager Sage Ross and the development team at WINTR have been busy developing the upcoming wikiedu.org course platform. You can now log in to dashboard.wikiedu.org using your Wikipedia account, and if you’re participating in any of our courses, you’ll see those courses at the top of the list. For instructors, logging in also lets you post reminders to all of your students who haven’t completed the student training.

Most of the work remains behind-the-scenes, and you can now follow our progress on GitHub and on Phabricator, the Wikimedia community’s tool for tracking technical issues and development plans. Design plans for the new course pages and integrated Assignment Design Wizard are beginning to crystallize — see the latest course creation user flow and design styles for course page elements — while a functional skeleton for creating and modifying course timelines is quickly taking shape. Sage also took time in April to improve our setup for testing new code and monitoring the performance and reliability of the dashboard.

Research and development

Outreach to high-achieving students

UC Berkeley students led a field trip to California water resource locations in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Berkeley areas as part of the student outreach pilot. The trip was led by the Berkeley Water Group Idea Lab, and joined by a UC Berkeley course, ER:190 California Water.

Samantha also worked to onboard a new student chapter at Portland State University, the Lambda Pi Eta undergraduate honor society of the National Communication Association. She will travel to Oregon in May to lead student learning workshops for Portland State’s Lambda Pi Eta, the Oregon State University Hydrophiles, and Oregon State University Pi Alpha Xi, three groups participating in the pilot program. She also worked to prepare for a workshop at University of California Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum Club in early May.

Finance & Administration / Fundraising

Finance & Administration

  • Wiki_Ed_Foundation_April_2015_ExpensesFor the month of April, expenses were $203,560 versus the plan of $159,681. The majority of the $44k excess in spending is on account of securing additional funds for new digital infrastructure projects.

Wiki_Ed_Foundation_April_2015_YTD_Expenses

  • Year-To-Date expenses are $1,443,899 versus the plan of $1,596,262. The ongoing savings from the timing of staff hires and vacancies ($100k) and the deferral of special events ($67k) (fundraising and workshops) create the majority of the $152k year-to-date variance.

Office of the ED

  • Current Priorities: 
    • Preparing the annual plan and budget
    • Next steps in the strategic planning process: documenting our findings and outlining our strategy for the upcoming two years
    • Planning the programmatic work for next fiscal year according to the strategic priorities set by the board
  • LiAnna presenting at Wiki Ed's strategic planning meeting in Houston.

    LiAnna presenting at Wiki Ed’s strategic planning meeting in Houston.

    In April, we concluded the next step in our strategic planning process. Board and senior staff met in Houston to create alignment around our strategic priorities for the upcoming two years. During a one day meeting, Bill, LiAnna, and Frank presented strategic alternatives to Wiki Ed’s board of directors. As part of this collaborative process, participants of the meeting discussed the following leading questions: What are the potential strategic directions for our programmatic work through 2017? What does the organization look like that we want to create?

  • Also in April, Frank finalized the hiring for our open Senior Manager of Development position. Tom Porter will join Wiki Ed on May 13. He has a track record of securing funds for the Yellowstone Park Foundation and SFJazz and will work closely with Frank and Wiki Ed’s program staff to ensure that current and future programs are sufficiently resourced.

Visitors and guests

  • Karen Twitchell, board member
  • David Peters, Exbrook
  • Floor Koudijs, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Anna Koval, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Amin Azzam, University of California San Francisco
  • David Bresler, Tufts University
  • Katie McFadden, Swift River Consulting

by Eryk Salvaggio at May 19, 2015 10:58 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

A Wikipedian-in-Residence and the US government join forces to share knowledge on occupational safety and health

The sun sets behind a pump jack in Texas. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is involved in researching safety for oil rig workers, who carry out risky jobs in dangerous environments. Photo by NIOSH, public domain
The sun sets behind a pump jack in Texas. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is involved in researching safety for oil rig workers, who carry out risky jobs in dangerous environments. Photo by NIOSH, public domain

For the past 4 months, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)  has been doing something new and exciting for a government agency: they have been employing a Wikipedian-in-Residence. This collaboration with Wikipedia makes NIOSH only the second federal agency, and the first federal scientific agency, to engage with the encyclopedia project in this fashion; it is a collaboration that has the potential to spark many more. As part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NIOSH  is considered a premier research agency, and enjoys a particularly low conflict of interest in this area, due to its status as a research-only agency that does not engage in regulatory enforcement. Having the support of such a high-caliber research group is a boon for increasing Wikipedia’s accuracy and reliability.

As Wikipedian-in-Residence, my main focus is to improve Wikimedia content directly, using the vast resources available at NIOSH. NIOSH has a wide body of research and experts available to it, and the organization regularly produces review-quality content of the type that is ideal for improving underdeveloped areas of Wikipedia. Some of the NIOSH resources I’ve been able to use during my time here include: Cochrane reviews conducted by NIOSH researchers, a variety of review papers, and epidemiological research and chemical data, just to name a few. Right now, we are in the process of updating the English Wikipedia with United States-based chemical safety data, including recommended and permissible exposure limits — but don’t worry: we will soon be expanding our collaboration to use data from OSH agencies around the world! We also intend to incorporate this information into Wikidata, once its software becomes capable of handling chemical data.

Images from NIOSH’s collection, covering a wide variety of occupational safety and health topics, are already available at here on Wikimedia Commons. More images are being uploaded regularly, so keep an eye out for files that you can use in your language’s Wikipedia!

In addition to expanding current English Wikipedia articles, I have also been creating new articles in my time with NIOSH. My first two creations, covering the newly-discovered occupational lung diseases indium lung and flock worker’s lung, appeared on the “Did You Know” section of the project’s Main Page. NIOSH was deeply involved in discovering and characterizing both of these diseases, and their resources were instrumental to help me write encyclopedia articles about them.

Resources like NIOSH’s make a real difference in our ability to cover these topics; although articles on occupational safety and health are quite heavily viewed by the English Wikipedia’s readers, there are nevertheless no articles that have earned a Featured Article (FA) or Good Article (GA) status in this topic area, as far as I know. When a recent paper specifically mentioned Wikipedia’s article on occupational lung disease as needing serious work, I was able to use my access to high-quality NIOSH resources to fill that need. Though still very much a work in progress (collaborators welcome!), it is now a fairly comprehensive overview of occupational lung diseases and pathogenic agents.

Dr. John Howard, director of NIOSH, said “The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is pleased to partner with Wikipedia to extend our reach in communicating our research findings and recommendations to the vast audience of Wiki readers.  It is incumbent upon us, as the agency designated by law to lead national research for preventing work-related injury, illness, and death, to share our rich information with as many people as we can so they can make informed opinions about their workplace health and safety.  Wikipedia  provides a trusted, popular resource to do so in today’s national, indeed global, virtual community.”

NIOSH is committed to sharing excellent occupational health information with the world and has a mission very much aligned with Wikipedia. I am excited to be participating in a collaboration that lets me work simultaneously on two things I love: building Wikipedia’s articles and improving the public’s access to reliable medical information!

Emily Temple-WoodWikipedian in ResidenceNIOSH

Note: This story was also posted here on the NIOSH blog.

by Wikimedia Blog at May 19, 2015 05:09 PM

User:Geni

Another wikipedia redesign

Like most of them its a reader rather than an editor. It goes by the name Das Referenz. The designers explain their ideas here. I haven’t tired it out directly because I don’t own a tablet (2015 and still using a laptop? I know).

Mostly its pretty harmless. Some messing with colours and fonts and desaturating the images (I do wonder how well that works with some of our diagrams). One neat thing that they did do with fonts was chose a specific font than Courier for the programming source code examples. They went with CamingoCode which looks solid enough from what I can tell. They don’t mention doing anything with with our equations or musical notation (in fairness musical notation via LilyPond is a fairly recent edition)

Shortening the length of the text lines is pretty standard. They shift all the images into the side column and I wonder how well that works with some of our image heavy articles.

They found our tables hard going but so does everyone (for example it is one of the long standing issues with the visual editor and flow).

Their modification of the search system was rather neat. Making the longer articles taller in the search results may make information more findable although it would need some testing given wikipedian’s habit of writing really long and detailed articles on narrow topics while the more meta articles are often neglected by comparison (generally because they are really rather hard to write).

Overall its not something I would use (I don’t own a tablet and I want to edit) but it is interesting to see their thought processes.


by geniice at May 19, 2015 04:56 AM

May 18, 2015

Wikidata (WMDE - English)

Using Wikidata to Improve the Medical Content on Wikipedia

German summary: Vor einigen Tagen wurde eine wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichung publiziert die sich damit beschäftigt wie Wikipediaartikel zu medizinischen Themen durch Wikidata verbessert werden können. Hier stellen sie die Veröffentlichung und ihre Ergebnisse vor.

 

This is a guest post by Alexander Pfundner, Tobias Schönberg, John Horn, Richard D. Boyce and Matthias Samwald. They have published a paper about how medical articles on Wikipedia can be improved using Wikidata.

An example of an infobox that shows drug-drug-interactions from Wikidata. Including this information could be of significant benefit to patients around the world.

The week before last a study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research that investigates how Wikidata can help to improve medical information on Wikipedia. The researchers from the Medical University of Vienna, the University of Washington and the University of Pittsburgh that carried out the study are active members of the Wikidata community.

The study focuses on how potential drug-drug interactions are represented on Wikipedia entries for pharmaceutical drugs. Exposure to these potential interactions can severely diminish the safety and effectiveness of therapies. Given the fact that many patients and professionals often rely on Wikipedia to read up on a medical subject, the quality, completeness and relevance of these interactions can significantly improve the situation of patients around the world.

In the course of the study, a set of high-priority potential drug-drug-interactions were added to Wikidata items of common pharmaceutical drugs (e.g. Ramelteon). The data was then compared to the existing information on the English Wikipedia, revealing that many critical interactions were not explicitly mentioned. It can be expected that the situation is probably worse for many other languages. Wikidata could play a major role in alleviating this situation: Not only does a single edit benefit all 288 languages of Wikipedia, but the tools for adding and checking data are much easier to handle. In addition, adding qualifiers (property-value pairs that further describe the statement, e.g. the severity of the interaction) and sources to each statement puts the data in context and makes cross-checking easier . In the study Wikidata was found to be capable to act as a repository for this data.

The next part of the study investigated how potential drug-drug interaction information in Wikipedia could be automatically written and maintained (i.e. in the form of infoboxes or within a paragraph). Working with the current API and modules, investigators found that the interface between Wikidata and Wikipedia is already quite capable, but that large datasets still require better mechanisms to intelligently filter and format the data. If the data is displayed in an infobox, further constraints come from the different conventions on how much information can be displayed in an infobox, and whether large datasets can be in tabs or collapsible cells.

Overall the study comes to the conclusion that, the current technical limitations aside, Wikidata is capable to improve the reliability and quality of medical information on all languages of Wikipedia.

The authors of the study would like to thank the Wikidata and Wikipedia community for all their help. And additionally the Austrian Science Fund and the United States National Library of Medicine for funding the study.

by Lydia Pintscher at May 18, 2015 01:35 PM

Tech News

Tech News issue #21, 2015 (May 18, 2015)

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May 18, 2015 12:00 AM

May 17, 2015

Pete Forsyth, Wiki Strategies

Board election update

Before I chose to run for a seat on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, I spoke with several trusted colleagues. I had not planned on running; but as I watched candidates release their opening statements, I was dismayed to see how few of them mentioned community dynamics and good governance. As the author of an open letter to the Wikimedia Foundation that drew 1,000 signatures, but then went utterly disregarded by the Trustees, I felt a responsibility to bring those issues into prominent view in the election.

Today, as the opening of voting approaches, I have answered all the questions posed (see this archive of my answers), and have read most of the responses of my fellow candidates. I am very happy to report that these issues have indeed received strong and thoughtful attention from many candidates. I see some echoes of my own words — most notably, my insistence that even absent a formal reply, the Wikimedia Foundation has been egregious in neglecting to address the conditions for using the controversial Superprotect feature. But I am also convinced that some of these candidates have held laudable views on these issues from some time, and done excellent related work; and it simply took some time for it to become visible.

With that in mind, the question my friend Eugene Eric Kim initially asked rings strongly in my ears: “Do you want to be on the Board?” He was adamant about that question, and urged me to keep my deliberation simple and focused. I told him that I did want to, but we both knew my desire wasn’t 100%. After all, I have been able to do a lot of work I take pride in, without any involvement with the Wikimedia Foundation; and joining the Board of Trustees would inevitably impact my ability to continue some of that work.

And so, as the voting period approaches, I have made up my mind: I am stepping aside from the election.

I remain convinced that the incumbent community-elected trustees (Phoebe Ayers, Samuel Klein, and María Sefidari) should be replaced. I am highly confident in two of my fellow candidates, and strongly endorse them: Denny Vrandečić and Dariusz Jemielniak. I plan to elaborate on my reasons in coming blog posts, before voting closes at the end of the month; and I expect to endorse additional candidates, as well.

For further context, please see my other blog posts about this election, in this blog category.

by Pete Forsyth at May 17, 2015 08:59 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Bangladesh - Ananta Bijoy Das

When people are lynched because they express their point of view, it is murder pure and simple. It is the denial of basic human rights. When multiple people die for the same reason, people who are all connected to the same blog, it is obvious that some organisation, some planning is behind it.

When no action is taken, it is an afront to the rule of law. It is an indication that law enforcement is not functional. The law should be applied equally and there is no opinion that has the power to lift itself above the law. In the final analysis, even the law should support what a country has acknowledged to be universal and consequently law enforcement should apply itself.

Mr Ananta Bijoy Das is only one of several bloggers lynched by a small group of people in Bangladesh. There is a Wikidata item for him. There is no Wikipedia article yet. He is as relevant as so many other people that get killed for the wrong reasons, by people with wrong attitudes.
Thanks,
     GerardM

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at May 17, 2015 08:23 AM

May 16, 2015

Mike Linksvayer

The Killing of Abu Sayyaf (according to unreliable, one-sided, and conflicted sources)

Read The Killing of Osama bin Laden or a summary on the English Wikipedia entry for Seymour Hersh.

Then read Abu Sayyaf, an ISIS Leader, Killed in Syria by Special Forces, U.S. Says. The part after the last comma is backed up by the article:

Pentagon officials said
One American military official described
the Pentagon’s description
A Defense Department official said
The official said
(The accounts of the raid came from military and government officials and could not be immediately verified through independent sources.)
officials said
American officials said
The White House rejected initial reports
said Bernadette Meehan, the National Security Council spokeswoman
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said
Officials said
Defense Department officials said
a Defense Department official said
the official said
the official said
the Defense Department official said
Defense Department officials said
officials acknowledged
officials said
Mr. Carter said
the senior United States official said

Why bother to publish this story? Why is the disclaimer of verifiability buried in a parenthetical instead of a banner at the top of the article highlighting multiple issues, a la Wikipedia?

The article closes with a conjecture from a former C.I.A. analyst that anyone could have made.

I’m not complaining about anything new; recently reading the Hersh article made me want to skim the article on the apparent killing of Abu Sayyaf, and the opportunity to update the title of Hersh’s article made me want to write this blog post.

by <span class='p-author h-card'>Mike Linksvayer</span> at May 16, 2015 08:12 PM

May 15, 2015

Erik Zachte

Active editor trends as year-over-year changes

For many years I publish active editors trends for all Wikimedia wikis, see e.g. these summaries. Here I’d like to present these same editor trends in a slighty different way, which may help to show there is some cause for optimism at least for the largest Wikipedias.

In the conventional charts it may be a bit difficult to see if a growth or decline is speeding up or slowing down. This is easier to see when we plot year over year changes (YoY) rather than the absolute values.

We’ll start with a totally hypothetical idealized example without deeper significance (parameters manually tweaked), just to demonstrate how absolute and YoY values are connected.
Active_editors_YoY0
In the above diagram both ways of presenting the data have been combined. The red trend line shows absolute values (vertical scale at the left). The black line is the YoY trend (vertical scale at the right)
In the following real-world example the red trend line is the all too familiar explosive growth followed by a very slow but persistent decline in active editors on the English Wikipedia.The decline starts in November 2007, and is rather consistent in following years, with YoY mostly between 0.90 and 0.99 for next seven years.
Active_editors_YoY1
A bit more precise: average YoY for 2008 and following years is
0.906, 0.945, 0.921, 0.976, 0.932, 0.942, 0.998.
For the last nine months YoY for the English wikipedia is above flat trend (YoY > 1)!
Active_editors_YoY1b
How YoY value is derived from absolute values. With the scale of these first diagrams the subtle fluctuations in YoY after 2007 are too small to see. We need to change the vertical scale for that.
 The following three charts show the largest eight Wikipedias in terms of active editors. Each chart shows a different selection.
Active_editors_YoY2

Three Wikipedias with the largest number of editors.
Active_editors_YoY3

Largest Wikipedias with growing editor base in last 12 months  (avg YoY > 1).
Active_editors_YoY4

Largest Wikipedias with a still (barely) declining editor base in last 12 months (avg YoY < 1).

Files with active editors (5+ and 100+ edits per month, absolute and YoY, are available for download at http://dumps.wikimedia.org/other/pagecounts-ez/wikistats/ (see csv_wp_active_editors.zip, and similar)

by Erik at May 15, 2015 04:01 PM

May 14, 2015

Pete Forsyth, Wiki Strategies

Divide and Subjugate

The Wikimedia Foundation’s bold vision for Wikipedia’s future

Jan-Bart de Vreede in a decidedly non-hostile mood at Wikimania 2014. Photo CC BY-SA Adam Novak.

Jan-Bart de Vreede (center-left) in a decidedly non-hostile mood at Wikimania 2014. Photo CC BY-SA Adam Novak.

Jan-Bart de Vreede was frustrated. His inbox was filling up. As chair of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees, he was deeply committed to increasing engagement from Wikipedia volunteers invested in the site’s future. But not this kind of participation!

Every new software feature the foundation released, it seemed, would bring backlash from people who were supposed to be on his side — some of Wikipedia’s most highly engaged volunteer contributors. One million-dollar project after another would run aground upon release; even software that was ultimately welcomed by new and veteran volunteers, like a notification feature, was greeted with exasperation and mistrust. De Vreede was growing alarmed by the increasing hostility around software changes.

So de Vreede published a statement. He invoked, and sought to strengthen, the bedrock of goodwill that has united 100,000 volunteers around the world in a shared vision of free knowledge for all. (Note — my description of de Vreede’s thinking is speculative; I haven’t discussed this with him directly.) Wikipedia’s vision is one you probably share — even if you question the value of the publication itself. In an era marked by corporate media consolidation, social media echo chambers, and an increasing flood of sponsored content, Wikipedia has planted its flag on principles of integrity: We can and must agree on the facts behind our varying opinions. We invite broad participation. We value vigilance and diligence around conflicts of interest and other corrupting influences over the information we consume. We use collaborative platforms that preserve the history of text and invite scrutiny.

All across Wikipedia, little debates and diligent work bring you information you might otherwise never learn about. Sometimes, it leads to incredible Wikipedia articles; other times, not so much. But this human-powered engine, continually reoriented around the need to improve articles, gives everyday people the chance to share and refine knowledge alongside the elites (journalists, politicians, academics, public relations machines, corporate boards…) who control more traditional media.

But Wikipedia was, de Vreede told us, “at a crossroads.” In order to “save Wikipedia,” as Time Magazine later described the foundation’s mandate, his staff had to be permitted to upgrade the software. He offered elevated words of conciliation: “Blaming each other … does not make much sense.”

Not, at least, with the finger of blame pointed at de Vreede or his team.

But a few short sentences later, with the finger pointed in the other direction, blaming suddenly made sense again. De Vreede pointed squarely at those who did not fall in line with the foundation’s plans. Those plans “might not be acceptable to some of you,” he said. “I understand that if you decide to take a wiki-break, that might be the way things have to be.” Using the most gracious language he could summon, he pointed to the exit door, and benevolently invited naysayers to use it.

At its core, Wikipedia is a social project. Without purpose-driven social activity, the site we turn to for information and context on a daily basis could not exist. Unlike corporate neighbors like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, Wikipedia was born of idealism and purpose, not of a business plan; it subsists on a steady diet of human creativity and collaboration. Since you began reading this column, hundreds of people have made small improvements to Wikipedia’s hundreds of language editions. And in order to work together, they rely on a sophisticated framework of guiding principles, rules, suggestions, and processes of varying formality.

De Vreede is right about this much: Hostility can be toxic to a community that thrives on a collaborative spirit. Moreover, hostility is frequently identified as a significant contributing factor to the site’s dismal ratio of female and minority writers and editors.

So why is hostility acceptable when issued by the chair of the Board of Trustees?

Given increasing alarm about Wikipedia’s uncertain future, with a declining editor base and aging software, one unpalatable explanation looms large. If the goal was to destroy Wikipedia, a promising tactic would be to provoke and amplify existing hostility within its ranks, with the goal of undermining what trust and collegiality do exist. From a purely tactical standpoint, it would be hard to dismiss the possibility of an agent provocateur approach; maybe the foundation is trying to break Wikipedia. But as someone who has known de Vreede and most of his colleagues in leadership at the Wikimedia Foundation for several years, I am entirely confident of their good intentions.

De Vreede’s rhetoric is driven by something much more mundane. He and his colleagues, who have tremendous responsibilities and a passionate, diverse array of supporters and critics, have grown tired. The Board of Trustees made a crucial mistake last year, hiring a technologist for an executive director, instead of a proven leader adept in dealing with broad constituencies. They disregarded those of us who advised they instead choose someone whose experience lies in social movements, community governance, or group facilitation. If all you have is a hammer, all problems look like nails; and so the executive director now boasts of hiring dozens of new engineers, while the organization remains baffled by basic group dynamics and decision-making. When problems of a social nature inevitably rear their heads, foundation leaders and staff react impulsively, lashing out at the nearest target.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales at Wikimania 2014

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales at Wikimania 2014. Photo licensed CC BY-SA, Fabrice Florin.

This dynamic is understandable on a human level. Nevertheless, its perils are substantial — no less than if they were, in fact, driven by a coordinated assault on Wikipedia. The kind of misery a board member endures, it turns out, loves company:

  • In the same month (August 2014) that de Vreede posted his ominous message inviting dissenters to take a break, Wikimedia founder (and fellow Trustee) Jimmy Wales identified “annoying users” as unwelcome interlopers in his Wikimania conference keynote speech.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation launched a new strategic planning process in February 2015, in which participants were asked to address two specific questions; the results were then evaluated behind closed doors. This stands in stark contrast to the previous effort (2010), in which the foundation boasted of 1,000 active participants in an open-ended process, which it publicly summarized.
  • In April 2015, the Wikimedia Foundation’s executive director, Lila Tretikov, dismissed dissenting views in a feature article in Time Magazine: “It’s not realistic to have everybody always in the boat with you.”
  • The enforcement mechanism of this rhetoric — the foundation’s “superprotect” software — drew an objection from 1,000 volunteers, but remains in full effect to this day, with no definition around how it might or might not be used.

So perhaps the efforts of de Vreede and company are deliberate, after all; maybe the foundation is heeding the words of a U.S. Army major in Vietnam, who once explained that it became necessary to destroy a village, in order to “save” it. Maybe the Foundation is trying to destroy the old Wikipedia, and wishes to make way for a new one. But destroying the old Wikipedia is a huge risk to take, without a rock solid plan for a new one. As any community manager knows, it takes a long time to build trust and a short time to destroy it. 100,000 volunteers — or 1,000 of the most dedicated — will be a difficult asset to replace, once lost.

In less than 15 years, Wikipedia has become an indispensable lens, helping all of us make sense of the rising flood of information the Internet offers. Many Wikipedia writers are experts — scientists, journalists, teachers — but they are not gatekeepers. Many more people are simply curious, careful readers and editors, who want to build knowledge together. If you find a problem with a Wikipedia article, you can learn a lot about how it occurred…and then you can fix it.

If Wikipedia declines, the world will suffer. You might have trouble finding out what the key play was in the 1986 World Series…or you might just miss an opportunity to spot the deception in that pharmaceutical company’s advertising. And that might just impact your health.

The engine that drives Wikipedia — the human engine, more than the technical one — needs to be looked after. But the organization tasked with “saving Wikipedia” is damaging that engine, when it should instead be learning to maintain and repair it.

by Pete Forsyth at May 14, 2015 11:19 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

First ever WikiArabia conference gathers Wikipedians in Tunisia to connect and share experiences

Contributors to the Arabic Wikipedia met for the first ever WikiArabia conference in Monastir, Tunisia. This report summarizes three days of discussions about their community's challenges and opportunities. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Contributors to the Arabic Wikipedia met for the first ever WikiArabia conference in Monastir, Tunisia. This report summarizes three days of discussions about their community’s challenges and opportunities. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.

WikiArabia conference logo. Graphic by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Nearly forty Wikipedians from around the Arab region and beyond gathered last April in Monastir, Tunisia for WikiArabia 2015, the first Arabic Wikipedia community conference. The event also welcomed around thirty additional attendees from outside of the local Wikipedia community. Meeting in person during the three days to discuss their ideas, successes, and challenges helped the Wikipedians better understand their community and plan for future development of the Wikimedia movement in the Arab World.

“It feels like a dream. Arab Wikipedians are gathered for the first time, here, in my country and my town!” said Habib M’henni, co-founder of Wikimedia TN user group, the main organizer of WikiArabia 2015, smiling with tears in his eyes. Gathering Arabic Wikipedia community members to work together on the ground was a dream shared by all of the attendees in Monastir. This was an opportunity for people who edit the Arabic Wikipedia to meet in person to exchange ideas and experiences, in a conference that was many years in the making.

The Wikimedia movement in Tunisia has grown actively over the past few years. In 2012, the WMF Global Development Team staff and community members visited schools and libraries in Tunisia. Their aim in making the trip was to raise awareness of opportunities to edit Wikipedia, especially for students. Prior to that visit, the community in Tunisia was engaged with the movement on different occasions, both online and offline. Active members of the movement started to plan for a local affiliation in 2006, ultimately gaining their user group recognition in 2014.

For several years, active members of the Arabic Wikipedia community planned regional, cross-border projects among the Arabic-speaking countries. Coming to an agreement on clear plans for collaboration proved to be a challenge, but active volunteers met whenever possible at face-to-face events, including the annual Wikimania conference and other movement-related events. The most prominent examples of these community meetings were Wikimania 2013 in Hong Kong, where 9 Wikipedians discussed the possibility of establishing a Wikimedia chapter for the Arab World, and Wikimania 2014 in London, where nearly 20 Wikipedians held a meetup to discuss organizing a regional conference. Finally, the Tunisian user group offered to host the first round of this conference in 2015, an offer that the community welcomed.

Lila Tretikov asks and answers questions from WikiArabia attendees. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The three-day conference was a huge success, having included practical sessions prepared by community members, a session on the Wikipedia Education Program, and a Q&A opportunity with Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Q&A provided an opportunity for the Arabic community to talk to Lila directly about their concerns for Arabic Wikipedia, and it was also an opportunity for her to learn more about an important, growing community. The community asked her about many issues including editing for students, educators’ concerns with using Wikipedia in research, and involving children in the movement. Lila also posed questions of her own to the community, to hear their suggestions on how to better raise awareness of Wikipedia in the Arab World.

Bilal A-Dweik presents his survey findings. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Active community members also shared their personal experiences with Wikipedia, as well as some of the offline projects and case studies they led from around the world. Bilal Al-Dweik, an administrator on Arabic Wikipedia from Jordan, spent months running a survey about Wikipedia in Arabic and other languages. The survey asked Internet users how much they trust Wikipedia in different fields. It also tracked the reasons behind the perceived lack of trust in Wikipedia, and how to be seen as a more trustworthy source. 210 people from more than 16 Arab countries and different age groups took Bilal’s survey, which he discussed in his WikiArabia presentation. This survey and other studies found that the lack of trust in Wikipedia has many different causes, including: writers with limited qualifications; inadequate citations in some articles; biased coverage of some topics (especially those about politics and religion); poorly formatted articles or outdated information.

The Q&A discussion, as well as sessions led by community members, started an important dialog around future collaboration and planning for the Arabic Wikipedia.

Lila Tretikov talked to students about the future of free knowledge. Photo by Samir Elsharbaty, CC BY-SA 4.0.

After the conference, Lila paid a visit to the Higher Institute of Technological Studies, where she met a large group of Tunisian students. It was a great opportunity for Lila to improve her understanding of how Tunisian students think about and use Wikipedia. At the same time, students were also able to learn more about the Wikimedia movement. Lila asked students about the importance of free knowledge and how they could contribute to it. The students voiced their support of free and open knowledge, many stating that contributing to Wikipedia provided an avenue for self-expression. This wasn’t the institute’s first introduction to Wikimedia projects. Since the spring of 2013, Habib M’henni has participated in Tunisia’s education program, and his engineering students have been contributing to Wikipedia. However, the meeting provided a new way to exchange opinions, hopes, and plans for Arabic Wikipedia among some of its most frequent contributors.

A survey by the organizers of the conference found that most of the community members who attended were satisfied with the first WikiArabia. Mervat Salman from Jordan believes that “meeting people in person helps them solve the problems they face online.” Ravan Jaafer from Iraq suggests that seeing the achievements of colleagues presented at events like WikiArabia encourages others to follow their lead. Reem Alkashif from Egypt found value in a regional conference in the native language, “I enjoyed communicating with people in Arabic for the first time at a Wikimedia conference.”

While no consensus was reached about whether to host another WikiArabia conference next year, there was widespread agreement about the value of this face-to-face regional event and an infectious excitement for the potential of this growing segment of the Wikimedia community.

More photos of WikiArabia are available here on Wikimedia Commons.

Samir ElsharbatyCommunications InternWikipedia Education Program

by Wikimedia Blog at May 14, 2015 10:33 PM

Wikimedia Tech Blog

Children in Mali can now read Wikipedia offline, thanks to MALebooks e-readers

Sakina découvre «Le Petit Prince».JPG
MALebooks e-readers provide an offline library to children in Mali, including the French Wikipedia and thousands of educational books. Sakina, a student in Bamako, reads “Le Petit Prince” on a Cybook e-reader from Bookeen. Photo by Renaud Gaudin, licensed under CC0 1.0.

The educational system in Mali is plagued by a lack of schools in rural areas, as well as shortages of teachers and materials. This has resulted in low rates for school enrollment, graduation and literacy — to the point that neighboring countries are reluctant to recognize diplomas from Mali. One of the main causes for this problem is the lack of books for children: only 0.4% of Mali’s children have books at home, according to the UNICEF.

To address this issue, the MALebooks project has been donating e-readers to schools in Mali since September 2014. The devices include the French version of Wikipedia and a collection of over 4,000 educational books. This experimental project is an initiative of Human’ESDES, a nonprofit association of French students in Lyon.

Many nonprofit organizations have donated books for educational purposes, but the costs, logistics and efforts required to collect and ship books to Mali are significant. Digital technology provides a far cheaper way to distribute content, and also offers several benefits: searchable content, integrated dictionary, font size customization, and the ability to store thousands of books on a single device.

The MALebooks e-readers include four types of content, all in French:

  • Wikipedia (all articles with pictures)
  • A selection of public domain books (3,587)
  • A selection of free books (139)
  • A selection of novels and short stories from amateur writers, who are willing to include their work on the e-readers (329)

Wikipedia offline on a Bookeen Cybook e-reader (with Kiwix). Photo by Renaud Gaudin, freely licensed under CC0 1.0.

From a technical perspective, this project was made possible with the help of Wikimedia Switzerland and the Kiwix developers team. Kiwix is known for making the whole Wikipedia available on computers or mobile phones without Internet access. Now, MALebooks can also be browsed on Cybooks e-readers, thanks to a collaboration with manufacturer Bookeen. People involved in the Kiwix project also helped create the software tools necessary to create the public domain offline library, based on their work to create an offline version of the Gutenberg project.

Deployments started in September 2014 and the first stage of the project has now been successfully completed. MALebooks organized the following events to present their e-books, in collaboration with the French embassy in Bamako, the Institut Français as well as Jokkolabs:

  • September 2014: 6 e-readers were given to secondary school laureates in Bamako
  • March 7th: 12 e-readers were given to the population of Gao via the civic action group Cri de Cœur and the local library
  • March 4th: 12 e-readers were distributed to two secondary schools in the region of Segou
  • March 11th: 12 e-readers were distributed to university students in Bamako via the Campus numérique francophone (CNF)

The MALebooks project will be evaluated after six months, to measure the interest shown in the distributed e-readers. The first reactions have been positive so far. After a set of e-readers were delivered at the University of Bamako, Bakary Casimir Coulibaly, the secretary of the Commission Nationale des Cultures Africaines et de la Francophonie (CNCAF), stated that the e-readers were useful, precious — and, moreover, could make up for the insufficient libraries in schools and universities. Preliminary findings show that every single recipient said they learned something new with the devices — such as learning about history or other cultures.

Several nonprofit organizations have expressed interest in the MALebooks project in general, and in the offline use of Wikipedia on e-readers in particular. Most of them are waiting for the results of the six-month pilot; the USAID has already replicated the project (with minor adjustments) with about 550 devices in the Timbuktu region, through its Office of Transition Initiative. Furthermore, Wikimedia Switzerland is also considering a proposal for e-readers with offline educational content (e.g. Wikipedia, Wikiversity, Gutenberg library) through an online shop.

Renaud Gaudin, Kiwix, MALebooks
Emmanuel Engelhart, Kiwix, Wikimedia Switzerland
Julia Lipps, Wikimedia Switzerland

by Wikimedia Blog at May 14, 2015 08:32 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikipedia - #Farkhunda III


Farkhunda Zahra Naderi received the N-Peace award. This award celebrates important women in Asia and the award recognises leadership for conflict prevention, resolution and peace building, and promotes the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, and related resolutions, at regional, national and community levels.

Farkhunda is one, Bimala Kadayat is another. Of the eight women who are now known and recognised as N-Peace award winners, only Farkunda has an article in any Wikipedia. It is easy to add more women and add the dates when they were celebrated for their work.

The latest list functionality by Magnus could work on any Wikipedia and important subjects that are subject to change can easily be maintained in this way.

To make it even nicer, I would always link to Reasonator pages for the people mentioned on a list like this. Wikidata is where the data is but it is not informative. I would also like to sort on the date when an award was presented. Finally, these women do not have a description in any language. It demonstrates clearly why automated descriptions are preferable; they may exist in any language and they get updated whenever more details become available.
Thanks,
      GerardM

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at May 14, 2015 12:58 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Highlights, April 2015

"Is Wikipedia a dance?" video by Michael Epaka, CC BY-SA 4.0. Roger Moore photo by Allan warren, CC BY-SA 3.0. Freedom of Panorama map by Quibik, CC BY-SA 3.0. "Wiki Loves Earth" photo by Mikipons, CC BY-SA 3.0. Mexican Edit-a-thon photo by Thelmadatter, CC BY-SA 4.0. Collage by Andrew Sherman, CC BY-SA 4.0.

“Is Wikipedia a dance?” video by Michael Epaka. Roger Moore photo by Allan Warren. Map by Quibik. “Wiki Loves Earth” photo by Mikipons, Mexican Edit-a-thon photo by Thelmadatter. Collage by Andrew Sherman. 
Images freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. or CC BY-SA 4.0.

Here are the highlights from the Wikimedia blog in April 2015.

 

New features on Wikipedia iOS app help readers access, explore, and share knowledge

File:Share-a-Fact on the Official Wikipedia iPhone app.webm

You can now share a fact from Wikipedia with friends on social networks, as shown here. Video by Victor Grigas also on YouTube and Vimeo, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The updated Wikipedia iOS app lets you easily share facts with friends from your iPhone or iPad. Other new features include large images at the top of every article, improved search, and suggestions for further discovery. Download it today!Read More

Wiki Learning holds massive edit-a-thon at Tec de Monterrey in Mexico City

Two editors
Students upload photos on Day 2 of the edit a thon at Tec de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de Mèxico. Photo by Thelmadatter, CC BY-SA 4.0.

In March 2015, Tec de Monterrey’s Education Program (Wiki Learning) held a three-day edit-a-thon on three campuses in Mexico City. Nearly 300 students participated, creating or editing over 200 articles on Spanish Wikipedia. They also uploaded hundreds of photos, as well as 27 informative radio programs.Read More

The first Wikipedia TV spots and awareness campaign in Cameroon (VIDEO)

File:Video Wikipedia CKoi Dance.webm

Watch this fun TV spot: “Wikipedia? Isn’t that a new dance?” Video by Michael Epaka also on YouTube, CC BY-SA 4.0

The first television spots for Wikipedia in Cameroon were created as part of a campaign designed to raise awareness of Wikipedia in this western African country, where the use and awareness of Wikipedia has been historically low. Iolanda Pensa, researcher at University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) and former scientific director for WikiAfrica, produced this awareness campaign, along with Mike Epacka and others at doual’art, a non profit cultural organization based in Douala, Cameroon.Read More

Celebrity photographer Allan Warren shares the big shots on Wikipedia

Sir Roger Moore Crop.jpg
British photographer Allan Warren’s portrait of Roger Moore (above). Crop by Andrew Sherman, “Sir Roger Moore 3.jpg” by Allan warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

British photographer Allan Warren has taken portraits of many popular artists and politicians, ranging from Roger Moore to Sophia Loren and Prince Charles. For the past few years, he has uploaded many of his images to Wikimedia Commons. His portraits caught our attention, so we reached out to him for an interview.Read More

Introducing the new Wikipedia store

Jerry Kim
“Free Knowledge t-shirt”. Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The brand new Wikipedia store now features many new items, such as pencils that can be planted and will grow into sage, marigold, or basil. New t-shirt designs and other amazing offerings have also been added to the store. All sales support the Wikipedia community.Read More

A Wikimedian asks European Parliament members for copyright reform

Freedom of Panorama in Europe.svg

A map of the European Continent. Map by Quibik, CC BY-SA 3.0.

European copyright laws are very complex, as shown in this map: only countries highlighted in green allow taking pictures of buildings in public places — a law known as “freedom of panorama.” Free knowledge advocates are asking that all European Union countries adopt this law. To address this issue, a longtime Wikimedia contributor traveled to Brussels to meet members of the European Parliament and explain why copyright reform is needed.Read More

Join Wiki Loves Earth 2015: help capture our natural heritage

Aiguamolls de l'Empordà 2.jpg
Wiki Loves Earth features exceptional photos of national resources from around the world, such as this image of Aiguamolls de l’Empordà, Spain — which was selected as one of last year’s winners. Photo by Mikipons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wiki Loves Earth 2015 started on May 1st, and invites you to contribute photos about the world’s natural heritage. This international photo contest is organized by the Wikimedia community, with the help of its Ukrainian and Polish chapters. We hope you will participate!Read More

Andrew ShermanDigital Communications InternWikimedia Foundation

Information For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report, or add your own translation there!

by Wikimedia Blog at May 14, 2015 12:23 AM

May 13, 2015

Pete Forsyth, Wiki Strategies

I am running for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

As recent readers are aware, I’ve had a few things to say about the present election for three seats on the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees; I’ve blogged about why it’s important, and what to look for in a candidate. At the filing deadline, I found myself uncertain that three candidates (since there are three positions to be filled) were sufficiently committed to the issues I consider most important; so I decided to put myself forward as a candidate.

My position is simple: the Wikimedia Foundation has for too long focused on technical issues, at the expense of investing in social expertise, and learning to engage effectively with the complex social dynamics and wisdom in its various communities. These problems have persisted for many years; but as of 2015, the resulting problems are readily apparent. If the foundation wants to be relevant and have positive influence, it must change course. The must pressing needs:

  • The foundation should meet the challenging questions around decision-making, which were raised by its misguided introduction of the “superprotect” feature last year, head on.
  • The foundation should commit to modeling exemplary, transparent and accountable behavior; this would include, for instance, timely and comprehensive meeting minutes; clear and effective mechanisms for strategic input; and internal processes that lead to better, more generative communication practices from all staff and board members.
  • The foundation should invest in staff with both academic and practical expertise in effective engagement with complex social systems, drawing on disciplines like organizational development (as applied toward the community at large, not just the staff); community management and facilitation; and leadership cultivation. These problems are hardly unique to the Wikimedia movement; much wisdom around them exists both within, and beyond, our community. It’s a largely untapped resource. Technical decisions should be guided from the outset by well-vetted theories of social change.

Since announcing my candidacy, I have been heartened by the statements of many of my fellow candidates on the question-and-answer pages on Meta Wiki. Although only one other candidate mentioned “superprotect” in an opening statement, for instance, many have since emerged as strong opponents of the feature. In particular, I am pleased to see many echos of my statement that “even a basic statement of when WMF will or won’t use [superprotect] to override the community,” nine months after the fact, would be a positive step.

I hope all readers who are eligible will consider asking questions themselves, and will vote in the election. (Voting runs from May 17 through May 31.) Comments, ideas, and questions are, as always, welcome here as well; but formal questions will be seen and addressed by all candidates.

by Pete Forsyth at May 13, 2015 09:11 PM

Opportunity knocks to rebuild Wikimedia Foundation board

Next month, Wikipedia writers and editors around the world will elect three of the 10 members of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Elections occur on a regular cycle. But in 2015, Wikipedia and the various Wikimedia projects are at a critical juncture. This year, the chance to bring new voices to the fore in the Foundation’s central body is especially momentous.

Wikimedia Foundation building a wiki wall in August 2014. Cartoon CC BY-SA, Don-kun.

Wikimedia Foundation building a wiki wall in August 2014. Cartoon CC BY-SA, Don-kun.

With three seats up for grabs, the board could emerge from the election a very different entity. The relationship between the foundation and the volunteer base suffers from chronic dysfunction. The events new executive director Lila Tretikov’s first year (many are summarized here) haven’t revealed a voice of accountability for the organization; public communication is simply not among her many talents. She and the current board received a petition signed by 1,000 volunteers, but let it pass by without response. And so, the foundation’s hasty deployment of the chilling “superprotect” software feature (with which foundation staff can now wrest control of editorial or configuration decisions from the volunteers) remains in place, warts and all. Many months later, the foundation has yet to define the conditions under which it will or won’t use superprotect.

The board desperately needs a new approach. The foundation should operate from the premise that much of the wisdom about Wikipedia’s needs resides among the 100,000 volunteers who have made the site what it is today — a crowd whose demographics are often criticized, but are in many ways more diverse than the tech-heavy foundation staff. The foundation should rebuild on a bedrock of social sensibility, and cultivate expertise in governance and constructive deliberation. But that’s not the current agenda: the 35 new employees it plans to hire will be engineers.

If social dynamics and governance constitute the central challenge for the Foundation and the movement, what can be done? As the field of board candidates grows, hopefully some bold new plans will emerge. One or more fresh faces on the board could help turn the tide, potentially sparking an interest in governance practices in large, distributed online communities, and pointing the way toward changes that could decrease the toxicity of large-scale decisions.

Thus far, seven Wikimedians have declared their candidacy. A couple have mentioned governance as an issue of importance, but none of the candidate statements goes beyond a few general statements. Of course, it is early; candidates will have many opportunities to build a case, answer questions, and rally consensus around their visions for the future of the organization and of the movement. And, who knows how many candidates there will ultimately be: nominations are open until May 5.

by Pete Forsyth at May 13, 2015 08:33 PM

When “experimentation” is no such thing

When widespread problems take hold, it’s worthwhile to seek out what “innovations” have worked to combat them. Take, for instance, gender imbalance and general incivility in the comment sections of online news outlets:

Researcher Fiona Martin dug into the issue in her April 2015 study Getting my two cents worth in: Access, interaction, participation and social inclusion in online news commenting. She found, among other things, that the Texas Tribune, which had the highest rate of female participation of the sites she studied, credited several specific tactics. She also found promise in the Orange County Register’s “concerted public attempt to tackle incivility in commenting,” which correlates with the second-highest female participation of those studied. (See also her summary of her research in the Guardian.)

This idea of innovation was one of the five “movement priorities” of the 2010 Strategic Plan for Wikimedia. And yet, even though gender imbalance is one of the greatest areas of concern in the Wikimedia movement, there has been no dedicated effort along the lines of what the Texas Tribune has done, and only cursory efforts to study the various discussion venues in the Wikimedia landscape analogous to Martin’s research.

Terms like “experiment” and “innovation” are popular these days; the benefits of each are readily apparent. But it’s important to keep in mind that experiment is a term from science, and it means more than just “trying stuff out.” As Rebecca Petzel argued in a blog post last week (Boldly going where no one has gone before), the important part of an effort to innovate is its “scientific heart.” She highlights three important components of an experiment:

Clear goals (find ways to overcome said challenge, learn something new about x), Clear assumptions about how to achieve those goals (a hypothesis, an idea, etc.), and a process to test those assumptions rapidly, collecting feedback to see how much closer we’ve moved to our goal.

This is the culture the 2010 strategic plan called for; and the Wikimedia Foundation has taken important steps in that direction, such as  establishing a framework for researchers investigating Wikipedia, and running the recent “Inspire” campaign to surface innovative ideas to take on the gender gap. And yet, Wikimedia’s discussion fora — including  chat rooms on IRC, email lists, and a variety of discussion pages on Wikipedia and related sites — are as “rough and tumble” as ever. The things that Texas Tribune editorial administrator John Jordan did to reform an “awful space, full of free range trolls” do not sound complicated; perhaps the credit he deserves is less as an “innovator,” than as a relentless, dedicated, empathetic community manager, who presumably tracks his progress, and is presumably accountable for the outcomes in some way. His big “innovations?” He “patrolled it like a street cop with a stick and when regulars complained about being banned he would explain how they needed to behave.” And, the site used Facebook’s “like” feature, but changed the word to “respect.”

Such interventions are, of course, difficult to graft onto Wikipedia’s processes, since there is an ingrained culture that tends to resist efforts to “manage” discussion and deliberation. But difficult is not the same as impossible. Two Wikimedia email lists I view from time to time — the general Wikimedia-L list and the Gender Gap list — do involve moderation; but neither has clear lines of accountability for moderators. If there have been efforts to undertake experimental approaches with moderation of email lists, chat rooms, or other discussion venues, they have not been widely publicized.

Why haven’t such processes been tried more deliberately? Simple: the Wikimedia Foundation explicitly views itself as a technical entity akin to Google or Microsoft, at the expense of putting expertise in social dynamics as a central, defining aspect of the organization. The organization is not led by people interested in exploring the social interventions between “difficult” and “impossible”, but rather the technical interventions in that space.

But social dynamics have always been at the core of Wikipedia and Wikimedia. Social dynamics are what differentiate it from all other major web sites. The longer this basic fact goes neglected by the leaders of the Wikimedia Foundation, the more the organization will miss opportunities to maximize Wikipedia’s potential.

Wikimedians should keep this in mind as they vote for members of the Board of Trustees next month.

by Pete Forsyth at May 13, 2015 08:33 PM

What Wikimedia needs in a Trustee

Last week, I noted the upcoming election for three of the 10 Wikimedia Foundation Trustees. I opined there, and in a followup post, about some of the things the foundation can and should do better. But what specific qualities should we seek in a trustee, as we go to the virtual ballot box?

This is the "theory of change" produced for the 2010 Strategic Plan.

This is the “theory of change” produced for the 2010 Strategic Plan…

A better way to look at how Wikimedia works

…but Wikimedia’s unique asset belongs in the center.

We should elect three new people who can draw Wikimedia Foundation’s attention away from shiny technical tools, and back to its core distinguishing asset: 100,000 volunteers around the world who work tirelessly in support of the Wikimedia mission. In a few hours, we will know who the choices are; as of now, there are 20 candidates for three positions.

The need is clear: Wikipedia, and the family of web sites around it, would not exist without those who have chosen to write, edit, code, curate, discuss, and disseminate knowledge, in their free time. But the Wikimedia Foundation has neglected that community, instead pursuing an identity as a technology company. Yes, Wikipedia has an important technical core; but so does every popular web site. The social dynamics that have produced Wikipedia are what matters; everything else is secondary. Technology should serve social goals, not the other way around.

The foundation has relentlessly pursued a tech-focused agenda, and in the process, has failed to properly get to know the social dynamics that make its sites hum, or to devise an effective plan to move to a better place. Although many advised that expertise in social dynamics was key, last year the foundation hired an executive director whose core qualifications derive from her experience with technical products. Most of the foundation’s many millions are spent on technical projects, but the core social problem it has chosen as a central metric — a declining editor base — is not improving. Perhaps products (like the Media Viewer) that introduce millions of pages without an “edit” button, or products (like the mobile site) that eliminate core collaboration features found in the main software, have something to do with that; but it’s hard to know, since there is no scientific approach to improving social dynamics behind these decisions.

What the Wikimedia Foundation needs, if it is to become a force for positive change for Wikipedia, are Trustees with a background in (or, at minimum, an appreciation for) social movements, the social sciences, and effective governance practices.

Right now, the Wikimedia Foundation looks at a problem and says:

“Let’s hire somebody to write a program that solve it.”

What is needed are trustees who will say, instead:

“How can we leverage social action toward solving this, and encourage leadership? How could technology support those efforts?”

People who will insist on clear communication and accountability within the organization, and when the organization speaks to its stakeholders. People who believe the way to end a cycle of hostility and dysfunction is to be accountable, to listen, to carefully synthesize information.

Nominations are due in a few hours, so we will have to decide among the candidates who have already declared. But even after this election, Wikimedia and the foundation will need people with these skills and sensibilities, for the board and in other positions. Where might we find such people, outside the Wikimedia community?

Look in successful online communities. Look in government. Look in large, diverse social systems (university system, hospital administration) that have passionate and diverse groups of stakeholders — people with a record of success in systems like that, and who are established thought leaders.

If the Wikimedia Foundation can’t find ways to nurture and grow leadership within its ranks, its future looks grim. Can Wikipedia and the rest of the Wikimedia projects survive with a steward organization that takes little interest its needs? I would like to believe it can. But it’s hard to see how it can thrive.

The Wikimedia Foundation has tried many things. In the process, it has lost sight of its core asset. Let’s elect three new people who can bring its focus back home.

 

by Pete Forsyth at May 13, 2015 08:32 PM

User:Pmartin

Allingroups Release

Today I’m glad to present you Allingroups, a new service proposed by Linterweb.

For quite a few years, here at Linterweb, we’ve been working mainly on Wikimedia oriented services, like Wikiwix, a Wikipedia oriented search engine, Okawix, an offline Wikipedia browser, or Wikiwix Archives, a service used for instance on the French, the Romanian or the Hungarian speaking Wikipedias, that allows keeping a copy of all Internet sources quoted in Wikipedia articles, so that they don’t get definitively lost, even if the initial Internet source has been moved or removed.

We’re now working at something quite different, more aimed at the Facebook community: Allingroups, a Facebook auto-poster.

 

Members of Facebook have the possibility to post messages on their fan pages or in their groups (groups of friends, of relatives, of fans, business groups… of which they are a member). If you want to post one message in one group or on one page, it is convenient. The problem begins when you want to publish the same message in various groups or pages. If you want to post the same message in ten groups or pages, you have to repeat ten times: go into the group or onto the page, write you message, post it, go to the second group or page, do the same stuff, etc. Well, with ten groups or pages, it’s probably boring but still possible, but if you’ve got several hundred groups or pages, you don’t want to spend all your day doing this, it would take up all your time!

That’s what Allingroups is all about: saving you time!

Allingroups allows you to save time by automatically posting messages to part or all of your groups or pages, while taking care to prevent you from being blocked or banned by Facebook quite restrictive publishing rules (that are in addition being reinforced those days).

 

What’s more, contrary to most of other existing Facebook auto-posters, Allingroups doesn’t need to be installed on your computer: the program is run on our servers. As a consequence, your computer doesn’t need to be switched on and connected to Facebook while publishing your messages. So that, not only you’ll save a lot of time, but you’ll also save a huge amount of money and of electricity: just one of our servers dedicated to publishing all messages on Facebook uses much less energy than the ten thousand computers of our ten thousand current Allingroups users. At a time when the climate change is becoming an increasingly important concern, it is worth to be noticed: many small energy gains of this kind can, all together, amount to important energy savings for the planet.

How does it work?

Our Facebook auto-poster is easy to use:

  1. you sign up to Allingroups with your Facebook e-mail address;
  2. you go to the page Create a campaign, where you may write your message, choose a Facebook or any other web page to add to your message;
  3. you may select the option “Add the affiliation link to your message”, which will add to your message a link to Allingroups; doing so, you get free Allingroups credits;
  4. you select the groups and pages to which you want to post the message in the list of your Facebook groups and pages;
  5. you click on the Save campaign button. And that’s all!

 

How expensive is it?

Not very expensive, in my opinion : basically, one Allingroup credit allows you to post one message to one group or page. So 100 Alingroups credits allow you to post one message to one hundred groups or pages, or one hundred messages to one group or page, or two messages to fifty groups or pages, or five messages to twenty groups or pages: share your credits as you like among your groups and pages.

In addition, you currently get 500 free Alingroups when you sign up, plus 200 more credits thanks to the following promo code: MATT LINTERWEB, that you will enter while signing up; plus other free credits through the affiliation link: once a person joins Allingroups through this link, your account will be credited with 200 credits and you will become their sponsor.

When anyone you sponsor signs up to a plan, you will benefit from 10% of the credits that they receive. When somebody you sponsor sponsors somebody else, you will benefit from 8% of the credits that they acquire. At the third level, you will benefit from 6%, 4% at the 4th, and 2% at the 5th level.

And you can also buy Allingroups credits on the My Credits tab. Our prices may vary in the future, but currently the price of an Allingroups credit  is €0.01. Not even the cost of electricity if you did the publishing yourself. It means you can send 100 messages for €1. Considering the time and the electricity saved, I think it’s worth it!

 

If you use Facebook a lot, you should definitely give it a try! You’ll save time, for you, and electricity, for the sake of the planet. While the United Nations Climate Change Conference will soon be held in Paris, in december 2015, this issue seems more relevant than ever.

 

We and the people of Linterweb, we have always tried to keep the Wikipedia community informed of our ideas and our work concerning the Wikimedia projects, especially thanks to our blog http://blog.wikiwix.com/en/. We’ll keep on writing articles concerning Wikimedia on this blog on a regular basis. In addition, from now on we’ll publish all articles concerning Allingroups and the Facebook community on a new blog dedicated to Allingroups: http://allingroups.com/.

 

Hope to see you soon on Allingroups, and on our new blog! Matthews, Allingroups team member :-)

by Matthieu at May 13, 2015 11:19 AM

May 12, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimania and the differences between online and offline cultures

Wikimedia Hackathon 2013 - Flickr - Sebastiaan ter Burg (30).jpg
Wikimedians sometimes interact both online and offline — and these experiences are very different from each other, says anthropologist Lionel Scheepmans. Hackathon photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0.

For me, it is a real pleasure to meet people face to face, without having to use a computer to express myself. Because of my dyslexia, I have to concentrate a lot when I write — though I can now use the keyboard without looking at the keys. Despite a deep concentration and good keyboard control, l still make many spelling or grammar mistakes. These mistakes can sometimes discredit me with the people I communicate with.

Besides, words are clearer when they are accompanied with a facial expression. A sad, proud, shy or upset face gives more meaning to our words, so others can understand us better. When we speak face to face, there is no need of a smiley. A real smile or a puzzled look instantly add emotions to our words. All this makes communication easier, more spontaneous, more enjoyable.

Wikipedians in real life

When I visited the Wikimania 2014 conference in London, it was a real pleasure to meet Wikimedia projects members face to face; and I was suddenly surprised to meet people that seemed nicer and more civil than during my Internet exchanges. Was it just a personal feeling? Were they the same people online and offline? It is hard to tell. I don’t think that any of the people I have interacted with online were present at Wikimania. But how can I be sure? Our pseudonym culture does not allow people to easily recognize each other offline. On Wikipedia, real user names are rare. Profile photos are also rare, unlike on social networks like Facebook. And wikis do not let you identify people by looking at friends you have in common.

Does anonymity cause this difference between online and offline behavior? I’m not sure about that either. I have had a number of altercations with people who identify themselves “openly” on Facebook, using their real names. On the Internet, people can be rude to others, even when they are not under the cover of anonymity. Though there is a difference between Wikipedia and Facebook: it is easy for me to cut all contact with unpleasant people on Facebook; but this is not possible in a wiki environment. The simplest solution is to leave and stop all community interactions; but that’s also the most harmful choice for our encyclopedia. Sometimes it’s possible for a community to ban a user from contributing; but this solution usually applies only to serious acts of vandalism or repeated abuse, and can only be applied after a collective decision, and only by a site administrator.

From this perspective, the Wikipedia environment can be seen as promoting a lack of courtesy, in the sense that it’s not so risky to be uncivil. In fact, there is no real way to mute or ignore a Wikipedian contributor who is “merely” unpleasant — as long as he/she remains polite. Blocking accounts or IP addresses only occurs in cases when there is proven long-term antisocial behavior. This type of exclusion is very rare, in proportion to the number of contributors.

These reflections lead me to believe that the behavior of Wikipedians is influenced by whether they are online or offline. In the same way that we behave differently during a meeting at work or a conversation in the street. But that’s just a personal belief, more social research is needed to know what is really going on.

I know several new users who have stopped contributing to Wikimedia projects, because of unpleasant interactions with other users. This phenomenon also occurs with experienced contributors from one project, when they try to join other Wikimedia projects. Personally, I quickly gave up contributing in Wikinews, after a heated discussion on their Village Pump. Same kind of experience on Wikivoyage, after an administrator deleted one of my sub user pages.

Even recently, I had an exchange with a researcher in sociology from Quebec, who was quickly discouraged to participate in fr.wikiversity. I am therefore not the only one to have experienced this abrasive behavior. Of course, I have no statistics on hand to back up these observations; but discussions like ‘A Culture of Kindness, a Wikimania session focused on the lack of courtesy in the Wikimedia community, make me believe that the problem is real and that solutions have still not been found (see blog post) .

Working in the shadow of the Internet

I first discovered the French Wikipedia community on February 26, 2011, while I was researching my master thesis in social and cultural anthropology. During this study, I observed the organization of the French contributor community for almost six months.

After taking a “Wikibreak” until 2012, I discovered a number of offline activities related to the Wikimedia Foundation, including: a one-day visit to the offices of Wikimedia France in Paris; meetings to start a Belgian chapter; discussions during the French contribution month of 2013; my attendance at the FOSDEM 2013 booth; and finally Wikimania 2014 in London. This last event gave me the opportunity to experience the magnitude of the Wikimedia movement. I was very impressed by this large network of Wikimedia national associations from around the world, and the existence of a significant number employees and administrators in these associations like in the foundation it self.

After meeting the employees of newly recruited Wikimedia France, I thought it must be hard for them to navigate this vast organizational field. It is even harder to understand when the organization, structures, and behaviors are so different between online (within projects) and offline (in the volunteer and staff networks).

Wikipedia principles and values

Wikipedia’s principles are the pillars that hold this global movement together. Lincoln Memorial by azucaro, LGPL.

Before comparing Wikipedia and Wikimania, I will try to summarize my understanding of the Wikipedia community’s organization and characteristics.

As a community project, Wikipedia operates in a more or less closed environment, in which user actions are recorded and accessible to the rest of the community. In this environment, all users have virtually the same editing rights. Only a few maintenance tools are reserved for certain user groups, which are statutorily elected by the community. To put it in a more systematic way, the Wikipedia user community is organized around a general ethic, based on the following principles and values:

  • A respect for privacy and anonymity.
  • An organization without a contractual relationship or monetary exchange.
  • A freedom of expression and participation based on mutual respect.
  • No statutory hierarchy for editorial and political decisions by all users who have reached a certain number of contributions.
  • A commitment to the principles and ethics of the free software movement, with the adoption of free licenses and open software.
  • A total transparency for everyone’s actions, except when they conflict with external laws in each juridiction.
  • A willingness to pursue an altruistic project to produce knowledge accessible to every human being.

Using this partial set of principles, let us now review the differences between Wikipedia and Wikimania, in terms of organization and ethics.

Incompatible with a desire for anonymity

It is evident that physical presence at an event like Wikimania makes anonymity impossible, because of obligations related to the registration. Also, unlike Wikipedia, Wikimania does not take place in a closed universe where everything can be organized and controlled by the whole community. At Wikimania, you have to worry about travel, food, accommodation, host structures, paperwork, etc. All this inevitably requires the exchange of money and contractual relationships between organizers, vendors and participants. For example, renting a bike to get from my hotel to the Barbican Center required me to make a monetary exchange to lease it from the Barcley firm.

Less freedom of expression and participation

A workshop at Wikimania 2014 in London. Photo by Katie Chan, CC BY-SA 4.0.

In the Wikimania temple, you’d better understand the language of Shakespeare to understand what is going on. Unlike the Wikipedia projects, where communities can use their own native language, Wikimania London was organized mainly in English. I think it was the only language used for meetings published in the program. Of course, I also had the opportunity to communicate in my native language, around a table dedicated to Francophone participants — or even in Portuguese during side discussions. But why should the entire program be organized in English?

The use of other languages could make it easier for non-English speakers to connect more easily. This would give them the opportunity to express themselves more freely in their native language and thus make their Wikimania experience more enjoyable. In 2015, the Wikimania event will take place in Mexico, in a non-English speaking country. I imagine that some activities will be scheduled in Spanish, but why not in other languages?

To attend Wikimania, you must also be able to go there, either by funding your own expenses — or by getting financial support, as was my case. In terms of freedom of participation, Wikimania is therefore not comparable to Wikipedia.

Moreover, I noticed that the freedom of expression and participation can be very different depending on whether you are just a visitor — or have a statutory position in the organization. During the Hackathon, roundtable discussions could be started by any member, as on Wikipedia. But during the Wikimania conference itself, everything was programmed in advance. A selection was made by a program committee, presumably influenced by community interest on the submission pages. Subsequently, participation in the actual meetings varies, depending on whether they take place in a small meeting room or a large auditorium. Though meeting rooms are well suited for discussions, a large auditorium often limits public participation to only question and answer sessions.

Here is an example: during the virtual community roundtable, I was not able to speak — even though this is a subject that interests me and that I know well. This roundtable was held in the largest amphitheater, and its panelists included four employees of the Wikimedia Foundation and three external guests specializing on this topic. The discussion took place between them through microphones. Towards the end of the allotted time for the meeting, the audience was invited to submit questions for one of the panelists to answer. Before he had a chance to speak, time was up and we had to leave the premises.

This experience was even more frustrating when I detected several errors and deficiencies in the panel discussion. For example, I wanted to emphasize that the term “virtual” was not ideal as the session title. The word “virtual” can be interpreted as “latent” or “imaginary”, which is not a good description for the Wikimedia community. It would have been more accurate to use the term “online”. This would avoid creating some confusion — just as the use of the term “democracy” to describe the oligarchy found in the western states can make political debate difficult. When a word is used incorrectly, it becomes difficult to use it well. On the other hand, the word “environment” was never mentioned during the meeting, when it could have made for a much more interesting debate.

Finally, in terms of freedom of expression and participation, what I observed during the five days ranged from one extreme to the other. One day, I had a productive dialog with a student in anthropology who had posted a handwritten sign on one of the tables, that simply said “Digital anthropology.” But the next day, I found myself watching a roundtable discussion on a topic to which I could made useful contributions, but where it was impossible for me to speak.

A clear hierarchy

A panel discussion with the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. Photo by Ziko, GFDL.

Unlike in Wikipedia, a clear hierarchy is present in the context of a conference like Wikimania. First, the Wikimedia Foundation itself follows a classic relatively organizational chart, with Directors, Vice-Presidents, Heads, Managers, etc. And we also see a more discrete hierarchy in local chapters such as Wikimedia Switzerland or Wikimedia France.

In terms of hierarchy, this Wikimedia world is very different than the Wikipedia world, in which a real-world authority like a university professor is not given any special on-wiki authority due to their academic title. But in the offline world of Wikimania, hierarchy clearly influences one’s ability to be heard — and therefore to influence the community. Some sessions are structured based on a presenter’s hierarchical status, without providing an opportunity for the audience to respond to their presentation. In cases like these, the Wikimedia organization opens the door to potential abuses of power, as well as risks that a personality cult and dogmatism could grow around a charismatic leader. Fortunately, I didn’t experience any of these issues at Wikimania, but I think it might be good to address this challenge before a problem arises. Why don’t the Wikimedia Foundation and its affiliates take inspiration from the distributed and non-hierarchical structure of online Wikipedia communities they serve? For example, they might consider adopting some of the principles of Wikinomics, which could be an interesting approach for offline Wikimedia organizations.

Cognitive dissonance with free culture values

In an event hosted by an organization that supports the free sharing of knowledge, I was very surprised to attend presentations where a real debate was not always possible. It was even more amazing to me that an organization that encourages the use of open formats and free software would allow the sale of copyrighted books in its conference.

If the purpose of the Wikimedia Foundation is to enable people to freely share human knowledge, why does it let authors promote and sell copyrighted books within its biggest annual event? If only open formats and free software are permitted on the Wikimedia projects, why make an exception at Wikimania? I can understand that speakers would be allowed to use a proprietary Macbook for their presentation, but I have trouble with authors coming to sell copyrighted books to project members who provided that information for free.

During Wikimania conferences, I believe that authors should share their knowledge in compliance with the rules and ethics of Wikimedia movement: if these rules are violated, this impacts the credibility of the entire movement. And I question the legality of producing a copyrighted work using Wikipedia content, considering that its CC BY SA license requires derivative works to use similar ‘share-alike’ terms.

Transparency differences

The transparency offered by the MediaWiki software is of course impossible when organizing an event such as Wikimania. In Wikimedia projects where all activities lead to the writing of a code, user actions can be easily recorded and made accessible to all. As the saying goes, spoken words fly away, but written words remain; and this is valid for the computer code when it is recorded. That said, we must not forget that nowadays, if the words fly away, they can also be captured.

I came to Wikimania with a video camera, but only used it the first few days, because my hotel was far away and other attendees were much better equipped than me. I thought it was not worth the trouble to carry all my gear, thinking that a lot of footage would be available on Wikimedia Commons to edit a movie if I wanted. Moreover, many of the activities in which I participated were filmed by volunteers or by participants. Unfortunately, to date there are only five videos on Commons within the categories ‘Wikimania 2014 presentations’ ‘and 13 in that of’ ‘Wikimania 2014 videos’. Where is the rest of the footage filmed by all these people? On other sites?

I imagine that many people would like to see the Wikimania meetings which they were unable to attend. It would be so nice to have all these videos on Commons, indexed the Wikimania site and on the cover page for each session or activity. This idea was implemented in the case of some presentations, but why not all? This requires more coordination in the production and distribute of videos, but this should be possible. An idea to consider for next year.

Altruism across projects

Altruism is the opposite of egocentricism, but doesn’t preclude individualism. The difference between egocentrism and individualism is subtle but important seems to understand the Wikipedia culture as a whole. In fact, the Wikipedia project is unique in that each article in the encyclopedia is created by a set of actions that are both individualistic and altruistic. This probably explains that there are few visible conflicts of interest on Wikipedia, but lots of conflicts of opinion. What we call an “edit war” is usually caused by a difficulty for some contributors to abandon their individual viewpoints in favor of a collective viewpoint. And it’s worth noting that throughout my Wikimania experience, I did not witness any conflict of interest or viewpoint.

Quite the opposite: the people I met or heard at Wikimania appeared to overflow with altruism, and didn’t seem very egotistical, only barely individualistic. So much so, that altruism appears to be a central value for all Wikimedia projects — and is perhaps even the foundation that bonds the community, a tool for conflict resolution and for bringing people together.

Disparity in the Wikimedia projects

Group photo of participants at Wikimania 2014. Photo by Adam Novak, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Throughout this report, I observed many disparities between the ethics, values and organizational structures of online Wikipedia projects and offline conferences like Wikimania. This diversity seems normal and even quite healthy in an international movement as large as Wikimedia. It makes it possible for members to adapt to the different environments to which they are exposed. However, these variations in values, ethics and organizations could also pose some risks.

One of those risks would be the possibility of misunderstandings between users that operate in different environments, even if they are part of the same movement. To avoid this pitfall, I think international conferences such as Wikimania are essential to bring together people from different environments within the Wikimedia movement. I also think that this annual conference is insufficient and that more regular meetings should be organized at the regional level, if they aren’t already. During these meetings, it is important that foundation or chapter employees meet contributors to share information about their work environments; and online meetings between employee and contributors should also take place, ideally within different projects. I believe this balance between online and offline interactions can strengthen the movement’s internal cohesion and ensure its sustainability.

Lionel ScheepmansAnthropologistWikipedian

All views in this blog post are the author’s own and do not represent the views of the Wikimedia Foundation or its affiliates. An earlier version of this post included a statement that singled out an individual community member to describe a movement-wide issue. This error has now been corrected and the individual’s name has been removed.

by Wikimedia Blog at May 12, 2015 09:13 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Hate the sin, love the sinner

Of the multitude of Wikipedia sins an editor could commit, plagiarism is among the gravest. False authorship strikes at the heart of Wikipedia as a freely licensed resource, built line by line from the voluntary contributions of legions of good samaritans. And while our student editors commit plagiarism less often than other newcomers, it’s still a problem we take very seriously.

In many cases, student editors misunderstand the difference between quotation and citation, adding blocks of text copied from a source (without explicitly indicating the quotation) and citing that source. Other times, a student editor may be in the habit of composing their work by copying and rewriting a source line by line, leading to close paraphrasing that amounts to plagiarism. And of course, there are a few benighted students who copy and paste just to meet their deadlines, hoping they won’t get caught.

Whatever the reasons student editors fall into plagiarism, there is still an opportunity to save their work if their plagiarizing ways are corrected early. This month, we’ve started to rely on EranBot, a bot envisioned by Wikipedian James Heilman and created by Wikipedian Eran Rosenthal. EranBot checks recent edits using the plagiarism prevention system iThenticate and posts potential instances of plagiarism and copyright violation for the Wikipedia community to review. It tags each suspect edit with relevant project information — such as the assigned articles for our student editors. In the short term, we’ll use this tool to monitor and correct plagiarism. It’s also a great proof of concept for the plagiarism prevention system we plan to build later in 2015.

A similar system, using donated access to iThenticate, will be the first of the “just-in-time help” features we’ve got planned for the wikiedu.org course platform. Each edit by one of our program participants will be checked for plagiarism, but instead of simply posting suspected plagiarism for the Wikipedia community to deal with, we will inform that editor. This will give them the chance — and the responsibility — to correct their own mistakes. By showing them the error of their ways immediately, we think we can redeem many of these plagiarists while there is still time to make amends.

by Sage Ross at May 12, 2015 03:30 PM

Wikimedia UK

Restructure and CEO recruitment update

Statement by D’Arcy Myers, interim chief executive

Following on from my statement on 9th March, in which I explained that the board had asked me to undertake a review of the charity’s structure, I am now able to give you an update.

The period since March has been one of active review, though out of respect for individual staff and to ensure an objective and fair process we have not been providing a public narrative. I can however now announce that the staff discussions, review, appeal periods and subsequent restructure have just been concluded.

In order to ensure that the charity is best resourced to deliver impactful projects we have made a number of staff role changes, and the total staff headcount has been reduced from 14 to 9. Initially, 8 positions were proposed, but following full discussions with the staff it has been decided that we do actually require 9. The new organogram can be seen here. The staff page will be updated to reflect the new staffing over the next two weeks.

It is always regrettable to have to restructure in a way that loses staff who have contributed much to the charity. We thank the departing staff and wish them all the best. If anyone would like to make personal contact, please note that staff emails and accounts on the UK wiki will continue to be active until month end.

I am confident that with the new structure we can be more responsive to new ideas, bringing volunteering into the heart of our projects, and I would encourage you to get involved.

Another change in the staffing of the charity is the quest to find our new CEO. We are looking for an ambitious CEO who will provide strategic leadership and supportive management to volunteers and staff alike. They will be working to increase our profile and impact with our partners, engage with the volunteer community and develop our programme activity. A major part of this leadership will be the development of new income streams. We have retained the charity recruiters Prospectus to manage the recruitment process. You can view the recruitment pack here.

We expect to make an appointment in early July, and until such time as the new CEO is in post and ready to take over I am honoured to be leading the charity.

D’Arcy Myers, interim CEO

 

by Stevie Benton at May 12, 2015 02:07 PM

May 11, 2015

Wiki Education Foundation

The Roundup: A shifting planet

When natural disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal strike, many people turn to Wikipedia to learn about the science behind them. Students in Dr. Melissa Driskell’s Geotectonics course at the University of North Alabama have contributed their knowledge on that topic to Wikipedia this term.

Student editors in that class have transformed this start-class article into a rich breakdown of how the Japan Median Tectonic Line affects various areas of Japan.

The article on fracture zones was one paragraph; it’s now four sections with five detailed examples, supported by eight sources.

The superswell article (on areas with high topography and shallow ocean regions), was a stub with one reference; it’s now five sections with six references.

Finally, an article on Birch’s law was a stub with little more than the theorem; it now includes sections on applications, shortcomings, experiments, and a table to determine the theorem’s impact on rocks found throughout the world.

Thank you to Dr. Driskell and her student editors for sharing that knowledge!

by Eryk Salvaggio at May 11, 2015 03:00 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - #Farkhunda II

There are only three people called Farkhunda. I noticed when I checked to make sure that the lady who was lynched did not have an article yet. One of them Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, is an Afghan member of parliament and, winner of the N Peace award.

Adding more Afghan members of parliament was relatively easy. Many of them were categorized as such. The N Peace award is different. Its website is interesting because it makes the claim why the people who have been recognised by the N Peace award are so relevant.

Magnus has a new functionality in lists for Wikipedia. He blogged about this and the N Peace award is what I hope to use his new functionality for.
Thanks,
     GerardM

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at May 11, 2015 10:51 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #20, 2015 (May 11, 2015)

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čeština • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎italiano • ‎日本語 • ‎Ripoarisch • ‎Lëtzebuergesch • ‎português • ‎русский • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎中文

May 11, 2015 12:00 AM

May 10, 2015

This month in GLAM

This Month in GLAM: April 2015

by Admin at May 10, 2015 10:01 PM

Semantic MediaWiki

Semantic MediaWiki 2.2 released

Semantic MediaWiki 2.2 released

May 9 2015. Semantic MediaWiki 2.2, the next version after 2.1, has now been released. This new version provides new features most notably improving the "category" result format, including the possibility to use a "named args" parameter to change formatting. It also adds support for the "sep" parameter to the "table" result format allowing to define a separator for cell values as well as introduces a "template" option allowing for customized links or queries to the "#set" parser function. See also the release page for information on further improvements and new features. Additionally this version fixes a lot of bugs and brings stability and performance improvements. Automated software testing was further expanded to assure software stability now also allowing for JSON based tests. See the page Installation for details on how to install and upgrade.


Semantic MediaWiki 2.2 released en

by Kghbln at May 10, 2015 09:18 PM

May 09, 2015

Niklas Laxström

14 more languages “fully” translated this week

This week, MediaWiki’s priority messages have been fully translated in 14 more languages by about a dozen translators, after we checked our progress. Most users in those languages now see the interface of Wikimedia wikis entirely translated.

In two months since we updated the list of priority translations, languages 99+ % translated went from 17 to 60. No encouragement was even needed: those 60 languages are “organically” active, translators quickly rushed to use the new tool we gave them. Such regular and committed translators deserve a ton of gratitude!

However, we want to do better. We did something simple: tell MediaWiki users that they can make a difference, even if they don’t know. «With a couple hours’ work or less, you can make sure that nearly all visitors see the wiki interface fully translated.» The results we got in few hours speak for themselves:

Special:TranslationStats graph of daily registrations

This week’s peak of new translator daily registrations was ten times the usual

Special:TranslationStats of daily active translators

Many were eager to help: translation activity jumped immediately

Thanks especially to CERminator, David1010, EileenSanda, KartikMistry, Njardarlogar, Pymouss, Ranveig, Servien, StanProg, Sudo77(new), TomášPolonec and Чаховіч Уладзіслаў, who completed priority messages in their languages.

For the curious, the steps to solicit activity were:

There is a long tail of users who see talk page messages only after weeks or months, so for most of those 60 languages we hope to get more translations later. It will be harder to reach the other hundreds languages, for which there are only 300 active users in Wikimedia according to interface language preferences: about 100 incubating languages do not have a single known speaker on any wiki!

We will need a lot of creativity and word spreading, but the lesson is simple: show people the difference that their contribution can make for free knowledge; the response will be great. Also, do try to reach the long tail of users and languages: if you do it well, you can communicate effectively to a large audience of silent and seemingly unresponsive users on hundreds Wikimedia projects.

by Niklas Laxström at May 09, 2015 10:00 AM

Gerard Meijssen

#Reasonator on #mobile


Reasonator has been for a long time the only way to get information out of Wikidata. Magnus decided to improve on it even more and for good reason; traffic from mobile phones is more and more relevant. The latest update makes Reasonator usable on a mobile.

What I like is that you can collapse sections of information so you can see only that part of the information that you care for. In the example I used the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and, I show the timeline prominently.. For the people who care about such thing, there is a winner for 2015.
Thanks,
       GerardM

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at May 09, 2015 05:25 AM

May 08, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

Fundraising made in Germany: lessons learned by Wikimedia Deutschland

What makes a good banner? How can we cultivate donors to ensure long term commitment to our cause? Wikimedia Deutschland has released a Fundraising Report that assess the development of campaigns from the last few years. This figure shows the revenue of the fundraising campaigns from 2010-2014 and each increase rate to the previous year. Graph by Till Mletzko, CC-BY-SA 4.0

What makes a good banner? How can we cultivate donors to ensure long term commitment to our cause? Wikimedia Deutschland has released a Fundraising Report that assess the development of campaigns from the last few years. This figure shows the revenue of the fundraising campaigns from 2010-2014 and each increase rate to the previous year. Graph by Till Mletzko, CC-BY-SA 4.0

In less than five years, Wikimedia Deutschland’s yearly fundraising efforts grew from € 700,000 to € 8,200,000. That is an astonishing development. But fundraising is not just about money.

Fundraising at Wikimedia Deutschland, and across the entire Wikimedia movement, not only helps us achieve financial goals, it also helps raise awareness for our mission. We reach several million people each day during our fundraising campaign in Germany, making ours the most successful online campaign in the country. With the help of a systematic strategy and comprehensive A/B tests, we have managed to increase our annual fundraising campaign revenue by more than ten times in just five years. This success is the result of a data-driven approach that focuses primarily on donors and their behavior.

Wikimedia Deutschland has been running professional fundraising campaigns since 2010. In previous years, all fundraising was undertaken by volunteers. With the creation of the non-profit Wikimedia Fördergesellschaft in 2011, we now have the institutional requirements in place to forward donations received in Germany to the Wikimedia Foundation.

This Fundraising Report reviews the findings gathered from our latest campaign and assesses how our work has developed over recent years. Thanks to extensive A/B tests and the technical infrastructure that we have built up over the years, we are constantly and systematically collecting data and insights. This allows us to analyze the behavior and payment methods of donors, which in turn helps us to plan and continually improve our campaigns. We have identified five main factors that contribute towards fundraising success at Wikimedia Deutschland, and this report discusses them in detail.

Five factors of successful banners

1. Relevance: No association, no donation. Our results show that a personal appeal in banners, the use of key words, and particularly references to current events make our appeals more relevant and therefore more persuasive to potential donors.

2. Visibility is something one has to fight hard for. The time span we have in which to draw attention to our message is very short. This Fundraising Report presents findings relating to when is the best time for the banner to appear and analyzes various design decisions, including color scheme.

3. Closer to the reader: If there is one thing that the entire donation process should be–from reading the appeal through to completing a donation–it’s straightforward. The fewer clicks required, the better. This fact is nothing new, and it certainly does not only apply to us, but this report will explain the concrete application of this knowledge in the creation of successful banners.

Bank transfers as a payment method are getting more important each year. Graph by Till Mletzko, CC-BY-SA 4.0

4. Donation obstacles should be kept to a minimum. Two findings in particular have emerged from our previous years’ work: Firstly, including suggested donation amounts on the banner has proven to provide effective guidance for donors. The lower the sum, the higher the number of people who donate–and the overall success of a campaign is greater when more donors give smaller amounts. Secondly, the option to donate anonymously is very important to many donors.

5. Raising the campaign profile: It pays to communicate fundraising goals and show the progress of donations. In 2014 in particular we saw how effective the creation of dramatic moments within a campaign can be. This report also touches on a surprising topic: the principle of “social proof” demonstrates how the behavior of a group can motivate others to act in the same way, yet Wikimedia Deutschland’s fundraising campaign made good use of the reverse of this effect.

Looking back, the five factors all played a crucial role in the success of our campaigns; and looking ahead, their importance for the international movement stretches far beyond monetary matters. We should all see fundraising as the start of a relationship – one that requires continuous care and attention.

Fundraising is not about banners only

Our goal for the future is to persuade donors to become long-term supporters of free knowledge and the Wikimedia movement. This report provides a glimpse into our strategy on how to maintain and consolidate our donor relationships, which are built on three main pillars: regular contact, targeted appeals, and personal dialogue–all things that are not possible through communication via banners alone. This report discusses the enormous benefits that stand to be gained from attracting long-term support for the Wikimedia mission.

Using the example of donation certificates, this report will show how we benefit from taking the wishes and expectations of donors seriously. Our postal and electronic mailings are proof of how target-group-specific content and communication strategies can ensure long-term success. The fundamental importance of a well-functioning customer service team should also not be overlooked. During the last fundraising campaign in Germany, for example, we received hundreds of calls and answered well in excess of 5,000 e-mails. Contact is therefore not merely an additional service; it is the very basis of future relationships.

Year Total No. of
multiple donors
Total No. of
one time donors
Sum of all Ratio of
multiple donors
2012 53.260 189.985 243.245 21,90%
2013 95.802 237.452 333.254 28,75%
2014 135.228 254.153 389.381 34,73%

 

Looking ahead to future challenges, the report ends with a call to intensify donor relationships, to focus on donors’ needs, and to further diversify fundraising communications.

Read the whole Fundraising Report on Meta.

Till Mletzko, Wikimedia Deutschland

Tobias Schumann, Wikimedia Deutschland

by Wikimedia Blog at May 08, 2015 07:54 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Course pages and beyond: dashboard.wikiedu.org

Paper_prototype_of_website_user_interface,_2015-04-16

Paper prototyping of our course page design. “Paper prototype of website user interface, 2015-04-16” by Sage RossOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Wiki Ed Dashboard is at the center of our technology work. Since March, I’ve been working with our development partner WINTR on transforming http://dashboard.wikiedu.org from a straightforward course monitoring tool into something much more — a complete platform for creating, running, and monitoring Wikipedia course projects (traditional courses as well as other projects, such as our pilot with student clubs).

By the Fall 2015 term, we’ll roll out new features, which will make our programs independent of the limited EducationProgram MediaWiki extension — the course page platform we’ve been using to date. So far, the surface changes are minor: you’ll see a “Login” link to sign in with your Wikipedia account and see the courses you’re a part of.

This summer, we’ll start opening up the new course page system for testing. The project is still far from complete. But based on the design work so far, I’m excited about the new user experience. It will be a breath of fresh air for anyone who has been using the legacy course page system.

Functionally, our priority is to let users do everything they could do with the old system, and to keep it just as transparent to the rest of the Wikipedia community. Our strategy for that will be updating Wikipedia pages based on actions people take within our system. When an instructor creates a course, their account will also create a project page on Wikipedia. When a student joins a course, their account will update the project and their user page.

All this prepares the foundation for our longer-term goal: a suite of tools that helps instructors, student editors, and others to make a major positive impact on Wikipedia, without stretching the resources of the Wikipedia community beyond what it can handle. Later this year, we’ll begin work on “just-in-time help”. We’ll use the dashboard platform to find just the right time to send each student editor relevant help material, and to actively check edits for plagiarism. If you’re interested in our technical progress — or if you want to help out — you can follow our day-to-day work on GitHub.

by Sage Ross at May 08, 2015 03:30 PM

May 07, 2015

Wikimedia Tech Blog

It’s time for some #tastydata

Wikidata tastydata.svg
Take part in the Menu Challenge between May 8 and 27! Image by Offnfopt, CC0 1.0.
Sometime when you travel you end up ordering food that is, well, not what you expected. I myself ended up ordering a big plate of cow stomach with fries in Rome a few years ago, mistaking the sign language from the waiter and believing that I would get me some ribs. For me, this was mostly a fun experience, but for people wanting food that is vegetarian, vegan, halal or kosher, or that simply are a bit picky with what they eat, ordering food during travels can be tricky. It’s time to take our menus to the 21st century and learn some new glossaries and better pronunciation on the way!

Wikimedia Sverige is now organizing the first ever (we think so at least) contest focusing on enriching Wikidata. This time we are aiming at a list of vegetables, meat, fruits and other ingredients and cooking related terms that 30 restaurants will be serving at a food festival in Stockholm, Sweden in June. Wikimedia Sverige will be there to highlight how open data and crowdsourcing can benefit nearly every aspect of society. We will be using the great made-up restaurant menu that was developed by User:Denny a little more than a year ago.

When we were thinking about how to show off what Wikidata can do, we stumbled upon this menu and thought: why not put this to the test and try the menu out in the real world? With real restaurants and real menus used by real customers. But what would be needed for the digital menu to be useful for people? What added benefit could it create? We figured that the menus would be very interesting if we could add more languages and the possibility to include images and pronunciation recordings. The Menu Challenge is designed to create that added value!

The Menu Challenge will be based around translations of the Wikidata labels, adding images and pronunciation audio to the items of the ingredients. The Challenge will take place between May 8 and 27.

Please help us prepare the menu by translating all the ingredients and the dishes to your language and by photographing and recording as much as possible. With this menu, we can show how Wikidata could be used in a hands-on way by people who never before thought about open data. Let’s get some #tastydata!

John Andersson, Project Manager, Wikimedia Sverige

by Wikimedia Blog at May 07, 2015 05:51 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Wiki Ed attends MPSA conference in Chicago

In mid-April, 5500 people — including two Wiki Ed staffers — came to the Midwest Political Science Association conference in Chicago. Attendees from around the world shared political science research and emerging practices in teaching and learning.

Eryk Salvaggio and I held a 90-minute presentation on teaching with Wikipedia. Workshop participants shared their thoughts on the role of Wikipedia in higher education. We explained how Wikipedia works, while shedding light on the opportunities editing provides for students. The conference was a great chance to hear from instructors and students about how they might improve public access to political science information.

Wikipedia is often the first hit when people search for information about their government, public policy, politicians, and the legal system. Political science students are already studying these topics, and their knowledge gains greater value when they share it.

Our MPSA partnership stems from shared efforts to engage university students in improving publicly available political science information. This joint effort helps us reach instructors who can guide students to bring meaningful political science information to a wider audience through Wikipedia.

Instructors were particularly engaged with the idea of bringing local political science information at the state or municipal level to Wikipedia, and we’re excited to see how the student contributions play out in upcoming terms.

by Jami Mathewson at May 07, 2015 03:30 PM

May 06, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

The #100wikidays challenge

Photo
You are invited to join the #100wikidays challenge, and create a new Wikipedia article every day for 100 days. This new challenge was started by Wikipedian Vassia Atanassova. Photo by Vassia Atanassova, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Do you think you can commit to doing something, anything, for 100 days? Wikipedian Vassia Atanassova would like you to take the #100wikidays challenge, and commit to creating a new Wikipedia article every day for 100 days.

An active editor on the Bulgarian Wikipedia, Atanassova started this challenge earlier this year, to engage more people to contribute on Wikimedia projects. She came up with this idea after coming across a viral movement known as the #100happydays challenge, in which people commit to being happy for a 100 days straight (which she tried, but failed to achieve, like the 71% of participants in this challenge).

She recalls the time when she discussed the decline in editor participation rates with other Wikipedians, towards the end of 2014:

“It occurred to me that while I had often taken part in discussions about the measures that need to be taken for improving the user experience and atmosphere, I had gradually become one of the victims of [declining editor participation],” she told us.

So she came up with the #100wikidays challenge for herself, with a goal of creating one new article every day in Bulgarian Wikipedia for the next 100 days.

“I felt that I was in debt to my Wiki community, to Wikipedia, which has given me much more than I can ever give to it,” said Atanassova. “I remembered the #100happydays challenge, and it occurred to me that the right challenge for me was something like #100wikidays.”

Atanassova first began editing Wikipedia articles around 2006, about mathematical curves, biographies of mathematicians,and other notable people – painters, opera singers, poets, Nobel prize winners. Later she moved onto writing articles and uploading photos she took, about the historical places and museums she’d been in Bulgaria and abroad.

Atanassova’s involvement with the Bulgarian Wikipedia runs deep. She has been contributing to Wikipedia constantly, both virtually and in real life.

She published several research reports and presentations on the use of Wikipedia — and even lectured a course at the university that she attended, in a course called “Wikipedia and WikiTechnologies,” where Wikipedia was the core subject of study. In addition, she worked with other volunteers to become a part of many GLAM projects with several Bulgarian institutions (GLAM stands for “galleries, libraries, archives, and museums” and is a popular Wikipedia initiative that helps cultural institutions share their resources with the world.)

Atanassova has now completed her personal #100wikidays challenge, which went from January 16, to April 25, 2015, improving and diversifying content on Bulgarian Wikipedia.

And a small movement is apparently growing around this idea, as nearly 42 people have signed up for the challenge, in about 20 other language versions of Wikipedia.

“#100wikidays is not a competition between editors, it is something between you and [yourself],” she points out.

The rules are fairly strict: the participating individual should create one article per day for 100 consecutive days, without cheating or making excuses for missing days.

“I have been asked several times why these rules have to be so strict,” she said. “The answer is simple: if you decide to call it ‘a challenge’, it needs to be something hard to do, a difficult task or problem, provoking you to reach your limits, and make [difficult] choices.”

She likens it to climbing a mountain. You don’t compete with the mountain by climbing it, you compete with yourself and your own limitations.

“Some people are probably afraid that missing a day would mean that they have shamefully failed the challenge,” she added. “No, I wouldn’t advise anyone to feel like that. I have told many times so far: starting #100wikidays is a completely personal decision, and it is likewise a completely personal decision whether you have failed it.”

So why is it important for her to commit to the #100wikidays challenge even after she has written more than 1,000 articles? The answer for this Wikipedian is rather simple: she loves making her individual contribution to our ever-growing global encyclopedia. And she gets excited when she sees a stub she started turn into a thoroughly developed article — or when she receives a comment from a user who benefited from her contributions.

For Atanassova,“Wikipedia has turned into a really significant source of happiness.”

Join the challenge!

Profiled by Yoona Ha, Assistant Storyteller intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Interview by Victor Grigas, Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation


Interview transcript

Here is a transcript of our email interview with Vassia Atanassova:

  • Can you tell us a bit about who you are and where you come from?

I am Vassia Atanassova, User:Spiritia, Bulgarian, editor in Bulgarian Wikipedia and some of the sister projects since mid 2006.

  • How did you get involved with Wikipedia / Wikimedia?

For about two years, 2004–2006, I was mainly a reader (erh, consumer :) ) of the English Wikipedia before I discovered the Edit button, and worked out Wikipedia was not created by – as I presumed by then – academicians and professors, but people like me, and back then I had just completed my bachelor degree. I invested some time reading rules, help pages, old discussions, before I finally decided that this is my place: I am in, and I am in forever.

Since then, I have been constantly contributing to Wikimedia in many different ways: patrolling, administrating, translating and adapting local help pages, translating and localizing the MediaWiki software, organizing wiki meetings, outreach activities in various IT conferences, in traditional and online media. I have exploited my personal academic contacts, and initiated and mentored many university wiki projects. Alone and in co-authorship, I have published several research publications and conference presentations on the use of Wikipedia and wiki technologies in education. During my PhD studies, I was even allowed to lecture my own university elective course titled “Wikipedia and Wiki Technologies” for students in IT specialities, where Wikipedia was the core object of study. Together with fellow volunteers, I’ve been in the organization of most of the GLAM collaborations with institutions like the Bulgarian State Archives, the Sofia Zoo, and recently with the Balkani Wildlife Society and the Philippopolis Numismatic Society.

If you think this is too much dedication for a single person, you must be aware of one thing. In relatively small communities like our Bulgarian Wikipedia, we have all the problems of big wikis for solving, too. And we also are willing to start locally all the interesting projects which are otherwise well maintained in global wikis. But since we are fewer people, we need to be much more versatile and engage in a variety of projects at a time.

  • What kinds of things do you typically like to write about or do with Wikipedia / Wikimedia?

Years ago, I started with articles about mathematical curves, biographies of mathematicians and other notable people – painters, opera singers, poets, Nobel prize winners. I also love writing articles about the places where I have been – in Bulgaria and abroad – historical places, natural phenomena, museums, and I often accompany these articles with personal free photography.

  • Are there any particular things you have edited in the past that you are particularly proud of?

I have written more than 1000 articles but I can’t really outline particular articles that I’m proud of. Instead of proud, I prefer being happy.

I’m happy whenever a stub, which I have started, has been further developed and updated by other editors. I’m happy whenever I can illustrate an existing article with my photography, or with content, digitized within the collaboration with the Bulgarian Archives. I’m happy when I hear someone commenting that they have learned something useful from Wikipedia, and especially when this thing happens to be written by me. I’m happy when a media uses my photos, and makes appropriate attribution to the source “Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons”. In this way, for me, Wikipedia has turned into a really significant source of happiness.

  • Can you tell us about 100 wikidays? What is it? How did it get started? What’s your involvement and how can people get involved?

You probably know about the #100happydays challenge. You might have seen some of your friends in Facebook or Tumblr, who have challenged themselves to find reasons to find happiness in life for 100 days in a row. I attempted this challenge, starting in May 2014. Following the rules of the challenge, I was posting in my blog and in Facebook pictures about things that made me happy. After the 10th day, however, I missed a day, I tried to catch-up two days later, but the magic was over, and I announced it a fail.

Happiness however is difficult to define. For me, enriching my native web space with accessible and reliable information, freely sharing my knowledge with virtually every person on the planet, changing the world for the better… I’m so happy I have been part of all this for more than 8 years. But 8 years is long time. And during these years, I have suffered all possible forms of wiki burnout. I had times in 2013, when I even *enjoyed* the time spent on completing my PhD studies and research, and preparing my thesis: i couldn’t think of a better and more valid reason to stay offwiki. :-)

In one moment, in the end of December 2014, when I was taking stock of the passing year, it occurred to me that while I had often taken part in discussions about the lowering levels of editors’ retention and the measures that needed to be taken for improving the user experience and atmosphere, I have gradually become one of the victims of this disease. I felt that I was in debt to my wiki community, to Wikipedia, which has given me much more than I can ever give to it. I remembered about the failed challenge #100happydays, and it occurred to me that the right challenge for me was something like #100wikidays.

100wikidays is mainly a challenge to myself to create in Bulgarian Wikipedia at least one new article daily, one hundred days in a row. It has also become challenge to almost 42 other people in about 20 other language versions of Wikipedia. And to anyone else who feels challenged. #100wikidays is not a competition between editors, it is something between you and … you.

I decided for myself that creating new articles should not become excuse for not doing the rest of the maintenance like recent changes patrolling, deleting vandalisms, editing existing articles, uploading free photos to Commons, outreach of Wikimedia projects in traditional and social media, GLAM collaborations, and all possible sorts of wiki things that I have started or I am about to start. Of course, these articles should be in line with all rules for verifiability against reliable sources, neutral point of view, encyclopaedic phrasing, and technical things like appropriate links, templates, categories and interwikis.

More notably, the trick of the challenge are the rules, stating no missed days, and no catch-ups. One article every day, no excuses accepted. I have been asked several times, why these rules have to be so strict. And the answer is simple. You can call #100wikidays ‘a project’, you can call it ‘an initiative’, you can give it any name you like. But if you decide to call it ‘a challenge’, it needs to be something hard to do, a difficult task or problem, provoking you to reach your limits, and make choices.

It’s like climbing a mountain: you don’t compete with the mountain, you compete with yourself. But if you happen to stumble and fall, you just stand up and carry on walking.

Some people are probably afraid that missing a day would mean that they have shamefully failed the challenge. No, I wouldn’t advise anyone to feel like that. I have told many times so far: don’t forget to enjoy it. Keep calm and carry on. Starting #100wikidays is a completely personal decision, and it is likewise a completely personal decision whether you have failed it. If you decide that you failed it after one missed day, you fail it; if you decide that you don’t fail it, you don’t. It’s so simple. And this is why, the last rule, added later by another challengee, which I completely agree with: use your common sense, and ignore all the rules if they prevent you from enriching Wikipedia and enjoying the #100wikidays.

For those of you, who decide to take the challenge, I’d encourage you to list your name and daily contributions in the Meta page https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/100wikidays It can be really disciplining to know that others may follow your progress, and really rewarding to see that you are not alone. One more reason behind this common page is that it can give you ideas about what to write today, if you haven’t made up your mind. I have seen other #100wikidays editors write certain articles in the Ukrainian, Latvian or Hebrew Wikipedia, and I have thought, ‘Wow, what an interesting topic, we don’t have that article in Bulgarian, I’ll be the one to create it!’ And when someone else gets inspired from an article from your list, it’s even more rewarding. :-)

About the other people in the challenge

Of all the people in challenge, 42 right now, I personally know 12. All the rest joined as a result of the viral nature of liking, commenting and sharing in Facebook, in the dedicated FB group and the Meta page (both created one month after the beginning of the challenge when there were already 5 contributors — in Bulgarian, Hebrew and Ukrainian Wikipedia). In the beginning I only announced my challenge and the daily articles on my Facebook wall, willing to make more people from my friends circle form a positive association with Wikipedia, and read (well developed) content from Wikipedia, as well as potentially attract some new editors. For me, #100wikidays proved to be a good example that social networks are not only distractors of attention, but can tip us of some good new ideas (100happydays –> 100wikidays) and can be roped into serving a good and inspiring Wikimedian cause.

In the first about 20 days, I was alone, but getting more and more attention and support from friends. Then the first follower appeared, VladislavNedelev, a student of mine from the “Wikipedia and Wiki Technologies” course, who became a devoted Wikimedian and real life friend. He, like other followers afterwards, made an adaptation of the rules: he made in advance the proviso that he’s only writing his 100wikidays’ articles when he is in his town of residence, skipping the days when he’s travelling. Later, other similar adaptations appeared like #10wikidays of my friend and fellow wiki-educator Justine, and #10wikiweeks of Anna. I’m happy to say that Justine, Anna and me are not the only women in the challenge: two of the earliest followers were Ata and Antanana from Ukrainian Wikipedia, who were among the core organizers of the wonderful Central and Eastern Europe Wikimedia Meeting in December 2014. It was thanks to them that the first blog publication about the challenge appeared. I think there are at least two more girls from the followers whom I don’t personally know. :)

Probably, the most important moment for the progress of the challenge, was when Asaf succumbed to it. He was the reason that #100wikidays became so viral and so global. In the Hebrew Wikipedia, he is writing only biography articles about notable women, who often didn’t timely receive the recognition they deserved. Another editor, who contributes with such articles is Petar in Bulgarian Wikipedia, who formulated it nicely as: “If she were a man, this article wouldn’t be missing”. :-)

Since we’re discussing and sharing in Facebook, and reporting the progress of our articles in the Meta page, we often inspire each other to create the same articles in different languages. Such cross-wiki creation of articles proved to be quite common, for instance, Bulgarian / Hebrew, Hebrew / Ukrainian, Ukrainian / Bulgarian, Bulgarian / Latvian, Latvian / Ukrainian, Ukrainian / Arabic, Hindi / Punjabi, Bulgarian / Esperanto. There are even article topics that got translated into three languages at a time, like “Diana Abgar” in Bulgarian / Ukrainian / Hebrew, or “Luigi Ademollo” in Bulgarian / Ukrainian / Arabic , or “Manolis Glezos” in Esperanto / Arabic / Punjabi, or “Penelope Delta” in Hebrew / Esperanto / Punjabi.

What’s next…

Different people in the challenge have suggested different things for doing after the end of the challenge. There was the advise to start improving and extending what we created as new articles during these 100 days. I personally thought about focusing on either the help and policy pages, which in BG WP also need attention and dedication, or on uploading some personal photography to Wikimedia Commons, sort of a #100commonsdays. Right now, I’m still working on fixing my sleeping pattern, which got well deranged during the last three months :-) But since it is such a joyful and rewarding experience, I guess that I will again repeat it by the end of the year, and have already started making the list of the articles which didn’t make it in the first round of 100 days, but will probably make it in the second. :-)

by yoonahawikimedia at May 06, 2015 08:50 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

UC Berkeley students get their feet wet on Wikipedia

As you might tell from their name, students from UC Berkeley’s Berkeley Water Group Idea Lab (BWGIL) are passionate about water.

The group aims to share knowledge about water use in California. Editing Wikipedia was a natural fit.

“The most surprising thing to me was the major content gaps that Wikipedia pages pertaining to water, health, and sanitation had,” said BWGIL co-Director Megan Maurino. “This surprise helped fuel my work on water-related pages, and inspired me to do something about the content gaps. I didn’t think I was an expert by any means, but seeing how little was written on things that I frequently learn about in class or in BWGIL meetings, I realized I do have knowledge I can contribute.”

That desire to fill in content gaps inspired the group to take a field trip to water resource sites, including Pardee Reservoir and the Freeport Regional Water Project Intake Facility. The goal: To take pictures that would illustrate the Wikipedia pages for those water resources. One of these photos is now part of the Pardee Dam page. Student editor Narayansg created the Delta Cross Channel Facility page, and included an image taken and uploaded by fellow student editor Willowjohnson23. And Megan uploaded a photo of the Freeport Diversion Facility tanks.

Megan made plans to coordinate with students from Dr. Julian Fulton’s California Water course at Berkeley. Those students were invited to contribute to articles as an extra credit assignment for the class.

“I decided to get ER190 California Water involved because there is such beauty when collaboration happens,” Megan said. “We were able to pull together resources that would have never been possible. Including Julian’s class allowed us to do the most good for the most amount of people.”

It’s inspiring to see what happens when student groups follow their natural curiosity and passion. When student groups contribute to Wikipedia, that curiosity turns into a resource for the entire world.

This spring, our student group pilot will continue to work with UCSB’s Art, Design, & Architecture Museum Club, Portland State’s Lambda Pi Eta, and Oregon State’s Pi Alpha Xi & Hydrophiles clubs.

If you know, or are part of, a student program or honor society with an interest in turning your passion into knowledge, contact samantha@wikiedu.org.

by Samantha Erickson at May 06, 2015 03:00 PM

Terry Chay

Ignore the elephant in the room

The outline slide from an executive briefing one year ago(2014-05-06) (with my commentary):

<figure class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_6272" style="width: 500px;">Cartoon showing "Editor Trends" talk overview with translations: 1) History of the Community (Trans: The problem is the community); 2) Our Community Today (trans. the community is still the barrier to change); 3) Engines of Growth (trans. …And this is how we are going to use engineering to fix this!)<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Keep fucking that chicken.</figcaption></figure>

by tychay at May 06, 2015 12:00 PM

Luis Villa

Come work with me – developer edition!

It has been a long time since I was able to say to developer friends “come work with me” in anything but the most abstract “come work under the same roof” kind of sense. But today I can say to developers “come work with me” and really mean it. Which is fun :)

By Supercarwaar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Supercarwaar, CC BY-SA 3.0
Details: Wikimedia’s new community tech team is hiring for a community tech developer and a team lead. This will be extremely community-intensive work, so if you enjoy and get energy from working with a community and helping them achieve their goals, this could be a great role for you. This team will work intensely with my department to ensure that we’re correctly identifying and prioritizing the needs of our most active editors. If that sounds like fun, get in touch :)

[And I realize that I’ve been bad and not posted here, so here’s my new job announce: “my department” is the Foundation’s new Community Engagement department, where we work to support healthy contributor communities and help WMF-community collaboration. It is a detour from law, but I’ve always said law was just a way to help people do their thing — so in that sense is the same thing I’ve always been doing. It has been an intense roller coaster of a first two months, and I look forward to much more of the same.]

by Luis Villa at May 06, 2015 05:51 AM

May 05, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

Editing Wikipedia as community service in Mexico

Group photo
A Mexican student shares her experience editing Wikipedia as part of her community service, working with other students and the Wiki Learning team at Tec de Monterrey university (Maria is standing fourth from the left). Photo by Thelmadatter, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Most university students around the world share many of the same goals: they must attend classes, learn as much as possible, get support through a scholarship or a student loan — and, finally, graduate. But in Mexican universities, students must also take community service (“servicio social”), which is a legal requirement before they can graduate. Students can apply what they’ve learned in their courses to help communities through a number of different theoretical and practical activities.

The idea of servicio social emerged in the thirties in Mexico’s institutions of higher learning, as a direct response to the need to reconstruct the country after the the Mexican Revolution. In 1945, Mexican president Manuel Ávila Camacho passed a law to make community service mandatory for all undergraduate students. Servicio social helps students develop as true citizens who are conscious of their country’s current political, economic, social, and cultural circumstances — and who can take action to resolve some of the issues associated with these fields.

Editing Wikipedia has been one of the options for students at Tec de Monterrey since 2014, through “Wiki Learning” — a popular program for many students. I personally chose this program for my servicio social, and it has been a valuable experience of continuous learning and enrichment, both personally and culturally. By editing Wikipedia, I’ve been able to positively impact the Spanish-speaking community, as well as my fellow students and professors.

Maria works in the laboratory at Tec del Monterrey. Photo by MaríaJosé, CC BY-SA 4.0.

There are several reasons why I chose to edit Wikipedia for my servicio social requirement. First of all, I share the ideals of the free and open knowledge movement, as I consider education a public utility that should be accessible to everyone. Thanks to technology, knowledge has been integrated into more marginalized areas of the world: little-by-little, it has been transforming and improving the quality of life in communities that are now gaining access to Wikipedia’s shared knowledge base.

Closer to home, in Mexico, where a quality education is scarce and one of the few tools we have to grow as a country, it is imperative that knowledge reaches all of the population. From my point of view, Wikipedia has been a community service of impressive magnitude, and I am excited to be a part of it. Being a “knowledge gathering project,” this service goes beyond being a mere hoop to jump through in order to graduate: it helps students become ambassadors — not only on a national level but on a global level as well.

However, Wikipedia has faced a great deal of criticism precisely because of its public nature. I understand why some professors condemn the use of this information portal, as anyone can contribute to Wikipedia with any type of information, true or false. As a frequent user of Wikipedia, what attracted me was the opportunity to break down this prejudice about the movement’s lack of accuracy. When I chose my option for servicio social, Wikipedia was one of the few choices which I considered — not only to meet a requirement, but also as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Now, after almost a year of working on this project, my expectations have proven correct.

Those who contribute to Wikipedia generally do one of three activities: editing, translation, or research. During my time, I have translated various articles relating directly to my major, biotechnology, such as “Social history of viruses“, “History of aspirin” and “Genetic expression profile” — as well as others that interested me, such as “Major depressive disorder“, and “Renewable energy in Scotland“. Translating articles from English to Spanish helps make this information more accessible to Spanish-speaking countries. The ability to work with both languages on such an intensive level allows me to also improve my writing skills, vocabulary, and spelling — as much in English as in Spanish. By translating these articles, I not only contribute to the number of articles in Spanish Wikipedia, but I also improve my own skills in each language.

Day of the Dead altar in Tepoztlán from Fall 2014. Photo contributed by MaríaJosé, CC BY-SA 4.0.

I have also contributed a number of images to Wikimedia as part of my assignment (see example). As a lover of photography and a beginner in this type of work, volunteering for Wikipedia pushed me to look around my country at festivals, traditions, and unique moments in Mexico that are worth sharing with the world. To date, I have contributed fifty photographs to Commons in the ‘Day of the Dead in Tepoztlán’ category — and another 29 related to an exhibition of Spanish exiles in Mexico in “El Exiliio Español en la Ciudad de México: Legado Cultural.”

Servicio social with Wikipedia is ideal for students who want to be their own boss. I can decide when and where I want to work, since I only need a user account, a computer, and Internet access. However, I don’t always work alone: there are meetings about two times a month with other participants to peer review our work, such as the recent Experiencias Retadoras event. I am also constantly in touch with our coordinator, who supports and guides us, to make sure our work has the most impact possible and meets the requirements of the Spanish Wikipedia community. In my opinion, Wiki Learning’s cordial and collaborative atmosphere is a very important reason for the success of this program.

The Spanish Wikipedia grows every day with the participation of people from all over the world: they work hard to constantly improve and enrich the encyclopedia, making sure it reaches as many people as possible. The objective of servicio social is to create a link between students and their social environments, which today is as much global as local: so working with people around the world makes this possible at the global level. And at the local level, the Mexican community benefited directly from the work of our university and its students. I believe, as a student of this institution, that Tec de Monterrey is meeting this goal by linking servicio social with Wikipedia.

María José Felgueres Planells Wiki Learning Tec de Monterrey

by Wikimedia Blog at May 05, 2015 08:00 PM

Erik Zachte

New Wikistats report, for once about Wikistats itself

There is a new Wikistats report, which as an exception (and one-off) reports about Wikistats itself. It shows which reports on stats.wikimedia.org are most popular, how many ‘unique’ (sort of) people requested those reports, and how often.

To this end all traffic to stats.wikimedia.org in April 2015 has been analyzed. A pretty rigorous filtering process removed most bot traffic (perhaps even erring on the side of low counts). First all explicit bot traffic was removed (based on the user agent string), then lots of implicit bot traffic was filtered as well (where request patterns showed bot-like behavior). In the end only 3.2% of all html requests to stats.wikimedia.org qualified for the analysis, and only 78% of the ip addresses (see footer notes).

Most table rows are about a functionally equivalent set of reports, with first three columns showing the overall total for the entire set. The right-most column lists the 10 most popular unique files within that set, with number of requests per file. For conciseness those top 10 files are only shown when you hover over the first link in that column.

The files have been distributed over two tables which reflects the most important dichotomy in Wikistats: reports are about
– database content and content creators, with counts distilled from xml dumps, or
– site traffic, with counts distilled from Kraken (either via 1:1000 sampled log, or hourly aggregations)

See for more this Wikistats Overview diagram (the new report cross-links to this diagram in column ‘srce’).

These numbers should not be taken too lightly as a measure of the relative importance of any report. Popularity of a report is just one factor in the weighing process.

Note: Unique visitors is by necessity an approximation. Some people may have accessed the site several times over the month, using a provider which hands out dynamic ip addresses. But on the assumption that few people will visits the site on more than one occasion and also have a dynamic address, that may not affect the overall counts that much, also relative popularity of different reports will be even less affected.

http://stats.wikimedia.org/wikistats-traffic-2015-04.html

 

by Erik at May 05, 2015 02:55 PM

Not Confusing (Max Klein)

WIGI, an Inspire Grantee

WIGI, the Wikipedia Gender Index, my project which looks at the gender representation in Wikipedia Biography articles, has won an Inspire Grant.

Over the last six months along with fellow Wikipedians we prototyped and extended this research into a paper Gender Gap Through Time and Space: A Journey Through Wikipedia Biographies and the ‘WIGI’ Index”. One aspect of the biography gender gap we were not able to observe however was the trend of female and nonbinary biography.  We were only ever looking at a single point in time because it’s too computationally complex to compare all the histories of the Wikipedias together at once. Now, with $22,500 and a small team, our aim is to sample this data weekly thereby gathering some longitudinal data on the way that Wikipedians are representing biographies.

Our project’s form is to create a data portal which  will display the visualisations of the state of gender in biographies. The underlying data which associates biography gender with Wikipedia language, date of birth/death, citizenship, profession, and celebrity status, will be purposefully published under an open license. We hope that other researchers can make use of this social indicator, much the in same way one can United Nation’s Gender Inequality Index.

The project is will be managed entirely on github, and should be completed in about 6 months.

It promises to be,

Notconfusing

 

by max at May 05, 2015 01:13 AM

May 04, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedians in Brussels map out key issues about the European Union’s digital future

EP Strasbourg hemicycle l-gal.jpg
The European Union is discussing important issues that can impact Wikimedia projects, such as net neutrality regulation, a new data protection law and a major copyright reform. Wikimedia Sweden has created an overview of relevant proposals. Photo by JLogan, public domain.

The European Commission has placed the creation of a “Digital Single Market” at the top of its agenda for the upcoming year. The goal is to boost economic growth through reforms that open up European digital markets to cross-border competition. Several of the components of this agenda could have a real impact on Wikimedia projects.

Many reports, strategy papers and proposals on Internet regulation are floating around in the European Commission. To make sure that nothing important slips under the radar, Wikimedia Sweden has produced an overview of issues under discussion. The overview aims to include all upcoming and ongoing proposals that need scrutiny within the European Union institution.

European Parliament Member Julia Reda has drafted a report on European copyright reform. The report is one of the many initiatives that Wikimedians in Brussels are following. Photo by Joachim S. Müller, CC BY-SA 2.0.

A European net neutrality regulation, a new data protection legislation and a major copyright reform package are some of the agenda items that may affect Wikimedia activities. Where we put our efforts should ideally depend on each proposal’s potential to impact on our work and also on our ability influence the outcome.

Unlike the national political institutions in the European Union’s member states, the institutions in Brussels are not well known. European Union politics attract little attention, considering the powers that have been invested in Brussels in the last decades. We are therefore prone to let legislative processes pass under our noses, only to recognize their significance when the new laws come into effect.

Every European Union proposal included in the overview has been divided into three sections:

  • The first section explains what the issue is about.
  • The second section shows where we stand now and what the current situation looks like.
  • The third section assesses the proposal’s potential to affect Wikimedia projects.

In many cases it is not obvious how much and in which ways a proposal will impact the Wikimedia free-knowledge efforts. A proposal’s path from conception to law is long and seldom straightforward. Sometimes several institutions work in parallel with the same piece of legislation, and often proposals get stuck in the machinery.

One purpose for our overview is to create a basis for prioritizing, so that we use our time and our resources wisely.

We would like to invite every Wikimedian to contribute to this overview, through edits and comments on the discussion page.

Karl Sigfrid European Union Policy Manager Wikimedia Sweden

by Wikimedia Blog at May 04, 2015 10:27 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Wikidata - #Farkhunda

Farkhunda is a woman who died in Afghanistan because someone said "she has burned the Koran". Some believed it and, now she is dead. The police stood by and did nothing.

In Afghanistan, the police cannot stand idly by while someone is lynched. In this line up of all the people accused of complicity you do not notice them. They wear the same clothes and they get the same respect.

They did not "serve and protect" and it is made plain to all the Afghani police officers what is expected of them.

When you search Wikidata for Farkhunda, there are now only three hits. One of them is for an Afghani politician who won a really prestigious award Wikidata does not know about yet.. There is always more to do..
Thanks,
      GerardM

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at May 04, 2015 06:25 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #19, 2015 (May 4, 2015)

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Other languages:
čeština • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎italiano • ‎Ripoarisch • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎中文

May 04, 2015 12:00 AM

May 03, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, April 2015

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 5 • Issue: 4 • April 2015 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Military history, cricket, and Australia targeted in Wikipedia articles’ popularity vs. quality; how copyright damages economy

With contributions by: Niklas Laxström, Federico Leva, Masssly, Gamaliel and Piotr Konieczny

Popularity does not breed quality (and vice versa)

This paper[1] provides evidence that quality of an article is not a simple function of its popularity, or, in the words of the authors, that there is “extensive misalignment between production and consumption” in peer communities such as Wikipedia. As the author notes, reader demand for some topics (e.g. LGBT topics or pages about countries) is poorly satisfied, whereas there is over-abundance of quality on topics of comparatively little interest, such as military history.

Rank Popular and underdeveloped topics High-quality, not popular topics
1 Countries Cricket
2 Pop music Tropical cyclones
3 Internet Middle Ages
4 Comedy Politics
5 Technology Fungi
6 Religion Birds
7 Science Fiction Military history
8 Rock music Ships
9 Psychology England
10 LGBT studies Australia

Illustration from Wedding, cited as an example for start-class articles which ought to be featured articles if quality ratings were perfectly aligned with popularity

The authors arrived at this conclusion by comparing data on page views to articles on English, French, Russian, and Portuguese Wikipedias to their respective Wikipedia:Assessment (and like) quality ratings. The authors note that at most 10% of Wikipedia articles are well correlated with regards to their quality and popularity; in turn over 50% of high quality articles concern topics of relatively little demand (as measured by their page views). The authors estimate that about half of the page views on Wikipedia – billions each month – are directed towards articles that should be of better quality, if it was just their popularity that would translate directly into quality. The authors identify 4,135 articles that are of high interest but poor quality, and suggest that the Wikipedia community may want to focus on improving such topics. Among specific examples of extremes are articles with poor quality (start class) and high number of views such as wedding (1k views each day) or cisgender (2.5k views each day). For examples of topics of high quality and little impact, well, one just needs to glance at a random topic in the Wikipedia:Featured articles – the authors use the example of 10 Featured Articles about the members of the Australian cricket team in England in 1948 (itself a Good Article; 30 views per day). Interestingly, based on their study of WikiProjects, popularity and quality, the authors find that contrary to some popular claims, pop culture topics are also among those that are underdeveloped. The authors also note that even within WikiProjects, the labor is not efficiently organized: for example, within the topic of military history, there are numerous featured articles about individual naval ships, but the topics of broader and more popular interests, such as about NATO, are less poorly attended too. In conclusion, the authors encourage the Wikipedia community to focus on such topics, and to recruit participants for improvement drives using tools such as User:SuggestBot.

Excessive copyright terms proven to be a cost for society, via English Wikipedia images

Within a sample of US bestseller authors, what effect may the addition of this image to the article Michael Gold have had on its traffic?

Paul J. Heald and his coauthors at the University of Glasgow continued their extremely valuable studies of the public domain, publishing “The Valuation of Unprotected Works”.[2] The study finds that “massive social harm was done by the most recent copyright term extension that has prevented millions of works from falling into the public domain since 1998″ which “provides strong justification for the enactment of orphan works legislation.”

Context

In recent years, authorities have started acknowledging possible errors in copyright legislation of the past, which would have been prevented by an evidence-based approach. Heald mentions the Hargreaves Report (2011), endorsed by the UK’s IP office, but other examples can be found in World Intellectual Property Organization reports. This awakening corresponds to the work by researchers and think tanks to prove the importance of public domain and certain damages of copyright.[supp 1]

The importance of evidence-based legislation can’t be overstated, especially in the current process of EU copyright revision.

As Heald notes, past copyright policy has relied on a number of incorrect assumptions, in short:

  • that private value equates social welfare, i.e. that any payment associated to copyright makes society richer;
  • that the only private value is generated by sales under copyright monopoly;
  • that absence of copyright reduces both distribution and associated payments.

Recent studies, some of which mentioned in this paper (Pollock, Waldfogel, Heald), have instead found strong indicators that:

  • consumer surplus (i.e. amounts saved by consumers) can be higher and hence contribute more to social welfare;
  • absence of copyright may produce higher private value as well;
  • works under traditional copyright, especially given the phenomenon of orphan works, don’t manage to cover the entire market, resulting in a loss of knowledge distribution as well as of potential sales.

In short, it seems that “the public is better off when a work becomes freely available”, insofar as copyright has been “robust enough to stimulate the creation of the work in the first place” and that a work “must remain available to the public after it falls into the public domain”.

Findings

However, it is impossible to measure the value of knowledge acquired by society and, even considering the mere monetary value, it is impossible to measure transactions which did not happen. The English Wikipedia is used by the authors as dataset because its history is open to inspection and its content is unencumbered by copyright payments, so every “transaction” is public.

In particular, the study measures what would be the cost of gratis images not being available for use on English Wikipedia articles, as a proxy of the consumer surplus generate by those images, as a proxy of their private value, and as a proxy of their contribution to social welfare. If a positive value is found, it is proven that a more restrictive copyright would be harmful and we can reasonably infer that reducing copyright restrictions would make society richer.

The calculation is done in three passages.

  1. 362 authors of New York Times bestsellers of 1895–1969 are considered. Their English Wikipedia articles are checked for inclusion of portraits and copyright status thereof; the increase in page views caused by the presence of the image is calculated. To depurate other factors, authors are compared in “matched pairs” of similar popularity as suggested by Amazon review or pageviews in mid 2009. Only the lowest scoring months are considered, the general increase in pageviews is discounted, etc.
    • The first proxy considered is how much it would cost to buy the images from traditional image sellers, in the hypothetical (and absurd) case that article authors were allowed to. Such an image typically costs around 100 $ even if it is in the public domain or identical to the one used by our articles.
    • The second proxy is how much the added pageviews are worth in terms of potential advertising revenue (0.0053 $/view, according to [1]).
  2. The values are then validated on a different dataset, some hundreds composers and lyricists.
  3. The amounts are then expanded proportionally to all English Wikipedia articles by considering images and pageviews of a sample of 300 articles.

Clearly, the number of inferences is great, but the authors believe the findings to be robust. The pageview increase, depending on the method, was 6%, 17% or 19%, and at any rate positive. Authors with most images were those died before 1880, an outcome which has no possible technological reason nor any welfare justification: it’s clearly a distortion produced by copyright.

For those fond of price tags, the English Wikipedia images were esteemed to be worth about 30,000 $/year for those 362 writers, or about 30 M$ in hypothetical advertising revenue for English Wikipedia, or M$200–230 in hypothetical costs of image purchase.

At any rate, this reviewer thinks that the positive impact of the lack of copyright royalties is proven and confirms the authors’ thesis. It is quite challenging to extend the finding to the whole English Wikipedia, all Wikimedia projects, the entire free knowledge landscape and finally the overall cultural works market; and even more fragile to put a price tag on it. However, this kind of one-number communication device is widely used to explain the impact of legislation and numbers traditionally used by legislators are way more fragile than this. Moreover, the study makes it possible to prove a positive impact on important literature authors and their life, i.e. their reputation, which is supposed to be the aim of copyright laws, while financial transactions are only means.

Methodological nitpicks

There are several possible observations to be made about details of the study.

  • Only few hundreds articles were considered, and only on the English Wikipedia. Measuring pageviews is not explained in detail, but it clearly relied on stats.grok.se, on whose limitations see the stats.grok.se FAQ and Research:Page view.
  • Special:Random is not able to produce a representative set of the English Wikipedia, let alone of the whole Wikipedia. In fact, it relies on a pseudo-random method which is not very random. (A more random method, based on ElasticSearch, was briefly enabled but then disabled for performance reasons.)
  • The author uses an artificial definition of “public domain” to match the cases which the study was able to measure, i.e. gratis images. Only 67 % of the images were in the public domain while 13% were in fair use and 19% released in some way by the author. As for the releases by the authors, all cases are confusingly conflated: in particular “a Creative Commons” and “unprotected” are two incorrect terms used, which fail to recognise that CC images are copyrighted works and that not all CC images are free cultural works. This mix makes it hard to extend the results to the public domain proper, i.e. the works without any copyright protection, as well as to Wikimedia projects other than the English Wikipedia where fair use is less common. This may not affect the result on the welfare impact for the English Wikipedia but has a higher impact on the dates: namely, the fact that people who died before 2000 have less images may just mean that the English Wikipedia rules allowed fair use more for them because Wikipedia photographers would not be able to shoot photos themselves.
  • Again on terminology, it is disappointing that Wikipedia’s article authors are called “page builders”, as if they were mechanical workers (with all due respect for mechanical workers). There is no reason to reserve the term “authors” to the professional writers who are the subjects of those articles. An artificial restriction of the pool of people who can assert to be “authors” is one of the main propaganda tools of the “pro-copyright” lobby.

Briefly

“Automatic Text Summarization of Wikipedia Articles”

The authors of this paper[3] built neural networks using different features to pick sentences to summarize (English?) Wikipedia articles. They compared their results to Microsoft Word 2007 and found out results are very different.

Relationship between Google searches and Wikipedia edits

A student course paper[4] developed a model to find a correlation between the number of searches on Google resulting from an increased public interest in a subject, and the number of edits made to that subject’s corresponding Wikipedia page. Google Trends data from 2012 for “Barack Obama”, “Google“ and “Mathematics” was compared with Wikipedia page revisions of the corresponding articles within the same period. Instead of the actual data, which was unavailable, the paper applied approximation techniques to estimate the number of Google searches and the number of Wikipedia edits during a given period. Except for a few instances of spikes matching up, no clear correlation between Google searches and Wikipedia edits was found. Similar results were observed when more graphs were generated for different topics. The model made no provision for disproving the existence of a correlation. These limitations render the results of the study still inconclusive.

How much of the Amazon rainforest would it take to print out Wikipedia?

Two students at the University of Leicester have produced a thought-provoking mathematical illustration[5] of the scope of the Internet by calculating how much of the Amazon rainforest would be consumed if the entire Internet were printed on standard A4-size sheets of paper. Their conclusion is about 2% for the entire Internet, and 2.1 × 10−6% for the English Wikipedia, the size of which they used to extrapolate the size of the rest of the Internet. Their calculations are based on a random sample of only ten pages, the average size of which they multiplied by the number of Wikipedia articles, which at the time was 4.7 million. Given the wealth of quantitative data available about Wikipedia, and that Wikipedia articles vastly range in size from a sentence or two up to the 784K byte article List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States, perhaps more accurate estimates could have been made.

Perceptions of bot services

This study[6] looked at how Wikipedians perceive bots, to enhance our understanding of the relationship between human and bot editors. The authors find that the bots are perceived as either “servants” or “policemen”. Overall, the bots are well accepted by the community, a factor the authors attribute to the fact that most bots are clearly labelled as and seen as extensions of human actors (tools used by advanced Wikipedians). The authors nonetheless observe that where bots make large number of minor edits, they are most likely to attract criticism. Still, the necessity for such labor, maintaining categories, templates and such, is, according to actors, a widely recognized and accepted element of Wikipedia’s life.

Other recent publications

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

  • “P2Pedia: a peer-to-peer wiki for decentralized collaboration”[7] (screencast demo; see also w:User:HaeB/Timeline_of_distributed_Wikipedia_proposals)
  • “Distributed wikis: a survey”[8] From the abstract: “We identify three classes of distributed wiki systems, each using a different collaboration model and distribution scheme for its pages: highly available wikis, decentralized social wikis and federated wikis.”
  • “Detection speculations using active learning” (“Deteccion de Especulaciones utilizando Active Learning”)[9](student thesis in Spanish, about the detection of weasel words on the English Wikipedia)

References

  1. Morten Warncke-Wang, Vivek Ranjan, Loren Terveen, and Brent Hecht (2015). “Misalignment Between Supply and Demand of Quality Content in Peer Production Communities”. http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~bhecht/publications/wikipedia_supplydemandquality_icwsm2015.pdf. 
  2. Heald, Paul J. and Erickson, Kris and Kretschmer, Martin, “The Valuation of Unprotected Works: A Case Study of Public Domain Photographs on Wikipedia” (February 4, 2015). DOI:10.2139/ssrn.2560572 Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2560572
  3. Hingu, Dharmendra; Shah, Deep; Udmale, Sandeep S. (January 2015). “Automatic text summarization of Wikipedia articles”. 2015 International Conference on Communication, Information Computing Technology (ICCICT). 2015 International Conference on Communication, Information Computing Technology (ICCICT). DOI:10.1109/ICCICT.2015.7045732.  Closed access
  4. Claire, Charron (2014). “Analysing Trends Between US Google Searches and English Wikipedia Page Edits“. 
  5. Harwood, George (2015). “How Much of the Amazon Would it Take to Print the Internet?”. Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics 4. Centre for Interdisciplinary Science, University of Leicester. 
  6. Clément, Maxime; Guitton, Matthieu J. (September 2015). “Interacting with bots online: Users’ reactions to actions of automated programs in Wikipedia“. Computers in Human Behavior 50: 66–75. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.078. ISSN 0747-5632.  Closed access
  7. Davoust, Alan; Alexander Craig, Babak Esfandiari, Vincent Kazmierski (2014-10-01). “P2Pedia: a peer-to-peer wiki for decentralized collaboration“. Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience. doi:10.1002/cpe.3420. ISSN 1532-0634.  Closed access
  8. Davoust, Alan; Hala Skaf-Molli, Pascal Molli, Babak Esfandiari, Khaled Aslan (2014-11-01). “Distributed wikis: a survey“. Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience. doi:10.1002/cpe.3439. ISSN 1532-0634.  Closed access
  9. Benjamín Machíın Serna: “Deteccion de Especulaciones utilizando Active Learning”. Student thesis, Universidad de la República – Uruguay, 2013 PDF)
Supplementary references and notes:
  1. The most important of these initiatives is probably the 2009 Public Domain Manifesto. Some examples in the context of orphan works: Italian cultural heritage on the Wikimedia projects#Advocating for the public domain bibliography commented in an Italian paper by this reviewer. http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.6675

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 4 • April 2015
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at May 03, 2015 07:44 AM

May 02, 2015

GLAM-WIKI US

The GLAM-Wiki U.S. Consortium lives!

GLAM-Wiki U.S. Consortium Advisory Board. Photo CC0, U.S. National Archives staff.

In March 2015, members of the Advisory Board charged with making the GLAM-Wiki U.S. Consortium a reality met for two days in Washington, DC. We had met and collaborated in various capacities before; but this time, we were able to craft a strong plan for moving forward. We updated our Vision Statement, to help our members and stakeholders understand what we are all about:

Vision: To foster knowledge-sharing among US cultural organizations and Wikimedia projects, cultivating expertise and an ethic of sharing in open collaborations that engage the public with its cultural heritage.

We also composed a Mission Statement, and strategic goals on both one- and five-year horizons. Specific, immediate goals include:

  • Hiring a part-time coordinator, who will help keep the momentum going as we get more firmly established (grant proposal now underway);
  • Planning a GLAM Boot Camp event in DC this fall (likely September), to train and build relationships with Wikipedians interested in guiding GLAM institutions’ Wikipedia engagement; and
  • A second 2015 meeting of our Advisory Group, also in fall 2015.

For more details, please see our meeting report on the Outreach Wiki.

The meeting was sponsored by the U.S. National Archives, with support from Wikimedia DC.

 

by Pete Forsyth at May 02, 2015 12:07 AM

May 01, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

Meet the Inspire grantees working to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia

The Inspire campaign aims to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia. Graphic by Vpseudo, free licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Today we’re pleased to announce a new group of grantees working to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects. In early March, we announced the Inspire campaign, an initiative to generate new ideas to address Wikimedia’s gender gap. Now we’re following up on our commitment to fund a first set of actionable projects coming out of the campaign. From 266 ideas came 42 grant proposals eligible for consideration. After careful review by a committee of volunteer Wikimedians and gender-focused experts, 16 projects have been recommended and approved for funding.

Several of these projects will focus on organizing events and leveraging social and professional communities, institutions and partnerships to increase content about women on Wikipedia. Other projects will aim to engage women from New Zealand to Ghana to contribute to Wikimedia projects, test approaches for training allies to better support gender diversity on-wiki, and create mentorship systems for women.

Meanwhile, recognizing that there’s always more to learn, two research initiatives will work to increase our knowledge about women who aren’t yet contributing, and to understand more about trends in Wikimedia’s gendered biographical content. We’re particularly pleased to see so many projects considering intersectionality, as they work to improve Wikipedia’s gender diversity across various contexts, and to be supporting so many new project leaders who identify as women.

The Inspire grantees are:

  • Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity – $27,100 to support the creation of the first Wikipedian in Residence role focused on gender equality. West Virginia University Libraries was inspired by the efforts of Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz and aims to carry out the vision of gender equality in Wikipedia for years to come, through the establishment of this role.
  • Gender gap admin training – $9,000 to pilot the Ada Initiative’s Ally Skills Workshop with a group of Wikipedians. If successful, this project may grow to create a scalable program for training Wikipedia administrators to more skillfully moderate discussions that have gender implications.
  • Survey women who don’t contribute – $4,000 to survey women who don’t contribute to Wikimedia projects about their experiences and perceptions, in order to prioritize future strategies for engaging and retaining more women.
  • Wikipedia Gender Index – $22,500 to gather, automate, graph and observe gender trends in Wikipedia’s biographical articles over time, through a publicly viewable website with open-data downloads.
  • Wikipedia Buddy Group – $8,050 to pilot a peer editing group for mentorship between college and high school-aged women contributing to Wikipedia.
  • Wiki Edit-a-thon Work Parties – $750 to pilot a social model for anyone to create and host Wikipedia editing parties. Initial experiments will focus on women in English and Spanish-speaking communities.
  • More Female Architects on Wikipedia – $14,150 for an international collaboration between groups in Germany, Australia and the United States, to increase content about women in architecture and design on Wikipedia.
  • Linguistics Editathon series: Improving female linguists’ participation and representation on Wikipedia – $3,736 to run a series of edit-a-thons targeting women in the linguistics community, to improve biographies of female linguists, linguistics stubs, and under-documented languages.
  • Wikipedia edit-a-thon for the Aphra Behn Society – $900 to introduce an academic group tightly focused on issues of women and gender in the period 1640-1830, to contribute to Wikipedia. This project, too, was inspired by one of the group’s founding leaders, Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz.
  • Wikineedsgirls – $2,596 to organize outreach aimed at supporting women students in Ghana to engage with Wikipedia and sister projects.
  • Gender in East Asia Wikipedia Editing – $700 to draw on the scholarly resources of Furman University in the United States, to strengthen and expand coverage of gender in East Asia on Wikipedia.
  • Full Circle Gap Protocol: Addressing the Unknown Unknowns – $7,000 to pilot an approach for bringing feminist scholars together to identify specific content gaps and relevant resources, and then connecting them with classrooms to address systemic bias through Wikipedia assignments.
  • Wellington Wikipedia Meet Up – With Childcare! – $3,150 NZD for Wikipedia editing meet-ups at New Zealand’s Dowse Art Museum, to create Wikipedia content about women artists. Providing childcare is key to supporting women’s attendance at these community-building events.
  • Just for the record – 4,000€ to expand the Art+Feminism event in Brussels into a series of editing events focused on topics of gender-equality on Wikipedia
  • Let’s fill the gender gap Workshops – 6,000 CHF to organize workshops to empower women to contribute to Wikipedia articles, focusing on biographies of Swiss women.
  • Empowering Afrodescendant women in Wikipedia – $6,280 to create more articles about Afrodescendant women on Wikipedia as part of the AfroCROWD initiative.

We’re excited to see these 16 initiatives kick off over the next few weeks. As they go forward, project teams will be blogging and sharing updates on their grant project pages. We hope you’ll continue to engage with them and offer your experience and ideas!

A number of ideas and grant proposals from the campaign are still in development and will need more time before they’re ready for implementation or funding. Over the coming year, we’ll continue to welcome and advise the creators to sharpen their plans based on community feedback. Our Project and Event Grants and Individual Engagement Grants programs will be happy to continue to receive new or adjusted proposals aimed at increasing gender diversity during regular funding cycles along with all other topics.

Gender diversity is a complex issue and gaps aren’t likely to be solved in 1 or 2 months, but we look forward to having an impact by focusing together, seeding ideas to grow into actionable plans over time, and continuing to experiment with new solutions.

This campaign itself began as an experiment in proactive grantmaking, and as with all good experiments, we’re learning a lot as we go. A full analysis of the campaign is in progress, and in coming weeks we’ll be sharing findings from a traffic analysis and a participant survey. Stay tuned for another post in mid-May on what we learned from Inspire, what worked, what didn’t, and recommended next steps, as we continue to seek ways to innovate, support, engage and have collective impact on strategic issues across the Wikimedia movement.

Siko Bouterse, Director of Community Resources, Wikimedia Foundation
Alex Wang, Program Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Inspire graphic by Vpseudo, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

by Wikimedia Blog at May 01, 2015 08:06 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

How many women edit Wikipedia?

Edit-a-thon in Banff, Canada. Photo by ABsCatLib, under CC BY-SA 4.0

Women edit Wikipedia together at an Arts + Feminism Edit-a-thon in Banff, Canada. Photo by ABsCatLib, under CC BY-SA 4.0

The month-long “Inspire” campaign seeking ideas for new initiatives to increase gender diversity on Wikipedia recently concluded successfully, with hundreds of new ideas and over 40 proposals entering consideration for funding.

During this campaign, there were a lot of questions about the empirical basis for the statement that women are underrepresented among Wikipedia editors, and in particular about the estimate given in the campaign’s invitation banners (which stated that less than 20% of contributors are female).

This blog post gives an overview of the existing research on this question, and also includes new results from the most recent general Wikipedia editor survey.

The Wikimedia Foundation conducted four general user surveys that shed light on this issue, in 2008 (in partnership with academic researchers from UNU-MERIT), 2011 (twice) and 2012. These four large surveys, as well as some others mentioned below, share the same basic approach: Wikipedia editors are shown a survey invitation on the site, and volunteer to follow the link to fill out a web-based survey. This has been a successful and widely used method. But there are some general caveats about the data collected through such voluntary web surveys:

  • Percentages cannot be compared, due to different survey populations: The overall percentage among respondents from one survey (e.g. the frequently cited 9% from the December 2011 WMF editor survey, or the 13% from the 2008 WMF/UNU-MERIT survey) is often taken as a rough proxy of “the” gender ratio among Wikipedia contributors overall. But different surveys cover different populations, e.g. because they were not available in the same set of languages, or because the definition of who counts as “editor” varies. This is especially relevant when trying to understand how the gender gap develops over time – e.g. we can’t talk about a “drop” from 13% to 9% between the 2008 and April 2011 surveys, because their populations are not comparable. Also, the slightly higher overall percentage in the 2012 survey, compared to the preceding one (see below) should not be interpreted as a rise. However, comparisons are possible for comparable populations, and in this post we present such trend statements for the first time.
  • Participation bias between languages: There is evidence that the participation rates for such surveys vary greatly between editors from different languages. For example, in both the 2008 survey and the 2012 survey, the number of Russian-language participants was much higher than for other languages, compared to the number of active editors in each language.
  • Women editors may be less likely to participate in surveys: A 2013 research paper by Benjamin Mako Hill and Aaron Shaw confirmed the longstanding suspicion that female Wikipedians are less likely to participate in such user surveys. They managed to quantify this participation bias in the case of the 2008 UNU-MERIT Wikipedia user survey, correcting the above mentioned 13% to 16%, and arriving at an estimate of 22.7% female editors in the US (more than a quarter higher than among US respondents in that survey). Hence we now know that the percentages given below are likely to be several percent lower than the real female ratio.
  • Different definitions of “editor”: Most of these surveys have focused on logged-in users, but there are also many people contributing as anonymous (IP) editors without logging into an account. What’s more, many users create accounts without ever editing (for this reason, the 2011/12 editor surveys contained a question on whether the respondent had ever edited Wikipedia, and excluded those who said “no”. Without this restriction, female percentages are somewhat higher).
  • Because they only reach users who visit the site during the time of the survey, these surveys target active users only. And depending on methodology, users with higher edit frequency (which, as some evidence suggests, are more likely to be male) may be more likely to participate as respondents.
  • Sample size: As usual with surveys, the fact that respondents form only part of the surveyed population gives rise to a degree of statistical uncertainty about the measured percentage, which can be quantified in form of a confidence interval.

Still, these caveats do not change the fact that the results from these web-based surveys remain the best data we have on the problem. And the overall conclusion remains intact that Wikipedia’s editing community has a large gender gap.

What follows is a list of past surveys, briefly summarizing the targeted population and stating the percentage of respondents who responded to the question about their gender with female in each. In each case, please refer to the linked documentation for further context and caveats. Keep in mind that the stated percentages have not been corrected for the aforementioned participation bias, i.e. that it is likely that many of them are several percent too low, per Hill’s and Shaw’s result.

General user surveys

(As detailed above, please be aware that the percentages from different surveys are not necessarily comparable, and are likely to be several percent lower than the real female ratio.)

2012 Editor Survey

  • Population: Logged-in Wikipedia users who did not respond “no” to the question “Have you EVER edited Wikipedia?”
  • Method: Banners in 17 languages, shown only once per user (October/November 2012)
  • 10% female (n=8,716. 11% when including non-editors and users who took the survey on Wikimedia Commons. 14% among Commons users, with n=463)

December 2011 Editor Survey

  • Population: Logged-in Wikipedia users who did not respond “no” to the question “Have you EVER edited Wikipedia?”
  • Method: Banners in multiple languages, shown only once per user
  • 9% female (n=6,503)

April 2011 Editor Survey

  • Population: Logged-in Wikipedia users who did not say they had only made 0 edits so far
  • Method: Banners in 22 languages, shown only once per user
  • 9% female (n=4,930)

UNU-MERIT/WMF survey (2008)

  • Population: Site visitors who described themselves as “Occasional Contributor” or “Regular Contributor”
  • Method: Banners shown to both logged-in and logged-out users, in multiple languages
  • 13% female (n=53,888)

Other surveys

There have also been several surveys with a more limited focus, for example:

Global South User Survey (WMF, 2014)

  • Population: Site visitors in 11 countries and 16 languages, who selected “Wikipedia” (along other large websites) in response to the question “Which accounts do you most frequently use”?
  • Method: Banners shown to both logged-in and logged-out users
  • 20% female (n=10,061)

Note: In this survey, the ratio of female editors was much higher than in the 2011 and 2012 surveys, in those countries where data is available. However, it is plausible that this difference can largely be attributed to different methodologies rather than an actual rise of female participation across the Global South.

Gender micro-survey (WMF, 2013)

  • Population: Newly registered users on English Wikipedia
  • Method: Overlay prompt immediately after registration
  • Draft results: 22% female (n=32,199. 25% when not counting “Prefer not to say” responses)

JASIS paper on anonymity (2012)

  • Population: Active editors on English Wikipedia (estimated to number 146,208 users at the time of the survey (2012))
  • Method: User talk page messages sent to a random sample of 250 users
  • 9% female (n=106)
Tsikerdekis, M. (2013), The effects of perceived anonymity and anonymity states on conformity and groupthink in online communities: A Wikipedia study. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci.. DOI:10.1002/asi.22795 (preprint, corresponding to published version)

Grassroots Survey” (Wikimedia Nederland, 2012)

  • Population: Members of the Dutch Wikimedia chapter and logged-in users on the Dutch Wikipedia
  • Method: Banner on Dutch Wikipedia, and letters mailed to chapter members
  • 6% female (n=1,089 (completed))

Wikibooks survey (2009/2010)

  • Population: Wikibookians in English and Arabic
  • Method: Project mailing list postings and sitenotice banners
  • 26% female (of 262 respondents, 88% of which described themselves as contributors)
Hanna, A. 2014, ‘How to motivate formal students and informal learners to participate in Open Content Educational Resources (OCER)’, International Journal of Research in Open Educational Resources, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-15, PDF

Wikipedia Editor Satisfaction Survey (Wikimedia Deutschland with support from WMF, 2009)

  • Population: Logged-in and anonymous editors on German and English Wikipedia
  • Method: Centralnotice banner displayed after the user’s first edit on that day, for 15 minutes (all users on dewiki, 1:10 sampled on enwiki)
  • 9% female (ca. 2100 respondents – ca. 1600 on dewiki, ca. 500 on enwiki)
Merz, Manuel (2011): Understanding Editor Satisfaction and Commitment. First impressions of the Wikipedia Editor Satisfaction Survey. Wikimania 2011, Haifa, Israel, 4-7 August 2011 PDF (archived)

“What motivates Wikipedians?” (ca. 2006)

  • Population: English Wikipedia editors
  • Method: Emailed 370 users listed on the (hand-curated, voluntary, since deleted) “Alphabetical List of Wikipedians”, inviting them to fill out a web survey
  • 7.3% female (n=151)
Nov, Oded (2007). “What Motivates Wikipedians?”. Communications of the ACM 50 (11): 60–64. DOI:10.1145/1297797.1297798, also available here

“Wikipedians, and Why They Do It” (University of Würzburg, 2005)

  • Population: Contributors to the German Wikipedia
  • Method: Survey invitation sent to the German Wikipedia mailing list (Wikide-l) (“The sample characteristics of the present study might be [a] limitation because participants were very involved in Wikipedia … the reported results might not be the same for occasional contributors to Wikipedia.”)
  • 10% female (n=106)

Trend analysis: How the gender gap changed during 2012

As mentioned above, one can’t meaningfully compare the overall percentages of these two surveys, as they covered different populations. However, if we only look at editors from a particular country, we have two comparable populations. Here is the trend data per country from the two most recent general editor surveys:

2012 editor survey Dec 2011 editor survey Change Significant change?
Country %female n % female n (Dec’11 to Oct/Nov’12) (2-tailed z-test, p = 0.05)
US
17.0%
1368
13.6%
847
+3.4%
significant
Germany
8.6%
1017
8.3%
866
+0.2%
not significant
France
9.3%
707
11.5%
407
-2.2%
not significant
Russia
11.1%
559
7.4%
651
+3.7%
significant
India
3.1%
255
3.3%
121
-0.2%
not significant
UK
9.2%
425
8.6%
278
+0.5%
not significant
Italy
11.6%
398
20.2%
431
-8.6%
significant
Japan
6.8%
351
6.1%
231
+0.8%
not significant
China
4.2%
167
Canada
12.0%
242
7.2%
139
+4.8%
not significant
Poland
7.8%
206
5.3%
263
+2.4%
not significant
Ukraine
9.5%
201
Australia
13.0%
177
Spain
8.6%
186
4.0%
177
+4.6%
significant
Netherlands
7.4%
136
Brasil
3.8%
105
7.1%
140
-3.3%
not significant
Israel
15.0%
127
8.9%
123
+6.0%
not significant
Sweden
13.5%
111
Argentina
13.7%
102

(Only showing countries where more than 100 respondents stated their gender. See here and here for the survey instruments. A fuller report on the 2012 survey with more detail on the methodology will be released soon.)

Overall, there is no evidence that the general problem got more or less severe during that year, but the fact that several countries saw statistically significant changes indicates that the gender gap is not immutable. (It should be mentioned that during 2012 – i.e. for the time span between these two surveys – the Wikimedia Foundation supported the work of a US-based community fellow to encourage participation of women in Wikimedia projects. There isn’t enough data to assert a causal connection with the 3.4% rise in the US during this time, but it’s an encouraging data point nevertheless. The success of our current “Inspire” campaign will be measured by incremental numbers on female participation on a per-project basis, among other metrics, rather than trying to attribute changes in overall percentages to specific activities.)

Other data sources about the size of the gender gap

Besides surveys where editors are being asked directly about their gender, some community members and researchers have examined how users voluntarily publish their gender via:

While this can produce some interesting results, it is important to be aware of the limitations of these approaches when used to estimate the overall ratio of female users (see e. g. section 3.2 “Assumptions and Limitations” in the 2011 “WP:Clubhouse” paper by Lam et al., which uses a combination of them). As opposed to many other sites (e.g. Facebook), the gender information in the user preferences is optional; the setting is somewhat hidden, and the majority of accounts do not use it. There a good reasons to assume that the differing incentives distort that data even more than the anonymous responses to banner-advertised surveys. For example, the user has to be comfortable with stating their gender in public, and in several languages female users have to set that user preference if they want system messages to address them in the correct gender – e.g. the word “user” next to their nick show up in female instead of male grammatical gender form (such as “Benutzerin” vs. “Benutzer” in German). Male users do not have that incentive.

Other research about the gender gap

This post does not cover some arguably more important questions about the gender gap, e.g.:

  • What factors contribute to the gender gap, and what can we do to mitigate them?
  • What effect does the gender gap among contributors have on Wikipedia’s content?

For further research on these and other questions, see e.g. the “Address the gender gap” FAQ on Meta-wiki, or follow our monthly newsletter about recent academic research on Wikipedia.

Tilman Bayer, Senior Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

Many thanks to Aaron Shaw, Alex “Skud” Bayley and Siko Bouterse for reviewing drafts of this post (all errors remain the author’s own).

2015-05-08: Edited to add the sample size for the 2008 UNU-MERIT/WMF survey

by wikimediablog at May 01, 2015 06:59 AM

April 30, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

What we learned from the blog survey

The Wikimedia Blog publishes community and tech news about Wikipedia and the free knowledge movement. Our recent survey shows interest in new content ideas, such as tech reports, Wikipedia highlights and how-to's, as shown in this bar graph. Learn more about the great insights we collected in this report. Graphic by Fabrice Florin, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia Blog publishes community and tech news about Wikipedia and the free knowledge movement. Our recent survey shows interest in new content ideas, such as tech reports, Wikipedia highlights and how-to’s, as shown in this bar graph. Graphic by Fabrice Florin, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Communications team manages and edits this Wikimedia Blog, an online publication that serves the Wikimedia movement.

To learn what our users think of the blog, we ran a blog survey in February-March 2015, asking a variety of questions about its content, features — and suggestions for improvement. Our goals for this survey were to understand who our current blog users are, find out what each user group likes or dislikes, identify content and feature improvements and inform our content strategy.

Survey responses from 410 participants show that a majority find the Wikimedia Blog useful, but that they only visit it about once a month — relying on emails, social media and web links to draw them in. Wikimedia contributors tend to find the blog slightly more useful than readers or developers.

Participants prefer content quality over quantity, with more depth and relevance. Popular topics include technology, community and movement news, as well as human-interest profiles. New content ideas favored by respondents include tech reports, Wikipedia highlights, how-to’s and news stories.

Participants would also like to see more reports from community members, translated in more languages. They want easier ways to find stories they are interested in — and more visibility on popular sites where they are active, from wiki projects to social networks.

Key Findings

Here are highlights from the survey’s quantitative and qualitative results.

Visits
A majority of respondents say they visit the blog at least once a month (78%). About a third of respondents visit once a week, and another fifth visit once a day. Wikipedia readers participating in the survey tend to visit the blog less often (75% monthly visits) than contributors (80%) or developers (88%).

Many respondents said they do not visit frequently: they are usually prompted to visit by an email, a social media post or a web link. This response from one user is typical of what we heard from many others: “Good articles, but I never remember to check regularly”.

Usefulness
Overall, the majority of respondents find the Wikimedia blog useful. About half find it very useful or mostly useful; another third find it moderately useful. This corresponds to a 3.5 average satisfaction rating, on a scale of 1 to 5.

Respondents who identify as female find the blog more useful than male users. And Wikimedia contributors tend to find the blog slightly more useful than readers or developers.

Comments
Respondents were invited to comment on what they thought of the blog. About a third left comments: they tended to be more positive (17%) than negative (4%), with many constructive suggestions for improvement, as shown in this slide.

Overall, contributors and developers left more comments than readers. Each comment was hand-coded with different categories — and we have featured some the most frequent requests below.

Quality over Quantity
A majority of respondents would like better content, with a focus on quality (65%) — as opposed to more frequent content (14%). This view was surfaced both through a multiple choice question — as well as in unprompted comments, such as this one: “Maybe less frequent, but more high-impact/interest posts could keep it more relevant.”

Popular topics
When asked what they would like to read more on the blog, participants pointed to these popular topics: tech / product updates (59%), movement-wide issues (58%), community news (54%) and human-interest profiles (40%).

Though there was wide interest in these topics across user groups, developers were more interested in tech / product updates, contributors preferred movement and community news, and readers or donors responded more favorably to human-interest profiles.

New content
When asked which new content ideas they were most interested in, respondents picked these favorites, from a multiple-choice question:

  • Tech reports – stories on new software / hardware developments (53%)
  • Wikipedia highlights – new or trending articles and images (52%)
  • How-to’s – short videos with tips on how to use Wikipedia (42%)
  • In the news – roundups of articles on top news stories (34%)

Other community suggestions included more news from wiki projects around the world, interviews with WMF team members and more data-driven research reports.

More diversity
Another popular request from open-ended comments was a desire for more diverse voices (21% of comments) and more posts about community initiatives (20%). Respondents asked for “more participation of individual members of the community”, and suggested we “get a few regular editors as contributors.”

A number of respondents asked for “less fluff/promotion/feel-good” posts (9% of comments), with more “focus on significant achievements, tools, or issues.” Some comments requested “less WMF-propaganda”, pointing to “self-promoting” blog posts by foundation staff.

More languages
Many participants would like to see blog content in more languages, both in response to a multiple-choice question (40%) and in open-ended comments (8%). And one respondent suggested the “ability for volunteers to add translations of the blog posts.”

Several respondents also asked for “more global” content (5%), representing “different cultures all over the world,” not just the blog’s “dominant western, anglo-saxon voice”. It’s likely that these numbers would have been even higher if the survey had been conducted in languages other than English.

Better discovery
Some respondents asked for easier ways to find the content they were interested in (10% of comments). As this participant points out: “there is no real categorisation of blog posts, which makes it a bit confusing.” Another one says: “It’s not always obvious which one will have information that I care about.”

A number of people requested more categories (8%) — which suggests that current categories could be made more visible (the navigation bar for the 4 main themes is hard to see, and there is no easy access to the dozens of other categories we support). Several comments stated that “it’s not just *one* blog, it’s a whole bunch of different ones”, with one proposal that the site be “be split into a public/reader-facing and a communities/editor-facing blog.”

More visibility
Some participants thought the blog should be integrated with other, more popular sites (9% of comments). As one respondent put it: “More visibility! I would love if readers and donors knew better where to find it.” Some users suggested “a much bigger presence on social media”, while others recommended “a more prominent link to the blog” from the wikis, or that the blog posts “be featured in relevant wiki project pages.”

Notifications
Nearly half of respondents would like to be notified when new content is posted on the blog. One participant says: “I forget to go to the blog”, and another chimes in: “I need to be reminded it exists.”

The most popular notification methods include Facebook (34%), Twitter (31%) a blog email list (30%) and on user talk pages (22%). Other channels suggested by participants included RSS (12%) and Echo notifications (1%) — along with more requests for direct email notifications (with a preference for weekly digests).

Recommendations

Based on these key findings, here are some action items to consider for the Wikimedia Blog:

  • focus on quality, aiming to publish stories with more depth and relevance
  • concentrate on popular topics: tech, community and movement news
  • experiment with new ideas, such as Wikipedia highlights or how-to’s
  • engage more community members as blog authors
  • translate blog posts in more languages with volunteers
  • clearly label content categories, to help you find stories you’re interested in
  • increase the blog’s visibility on popular sites, from wikis to social networks
  • send email notifications when new content is posted, on an opt-in basis
  • feature more multimedia content and shorter posts

These recommendations will inform our content strategy and next steps for the blog. In coming weeks, we will discuss their their feasibility with team members, then aim to gradually develop the most promising and cost-effective suggestions.

Methodology

For this survey, we reached out to various user groups from February 24 to April 24, 2015, through a wide range of channels: about half of survey responses came from email invitations (e.g. mailing lists such as Wikimedia-l, Wikitech-l and Wmf-l, as well as direct emails to donors and readers); a third came from the blog (e.g.: special blog post, call to action in sidebar); and the rest from social media posts (e.g.: Facebook, Twitter).

Respondents were asked to complete a short online questionnaire powered by Survey Monkey (see survey form below). Their responses were also analyzed in Survey Monkey (see results dashboard), as well as in this online spreadsheet. The survey was conducted in English.

We collected 410 responses during this survey. From this total, 266 people completed the survey, including a question on how they participate on Wikimedia: this is the sample we used to calculate most numbers cited in this report; no weights were applied to the results and no data cleaning was done. Respondents represented a wide range of perspectives, including readers, donors, contributors, active community members, developers and foundation staff.

To learn more, read the full survey report.

We are very grateful to all the community and team members who took the time to share their experience with the blog and suggest practical improvements. And special thanks to the WMF team members who helped us plan, implement and analyze this survey. This collaborative research work is key to making informed decisions about the content we publish — and we look forward to sharing more findings on the blog in coming weeks.

Onward!

Fabrice Florin, Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by Wikimedia Blog at April 30, 2015 11:24 PM

Sharing images of the earthquake in Nepal: Krish Dulal

A massive earthquake in Nepal has killed thousands of people since a devastating 7.8 tremor on April 25, 2015. Nepalese Wikipedian Krish Dulal shared many images of this disaster, such as this photo, freely licensed underCC BY-SA 3.0.
A massive earthquake in Nepal has killed thousands of people since a devastating 7.8 tremor on April 25, 2015. Nepalese Wikipedian Krish Dulal shared many images of this disaster, such as this photo, freely licensed underCC BY-SA 3.0.

Krish Dulal, a prolific Wikipedia editor from Nepal, recently uploaded photos of Kathmandu to Wikimedia Commons, to document the impact of this devastating earthquake — and to invite more photographers to contribute images about this disaster.

After seeing the photos he posted, we reached out to him to learn more. Here is our email correspondence, which was lightly edited for this post.

For more information about the Nepal earthquake, follow its Wikipedia page — and this image gallery. Suggestions on how to support relief efforts are included at the end of this post.

Krish Dulal. Photo by Krish Dulal, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Krish Dulal is a Nepalese Wikipedian and video editor. Photo by Krish Dulal, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Can you tell me who you are and where you come from?
My name is  Krish Dulal. I am a video editor by profession. My home town is Dulalthok, a small village lies in Panchkhal valley in Nepal. Currently I am living in Brooklyn, New York. I am graduated from Tribhuwan University and my major is Nepali Language and literature. I am one of the top contributing volunteers on the Nepali Wikipedia. I am working to improve quality and quantity of articles in Nepali Language. I have mentored some of the top contributing wikipedians, including my own brother Nirmal Dulal.

What was your experience with the recent earthquake?
As I am far away from my homeland, I couldn’t exactly experience the tremors but emotionally that was panic and it was a terrible situation for me. I spent the whole day just trying to contact my family members, who were in the most affected area in Nepal.

Why did you upload the photos of the earthquake — and what was the context behind the photos?
My main goal is documentation of the calamity. I want foreign people to get more information about the situation of Nepal. The pictures were taken by my brother in the Kaushaltar, Bhadrakali and Shantinagar areas in Kathmandu (I uploaded them to Commons with his permission). Many of the houses are down and people are in fear. Most of people are living in the streets.

Do you expect to be uploading any more photos in the near future?
Yeah, I am trying to get more pictures from my brother and others. I have inspired some of other Wikipedian friends to take pictures and upload them on Wikimedia Commons. I hope they will be adding some pictures as the situation gets better.

What would you say to others about contributing images to Wikimedia Commons?
I just want to say donate your pictures to Wikimedia Commons and make them last forever. Many of my friends are uploading pictures in social media, and I want to ask them to upload in Commons, so that their pictures get more value. Donating them on Commons makes them re-usable.

Krish Dulal mentors a class on how to edit Wikipedia. Photo by Srijana Timsina, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Krish Dulal mentors a class on how to edit Wikipedia. Photo by Srijana Timsina, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

How did you become involved with Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects?
It was 2009, I was looking for some articles in English Wikipedia. Till that time, I was unaware of Wikipedia in the Nepali language. Then I saw a link for Nepali language. When I opened the link, I found some articles. When I went through I found the quality of articles were very poor and I felt they needed to be edited. Most of them were written in the Hindi language and some of them were machine translated. As Nepali Language is my mother tongue and my major is Nepali Language, I was motivated to improve the quality of articles. Since then, I started to edit and create  articles as well, as I begun to upload pictures in Commons.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I just want to request all the people around the world to help people of my motherland to recover from this calamity. Every little bit counts.

Victor Grigas, Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation


Donate to support relief efforts
Here are some of the many nonprofit organizations you can donate to, in support of the relief efforts in Nepal:
UNICEF
World Food Program
Red Cross / Red Crescent
Habitat for Humanity

Donate images to Wikimedia Commons
To donate your images to Wikimedia Commons, you can start an account here, and follow the upload instructions here. We recommend you add them in this category: Category:2015 Nepal earthquake.

More information
For more information about the Nepal earthquake, follow its Wikipedia page. Here are more images of the relief efforts, recently added by contributors in this growing photo collection on the 2015 Nepal earthquake

Dharhara_after_Nepalquake_3 (1)
Dharhara after Nepalquake. Photo by Nirjal stha, CC BY-SA 4.0.

2015_Nepal_depremi_(6) (1)
Nepal depremi. Photo by Hilmi Hacaloğlu, Public Domain.

John_Ball_with_rescue_dog_Darcy_in_Chautara,_Nepal_(17127450669)
John Ball and his dog Darcy from the UK’s International Search and Rescue team. Photo by DFID – UK Department for International Development, CC BY-SA 2.0.

More photos are welcome in this category.

by Wikimedia Blog at April 30, 2015 07:13 PM

Joseph Reagle

The Conversation Newbie

On the recommendation of my colleague Matt Nisbet, I submitted a piece related to Reading the Comments to The Conversation, an online publisher aiming for the sweet spot of "academic rigor, journalist flair." The result is the short essay "The Social Graph Won't Save Us from What's Wrong with Online Reviews."

As someone who typically chafes at most publishing processes (submitting Word documents via crappy Web forms), I found this to be delightful! The process is very web friendly: I got to write in markdown (how I write everything) and links are welcome, as are images. The results are available under the Creative Commons Attribution/No derivatives license and they encourage syndication. My editor (Maggie Villiger) was helpful and responsive.

I highly recommend it, and I share these lessons I learned as a newbie:

  • I recommend you have a markdown editor you are comfortable with. The online editor is okay, but switching between the source and preview tabs is a little awkward.
  • They seem to prefer inline to reference links; I find that makes the prose busy for editing purposes, but it's easy enough to convert between the two with pandoc.
  • Have some creative commons images in mind for the piece; I make much use of Wikimedia Commons and flickr.
  • Authors have final control over publishing, it won't post until you press "Approve" upon request by your editor. That said, it was a little confusing in that I approved working versions that I wanted to save (and get feedback on) but not really approve for publishing.

by Joseph Reagle at April 30, 2015 04:00 AM

April 29, 2015

Alex Stinson (Sadads)

GLAM-Wiki 2015: Thoughts, Excitement and Opportunities!

Since attending Kansas State for grad school and focused on developing my Digital Humanities skills, it has been a long time since I attended one of the movement-wide Wikimedia conferences; in 2011 I went to Wikimania Haifa,and in 2012 I attended Wikimania DC. At each, I found myself amazed by the breadth and impact of the various European Wikimedia outreach opportunities: the density of each chapter’s members, in part created, by the national boundaries of the various European languages, gives an environment that favours the development of  formal organizations that support professional relationships with large volunteer communities and outside partners. Similarly, as a movement event GLAM-Wiki 2015 felt like a very Euro-centric conference: only a small contingent of Americans, Australians and Canadians, two Southeast Asian contributors (representing Bangladesh and the Philippines), a handful of other Asian contributors, few African contributors, and a very limited representation of Latin American communities.

GLAM-Wiki has been an overwhelming catalyst in the European context for good historical reasons: the 19th century’s emphasis on colonial acquisition and reinvestment in public cultural education has created a densely packed and well-loved cultural sector. The overlap between dense and professional chapters and this amazing cultural sector has led to an amazing Wikimedia capacity for partnerships around cultural heritage. GLAM-Wiki 2015 highlighted a phenomenal breadth of projects with partners from Europeana to small British museums, from ethnographic museums in Poland to major national libraries that created a broad survey of the important work happening across the continent. In particular, Wikidata and projects like WikiProject the sum of all paintings caused quite a buzz, with everyone beginning to talk about the potential of such projects in shaping not only Wikimedia collaborations but the larger cultural heritage sector.

That being said, when community members shared experiences from other parts of the globe I found them to be even more spectacular and impactful projects that I was surprised to have not learned about on the global stage:

  • The team from Wikimedia Mexico talked about their weekly radio program focused on Wikipedia and a 50-hour editathon that they hosted at Museo Soumaya
  • The WikiAfrica team, represented by Nkansah Rexford Nyarko, talked about a Cape Town collaboration that activated a whole coalition of museums in the region, helping them distribute previously unavailable digital media
  • Marco Correa from Wikimedia Chile talked about how they preserved official speeches of Salvador Allende on Spanish WikiSource
  • Zach Pagkalinawan from Wikimedia Philippines highlighted their “Cultural Heritage Mapping Project” which captures photographs and historical data about

Such ambitious projects! More importantly, though, these projects are very exciting because they not only offer some of the best examples of innovation in the GLAM-Wiki community helping preserve and disseminate cultural heritage, but they were implemented in areas where the Wikimedia communities don’t have the level of professional infrastructure and density of cultural institutions as Europe. The growing opportunities are phenomenal: I would invite everyone to browse the schedule at https://nl.wikimedia.org/wiki/GLAM-WIKI_2015/Programme with an eye for the non-European GLAM-Wiki activities.

Opportunities for the Wikipedia Library

I have been transitioning out of my role as a Digital Humanities specialist at Kansas State University, and increasing my role as Project Manager for The Wikipedia Library where I am helping expand Wikimedia volunteer access to research materials and growing the impact of Wikipedia in library-focused research and discovery. In part, my attendance at GLAM-Wiki was to scope out various opportunities for The Wikipedia Library to find new volunteer leaders for branches and capture best practices in library outreach which we can disseminate through our Wikipedia Library branches. Several projects look like excellent opportunities:

  • At the National Library of Israel, they operate the main Reference Desk for Hebrew Wikipedia, supporting editors and readers in finding research materials and answering reference questions
  • The State Library of New South Wales has an organizational policy that allows for, and at times strongly encourages, Wikipedia editing that improves public knowledge about topics of importance to their holdings. Check it out at on their Glam-Wiki documentation
  • The Catalan Wikimedia community is working with hundreds of public libraries to leverage Wikipedia as an information literacy tool and to disseminate best practices for editing in their local communities.

Each of these programs deserve systematic documentation as part of The Wikipedia Library: they help fulfill our mission of getting resources to our editors and readers, they provide refreshing new approaches to GLAM-Wiki that most communities haven’t considered, and they scale without a huge amount of volunteer or professional staff investment.

At The Wikipedia Library, we are increasingly talking about how our team can partner with the GLAM-Wiki community to find these innovative approaches and distribute them to more language communities! Do you know of any under-documented projects in the Wikimedia community that could use greater investigation from The Wikipedia Library? Comment below!


by Sadads at April 29, 2015 05:35 PM

Wikimedia UK

Mediwikis – a collaborative medical learning platform based on Mediawiki

This guest post was written by Stuart Maitland, Founder, Mediwikis

Mediwikis is a platform built on Mediawiki that supports the medical learning community in the UK. Medical students use Mediwikis to collaborate and share best practice, ideas, and learning strategies at their university, and to tap into the knowledge of students at other universities.

Medical students are in a perfect position to share the examples of best practice occurring in their institution – as part of their teaching they are often taught by a wide range of experts in their respective fields, and quickly have to build learning strategies for remembering large amounts of information. By enabling students to share the information and resources taught at their university on an open and collaborative platform, those resources can be shared and compared with students at other universities across the world.

Mediwikis’ enthusiastic editors tell us they contribute information to Mediwikis to “pay it forwards” to the next generation of medical students, and feel pride of being part of such a community. They feel ownership and academic self-esteem for contributing to the project and producing something that other students would find helpful.

We have been working with Wikimedia UK to realise this goal of making the information students write open and accessible to all. Our previous license, the CC Non-Commercial No-Derivatives, was certainly too restrictive for students to reuse the information in building their own resources, and the chapter has helped us to understand the benefits of open licence, and helped us in changing our license.

As Mediwikis is introduced to more universities, we begin to see the diversity of education methods for medicine in the UK and overseas. I hope that medical students everywhere will be able to utilise the strengths of certain universities and their peers across the country.

To find out more about Mediwikis, please visit us at www.mediwikis.com

by Stevie Benton at April 29, 2015 01:15 PM

April 27, 2015

Wikimedia Foundation

Join Wiki Loves Earth 2015: help capture our natural heritage

Aiguamolls de l'Empordà 2.jpg
Wiki Loves Earth features exceptional photos of national resources from around the world, such as this image of Aiguamolls de l’Empordà, Spain — which was selected as one of last year’s winners. Photo by Mikipons, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

On May 1st, Wiki Loves Earth 2015 will start an international photo contest about our natural heritage. This event is organized by the Wikimedia community, with the help of its Ukrainian and Polish chapters. Many national contests will be hosted as well, coordinated by local volunteers.

Wiki Loves Earth was conceived in 2012, and it was implemented for the first time in Ukraine, where the first contest was held from April 15 to May 15, 2013. It was inspired by the success of Wiki Loves Monuments, with a goal to run a similar contest for natural monuments.

This is the third year for this competition. Watch this video to learn more about the 2014 event, when 16 different countries participated: Algeria, Andorra and Catalan areas, Austria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Estonia, France, Germany, Macedonia, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Syria,Tunisia, Uruguay, Ukraine — and many more, who joined forces to share their natural monuments with the world!

Wiki Loves Earth 2014 slides, with more information about the contest’s winning images. Slides by Mykola Kozlenko, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

View the full report from last year’s international jury, which explains the selection process and includes comments from jury members. A gallery of the 10 winning photos is included at the end of this blog post.

Wiki Loves Earth is still growing and spreading all over the world. We are really happy there is such a big interest in this project. WLE is becoming an active public movement and is now viewed not only as a competition, but also as a prestigious way to tell about your country and the beauty of its natural resources. National committees for Wiki Loves Earth 2015 will launch new channels for users to stay in touch and get regular updates. We invite you to follow these pages and groups, so you can won’t miss some of the most interesting, thrilling and significant photos of 2015.

This photo contest is not only a great opportunity to showcase the charms of nature, but also a chance to draw public attention to environmental issues. Together, we can create a worldwide knowledge base about our natural heritage and the challenges it faces. With your help, Wiki Loves Earth will fill in blind spots on a map — and will highlight unknown places and sights. Wiki Loves Earth covers not only sites of national importance, but also areas protected at a regional level — and the widest variety of natural sites possible: forests, parks, gardens, rocks, caves and other protected sites within the participating countries. Together, we can raise awareness about these natural resources and help protect them.

Anyone can take part in the competition; however, registration on Wikimedia Commons is required. To participate in the contest, check our competition list, find an item or place you are familiar with, then submit a picture you have taken (past or present), and upload it to Wikimedia Commons between May 1 and May 31, 2015.

Ievgen Voropai, Project coordinator, Wiki Loves Earth 2015



Wiki Loves Earth 2014/Top 10 Winners

img1
1 green.svg View of Carpathian National Park from Hoverla. Carpathian National Park, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. Вид з Говерли на Карпатський національний парк. Карпатський національний природний парк, Івано-Франківська область.
Photo by Balkhovitin, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“1 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img2
2 green.svg Serra e pico Dedo de Deus no Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos.
Горная цепь и пик Деду-де-Деус в Национальном парке Серра-дус-Органус.
Photo by Carlos Perez Couto, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“2 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img3
3 green.svg Mukri bog in the october morning mist. Mukri maastikukaitseala. Hommik rabas.
Photo by Amadvr, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. ee.
“3 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img4
4 green.svg Mount Shaan-Kaya in Clouds. Yalta Natural Reserve, Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Шаан-Кая у хмарах. Ялтинський гірсько-лісовий природний заповідник, АР Крим.
Photo by Александр Черных, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“4 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img5
5 green.svg Peak Krcin, part of the Mavrovo National Park. Високо на Крчин, дел од Националниот парк «Маврово».
Photo by MartinDimitrievski, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“5 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img6
6 green.svg Sheep in Drents-Friese Wold National Park, Netherlands.
Schapen op het Aekingerzand.
Photo by Uberprutser, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. nl.
“6 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img7
7 green.svg Peninsula. Novyi Svit Sanctuary, coastal aquatic system between Novyi Svit and Sudak, Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Заказник «Новий Світ», Крим.
Photo by Vian, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“7 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img8
8 green.svgMorning Palette. Zuivskyi Regional Landscape Park, Donetsk Oblast.
«Ранкова палітра». Регіональний ландшафтний парк «Зуївський», Донецька область.
Photo by Vian, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“8 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img9
9 green.svg Barrage bechloul Haïzer à Bouira.
Photo by Chettouh Nabil, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“9 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img10
MRT Singapore Destination 10.png Cascade de Aïn Legradj à Bordj Bou Arreredj.
Photo by Chettouh Nabil, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“Destination 10.png” by Seloloving, Public Domain

by Andrew Sherman at April 27, 2015 09:22 PM

Gerard Meijssen

#Google - thank you for pushing #mobile #phone support

Putting your money where your mouth is is a wonderful thing. Google just did that again. Not by serving notice that support for mobile phones is important but by giving it teeth.

Recently it did it with Fi. A new product that will shake up an industry.

From now those websites that are not providing proper support for mobile phones are out of luck. Google does it where it hurts them most; it is in their ranking.

When you "google" (the verb), you will see those web sites first that are ranked the highest. Websites that do not function properly on mobile phones will go the way of the dodo as their ranking will plummet; they will not get the same results and providing quality support for mobile phones is how damage may be repaired.

Wikipedia is said to have a problem here. It is not exactly a mobile friendly website. For that it has a special subdomain and, that does not count. So all the things we know that make life better for the one area where we are growing.

It is no longer a zero sum game. We will be hurt in our prime objective when we do not ensure that Wikipedia and all the sister projects. We rely heavily on the Google ranking. It is no longer a matter of personal preference and making noises to stop progress in its track. It is about the very essence of what we do: sharing in the sum of all knowledge.

It is great to know that our software is at a stage where it is quite good at supporting mobile phones. I am grateful for the forward thinking of the WMF to get us here. The next step is to bring it to all our projects and pages.

For old fogeys like me, we could have https://en.of.wikipedia.org so that we can live in our past.
Thanks,
     GerardM

by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at April 27, 2015 06:20 AM

Tech News

Tech News issue #18, 2015 (April 27, 2015)

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April 27, 2015 12:00 AM