Building off the work done at the Prague Hackathon (T216260), we're happy to announce some significant changes and improvements to the PHP testing tools included with MediaWiki.

PHP unit tests can now be run statically, without installing MediaWiki

You can now download MediaWiki, run composer install, and then composer phpunit:unit to run core's unit test suite (T89432).

The standard PHPUnit entrypoint can be used, instead of the PHPUnit Maintenance class

You can now use the plain PHPUnit entrypoint at vendor/bin/phpunit instead of the MediaWiki maintenance class which wraps PHPUnit (tests/phpunit/phpunit.php).

Both the unit tests and integration tests can be executed with the standard phpunit entrypoint (vendor/bin/phpunit) or if you prefer, with the composer scripts defined in composer.json (e.g. composer phpunit:unit). We accomplished this by writing a new bootstrap.php file (the old one which the maintenance class uses was moved to tests/phpunit/bootstrap.maintenance.php) which executes the minimal amount of code necessary to make core, extension and skin classes discoverable by test classes.

Tests should be placed in tests/phpunit/{integration,unit}

Integration tests should be placed in tests/phpunit/integration while unit tests go in tests/phpunit/unit, these are discoverable by the new test suites (T87781). It sounds obvious now to write this, but a nice side effect is that by organizing tests into these directories it's immediately clear to authors and reviewers what type of test one is looking at.

Introducing MediaWikiUnitTestCase

A new base test case, MediaWikiUnitTestCase has been introduced with a minimal amount of boilerplate (@covers validator, ensuring the globals are disabled, and that the tests are in the proper directory, the default PHPUnit 4 and 6 compatibility layer). The MediaWikiTestCase has been renamed to MediaWikiIntegrationTestCase for clarity.

Please migrate tests to be unit tests where appropriate

A significant portion of core's unit tests have been ported to use MediaWikiUnitTestCase, approximately 50% of the total. We have also worked on porting extension tests to the unit/integration directories. @Ladsgroup wrote a helpful script to assist with automating the identification and moving of unit tests, see P8702. Migrating tests from MediaWikiIntegrationTestCase to MediaWikiUnitTestCase makes them faster.

Note that unit tests in CI are still run with the PHPUnit maintenance class (tests/phpunit/phpunit.php), so when reviewing unit test patches please execute them locally with vendor/bin/phpunit /path/to/tests/phpunit/unit or composer phpunit -- /path/to/tests/phpunit/unit.

Generating code coverage is now faster

The PHPUnit configuration file now resides at the root of the repository, and is called phpunit.xml.dist. (As an aside, you can copy this to phpunit.xml and make local changes, as that file is git-ignored, although you should not need to do that.) We made a modification (T192078) to the PHPUnit configuration inside MediaWiki to speed up code coverage generation. This makes it feasible to have a split window in your IDE (e.g. PhpStorm), run "Debug with coverage", and see the results in your editor fairly quickly after running the tests.

Debug coverage in PhpStorm

What is next?

Things we are working on:

  • Porting core tests to integration/unit
  • Porting extension tests to integration/unit.
  • Removing legacy testsuites or ensuring they can be run in a different way (passing the directory name for example).
  • Switching CI to use new entrypoint for unit tests, then for unit and integration tests

Help is wanted in all areas of the above! We can be found in the #wikimedia-codehealth channel and via the phab issues linked in this post.


The above work has been done and supported by Máté (@TK-999), Amir (@Ladsgroup), Kosta (@kostajh), James (@Jdforrester-WMF), Timo (@Krinkle), Leszek (@WMDE-leszek), Kunal (@Legoktm), Daniel (@daniel), Michael Große (@Michael), Adam (@awight), Antoine (@hashar), JR (@Jrbranaa) and Greg (@greg) along with several others. Thank you!

thanks for reading, and happy testing!

Amir, Kosta, & Máté

Wiki Education at the LD4 Conference

17:00, Friday, 19 2019 July UTC

In May I attended the LD4 (Linked Data For…) conference in Boston, MA at Harvard Medical Center. I was lucky enough to sit on the program committee which helped plan this event. This was the second LD4 conference — a Mellon-funded initiative to increase linked data use and production in libraries. There were many engaging sessions with excellent presenters. Coming from the Wiki-world, I was anxious to see how many attendees would be interested in the Wikidata sessions – and I was not disappointed!

If attendance, question-asking, and post-session lingering are any indication — linking library resources to Wikidata and using the open data repository to enhance library collections is a popular topic. Although Wikidata has been around for six years, interest in it has reached a tipping point thanks to more data donations, investment from institutions to support Wikidata projects, and proof-of-concept projects that are growing in number. The backbone of the semantic web is getting more robust with Wikidata and GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) leading the charge.

Hearing about updates from representatives from the Library of Congress and OCLC were insightful and a wonderful compliment to the Wikidata presentations. Production environments for linked data are only now becoming accessible to a wider audience. As part of the planning committee, working to have a more inclusive set of participants was a major concern of mine to reflect wider audiences and their needs. Sessions addressed topics around metadata standards, better serving patrons through catalogs, letting indigenous communities create their own subject headings, as well as integrating services across platforms. They reflected a more diverse set of needs for a more diverse crowd.

We are starting Wikidata courses and workshops at Wiki Education. As these initiatives come together, I see even more reason for libraries to get excited about joining the open data movement. This conference confirmed the curiosity, passion, and resources are there. The potential to have libraries and individual librarians join the community of already-passionate Wikidata editors is an exciting prospect. I’m looking forward to more conversations about realizing the opportunity of linked data and encouraging libraries to share their collections on Wikidata.

Check out to sign up for our September Wikidata courses or to request an in-person workshop at your institution. Follow this link to the conference’s presentations.

Image by Rosiestep, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The original Beetle, constructed by the German automaker Volkswagen, was in production from 1938 until 2003.

Convertible Beetles were usually nicer than their roofed counterparts. According to Wikipedia, the Beetle convertible was “generally more lavishly equipped than the sedan with dual rear ashtrays, twin map pockets, a visor vanity mirror on the passenger side, rear stone shields, and through 1969, wheel trim rings. Many of these items did not become available on other Beetles until … 1970. ”

For more information, visit the Wikipedia article about the Volkswagen_Beetle.

The photo comes to us from Wikimedia Commons, the freely licensed media repository whose holdings are extensively used on Wikimedia’s many projects, including Wikipedia. You can use the photo for just about any purpose as long as you credit the author (Dietmar Rabich), copyright license (CC BY-SA 4.0), and link to the original URL.

Ed Erhart, Senior Editorial Associate, Communications
Wikimedia Foundation

This post is the third installment of a new weekly series for us. Tune back in next week for another photo selection from Wikimedia Commons, or you can sign up for our MailChimp mailing list to be notified when the next edition is published.

The past few years has seen an explosion of journalism, scholarship, and advocacy around the topic of ethical AI. This attention reflects a growing recognition that technology companies often fail to put the needs of the people who use machine learning (or “AI”) technology, and of society as a whole, ahead of their business goals.

Much of the public conversation on the topic of ethical AI has revolved around general principles like fairness, transparency, and accountability. Articulating the principles that underly ethical AI is an important step. But technology companies also need practical guidance on how to apply those principles when they develop products based on AI, so that they can identify major risks and make informed decisions.

What would a minimum viable process (MVP) for ethical AI product development look like at Wikimedia, given our strengths, weaknesses, mission, and values? How do we use AI to support knowledge equity, ensure the knowledge integrity, and help our movement thrive without undermining our values?

Towards a MVP for ethical AI

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Research team has begun to tackle these questions in a new white paper. Ethical & Human centered AI at Wikimedia takes the 2030 strategic direction as a starting point, building from the observation that “Developing and harnessing technology in socially equitable and constructive ways—and preventing unintended negative consequences—requires thoughtful leadership and technical vigilance.” The white paper was developed through an extensive literature review and consultation with subject matter experts, and builds off of other recent work by the Foundation’s Research and Audiences teams.

The white paper has two main components. First, it presents a set of risk scenarios—short vignettes that describe the release of a hypothetical AI-powered product, and some plausible consequences of that release on Wikimedia’s content, contributors, or readers. Second, it proposes a set of improvements we can make to the process we follow when we develop AI-powered products, and to the design of the products themselves, that will help us avoid the negative consequences described in the scenarios.

Could algorithmically-generated section recommendations inadvertently increase gender bias in biographies of women? (risk scenario A: Reinforcing existing bias.) Text from the English Wikipedia article about "Alice Frey", CC BY-SA 3.0. Image by unknown, used in the article under fair use. Mockup by Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Identifying and addressing risks

The risk scenarios are intended to spur discussion among AI product stakeholders—product teams, research scientists, organizational decision-makers, and volunteer communities. Scenarios like these can be used in discussions around product planning, development, and evaluation to raise important questions. They can help us uncover assumptions that might otherwise be left unstated, and highlight tensions between immediate goals and foundational values. The goal is to help people grapple with these trade-offs and identify alternative approaches that minimize the risk of unintended consequences.

Each of the six risk scenarios address a complex ethical issue that AI products can make worse—like the risk of reinforcing systemic bias, discouraging diversity, and creating inequity in access to information. They also help uncover subtler issues—like the risk of disrupting community workflows or subverting editorial judgement when we automate processes that are currently performed by people. While the negative outcomes described in the risk scenarios are hypothetical, each one is based on a realistic Wikimedia-specific AI product use case.

The ORES quality prediction algorithm provides detailed information on how it decides what quality category an article belongs in, increasing transparency and accountability (Proposal 5: Build interpretable models.) Text from the English Wikipedia article about Aaron Halfaker, CC BY-SA 3.0. Image by Myleen Hollero/Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0. Screenshot by Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Caption: The ORES quality prediction algorithm provides detailed information on how it decides what quality category an article belongs in, increasing transparency and accountability (Proposal 5: Build interpretable models )

The eight process improvement proposals described in the white paper lay out courses of action that Wikimedia can take when developing AI products. Following these recommendations can help researchers and product teams identify risks and prevent negative impacts, and ensure that we continue to get better building AI products over time.

Some of the proposals focus on improving our software development process for AI products. They describe steps we should take when we develop machine learning algorithms, assess potential product applications for those algorithms, deploy those products on Wikimedia websites, and evaluate success and failure.

Other proposals focus on the design of the AI technologies themselves, and the tools and user interfaces we build around them. They describe ethical design patterns intended to allow the readers and contributors who use our AI products to understand how the algorithms work, provide feedback, and take control of their experience.

Looking forward

The technological, social, and regulatory landscape around AI is changing rapidly. The technology industry as a whole has only recently begun to acknowledge that the ethos of “move fast and break things” is neither an effective nor an ethical way to build complex and powerful products capable of having unexpected, disruptive, and often devastating impacts on individuals, communities, and social institutions. As a non-profit, mission-driven organization with a global reach, the Wikimedia Foundation must hold itself to a higher standard. We can’t afford to build first and ask ethical questions later.

In many ways, the Wikimedia movement is ahead of the game here. We are a geographically and culturally diverse group of people united by a common cause. We already practice the kind of transparency, values-driven design, and consensus-based decision-making that are necessary to leverage the opportunities presented by AI technology while avoiding the damage it can cause. Because the Wikimedia Foundation serves as a steward for the code, content, and communities within the Movement, it is important that we consider the kinds of risks outlined in this white paper, and adopting solutions to anticipate and address them.

You can read more about this project on Meta-Wiki and view the white paper on Wikimedia Commons.

Jonathan T. Morgan, Senior Design Researcher, Wikimedia Foundation

In 2015 it was news that in VIAF, Wikipedia was replaced by Wikidata. In quick succession it was recently announced that both the American Library of Congress and the German Deutsche National Bibliothek announced that they are linking to Wikidata.

That is awesome enough. Awesome because as a result, Wikidata is easier to link to VIAF as every entry of the LoC and DNB results in a VIAF registration. The only thing needed to make this a reality in Wikidata is a dedicated bot for us to know all the good work done in the US and Germany.

Another relevant improvement that is of particular relevance to scientists like linguists is that it is now possible to authorise the GND to automatically update the ORCiD record. It will be truly awesome when this is the example other authorities follow.

It is a small step for Viaf to include ORCiD as it links to other scientific publications. For librarians and library systems this is most relevant. For Wikidata it will help with disambiguation and it allows us to populate our information with even more papers and co-authors.
Michael Maggs at the Wikimedia UK AGM 2019 – image by Jwslubbock CC BY-SA 4.0

At Wikimedia UK’s 2019 Annual General Meeting on Saturday we awarded our prizes for Wikimedian and Partnership of the Year. These awards recognise people and projects which have made a significant impact on the Wikimedia projects and community over the last year.

Wikimedian of the Year

Honorable mention: Andrew Gray

Andrew Gray in 2014, following his Wikimedia residency at the British Library – image by RockDrum CC BY-SA 4.0

Andrew’s work on the project he established, Wikidata:WikiProject British Politicians has been extensive and valuable.

It’s a great example of the value of quietly working on improving the quality and quantity of data in a particular area. It showed what can be produced in terms of research value and the process of developing workable, scalable schema for a set of people going back to 1386.

Further, the presentation of, and the showcase queries for the project have been extremely useful: from fairly functional queries like “all parliamentary terms of a single person” to more obscure ones like “MPs with identified mythical ancestors”. This has been very useful in Wikimedia UK’s advocacy work on releasing data and showing its value.

Winner: Dr Jess Wade

Dr Jess Wade (right) in 2018 with Dr Alice White – image by Jwslubbock CC BY-SA 4.0

With her persistent work Dr. Jess Wade is helping to close the gender gap in biographies on Wikipedia. She launched a project that has made women in science visible by creating over 200 articles in one year on prominent women in STEM. These efforts have inspired others to do the same in science and other disciplines, creating gender parity and representation on Wikipedia.

Beyond her editorial work she has also made important contributions to the public conversation about Wikipedia and how it reflects society’s biases and blindspots.

Partnership of the Year

Honourable Mention: Dumfries Stonecarving project

Greyfriars Dumfries town centre – image by Frank Hayes CC BY-SA 4.0

The Dumfries Stonecarving Project is a year-long, National Heritage Lottery Funded project led by the Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust which began August 2018. The project celebrates the sandstone heritage of Dumfries, from local quarries to carved gargoyles. Project outputs have included week-long stonecarving courses for young people, stonecarving ‘taster sessions’ for all ages, archival research and oral histories, and guided ‘stonecarving quests’ in the town centre.

Building on previous Wikimedia partnerships between Dr Sara Thomas and Dr tara S Beall dating from 2015 onwards, the Wikimedia element of the project was built in from the very beginning, involving the delivery of Wikimedia Commons training sessions to local volunteers.  Specifically, this involved engaging local photography groups, who uploaded high quality pictures of local stonecarving – many involving listed buildings – which can and have then been used in Wikipedia articles. A number of pictures were entered into Wiki Loves Monuments 2018.  Two rounds of training sessions have already taken place, with an additional round planned for the end of July. This final round will also include a Wikipedia editathon, where the findings from archival research will be used to improve relevant Wikipedia articles.

The success of these projects was the basis of a paper, written by Drs Thomas & Beall, which was delivered at the recent HeritageDot conference, and which focused on the ability of Wikimedia projects to ensure considerable impact and longevity for the outputs of community heritage projects.

Winner: Amnesty International

As a result of the relationship built over the years with Amnesty International (who keynoted at our London Wikimania in 2014) and a growing volunteer network, last year we worked together on an international initiative focusing on editathons about human rights activists and other human rights issues.

In June 2018 we took park in Amnesty International’s BRAVE campaign focusing on Women Human Rights Defenders. The international volunteer bases of both movements were combined to create content on human rights in multiple languages. We engaged with Wikimedia affiliates across the world, while Amnesty drew on their county sections. Each section determined its own content locally, working on content relevant and most pressing for them.

This project was an opportunity for the global Wikimedia community to work with the leading human rights charity in their own location, and an opportunity to raise awareness and produce some great content across the Wikimedia projects. As a result, 450 articles were expanded and 100 created, 23 affiliates were connected to their local Amnesty groups and some have continued to collaborate, articles were created in at least seven languages, and we have built capacity at a local level for Amnesty staff and volunteers to continue contributing to Wikipedia.

Wikimedia UK would like to thank the winners of Wikimedian and Partnership of the year, along with the honourable mentions, for making outstanding contributions to the Wikimedia movement and helping us at the chapter have such a great year.

Have you ever tried zooming in on an image on your computer? Did you notice how the quality steadily got worse and worse?

This is an unfortunate feature of “raster graphics,” the file formats that use a rectangular grid of pixels to make up an image, and present a particular problem for people making maps, for example—how else would you be able to take a regional map and zoom down into a particular town?

The solution is vector graphics. These allow for arbitrary scaling at high quality and give sharp high-resolution renderings. SVG, the vector file format used most often on Wikimedia projects, allows other editors to edit the files, something especially suitable for Wikimedia’s long-held ethos of allowing anyone to edit. But what SVG does not do well is allow anyone else to easily edit the files, as it requires specialized knowledge. As recently as last year, less than a handful of overtaxed volunteer Wikimedia editors working on Indic-language Wikimedia projects were equipped with the skills required to edit vector graphics, and there was little awareness of them among other Wikimedians. Things like map legends could be easily translated into hundreds of languages if only more people knew how to do it.

• • •

A training program set out to change that. In September 2018, Indian Wikimedians hosted the Wikigraphists Bootcamp. Named for the specialized community of editors who make maps and other vector graphics on Wikimedia Commons, the bootcamp included three online sessions during August and September 2018, and one three-day onsite workshop during the last week of September. Twenty-two Wikimedians representing nine Indic language Wikimedia communities, along with Indian Wikimedians working on the English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, took part in the training.

By the end of the training, these Wikimedians created 377 files, of which 129 are being used 712 times across various Wikimedia projects. The project also created several educational videos for others to learn about SVGs, starting with the basics. These videos are basically the recordings of training, which were developed by Indrajit Das. During the three-day onsite training at the design school, there was also a panel discussion about the intersection of design and open knowledge, which brought together an experienced Wikimedian, the dean of the design school, and a typeface designer, which brought up some interesting insights.

The bootcamp was primarily funded by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Conference and Event Grants program, with additional funding and organizing assistance provided by the Centre for Internet & Society – Access to Knowledge (CIS-A2K), the Foundation’s allied organization in the country, and the space (as an in-kind donation) by the School of Design, Ambedkar University Delhi.

Though this whole project was able to meet most of its goals and develop a community of Wikigraphists, at least with basic skills, a follow-up was extremely necessary—not only to help ensure the trained Wikimedians continued their efforts in the area, but also to spread the concept of vector graphics among the larger Indian community.

The symptoms of pneumonia. The labels were translated from English to Santali, one of the most underrepresented languages in India online, as part of the SVG Translation Campaign.

The answer to this came with “SVG Translation Campaign 2019 in India,” a thirty-eight-day-long campaign that started on 21 February 2019, chosen to align with UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day. Funded by CIS-A2K, the aim was to create SVG diagrams and maps with labels in the native languages of India. Nineteen Indic languages participated in the campaign, which was organised by four coordinators and twenty-six language organisers. Several online training sessions were conducted for language-organisers before the campaign began, and who in turn conducted brief sessions—some on-site—in their communities. This approach worked out well, and as a result, 194 users created more than 2,500 SVG files with labels in native Indian languages. The campaign was quite successful in creating mass awareness among Indian communities about vector graphics and their importance in Wikimedia projects.

The Wikimedians are currently working on setting up a dedicated Graphics Lab for Indic communities, where Wikimedians would be easily able to make requests for required graphical content on Indic-language Wikimedia projects. Several are now enthusiastic about learning more about advanced skills related to vector images, and further training needs are being explored.

Krishna Chaitanya Velaga, Wikimedia community member

For more information, please see the final reports from the bootcamp and translation campaign.

Exploiting the full potential of a MediaWiki

06:37, Tuesday, 16 2019 July UTC

As an internationally operating company in the segments of construction, technology and service the Max Bögl group of companies is relying on a BlueSpice MediaWiki from Hallo Welt! GmbH. The goal: professional knowledge management and – in the long term – a deeper integration of wiki-potentials into the software landscape of the enterprise.

“In our wiki we provide comprehensive handbooks, special knowledge from the various business segments and important information for our employees in a user-friendly manner.” This is how Olaf Peters describes the most important function of wikimax – the BlueSpice MediaWiki of Hallo Welt! GmbH, which was introduced about two years ago. As a psychologist, Peters is responsible for staff development and talent management in the company. Besides that he is the contact person for wikimax.

Based in Sengenthal (Bavaria), the Max Bögl Group is a family-owned company with more than 6,500 employees in 35 locations worldwide. It is one of the largest companies in the German construction industry. Since its foundation in 1929, the company’s history has been characterized by strength in research and technology. In-house innovations include a magnetic levitation train, a modular housing construction system called “maxmodul”, an intelligent segment bridge and a hybrid tower system.


Video: The  Max Bögl hybrid tower system


The goal: Common level of knowledge for all employees

“A unique characteristic of our enterprise is certainly the broad range of services as well as the high depth of added value including our own steel and plant construction facilities, precast plants, a modern fleet of vehicles and equipment as well as our own building materials”, says Peters. Facing this holistic orientation with all its requirements and our annual product innovations it is quite a challenge to organize our company knowledge in an uncomplicated way to guarantee a proper implementation of corresponding projects. Therefore, two years ago the company decided to implement a MediaWiki as the core system for knowledge management.

“The kickoff came from the corporate development department,” Peters says. The CAD applications and IT systems for construction management – from planning to execution – require in-depth knowledge of both IT and the implementation of construction projects. Knowledge that must be available quickly at the respective workplace. In wikimax employees can inform themselves and find initial solutions and help as a supplement to ongoing support. IT applications, for example, are explained step by step. Depending on their needs, our users can get an overview or a deeper insight and find best practice examples as well as tips and tricks. “In this way, we create a common level of knowledge for all employees”.


Max Bögl wikimax bluespice mediawiki
Olaf Peters, responsible for „wikimax“, the wiki project at Max Bögl GmbH.


“A wiki that users like to work with.”

While searching for a supplier, the Max Bögl group quickly came across Hallo Welt!, the developer of BlueSpice. A strong search engine, clear and intuitive usability, a clean authorization structure and a proven, open-source system architecture are the main arguments Peters cites for the decision. “We wanted a wiki that users would like to work with.” In the meantime about 900 articles are integrated in BlueSpice. In addition to IT, it is also used to present corporate strategy topics. And there are numerous training documents and extensive documentation on specific areas such as tunnel construction or maxmodul.

“We have seen the wiki as an opportunity from the beginning”

“Our employees saw BlueSpice as an opportunity right from the start,” says Peters. After a one-year test phase it was made widely known in the Max Bögl group of companies. Wikimax is currently being used by more than 1,500 registered users – and more to join.

According to Olaf Peters, it was crucial for the successful introduction of the wiki to define goals for the specific application at an early stage and to approach the matter with realistic expectations. “One of the things that helped was the admin training, which I did right at the start at Hallo Welt! GmbH”.

Alliances within the company and people who were enthusiastic about BlueSpice from the very beginning have proven themselves in offering lots of support and communicating the advantages of a wiki to as many employees as possible. “The first step was taken. Now we’re moving forward step by step together.”

max bögl bluespice mediawiki
Experience meets young talent. Practice lived at Max Bögl.

Strong search function, clear structure

Since then, BlueSpice has been expanded more and more from the initially defined target group. There are attractive templates for portal pages and picture tiles, from which you can go directly to the article pages with just one click. There you can – depending on your level of knowledge – delve deeper and deeper into the material without having to torment yourself with page-long continuous texts.

Thanks to the strong search function already mentioned, which allows you to narrow down areas very precisely and forgive spelling mistakes, information can be found quickly – both in the articles themselves and in the attached media files.

“An example of our topics in wikimax is Building Information Modeling (BIM),” says Peters. BIM is an integral working method for the optimized planning, execution and management of buildings. The data generated during the project execution is collected and coordinated using a central data model. In this way, data entered can be reused in subsequent processes and work steps can be digitally networked with each other.

In wikimax the BIM method is explained to our employees. In addition, they find technical contact persons and can dive into typical application cases of the BIM method.


wikimax bluespice mediawiki
Screenshot: BIM-Portal in “wikimax”

Our plans for the future: Expanding the wiki use case in width and depth

In the meantime, Max Bögl has established contact persons for the various focus areas in wikimax. Depending on the topic writing rights are assigned to a specific group of people who maintain the content. Since wikimax should be accessible and transparent for everyone, reading rights are not restricted as far as possible. For Peters, a central task for the future is to expand into other departments. “We want to provide an even broader information base to our employees.” On top of that we are interested in strengthening the depth of information.

Peters summarizes: “Basically, we want to know what the system is capable of an make full use of its potential. “Semantic MediaWiki in particular offers opportunities for data management that are only just beginning”. Being an innovative company, we have set that claim to ourselves.” (sa – 07/2019)


Max Bögl Group on YouTube:



More about technical documentation with BlueSpice:


Max Bögl Bauservice GmbH & Co. KG
Max-Bögl-Straße 1
92369 Sengenthal
Telefon: +49 (0)9181 909-0


Your contact partner on the subject of success stories with Hallo Welt! GmbH:

David Schweiger
Telephone: +49 (0)941 660 800


Interested in BlueSpice pro? For a 30 day trial click here:


The post Exploiting the full potential of a MediaWiki appeared first on BlueSpice Blog.

Tech News issue #29, 2019 (July 15, 2019)

00:00, Monday, 15 2019 July UTC
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weeklyOSM 468

07:55, Sunday, 14 2019 July UTC



OSM at the birthday party 2006 in London – map with (at that time) correct attribution 1 | Map data © OpenStreetmap OdbL 😉

About us

  • ERRATUM: In weeklyOSM #467 we wrote “The Japan Times reported that Benin is now proud to have a modern digital map to replace the last map from 1957”. Actually the link to OSM was wrong, as it directed to a city in Nigeria and not to Benin the country. Besides this, the geodata produced through this project led by IGN France International, as in many former French colonies, is unfortunately not open at all, despite it have been part funded by public EU funds.


  • Joseph Eisenberg has rewritten the Good Practice wiki page and started a discussion about his changes at the general Talk mailing list. While the edits were broadly accepted with some minor exceptions, he was criticised for editing before discussing the changes.
  • Joseph Eisenberg announced the start of voting for his proposal for the tag waterway=tidal_channel.
  • User higa4 analyzed (ja) the state of Japanese mapping as of the first half of 2019.
  • Maning Sambale wrote about his visit with other Philippine colleagues in Lupang Arenda, Taytay, Rizal and shared insights about the field mapping activity organised with the local village government to collect aerial and street-level imagery for use by the community in their governance, development, and disaster preparedness programmes. He mentions the free workshops in next month’s Pista Ng Mapa local conference in the Philippines, which will be facilitated by the same team of volunteer drone operators.
  • SilentSpike’s suggestion to implement a warning in iD when landuse is connected to highways was discussed and, as usual, there are diverse opinions..


  • [1] This year OpenStreetMap will celebrate its 15th birthday on 9 August 2019. Details on the celebration events are being collected at the wiki.
  • SeverinGeo published a Twitter moment about two weeks of OSM and free Geomatics training in Nouakchott (Mauritanie) targeted to the local OSM community and stakeholders from the research, development and local authorities. The courses were facilitated with the help of members of Nigerian and Senegalese communities with the support of the International Organisation of Francophonie (OIF).
  • In 2017, Zoe Gardner conducted a survey on the gender and some further demographic data of mappers and analysed their HDYC profiles. Her detailed findings have now been published in a peer-reviewed paper. Men were typically the more active mappers. There were no major differences between genders in the use of some of the important keys that HDYC represented at the time.
  • The OSM Forum now has a responsive (i.e. suitable for smartphones) style called Victory. You can enable it in your forum profile at the item “Display”.
  • The Grab team in the Philippines hosted a mapathon and describe the successful event in a blog post.
  • Harry Potter Wizards Unite is a new location-based augmented reality game from Niantic, the creators of Ingress and Pokémon Go. Gregory played the game on his Mapper Diaries channel and took a look at how it uses OpenStreetMap data.
  • A reminder that nominations for the annual OSM Awards can be submitted until 15 July.
  • An offline mapathon took place (translation) on 22 June in Kommunarka (Moscow, Russia), where a new metro station was opened recently. Five people took part in this activity. They walked through several areas of the village and collected a lot of information, which they now use for editing this area in OSM.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • OSMF board member Joost Schouppe announced that the board will carry out regular surveys ahead of every major OSM event. The survey is not meant as a popularity poll but to listen to people, who otherwise might not be heard.


  • The early bird discount for State of the Map tickets has been extended until 21 July 2019.
  • The SotM team published a “Call for Posters” for the poster exhibition at State of the Map 2019 in Heidelberg. You should submit your proposal by 18 August 2019. In a blog post the team also announced the release of the SotM programme.
  • OSGeo.JP (ja) announced FOSS4G Niigata (ja), which will be held on 13 and 14 September, and has started a call for presentations with a deadline of 31 July. This year the event will be held in Niigata instead of at FOSS4G Tokyo.
  • The agit2019 (translation), Symposium and Expo for Applied Geoinformatics took place last week in Salzburg. The OSM & OSGeo exhibition stand was set up and operated by Markus and Andreas, who had their hands full over the days and had to respond to sometimes difficult questions from visitors. Andreas, aka Geologist, also managed to deliver a daily report for the community. Please follow how the two of them arrived (translation) on the 1st day (translation), the OSGeo Day (translation), the 2nd day and Friday (translation). And a post-report (translation) from Markus aka ScubbX.
  • GeoMundus, a free international conference about Geospatial Technologies, Geoinformatics, and Geosciences, which is organised by students from the Erasmus Mundus Masters of Science in Geospatial Technologies, opened for registration. The conference will take place on 29 and 30 November at the Universitat Jaume I in Castellón de la Plana, Spain.
  • Erwin Olario invites people in Asia to the local open mapping conference Pista ng Mapa (Festival of Maps). The event will take place on 1 to 3 August 2019 at the Foundation University, Dumaguete, Philippines.

Humanitarian OSM

  • HOT is collecting building outlines to measure exposure risk in Tanzania. For the assessment, mappers digitised more than 10,955 buildings and 20 mappers collected data on the ground.The blog post outlines the background of the project, how the data was gathered and how it will be used, and gives an idea of the challenges faced.


  • Jean-François Perrat has published (fr) a guide to the organisation of a mapathon or a participatory map session in class. Starting with the basics and what tools are available, a possible implementation in class is also described. (automatic translation)


  • Darafei “Komяpa” (Kotyara) Praliaskouski wrote about a map displaying a density comparison between population and the count of OpenStreetMap objects.


  • The Civil Protection in the Azores used OpenStreetMap, at least during an exercise.
  • The Russian Cycling Federation used (ru) an OSM map in a leaflet for the Russian Cycling Championship and Competition which took place in Belgorod on 26 to 30 June.

Open Data

  • Nikolai Janakiev created an online presentation with a comparison of Wikidata and OSM.
  • The European Commission has published a map with an OSM background displaying company locations in the EU which are trading with Mercosur, the South American trade bloc.


  • The developers of Maps.Me have significantly simplified the process of installing a map generator for their application. It’s now available as a docker-container which allows the creation of fresh maps for Maps.Me even for inexperienced users. It currently only works on Linux.
  • Mateusz Konieczny posted results of testing how new users interact with StreetComplete (UX testing).


  • iD users may become able to change the style of the map in the editor. The iD maintainer Quincy Morgan calls the feature, which is similar to “Map Styles” in JOSM, “Lenses”.
  • Andy Allan blogged about his work on the OSM website/API in June. Among other things, the processing of GPX uploads was improved and a new /api/versions call was introduced. This new call allows users to find out which versions the API supports and makes it possible to run multiple API versions in parallel.


  • The iD team has released version v2.15.3 of the popular editor. The changes in the new version, which is already in use at, are detailed at GitHub.

Did you know …

  • The Vatican City is the source of many mysteries. The area of the small country seems to be one of these. Frank Gavaerts claims that Wikipedia and “every single source … says it’s 44 ha, including” but the JOSM plugin measures 0.49 km².
  • You have probably seen the Image of the week on the OSM main wiki page but do you know how you can propose an image? It’s very simple and documented here.
  • … that you can have the whole world rendered in the console? You can access a demo server via Telnet, or you can run the map yourself.
  • … how to tag the fuels available at a petrol station? It’s recommended to use generic names for different types of fuel instead of local names or brands to keep the data consistent world-wide. The Wiki documents these values, but in total there are more than 500 different “fuel:*” tags in use – most of them undocumented and used only a few times each.
  • … the Beacon map which animates how they look and blink? The GitHub hosted project uses seamark:light:sequence and also uses the seamark:light:range and seamark:light:colour tags.
  • …that the Russian company NextGIS created (ru) an information system of cultural and historical heritage of Rostov land (Yaroslavl region, Russia)? On the map you can find historical places, sacred places, estates and even places where healers lived. (automatic translation)
  • … that the Russian mapper FreeExec has created a lot of validators for OSM? You can find (ru) on his personal website: a visualisation of the Russian Federation’s power supply grid, the validation of substations over 35 kV, railway stations of Russia and many other things. (automatic translation)

OSM in the media

  • Valeriy Trubin continues his series of interviews with the Russian OSM community. This time he talked to the municipal official from Tolyatti (Samara region, Russia) Elena Balashova (translation), who allowed the use of EMGIS data in OSM, and Anton Belichkov (translation) from Magnitogorsk (Chelyabinsk region, Russia), who has been an OSM mapper for 10 years.

Other “geo” things

  • Alex Parsons tweeted about a study in which the authors analysed the problems reported on the fixmystreet website to see whether there was a difference in reporting between the sexes. They found that men were more likely to report problems related to driving and women more likely to report problems related to walking.
  • In France, the conseil général de l’environnement et du développement durable published (translation) a report indicating that the prefectures have interpreted quite liberally the possibility of revising IGN hydrography maps, eliminating many small rivers. In a country where Open Data is considered important, many criticisms followed (1 translation , 2 translation, 3 translation, 4 translation) (fr) highlighting attempts to avoid the environmental obligations for these waterways.
  • K.M. Alexander extracted icons from old maps such as Isola di Malta, from 1686, or Terræ Sanctæ, from 1660, and made the icons available under a CC BY 4.0 licence.
  • The NZZ reports about the influence of Google Maps on the representation of territorial claims and border conflicts (“Google Maps war”) and what happens if an entire city disappears by mistake for a month… (automatic translation)
  • The Guardian features an article about the app Guthook Guides, which provides information on hikes, wilderness regions and trails worldwide, and the unintended consequences caused by the increasing reliance of users on their phones when navigating through the wilderness.
  • Mike reports (translation) on his homepage #geoObserver that, despite the disappearance of one method, the creation of building footprint maps from OSM data using an overpass turbo query, even within QGIS, is not a big problem.
  • A video about the new features of QGIS 3.8 (Zanzibar).

Upcoming Events

Where What When Country
Dortmund Mappertreffen 2019-07-12 germany
Cologne Bonn Airport Bonner Stammtisch 2019-07-16 germany
Lüneburg Lüneburger Mappertreffen 2019-07-16 germany
Viersen OSM Stammtisch Viersen 2019-07-16 germany
Mannheim Mannheimer Mapathons e.V 2019-07-17 germany
Maebashi 第1回 MissionDayまえばし マッピングパーティ 2019-07-20 japan
Bremen Bremer Mappertreffen 2019-07-22 germany
Nottingham Nottingham pub meetup 2019-07-23 united kingdom
Reading Missing Maps Reading Mapathon 2019-07-23 united kingdom
Salt Lake City SLC Map Night 2019-07-23 united states
Maebashi 第1回 MissionDayまえばし もくもく会 2019-07-23 japan
Lübeck Lübecker Mappertreffen 2019-07-25 germany
Santa Fe State of the Map Argentina 2019 2019-07-27 argentina
Kamakura 鎌倉マッピングパーティ 2019-07-27 japan
Düsseldorf Stammtisch 2019-07-31 germany
Dumaguete Pista ng Mapa 2019 2019-08-01-2019-08-03 philippines
Minneapolis State of the Map U.S. 2019 [2] 2019-09-06-2019-09-08 united states
Edinburgh FOSS4GUK 2019 2019-09-18-2019-09-21 united kingdom
Heidelberg Erasmus+ EuYoutH OSM Meeting 2019-09-18-2019-09-23 germany
Heidelberg HOT Summit 2019 2019-09-19-2019-09-20 germany
Heidelberg State of the Map 2019 [3] 2019-09-21-2019-09-23 germany
Wellington FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2019 2019-11-12-2019-11-15 new zealand
Grand-Bassam State of the Map Africa 2019 2019-11-22-2019-11-24 ivory coast

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

This weeklyOSM was produced by Elizabete, Nakaner, PierZen, Polyglot, Rogehm, SK53, SeverinGeo, Silka123, SunCobalt, TheSwavu, YoViajo, derFred, geologist, jinalfoflia, k_zoar, muramototomoya.

The Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse is located in Hjørring, Jutland, Denmark, on the North Sea. Construction on it began in 1899; it was lit for the first time in 1900 and its light was extinguished for the final time in 1968. Today, the lighthouse is threatened by heavy coastal erosion in the area, which are bringing the waters of the North Sea ever-closer to it.

For more information, visit the Wikipedia article about the lighthouse.

The photo comes to us from Wikimedia Commons, the freely licensed media repository whose holdings are extensively used on Wikimedia’s many projects, including Wikipedia. You can use the photo for just about any purpose as long as you credit the author (Ansgar Koreng), copyright license (CC BY-SA 4.0), and link to the original URL.

Ed Erhart, Senior Editorial Associate, Communications
Wikimedia Foundation

This post is the second installment of a new weekly series for us. Tune back in next week for another photo selection from Wikimedia Commons, or you can sign up for our MailChimp mailing list to be notified when the next edition is published.

Imagine a world where you grew up in a world where the greatest literary works in history never existed.

For many of the world’s language speakers, this can be their functional reality. Titles like these have either never been translated, or were translated decades ago and now hide in ancient paper-bound texts on dusty library shelves.

• • •

As an example of this problem, let’s take a look at the Punjabi language. Separated as part of the 1947 partition of British India, the language is today spoken by 120 million people in regions of Pakistan and India. I’m one of them. I grew up in northwest India and can still remember hearing about Chambe Diyan Kaliyan, a short story collection by Leo Tolstoy that was adapted into the Punjabi by Abhai Singh. That particular book is frequently cited in the history of Punjabi literature as one of the first collections of short stories to be published in the language.

You’ll note, though, that I didn’t say I can remember reading it—I’ve never been able to track  down one of the published books to read it for myself, nor have I been able to find anything but a bunch of pop-culture songs with similar titles when I search for it online in Punjabi. All of which is to say that when I was growing up, reading and learning from Tolstoy’s story was functionally impossible for Punjabi speakers.

Thankfully, times are changing. While there are still many barriers to surmount, the advent of the internet has made the fundamental problem of publishing and distributing of translations far easier. The Wikimedia community has an entire project devoted to this sort of thing: Wikisource.

Wikimedia community gathering in Patiala, Punjab, India, in 2018.

Bringing the lost literature of long-forgotten times into the modern era for interested users, Wikisource is a free e-library that provides freely licensed or public domain books free of cost, in different formats, and able to be used for any purpose. It is one of thirteen collaborative knowledge projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, the largest of which is Wikipedia, and Wikisource is available in nearly seventy languages.

The Punjabi-language Wikisource was and is small compared to other language Wikisources, and to grow this resource, I formed a partnership with a government library in the Indian city of Patiala to digitize public domain books. By making rare literature books accessible in languages that have little to no presence online, Wikisource serves the common people, allowing them to freely browse these resources.

As a titled Wikimedian-in-residence at the library, I helped their staff scan a selection of important books. The collaboration brought forty-two public domain Punjabi-language works online—including a reprint of Chambe Diyan Kaliyan, the Tolstoy short story collection. But just making the scanned images available online isn’t enough; they are not easy to read and often rank low in search engines. Wikisource plays a crucial middleman role: they host the images and pair them with searchable text versions, created and vetted by volunteers. They’re helped in this process by Jay Prakash’s IndicOCR, a new tool that helps to easily transcribe any Indic language to Wikisource. (It replaced an older Linux-based tool that could not be used on many devices.) In addition, Wikisource makes everything available in different file formats so that readers can download whatever works best on their device, whether it’s a computer, tablet, phone, or otherwise.

Finally, Wikisource also allows anyone to contribute, and so I helped organize an online contest, held from December 2018 to January 2019. Prize offerings and in-person trainings brought around three dozen new volunteers to the project, including twenty-four who made more than fifty edits. Kuljit Singh Khuddi, a new volunteer who joined Punjabi Wikisource during the contest, says that “I am proud to be able to contribute to my mother tongue on Wikisource. Such contests help make my language known worldwide.”

The results were stark—the contest made the Punjabi Wikisource the fastest-growing Wikimedia project in the entire world in both content and editors. As of October of last year, the Punjabi Wikisource contained a bit over 1,200 pages. By January of this year, it had over 6,770 belonging to 200 different books. Moreover, over 6,000 of these pages had been proofread by volunteers.

• • •

The growth of the Punjabi Wikisource through the contest and other volunteer work is just a beginning. There are a number of opportunities for supporting the project with technical contributions and GLAM partnerships with different government organizations and institutions.

Moreover, they’re just one of several expanding Wikisources in the region. The Wikisources for the Indic languages of Marathi, Kannada, and Assamese each more than doubled in size in the last year, and with every edit, they’re bringing the sum of all knowledge into their own mother tongues.

Rupika Sharma, Wikimedia community member

Effective communication of expertise is essential in any job market. Within the sciences in particular, communicating to the general public presents real-world implications, especially in impacting the public’s health and voting decisions. Practicing writing for diverse audiences “outside of the academic silos” is valuable. Where better to practice it than on Wikipedia where the public is already going for their information about science?

In Wiki Education’s professional development courses, you’ll create and expand Wikipedia articles about your discipline – an exercise in which your concise writing can potentially reach millions.

“The scientific community values elegant experiments and transformative results only when they are communicated effectively,” Maggie Kuo writes in Science Mag. Distilling your research and expertise into relevant articles on Wikipedia provides an excellent place to practice and can have a lasting, valuable impact on information accessibility.

“As a field applications scientist, I work with customers of every disposition, temperament, background, and experience level imaginable, sometimes all in the same room at the same time,” writes Kuo. “I’m able to do that because I had a breadth of experiences adapting my communication style to a wide range of different audiences. … For Ph.D. candidates and postdocs needing more communications practice, I would strongly recommend getting out of your silos and looking for opportunities both inside and outside of academia.”

As Renee Polziehn articulates for the University of Alberta graduate programs, a key part of a graduate education is taking responsibility for the impact of one’s own research. The communication of that research to citizens, stakeholders, and other researchers is important. As we know, the public looks to Wikipedia to understand science. And so do scientists! Wikipedia offers a huge educational platform. We’ll help you identify where you can make the biggest impact with your science communication efforts.

Wiki Education announces new virtual professional development courses every few months. Sign up to be on our mailing list or send an email to to buy out a course for your institution’s faculty. To learn more about our current and past offerings, visit

Image by Studio GOOD Berlin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Visualization of content in BlueSpice MediaWiki

15:33, Thursday, 11 2019 July UTC

It doesn’t always have to be text. A smart mixture of written and graphic content is recommended to overview information and quickly absorb knowledge. Markus Glaser, CEO of Hallo Welt! GmbH, explains the possibilities of visualization in the BlueSpice enterprise wiki.

Markus, a wiki is first of all a text-based medium, right?

That’s right. In a corporate environment, a wiki is ideally suited for text-based documentation, manuals and management systems such as knowledge and quality management – basically for setting up a knowledge base. There is a markup language for formatting the corresponding texts in wikis: WikiText. This is much easier than HTML and offers a lot of freedom in the design of articles.

With the visual editor it’s even easier, without knowledge of markup languages, isn’t it?

Correct. The visual editor maximizes user comfort. For example, lists, quotations and links can be created with a single click or font styles (italic, bold) and headings can be adapted. The concept behind it: WYSIWYG. That means “what you see is what you get”. The user immediately sees what his formatting does in the text and can optimize wiki content accordingly.


Visueller Editor BlueSpice
Screenshot: The visual editor in BlueSpice pro

So there is a need for companies to present content visually or graphically?

Absolutely. Text usually represents the supporting part of a wiki. In addition BlueSpice offers numerous possibilities to work visually. It is nothing new that audio-visual formats support the perception and processing of information and knowledge in a positive way. In this context, we differentiate between the following three possibilities:


1. Upload of content to the wiki

With a few clicks, individual images, image galleries or videos can be uploaded or created in BlueSpice. JPG or PNG files as well as MP4 or WEBM videos are suitable formats.


2. Creating content in the wiki

Images and ImageMaps

Images or visualizations of any kind can be superimposed in BlueSpice with ImageMaps or HotSpots. If the user moves the mouse to a HotSpot, he is forwarded to any target page via a link. This procedure is ideal for complex technical visualizations and corresponding explanatory texts or videos. Further information on this topic can be found at


Tables are a frequently used medium for displaying (complex) content in a structured way. BlueSpice 3.1 optimizes the formatting of tables. New features include:

  • the change of the background and font color
  • the text alignment incl. vertical text
  • the assignment of prefabricated table styles (frame thickness, color, background color)
  • the definition of table and column dimensions

Additionally, tables can be sorted, filtered and exported.

Process diagrams with (extension)

Flowcharts, process chains or decision trees are classics in corporate wikis. For example, think of the complex processes in quality management. Without appropriate visualization, the overview is lost very quickly. BlueSpice relies on an interface to to allow wiki users to develop and publish complex process diagrams directly in the wiki. If a change is necessary, the diagram can be adapted within the wiki. This saves a lot of time, as there is no need to upload the updated file again. BlueSpice MediaWiki
Visual: in BlueSpice pro


By the way, we have already written an article on this subject, to which we would like to refer again at this point:

Also in our helpdesk there is more information about the integration of

Besides the above mentioned possibility to draw processes with directly in the wiki, diagrams can also be generated automatically in BlueSpice via semantic data (see below).

Tag cloud (extension)

With TagCloud you can visualize a category or keyword overview in a graphically appealing way (e.g. popular search terms). With this extension, both TagClouds and lists can be generated. It is always based on the categories that were used the most. The corresponding keywords are displayed larger or highlighted in another way.

Graphical representation of user activities

In BlueSpice, various user activities can be evaluated and graphically displayed. These include, for example, the number of pages created or search queries over a certain period of time. The generated representations can be exported in order to integrate them into another application, such as a power point presentation.


diagramm bluespice mediawiki
Screenshot: X-Y coordinate diagram in BlueSpice pro


Visualization of semantic data

Data usually plays an important role in enterprise wikis. In this context we are talking about semantic or structured data, which are mostly prepared in tabular form and are entered into the wiki via “semantic forms”. The corresponding forms can be implemented by the customer himself. With our semantic training and workshop we offer the corresponding know-how. Alternatively, we are happy to develop input forms and interfaces to existing databases on behalf of our customers. I would like to show three examples that illustrate the potential of semantic data:

• Open Street Map: The “circles parameter” can be used to mark and graphically highlight areas in OpenStreetMap map displays. For example, different locations or regional activities of a company can be marked on a global map and enriched with further information.


OpenStreetMap open street map bluespice mediawiki
Screenshot: Open Street Map

Further information can be found here:

• Charts and diagrams: There are many ways to create charts from data. The following example shows a sample bar chart with labels for the X and Y axes. But pie charts and other graphical output formats are also possible.




Diagramme BlueSpice MediaWiki
Screenshot: Column and pie charts in BlueSpice pro

Further information can be found here:

• Timelines: With the help of the appropriate extension, BlueSpice can be used to graphically display timelines, e.g. to illustrate the company history, strategic planning or important milestones in a project.


Zeitachse Timeline BlueSpice MediaWiki
Screenshot: a timeline generated in BlueSpice pro

Further information can be found here:


3.  Embedding content in the wiki

Besides the already mentioned possibilities of uploading content to the wiki and creating content in the wiki itself, I would like to briefly discuss the possibility of embedding content using so-called widgets. A widget is a small computer program that embeds third-party content into the BlueSpice graphical user interface. Classic examples are:

  • YouTube/ Vimeo-Videos
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Podcasts/ Audio files
  • Google Maps or OpenStreetMap

However, exotic video players such as Brightcove or other tools for creating process diagrams can also be integrated via widgets. There are a variety of ready-to-use widgets optimized for MediaWiki. These can be found here (login required):

Apart from that embeddings in BlueSpice are also possible via APIs (Application Programming Interface). For example, it is possible to connect a Lotus Notes database or SharePoint document lists. In this case, our programmers are at your side with advice and action to ultimately achieve the optimum result for the customer. Because that is always the most important thing for us.

Let’s Wiki together!


Test BlueSpice pro now for 30 days free of charge and without obligation:

Visit our webinars and get to know BlueSpice:

Contact us:

Angelika Müller and Florian Müller
Telephone: +49 (0) 941 660 800

Author: David Schweiger

The post Visualization of content in BlueSpice MediaWiki appeared first on BlueSpice Blog.

The officiousness of Wikipedia (my bio still sucks)

04:00, Wednesday, 10 2019 July UTC

My English Wikipedia bio has sucked for as long as it’s existed. (Sometimes it doesn’t exist, as I’m of questionable notability.)

When I thought about it in 2015, I decided the most helpful thing to do would be to create a Biography Factoid page in my user space, with specific claims as well as a selected bibliography, nicely formatted using the {{citation}} template. Making the edits myself would be a conflict of interest, but a little editorial judgment and trivial copying-and-pasting by someone else could fix things up nicely. That never happened.

Three years later, in 2018, I looked into it again, made use of the {{request edit}} template, and made two specific suggestions in the form of “change x to y.” I asked them to fix my employment/affiliations and the publication date of Good Faith Collaboration, which is correct in its own article. Neither took.

Last month, I was introduced at a small conference with incorrect information, obviously taken from my Wikipedia biography. I resigned myself to once again attempting to correct the most egregious mistakes. You can see the result on the biography’s talk page.

I appreciate the Wikipedian’s timely response. However, presumably, most of those requesting corrections to a Wikipedia article about themselves are not experienced Wikipedians. Yet, in the Wikipedian’s response we have fairly complicated instructions, requiring the use of template parameters, referencing policy-X-stroke-6, which itself appears in a reference section, and accompanied by a notes section. All of this in an effort to avoid specifying the date at which I left W3C/MIT without a source, which appears in a parenthetical “(1996-2003).” And the publishing date of Good Faith Collaboration still remains uncorrected!

This isn’t the worse officiousness I’ve encountered at Wikipedia, a distinction reserved for some of the folks who help clear photograph permissions at Commons. The legally incorrect, jargon-filled, templated awfulness there is unsurpassed.

Of course, this is not new and I try not to just complain about it. With permissions-common, I’ve translated the officiousness into comprehensible prose, made suggestions for writing clearly, and even volunteered to help them with their canned responses—to no avail.

With respect to my bio, I think all that awfulness could be replaced with the following: “Please go ahead and paste and fix the problematic prose here, on the talk page, including a source for your end date at MIT/W3C. If there’s no such source, we can use {{circa|2012}} since that’s the date of your last update on their page for you. I’ll then confirm at port it over.” I don’t know if that’s the correct response, but if it is, that’s a friendlier way to put it.

This Month in GLAM: June 2019

23:57, Tuesday, 09 2019 July UTC

Wikipedia’s place in higher education

17:52, Tuesday, 09 2019 July UTC

Alliana Drury is a first year undergraduate student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In the Spring 2019 term, she took an English 101: Composition 1 course, taught by Dr. Matt Vetter and Teaching Assistant Oksana Moroz, and learned to contribute to Wikipedia as a major assignment in that course. In the following essay, she reflects on her experience and illustrates how participation in the encyclopedia can be helpful for writing growth.

Consistently, in both secondary and higher education contexts, many students including myself were told that Wikipedia has no place in the classroom and that it was not allowed to be used as a source because it was unreliable. I find this argument abhorrent and outdated; I feel as if it should be integrated into classrooms at any level of education. In this blog contribution, I discuss why Wikipedia belongs in higher education and how my experiences and reading of other’s experiences have taught me this. While it may seem like an unorthodox way to learn about writing, editing and adding to Wikipedia can help writers grow and develop their writing skills in many ways. My experience editing the article on Fender Telecaster, a popular model of guitar, in my first year English course especially helped me understand how Wikipedia offers opportunities for practicing and learning about writing in four specific knowledge domains: procedural (process) knowledge; social knowledge about the writing community; rhetorical knowledge; and genre knowledge. 

Every writer has a writing process, whether that be listening to music while drafting, or putting their ideas in a certain place before writing. But as Anne Lamott so eloquently put it, every writer starts their process with “Shitty First Drafts.” Over the years, even throughout my high school years, I would write my first draft, make corrections to grammar, and then submit it to my teacher without a second thought. A lack of procedural knowledge damaged my writing, as I never really drafted my work anywhere before learning how to work with Wikipedia. Throughout this process in English 101 this year, I worked in Microsoft Word, then the Wikipedia Sandbox, and then finally, put my work out to the world by publishing it. This process has refined my writing in a way I didn’t know it could, especially through the research I did. The research was done through different sources than I usually would have used in past classes and projects. Since my work was being published and was not just for the classroom, it had to be professional and well written. It helped me stylistically, by forcing me to reread what I had written and similar to this essay, reflect on my work and make me think about it. Also, allowing myself to write a sloppy first draft, I was given ideas for how to improve the article through my own work and thought process. In her essay, “Shitty First Drafts,” Anne Lamott describes her process for returning to a first draft, writing: “The next day, I’d sit down, go through it all with a colored pen, take out everything I possibly could, find a new lead somewhere on the second page, figure out a kicky place to end it, and then write a second draft. It always turned out fine, sometimes even funny and weird and helpful. I’d go over it one more time and mail it in” (2). Wikipedia has given me a new lease on my own writing process and made me a better writer overall. From now on I am going to actually take time to write out my thoughts and organize them before writing a final draft, especially with things that are being published for many people to see, such as Wikipedia. I have now seen firsthand how organizing, making multiple copies of a draft and reviewing my own work can be very beneficial to my writing and help me to become a more professional writer. 

Another aspect of writing for Wikipedia that is very beneficial for those in higher education is, it added to my social knowledge of writing. For example, when I go out into the real world and get a job, not everything will be opinion based in that writing community. I will have to write factual reports and other styles of writing that involve only factual information. There are arguments against Wikipedia’s factual content being beneficial for students. For example, in “The Case Against Wikipedia in the Classroom,” Todd Pettigrew asserts that, “Students should learn how to build arguments, not write entries.” I wholeheartedly disagree with this conclusion. I find this to be a close-minded view on writing in general. Students are going to be exposed to many genres of writing in their lifetimes. It is unfair to just make them write in one genre while they are getting their education, especially one that they are paying for. Writing for Wikipedia introduces students to a new genre and rhetoric of writing that will benefit them now and in the future. 

Wikipedia is not always correct, but it is always reliable. Anyone can edit Wikipedia, making it a diverse source that covers a topic from many sources found by a large group of people. 

Some complain about this, because it might allow editors to vandalize or add deliberately false information to an article. One notable example of the latter involved Brian Chase’s experimental edit to the Wikipedia article on John Seigenthaler, a former journalist and political advisor. As discussed by James Purdy, “Brian Chase changed the article to indicate that Seigenthaler played a role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert. This untrue contribution lasted for 132 days” (207). While things like this do unfortunately happen on Wikipedia, it is no reason to throw it away as a source of information altogether. At the bottom of every article, especially on more popular topics, there is a section for the sources that were put into article. This is a good place to start for research, as sources for Wikipedia have to be considered notable and factual to stay in the article. It is on the writer themselves to fact check the information that they are getting from Wikipedia and the aforementioned sources are a reliable place to begin. 

Wikipedia gives students a chance to conduct research on a free, reliable website. This could be a lifesaver to low income students. There are no fees associated with the encyclopedia. Even if the student does not have internet, they can go to a local library to use a computer to access this encyclopedia. As a college student, this is important to me because going to school is the most expensive thing I have done and most college students, along with myself, have no money to be paying for loads of online knowledge bases with. While this may not be an issue at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with the extensive library research bases provided, many smaller institutions or online schools may not give access to these paid online services or have a physical library directly at their school to get books loaned from other libraries. I have found Wikipedia to be a reliable resource of information and the sheer amount of information that everyone has access to for free is astounding to me. 

With the world being so reliant on the internet and instant gratification for information, Wikipedia is a great resource. The information in Wikipedia articles is constantly changing and being updated by editors as it happens. It is almost like an unbiased news outlet, which is invaluable in this day and age of political turmoil and unrest. This current generation, especially higher education students, live for up to date information and the print versions of encyclopedias can’t keep up with ones that have integrated an online service. Even though some encyclopedias or databases have made changes and are now accessible through the internet, they are not updated as quickly as Wikipedia. On these databases, a professional editor on the specific topic has to be consulted and not anyone can edit the articles, so it takes more time. Overall, Wikipedia is a good source for what is happening in the here and now in the world of instantaneous new updates and instant gratification.  

“Go green” is a slogan widely taken to heart by today’s college students. Wikipedia does just this with their online only profile. Since it is constantly being updated and has over 5,838,957 articles in just the English language, there is no way a print version of this for the masses could even be feasible. While other encyclopedias are putting more of their resources online, for the most part, they still sell print versions of their material. This could be seen as a condemnable offense by many of today’s higher education students who are studying in fields that are trying to save the environment. While this is a small part of why Wikipedia is very valuable to students in today’s world, it goes a long way in the minds of students. 

Being a transfer student last semester, I had absolutely zero clue that my English class could be about Wikipedia. I have come to appreciate Wikipedia and writing in general through the four knowledge domains discussed in class over the semester. First of all, there is procedural knowledge, which I discussed earlier in this essay. I wrote about how my writing has gotten better and I now understand that my first draft being the final draft is not acceptable, especially for something with an audience the size of Wikipedia’s. I also learned that every writer has bad first drafts and that is okay. The second knowledge domain discussed in class was social knowledge. I gained this through working in Wikipedia because of the community on the website. They have a specific way to write about things and even within the website, there are discourse communities in which there is a certain standard of writing and knowledge required to write about a topic. The third knowledge domain I learned about was rhetorical knowledge. This was a tricky one for me to understand at first, but after writing in Wikipedia I understand the principle behind this. I learned how to write for Wikipedia’s rhetorical situation and what level of professionalism is expected of Wikipedians; it is a high level, and if one does not follow it, their article will most likely be edited, reverted to how it was, or deleted depending on the subject and the amount of attention it gets from editors. The final knowledge domain I learned about this semester was genre knowledge. This was interesting to me because I had never written anything for the encyclopedia genre that Wikipedia is formatted in. It is factual and formal; unlike some other work I had done in previous classes. 

Overall, I greatly enjoyed working in Wikipedia. I had my doubts about a Wikipedia centered class, but they are long gone. While teaching students about Wikipedia may seem odd to some, I believe that it is a great opportunity for students in higher education to learn about many different facets of writing. I learned about the writing process, social knowledge, rhetorical knowledge, genre knowledge, and procedural knowledge. I also know that Wikipedia is free to use, doesn’t use paper copies, is reliable, and is up to date for the current generation who want instant news. Wikipedia is a great source of knowledge and I would say that a teacher who goes against it is foolish to not let their students utilize such an amazing resource. Wikipedia belongs in all education, but especially higher education. 

Work Cited
Lamott, Anne. “Shitty First Drafts.” Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. Ed. by Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. 9th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005, pp. 93-96, First Drafts.pdf. Accessed 28 March 2019.
Pettigrew, Todd. “The Case Against Wikipedia in the Classroom.” Maclean’s, Accessed 18 March 2019.
Purdy, James. “Wikipedia Is Good For You!?” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, Vol. 1, edited by. Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky, Parlour Press, 2010. 205-224,—wikipedia-is-good-for-you.pdf. Accessed 18 March 2019.

Header image in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Overcoming the fears: PyCon 2018

10:56, Monday, 08 2019 July UTC

PyCon 2019 is around the corner and it makes me realize that one year has passed since I spoke at the first conference I ever attended (No bragging intended :P). The trip down the memory lane made me nostalgic, happy and proud — all at the same time. And this motivated me to pen down my story of overcoming my fears.

About my talk

Last year, I gave my talk at PyCon Hyderabad which was held from October 5th-9th. The talk was about optimizations that one can do while using Django to build a website. I used Django during my Google Summer of Code and Outreachy projects. In my talk, I majorly covered three topics — 1. Why and when should one use Django?; 2. Caching and 3. Database Optimizations.

These are the related links: Proposal, Video.

How did the experience help me?

Back then I was fresh out of college and relatively new in the open source world. Submitting a proposal for PyCon itself was overwhelming, let alone speaking there. I had applied thinking that there is no chance that they’d select a newbie like me to speak at a coveted conference like PyCon. But they did! And now when I look back I’m glad they did. Experience of attending and speaking at PyCon has acted as a big push for me in the past year.

It reinstated my believe in myself. After I got selected, I always kept on asking this question — do I really deserve this? Is my talk going to be worthwhile audience’s time? Can’t they simply learn all this from Django documentation and Stack Overflow answers? All these questions made me doubt myself. But giving up wasn’t an option because

I wouldn’t have known the outcome until I went for it. I let my curiosity lead my way.

To my surprise the talk went well. People appreciated my effort and gave me constructive feedback too. They were very supportive of the fact that I even attempted to present at such a young age.

That day I learnt the following:

  1. Don’t give up before trying. No one will judge you!
  2. Always believe in yourself. Fears won’t go unless you go for them.
  3. People in open source conferences are super cool :). They’re always there to encourage you.

It’s not only about speaking

Open source conferences are a great forum to meet, engage and discuss with new people. Networking is the key! I learnt a lot from other talks, discussion sessions and interactions with fellow speakers. So, if you’re planning to attend any conference this year, don’t shy away from joining any discussion you’re crossing by or starting one on your own.

A note to fellow PyLadies

On the second day of PyCon, I attended a PyLadies lunch. That event was a full house! They got an overwhelming participation not only from women but men too. It made me realize that a lot of people are working to promote diversity in the tech world. They care about the cause and are trying to provide an equal platform to us. All we need to do is step up and contribute towards it. Times are changing and we have to become a reflection of it. Let’s be a part of the change!

Dear readers, I’m going to attend PyCon this year too and if you happen to be there too do stop by to say hi! Also, feel free to give feedback on my talk by posting in comments on the post.

A few months ago I wrote an essay on software development planning in FOSS projects. It tries to answer the following questions:

  • Why has nobody fixed this issue yet?
  • Why wasn’t I consulted about these changes?
  • How I can influence what is worked on?

Some parts of the essay are specific to Wikimedia but I hope it can also be useful for other communities. It is published under CC BY-SA 3.0 so feel free to remix.

If you have a similar document for your project, please feel free to share a link in the comments.

Tech News issue #28, 2019 (July 8, 2019)

00:00, Monday, 08 2019 July UTC
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Making Python classes more modular using mixins

05:00, Sunday, 07 2019 July UTC

A long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) in Labuk Bay, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia.

According to Wikipedia, the long-tailed macaque is native to Southeast Asia. Its social groups are controlled by females, and any male children depart after undergoing puberty. While this macaque “has a long history alongside humans[,] they have been alternately seen as agricultural pests, sacred animals in some temples, and more recently, [been] the subject of medical experiments.” They have also caused problems in Hong Kong and New Guinea, where they are an invasive species, and conflicts between the long-tailed macaque and humans have rose in recent years as the latter has encroached on the former’s living areas.

This photo comes to us from Wikimedia Commons, the freely licensed media repository whose holdings are extensively used on Wikimedia’s many projects, including Wikipedia.

You (yes, you!) can use the photo for just about any purpose as long as you credit the author (Charles J. Sharp/Sharp Photography), copyright license (CC BY-SA 4.0), and link to the original URL.

Ed Erhart, Senior Editorial Associate, Communications
Wikimedia Foundation

This post marks the beginning of a new weekly series for us. Tune back in next week for another photo selection from Wikimedia Commons, or you can sign up for our MailChimp mailing list to be notified when the next edition is published.

Wikipedia for Peace at Europride Vienna

10:38, Friday, 05 2019 July UTC


Wikipedia for Peace – image by Mardetanha CC BY-SA 4.0

Earlier this month I took some time out from my Edinburgh work to travel to Vienna to take part in the Wikipedia for Peace editathon organized by Wikimedia Austria to coincide with Europride 2019. The event brought together twelve editors from all over the world to create and edit LBGT+ articles in a range of European languages over the course of four days. Unfortunately I missed the first day and half of the event as my travel plans were thwarted when a tree brought down overhead power lines on the West Coast mainline, my train to London was cancelled and I missed my flight. Not the most auspicious start! I eventually managed to get to Vienna on Thursday afternoon in time for a walk around the city visiting significant queer sites, including the home of Josef Kohout, whose experiences of incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp are recorded in Heinz Heger’s The Men With the Pink Triangle. Later in the day we made our way to Wikimedia Austria’s offices for an online meeting of the LGBT+ User Group, which is in the process of scoping a role for an LGBT+ Wikimedia at Large.

On Friday our group spent the morning discussing LGBT+ strategy within the global Wikimedia movement. Issues that were raised included addressing homophobia and discrimination in some Wikipedia chapters and communities, educating Wikipedians around issues relating to gender identity, the need for multilingual LGBT+ style guides, particularly addressing how to write about trans individuals on the encyclopedia without misgendering them. We also felt strongly that as a condition of funding, the Wikimedia Foundation should require chapters to demonstrate how they are actively supporting and promoting equality and diversity, while acknowledging that how chapters are able to do this will look very different across the world.

Friday afternoon was devoted to editing. When I applied to Wikimedia UK for a project grant to attend Wikimedia for Peace, I said that I hoped to create some articles around bisexual topics and individuals, which are sometimes marginalised in the LGBT+ community. The first article I created was Bi Academic Intervention, group of bisexual academics, researchers, scholars and writers, which was formed at the 11th National Bisexual Conference in Notttingham in 1993, an event that I coincidentally attended.  I also translated articles on Sápmi Pride and Serbian gay rights and peace activist Dejan Nebrigić, who was murdered in Pancevo in 1999. That article prompted one of our participants to write a new Serbian article on Arkadija, the first LGBT+ organisation in Serbia, founded by Nebrigić and colleagues in 1990. I translated that article into English too, though it still needs a bit of work to bring it up to scratch.

The total outputs of the Wikipedia for Peace editathon are:

  • 113 new articles created and translated
  • 5 articles improved
  • 5 meta pages improved
  • 21 new Wikidata items created
  • 9 Wikidata items improved

Plus hundreds of images of the Europride village and parade. This is a huge achievement for the event, and a significant contribution to improving equality, diversity and queer representation on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia for Peace editathon – image by Mardetanha CC BY SA 4.0

The parade itself took place on Saturday in 38 degree heat. How the drag queens in their finery and the kinksters in their leather and latex survived is beyond me. I haven’t seen a final estimate of how many took part in the parade, but one press report the following day said 500,000 people attended the event, which I can quite believe. The whole atmosphere was very friendly and laid back and I particularly appreciated the fact that the parade was un-ticketed and open to all. Like Pride parades the world over, there was a visible corporate presence but it was much less obvious than at some other events. Like everyone there, I took a ridiculous number of pictures of the parade, 60 of which I uploaded to Wikimedia Commons as part of the Wiki Loves Pride competition. Huge thanks to all the amazing participants who were so happy to be photographed.  It’s been a joy to see more and more pictures of both Wikipedia for Peace and the Europride Parade being uploaded to Commons over the last fortnight.

I’ve carried on working on my Wikipedia articles since getting back from Vienna, and am hoping to create a new article on Scottish Aids Monitor as part of Wiki Loves Pride. So much of the queer history of Scotland and the UK is poorly represented on the encyclopaedia, if it appears at all, so I hope I can make a small contribution to improving representation, and work with the Wiki community to address equality and diversity across the movement.

I’m immensely grateful to Wikimedia UK for funding my travel to Wikipedia Loves Peace, to Wikimedia Austria for organising and supporting the event, to all those who participated (it was amazing to meet you all), and last but not least, to Thomas for making it all happen and for looking after us so well during our time in Vienna ♡

MediaLoader extension

06:50, Thursday, 04 2019 July UTC

There’s a new MediaWiki extension that’s just been published: MediaLoader. It looks like it’s supposed to load media items such as images, videos, etc. on demand. I haven’t been able to get it to actually work (there’s some strange Composer loading stuff going on in its code) but I think it works by displaying a click-able bit of text such as ‘Load example.jpg’ (not actually a link) that, when clicked, turns into the image or whatever. All it’s doing for me right now is turning into the raw wikitext, but maybe there’s something I’m missing.

I guess the idea is to not download/display the image if its not wanted by the user?

Anyway, it’s new, and it’s always nice to see a new extension being made. Huzza!

Hey @GlobalYAcademy this blogpost is for you

21:13, Wednesday, 03 2019 July UTC
I am adding members of the Global Young Academy to Wikidata. This was requested on Twitter and I was asked to describe the process how they are added. With 100 members added, it is high time to take the time for this.
In this blog many of the pointers are for Matthew Levy, all edits are done in Wikidata itself.. This is the item for Mr Levy.

rdquo, ldquo

11:38, Wednesday, 03 2019 July UTC

The question of whether to use “curly quotes” on Wikisource has come up again.

How do we make knowledge creation truly participatory for every community on our planet? The Wikimedia movement has been growing steadily, with more volunteers joining, and new affiliate groups created every year. Affiliates represent our movement at the local level and are charged with organizing activities and events to get people and organizations involved in the creation of the sum of all knowledge. Between 2014 and 2019, Wikimedia movement affiliates tripled: we went from having 50 affiliates to over 150 (and we keep growing!). It grew more in this last five years than it did in its first eleven years of existence.

How do we ensure that this growth is sustainable? In 2013, we started the Wikimedia Learning and Evaluation initiative to build a culture of accountability and learning within the movement. After five years implementing Learning Days, we are now also offering a new, evolved curriculum: Training of Trainers, in-person training that incorporates our communities’ higher levels of experience. The next opportunity to receive this training will be at Wikimania Stockholm, on 14–15 August. Learn more and sign up!

Piloting structured training: Learning Days

We at the Wikimedia Foundation had observed for several years how communities took on to adapting initiatives that were successful in different parts of the world. A good example of this is the program Wikipedian in Residence. In 2010, Wikipedian Lyam Wyatt suggested this role at the closing speech of GLAM-Wiki congress: a person that would be in charge of training the staff group in a museum, archive, library, or gallery (GLAM) on how to use the Wikimedia projects to promote their collection or archive. The idea of this program was so attractive that several Wikimedia communities replicated the model, and today, there are more than 125 Wikipedians in Residence all over the world.

While replication has always played a big role in our collective learning as a movement, it wasn’t sustainable or necessarily yielding the desired results for local communities. This is why in 2013, we started the program Learning Days, with this foundational question: are your activities and events helping you reach your goals? These two days of professional training included workshops on program design and evaluation, how to create a theory of change and logic models, how to measure success, and how to do storytelling for engagement, among other topics. In the course of 6 years, through 11 implementations of Learning Days, and with other learning resources developed, we have seen affiliates’ proposals and reports improve significantly in terms of setting clear program goals and targets and then executing and measuring the impact of those goals .

Throughout this journey, we identified some Wikimedia communities had more advanced learning than others, and we incorporated this knowledge as part of the curriculum: in the last iteration of Learning Days, half of the sessions were facilitated by community members. These were more experienced Wikimedians that were stepping up to share their skills with their peers.

An evolved curriculum: Training of Trainers

Today,  our movement finds itself at an interesting turning point: we now observe multiple specialized skills within the movement and higher levels of expertise. How can we make room for experienced movement organizers? It is time to evolve our capacity development proposal to support these needs, too. This is why we developed Training of Trainers, an in-person training curriculum to develop Wikimedia movement organizers into skilled trainers within their home communities. This new curriculum seeks to increase capacity for structured, reflective, and effective training of learners, to improve understanding of and confidence in community members’ own role and style as trainers, and to create a global network of trainers who share knowledge and best practices. The goal is to develop community leaders into skilled trainers, that can share their skills with others, in order to scale the movement in a sustainable way.

The first implementation of this new curriculum took place at the Wikimedia Summit, a conference held in Berlin earlier this year. After the training, over 71% of participants increased their confidence in their mastery of all of the training’s core skills.

These outcomes encourage us to explore the possibilities of this new proposal even more, and we have been working to improve this curriculum in several areas. This is what we hope to offer at Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm: a combination of enhanced curriculums that can apply to a variety of  Wikimedians, and find better ways to collaborate. To participate, register to attend Wikimania, including the pre-conference days. Find more information and register by 31 July!


Production Excellence: May 2019

21:51, Monday, 01 2019 July UTC

How’d we do in our strive for operational excellence last month? Read on to find out!

📊 Month in numbers

  • 6 documented incidents. [1]
  • 41 new Wikimedia-prod-error tasks created. [2]
  • 36 Wikimedia-prod-error tasks closed. [3]

The number of incidents in May of this year was comparable to previous years (6 in May 2019, 2 in May 2018, 5 in May 2017), and previous months (6 in May, 8 in April, 8 in March) – comparisons at CodePen.

To read more about these incidents, their investigations, and pending actionables; check

As of writing, there are 201 open Wikimedia-prod-error tasks (up from 186 last month). [4]

📉 Current problems

Take a look at the workboard and look for tasks that might need your help. The workboard lists known issues, grouped by the month in which they were first observed.

Or help someone that’s already started with their patch:
Open prod-error tasks with a Patch-For-Review

Breakdown of recent months (past two weeks not included):

  • November: 2 issues left (unchanged).
  • December: 1 issue got fixed. 3 issues left (down from 4).
  • January: 1 issue left (unchanged).
  • February: 2 issues left (unchanged).
  • March: 1 issue got fixed. 4 issues remaining (down from 5).
  • April: 2 issues got fixed. 12 issues remain unresolved (down from 14).
  • May: 10 new issues found last month survived the month of June, and remain unresolved.

By steward and software component, unresolved issues from April and May:

  • Wikidata / Lexeme (API query fatal): T223995
  • Wikidata / WikibaseRepo (API Fatal hasSlot): T225104
  • Wikidata / WikibaseRepo (Diff link fatal): T224270
  • Wikidata / WikibaseRepo (Edit undo fatal): T224030
  • Growth / Echo (Notification storage): T217079
  • Growth / Flow (Topic link fatal): T224098
  • Growth / Page deletion (File pages): T222691
  • Multimedia or CPT / API (Image info fatal): T221812
  • CPT / PHP7 refactoring (File descriptions): T223728
  • CPT / Title refactor (Block log fatal): T224811
  • CPT / Title refactor (Pageview fatals): T224814
  • ⚠️(Unstewarded) Page renaming: T223175, T205675
💡Ideas: To suggest an investigation to write about in a future edition, contact me by e-mail, or private message on IRC.

🎉 Thanks!

Thank you to everyone who has helped by reporting, investigating, or resolving problems in Wikimedia production.

Until next time,

– Timo Tijhof

🎙“It’s not too shabby is it?


[1] Incidents. –…

[2] Tasks created. –…

[3] Tasks closed. –…

[4] Open tasks. –…

A buggy history

09:36, Monday, 01 2019 July UTC
—I suppose you are an entomologist?—I said with a note of interrogation.
—Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name! A society may call itself an Entomological Society, but the man who arrogates such a broad title as that to himself, in the present state of science, is a pretender, sir, a dilettante, an impostor! No man can be truly called an entomologist, sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.
The Poet at the Breakfast Table (1872) by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. 
A collection of biographies
with surprising gaps (ex. A.D. Imms)
The history of interest in Indian insects has been approached by many writers and there are several bits and pieces available in journals and there are various insights distributed across books. There are numerous ways of looking at how people historically viewed insects. One attempt is a collection of biographies, some of which are uncited verbatim (and not even within quotation marks) accounts  from obituaries, by B.R. Subba Rao who also provides something of a historical thread connecting the biographies. Keeping Indian expectations in view, Subba Rao and M.A. Husain play to the crowd. Husain was writing in pre-Independence times where there was a genuine conflict between Indian intellectuals and their colonial masters. They begin with interpretations of mentions of insects in old Indian writings. As can be expected there are mentions of honey, shellac, bees, ants, and a few nuisance insects in old texts. Husain takes the fact that the term Satpada षट्पद or six-legs existed in the 1st century Amarakosa to suggest that Indians were far ahead of time because Latreille's Hexapoda, the supposed analogy, was proposed only in 1825. Such histories gloss over the structures on which science and one can only assume that they failed to find the development of such structures in the ancient texts that they examined. The identification of species mentioned in old texts are often based on ambiguous translations should leave one wondering what the value of claiming Indian priority in identifying a few insects is. For instance K.N. Dave translates a verse from the Atharva-veda and suggests an early date for knowledge of shellac. This interpretation looks dubious and sure enough, Dave has been critiqued by Mahdihassan.  The indragopa (Indra's cowherd) is supposedly something that appears after the rains. Sanskrit scholars have identified it variously as the cochineal insect (the species Dactylopius coccus is South American!), the lac insect, a firefly(!) and as Trombidium (red velvet mite) - the last matches the blood red colour mentioned in a text attributed to Susrutha. To be fair, ambiguities resulting from translation are not limited to those that deal with Indian writing. Dikairon (Δικαιρον), supposedly a highly-valued and potent poison from India was mentioned in the work Indika by Ctesias 398 - 397 BC. One writer said it was the droppings of a bird. Valentine Ball thought it was derived from a scarab beetle. Jeffrey Lockwood claimed that it came from the rove beetles Paederus sp. And finally a Spanish scholar states that all this was a misunderstanding and that Dikairon was not a poison, and believe it or not, was a masticated mix of betel leaves, arecanut, and lime! One gets a far more reliable idea of ancient knowledge and traditions from practitioners, forest dwellers, the traditional honey harvesting tribes, and similar people that have been gathering materials such as shellac and beeswax. Unfortunately, many of these traditions and their practitioners are threatened by modern laws, economics, and culture. These practitioners are being driven out of the forests where they live, and their knowledge was hardly ever captured in writing. The writers of the ancient Sanskrit texts were probably associated with temple-towns and other semi-urban clusters and it seems like the knowledge of forest dwellers was not considered merit-worthy.

A more meaningful overview of entomology may be gained by reading and synthesizing a large number of historical bits, of which there are a growing number. The 1973 book published by the Annual Reviews Inc. should be of some interest. I have appended a selection of sources that I have found useful in adding bits and pieces to form a historic view of entomology in India. It helps however to have a broader skeleton on which to attach these bits and minutiae. Here, there area also truly verbose and terminology-filled systems developed by historians of science (for example, see ANT). I prefer an approach that is free of a jargon overload and like to look at entomology and its growth along three lines of action - cataloguing with the main product being collection of artefacts and the assignment of names, communication and vocabulary-building are social actions involving groups of interested people who work together with the products being scholarly societies and journals, and pattern-finding where hypotheses are made, and predictions tested. I like to think that anyone learning entomology also goes through these activities, often in this sequence. With professionalization there appears to be a need for people to step faster and faster into the pattern-finding way which also means that less time is spent on the other two streams of activity. The fast stepping often is achieved by having comprehensive texts, keys, identification guides and manuals. The skills involved in the production of those works - ways to prepare specimens, observe, illustrate, or describe are often not captured by the books themselves.


The cataloguing phase of knowledge gathering, especially of the (larger and more conspicuous) insect species of India grew rapidly thanks to the craze for natural history cabinets of the wealthy (made socially meritorious by the idea that appreciating the works of the Creator was as good as attending church)  in Britain and Europe and their ability to tap into networks of collectors working within the colonial enterprise. The cataloguing phase can be divided into the non-scientific cabinet-of-curiosity style especially followed before Darwin and the more scientific forms. The idea that insects could be preserved by drying and kept for reference by pinning, [See Barnard 2018] the system of binomial names, the idea of designating type specimens that could be inspected by anyone describing new species, the system of priority in assigning names were some of the innovations and cultural rules created to aid cataloguing. These rules were enforced by scholarly societies, their members (which would later lead to such things as codes of nomenclature suggested by rule makers like Strickland, now dealt with by committees that oversee the  ICZN Code) and their journals. It would be wrong to assume that the cataloguing phase is purely historic and no longer needed. It is a phase that is constantly involved in the creation of new knowledge. Labels, catalogues, and referencing whether in science or librarianship are essential for all subsequent work to be discovered and are essential to science based on building on the work of others, climbing the shoulders of giants to see further. Cataloguing was probably what the physicists derided as "stamp-collecting".

Communication and vocabulary building

The other phase involves social activities, the creation of specialist language, groups, and "culture". The methods and tools adopted by specialists also helps in producing associations and the identification of boundaries that could spawn new associations. The formation of groups of people based on interests is something that ethnographers and sociologists have examined in the context of science. Textbooks, taxonomic monographs, and major syntheses also help in building community - they make it possible for new entrants to rapidly move on to joining the earlier formed groups of experts. Whereas some of the early learned societies were spawned by people with wealth and leisure, some of the later societies have had other economic forces in their support.

Like species, interest groups too specialize and split to cover more specific niches, such as those that deal with applied areas such as agriculture, medicine, veterinary science and forensics. There can also be interest in behaviour, and evolution which, though having applications, are often do not find economic support.

Pattern finding
Eleanor Ormerod, an unexpected influence
in the rise of economic entomology in India

The pattern finding phase when reached allows a field to become professional - with paid services offered by practitioners. It is the phase in which science flexes its muscle, specialists gain social status, and are able to make livelihoods out of their interest. Lefroy (1904) cites economic entomology as starting with E.C. Cotes [Cotes' career in entomology was short, after marrying the famous Canadian journalist Sara Duncan in 1889 he too moved to writing] in the Indian Museum in 1888. But he surprisingly does not mention any earlier attempts, and one finds that Edward Balfour, that encyclopaedic-surgeon of Madras collated a list of insect pests in 1887 and drew inspiration from Eleanor Ormerod who hints at the idea of getting government support, noting that it would cost very little given that she herself worked with no remuneration to provide a service for agriculture in England. Her letters were also forwarded to the Secretary of State for India and it is quite possible that Cotes' appointment was a result.

As can be imagined, economics, society, and the way science is supported - royal patronage, family, state, "free markets", crowd-sourcing, or mixes of these - impact the way an individual or a field progresses. Entomology was among the first fields of zoology that managed to gain economic value with the possibility of paid employment. David Lack, who later became an influential ornithologist, was wisely guided by his father to pursue entomology as it was the only field of zoology where jobs existed. Lack however found his apprenticeship (in Germany, 1929!) involving pinning specimens "extremely boring".

Indian reflections on the history of entomology

Kunhikannan died at the rather young age of 47
A rather interesting analysis of Indian science is made by the first native Indian entomologist to work with the official title of "entomologist" in the state of Mysore - K. Kunhikannan. Kunhikannan was deputed to pursue a Ph.D. at Stanford (for some unknown reason many of the pre-Independence Indian entomologists trained in Stanford rather than England - see postscript) through his superior Leslie Coleman. At Stanford, Kunhikannan gave a talk on Science in India. He noted in his 1923 talk :

In the field of natural sciences the Hindus did not make any progress. The classifications of animals and plants are very crude. It seems to me possible that this singular lack of interest in this branch of knowledge was due to the love of animal life. It is difficult for Westerners to realise how deep it is among Indians. The observant traveller will come across people trailing sugar as they walk along streets so that ants may have a supply, and there are priests in certain sects who veil that face while reading sacred books that they may avoid drawing in with their breath and killing any small unwary insects. [Note: Salim Ali expressed a similar view ]
He then examines science sponsored by state institutions, by universities and then by individuals. About the last he writes:
Though I deal with it last it is the first in importance. Under it has to be included all the work done by individuals who are not in Government employment or who being government servants devote their leisure hours to science. A number of missionaries come under this category. They have done considerable work mainly in the natural sciences. There are also medical men who devote their leisure hours to science. The discovery of the transmission of malaria was made not during the course of Government work. These men have not received much encouragement for research or reward for research, but they deserve the highest praise., European officials in other walks of life have made signal contributions to science. The fascinating volumes of E. H. Aitken and Douglas Dewar are the result of observations made in the field of natural history in the course of official duties. Men like these have formed themselves into an association, and a journal is published by the Bombay Natural History Association[sic], in which valuable observations are recorded from time to time. That publication has been running for over a quarter of a century, and its volumes are a mine of interesting information with regard to the natural history of India.
This then is a brief survey of the work done in India. As you will see it is very little, regard being had to the extent of the country and the size of her population. I have tried to explain why Indians' contribution is as yet so little, how education has been defective and how opportunities have been few. Men do not go after scientific research when reward is so little and facilities so few. But there are those who will say that science must be pursued for its own sake. That view is narrow and does not take into account the origin and course of scientific research. Men began to pursue science for the sake of material progress. The Arab alchemists started chemistry in the hope of discovering a method of making gold. So it has been all along and even now in the 20th century the cry is often heard that scientific research is pursued with too little regard for its immediate usefulness to man. The passion for science for its own sake has developed largely as a result of the enormous growth of each of the sciences beyond the grasp of individual minds so that a division between pure and applied science has become necessary. The charge therefore that Indians have failed to pursue science for its own sake is not justified. Science flourishes where the application of its results makes possible the advancement of the individual and the community as a whole. It requires a leisured class free from anxieties of obtaining livelihood or capable of appreciating the value of scientific work. Such a class does not exist in India. The leisured classes in India are not yet educated sufficiently to honour scientific men.
It is interesting that leisure is noted as important for scientific advance. Edward Balfour, mentioned earlier, also made a similar comment that Indians were too close to subsistence to reflect accurately on their environment!  (apparently in The Vydian and the Hakim, what do they know of medicine? (1875) which unfortunately is not available online)

Kunhikannan may be among the few Indian scientists who dabbled in cultural history, and political theorizing. He wrote two rather interesting books The West (1927) and A Civilization at Bay (1931, posthumously published) which defended Indian cultural norms while also suggesting areas for reform. While reading these works one has to remind oneself that he was working under and with Europeans and would not have been able to have many conversations on these topics with Indians. An anonymous writer who penned the memoir of his life in his posthumous work notes that he was reserved and had only a small number of people to talk to outside of his professional work.
Entomologists meeting at Pusa in 1919
Third row: C.C. Ghosh, Ram Saran, Gupta, P.V. Isaac, Y. Ramachandra Rao, Afzal Husain, Ojha, A. Haq
Second row: M. Zaharuddin, C.S. Misra, D. Naoroji, Harchand Singh, G.R. Dutt, E.S. David, K. Kunhi Kannan, Ramrao S. Kasergode, J.L.Khare, Jhaveri, V.G.Deshpande, R. Madhavan Pillai, Patel, A. Mujtaba, P.C. Sen
First row: Capt. Froilano de Mello, Robertson-Brown, S. Higginbotham, C.M. Inglis, C.F.C. Beeson, Gough, Bainbrigge Fletcher, Bentley, Senior-White, T.V. Rama Krishna Ayyar, C.M. Hutchinson, Andrews, H.L.Dutt

Entmologists meeting at Pusa in 1923
Fifth row (standing) Mukerjee, G.D.Ojha, Bashir, Torabaz Khan, D.P. Singh
Fourth row (standing) M.O.T. Iyengar, R.N. Singh, S. Sultan Ahmad, G.D. Misra, Sharma,Ahmad Mujtaba, Mohammad Shaffi
Third row (standing) Rao Sahib Y Rama Chandra Rao, D Naoroji, G.R.Dutt, Rai Bahadur C.S. Misra, SCJ Bennett (bacteriologist, Muktesar), P.V. Isaac, T.M. Timoney, Harchand Singh, S.K.Sen
Second row (seated) Mr M. Afzal Husain, Major RWG Hingston, Dr C F C Beeson, T. Bainbrigge Fletcher, P.B. Richards, J.T. Edwards, Major J.A. Sinton
First row (seated) Rai Sahib PN Das, B B Bose, Ram Saran, R.V. Pillai, M.B. Menon, V.R. Phadke (veterinary college, Bombay)

Note: As usual, these notes are spin-offs from researching and writing Wikipedia entries, in this case on several pioneering Indian entomologists. It is remarkable that even some people in high offices, such as P.V. Isaac, the last Imperial Entomologist, and grandfather of noted writer Arundhati Roy, is largely unknown (except as the near-fictional Pappachi in Roy's God of Small Things)

An index to entomologists who worked in India or described a significant number of species from India - with links to Wikipedia (where possible - the gaps in coverage of entomologists in general are too many)
(woefully incomplete - feel free to let me know of additional candidates)

Carl Linnaeus - Johan Christian Fabricius - Edward Donovan - John Gerard Koenig - John Obadiah Westwood - Frederick William Hope - George Alexander James Rothney - Thomas de Grey Walsingham - Henry John Elwes - Victor Motschulsky - Charles Swinhoe - John William Yerbury - Edward Yerbury Watson - Peter Cameron - Charles George Nurse - H.C. Tytler - Arthur Henry Eyre Mosse - W.H. Evans - Frederic Moore - John Henry Leech - Charles Augustus de Niceville - Thomas Nelson Annandale - R.C. WroughtonT.R.D. Bell - Francis Buchanan-Hamilton - James Wood-Mason - Frederic Charles Fraser  - R.W. Hingston - Auguste Forel - James Davidson - E.H. Aitken -  O.C. Ollenbach - Frank Hannyngton - Martin Ephraim Mosley - Hamilton J. Druce  - Thomas Vincent Campbell - Gilbert Edward James Nixon - Malcolm Cameron - G.F. Hampson - Martin Jacoby - W.F. Kirby - W.L. DistantC.T. Bingham - G.J. Arrow - Claude Morley - Malcolm Burr - Samarendra Maulik - Guy Marshall
Edward Percy Stebbing - T.B. Fletcher - Edward Ernest Green - E.C. Cotes - Harold Maxwell Lefroy - Frank Milburn Howlett - S.R. Christophers - Leslie C. Coleman - T.V. Ramakrishna Ayyar - Yelsetti Ramachandra Rao - Magadi Puttarudriah - Hem Singh Pruthi - Shyam Sunder Lal Pradhan - James Molesworth Gardner - Vakittur Prabhakar Rao - D.N. Raychoudhary - C.F.W. Muesebeck  - Mithan Lal Roonwal - Ennapada S. Narayanan - M.S. Mani - T.N. Ananthakrishnan - K. Kunhikannan - Muhammad Afzal Husain

Not included by Rao -   F.H. Gravely - P.V. Isaac - M. Afzal Husain - A.D. Imms - C.F.C. Beeson
 - C. Brooke Worth - Kumar Krishna -

PS: Thanks to Prof C.A. Viraktamath, I became aware of a new book-  Gunathilagaraj, K.; Chitra, N.; Kuttalam, S.; Ramaraju, K. (2018). Dr. T.V. Ramakrishna Ayyar: The Entomologist. Coimbatore: Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. - this suggests that TVRA went to Stanford on the suggestion of Kunhikannan.

    weeklyOSM 466

    06:19, Monday, 01 2019 July UTC



    Places in Moscow which are connected with terror in Soviet times 1 | © NextGIS | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, ODbL


    • In the Austrian province of Tyrol, there is often an increase in traffic on long weekends during the summer holiday period. This often results in long-distance traffic, coming to or from Italy and Germany, clogging up local roads when seeking a diversion from main routes. Politicians have now tried to prevent this by ordering weekend restrictions on long-distance traffic using local roads until 14 September. The information on the closures has been transmitted to navigation equipment manufacturers via the Ministry of the Interior. Rainer Fügenstein therefore asks Talk-at how this information can be handled in OSM.
    • Michael Brandtner suggests amenity=power_supply to mark places that provide free or paid access to an electrical outlet. The proposal includes subtags to describe the used socket, the fee, the operator, the capacity and some more. (Nabble)
    • After surveying the area and discussing with local inhabitants an Australian mapper suggests that parts of the Gwydir River mapped in OSM from “official” sources isn’t there any more and should be removed, due to changing water use. The mapper assumes that the “river on the map may be a political imperative for government.
    • Richard Fairhurst describes the latest addition to the on-line editor Potlatch-2. Specific relations can now be assigned to a function key thus simplifying the process of adding ways to a route relation. In the comments he also provides some additional hints as to how function keys can also be used for adding groups of tags.
    • WoodWoseWulf provides a lot of information in his user diary about Niantic’s Pokémon Go from an OSM perspective. He explains the game terms, how the game mechanic is influenced by OSM data and the types of “vandals” with their motivation and the type of OSM data manipulation.


    • The OpenStreetMap website is available in မြန်မာဘာသာ. As you probably know, it is Burmese, officially language in Myanmar with 33 Million native speakers. In the announcement tweet Andy Allan asks for help to get your language above the 25 percent threshold.
    • Andy Allan and Ian Dees are looking for ways how to overcome persistently unfriendly and destructive behaviour which occasionally surfaces in the OSM community, especially in some mailing lists and on GitHub, and change it to a supportive and welcoming community. Ian Dees asks for an Open Source Community Manager who can help with the harsh manners that people experience too often when using OSM’s more or less anonymous communication channels.
    • Candidates for this year’s OSM Awards can be nominated until 15 July.
    • A team of five volunteer mappers from the Ghanaian OSM and Open Source communities travelled Ghana the Open Source Way; mapping, capturing street-level images and building capacity in OpenStreetMap and FOSS.
    • Following the OSM community survey asking for the main topics from a contributor’s perspective that should be discussed in the recent OSMF board meeting, the OSMF board published the outcome of the survey. In a blog post Christoph Hormann criticizes questionable ideas and tendencies and shares his thoughts on surveying the views of the community.

    OpenStreetMap Foundation

    • We would like to join the JOSM team and many others in spreading the message of the Operations Working Group, which is looking for volunteer helpers.


    • Christine Karch asks on Osmf-talk for ideas where the SotM 2020 could take place as there are no candidates yet.
    • The State of the Map 2019 conference is just around the corner. The program for this major OSM event, taking place on 21 to 23 September 2019 in Heidelberg, Germany, is available at the SotM homepage.

    Humanitarian OSM

    • At the World Refugee Day on 20 June, published an article about the joint efforts of Oregon State University, HOT and Development Seed to find refugees and internally-displaced persons following a conflict or a disaster to allow support of these people. The article explains the scale of the issue, how the task is solved and concludes with hopes that AI will allow to help more people in the near feature.
    • Maptime Salzburg will hold two YouthMappers workshops at the upcoming AGIT. The first workshop provides an introduction to humanitarian mapping, whilst the second deals with the establishment of a network of YouthMappers-Chapters in European institutions in order to promote and formalise their cooperation. The YouthMappers initiative was founded by students from US universities and already includes 143 YouthMappers Chapters in 41 countries.
    • The nomination for the upcoming HOT board election closed on 17 June 2019. There are 8 candidates for 7 available seats. Following a decision of the board the size of the board will increase by two to seven members.
    • Rebecca Firth from HOT explains how street-level imagery is used to improve OSM data in undermapped regions, in particular data about waste management, road conditions and other pressing issues.


    • The small e-learning project OpenSchoolMaps from the Swiss chapter SOSM was supplemented with special teaching material (PDF): “Mapping the environment yourself”, currently in German only. Information for instructors and a worksheet for participants explain how to organize an “outdoor mapping event” and what participants should know about it. Outdoor mapping events include mapping parties and project days for school classes. Feedback is welcome, preferably as an issue on the GIT repository.


    • Sven Geggus has disabled the Open Brewpub Map and instead started the Open Brewery Map with the osmpoidb technique in the backend.
    • The Portuguese version of the Historic Place website has been updated. Currently the website has a complete interface in Brazilian Portuguese.

    Open Data

    • The Yandex Company, simply put the Russian version of Google, allowed (ru) (automatic translation) OSM to use information from Yandex.Panoramas for specifying data in OpenStreetMap. This time by e-mail.


    • Mateusz Konieczny has received a grant from NLnet as part of NGI Zero to work on StreetComplete. He will work mostly on open issues in GitHub.
    • The online service Sight Safari, which can build sightseeing routes, became a mobile app for Android. It’s now in the beta-testing stage. Of course, it uses OSM as a base map.


    • QGIS releases both the latest version 3.8 (Zanzibar) and a long-term release (LTR) (3.4.9). LTRs remain current for at least a year.

    Did you know …

    • … the periodic table of PostgreSQL?
    • … the mobile app “OsMo monitoring” by Konstantin Moshkov? It’s a GPS tracker which allows you to share your location with others. You can also arrange a group tracking. It uses OSM as a base map, but the naming of the data origin leaves a lot to be desired.
    • … that the Russian company NextGIS together with the international non-profit organization “Memorial” created a map “It’s right here: Moscow. Topography of terror”. The map shows places in Moscow which are connected with terror in Soviet times. They use OSM as a base map.
    • … the difference between amenity=post_box and amenity=letter_box? The first one is the place you put letters to be sent, the second one is the private mailbox to receive letters. These can serve as orientation points in very rural areas where mailboxes are placed along the main roads far away from buildings.

    Other “geo” things

    • The Twitter user cartocalypse has published his souvenir of a QGIS-CH meeting.
    • WGS84 is the way in which OSM data is stored, but it turns out that it’s not as simple as first appears.
    • The Africa Geospatial Data and Internet Conference 2019 will take place between 22-24 October 2019 in Accra, Ghana.
    • A report by shows how important geodata are for the missions of blue light organisations. It mentions the GIS tiris, which supports 358 fire brigades in the form of a web GIS.
    • According to the website Facebook has unveiled an exclusive high definition area map generated by their AI team. The company claims that their population map is three times more detailed than any other source. Facebook will make the map available to the public, mainly for humanitarian purposes.
    • Michael Sumner tweets about a work that deals with the geolocalization of animals with light-detecting data loggers.
    • Google seems to struggle with hundreds of thousands of fake business listings that appear on Google Maps each month. According to an article at The Verge there are currently more than 11 million fake profiles in Google Maps.
    • A couple of Economists report on how customer ratings of food outlets in tourist areas is negatively correlated with proximity to tourist sites. Their analysis used Yelp ratings and OSM geographies.
    • The district Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has published a map, and the underlying data, of drinking fountains.

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