December 02, 2016


Transition to digital first in NYC media

Since I have arrived in 2012, Consumer Reports has been in a series of management and operation shakeups related to converting from a primarily paper publication to a primarily digital service. Since moving to New York City to join CR, I have had the experience of meeting other media professionals in NYC whose observations about all the other media organizations are similar. It has been challenging for everyone to convert from paper focus to digital. There is a social deep disconnect and a lot of outright propaganda from all the media companies about how comfortable they are with a transition to digital.

All media companies would have everyone believe that they did a smooth paper to digital transition years ago, and that the transition almost entirely happened in one step, and that the transition only had the effect of boosted productivity with less effort, and that the changes to make were easy to see and obvious to choose, and that each organization who makes the transition is one of the community of all the other organizations which made the transition easily. None of this is true. I have had enough conversations with enough media professionals at my level at leading magazines, newspapers, television producers, movie producers, publishing consultants, advertisers, and even web publishers (who are historically as dependent on paper as anyone else) to know that there is a culture of fake positivity about how easy it is to adopt a digital culture. I am glad that I am at CR because I feel that the nonprofit culture here avoids the pressure to do boastful posturing about how easy things are. Instead, part of our workplace culture is to be more at ease with a humble transition at a conservative pace and following the lead of pathmakers who took more risk to transition sooner. Some other people at some commercial organizations have some bizarre experiences due to an inability to have some frank conversations.

It is not as if there is anything scandalous happening anywhere, but rather, change is simply really hard and when change has to happen, the managers who guide the change by necessity of their role motivate people to embrace the change with workplace strategies including downplaying how difficult it will be for the group and the extent to which individuals will have to learn new skills to stay competitive in the workplace. I can give an example criticism at CR – since I arrived in 2012, the organization has embraced Google’s office suite of software including Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Hangouts, and messaging. We all use these things continually. These and other workplace tools provided by Google are the best tools in the world, and it was only right that CR start using them. Lots of organizations should. However, even when everything about the transition to adopt these tools was going right, it was still stressful for all the staff to change and this was one of many sudden stresses and changes that people in the workplace had to endure. We all had to do this, and there was never a reason to introduce negativity into the conversation, but still, it really pushes social tolerance to make lots of entirely correct and necessary changes so quickly, and at the same time, be under pressure for solidarity with each other and have to interact as media professionals in the broader NYC media community saying that everything is okay in everything but intimate conversations. I also get surprised at how after everything anyone can imagine changes from paper to digital, even after some time passes, a new social trend starts to transfer even more to digital.

Every change, no matter how necessary, is very hard and comes with a lot of problems in the adaptation. Google was not one of the easier transitions, but it is one of the most popular shared ones that many people are experiencing, and I think in the future looking back the next generation will not be able to understand just how challenging and stressful it was to come to understand how people have to personally change how they interact with each other if previously they expected to exchange physical media and then change to send digital files around.

“Digital first” refers to the practice of publishing media online before posting it to print. This is a scary concept for any periodical. An obvious implication is that newspapers are now an anachronism. I am not sure of the etymology, but I imagine “newspapers” as “new events described on paper”. Digital first means that current events get posted online when they happen, so obviously when the text finally gets to paper, the entire content of a newspaper is what people could have read online the day before or even perhaps two days before. All newspapers now are filled with yesterday’s news. Historically, there was never much market for dated newspapers. People want current news, and now, all paper publications share what typical people already read days or weeks ago. At CR, I have heard fears about whether to publish immediately online which would scoop the magazine. That used to be an ultimate taboo. Now, it is much more established that when a story is ready, it can go out. All media organizations in NYC are facing this challenge. Should TV shows come out first on TV, or can they be played online? Should magazine articles come out before the paper magazine? Will all commuters to NYC read yesterday’s news on the train if it is packaged and printed as today’s news? These are tough scary questions, and the disruption to revenue models is scary! Everyone wants a strong independent media sector and the issue of responding to digital publication remains an ongoing process.

by bluerasberry at December 02, 2016 11:46 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

Jackie Koerner: Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at SFSU

Photo: Jackie Koerner.png by Ckoerner, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Jackie Koerner recently earned a PhD from the Saint Louis University School of Education, with a dissertation on ableism and the medical model of disability. While conducting her research, Wikipedia was an invaluable resource through which to collect lists of sources. She took note of articles that needed work, with the intention of improving them down the road. Later, with her degree complete, she set out to do just that, diving head first into Wikipedia’s policies, guidelines, talk pages, essays, and other help pages. For Jackie, editing Wikipedia is a way to put the knowledge she’s gained to use, contributing to an open educational resource available to a large and diverse community of learners — including, crucially, those who have limited or no access to formal education.

“I pursued this Visiting Scholar position due to my firm belief that education is a human right. After graduating with my PhD, I felt it was a natural progression to give back through the free knowledge movement.”

When Jackie saw that San Francisco State University’s Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability was looking to partner with a Wikipedian to improve the non-medical aspects of disability topics on Wikipedia, it seemed like an ideal fit. In addition to regaining access to scholarly resources like databases, ebooks, and journals through SFSU, it was an opportunity to combine two of her passions: disability and education.

Likewise, Catherine Kudlick saw a a great fit. She is the Director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute and Professor of History at SFSU, and began engaging with Wikipedia “from a kind of ‘if you can’t beat ’em join ’em’ mentality that we have when it comes to Wikipedia: suspicion and a tiny by of resentment that our own work seldom spreads far.” After teaching with Wikipedia in a disability history class, however, she became more enthusiastic about the importance of such work.

“When it comes to disability, what little information there is out there is largely rooted in misunderstandings and even unrecognized prejudice,” she said. “Thus this is a perfect opportunity to build bridges between a growing body of terrific scholarly information and a public that automatically turns to Wikipedia for answers.”

If you would like to learn more about how to get started with the Visiting Scholars program, either as a Wikipedian or an institutional sponsor, see the Visiting Scholars section of our website or email visitingscholars@wikiedu.org.

Photo: Cesar Chavez Student Center.jpg by Briantreho, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

by Ryan McGrady at December 02, 2016 11:16 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

A dashboard for Wikimedia programs and events: All of your outcomes in one place

Photo by Beko, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Beko, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Putting numbers behind our stories and activities helps the community and the public to better understand what is happening on the ground, and how our movement programs are making an impact. Understanding how programs work in the Wikimedia movement has been a learning curve, that required not only learning new concepts, but also a change in practice: with strategic planning came the need to collect metrics that could better demonstrate the impact of the work done by Wikimedians all over the world.

Our movement’s shift toward evaluation and learning has come with some trade offs for program leaders: while this new practice has not always been easy to implement, it has greatly grown our understanding of programs.

In the beginning


We started with conversations about expected changes, how we could measure them. Then came the logic models and spreadsheets, handwritten surveys, and A LOT of manual collection of data, which demanded huge time from Wikimedians. For example, a Wikimedian hosting an editathon in a museum would have to rely on participants signing up and potentially also collecting usernames manually at the event. After this, our Wikimedian-host would have to upload the username cohort to Wikimetrics, and run the corresponding reports choosing specific metrics. With the Magic Button, this process improved. Now it’s just about to get better.

The Programs and Events Dashboard helps manage online and offline programs including editathons, workshops, and education courses. The dashboard is being designed to work in any language and any Wikimedia project. In the Dashboard, Wikimedia program leaders can share program information and training materials, participants can pick up articles to edit and review other’s edits, and everyone can see what participants contributed as part of the program and overall contribution statistics for the program.

This new program tool makes for a better Evaluation experience for program leaders, both by making it easy to collect metrics, and to access the cumulative program data. By automating the process of collecting data, time-consuming manual collection is out of the way for program leaders. There are other aspects that build towards better managing process: the new Programs and Events Dashboard allows program participants to quickly learn easy markup, like how to write their own signature; see who else is working on the same article, which allows to avoid editing conflicts and increase collaboration; Wikipedians are able to sign up to review edited articles to make quality control easier, and organizers can share training resources for participants. All in one place.

Using the dashboard is very easy. You can login with your Wikipedia username through OAuth and create a program right away. Among other variables, you can enter home language, home project and start and end dates for your program. When you create your program, the dashboard generates a link for people to enroll, where participants can assign themselves articles to work, or review articles created by others.

Rapid access to cumulative data

Probably the most sought after feature is the ability to rapidly access cumulative program data. At one glance, users can see number of programs, editors involved, words added, article views, articles created, and uploads to Wikimedia Commons. By increasing data accessibility, we believe this new tool enables learning across the movement: it allows to set reasonably high expectations for new programs, and it also makes the feedback loop shorter, to re-adjust ongoing programs.

Easier access to other organizers

By showing the usernames of the program organizers, we give one step forward in better connecting program leaders across the movement to share expertise. This feature contributes to the key community factor that makes programs work.

We hope that this new tool encourages Wikimedians to keep doing the work they are doing across the movement, and serves as a stool to imagine even further possibilities for Wikimedia programs. We would also love to hear from users what features are missing and what could be improved in the Programs and Events Dashboard. As you start using the tool, please email eval@wikimedia.org and tell us how you like it!

María Cruz, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, Learning and Evaluation team
Amanda Bittaker, Evaluation Strategist, Learning and Evaluation team
Jaime Anstee, Senior Manager, Learning and Evaluation team


by María Cruz, Amanda Bittaker and Jaime Anstee at December 02, 2016 08:51 PM

Jeroen De Dauw

PHP 7.1 is awesome

PHP 7.1 has been released, bringing some features I was eagerly anticipating and some surprises that had gone under my radar.

New iterable pseudo-type

This is the feature I’m most exited about, perhaps because I had no clue it was in the works. In short, iterable allows for type hinting in functions that just loop though their parameters value without restricting the type to either array or Traversable, or not having any type hint at all. This partially solves one of the points I raised in my Missing in PHP 7 series post Collections.

Nullable types

This feature I also already addressed in Missing in PHP 7 Nullable return types. What somehow escaped my attention is that PHP 7.1 comes not just with nullable return types, but also new syntax for nullable parameters.

Intent revealing

Other new features that I’m excited about are the Void Return Type and Class Constant Visibility Modifiers. Both of these help with revealing the authors intent, reduce the need for comments and make it easier to catch bugs.

A big thank you to the PHP contributors that made these things possible and keep pushing the language forwards.

For a full list of new features, see the PHP 7.1 release announcement.

by Jeroen at December 02, 2016 09:24 AM

December 01, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

Lingzhi is Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at USF

I’m pleased to announce User:Lingzhi as Wikipedia Visiting Scholar in the University of San Francisco’s Department of Rhetoric and Language!

Lingzhi is a veteran editor with considerable experience improving articles at the highest levels of quality. His past work includes articles such as funerary art, scattered disc, Battle of Malvern Hill, Taiwanese aborigines, and several lists of endangered languages like those in Asia and Africa. As these topics indicate, his interests are diverse, but he was attracted to the USF Visiting Scholars opportunity because of his long-time enthusiasm for linguistics.

Working with him at USF is Associate Professor Jonathan Hunt, who sees building a relationship between USF and Wikipedia as “part of USF’s social justice mission: helping share better information with people around the world.” He said that his “hope for this partnership is simply that USF can share our resources with Lingzhi so that he can help Wikipedia improve the quality of information relevant to our shared interests.” One area of overlap is applied linguistics, but Jonathan notes that the department’s interests are interdisciplinary, including many aspects of human communication.

For more information about the Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program, including how you can get involved, see the Visiting Scholars page on our website or email visitingscholars@wikiedu.org.

Photo: Kalmanovitz Hall – University of San Francisco – San Francisco, CA – DSC02504.JPG by Daderot, CC0 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

by Ryan McGrady at December 01, 2016 08:53 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Knowledge can’t be limited: Mervat Salman

Photo by Adam Novak/Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Photo by Adam Novak/Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0.

For Mervat Salman, becoming a Wikipedia editor was almost part of her destiny. A child encyclopedist (“I compiled about 400 pages of my own encyclopedia,” she recalls), it is perhaps no wonder that after discovering Wikipedia through a search engine, Mervat was immediately drawn to the idea of sharing her knowledge with the world.

Having first started as a casual reader of just one Wikipedia article a day, exasperated at the low quality of automated translations to Arabic, Mervat soon turned to improving spelling, punctuation, grammar and structure of sentences in existing articles before deciding to take the big step of creating new articles on her own, with the page on Gargamel, the main antagonist in the comic book series The Smurfs, as her Wikipedia debut. With the help of the Arabic Wikipedia community group on Facebook, just after a year, Mervat became a community-elected administrator; four years, 900 new articles and over 56,000 edits later, she continues to contribute as a community organiser and regular editor to science articles, and in particular software engineering, data analysis and medicine.

It is this last area that Mervat identifies as one of the least developed on the Arabic Wikipedia. “Very few editors contribute to engineering, mathematics or medical articles,” she says. “We also suffer from terminology problems, as in most of the Arab countries science at university level is taught in English, particularly in the medical faculties. For many contributors, it is hard to find suitable terminology that the general public would understand, for example for use in articles about diseases; referring to specialised dictionaries doesn’t always solve the issue, because terminology in those dictionaries can be old and unfamiliar to our readers,” she explains.

Another issue for Mervat is the language barrier between the Arabic Wikipedia and the rest of the Wikimedia community. “Arabic Wikipedia initiatives are generally not known outside of it, because Arabic speakers don’t blog in English,” she explains.

In addition to her involvement in the science field, Mervat has also actively participated in reducing Wikipedia’s gender gap. As part of the 100wikidays challenge, in which Wikipedians create at least one new article a day for 100 days in a row, she has contributed articles about women and started a new initiative where editors write new articles about women for 7 consecutive days, called WikiWomenWeek; so far, the initiative has resulted in the creation of over 200 new articles in 20 different languages, from Mervat’s native Arabic to Latvian to Telugu.

Photo by Andres Putting, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Kersti Kaljulaid (at left), the fifth and current President of Estonia. The Arabic Wikipedia article about Kaljulaid was created by Mervat as part of WikiWomenWeek; it has since been translated into 19 other languages. Photo by Andres Putting, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Mervat’s favourite Wikipedia experience, however, is her participation in Arabic Wikipedia’s six-months long contribution contest in 2013; as part of the competition, Mervat created dozens of new articles, improved existing ones and submitted new pictures, ending as a runner-up and winning a modest prize. “It was a challenge for me but I proved to myself I could meet the goals I set for myself,” she recalls.

When asked for her motivation to contribute to Wikipedia, Mervat answers, simply: “I just believe in the basic message of the Wikimedia movement: free knowledge for everyone. I want to spread this message by actively providing this knowledge; I want people to be able to find detailed information on any subject easily and free of charge.”

“We still need years and years of continued work, and still need to engage contributors from across the world, but I believe that the Wikimedia movement can play a great role in spreading the message of free knowledge around the world,” Mervat sums up. “Knowledge can’t be limited and shouldn’t be locked in libraries, books and archives.”

Interview by Jan Novak, Wikimedia community volunteer

Profile by Tomasz Kozlowski, Blog Writer, Wikimedia Foundation

by Tomasz Kozlowski at December 01, 2016 08:06 PM

Weekly OSM

weeklyOSM 332


Rendering von Wasser in Zoomstufe 4 links: Hormann, rechts: Mapnik Rendering of water bodies at zoom level 4. Left: Ch. Hormann, Right: Mapnik 1 |

About us

  • We are in deep grief and we express great sorrow because of the loss of our beloved friend Thomas Bellmann also known as Malenki. Malenki was last week on a piligrimage in Spain, where he breathed his last breath, after an accidental fall off a cliff. Thomas was an avid contributor to weeklyOSM, an active OpenStreetMap mapper for over 9 years, a programmer, documentary writer and a photographer. We wish to express our sincere condolences to his mother, family and friends. We are saddened by this loss and he will always remain in our thoughts.


  • BharataHS, a data analyst working at Mapbox, describes two procedures for detecting and repairing invalid multipolygons, and invites everyone to investigate and repair the invalid polygons in their respective area.
  • Michael Tsang presents his proposal for flight routes. It is similar to public transport tagging.
  • As a tribute to the deceased mapper Malenki, the Spanish community invites mappers to make the region where he met his death, the best mapped in Spain.
  • Edith Quispe aka ediyes shared a blog post about the events that the Mapbox team hosted as a part of Geography Awareness Week. The Ayacucho office organized a mapathon last Friday to build awareness around geography and continuous growth of the local OpenStreetMap community. Over 15 university students were a part of this and were eager to learn about OpenStreetMap and join the community.
  • There are three proposals with voting status:
  • Simon Poole summarizes his visit of Wherecamp 2016 in Berlin and reports about Simple Indoor Tagging that he did help to create.
  • Martijn van Exel proposes to use the “fixme” tag on seasonal issues to make sure they are again taken care of in time.
  • José Sánchez created a proposal for tagging 3D printer shops and asks for comments.
  • The tagging mailing list discussed the collection of helicopter landing sites for crises operations.


  • [1] Christoph Hormann describes his advances in the rendering of large water bodies in the lower zoom levels and shows some impressive examples of his work.
  • Clifford Snow writes about his work to increase the number of mappers in his area.
  • The OpenStreetMap community of Ivory Coast (OSM_CI) is the winner of the 2nd Best Young Digital Initiative Award in Ivory Coast. They received the prize from the Ivorian Minister of the Digital Economy and the Post, Government Spokesman Bruno Nabagné Koné.
  • Martijn van Exel reports in the Improve OSM blog that, the Telenav-supported OpenStreetView project has been renamed to OpenStreetCam. 12 Million images have been collected so far.
  • Roland started a discussion about a major change of the second level landing pages in the OSM wiki.


  • Brian M Hamlin writes about the ongoing problems with the import of small-scale landuse parcels in Fresno county, California. After detailed analysis he suggests a deletion criteria to clean up the data.
  • There’s now also discussion on the import mailing list about Thomas Konrad’s JOSM plugin to add address data in Austria (we reported earlier).
  • Andrea Musuruane has plans to import data in in the Province of Biella (Italy).
  • Brandon Liu announces a planned import of building heights in San Francisco. The initiative seems to be motivated by Mapbox GL JS. A discussion ensues about how involved the local the mappers are, and the initiator of the project explains his motivation.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Frederik Ramm, the treasurer of the OSM Foundation, reported to weeklyOSM about the donation goal of the OSMF being achieved as soon as the transfer of donations received by FOSSGIS e.V. (German OSM department) for OSMF are completed. Thanks to all donors worldwide! You can still continue donating of course.
  • Christoph reminds everyone that this year’s OSMF AGM is on the 10th of December. The wiki features a list of candidates for the two available seats, along with their answers to a large number of questions.

Humanitarian OSM

  • A mapathon will be organized in Lyon by @Coworking Lyon, L’atelier des Médias on the 20th of December (see here) for more information, in French automatic translation).
  • HOT started its yearly donation drive and therefore created a little video for motivation.


  • A new global WebMap prototype OSMLanduse.org has been launched by GIScience Research Group, Heidelberg. In the blog post GISRG Heidelberg says: “Therefore our aim is to evaluate the overall possibility and suitability of OpenStreetMap (OSM) data for these specific purposes (landuse and landcover information), identify ways for improvement and to provide all this information globally to the interested communities in an automated way.”
  • Planemad says: “Excellent writeup highlighting the cultural data issues on temples and language tags on the map”, on a blog post by Supaplex describing his SOTM Asia talk about localized tagging.


  • Skobbler founder Philipp Kandal (now VP of OSM at Telenav) explains in his blog post how and why Telenav works on the future of mapping for OSM, using OpenStreetCam, computer vision and deep learning.
  • Dennis Nienhüser announced Version 1.0 of Marble Maps for Android devices.
  • Paul Norman compares and rates the different alternatives to serve vector tiles.


  • Jochen Topf summarizes the most important changes in Osmium in a blog post.


Software Version Release date Comment
Mapillary iOS * 4.5.6 2016-11-21 Minor compass tweaks.
Traccar Client iOS 3.2 2016-11-23 Minor fixes and improvements.
Magic Earth * 2016-11-24 Optimized search and routing, performance improvements and bug fixes
Vespucci 0.9.8r1216 2016-11-24 Fix issue with determining the tile storage location.
QGIS 2.18.1 2016-11-25 No infos.
OpenStreetCam 1.9.13 2016-11-27 OpenStreetView is now OpenStreetCam.
Naviki Android * 3.52 2016-11-28 Three modifications and some bug fixes.
Naviki iOS * 3.52 2016-11-28 Three functions modified.
OpenStreetMap Carto Style 2.45 2016-11-28 Please read info.
SQLite 3.15.2 2016-11-28 Four bugs fixes.

Provided by the OSM Software Watchlist.

(*) unfree software. See: freesoftware.

Did you know …

  • … the BRouter-Web-Client to schedule your next ride?
  • … the service Meshu, who makes a necklace out of your favorite map region?

OSM in the media

Other “geo” things

  • It seems that every news service are reporting that San Francisco’s Millennium Tower is sinking faster than expected, and tilting to one side. However the real news is that the ESA satellite analysis used is capable of monitoring changes elsewhere, include earthquake-prone areas.
  • Invisible Cities have trained a neuronal network to automatically generate satellite imagery out of map data. The only question that remains: Will there be a fixpoint if combined with e.g. Facebook’s extractor 😉
  • The Swiss newspaper “Der Tagesanzeiger“ reported that Terraloupe, a company in Munich, works on a software to recognize and map buildings, construction projects, tree populations or water bodies automatically out of aerial photography.
  • Betsy Mason from National Geograhic published an article called “The Best New Maps, According to Cartographers”
  • GeoSLab briefly outlines the differences between raster and vector tiles.

Upcoming Events

Where What When Country
Helsinki OSM GeoBeers 01.12.2016 finland
Dresden Stammtisch 01.12.2016 germany
Tampere OSM kahvit 02.12.2016 finland
Dortmund Stammtisch 04.12.2016 germany
Metro Manila 【MapAm❤re】OSM Workshop Series 3/8, San Juan 05.12.2016 philippines
Rostock OSM Stammtisch Rostock 06.12.2016 germany
Stuttgart Stammtisch 07.12.2016 germany
München Stammtisch München 08.12.2016 germany
Urspring Stammtisch Ulmer Alb 08.12.2016 germany
Berlin 102. Berlin-Brandenburg Stammtisch 09.12.2016 germany
Pergine Valsugana Mappatura sentieri del Lagorai Cima Asta 09.12.2016 Trentino
Passau Mappertreffen 12.12.2016 germany
Metro Manila 【MapAm❤re】OSM Workshop Series 4/8, San Juan 12.12.2016 philippines
Grenoble Rencontre groupe local 12.12.2016 france
Lyon Rencontre mensuelle mappeurs 13.12.2016 france
Nottingham Nottingham 13.12.2016 united kingdom
Landshut Landshut Stammtisch 13.12.2016 germany
Berlin DB Open Data Hackathon 16.12.2016-17.12.2016 germany
Tokyo 東京!街歩き!マッピングパーティ:第3回 小石川植物園 17.12.2016 japan
Essen Stammtisch 18.12.2016 germany
Kyoto 【晴明神社】マッピング&ステップアップ勉強会 18.12.2016 japan
Metro Manila 【MapAm❤re】OSM Workshop Series 5/8, San Juan 19.12.2016 philippines
Taipei Taipei Meetup, Mozilla Community Space 19.12.2016 taiwan

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

This weeklyOSM was produced by Hakuch, Peda, Polyglot, Rogehm, SomeoneElse, Spec80, YoViajo, derFred, jcoupey, jinalfoflia, kreuzschnabel, widedangel.

by weeklyteam at December 01, 2016 07:14 PM

Wikimedia UK

Wikidelta: glimpsing unique Wikipedia articles in 284 world languages

Mae’r blogiad hwn ar gael yn Gymraeg.


What is Wikidelta?

If you are curious about the languages and cultures of the world, follow Wikidelta on Twitter. It’s an unofficial and experimental account which is an attempt to discover what could be unique in each of the languages of Wikipedia.

The account selects a world language at random. It then posts links, one at a time, to unique Wikipedia articles in that language:


A unique article, as I define it here, is one which has no links to other language versions. In other words, there are no known translations, adaptations or other versions of that article. Every article shared has zero counterparts in any other language’s Wikipedia – at the time of tweeting.

There are 284 language versions of Wikipedia currently active, all maintained largely by volunteers like you and me who create articles according to their interest and expertise.

Every link you see shared from the Wikidelta account is an example of the potential uniqueness of a topic expressed in a particular language, usually created by a user of that language.

Surprises every day

Each link offers us a moment to recognise a contribution and topic which may have received little attention, especially outside its own language community or communities.

For some languages it’s possible to get the gist of the article using automatic machine translation.

In the above example Wikidelta has chosen to post links in Persian/Farsi. The tweet announcing this uses the endonym first (the name of the language in the language itself), followed by the English name of the language, followed by a short hashtag which gives the language code (which is also its Wikipedia subdomain).

In the example the randomly chosen link in the tweet appears to be a film, and one in the medium of Persian/Farsi. According to machine translation the title conveys something like “Yassin Castle”. Please note that this is not necessarily a recommendation of this film (which I have not seen) although I am told that are many magnificent Iranian films to reward the attention.

Poetry, literature, culture and more

What could be unique in each language’s Wikipedia?

My initial interest in the uniqueness of articles led to my creation of an automated account called UnigrywUnigryw in April 2016. This account was, and is, a forerunner of Wikidelta and is focused exclusively on articles in Cymraeg (Welsh).

Since it began examples of articles unique to Welsh from this account have included:

All of these types of article are in some way connected to Wales and its language. I would expect to see parallels with the other languages shared by Wikidelta. For instance, there is a uniqueness to any given language’s poetry so we could expect that to be regularly highlighted in Wikidelta.

But sometimes the unique articles have no obvious connection to a nation or its language – except for the fact that somebody somewhere just wanted to create an article about a particular (or peculiar!) topic.


Adding interlanguage links

Sometimes an article appears unique because no Wikipedia contributor has yet managed to add interlanguage links pointing to its counterparts in other languages.

Wikipedia is an ever growing and evolving project, so the perceived uniqueness might be caused by the lack of a small edit job.

If the meaning of the article is 100% obvious then that edit job can be accomplished by anybody, including non-fluent users, in a few seconds. This benefits not only Wikipedia but Wikidata as well.

(Here’s an example tweet for Wikipedia Gàidhlig where I have added interlanguage links to an article about a Westminster parliamentary constituency.)

Further research and development

I am just beginning to discover patterns in the output, as I examine the output of the underlying software script which powers the Wikidelta project.

For example the average article length and average number of images and other multimedia elements in an article appear to correlate with how well resourced a language may be.

I am also producing a chart of all the Wikipedia languages ordered by how ‘unique’ they are, and looking to share this another time.

In the meantime my intention is to add certain checks to Wikidelta which will be proxies for article quality, e.g. number of contributors, minimum length of article, multimedia elements and so on. At the time of writing the unique articles are chosen at random but I hope to add more to the algorithm, showcase the ‘best’ articles that each language can offer, and thereby burst our online filter bubbles in unexpected ways.

How to help / acknowledgments

I hope that you enjoy Wikidelta and that you learn something fascinating about our world today.

If you would like to help then please follow the Wikidelta account and feel free to retweet any tweets you find interesting. Additionally you may wish to do some Wikipedia editing and improvement as a result of what you see. If your language is not on the list of Wikipedias and you want to start one with some other fluent users of your language then there may be somebody else who can help.

There is potential research work to be done here so please contact me if you’d like to work together on something.

You may also translate this article into your language and re-publish it elsewhere. It’s licensed under CC-BY-SA.

Thanks to Wikimedia UK for the opportunity to share this, and to IlltudFfrancon, Rhys Wynne and Huw Waters for help with the idea.

by Carl Morris at December 01, 2016 04:07 PM

Wicidelta: erthyglau Wicipedia unigryw mewn 284 iaith

This blog post is also available in English.


Beth yw Wicidelta?

Os ydych chi’n chwilfrydig am ieithoedd a diwylliannau’r byd, dilynwch Wicidelta ar Twitter. Cyfrif answyddogol ac arbrofol ydy e sy’n ymgais i ddarganfod yr hyn a allai fod yn unigryw ym mhob un o ieithoedd Wicipedia.

Mae’r cyfrif yn dewis iaith ar hap. Wedyn mae’n postio dolenni, un ar y tro, at erthyglau Wicipedia unigryw yn yr iaith honno.

Erthygl unigryw, yn ôl fy niffiniad i yma, ydy un heb ddolenni at fersiynau eraill mewn ieithoedd eraill. Mewn geiriau eraill, nid oes unrhyw gyfieithiadau, addasiadau na fersiynau eraill o’r erthygl honno. Mae pob erthygl yn un heb ei thebyg mewn unrhyw iaith arall – ar adeg y trydariad.

Mae 284 fersiwn iaith Wicipedia sy’n weithredol ar hyn o bryd, ac mae pob un yn cael ei chynnal yn bennaf gan wirfoddolwyr fel chi a fi sy’n creu erthyglau yn ôl eu diddordeb a’u harbenigedd.

Mae pob dolen rydych chi’n gweld ar y cyfrif Wicidelta yn enghraifft o natur unigryw posibl o bwnc a fynegir mewn iaith benodol, a grëwyd fel arfer gan ddefnyddiwr yr iaith honno.

Gyda llaw mae fersiwn Cymraeg a fersiwn Saesneg o Wicidelta. Dim ond y bywgraffiad a’r trydariadau ‘datgan iaith’ yn wahanol. Dros amser byddan nhw yn mynd drwy’r ieithoedd i gyd. Ond dw i wedi penderfynu bod nhw yn postio dolenni hollol wahanol er mwyn osgoi unrhyw amheuaeth o sbam wrth system Twitter!

Syndodau pob dydd

Mae pob dolen yn cynnig cyfle i gydnabod cyfraniad a phwnc a allai fod wedi cael dim ond ychydig o sylw, yn enwedig y tu allan i’w gymuned neu gymunedau iaith ei hun.

Ar gyfer rhai ieithoedd, mae’n bosibl cael awgrym o’r erthygl drwy ddefnyddio cyfieithu peirianyddol awtomatig.

Yn y ddelwedd gyntaf uchod mae Wicidelta wedi dewis postio dolenni yn yr iaith Aromaneg. Mae’r trydariad sy’n datgan hyn yn defnyddio’r endonym yn gyntaf (enw’r iaith yn yr iaith ei hun), wedi’i ddilyn gan yr enw yn Gymraeg, wedi’i ddilyn gan hashnod fer sy’n cynnig cod yr iaith (sydd hefyd yn is-barth Wicipedia ar gyfer yr iaith honno). Mae hi wedi bod yn dipyn o ymdrech i ganfod yr enwau yn Gymraeg a dweud y gwir ac mae dal angen rhai – gobeithio bydd pobl yn creu erthyglau Wicipedia Cymraeg am yr holl ieithoedd diddorol yma!


Yn y ddelwedd yma mae’r ddolen a ddewiswyd ar hap yn edrych fel bod hi’n arwain at ffilm, ac un drwy gyfrwng y Berseg. Yn ôl cyfieithu peirianyddol mae’r teitl yn cyfleu rhywbeth fel “Castell Yassin”. Nodwch nad yw hyn o reidrwydd yn argymell y ffilm hon (dw i ddim wedi ei gweld) er fy mod i wedi clywed bod llawer o ffilmiau Iran godidog i’w gwylio.

Barddoniaeth, llenyddiaeth, diwylliant a mwy

Beth allai fod yn unigryw yn Wicipedia pob iaith?

Dechreuodd fy niddordeb mewn unigrywiaeth erthyglau mewn cyfrif awtomateg o’r enw UnigrywUnigryw ym mis Ebrill 2016. Mae’r cyfrif yn fath o ragflaenydd Wicidelta sy’n canolbwyntio ar erthyglau yn Gymraeg.

Dyma enghreifftiau o’r erthyglau unigryw i’r Gymraeg o’r cyfrif hwn ers y dechrau:

Mae pob un o’r mathau hyn o erthygl mewn rhyw ffordd yn gysylltiedig â Chymru a’i hiaith. Byddwn yn disgwyl gweld paralelau yn yr ieithoedd eraill a rennir gan Wicidelta. Er enghraifft mae unigrywiaeth i farddoniaeth unrhyw iaith felly gallen ni ddisgwyl gweld hyn yn rheolaidd ar Wicidelta.

Ond weithiau does dim cysylltiad amlwg rhwng yr erthyglau unigryw â’r genedl neu iaith – heblaw am y ffaith bod rhywun yn rhywle jyst eisiau creu erthygl am bwnc penodol!


Ychwanegu cysylltau rhyngwici rhwng ieithoedd

Weithiau mae erthygl yn ymddangos yn unigryw oherwydd nad oes cyfrannwr Wicipedia wedi llwyddo i ychwanegu dolenni rhyngwici i erthyglau mewn ieithoedd eraill eto.

Mae Wicipedia yn brosiect sy’n tyfu ac esblygu drwy’r amser, felly efallai bod yr unigrywiaeth oherwydd diffyg job olygu fach.

Os yw ystyr yr erthygl yn 100% amlwg, gallai unrhyw un wneud y job olygu, gan gynnwys defnyddwyr nad ydynt yn rhugl mewn ychydig eiliadau. Mae hyn o fudd nid yn unig i Wicipedia ond Wicidata hefyd.

(Dyma enghraifft o drydariad o’r fersiwn Saesneg o Wicidelta lle dw i wedi ychwanegu dolenni rhyngiaith i erthygl Wicipedia Gàidhlig am etholaeth seneddol San Steffan.)

Ymchwil a datblygu pellach

Dw i newydd ddechrau darganfod patrymau yn yr allbwn, tra fy mod yn edrych ar allbwn y sgript meddalwedd sylfaenol sy’n gyrru Wicidelta.

Er enghraifft, mae’n ymddangos bod cydberthynas rhwng pethau fel hyd erthygl cyfartalog a nifer cyfartalog o ddelweddau ac elfennau amlgyfrwng eraill mewn erthygl – a pha mor dda mae’r iaith yn cael ei ‘adnoddu’, fel petai.

Dw i hefyd yn cynhyrchu siart o holl ieithoedd Wicipedia mewn trefn pa mor ‘unigryw’ y maent, ac am rannu hyn rywbryd eto.

Yn y cyfamser dw i’n bwriadu ychwanegu gwiriadau penodol i Wicidelta sy’n cynrychioli ansawdd yr erthygl, e.e. nifer o gyfranwyr, lleiafswm hyd yr erthygl, elfennau amlgyfrwng ac yn y blaen. Ar hyn o bryd mae’r system yn dewis yr erthyglau unigryw ar hap, ond dw i am ychwanegu rhagor at yr algorithm a thrwy hynny arddangos yr erthyglau ‘gorau’ y gall pob iaith ei gynnig, ac yna byrstio ein swigod hidlo ar-lein mewn ffyrdd annisgwyl.

Sut i helpu / rhoi cydnabyddiaeth

Dw i’n gobeithio y byddwch yn mwynhau Wicidelta ac yn dysgu rhywbeth diddorol am ein byd heddiw.

Os hoffech helpu, dilynwch y cyfrif Wicidelta ac mae croeso i chi aildrydar unrhyw drydariadau o ddiddordeb i chi. Yn ogystal efallai y byddwch am wneud rhywfaint o olygu a gwella Wicipedia o ganlyniad i’r hyn a welwch. Os ydych yn rhugl mewn iaith sydd ddim ar y rhestr o Wicipediau ac rydych am ddechrau un gyda rhai defnyddwyr rhugl eraill, efallai bod rhywun arall sy’n gallu helpu.

Mae gwaith ymchwil posibl i’w wneud yma, felly cysylltwch â mi os hoffech gydweithio ar rywbeth.

Gallech gyfieithu’r erthygl hon i ieithoedd eraill ac ail-gyhoeddi mewn mannau eraill. Trwyddedwyd yr erthygl o dan CC-BY-SA.

Diolch i Wikimedia UK am y cyfle i rannu hyn, ac i Illtud, Ffrancon, Rhys Wynne a Huw Waters am help gyda’r syniad.

by Carl Morris at December 01, 2016 04:07 PM

Wicipedia Cymraeg: A few milestones

Map of Wales, from Atlas Ortelius by Abraham Ortelius. Original edition from 1571 - Image by Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the Dutch National Library
Map of Wales, from Atlas Ortelius by Abraham Ortelius. Original edition from 1571 – Image by Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the Dutch National Library

Blog by Robin Owain, Wikimedia UK Manager

In December 1996 I uploaded around 150 of my published poems on a website, ”Rebel ar y We” (‘Rebel on the Web’), available to all, free of charge. In 2005, after my son’s illness, I changed the title to ”Rhedeg ar Wydr” (‘Running on a Glass Roof’). A few months later a revue was published by the Welsh Books Council in their magazine ”Llais Llyfrau”, which recognised that this was the first time a Welsh book had been placed on the web, the first Welsh e-book.

I urged other writers to publish on the web, rather than through a publisher; the middleman, the censor. The uproar which followed was not nice, especially by one publisher in North Wales who saw it as the beginning of the end! “Hundreds of pounds are at stake!” he wrote (”Golwg”, 16 March 2000), and for the next 10 years I was ‘sent to Coventry’ by the media. In an interview on BBC’s Radio Cymru around 2010 a listener phoned in and rudely chastised me by saying, “Don’t speak through your hat! Of course you can’t get a book to move down a phone-line and appear in another place!” And, yes, that was only 6 years ago! How things have changed!

Contributing ‘free information for everybody’ was my battle-cry, and the reason I started editing Wikipedia, with my first edit as User Llywelyn2000 on 7 June 2008, when cy-wiki already had a grand total of 16,000 articles. Today it has 81,400.

After the birth of en-wiki, it took around two years before her Welsh sibling, cy-wiki, appeared (July 2003). That first article was – and yes we are myopic! – ‘Wales’ with ‘List of Welsh people’, ‘Squirrel’, ‘David R. Edwards’ and ‘Owain Gwynedd’ quickly following.

Left to right: Robin Owain, Marc Haynes and Aled Powell
Left to right: Robin Owain, Marc Haynes and Aled Powell

In July 2008, I began to discuss on cy-wiki how we could reach out to public bodies in Wales, and develop further and faster through funding. The National Library and the Welsh universities were mentioned, and by January 2015 we had had a Wikipedian in Residence in both institutions.

At that point cy-wiki had 20,000 articles, and a development plan was created (April 2012) and £65,000 funding received from the Welsh Government, topped up by Wikimedia UK. I was appointed Manager of the project ‘Living Paths’, many new editors were trained, and content released on an open licence. In a sense, it opened the closet!

Of all the experiences in the last 8 years, the one which really sticks is the second meeting of the Welsh Language and Technology Advisory Committee. On 9 July 2012 I had arranged to meet the Minister Leyton Andrews, and together with the Chair of Wikimedia UK at that time, Roger Bamkin, we met him at his office in Cardiff. His answers to all seven of our requests were “Yes I can!” or “Yes we will!”

Within weeks I become a member of his advisory board, and it was in the second meeting that one of his main officers, Gareth Morlais, announced that Google had just informed them that the main criterion which determined whether or not their projects (Google Docs, Google Drive, Maps etc.) would be translated into another language was… the number of articles in that language’s Wikipedia. And that really struck home! All eyes turned towards me, and the weight of such responsibility became heavy and awesome!

Robin Owain receiving an award at WikiConference UK 2013 - Image by Mike Peel
Robin Owain receiving an award at WikiConference UK 2013 – Image by Mike Peel

Other mile-stones, through my dragon tinted spectacles, include:

  • 9 April 2004  the 1,000th article.
  • 1 July 2008 Discussion on cy-wiki regarding ‘reaching out’ to other institutions and bodies.
  • 20 November 2008 20,000th article  (‘Cycling in the 1984 Summer Olympics‘)
  • 23 April 2012 I launched the main cy-wiki ‘Development Plan’.
  • 30 June 2012 Rhys Wynne and myself co-organised the first Editathon in Wales (at Central Library, Cardiff).
  • 9 July 2012  meeting with Leyton Andrews.
  • 21 December 2012 first Welsh ‘bot’: BOT-Twm Crys (transl: ‘Shirt Button’), creating redirections from Latin names of moths and butterflies to Welsh articles.
  • December 2012 Two meetings: editors of the Welsh encylopaedia (”’Gwyddoniadur Cymreig”’) and the second with Andrew Green, Head Librarian and Dafydd Tudur, Digital Access Manager at the National Library of Wales. Both Roger Bamkin and Ashley, representing Wikimedia UK were also at the meetings.
  • September 2013 I started the @WiciCymru  Twitter account.
  • December 2013 I helped coordinate Wikimedia UK’s ‘EduWiki’ down in Cardiff,  with Gareth Morlais opening the conference on behalf of the Welsh Government.
  • January 2014  Aled Powell appointed as Wici Cymru’s Training Organiser, as part of the ‘Living Paths’ project.
  • January 2014 Marc Haynes appointed as full time Wikipedian in residence at the Coleg Cymraeg (Welsh language ‘federal’ university).
  • January 2015 Jason Evans appointed WiR at the National Library of Wales.
  • Autumn 2016 9,500 new articles on living birds through our partnership with the nature group ‘Llen Natur’ (a branch of ‘Cymdeithas Edward Llwyd’) bringing the total number of articles to 81,000.
  • Autumn 2016 13,000 images taken from Commons appear on Llen Natur’s ‘Dictionary of Species’, turning it into the biggest Illustrated Dictionary of Species Wales has ever seen!

And the milestones will continue long after I’m gone, for I, certainly am not important. We are all Amazonian ants building a fine nest, where the whole is much greater than its parts. But I’m really honoured to be a part of something good, free, open, organic, where every language is respected as being a part of that wider spectrum.

Cy-wiki, is part of the conservation of that rich diversity, where my little language and way of life are respected and recognised within the big picture.

Yn Rhagfyr 1996, rhoddais dros 150 o fy ngherddi ar y we am ddim i bawb mewn casgliad o’r enw Rebel ar y We a newidiwyd yn 2005 i Redeg ar Wydr. Ychydig yn ddiweddarach cychwynais gylchgrawn digidol i blant, o’r enw Byd y Beirdd, gan alw ar feirdd roi eu gwaith hwythau ar y we am ddim i bawb. Erbyn heddiw, gallem alw Rebel ar y We yn e-lyfr, ond doedd y gair hwnnw ddim ar gael am ugain mlynedd arall! A hithau’n 2016, a’r gyfrol yn 20 oed, chlywais i ddim am unrhyw ddathliad o fath yn y byd! Cyhoeddwyd dros fil o e-lyfrau ers hynny, ond ychydig iawn sydd am ddim. A mi eith y pen-blwydd heibio, mi wranta, heb ganhwyllau, balwnau na cherdyn pen-blwydd! Cyn troi at brosiectau Wicimedia, dyma osod llwyfan am y cyd-destun: meddylfryd rhai Cymry yn y cyfnod cyn eu laniso.

Chredwch chi ddim y cicio a’r gweiddi ym mhlentyndod y we Gymraeg! Er i bob un o feirdd Byd y Beirdd lofnodi cytundeb ysgrifenedig yn rhoi eu hawl i gyhoeddi’r cerddi, gwaeddodd un perchennog gwasg yng Ngogledd Cymru: “Mae cannoedd o bunnoedd yn y fantol!” (Gweler Golwg, 16 Mawrth 2000) gan gyhoeddi fod perygl mewn cyhoeddi “amaturaidd” pan nad oes arian yn newid dwylo! Roedd yn gweld ei golled ariannol ei hun yn bwysicach na hawl llenorion Cymru i gyhoeddi eu gwaith eu hunain, yn bwysicach na’r Gymraeg. Diolch byth mae’r hen feddwl negyddol, cyfalafol hwnnw’n brysur ddiflannu! A phe bai wedi gofyn i’r beirdd pa un oedd bwyicaf – dyblu nifer y darllenwyr neu wneud ceiniog neu ddwy, dw i’n gwybod yn iawn beth fyddai’r ateb: mai sgwennu i’r gynulleidfa oedd bwysicaf! A mynegwyd hynny gan Selwyn Gruffudd ac eraill. Fel y dywedais gannwaith: “o’r llenor i’r darllenydd”, gan hepgor y sensor yn y canol.

Cyhoeddwyd adolygiad o Rebel ar y We yng Ngwanwyn 1997 yn Llais Llyfrau (Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru) a nodwyd mai dyma’r gyfrol Gymraeg gyntaf i’w rhoi ar y we. Mi sgwennais yn Golwg (6 Ebrill 2000): Pe bai pob cyhoeddwr llyfrau heddiw yn rhoi pob llyfr a gyhoeddwyd ganddynt AM DDIM ar y we byddai hynny’n ymestyn einioes y Gymraeg am genhedlaeth neu ddwy. Mae’r rhyngrwyd yma i aros… ac mae’n dyngedfennol ein bod yn ail-ystyried ein syniadau confensiynol am gyhoeddi, yn ei sgîl. Mae’r chwyldro ar y teledu – a’r monitor – ac mae’n rhaid i’r Gymraeg fod yno!

Pan fewngofnodais am y tro cyntaf ar y Wicipedia Cymraeg (cy-wici) ar 7 Mehefin 2008, roedd na tua 16,000 o erthyglau ac mae’r nifer hwnnw wedi codi, bellach i dros 81,400. Yng Ngorffennaf 2003 y teipiwyd y gair cyntaf ar cy-wici ar yr erthygl ar y Gymraeg; yn fuan ar ôl hynny y daeth: Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Rhestr Cymry, Gwiwer, David R. Edwards ac Owain Gwynedd. Y mis hwnnw roedd yr en-wici dros ddwy oed.

Left to right: Robin Owain, Marc Haynes and Aled Powell
Left to right: Robin Owain, Marc Haynes and Aled Powell

Yng Ngorffennaf 2008 dechreuais drafodaeth am nawdd a datblygu cy-wici drwy bartneru gyda chyrff erall. Roedd llai na 20,000 o erthyglau ar y pryd a datblygodd y drafodaeth yn weithgaredd unigolion y tu allan i WP ee cysylltu gyda Bwrdd yr Iaith, Prifysgol Cymru a’r Llyfrgell Genedlaethol. Datblygodd hyn yn gais am nawdd a chafwyd £65,000 gan Lywodraeth Cymru a lansiwyd y prosiect ‘Llwybrau Byw’. Fe’m penodwyd yn Rheolwr Cymdeithas Wici Cymru, gyda Wikimedia UK yn gwneud y gwaith papur o ddydd i ddydd. Ar ddiwedd y flwyddyn parhaodd y cytundeb a dw i’n dal yn fy swydd.

Ceir llawer o fanylion ar gerrig milltir eraill ar y dudalen Wicipedia Cymraeg ar cy-wici. Ond o’m rhan i, mae’r canlynol, wedi’u serio ym mêr fy esgyrn. Efallai mai un o’r profiadau mwyaf cofiadwy oedd hwnnw pan oeddwn ar banel ymgynghorol TG/Cymraeg y Llywodraeth yn 2013; tra’n trafod sefyllfa’r Gymraeg o fewn Techoleg Gwybodaeth, cyhoeddodd Gareth Morlais fod Google wedi’i hysbysu mai’r nifer o erthyglau ar Wicipedia oedd yn penderfynu sawl miliwn o ddoleri y bydden nhw’n ei wario ar gyfieithu eu prosiectau i’r Gymraeg a ieithoedd eraill. Mi chwysais litr neu ddwy o sylweddoli’r fath gyfrifoldeb oedd arnom! Dyma gerrig milltir eraill:

Robin (chwith), Carwyn Jones, Prif Weinidog Cymru, a Linda Tomos, Prif Lyfrgellydd y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol. Cyfarfod yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol 2012.

Mi fyddai’n cymharu Wicipedia’n aml i nyth morgrug Amasonaidd, a braf ei weld yn tyfu. Brafiach yw gweld newid ym meddyliau pobl, lle ceir meddwl rhydd annibynol heddiw, a’r syniad o rannu’n bwysicach na’r hyn a fu yng Nghymru cyhyd – cyhoeddi er mwyn arian. Os mai dymuniad y person yw gwneud arian, yna awgrymaf eu bod yn newid eu swydd a bod yn fancar neu’n llawfeddyg. Ond os mai’r rheswm dros olygu ydyw fod y llenor yn dymuno rhannu ei waith, neu drosglwyddo gwybodaeth neu argyhoeddi eraill, yna wici ydy’r lle, neu wefan agored arall, sy’n rhydd ac am ddim. Dwn i ddim pwy yw llawer o’r morgrug hyn, gan ein bod yn aml yn defnyddio ffug enw. Mae llawer wedi gwneud argraff arna i, yn bennaf, ‘Anatiomaros‘, Eleri James a Les Barker. Petha bach ydy morgrug ond mae eu gwaith diflino wedi creu’r storfa gwybodaeth Gymraeg mwyaf a fu erioed yn y cosmos, a’r fynedfa iddi am ddim! Gwnewch y pethau bychan – ar ei orau!

Rydym ar drothwy gweld datblygiadau’r 6 mlynedd diwethaf yn dwyn ffrwyth ar ei ganfed; bu’n waith caled, diddiolch, nid-am-arian, a hynny ar adeg pan oedd llawer o’n pobl yn anwybodus am bethau digidol, yn draddodiadol gul hefyd. Anghofia i byth sgwrsio gyda Wyn Roberts (Llansannan ers talwm) am lyfrau ar Radio Cymru, minnau’n sôn am Rebel ar y We, a’i fod mewn gwirionedd yr e-lyfr cyntaf yn Gymraeg. Wedi deg munud o sgwrsio, dyma rhyw hen wag o Ben Llŷn yn ffonio ac yn dweud wrtha i: “Peidiwch a siarad drwy’ch het, ddyn, wrth gwrs na fedrwch chi ddim tynnu llyfr i lawr gwifren ffôn!” 2010 oedd hynny, nid 1910!

Mi ddyfynaf fy nhad i orffen, dyfyniad allan o lyfr Aled Eurig, Tân a Daniwyd (Argr. W. Walters a’i Fab, 1976):

Hyn yw angen mawr Cymru heddiw: gweithwyr caled, gweithwyr cyson, gweithwyr adeiladol, gweithwyr creadigol, gweithwyr positif – gydag argyhoeddiad dwfn o werth yr unigolyn, a chariad tuag at gyd-ddyn yn ogystal â thuag at Gymru.

Trafod ei waith yn y 1960 yr oedd yn yr erthygl, ei waith fel ysgrifennydd Arfon o Gymdeithas yr Iaith a sefydlydd Tafod y Ddraig ond gallasai’n hawdd fod yn disgrifio yr hyn sydd ei angen arnom ni fel cenedl heddiw.


by Robin Owain at December 01, 2016 10:00 AM

November 30, 2016

Content Translation Update

November 30 CX Update: New Template Editor

Content Translation is getting a major new feature: Completely re-written support for templates. It was in design, testing and development since June 2016, and the first version of this feature was released today, Wednesday November 30 to Wikipedia in Catalan and Hebrew, and tomorrow, December 1st to Wikipedia in all languages.

The goal of this new feature is to make it easy to translate the templates across languages.

We want to give more control to all the people who use the Content Translation feature directly or are affected by it: translators, other editors of articles that were created as translations, and template maintainers.

Templates are used heavily in all Wikimedia projects. When Content Translation’s development started in 2014, the developers gave it very basic template support. Templates that used a whole paragraph, such as infoboxes and long quotations, were usually skipped completely. Shorter templates inside paragraphs, such as references, unit conversions, quotes in other languages, “citation needed”, etc., were adapted to a corresponding template in the target language when possible, or substituted with wiki syntax.

While this was useful for the creation of much more than 100,000 new articles in a lot of languages, this was far from perfect. It was confusing that infoboxes and whole paragraphs of quotations were not shown during the translation, and they had to be inserted manually after creating the first version of the translated article. References were frequently adapted incorrectly and inserted a lot of hard-to-maintain wiki syntax.

We now start to address this issue by letting translators choose what to do with each template. No templates are silently ignored now, so infoboxes and all other templates are shown in the source article column during the translation. When clicking on a template, a card on the sidebar will let the translator choose what to with the template. It’s possible to skip a template entirely (“Skip template”) or to insert the wiki syntax of the template as it appears in the original language (“Keep original template”). If an equivalent template is available in the target language, it will be possible to insert it, and edit the parameters one by one (“Use equivalent template”).

The template editor, while translating the article Shalom Meir Tower from English into Catalan. All the parameter names are shown, and can be added one by one. After adding all the needed parameters, close the editor and the template will be shown.

If the equivalent templates have the same parameter names, their values will be copied automatically. If the parameter names are different, but the template in the target language has TemplateData defined with names of parameters and aliases that are the same as the parameter names in the source language, they can also be adapted automatically. You can read more about TemplateData at mediawiki.org.

The template, inserted after translation. Notice that the template is rendered during the translation and the differences between the design in the different languages are easy to see.

Wikis have people who develop and maintain the templates in them. This is also an opportunity for all wikis—large, medium, and small—to take a look at their templates and improve them. Here are several things that can be done:

  • Add TemplateData (link: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:TemplateData) to templates that don’t have it yet. This will allow Content Translation and Visual Editor to show template insertion and editing forms where all the parameters are displayed conveniently.
  • Consider adding aliases for template parameter names that correspond to parameters in wikis in other languages from which articles are frequently translated into your language. You can see from which languages articles are translated most often into yours by going to the page Special:CXStats in your wiki.
  • Consider making the types of parameter more similar across languages. For example, in some languages images are provided as complete file links (e.g. “ {{Infobox person|image=[[File:Sophie Kowalevski.jpg|thumb|300px|Sofia Kovalevskaya, 1880]]}}”) and others have separate parameters for file name, size and caption (e.g. {{Infobox person|name=Sofia Kovalevskaya|image=Sophie Kowalevski.jpg|image_size=300|caption=Sofia Kovalevskaya, 1880}}). Making the parameter structure similar to the structure in the language from which articles are often translated will make the work considerably more efficient for translators and article maintainers.

As noted earlier, this is only the first release of this feature. Templates on Wikimedia projects are very diverse, and while the developers tested the new template editor with many templates in many languages, it is impossible for us to test it with all the different templates—there are just too many of them. Because of this, it may be impossible to adapt some templates at first. As always, we’d love to hear from you about templates that can’t be adapted, and about other bugs. We nevertheless believe that this feature is already an improvement over the way that templates were handled till today, and we are continuing the development to make template translation easier and more efficient based on your input.

You can read more about the design and the development of this feature, as well as details for its future improvements in Phabricator task T139332.

by aharoni at November 30, 2016 10:27 PM

Semantic MediaWiki

Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.3 released/en

Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.3 released/en

November 28, 2016

Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.3 (SMW 2.4.3) has been released today as a new version of Semantic MediaWiki.

This new version is a minor release and provides bugfixes for the current 2.4 branch of Semantic MediaWiki. Please refer to the help page on installing Semantic MediaWiki to get detailed instructions on how to install or upgrade.

by TranslateBot at November 30, 2016 07:48 PM

Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.3 released

Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.3 released

November 28, 2016

Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.3 (SMW 2.4.3) has been released today as a new version of Semantic MediaWiki.

This new version is a minor release and provides bugfixes for the current 2.4 branch of Semantic MediaWiki. Please refer to the help page on installing Semantic MediaWiki to get detailed instructions on how to install or upgrade.

by Kghbln at November 30, 2016 07:45 PM

Wikimedia UK

Wiki Loves Africa competition focuses on Music and Dance

London African Street Style Festival – Image by Jwslubbock CC BY-SA 4.0

Cape Town, 28th November 2016 – Music and dance are the very beat of this vibrant continent. It is therefore fitting that for the third Wiki Loves Africa media competition, the focus will be on Music and Dance.

Wiki Loves Africa encourages participants to contribute media – photographs, video or sound files – to illustrate a theme chosen by Wikipedia volunteers across Africa. The theme changes each year to cover a universal, visually rich and culturally specific topic (for example, markets, rites of passage, festivals, public art, cuisine, natural history, urbanity, daily life, notable persons, etc). For 2016, the Wikipedia community chose Music and Dance. In a further celebration of music from across Africa, the project is asking musicians to donate a track to the Wiki Loves Africa Playlist.

Over the last two years, the contest has been very photographically biased. Dance and music are not only very visual, but also perfect for video and sound. This year we are expecting more videos and sound files to be submitted. Since 2014, the contest has seen the contribution of 13,624 photographs to Wikimedia Commons for potential use on Wikipedia. In the first year, under the theme Cuisine, 873 people contributed 6,116 photographs. Cultural fashion and adornment was the theme for the next year, 2015, which saw 722 people contribute over 7,500 photographs.

The competition runs from the 1st December 2016 to the 31st January 2017 and entries are welcome from anywhere on the continent and beyond. Specific actions, including training, photowalks and upload events, are held in focus countries by national organisers. This year, the ten focus countries are Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

All entries to Wiki Loves Africa will be directly uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (the digital repository of the Wikimedia projects) with the intention of being used to illustrate relevant existing articles or as a basis to begin new articles on Wikipedia and other project websites of the Wikimedia Foundation. The teams will also be working with existing photographic groups to encourage their members to use their photographic skills, learn about licensing and contributing media to Wikipedia, and win prizes.

The main prizes for the competition are:

  • 1st Prize: US$600
  • 2nd Prize: US$400
  • 3rd Prize: US$200
  • Community Prize: US$200
  • The Awesome Prize: US$400

In addition, each winner will also receive a year’s subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan, and a portable power pack. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be selected by a jury of international Wikipedians and professional photographers. The Community Prize is chosen by the Wikipedia Community from the Jury’s short list. The Awesome Prize will be awarded for outstanding media contribution to the project, and will be chosen by the two organisers.

For the Wiki Loves Africa Playlist, the teams will partner with music and cultural organisations like Music in Africa and Goethe-Instituts in each focus country to encourage the contribution of photographs, sound files and videos to Wikipedia during the competition. Musicians will be encouraged to release an example of their work under the CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence to be part of the Wiki Loves Africa Playlist.

Wiki Loves Africa is activated by the Wikimedia community that created Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, and built the free media archive Wikimedia Commons. The competition was conceptualised by Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood as a fun and engaging way to rebalance the lack of visual representations and relevant content that exists about Africa on Wikipedia. The competition is supported by Ynternet.org. It is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation and local partners in individual countries.

The images donated are available for use on the internet and beyond, under the Creative Commons license CC BY SA 4.0. ###

Useful links:

by John Lubbock at November 30, 2016 12:16 PM

November 29, 2016

Wiki Education Foundation

Five reasons you should donate to Wiki Ed on Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday, a U.S. holiday to encourage donations to worthy nonprofits. If you’re planning to make financial contributions this year, we hope you’ll consider supporting the Wiki Education Foundation. Here’s why:

1. We’re dramatically improving the availability and accuracy of information available on Wikipedia. Since 2010, students in our program have added 25 million words to Wikipedia, or the equivalent of 85,000 printed pages of content. That’s 56% of the total words in the last print edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. During the times of the term when our students are most active, they are contributing 10% of all the content being added to underdeveloped, academic content areas on Wikipedia. Your financial support will help us grow these numbers even further, adding more content to Wikipedia.

2. We’re giving students crucial media literacy skills. Especially in light of the rise of fake news websites, teaching students media literacy skills is crucial. Wiki Ed’s program teaches students how to tell if a source they find on the internet is reliable or not. Your gift will help us provide media literacy skills to more students.

3. We bring diversity to Wikipedia. You may have heard that Wikipedia is written by a volunteer base that is at least 80% male. And Wikipedia reflects the knowledge of its volunteers. Around 68% of Wiki Ed’s program participants are women, and our partnership with the National Women’s Studies Association has helped us improve important content related to gender and sexuality to Wikipedia. Our students have already added more than 1.5 million words in these topic areas to Wikipedia. Your donation will help us bring more women to Wikipedia.

4. We improved science literacy with our highly successful Year of Science initiative. In 2016, we kicked off the single largest initiative ever to improve content on Wikipedia in a specific subject area: the Year of Science. We are projecting that by the end of 2016, more than 6,000 students at 151 universities will have added more than 5 million words of content in the sciences to the English Wikipedia. Already, 140 million people have read the articles our students have improved as part of the Year of Science, and we expect that number to grow dramatically in the final months of the initiative as students in our fall term group of classes start improving articles. The 6,000 students who participated in this initiative this year gained valuable skills in communicating scientific information to a general population. Your donation will help us sustain the Year of Science.

5. We create resources used by other groups improving Wikipedia globally. To be able to achieve our large programmatic impact numbers, we’ve developed a series of guides to editing Wikipedia articles and teaching with Wikipedia as well as our Dashboard online course management software application. All the materials we develop are released under an open license, meaning anyone can adapt, localize, and translate our resources. Our Year of Science initiative already spread to Brazil, and more than 150 programs globally are using an open version of our Dashboard software to track their impact to Wikipedia. Your financial support for Wiki Ed also supports the development of resources people all around the world are using to improve Wikipedia content in their languages.

You can donate online at wikiedu.org/donate If you do, we encourage you to let your friends know on social media know by tagging Wiki Education Foundation and posting “Join me in supporting the Wiki Education Foundation on #GivingTuesday.”

Wiki Ed is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization who publishes our financials online to demonstrate our commitment to strong fiscal practices and transparency. We don’t receive a share of the money collected off the banners you see on Wikipedia and we don’t charge for our support, so we are reliant on the gifts of generous contributors like you. Please make your gift today.

by Tom Porter at November 29, 2016 02:05 PM

Wikimedia Foundation

Your donation keeps Wikipedia and free knowledge thriving

File:A chat with Katherine Maher - Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.webm

Video by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0. You can also view it on YouTube, Vimeo, and
without burned-in English subtitles on Wikimedia Commons.

Blink! In that short moment, people like you opened more than 2,000 articles on Wikipedia to find information they need.[1] Today, Giving Tuesday, and through the month of December, we invite anyone who values this experience to donate and help keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come.

Wikipedia exists because everyone, everywhere should have access to free knowledge. Because we need a clear picture of history to prepare for the future. Because the world is a better place when humans can connect across time and space, and share knowledge without boundaries. Like blinking, it’s easy to forget everything that makes Wikipedia possible: a community of volunteers around the world; a secure connection so you can access Wikipedia without sacrificing privacy or safety; a commitment to never run ads and preserve our independence.

Wikipedia and the other free knowledge projects are supported by donations from millions of people around the world, with an average gift of $15. This support is critical to the future of Wikipedia and free knowledge.

“Now, more than ever, the world needs access to reliable, neutral information,” said Wikimedia Foundation executive director Katherine Maher. “Wikipedia gives us that: 40 million articles across hundreds of languages ranging from ancient history to current affairs, supported by reliable sources. Along with other Wikimedia projects such as Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia represents an ever-growing repository of knowledge, curated and owned by the public. We are committed to protecting and upholding this incredible resource, and we hope you will join us.”

Why donate?

At the Wikimedia Foundation, we support Wikipedia, the Wikimedia sites, and the volunteers who contribute to them. The donations we raise help keep Wikipedia free, neutral and easily accessible for you and everyone in the world– anytime, anywhere.

So what happens when you click through the banner and make a donation? Last year, we were able to do some incredible things with the donations we received. Here are some of the things your contributions made possible:

  • 24/7 availability of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites through maintenance of more than 1,200 servers and a team of dedicated engineers around the world.
  • More than 15,000 code contributions to create new site features, address bugs, and make improvements to the Wikimedia sites’ performance.
  • Improvements to desktop, mobile web, and mobile app reader experiences, including a more efficient mobile download process that saves our readers about 450 terabytes of data each year.
  • Events and workshops reaching thousands of volunteers, enriching content on the Wikimedia sites, inviting new editors to join, and supporting volunteer work around the world.
  • Legal defense to preserve your right to access, share, and remix knowledge, including court battles won over Wikimedia content in Brazil, Germany, France, and India.
  • Research around the world, including in Nigeria, Mexico, and India, to better understand and serve the needs of our global users.

Contributions from millions of donors like you make this work, and much more, possible. By donating to the Wikimedia Foundation, you’re joining a movement of people who support free knowledge.

About the 2016 contribution campaign

The 2016 contribution campaign will run on the English Wikipedia through the month of December. Our goal for this campaign is to raise $25 million by the end of the month. Donations received from the online campaign will go primarily toward the Wikimedia Foundation’s operating budget for the next fiscal year—the funds we use to sustain our work at the Foundation for a given year. The remainder of the Wikimedia Foundation’s funding comes from individuals gifts given outside the year-end campaign, and from a handful of foundation grants.

To make a donation, click the fundraising appeal on Wikipedia, or go directly to donate.wikimedia.org.

If you’d like to see exactly how every dollar is spent, please take a look at our 2016–17 Annual Plan and our Financial Reports. We publish these documents every year; transparency is one of our guiding principles at the Wikimedia Foundation.


[1] For the purpose of this metric, the blink of an eye is estimated at 0.3–0.4 seconds, and the pageview statistics are based on an October 2016 recording of pageviews/second across all language Wikipedias.

by Wikimedia Foundation at November 29, 2016 02:00 PM

November 28, 2016

Wikimedia Foundation

Over a decade in, Piotr Konieczny is still editing and writing Wikipedia

Photo by Sage Ross, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Photo by Sage Ross, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Karl Marx’s argument that society is controlled by economics and politics paved the way for deeper research into social studies: Max Weber’s book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, drew a connection between economic sociology and the sociology of religion, and Émile Durkheim established the first European Department of Sociology in France in 1898.

The trio of Marx, Weber and Durkheim are known as the founders of modern social science, and it is no coincidence that the three Wikipedia articles on these founding sociologists are all “good articles“, a designation for quality on Wikipedia that only a small number of articles achieve.

The editor that improved the articles to this level is Piotr Konieczny, a sociology professor at the University of Hanyang in South Korea. Konieczny feels these articles are worthy of being deemed high quality because of the importance of the subject in human history:

They are key figures in sociology, and are discussed in all university courses dealing with Classic Sociology, History of, or such. As a fan of open textbooks, I decided to use several major sociology textbooks to expand and verify every fact in those articles. I think this demonstrates how Wikipedia can potentially replace traditional textbooks or book chapters. I am not saying Wikipedia articles can replace an in-depth book, but they sure can replace a 20-30 page-long biographical chapter on the significance of a historical figure’s life.

In addition to the articles covering the trio of groundbreaking sociologists, Konieczny has improved 79 good articles and 22 featured articles in the 13 years since he joined Wikipedia. He started editing in 2003 as a way to give back to the community. His sense of purpose drove him to make massive quality contributions online and to help recruit editors, especially from universities, where he was one of the very first educators to assign students Wikipedia editing tasks.

“There are many ways to make the world better,” says Konieczny, “and volunteering is prominent here. While there are many worthy cases, creating educational content on Wikipedia is the best way to educate the world’s populace.”

The long but prolific Wikipedia journey during which Konieczny made nearly 250,000 edits on Wikimedia projects and created over 2,900 new articles started bizarrely: “My first edits involved adding some copyvio content,” Konieczny recalls. “After it was removed, I got annoyed but also motivated enough to learn why, which taught me about plagiarism, copyvios, copyright, free culture and related topics. I guess I was one of those newbies who did not get discouraged by the removal of their content. Instead, I got a good learning experience from it.”

Soon after the Polish-born scholar embarked on his academic career, Konieczny wanted to share his Wikipedia experience with his students. Konieczny has been assigning his students Wikipedia editing tasks since 2006, long before the idea of using Wikipedia as a teaching tool would become as popular as it is today.

Regular Wikipedia courses started in the United States in 2010 as part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Public Policy Initiative. The initiative has rapidly grown to the Wikipedia Education Program, now recognized worldwide in over 60 countries. Thousands of students participate and add millions of bytes to Wikipedia every year. However, the idea of teaching with Wikipedia has some older roots.

“I was not the first” to use Wikipedia in education, says Konieczny, pointing to a list of school and university projects that has been extant since 2003, but he’s been doing it “with scarcely a break in 10 years.” His students added dosens of quality articles to Wikipedia.

Konieczny’s Wikipedia-related contributions to academia were not limited to teaching with Wikipedia. He has written and published several papers about Wikipedia, teaching using Wikipedia, the decision-making process within the Wikipedia community, and other topics.

He also holds introductory workshops to introduce Wikipedia to university professors and collaborates with his students on organizing Wikimedia related activities. This year, Konieczny and one of his previous students helped organize the first Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest in South Korea.

On his Wikipedia user page, Konieczny describes himself as an otaku, a word of Japanese origin that means “someone with great interest in something to the detriment of their personal life.” It is typically used to refer to anime fans—but given his contributions, Konieczny is probably a Wikipedia otaku as well.

Samir Elsharbaty, Digital Content Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

by Samir Elsharbaty at November 28, 2016 09:45 PM

Wiki Education Foundation

The Roundup: Tiny machines

Modern technology requires tiny, precisely manufactured parts.

If you want to know how those parts are made, you can thank students in Dr. Ashis Banerjee’s Introduction to Manufacturing Processes class (first section; second section) at the University of Washington for the work they did across articles related to manufacturing processes.

Take a look at the new article about mesoscale manufacturing, which deals with manufacturing parts in the 0.1 to 5 mm range (essentially no larger than a penny). Want to learn about how smaller parts are made? Take a look at an article those students created about 3D microfabrication. Thinking smaller still? How about the article the class created on nano manufacturing and the directed assembly of micro- and nano-structures.

It’s not all about tiny machines, though. Want to know how your toothbrush is manufactured? Take a look at their Multi-material injection molding article. Among the many other articles created or expanded substantially by the class are economics of plastics processing, microcellular plastic, digital manufacturing, and grinding wheel wear.

These students did great work that helps readers understand aspects of a very modern manufacturing economy. It’s a good example of the kind of knowledge that might otherwise have not been very detailed on Wikipedia.

Congratulations to these students on their excellent work!

Photo: Coded wire tags size 1 millimeter by USFWS Pacific Region, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

by Ian Ramjohn at November 28, 2016 05:00 PM

Tech News

Tech News issue #48, 2016 (November 28, 2016)

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November 28, 2016 12:00 AM

November 27, 2016

Jeroen De Dauw

Implementing the Clean Architecture

Both Domain Driven Design and architectures such as the Clean Architecture and Hexagonal are often talked about. It’s hard to go to a conference on software development and not run into one of these topics. However it can be challenging to find good real-world examples. In this blog post I’ll introduce you to an application following the Clean Architecture and incorporating a lot of DDD patterns. The focus is on the key concepts of the Clean Architecture, and the most important lessons we learned implementing it.

The application

The real-world application we’ll be looking at is the Wikimedia Deutschland fundraising software. It is a PHP application written in 2016, replacing an older legacy system. While the application is written in PHP, the patterns followed are by and large language agnostic, and are thus relevant for anyone writing object orientated software.

I’ve outlined what the application is and why we replaced the legacy system in a blog post titled Rewriting the Wikimedia Deutschland fundraising. I recommend you have a look at least at its “The application” section, as it will give you a rough idea of the domain we’re dealing with.

A family of architectures

Architectures such as Hexagonal and the Clean Architecture are very similar. At their core, they are about separation of concerns. They decouple from mechanisms such as persistence and used frameworks and instead focus on the domain and high level policies. A nice short read on this topic is Unclebob’s blog post on the Clean Architecture. Another recommended post is Hexagonal != Layers, which explains that how just creating a bunch of layers is missing the point.

The Clean Architecture


The arrows crossing the circle boundaries represent the allowed direction of dependencies. At the core is the domain. “Entities” here means Entities such as in Domain Driven Design, not to be confused by ORM entities. The domain is surrounded by a layer containing use cases (sometimes called interactors) that form an API that the outside world, such as a controller, can use to interact with the domain. The use cases themselves only bind to the domain and certain cross cutting concerns such as logging, and are devoid of binding to the web, the database and the framework.

class CancelDonationUseCase {
    private /* DonationRepository */ $repository;
    private /* Mailer */ $mailer;

    public function cancelDonation( CancelDonationRequest $r ): CancelDonationResponse {
        $this->validateRequest( $r );

        $donation = $this->repository->getDonationById( $r->getDonationId() );
        $this->repository->storeDonation( $donation );

        $this->sendConfirmationEmail( $donation );

        return new CancelDonationResponse( /* ... */ );

In this example you can see how the UC for canceling a donation gets a request object, does some stuff, and then returns a response object. Both the request and response objects are specific to this UC and lack both domain and presentation mechanism binding. The stuff that is actually done is mainly interaction with the domain through Entities, Aggregates and Repositories.

    public function( Request $httpRequest ) use ( $factory ) {
        $requestModel = new CancelDonationRequest(
            $httpRequest->request->get( 'donation_id' ),
            $httpRequest->request->get( 'update_token' )

        $useCase = $factory->newCancelDonationUseCase();
        $responseModel = $useCase->cancelDonation( $requestModel );

        $presenter = $factory->newNukeLaunchingResultPresenter();
        return new Response( $presenter->present( $responseModel ) );

This is a typical way of invoking a UC. The framework we’re using is Silex, which calls the function we provided when the route matches. Inside this function we construct our framework agnostic request model and invoke the UC with it. Then we hand over the response model to a presenter to create the appropriate HTML or other such format. This is all the framework bound code we have for canceling donations. Even the presenter does not bind to the framework, though it does depend on Twig.

If you are familiar with Silex, you might already have noticed that we’re constructing our UC different than you might expect. We decided to go with our own top level factory, rather than using the dependency injection mechanism provided by Silex: Pimple. Our factory internally actually uses Pimple, though this is not visible from the outside. With this approach we gain a nicer access to service construction, since we can have a getLogger() method with LoggerInterface return type hint, rather than accessing $app['logger'] or some such, which forces us to bind to a string and leaves us without type hint.


This use case based approach makes it very easy to see what our system is capable off at a glance.


And it makes it very easy to find where certain behavior is located, or to figure out where new behavior should be put.

All code in our src/ directory is framework independent, and all code binding to specific persistence mechanisms resides in src/DataAccess. The only framework bound code we have are our very slim “route handlers” (kinda like controllers), the web entry point and the Silex bootstrap.

Lesson learned: bounded contexts

By and large we started with the donation related use cases and then moved on to the membership application related ones. At some point, we had a Donation entity/aggregate in our domain, and a bunch of value objects that it contained.

class Donation {
    private /* int|null */            $id
    private /* PersonalInfo|null */   $personalInfo
    /* ... */

class PersonalInfo {
    private /* PersonName */          $name
    private /* PhysicalAddress */     $address
    private /* string */              $emailAddress

As you can see, one of those value objects is PersonalInfo. Then we needed to add an entity for membership applications. Like donations, membership applications require a name, a physical address and an email address. Hence it was tempting to reuse our existing PersonalInfo class.

class MembershipApplication {
    private /* int|null */            $id
    private /* PersonalInfo|null */   $personalInfo
    /* ... */

Luckily a complication made us realize that going down this path was not a good idea. This complication was that membership applications also have a phone number and an optional date of birth. We could have forced code sharing by doing something hacky like adding new optional fields to PersonalInfo, or by creating a MorePersonalInfo derivative.

Approaches such as these, while resulting in some code sharing, also result in creating binding between Donation and MembershipApplication. That’s not good, as those two entities don’t have anything to do with each other. Sharing what happens to be the same at present is simply not a good idea. Just imagine that we did not have the phone number and date of birth in our first version, and then needed to add them. We’d either end up with one of those hacky solutions, or need to refactor code that has nothing to do (apart from the bad coupling) with what we want to modify.

What we did is renaming PersonalInfo to Donor and introduce a new Applicant class.

class Donor {
    private /* PersonName */          $name
    private /* PhysicalAddress */     $address
    private /* string */              $emailAddress

class Applicant {
    private /* PersonName */          $name
    private /* PhysicalAddress */     $address
    private /* EmailAddress */        $email
    private /* PhoneNumber */         $phone
    private /* DateTime|null */       $dateOfBirth

These names are better since they are about the domain (see ubiquitous language) rather than some technical terms we needed to come up with.

Amongst other things, this rename made us realize that we where missing some explicit boundaries in our application. The donation related code and the membership application related code where mostly independent from each other, and we agreed this was a good thing. To make it more clear that this is the case and highlight violations of that rule, we decided to reorganize our code to follow the strategic DDD pattern of Bounded Contexts.


This mainly consisted out of reorganizing our directory and namespace structure, and a few instances of splitting some code that should not have been bound together.

Based on this we created a new diagram to reflect the high level structure of our application. This diagram, and a version with just one context, are available for use under CC-0.

Clean Architecture + Bounded Contexts

Lesson learned: validation

A big question we had near the start of our project was where to put validation code. Do we put it in the UCs, or in the controller-like code that calls the UCs?

One of the first UCs we added was the one for adding donations. This one has a request model that contains a lot of information, including the donor’s name, their email, their address, the payment method, payment amount, payment interval, etc. In our domain we had several value objects for representing parts of donations, such as the donor or the payment information.

class Donation {
    private /* int|null */            $id
    private /* Donor|null */          $donor
    private /* DonationPayment */     $payment
    /* ... */

class Donor {
    private /* PersonName */          $name
    private /* PhysicalAddress */     $address
    private /* string */              $emailAddress

Since we did not want to have one object with two dozen fields, and did not want to duplicate code, we used the value objects from our domain in the request model.

class AddDonationRequest {
    private /* Donor|null */          $donor
    private /* DonationPayment */     $payment
    /* ... */

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have realized that this approach violates one of the earlier outlined rules: nothing outside the UC layer is supposed to access anything from the domain. If value objects from the domain are exposed to whatever constructs the request model, i.e. a controller, this rule is violated. Loose from the this abstract objection, we got into real trouble by doing this.

Since we started doing validation in our UCs, this usage of objects from the domain in the request necessarily forced those objects to allow invalid values. For instance, if we’re validating the validity of an email address in the UC (or a service used by the UC), then the request model cannot use an EmailAddress which does sanity checks in its constructor.

We thus refactored our code to avoid using any of our domain objects in the request models (and response models), so that those objects could contain basic safeguards.

We made a similar change by altering which objects get validated. At the start of our project we created a number of validators that worked on objects from the domain. For instance a DonationValidator working with the Donation Entity. This DonationValidator would then be used by the AddDonationUseCase. This is not a good idea, since the validation that needs to happen depends on the context. In the AddDonationUseCase certain restrictions apply that don’t always hold for donations. Hence having a general looking DonationValidator is misleading. What we ended up doing instead is having validation code specific to the UCs, be it as part of the UC, or when too complex, a separate validation service in the same namespace. In both cases the validation code would work on the request model, i.e. AddDonationRequest, and not bind to the domain.

After learning these two lessons, we had a nice approach for policy-based validation. That’s not all validation that needs to be done though. For instance, if you get a number via a web request, the framework will typically give it to you as a string, which might thus not be an actual number. As the request model is supposed to be presentation mechanism agnostic, certain validation, conversion and error handling needs to happen before constructing the request model and invoking the UC. This means that often you will have validation in two places: policy based validation in the UC, and presentation specific validation in your controllers or equivalent code. If you have a string to integer conversion, number parsing or something internationalization specific, in your UC, you almost certainly messed up.

Closing notes

You can find the Wikimedia Deutschland fundraising application on GitHub and see it running in production. Unfortunately the code of the old application is not available for comparison, as it is not public. If you have questions, you can leave a comment, or contact me. If you find an issue or want to contribute, you can create a pull request.

As a team we learned a lot during this project, and we set a number of firsts at Wikimedia Deutschland, or the wider Wikimedia movement for that matter. The new codebase is the cleanest non-trivial application we have, or that I know of in PHP world. It is fully tested, contains less than 5% framework bound code, has strong strategic separation between both contexts and layers, has roughly 5% data access specific code and has tests that can be run without any real setup. (I might write another blog post on how we designed our tests and testing environment.)

Many thanks for my colleagues Kai Nissen and Gabriel Birke for being pretty awesome during our rewrite project.

by Jeroen at November 27, 2016 04:53 PM


Tracing some ornithological roots

The years 1883-1885 were tumultuous in the history of zoology in India. A group called the Simla Naturalists' Society was formed in the summer of 1885. The founding President of the Simla group was, oddly enough, Courtenay Ilbert - who some might remember for the Ilbert Bill which allowed Indian magistrates to make judgements on British subjects. Another member of this Simla group was Henry Collett who wrote a Flora of the Simla region (Flora Simlensis). This Society vanished without much of a trace. A slightly more stable organization was begun in 1883, the Bombay Natural History Society. The creation of these organizations was precipitated by the emergence of a gaping hole. A vacuum was created with the end of an India-wide correspondence network of naturalists that was fostered by a one-man-force - that of A. O. Hume. The ornithological chapter of Hume's life begins and ends in Shimla. Hume's serious ornithology began around 1870 and he gave it all up in 1883, after the loss of years of carefully prepared manuscripts for a magnum opus on Indian ornithology, damage to his specimen collections and a sudden immersion into Theosophy which also led him to abjure the killing of animals, taking to vegetarianism and subsequently to take up the cause of Indian nationalism. The founders of the BNHS included Eha (E. H. Aitken was also a Hume/Stray Feathers correspondent), J.C. Anderson (who was a Simla naturalist) and Phipson (who was from a wine merchant family with a strong presence in Simla).

Shimla then was where Hume rose in his career (as Secretary of State, before falling) allowing him to work on his hobby project of Indian ornithology by bringing together a large specimen collection and conducting the publication of Stray Feathers. Through readings, I had a constructed a fairytale picture of the surroundings that he lived in. Richard Bowdler Sharpe, a curator at the British Museum who came to Shimla in 1885 wrote (his description  is well worth reading in full):
... Mr. Hume who lives in a most picturesque situation high up on Jakko, the house being about 7800 feet above the level of the sea. From my bedroom window I had a fine view of the snowy range. ... at last I stood in the celebrated museum and gazed at the dozens upon dozens of tin cases which filled the room ... quite three times as large as our meeting-room at the Zoological Society, and, of course, much more lofty. Throughout this large room went three rows of table-cases with glass tops, in which were arranged a series of the birds of India sufficient for the identification of each species, while underneath these table-cases were enormous cabinets made of tin, with trays inside, containing series of the birds represented in the table-cases above. All the specimens were carefully done up in brown-paper cases, each labelled outside with full particulars of the specimen within. Fancy the labour this represents with 60,000 specimens! The tin cabinets were all of materials of the best quality, specially ordered from England, and put together by the best Calcutta workmen. At each end of the room were racks reaching up to the ceiling, and containing immense tin cases full of birds. As one of these racks had to be taken down during the repairs of the north end of the museum, the entire space between the table-cases was taken up by the tin cases formerly housed in it, so that there was literally no space to walk between the rows. On the western side of the museum was the library, reached by a descent of three stops—a cheerful room, furnished with large tables, and containing, besides the egg-cabinets, a well-chosen set of working volumes. ... In a few minutes an immense series of specimens could be spread out on the tables, while all the books were at hand for immediate reference. ... we went below into the basement, which consisted of eight great rooms, six of them full, from floor to ceilings of cases of birds, while at the back of the house two large verandahs were piled high with cases full of large birds, such as Pelicans, Cranes, Vultures, &c.
I was certainly not hoping to find Hume's home as described but the situation turned out to be a lot worse. The first thing I did was to contact Professor Sriram Mehrotra, a senior historian who has published on the origins of the Indian National Congress. Prof. Mehrotra explained that Rothney Castle had long been altered with only the front facade retained along with the wood-framed conservatories. He said I could go and ask the caretaker for permission to see the grounds. He was sorry that he could not accompany me as it was physically demanding and he said that "the place moved him to tears." Professor Mehrotra also told me about how he had decided to live in Shimla simply because of his interest in Hume! I left him and walked to Christ Church and took the left branch going up to Jakhoo with some hopes. I met the caretaker of Rothney Castle in the garden where she was walking her dogs on a flat lawn, probably the same garden at the end of which there once had been a star-shaped flower bed, scene of the infamous brooch incident with Madame Blavatsky (see the theosophy section in Hume's biography on Wikipedia). It was a bit of a disappointment however as the caretaker informed me that I could not see the grounds unless the owner who lived in Delhi permitted it. Rothney Castle has changed hands so many times that it probably has nothing to match with what Bowdler-Sharpe saw and the grounds may very soon be entirely unrecognizable but for the name plaque at the entrance. Another patch of land in front of Rothney Castle was being prepared for what might become a multi-storeyed building. A botanist friend had shown me a 19th century painting of Shimla made by Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming. In her painting, the only building visible on Jakko Hill behind Christ Church is Rothney Castle. The vegetation on Shimla has definitely become denser with trees blocking the views.
So there ended my hopes of adding good views (free-licensed images are still misunderstood in India) of Rothney Castle to the Wikipedia article on Hume. I did however get a couple of photographs from the roadside. In 2014, I managed to visit the South London Botanical Institute which was the last of Hume's enterprises. This visit enabled the addition a few pictures of his herbarium collections as well as an illustration of his bookplate which carries his personal motto.

Clearly Shimla empowered Hume, provided a stimulating environment which included several local collaborators. Who were his local collaborators in Shimla? I have only recently discovered (and notes with references are now added to the Wikipedia entry for R. C. Tytler) that Robert (of Tytler's warbler fame - although named by W E Brooks) and Harriet Tytler (of Mt. Harriet fame) had established a kind of natural history museum at Bonnie Moon in Shimla with  Lord Mayo's support. The museum closed down after Robert's death in 1872, and it is said that Harriet offered the bird specimens to the government. It would appear that at least some part of this collection went to Hume. It is said that the collection was packed away in boxes around 1873. The collection later came into possession of Mr B. Bevan-Petman who apparently passed it on to the Lahore Central Museum in 1917.

Hume's idea of mapping rainfall
to examine patterns of avian distribution
It was under Lord Mayo that Hume rose in the government hierarchy. Hume was not averse to utilizing his power as Secretary of State to further his interests in birds. He organized the Lakshadweep survey with the assistance of the navy ostensibly to examine sites for a lighthouse. He made use of government machinery in the fisheries department (Francis Day) to help his Sind survey. He used the newly formed meteorological division of his own agricultural department to generate rainfall maps for use in Stray Feathers. He was probably the first to note the connection between rainfall and bird distributions, something that only Sharpe saw any special merit in. Perhaps placing specimens on those large tables described by Sharpe allowed Hume to see geographic trends.

Hume was also able to appreciate geology (in his youth he had studied with Mantell ), earth history and avian evolution. Hume had several geologists contributing to ornithology including Stoliczka and Ball. One wonders if he took an interest in paleontology given his proximity to the Shiwalik ranges. Hume invited Richard Lydekker to publish a major note on avian osteology for the benefit of amateur ornithologists. Hume also had enough time to speculate on matters of avian biology. A couple of years ago I came across this bit that Hume wrote in the first of his Nests and Eggs volumes (published post-ornith-humously in 1889):

Nests and Eggs of Indian birds. Vol 1. p. 199
I wrote immediately to Tim Birkhead, the expert on evolutionary aspects of bird reproduction and someone with an excellent view of ornithological history (his Ten Thousand Birds is a must read for anyone interested in the subject) and he agreed that Hume had been an early and insightful observer to have suggested female sperm storage.

Shimla life was clearly a lot of hob-nobbing and people like Lord Mayo were spending huge amounts of time and money just hosting parties. Turns out that Lord Mayo even went to Paris to recruit a chef and brought in an Italian,  Federico Peliti. (His great-grandson has a nice website!) Unlike Hume, Peliti rose in fame after Lord Mayo's death by setting up a cafe which became the heart of Shimla's social life and gossip. Lady Lytton (Lord Lytton was the one who demoted Hume!) recorded that Simla folk "...foregathered four days a week for prayer meetings, and the rest of the time was spent in writing poisonous official notes about each other." Another observer recorded that "in Simla you could not hear your own voice for  the grinding of axes. But in 1884 the grinders were few. In the course of my service I saw much of Simla society,  and I think it would compare most favourably with any other town of English-speaking people of the same size. It was bright and gay. We all lived, so to speak, in glass houses. The little bungalows perched on the mountainside wherever there was a ledge, with their winding paths under the pine trees, leading to our only road, the Mall." (Lawrence, Sir Walter Roper (1928) The India We Served.)

A view from Peliti's (1922).
Peliti's other contribution was in photography and it seems like he worked with Felice Beato who also influenced Harriet Tytler and her photography. I asked a couple of Shimla folks about the historic location of Peliti's cafe and they said it had become the Grand Hotel (now a government guest house). I subsequently found that Peliti did indeed start Peliti's Grand Hotel, which was destroyed in a fire in 1922, but the centre of Shimla's social life, his cafe, was actually next to the Combermere Bridge (it ran over a water storage tank and is today the location of the lift that runs between the Mall and the Cart Road). A photograph taken from "Peliti's" clearly lends support for this location as do descriptions in Thacker's New Guide to Simla (1925). A poem celebrating Peliti's was published in Punch magazine in 1919. Rudyard Kipling was a fan of Peliti's but Hume was no fan of Kipling (Kipling seems to have held a spiteful view of liberals - "Pagett MP" has been identified by some as being based on W.S.Caine, a friend of Hume; Hume for his part had a lifelong disdain for journalists. Kipling's boss, E.K. Robinson started the British Naturalists' Association while E.K.R.'s brother Philip probably influenced Eha.

While Hume most likely stayed well away from Peliti's, we see that a kind of naturalists social network existed within the government. About Lord Mayo we read: 
Lord Mayo and the Natural History of India - His Excellency Lord Mayo, the Viceroy of India, has been making a very valuable collection of natural historical objects, illustrative of the fauna, ornithology, &c., of the Indian Empire. Some portion of these valuable acquisitions, principally birds and some insects, have been brought to England, and are now at 49 Wigmore Street, London, whence they will shortly be removed. - Pertshire Advertiser, 29 December 1870.
Another news report states:
The Early of Mayo's collection of Indian birds, &c.

Amids the cares of empire, the Earl of Mayo, the present ruler of India, has found time to form a valuable collection of objects illustrative of the natural history of the East, and especially of India. Some of these were brought over by the Countess when she visited England a short time since, and entrusted to the hands of Mr Edwin Ward, F.Z.S., for setting and arrangement, under the particular direction of the Countess herself. This portion, which consists chiefly of birds and insects, was to be seen yesterday at 49, Wigmore street, and, with the other objects accumulated in Mr Ward's establishment, presented a very striking picture. There are two library screens formed from the plumage of the grand argus pheasant- the head forward, the wing feathers extended in circular shape, those of the tail rising high above the rest. The peculiarities of the plumage hae been extremely well preserved. These, though surrounded by other birds of more brilliant covering, preserved in screen pattern also, are most noticeable, and have been much admired. There are likewise two drawing-room screens of smaller Indain birds (thrush size) and insects. They are contained in glass cases, with frames of imitation bamboo, gilt. These birds are of varied and bright colours, and some of them are very rare. The Countess, who returned to India last month, will no doubt,add to the collection when she next comes back to England, as both the Earl and herself appear to take a great interest in Illustrating the fauna and ornithology of India. The most noticeable object, however, in Mr. Ward's establishment is the representation of a fight between two tigers of great size. The gloss, grace, and spirit of the animals are very well preserved. The group is intended as a present to the Prince of Wales. It does not belong to the Mayo Collection. - The Northern Standard, January 7, 1871
And Hume's subsequent superior was Lord Northbrook about whom we read:
University and City Intelligence. - Lord Northbrook has presented to the University a valuable collection of skins of the game birds of India collected for him by Mr. A.O.Hume, C.B., a distinguished Indian ornithologist. Lord Northbrook, in a letter to Dr. Acland, assures him that the collection is very perfec, if not unique. A Decree was passed accepting the offer, and requesting the Vice-Chancellor to convey the thanks of the University to the donor. - Oxford Journal, 10 February 1877
Papilio mayo
Clearly Lord Mayo and his influence on naturalists in India is not sufficiently well understood. Perhaps that would explain the beautiful butterfly named after him shortly after his murder. It appears that Hume did not have this kind of hobby association with Lord Lytton, little wonder perhaps that he fared so badly!

Despite Hume's sharpness on many matters there were bits that come across as odd. In one article on the flight of birds he observes the soaring of crows and vultures behind his house as he sits in the morning looking towards Mahassu. He points out that these soaring birds would appear early on warm days and late on cold days but he misses the role of thermals and mixes physics with metaphysics, going for a kind of Grand Unification Theory:

And then claims that crows, like saints, sages and yogis are capable of "aethrobacy".
This naturally became a target of ridicule. We have already seen the comments of E.H. Hankin on this. Hankin wrote that if levitation was achieved by "living an absolutely pure life and intense religious concentration" the hill crow must be indulging in "irreligious sentiments when trying to descend to earth without  the help of gravity." Hankin despite his studies does not give enough credit for the forces of lift produced by thermals and his own observations were critiqued by Gilbert Walker, the brilliant mathematican who applied his mind to large scale weather patterns apart from conducting some amazing research on the dynamics of boomerangs. His boomerang research had begun even in his undergraduate years and had earned him the nickname of Boomerang Walker. On my visit to Shimla, I went for a long walk down the quiet road winding through dense woodland and beside streams to Annandale, the only large flat ground in Shimla where Sir Gilbert Walker conducted his weekend research on boomerangs. Walker's boomerang research mentions a collaboration with Oscar Eckenstein and there are some strange threads connecting Eckenstein, his collaborator Aleister Crowley and Hume's daughter Maria Jane Burnley who would later join the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. But that is just speculation!
1872 Map showing Rothney Castle

The steep road just below Rothney Castle

Excavation for new constructions just below and across the road from Rothney Castle

The embankment collapsing below the guard hut

The lower entrance, concrete constructions replace the old building

The guard hut and home are probably the only heritage structures left

I got back from Annandale and then walked down to Phagli on the southern slope of Shimla to see the place where my paternal grandfather once lived. It is not a coincidence that Shimla and my name are derived from the local deity Shyamaladevi (a version of Kali).

The South London Botanical Institute

After returning to England, Hume took an interest in botany. He made herbarium collections and in 1910 he established the South London Botanical Institute and left money in his will for its upkeep. The SLBI is housed in a quiet residential area. Here are some pictures I took in 2014, most can be found on Wikipedia.

Dr Roy Vickery displaying some of Hume's herbarium specimens

Specially designed cases for storing the herbarium sheets.

The entrance to the South London Botanical Institute

A herbarium sheet from the Hume collection

Hume's bookplate with personal motto - Industria et Perseverentia

An ornate clock which apparently adorned Rothney Castle
A special cover released by Shimla postal circle in 2012

Further reading

 An antique book shop had a set of Hume's Nests and Eggs (Second edition) and it bore the signature of "R.W.D. Morgan" - it appears that there was a BNHS member of that name from Calcutta c. 1933. It is unclear if it is the same person as Rhodes Morgan, who was a Hume correspondent and forest officer in Wynaad/Malabar who helped William Ruxton Davison.
Update:  Henry Noltie of RBGE pointed out to me privately that this is cannot be the forester Rhodes Morgan who died in 1919! - September, 2016.

    by Shyamal L. (noreply@blogger.com) at November 27, 2016 01:21 PM

    November 26, 2016

    Gerard Meijssen

    The problem with #science explained with #Wikipedia

    It is a recurring theme. People study a subject and reality is different. The science is flawless, the results are impressive and indeed important strides are made forward. The study of heart disease is a great example; many studies resulted in an improved life expectancy for men. Particularly white men. The Dutch Hartstichting is raising funds for new research because of this existing bias in research. For women in the Netherlands, heart disease is the number one killer because heart disease is different in women; it was not noticed before because heart disease in women was not studied.

    Wikipedia as it is commonly known in research has the same problem. It is not Wikipedia as we know it, it is English Wikipedia. My contributions to Wikipedia have not been to English Wikipedia; they went to the Dutch Wikipedia and I will not be noticed as one of the most prolific contributors to Wikimedia projects because my contributions to "Wikipedia" are hardly significant..

    As I blogged before; scientific papers do not publish when it does not involve English Wikipedia. The consequence is that when people quote research, their quotes include this bias and strictly speaking it is not necessarily true when you consider Wikipedia. The problem with biased research is that the policies of the WMF are based on the known "facts".

    Nothing new so far. We all know it when we are honest. So what can we do to remove some of the bias? The first thing is to devalue any and all research that is English Wikipedia only. It only covers less than half of what we do.The second thing is to evaluate research for its algorithms. When both the algorithms and the data are available, it is possible to run the algorithm on a more inclusive data set and check the validity. With the quality of Wikidata data as a source on all the Wikipedias improving, such an approach is increasingly feasible. The last thing is for the Wikimedia Foundation itself to address this bias, With English Wikipedia being less than 50% of its traffic and workflow, it would be good when a similar percentage of its efforts is focused on the bigger half of what we all do.

    So what is the harm? We expect all Wikipedians largely to do what "Wikipedians" do. However, we are not all English Wikipedians. The need other people have is not discussed, not taken seriously. We have seen wonderful examples of potential functionality showcased but it is not taken further, not taken in production because it does not fit the preconceived ideas of what we do, it is not part of the road map. The projects in Wikidata are not about Wikidata but about how to make us all in one big data glob and USING the data is only seen in relation to Wikipedia articles. We do not know how much Wikidata is used, some studies are done but they are in relation to "Wikipedia" and that is not relevant to me. We find that Wikisource gains more and more content that may be valuable to our readers but we do not market this data because we never did marketing for Wikipedia. There are several websites that only do this in a way that could be much improved if we took Wikisource seriously.

    It hurts us to only consider English Wikipedia and this bias in research and policy is more damaging than the bias that is considered by the English Wikipedians.

    by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 26, 2016 11:39 AM

    November 25, 2016

    Wikimedia Foundation

    The top fifteen phenomenal winning photos from Wiki Loves Earth

    Photo by Cedomir Zarkovic, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    First place: The limestone of Stopića Cave, Serbia. Photo by Cedomir Zarkovic, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    The tangy butterscotch glow of a limestone cave in Serbia soaking up the slanting sun. The emerald green of lush German forest and pond covered with lush weeds and trees. The stark white and blue of a Ukraine snowscape 2,028 meters above sea level, where snowy peaks meet cloud and sky.

    The colors of nature burst from all of the finalists of Wiki Loves Earth, the photo contest now in its third year of crowdsourcing gorgeous landscapes from more than 13,600 participants. The top 15 photos this year come from Serbia, Bulgaria, Nepal, Estonia, Ukraine, Spain, Austria, Brazil, Germany, and Thailand.

    National judging in 26 regions sorted through 115,000 photos and sent the best to international judges from Ghana, Germany, South Africa, Kosovo, France, India, Estonia, Indonesia, and Bulgaria.

    This year, the contest expanded to include a collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known by its acronym UNESCO. Contestants were invited to upload photos in a separate category for UNESCO biosphere reserves in 120 different countries.

    You can see more about Wiki Loves Earth on its website, and this year’s jury report on Commons.

    Photo by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Second place: Pobiti Kamani, Bulgaria, the only desert in Eastern Europe. Photo by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Patricia Sauer, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Third place: Tangye, Mustang, Nepal. Photo by Patricia Sauer, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Külli Kolina, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Fourth place: Ahja River, Estonia. Photo by Külli Kolina, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Khoroshkov, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Fifth place: Biały Słoń, the former Polish Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory, now located in Ukraine. Photo by Khoroshkov, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Tamara Kulikova, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Sixth place: Northern Inland Fuerteventura, Spain. Photo by Tamara Kulikova, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Kristoffer Vaikla, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Seventh place: Vääna River, Estonia. Photo by Kristoffer Vaikla, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Jörg Braukmann, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Eight place: Part of the Schladming Tauern. Photo by Jörg Braukmann, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Ryzhkov Sergey, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Ninth place: Tokivske waterfall in Ukraine. Photo by Ryzhkov Sergey, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Joao lara mesquita, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Tenth place: Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil. Photo by Joao lara mesquita, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Taras Dut., CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Eleventh place: the same location as #5, but taken on a cold winter day. Photo by Taras Dut., CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Andreas Weith, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Twelfth place: Wettenberger Ried, a protected forest in Germany. Photo by Andreas Weith, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by KOSIN SUKHUM, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Thirteenth place: Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Thailand. Photo by KOSIN SUKHUM, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Rafael Rodrigues Camargo, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Fourteenth place: Terra Ronca State Park, Brazil. Photo by Rafael Rodrigues Camargo, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Vladimir Mijailović, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Fifteenth place: Tara in Serbia. Photo by Vladimir Mijailović, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Jeff Elder, Digital Communications Manager
    Wikimedia Foundation

    by Jeff Elder at November 25, 2016 08:22 PM

    Jeroen De Dauw

    Rewriting the Wikimedia Deutschland fundraising

    Last year we rewrote the Wikimedia Deutschland fundraising software. In this blog post I’ll give you an idea of what this software does, why we rewrote it and the outcome of this rewrite.

    The application

    Our fundraising software is a homegrown PHP application. Its primary functions are donations and membership applications. It supports multiple payment methods, needs to interact with payment providers, supports submission and listing of comments and exchanges data with another homegrown PHP application that does analysis, reporting and moderation.


    The codebase was originally written in a procedural style, with most code residing directly in files (i.e., not even in a global function). There was very little design and completely separate concerns such as presentation and data access were mixed together. As you can probably imagine, this code was highly complex and very hard to understand or change. There was unused code, broken code, features that might not be needed anymore, and mysterious parts that even our guru that maintained the codebase during the last few years did not know what they did. This mess, combined with the complete lack of a specification and units tests, made development of new features extremely slow and error prone.


    Why we rewrote

    During the last year of the old application’s lifetime, we did refactor some parts and tried adding tests. In doing so, we figured that rewriting from scratch would be easier than trying to make incremental changes. We could start with a fresh design, add only the features we really need, and perhaps borrow some reusable code from the less horrible parts of the old application.

    They did it by making the single worst strategic mistake that any software company can make: […] rewrite the code from scratch. —Joel Spolsky

    We were aware of the risks involved with doing a rewrite of this nature and that often such rewrites fail. One big reason we did not decide against rewriting is that we had a time period of 9 months during which no new features needed to be developed. This meant we could freeze the old application and avoid parallel development, resulting in some kind of feature race. Additionally, we set some constraints: we would only rewrite this application and leave the analysis and moderation application alone, and we would do a pure rewrite, avoiding the addition of new features into the new application until the rewrite was done.

    How we got started

    Since we had no specification, we tried visualizing the conceptual components of the old application, and then identified the “commands” they received from the outside world.


    Creating the new software

    After some consideration, we decided to try out The Clean Architecture as a high level structure for the new application. For technical details on what we did and the lessons we learned, see Implementing the Clean Architecture.

    The result

    With a team of 3 people, we took about 8 months to finish the rewrite successfully. Our codebase is now clean and much, much easier to understand and work with. It took us over two man years to do this clean up, and presumably an even greater amount of time was wasted in dealing with the old application in the first place. This goes to show that the cost of not working towards technical excellence is very high.

    We’re very happy with the result. For us, the team that wrote it, it’s easy to understand, and the same seems to be true for other people based on feedback we got from our colleagues in other teams. We have tests for pretty much all functionality, so can refactor and add new functionality with confidence. So far we’ve encountered very few bugs, with most issues arising from us forgetting to add minor but important features to the new application, or misunderstanding what the behavior should be and then correctly implementing the wrong thing. This of course has more to do with the old codebase than with the new one. We now have a solid platform upon which we can quickly build new functionality or improve what we already have.

    The new application is the first Wikimedia (Deutschland) deployed on, and wrote in, PHP7. Even though not an explicit goal of the rewrite, the new application has ended up with better performance than the old one, in part due to the PHP7 usage.

    Near the end of the rewrite we got an external review performed by thePHPcc, during which Sebastian Bergmann, who you might know from PHPUnit fame, looked for code quality issues in the new codebase. The general result of that was a thumbs up, which we took the creative license to translate into this totally non-Sebastian approved image:

    You can see our new application in action in production. I recommend you try it out by donating 🙂

    by Jeroen at November 25, 2016 04:21 PM

    Weekly OSM

    weeklyOSM 331


    Example of wikipage containing the new Taginfo feature Taginfo extended to show an example rendering in
    the taglists on the OSM-wiki 1 | Screenshot OSM-Wiki under CC-BY-SA 2.0


    • [1] Jochen Topf extends his Taginfo to display example renderings in the wiki’s taglists. Matthijs Melissen tested this for some pages. If you would like to help Matthijs, please contact him directly.
    • ImproveOSM is now based on the editor iD.


    • User PlaneMad explains the great advantage of wikidata IDs in OpenStreetMap and links to Mapbox’ workflow to add such IDs. Others following these kind of edits got to discuss such edits upfront as they have to be considered automated edits.
    • User Joost Schouppe highlights the importance of community action which can shift the focus of the dev team to issues that would otherwise be lower on their priorities list. Community builders worldwide were asked and tried to answer questions about: main dilemmas when organizing communities, the tools needed to build them, and what is actually working. One of these tools is the Belgian Welcoming Tool, which the Spanish community is now implementing. (we reported last week)
    • FOSS4G and State of the Map Argentina 2017 will be held jointly in October at the National Geographic Institute with the support of OSGEO.
    • Chris Hill explains how he used the OpenStreetMap tool chain to build a great map for the Clockenflap festival in Hong Kong without using OpenStreetMap’s best, its data.
    • The OpenStreetMap blog reports about the release of version 2 of the iD editor and it going live on the main page. In the Mapbox blog, Bryan Housal gives more details including some of the new features.
    • Sebastian ponders about the meaning of all those place=locality tags that he discovered in rural Spain.
    • Nelson asks for help from the wider community about tagging “dangerous roads”. The Brazilian community can’t find a broad agreement on how to tag roads in (for example) favelas so that routing software won’t route through such “dangerous” areas.

    OpenStreetMap Foundation

    • In an Interview with OpenCage Data, OSMF board member Martijn van Exel talks about running the donation drive and why it is important. He says that the funding is essential to remain independent and not entirely rely on corporate donors. It also gives the grassroots community an opportunity to help balance the OSMF revenue streams.


    • A ‘girls only’ get together took place on 24th November, ahead of the State of the Map Latam, for the women in the community to talk, discuss and get to know other women who participate in the project.
    • The call for papers for the FOSSGIS 2017, which will be held at Passau from 22 to 25 March, is open here. Talks concerning ideas or project experiences are welcome both at the beginner and advanced levels. Talks about geo-data and its processing are also welcome.
    • The first edition of the “SysInfoLibre Abidjan 2016 (automatic translation): Yunohost, SI Libre for librist collectives, open data and OpenStreetMap of West Africa” with the collective LesLibresGéographes, the EOF project and the Direction Francophonie Économique et Numérique of the International Organization of Francophonie (DFEN-OIF) took place from 11 until 20 November in Abidjan.

    Humanitarian OSM


    • On the occasion of the second anniversary of the routing engine Valhalla, Mapzen summarizes the highlights, introduces the developer team behind it and announces the version 2.0 of Valhalla.


    Software Version Release date Comment
    Cruiser for Android * 1.4.14 2016-11-15 Various improvements.
    Cruiser for Desktop * 1.2.14 2016-11-15 Various improvements.
    Mapillary Android * 3.0.6 2016-11-15 Fix dialog text and image dates on some devices.
    Komoot Android * var 2016-11-16 Minor enhancements.
    PyOsmium 2.10.2 2016-11-16 Three extensions, two bug fixes and use actual libosmium.
    iD 2.0.1 2016-11-17 Bug fixes of the just released 2.0.0.
    Mapbox GL JS v0.28.0 2016-11-17 Three new features and improvements, six bug fixes.
    Vespucci 0.9.8r1214 2016-11-18 See release info.
    Traccar Server 3.8 2016-11-19 No Info.
    libosmium 2.10.3 2016-11-20 Please read release info.
    Osmium Tool 1.4.1 2016-11-20 Two extensions, four changes and three fixes.
    Leaflet 1.0.2 2016-11-21 Many bug fixes and enhancements, please read release information.
    Maps.me iOS * 6.5.3 2016-11-21 Bug fixes.

    Provided by the OSM Software Watchlist.

    (*) unfree software. See: freesoftware.

    OSM in the media

    • Routefifty reported about Santa Catalina, southwest of Los Angeles County, which remained void on Google Maps. The article discusses the problems and challenges of missing on commercial maps and the fortunes of OpenStreetMap and Mapillary.

    Other “geo” things

    • Richard Harris interviewed Anthony Calamito, the main developer of the OpenSource GIS platform Boundless.
    • Smithsonian has published an article with an interactive map illustrating volcanic activity and earthquakes over time and links to the occurrences.
    • The University of Maynooth, Ireland, is proposing a new protocol for the vectorization of geospatial data which has been created by crowdsourcing.
    • Katherine Anderson talks about the 13th GEO Plenary Meeting in Russia, which has taken place, among other things, for the launch of the new GEOSS portal.
    • The procedure for the creation of the map of AuthaGraph (we reported last week) has not been published. Marcin Ciura describes, in his blog, the mathematical methods for the development of pseudo-authagraphs. The source code is published on Bitbucket. For the sake of completeness we refer to Dymaxion Projection by the brasilian architect Sérgio A. J. Volkmer.
    • South Korea has rejected Google’s request to use local mapping data in the company’s global maps service due to concerns about national security if the mapping data got exported to Google. South Korea bars exporting local mapping data to foreign companies which do not have domestic data servers.
    • A Combinatorial Optimization course at Bonn University was set up to find the shortest route to visit about 24,727 pubs in the UK as an illustration of the travelling salesman problem. Google Maps was used and the pubs data was provided by the Pubs Galore. An interactive map shows the optimal short path to visit all pubs.

    Upcoming Events

    Where What When Country
    Lübeck Lübecker Mappertreffen 11/24/2016 germany
    Sao Paulo GeoChicas 11/24/2016 brazil
    Sao Paulo State of the Map Latam 2016 11/25/2016-11/27/2016 brazil
    Trento SAT e OpenStreetMap – Sentieri e Cartografia libera – novità, opportunità e prospettive future 11/25/2016 Trentino
    Matagalpa Fiesta de mapeo en UNAN Matagalpa 11/25/2016 nicaragua
    Ala MappAla! party 11/26/2016 Trentino
    Bremen Bremer Mappertreffen 11/28/2016 germany
    Graz Stammtisch 11/28/2016 austria
    Rennes Rencontres mensuelles 11/29/2016 france
    Colorado OSM Brown Bag Talk Colorado State University, Fort Collins 11/29/2016 us
    Viersen OSM Stammtisch Viersen 11/29/2016 germany
    Düsseldorf Stammtisch 11/30/2016 germany
    Dresden Stammtisch 12/01/2016 germany
    Dortmund Stammtisch 12/04/2016 germany
    Rostock OSM Stammtisch Rostock 12/06/2016 germany
    Stuttgart Stammtisch 12/07/2016 germany
    München Stammtisch München 12/08/2016 germany
    Urspring Stammtisch Ulmer Alb 12/08/2016 germany
    Berlin 102. Berlin-Brandenburg Stammtisch 12/09/2016 germany
    Pergine Valsugana Mappatura sentieri del Lagorai Cima Asta 12/09/2016 Trentino
    Passau Mappertreffen 12/12/2016 germany
    Lyon Rencontre mensuelle mappeurs 12/13/2016 france
    Nottingham Nottingham 12/13/2016 united kingdom
    Landshut Landshut Stammtisch 12/13/2016 germany

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

    This weeklyOSM was produced by Hakuch, Lamine Ndiaye, Peda, Rogehm, SeleneYang, Spec80, SrrReal, YoViajo, derFred, jinalfoflia, wambacher, widedangel.

    by weeklyteam at November 25, 2016 12:34 PM

    November 24, 2016

    Wikimedia Foundation

    Mailbag: Is Wikipedia related to WikiLeaks in any way? No.

    The global Wikimedia community volunteers their time every day to expand free knowledge. Photo of Wikimania 2016 by Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    The global Wikimedia community volunteers their time every day to expand free knowledge. Photo of Wikimania 2016 by Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    Q: Is Wikipedia related to WikiLeaks in any way?

    A: No. The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia have no affiliation with WikiLeaks. Although both use the term “wiki” in their name, they have always been completely separate and unaffiliated.

    The word “wiki” refers to a website built using collaborative editing software. Hundreds of organizations and projects with no affiliation with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation also use the term, including wikiHow and WikiEducator.

    Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation’s history predates, and is independent from, WikiLeaks. Wikipedia was founded in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales, while WikiLeaks was founded in October 2006 by Julian Assange. Wikipedia is developed by thousands of volunteers from around the world with support from the United States based nonprofit organization Wikimedia Foundation.

    WikiLeaks has been involved in some large stories related to politics recently, and there has been some resulting confusion due to the similarities in our names. A member of Congress confused Wikipedia and WikiLeaks in a televised interview, prompting many news stories about the mistake. A news anchor also mixed them up. But never fear. You can save yourself any possible embarrassment by remembering a simple fact: We are not related.

    As a 501(c)(3), the Wikimedia Foundation does not support or oppose political candidates.

    Q: What are you doing to make sure Wikipedia stays neutral?

    A: The Wikimedia Foundation does not create or curate the contents of Wikipedia or the other educational sites we manage; instead, this work is done by a vast community of volunteers. The crowdsourced work of tens of thousands of editors helps to check and balance Wikipedia. Content is not created, reviewed or controlled by a central authority, but rather by anyone from the public who is interested in joining in to spread knowledge. Those tens of thousands of editors make updates of all kinds—including checks and balances on subjectivity—continuously (Wikipedia is edited, on average, 200-300 times a minute). This community of editors holds neutrality as one of its main ideals.

    All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), which means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic. From the English Wikipedia’s policy on NPOV:

    “NPOV is a fundamental principle of Wikipedia and of other Wikimedia projects. It is also one of Wikipedia’s three core content policies; the other two are “Verifiability” and “No original research“. These policies jointly determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in Wikipedia articles, and, because they work in harmony, they should not be interpreted in isolation from one another. Editors are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with all three.

    This policy is non-negotiable, and the principles upon which it is based cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, nor by editor consensus.”

    You can find more information on Neutral Point of View policies and processes on the English Wikipedia.

    Q: If you don’t create the content, what do you do?

    A: It’s a great question, and one we are always happy to answer. We build and operate technology to make sure Wikipedia is available to everyone, everywhere, across devices, and in nearly 300 languages. For instance, our engineers built a content translation tool that has helped editors add thousands of articles to Wikipedia websites  in other languages. We engineer privacy for our readers and editors so they can safely and securely explore Wikipedia. We create programs and initiatives to make Wikipedia freely available to more people in more parts of the world. We build new tools for the community of editors so they can continue to improve and grow Wikipedia. Roughly a quarter of our budget goes to supporting the community that make the site possible, including through grantmaking programs that enable volunteers and enrich the information on the sites.

    More frequently asked questions about the Wikimedia Foundation are answered on our website. For questions about fundraising, please contact donate@wikimedia.org. Send press questions about Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation to press@wikimedia.org.

    by Wikimedia Foundation at November 24, 2016 12:12 AM

    November 23, 2016

    Ian Gilfillan (greenman)

    November 2016 African language Wikipedia update

    The March update was positive, so let’s see how the various African-language Wikipedias have progressed since then. As always, this measures the number of articles, which is an imperfect metric, but it’s interesting to follow the trends.

    African Language Wikipedias

    Language 11/2/2011 9/5/2013 26/6/2015 5/3/2016 24/11/2016
    Malagasy 3,806 45,361 79,329 81,240 82,799
    Afrikaans 17,002 26,752 35,856 39,065 42,732
    Swahili 21,244 25,265 29,127 32,565 34,613
    Yoruba 12,174 30,585 31,068 31,172 31,483
    Egyptian Arabic   10,379 14,192 14,839 15,959
    Amharic 6,738 12,360 12,950 13,031 13,279
    Northern Sotho 557 685 1,000 2,830 7,605
    Somali 1,639 2,757 3,446 3,878 4,322
    Kabyle   1,503 2,296 2,643 2,847
    Lingala 1,394 2,025 2,062 2,131 2,777
    Shona   1,421 2,321 2,459 2,638
    Kinyarwanda   1,817 1,780 1,785 1,799
    Hausa 1,345 1,360 1,400
    Igbo 1,019 1,112 1,284
    Kongo 1,122 1,173
    Luganda 1,082
    Wolof 1,116 1,161 1,023 1,044 1,058

    Afrikaans continues to grow the steadily, and recently celebrated its 15th birthday. The quality of articles is high, and it’s starting to get more media attention. Which also means dealing with the kind of responses that the English Wikipedia has moved on from, such as but anyone can edit it, how can we trust it. It’s good to see the solid Afrikaans community continuing their impressive work.

    Afrikaans Wikipedia's 15th birthday
    The Afrikaans Wikipedia’s 15th birthday celebration in Cape Town

    There’s a new edition to the 1000 club this time. Welcome Luganda, leapfrogging Wolof, which has mostly stalled since achieving the milestone

    Most of the languages have continued to grow as per their previous tends, but yet again Northern Sotho is an exception, and showed the fastet growth over this period. Why is it doing so well? The overused Margaret Mead quote Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. perhaps? It’s disputed whether she actually said it, but moving on, just how small are we talking about? In the case of Northern Sotho, there are two main champions. User:Mohau, who has single-handedly created a whopping 4916 of them, and User:Aliwal2012, who I mentioned in the March update, has created 2958 articles. These two editors are an inspiration!

    South African Language Wikipedias

    Language 19/11/2011 9/5/2013 26/6/2015 5/3/2016 24/11/2016
    Afrikaans 20,042 26,754 35,856 39,065 42,732
    Northern Sotho 557 685 1,000 2,830 7,605
    Zulu 256 579 683 742 777
    Tswana 240 495 503 538 615
    Xhosa 125 148 356 473 576
    Swati 359 364 410 412 419
    Tsonga 192 240 266 352 390
    Sotho 132 188 223 299 341
    Venda 193 204 151 228 238
    Ndebele (incubator) 12 12

    Besides Afrikaans and Northern Sotho, none of the languages are showing substantial progress, but all are showing signs of life, except for Ndebele, which has stalled in the incubator. As South Africa’s smallest official language, it most reflects the struggles of many of South Africa’s languages, which while official on paper, receive little to no real support.

    But there’s no need to wait for others. Hopefully the Northern Sotho example has inspired you. All it takes is sitting down and editing!

    Picture from Wikimedia Commons.

    Related articles

    by Ian Gilfillan at November 23, 2016 11:45 PM

    Gerard Meijssen

    #Bias in #research

    Actually, it starts with something else. You need to publish so you have to select a subject to study that will be of interest to the publisher..

    As a consequence hardly any research is done about the other Wikipedias. I have been informed by a reliable source that it has to be English or it will not be published.

    Now Wikimedia Foundation, how about that? Is there any research done on Wikipedia or is all the research biased in this way?

    by Gerard Meijssen (noreply@blogger.com) at November 23, 2016 07:36 AM

    Joseph Reagle

    The tenure file

    A few months ago I submitted my dossier for tenure and it continues on its journey up the chain of command: external reviewers, department committee, chair, college committee, dean, university advisory committee and provost, president, and the board of trustees. I might get good news around May or bad news before then. Until then, I thought it'd be helpful to share some of what I learned, and what my dossier looked like. (The particulars will differ across disciplines and universities.)

    Substantively, your statements are a marshaling of evidence into a compelling story about your research, teaching, and service. You need to highlight strengths and frame weaknesses—questions will be asked about the latter. As much as you might hear about substantive, independent, and arms-length evaluation, I suspect this is truly about your reputation and social-network. Consequently, you need to make it easy for your unit to find folks willing to write supportive letters and provide the materials that help letter writers do so.

    Ambitious universities want external letters from full professors at R1 universities. Additionally, mine uses a template by which those reviewers are asked if the candidate would get tenure at the external institution. Because I'm interdisciplinary (a sociologist is not likely to say I'd get tenure in a sociology department) and an introvert (who is poor at schmoozing), this part worried me the most. Nonetheless, disciplinary service is one of the things you can do so you interact with senior scholars. You might do service at conferences or disciplinary associations, or review submissions at journals and presses where your own work has been accepted. I suspect editors of journals who have accepted your work make excellent letter writers, or know those who would be when asked by your chair. Because candidates have the ability to nominate or exclude a few external reviewers, I created a spreadsheet of senior faculty, their discipline, professorial rank, university rank, how I know them, and how they might know me. I wish I had started this earlier as it would have helped my own sense of where I was positioning myself and where to submit to and do service.

    A feature of contemporary life is that much evaluation is quantified and relative, so you need to provide evidence of good standing. For research, this can include:

    • impact of publication venues
    • citation counts of your work (e.g., Google Scholar)
    • your standing relative to peers in your disciplinary cohort

    I have concerns about quantification and relative-ranking, and write about this in my research, but it is a reality. I include the impact and selectivity of publication venues in my CV. I did not directly address my citation count and was too uncomfortable to compare myself to peers, but your letter writers will likely do so in any case. Candidates do not have access to the external letters, but can see quotes from external reviewers—designated as "Reviewer N"—in the chair and department letters.

    Much of what I've said about research applies to teaching and service: you need to frame evidence of success and challenges surmounted in a compelling story, which brings me to compiling the dossier.

    My third year review required me to compile a mock dossier according to the tenure requirements, and so I collected materials according to that structure, with subdirectories for each of the sections below. (I further divided some of the appendices for organizational purposes.) I thought there was a single dossier, but in reality, there were three that my department chair helped me build:

    1. the research statement and materials that go out to external reviewers
    2. your ~60 pages of material that is in the core, which is complemented by external letters, and all the letters up the university chain of command. My university wants this to be no more than 100 pages
    3. the appendices, which ended up including a lot; mine doesn't include all examples of service, but I included examples of student work and revision, and I added some of the teaching best practices I've developed.

    Dossier Table of Contents

    D. Curriculum vitae

    • Curriculum vitae

    E. Statements and supporting evidence

    • e-statement-1a-teaching.docx
    • e-statement-1b-teaching-TRACE-table.xlsx
    • e-statement-2-research.docx
    • e-statement-3-service.docx
    • oc-syllabus-FA-4.pdf
    • reagle-2015-reading-the-comments-ch1.pdf

    F. Performance reviews

    • 2011-annual-review.pdf
    • 2012-annual-review.pdf
    • 2013-annual-review.pdf
    • 2014-3rd-year-review.pdf
    • 2014-annual-review.pdf
    • 2015-merit-review.pdf

    G. Comprehensive list of supporting documents

    • g-appendices-toc.docx

    Appendix A. Teaching: Peer evaluations

    • 2012 1-Spring COMM1220 (MCS) Dallimore evaluation
    • 2012 2-Fall MSCR1220 (MCS) Goodale evaluation
    • 2014 1-Spring COMM1255 (CDA) Herbeck evaluation
    • 2015 1-Spring COMM4625 (OC) Dallimore evaluation
    • 2015 2-Fall COMM4625 (OC) Noland evaluation
    • 2016 1-Spring COMM1255 (CDA) Nisbet evaluation

    Appendix A. Teaching: TRACE evaluations

    • 2011-2-fall-comm4622-01-nmc.pdf
    • 2011-2-fall-comm4622-02-nmc.pdf
    • 2012-1-spring-comm1220-mcs.pdf
    • 2012-2-fall-comm1231-orgcom.pdf
    • 2012-2-fall-mscr1220-mcs.pdf
    • 2013-2-fall-comm-1231-orgcom.pdf
    • 2013-2-fall-comm-1255-cda.pdf
    • 2014-1-spring-comm1231-orgcom.pdf
    • 2014-1-spring-comm1255-cda.pdf
    • 2014-2-fall-comm1255-cda.pdf
    • 2014-2-fall-comm4625-oc.pdf
    • 2015-1-spring-comm1255-cda.pdf
    • 2015-1-spring-comm4625-oc.pdf
    • 2015-2-fall-comm1255-cda-instructor-report.pdf
    • 2015-2-fall-comm4625-oc-instructor-report.pdf
    • 2016-1-spring-comm1255-cda-instructor-report.pdf
    • 2016-1-spring-comm4625-oc-instructor-report.pdf

    Appendix A. Teaching: Best practices

    • Tip: Making sense of concepts
    • Rubric: Participation
    • Tip: Reading
    • Tip: Writing
    • Tip: Writing class essays
    • Tip: Writing responses
    • Handout: Writing Guide

    Appendix A. Teaching: Student examples

    • Ad block
    • Boston Society of Vulcans
    • Circle of poison
    • First Church in Roxbury
    • Participation self and peer evaluation
    • Peer feedback
    • Revision changelog
    • Web search and evaluation

    Appendix A. Teaching: Other syllabi

    • "Communication in the Digital Age" syllabus

    Appendix B. Research

    • Reagle (2011), CPOV, Wikipedia: The Argument Engine
    • Reagle and Rhue (2011), IJOC, Gender bias in Wikipedia and Britannica
    • Reagle (2012), AoIR, Infocide
    • Loveland and Reagle (2013), NMS, Wikipedia Production
    • Reagle (2013), FM, "Free as in Sexist?"
    • Reagle (2014), NMS, Obligation to Know
    • Reagle (2014), Routledge, Revenge rating and tweak critique
    • Reagle (2015), FM, Following the Joneses
    • Reagle (2015), IJOC, Geek Policing
    • Reagle (2015), MIT Press, Reading the Comments
    • Reagle (n.d.), TBD, Introduction to Hacking Life
    • Reviews of Good Faith Collaboration
    • Reviews of Reading the Comments

    Appendix C. Service Committees

    • Library Policy and Operating Committee 2012-2013

    Appendix C. Service reviewing

    • Review for NMS
    • Review for JASIST
    • Review for Journal of Peer Production
    • Review for MIT Press
    • Review for MIT Press
    • Review for NSF
    • Review for WikiSym papers

    by Joseph Reagle at November 23, 2016 05:00 AM

    Wiki Education Foundation

    Monthly Report for October 2016

    Wiki Education Foundation Monthly Report, October 2016


    • Wiki Ed staff attended WikiConference North America, a three-day annual event that took place in San Diego this year. We presented on several aspects of our programs, received helpful feedback, met with collaborators, and engaged with dozens of Wikipedians, librarians, educators, and other Wikipedia enthusiasts.
    • Wiki Ed formalized a partnership with the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM). The organization will sponsor a Visiting Scholar to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women mathematicians.
    • In collaboration with University of California, San Francisco faculty, Wiki Ed released a series of videos about motivations to teach with Wikipedia and how we can help.
    • Wiki Ed received a two-year operating grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant, which totals $500,000, was awarded through the Foundation’s Open Educational Resources program.


    WikiConference North America

    Jami Mathewson and Ryan McGrady lead a session on the Visiting Scholars program at WikiConference North America.

    For the third year of the conference, Wiki Ed staff attended WikiConference North America, a gathering of Wikipedians, librarians, educators, and others in the Wikimedia community. This three-day event in San Diego was an opportunity for Wiki Ed to meet face-to-face with important collaborators in expanding free knowledge on the English Wikipedia. Wiki Ed’s Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson, Director of Programs LiAnna Davis, Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady, Data Science Intern Kevin Schiroo, and Product Manager Sage Ross all led sessions.

    Many of our program participants led sessions, as well. They showcased how students improved Wikipedia, and talked about the learning experiences Wikipedia assignments bring to their classes. Several of the sessions were submitted through a new peer reviewed academic track of the conference, which served as a kickoff event for the new Wiki Studies journal founded by Wiki Ed board member Dr. Robert Cummings.

    Educational Partnerships

    In October, the Wiki Education Foundation formalized a partnership with the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM). The organization aims to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women mathematicians, including past recipients of AWM honors and awards. AWM will sponsor a Visiting Scholar to focus on this topic area in their volunteer editing. We’re excited to get started on this collaboration that will extend our focus on women in STEM beyond the Year of Science.

    At WikiConference North America 2016, Jami presented to attendees about the impact our collaboration with the National Women’s Studies Association has had on Wikipedia. Since beginning our partnership two years ago, Wiki Ed has surpassed 100 courses related to women, gender, and women’s studies, activating nearly 2,500 students to help close the gender content gap on Wikipedia. They have added 1.3 million words to Wikipedia, and we haven’t reached the busiest part of this term yet. As the number of courses in this partnership steadily increases, we look forward to seeing an even greater impact on Wikipedia.

    Women’s studies courses supported by Wiki Ed

    While in San Diego, LiAnna and Jami visited the University of California, San Diego to recruit local instructors into the Classroom Program. At our UCSD workshop, we asked attendees whether they were inspired to collaborate on Wikipedia because of the opportunity to share knowledge with the world or because of the skills students develop through the process. Unsurprisingly, most people saw value in both outcomes. That’s what makes a Wikipedia assignment so special: students give knowledge to the world while gaining skills they need to thrive in it.

    This month, Outreach Manager Samantha Weald participated in three outreach events to promote involvement in Wiki Ed’s programs. On October 6 she traveled to Sacramento to meet with participants in the Puente Program, a community college initiative that aims to promote college readiness for students as they prepare to transfer to four year institutions. On October 21, she spoke virtually with instructors, librarians, and instructional technologists at the University of Michigan. On October 26 she virtually joined a Writing for Wikipedia event at Fordham University.

    In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, an initiative that honors the contributions of the first computer programmer and encourages women to participate in STEM fields, we collaborated with the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), who ran a series of Wikipedia edit-a-thon events. AWIS is encouraging its members and chapters to organize edit-a-thons to write women back into science history as part of the Year of Science. AWIS chapters convened in their communities during the month of October to kick off the events.

    Classroom Program

    Status of the Classroom Program for Fall 2016 in numbers, as of October 31:

    • 260 Wiki Ed-supported courses were in progress (126, or 48%, were led by returning instructors)
    • 5,616 student editors were enrolled
    • 55% were up-to-date with the student training.
    • Students edited 2,520 articles and created 151 new entries.

    With our largest number of courses in progress to date, the Classroom Program is thriving. With 260 courses in progress, Classroom Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal has been thinking of ways to engage instructors and provide them with timely and relevant support. In addition to Wiki Ed’s regular suite of tools and resources, Helaine hosted two webinars this term to provide instructors with new opportunities to learn about Wiki Ed and its current programmatic work.

    At the end of September, along with Samantha and Wikipedia Content Experts Adam Hyland and Ian Ramjohn, Helaine invited instructors teaching with Wikipedia during the Fall 2016 term to the Making the Most of Your Wiki Ed Support webinar. The program was well-attended, and instructors had the chance to interact directly with Wiki Ed staff.

    This month, along with Dr. Becky Carmichael of Louisiana State University, Helaine and Samantha presented on the Wikipedia Year of Science and how students are bridging the gap between scientific expertise and public knowledge through Wikipedia. You can view the full program here.

    We also had the pleasure of welcoming Naniette Coleman, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Megan Osterbur, professor of political science at Xavier University, to our San Francisco office. During their visit, Megan interviewed Naniette, Helaine, and Research Fellow Zach McDowell about teaching with Wikipedia for a pedagogical podcast run through Xavier. We’re grateful they were able to stop by, and excited for future collaborations.

    With just a few months left in the Wikipedia Year of Science, we still anticipate significant contributions from our Year of Science cohort. So far, over 5700 students from 279 courses have contributed over 2.5 million words to Wikipedia, edited over 3500 articles, created 295 new entries, and had their work viewed almost 100 million times during the term alone. This term, our Year of Science students are tackling fields ranging from Geology to Women in STEM and from Language in Hawaii and Pacific to Social Computing. Our Year of Science students have made valuable and critical contributions to Wikipedia, and in doing so, they have gained indispensable communication skills that they can use in their future academic and professional endeavors.

    With many classes hitting their stride this month, we saw a lot of excellent work. Here are a few highlights:

    • Students in Amy Carleton’s Advanced Writing in the Business Administration Professions are writing about a range of topics. Most of the time when we hear about globalization, it’s in the context of trade and the movement of capital, but it also applies to freer movement of people. A 1995 court ruling removing caps on the number of foreign-born soccer players and making it easier for players to transfer between clubs had a significant impact on the football (soccer) transfer market. A student created an article on the globalization of that market that delves into the issue in some depth, at least as it applies to European clubs. Another student created an article on the international entrepreneur rule, a proposed USCIS regulation that would make it easier for foreign-born entrepreneurs to settle in the United States. While success in sports or entrepreneurship may require long hours, working overtime can have physical, mental, and social effects on a person. A student in the class delved into the issue with a newly created article on on the effects of overtime. Other good work by the students included the philanthropreneur article, and the entry for corporate social responsibility.
    • The 1969 Connecticut College Black Womanhood Conference is believed to be the first conference of its kind at an American college campus, but it was absent from Wikipedia until a student in Ariella Rotramel’s Feminist Theory created an article about it, drawing upon resources in the college archives to help flesh out the article. Mary Foulke Morrisson was a pioneer in the women’s rights movement in the United States in the early 20th century. After working to help secure passage to the 19th Amendment (which gave women the right to vote in the United States), she seconded the nomination of Herbert Hoover for at the 1920 Republican convention. Once again, her achievements remained undocumented on Wikipedia until a student in the class created a biography for her. Ruth Jury Scott was an environmental activist and a colleague and friend of Rachel Carson. Her Wikipedia biography was also created by a student in the class. Other contributions by the students in this class include an expansion of the biography of Chase G. Woodhouse, who was the second woman elected to the U.S. Congress from the state of Connecticut, and the article about the Woman’s Land Army of America, a civilian group organized during the First and Second World Wars to work in agriculture while men served in the military.
    • Amanda Foster’s LIB100 Accessing Information in the 21st Century class has created articles about women physicians, African American educators, and Native American leaders. Mary T. Martin Sloop was a physician who worked to improve healthcare and education in the mountains of North Carolina. Hilla Sheriff was a physician who worked to improve the health of the poor and marginalized in rural South Carolina. Maggie Axe Wachacha was an Eastern Cherokee woman who revived and reinvigorated indigenous culture and traditions. Born a slave, Simon Green Atkins went on to found and serve as the first president of Winston Salem State University in North Carolina. These are just some of the fascinating people whose biographies were created by students in this class.

    Community Engagement

    The article about the Cleveland Centennial half dollar, which was written by George Mason University Visiting Scholar, Gary Greenbaum, was promoted to Featured Article. Photo: 1936 50C Cleveland.jpg by Heritage Auctions (coin by the U.S. Mint), CC-AT 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

    Community Engagement Manager Ryan McGrady traveled to San Diego for WikiConference North America 2016. He presented and held a workshop with Jami to learn more about Wikipedians’ perceptions of the Visiting Scholars program. It generated great feedback, some of which has already been implemented in the form of messaging adjustments on Wikipedia.

    Ryan also spent time this month recruiting for current openings and working with institutions at various stages of getting involved with the Visiting Scholars program. Meanwhile, current Visiting Scholars continued to make a significant impact. George Mason University’s Gary Greenbaum’s article about the Cleveland Centennial half dollar was promoted to Featured Article status, marking it as one of Wikipedia’s best entries. The article he wrote about lawyer and onetime Presidential candidate Wendell Willkie was highlighted as “Today’s Featured Article” this month, as well. M2545, Visiting Scholar at Rollins College, continued to be one of Wikipedia’s most prolific timeline writers. One example is the Timeline of Havana, Cuba, which she has been developing along with dozens of others for the last several months.

    Program Support


    This month, we’ve released a series of videos made in collaboration with faculty from the University of California, San Francisco. Wiki Ed instructors Dr. Tina Brock and Dr. Amin Azzam offer their motivations for teaching with Wikipedia, and Samantha summarizes our Classroom Program and support resources.

    Blog posts:

    External media:

    Digital Infrastructure

    This month, Sage continued supporting our collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation Community Tech team to improve the flexibility of the Dashboard. With the foundation now in place, we anticipate launching a set of new “Campaigns” features in November that will make it easier to organize and track series of specific courses, edit-a-thons, and other events.

    Sage’s main focus this month has been on software upgrades, bug fixes, and performance improvements. As the term has gotten underway, the Dashboard server has seen more intense usage than ever — both because we have more students and instructors than in previous terms, and because the Dashboard is doing more to help us monitor these courses. For large courses, and for Wiki Ed staff working with many courses at once, some Dashboard pages had become noticeably slower as more courses became active. Sage’s performance optimizations this month put the Dashboard in a secure position to scale further, and key pages — such as the students tab of a large, active course — now load much more quickly. At the beginning of the month, we also made a major upgrade of the web framework the Dashboard is built upon: it now runs Ruby on Rails 5. That upgrade, complemented by continual work to make our codebase easy to understand and improve, are part of our effort to ensure the long-term viability of the Dashboard platform.

    Research and Academic Engagement

    In October, we finalized the components for the post-course surveys. These surveys were then tested, refined, and released to students as they began to complete their Wikipedia-based assignments.

    Results from the incentive program look promising. We rose from 10% to 16% response rate, with continued incentive to not drop off during the post-assignment phase.

    Zach has coordinated with professors in New England, New York, and New Jersey, and is continuing to schedule focus groups from early November through late December. Currently nine focus groups are scheduled, with four more in the works, and another ten contacted on top of that.

    As many of the aspects of the research design are complete, Zach has turned much of his attention to planning the dissemination of the research. Zach has been accepted at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative annual meeting conference, is shortlisted for SXSWedu, and has submitted now for two more conferences with plans to submit for three more. Zach is continuing to work with Matthew Vetter on a co-authored publication (preparing for preliminary analysis), and is also now working with an Information Literacy Librarian, Kate Freedman, from UMass Amherst on a paper in on teaching information literacy with Wikipedia-based assignments.

    Finance & Administration / Fundraising

    Finance & Administration


    For the month of October, expenses were $139,588 versus the approved budget of $197,045. The variance of $57k continues to be due to staffing vacancies ($26k); the timing of professional services ($5k) and savings in travel related ($20k) expenses.

    Our year-to-date expenses of $586,704 was also less than our budgeted expenditures of $803,676 by $217k. The year-to-date variance closely follows the areas generating the monthly variances – staff vacancies ($72k); delayed professional services ($59k); and the savings and cutbacks in travel and marketing expenses ($76k).

    Wiki Education Foundation October 2016 expenses
    Wiki Education Foundation October 2016 YTD expenses


    In October, the Wiki Education Foundation received a two-year operating grant totaling $500,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant was awarded through the Hewlett Foundation’s Open Educational Resources program.

    Also in October, Wiki Education Foundation Board Member Lorraine Hariton and Director of Development Tom Porter met with representatives of Philanthropy New York in Manhattan to discuss learnings and outcomes of the Year of Science and the Simons Foundation – Wiki Education Foundation partnership. The three organizations are exploring ways to present a case study of the Year of Science to the wider Philanthropy New York membership. While in New York, Tom Porter also met with prospective corporate and foundation funders as well as peers from the New York Academy of Sciences.

    Planning is underway for the Wiki Education Foundation first individual donor appeal campaign, which will take place in late fall 2016.

    Office of the ED

    Current priorities:

    • Securing funding
    • Preparing for the strategic planning process

    In October, Executive Director Frank Schulenburg supported Wiki Ed’s fundraising efforts by researching additional development opportunities, and reviewing grant proposals. Tom and Frank started to deep-dive into data-driven approaches in donor outreach in preparation for the upcoming year-end giving campaign.

    Frank also met with Jon Cawthorne, Dean of Libraries at West Virginia University (WVU), and Kelly Doyle, Wikipedian in Residence at WVU. Together with Jami, they discussed the general state of Wikipedia-related efforts at WVU and possible paths for the future.

    In preparation of the strategic planning process, Frank discussed the proposed timeline and desired outcomes with board members. He also prepared an analysis of Wiki Ed’s external environment and an assessment of the current strengths and weaknesses of the organization.

    Frank met with Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher and discussed Wikimedia’s upcoming strategic planning process and the relationship between the two organizations. As one of the results, Katherine and Frank agreed to have regular consultations in order to keep each other informed about ongoing and future developments.

    On October 11, Frank officially joined the board of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG). HRDAG is San Francisco-based non-profit, non-partisan organization that applies rigorous science to the analysis of human rights violations around the world. In his new role, Frank will support HRDAG with his expertise in the areas of governance, financial oversight, HR, and fundraising.

    Visitors and guests

    • Kelly Doyle, Wikipedian in Residence, West Virginia University
    • John Sadowski, Wikimedia D.C.
    • Naniette Coleman, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and University of Massachusetts, Lowell
    • Megan Osterbur, professor of political science at Xavier University


    by Ryan McGrady at November 23, 2016 04:30 AM

    November 22, 2016

    Wikimedia Foundation

    Community digest: Wikipedians wrap up the first Africa destubathon, news in brief

     Photo by Zuraj studio, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Zuraj studio, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

    The Wikipedia community defines a stub as a very short content page on Wikipedia. It usually gives some basic information about the subject but needs to be improved to have an encyclopedic coverage of the subject.

    The Africa destubathon, the first contest of its kind, aims to address the lack of content in these article. It started in mid-October and is running for a duration of six weeks, ending on November 27, and modest prizes are available for individuals who complete certain tasks.

    The goal of the contest is to de-stub 2,000 out of the over 37,000 stub articles about Africa on the English Wikipedia. As of publishing time, 87% of this goal has been reached.

    “The destubathon could be even more successful if we brought in new editors within Africa and show them how to edit,” says James Anderson, the main organizer who came up with the idea of a destubathon. “[They can] really make a difference [by providing] information about their countries. As more people come online in the next 5-10 years, this sort of thing will be really important.”

    This is not Anderson’s first major effort to improve Wikipedia’s content; he has led three other editing projects in the last year. Awaken the Dragon was a one-month editing contest in April that encouraged the creation of over 1,000 new articles about Wales, and the 10,000 Challenge and 10,000 Africa Challenge aimed to improve 10,000 articles about the UK and Africa, respectively.

    “James did not only have the ‘idea’, he also invested a lot of energy and time to organize the destubathon, get the community involved and to raise funds to get some gifts to the winners,” says Florence Devouard, another main organizer of the even and a key member of the WikiAfrica movement, where she focuses on increasing gender diversity on Wikipedia.

    Many recent studies of internet content show that Wikipedia is mainly edited by the western, white, male contributor. Efforts like the Africa destubathon, could help change this situation.

    Devouard said that a main driver behind the project was the hope that “[every] English editor would consider de-stubbing a few African articles during the drive to help the cause and help reduce the massive stub count, of which many are rated highly important.” She continues:

    I believe that Wikipedia could be one of the most promising ways to help address the critical imbalance in the availability of factual information about Africa’s past and present. But the very poor quality of articles related to Africa in Wikipedia has several unfortunate impacts, including:

    • African readers miss particular information about their countries and culture when they consult Wikipedia;
    • Potential African participants lack a feeling of ownership and continue to consider Wikipedia a western project, written by and for Americans and Europeans; and
    • Non-African readers fail to view or understand important information about Africa that would help them better comprehend this continent and the immense richness of its people.

    I am happy to help change that.

    In brief

    Funds Dissemination Committee recommendations: The body charged with overseeing the largest movement affiliate grants announced its recommendation that US$3,210,000 be dispersed to eleven organizations in Europe, Asia, and South America. Detailed assessments of each organization’s proposals are available on Meta.

    Scholarship applications for WikiIndaba 2017 are now being accepted: In January, Wikipedians from all over the African continent will gather in Accra, Ghana for WikiIndaba 2017. The conference aims at fostering collaboration between the African Wikipedians to help grow the Wikimedia movement in the region. The deadline for scholarship applications is November 30, 2016.

    Monument photos from Ireland are now in use: The Wikimedia Community Ireland held three writing contests in September and October to use the photos from the Wiki Loves Monuments photography contest to illustrate Wikipedia articles. The goal is to create and expand Wikipedia articles about the Irish monuments photographed during the photography contest.

    Wikidata community celebrates its fourth birthday: Wikidata, the open data repository, went live four years ago. The Wikidata community celebrated by dedicating a page to share success stories from last year, document the events held and to express birthday wishes from the community.

    Registration for WikiCon17 is now open: The annual conference of Wikimedia organizations, Wikimedia Conference (WikiCon17) will be held between March 31 and April 2 in Berlin. The organizing team is inviting all Wikimedia affiliates to select their delegates who will attend the event, and to register by January 8, 2017. More details about the program design process are available on the project page.

    Tree campaign helps upload new photos to Wikimedia Commons: Wikimedia Czech Republic’s Facebook page shared a map of unphotographed famous trees across the country, to which many reacted by taking photos of the trees and uploading them to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

    Samir Elsharbaty, Digital Content Intern
    Wikimedia Foundation

    by Samir Elsharbaty at November 22, 2016 10:13 PM

    Freedom of expression includes the freedom to link

    The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. Photo by CherryX, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. Photo by CherryX, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    You have probably never worried that you could be sued for posting a hyperlink to a video or article.  But under a ruling by Hungarian national courts, it could be possible.

    The European Court of Human Rights is currently reviewing Magyar Jeti Zrt v. Hungary, a case in which a Hungarian court found a news website liable for posting a hyperlink after that site was sued by a political party. Although this case has largely flown under the radar until recently, the Foundation believes that the Court’s forthcoming decision could have serious implications for freedom of expression.

    The case began when 444.hu, a Hungarian news website, posted an article about an alleged incident of harassment of Roma students at a school in Konyár, Hungary. The article contained a link to a YouTube video of an interview with a local official who discussed Jobbik, a right-wing Hungarian political party. In response, Jobbik sued both the local official and 444.hu in Hungarian domestic court. Jobbik argued, among other things, that 444.hu had disseminated defamatory statements by posting the hyperlink, even though 444.hu itself had not mentioned Jobbik in the article. The Hungarian lower courts and Supreme Court (the Kúria) both agreed, and found 444.hu liable for defamation.

    In May of this year, the international court sent notice to the Hungarian government that it intended to review the Kúria’s decision. At issue is whether it violates Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights—which protects Europeans’ rights to free expression—to hold someone legally responsible for the content of a hyperlink that they post. We believe that the Court was right to take the case, and that it should reverse the Hungarian courts’ rulings.

    Hyperlinks are prerequisite to a free and open internet, enabling collaboration and access to knowledge for all. They are similarly essential to the continued thriving of the Wikimedia projects. Links often serve as references that help to ensure the accuracy and verifiability of content on Wikipedia. They are also frequently used to link within and between Wikimedia projects, or as supporting evidence in collaborative discussions on talk pages or user pages. Any given Wikimedia project page is likely to contain many hyperlinks, each of which may link to a page containing dozens more.

    Expanding liability for hyperlinking opens the door for all kinds of problems. First, it would likely create a chilling effect for the global communities of contributors to the Wikimedia projects. Treating users as if they wrote the material that they link to will undoubtedly make users afraid to post necessary links, such as reliable sources on Wikipedia, thus leading to less information being made available on the Wikimedia projects. This undermines the Wikimedia movement’s vision of freely sharing the sum of all knowledge. In addition, just like Wikipedia, the Web is a dynamic medium and content on websites may change over time. Creating liability for hyperlinks places a prohibitively large burden on internet users who cannot be expected to regularly monitor what they link to.

    The Hungarian Kúria’s decision also has troubling implications for freedom of expression, a core Wikimedia value. Links aren’t just a way of of connecting and building upon information, they are also part of the linkers’ rights to express themselves, to hear others, and to discuss issues that matter to them. Limiting their use would inevitably sweep up a great deal of such expression. This is especially problematic where the government’s rules would silence journalists who are reporting on important issues of the day. Their ability to provide information to the public would be damaged. This would cause the Wikimedia projects to suffer, as well. For example, contributors rely heavily on journalists as a font of reliable sources for Wikipedia articles.

    Curiously, the Kúria’s decision may even stifle criticism of defamation. Online posters often use hyperlinks to reference content that they disagree with in order to criticize that content. The Kúria’s decision would, perversely, appear to punish this behavior by treating vocal critics as if they had supported and disseminated the very speech they disagreed with.

    This is not the first time a court in Europe has dealt with the issue of liability for hyperlinking. Just recently, the European Court of Justice ruled that, under EU law, a person who links to copyright-infringing material can themselves be held liable under certain circumstances. In Magyar Jeti Zrt v. Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights now has the opportunity to defend the special role of hyperlinks and their importance to free expression, as protected by the European Convention of Human Rights, which was signed by 47 states (more than the European Union’s current 28 members).

    Hyperlinks are the synapses that keep the internet awake and alive, especially the Wikimedia projects. Without the ability to link to news articles, blog posts, government reports, academic journals, and a host of other material, the Wikimedia projects could not exist. Creating liability for linking to allegedly defamatory material will chill freedom of speech and hinder access to information. We applaud the Court for reviewing this case, and we encourage it  to recognize  these important values and to protect the interconnected nature of the Web and of collaborative projects like Wikipedia.

    Jim Buatti, Legal Fellow
    Jan Gerlach, Public Policy Manager
    Wikimedia Foundation

    by Jim Buatti and Jan Gerlach at November 22, 2016 07:31 PM

    Lorna M Campbell

    Open Archaeology and the Digital Cultural Commons

    When I joined the Board of Wikimedia UK earlier this year I was asked if I’d like to write a blog post for the Wikimedia UK Blog, this is the result….

    Eilean Dhomhnaill,  Loch Olabhat by Richard Law, CC BB SA 2.0

    Eilean Dhomhnaill, Loch Olabhat by Richard Law, CC BB SA 2.0

    Although I’ve worked in open education technology for almost twenty years now, my original background is actually in archaeology.  I studied archaeology at the University of Glasgow in the late 1980s and later worked there as material sciences technician for a number of years. Along the way I worked on some amazing fieldwork projects including excavating Iron Age brochs in Orkney and the Outer Hebrides, Bronze Age wetland sites at Flag Fen, a rare Neolithic settlement at Loch Olabhat in North Uist, the Roman fort of Trimontium at Newstead in the Scottish Borders and prehistoric, Nabatean and Roman sites in the South Hauran desert in Jordan.  I still have a strong interest in both history and archaeology and, perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m a passionate advocate of opening access to our shared cultural heritage.

    Archaeological field work and post excavation analysis generates an enormous volume of data including photographs, plans, notebooks and journals, topographic data, terrain maps, archaeometric data, artefact collections, soil samples, osteoarchaeology data, archaeobotanical data, zooarchaeological data, radio carbon data, etc, etc, etc.  The majority of this data ends up in university, museum and county archives around the country or in specialist archives such as Historic Environment Scotland’s Canmore archive and the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) at the University of York.  And while there is no question that the majority of this data is being carefully curated and archived for posterity, much of it remains largely inaccessible as it is either un-digitised, or released under restrictive or ambiguous licenses.

    Cadbury Castle Post Ex c. 1992

    Cadbury Castle Post Ex c. 1992

    This is hardly surprising for older archives which are composed primarily of analogue data.  I worked on the reanalysis of the Cadbury Castle archive in the early 1990’s and can still remember trawling through hundreds of dusty boxes and files of plans, context sheets, finds records, correspondence, notebooks, etc. That reanalysis did result in the publication of an English Heritage monograph which is now freely available from the ADS but, as far as I’m aware, little if any, of the archive has been digitised.

    Digitising the archives of historic excavations may be prohibitively expensive and of debatable value, however much of the data generated by fieldwork now is born digital. Archives such as Canmore and the ADS do an invaluable job of curating this data and making it freely available online for research and educational purposes.  Which is great, but it’s not really open.  Both archives use custom licenses rather than the more widely used Creative Commons licences.  It feels a bit uncharitable to be overly critical of these services because they are at least providing free access to curated archaeological data online.  Other services restrict access to public cultural heritage archives with subscriptions and paywalls.

    Several key thinkers in the field of digital humanities have warned of the dangers of enclosing our cultural heritage commons and have stressed the need for digital archives to be open, accessible and reusable.

    The Journal of Open Archaeology Data is one admirable example of an Open Access scholarly journal that makes all its papers and data sets freely and openly available under Creative Commons licenses, while endorsing the Panton Principles and using open, non-proprietary standards for all of its content. Internet Archaeology is another Open Access journal that publishes all its content under Creative Commons Attribution licences.  However it’s still just a drop in the ocean when one considers the vast quantity of archaeological data generated each year.  Archaeological data is an important component of our cultural commons and if even a small portion of this material was deposited into Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, Wikipedia etc., it would help to significantly increase the sum of open knowledge.

    Wikimedia UK is already taking positive steps to engage with the Culture sector through a wide range of projects and initiatives such as residencies, editathons, and the Wiki Loves Monuments competition, an annual event that encourages both amateur and professional photographers to capture images of the world’s historic monuments.  By engaging with archaeologists and cultural heritage agencies directly, and encouraging them to contribute to our cultural commons, Wikimedia UK can play a key role in helping to ensure that our digital cultural heritage is freely and openly available to all.

    This post originally appeared on the Wikimedia UK Blog

    by admin at November 22, 2016 11:51 AM

    November 21, 2016

    Wiki Education Foundation

    Why Wiki Ed’s work combats fake news — and how you can help

    The rapid expansion of fake news sites made real news headlines last week. The sheer prevalence of the viral stories has forced tech giants like Google and Facebook to think about how they handle fake news websites. Whether you think these sites are insidious attempts to sway elections or simply click bait to generate ad revenue, we can all agree they’re detrimental to society when people lack the media literacy skills to know the real from the fake.

    That’s why the work the Wiki Education Foundation does to help students develop media literacy skills is more important than ever.

    We are actively teaching thousands of college students how to be media literate citizens each term. And we need your help to reach even more students.

    img_8282Here’s why what we do works: In our flagship program, we support college and university faculty who assign their students to write Wikipedia articles on course-related topics. In the process of researching a topic and writing about it, students in our program must follow Wikipedia’s rules for what sources they cite.

    Wikipedia’s been dealing with fake news for years — and the community of Wikipedia writers and editors have a system that works. In order to be a valid source for a Wikipedia article, the news article in question must pass the “Reliable Sources” guideline on Wikipedia. This guideline asks the person writing the Wikipedia article (the “Wikipedian”) to consider: Is there editorial oversight for the content on that news site? Does the publication have a reputation for fact checking? Is the publication independent of the subject? Just because something is published online doesn’t mean it’s a reliable source for Wikipedia articles; instead, Wikipedians must look for things like the presence of an editorial board, whether the source issues corrections, and whether the source presents information neutrally. The community of volunteer editors tirelessly evaluate content added to Wikipedia, and remove facts not cited to a reliable source.

    When we ask students to become Wikipedians for a term as part of our program, we teach them about source evaluation. We explain Wikipedia’s reliable source guideline, and we provide them information on how to determine what sources count as reliable for their fields. We tell them if they simply Google their topic and use the first few results as their sources without making a judgment call on the publisher’s validity, their work is likely to get deleted, so they must follow the rules in order to do well on this assignment.

    In writing a Wikipedia article through Wiki Ed’s program, students learn to be media literate and navigate an increasingly complex and often contentious media landscape.

    Fostering these media literacy skills among our students means they’ll be able to question the validity of something they read online. They’ll have the skills to evaluate whether the article they’re reading and sharing on social media is reliable — or if it might not be. These media literacy skills are crucial for all students to learn, now even more than ever with the prevalence of these fake news sites.

    We at Wiki Ed want to teach more students these skills. We need your help:

    • If you’re a college or university instructor, consider teaching with Wikipedia. We’re actively seeking new courses to participate in our program in the winter quarter and spring semester.
    • If you’re able to support our work financially, consider donating online. Your support directly helps our organization provide assistance free of charge to instructors who want to give these students valuable media literacy skills.
    • If you want to help us spread the word, consider sharing this post on your social media. Use your networks to share why our work to give students media literacy skills is so important.

    by LiAnna Davis at November 21, 2016 08:45 PM

    Wikimedia Foundation

    Why I write about dinosaurs (and other extinct creatures)

    1690 painting, featuring two formerly unnoticed white dodos discovered through Wikipedia research. Painting by Franz Rösel von Rosenhof, public domain/CC0.

    1690 painting, featuring two formerly unnoticed white dodos discovered through Wikipedia research. Painting by Franz Rösel von Rosenhof, public domain/CC0.

    When I was a child, I had a scrapbook which I filled with pictures of extinct animals, especially dinosaurs. As I was unable to write myself, I asked my mom to copy text from some of my books on the subject, to make the scrapbook look more “real”.

    I was fascinated by extinct animals, since no one had ever seen them alive, making them almost mythological. I later began drawing my own illustrations of extinct creatures, but by the time I reached my teens, this felt like an “uncool” waste of time.

    Fast forward to my early twenties, when I began to casually edit Wikipedia articles, and became very impressed by the dinosaur articles there. I discovered that due to Wikipedia’s license policies, many dinosaur articles lacked illustrations, and this rekindled my interest in drawing dinosaurs: now there was a purpose to it! I started posting illustrations to WikiProject Dinosaurs’ image review page, where I got a crash-course in the latest dinosaur research by the local experts. I was surprised by the discoveries that had been made since I stopped paying attention to the field, but I did not feel confident enough in my knowledge to edit the article texts, so I stuck to adding illustrations and photographs, some self-made, and some “scavenged” on the web.

    One amusing consequence of making free illustrations for Wikipedia was seeing them pop up in unexpected places. I recognised an illustration I made of the dinosaur Segnosaurus on a bootleg poster sold outside a Walking With Dinosaurs arena show, and noticed the same illustration in an exhibit at a Polish museum…

    Early illustration I made for Wikipedia of Segnosaurus, which popped up on a bootleg poster and in a Polish museum. Restoration by FunkMonk, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Early illustration I made for Wikipedia of Segnosaurus, which popped up on a bootleg poster and in a Polish museum. Restoration by FunkMonk, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    As the years went, I became increasingly familiar with the palaeontological literature through my activities on Wikipedia. I started buying books about dinosaurs and other extinct animals again, and I reached a point where I was able to identify unlabelled photos of museum specimens in free Flickr and Wikimedia Commons images, thereby making them useful for Wikipedia. Among the new books I had acquired was one about the extinct dodo. Looking at the bird’s Wikipedia article, I was baffled by the state it was in, considering how famous a species it was. To flesh out the article, I added a few 17th century quotes from travellers who encountered the bird, but the text still didn’t feel worthy of the subject.

    The following summer, my girlfriend and I broke up, and my holiday plans went out the window. With nothing specific to do, I took a crack at summarising text from my dodo book in the Wikipedia article, mainly to make room for some interesting contemporary illustrations of the bird. After some days I was hooked, and I started to do the same in the article about the related and also extinct Rodrigues solitaire. After having expanded these articles, I got curious about nominating them for good and perhaps featured article status, but as a non-native speaker, I was unsure about the quality of my English writing. With support from editors at WikiProject Birds, the articles were promoted, and I felt encouraged to expand and nominate more articles about recently extinct birds—an otherwise quite neglected subject on Wikipedia, with only two prior featured articles, but also one where sources were easy to come by.

    After some months, I had successfully nominated articles about most of the charismatic extinct bird fauna of the Mascarene islands, and I then began working my way towards other extinct animals, began co-writing articles with other editors, and finally felt confident enough in my writing to tackle dinosaur articles. I had felt uneasy with this subject because of the great work that had been done before me, so I started with Dromaeosauroidesa rather obscure dinosaur that  nonetheless had sentimental value for me, as it is the only named dinosaur from my home country of Denmark. While writing the article, I also maintained an email correspondence with the palaeontologists who found and named the dinosaur; they gave me input when drawing the illustrations in the article.

    Velocisaurus. Restoration by FunkMonk, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Velocisaurus. Restoration by FunkMonk, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Since then, writing and nominating Wikipedia articles about extinct animals of all sorts has been a stable hobby of mine, and I feel it is a direct continuation/evolution of the old scrapbook I kept as a kid. In a sense, I feel it is the closest that can be done to bring these animals back to life (short of cloning them, which will never be possible for most). If I really want to stretch my credit, it may even help spread awareness about conservation of living species that are threatened by human activities (many of the animals I’ve written about were exterminated by humans).

    On a more personal level, it also acts as a substitute to a career in biology; my profession is animation, but natural history has always been a strong passion. I have come the closest to doing scientific research through my research for Wikipedia, including discovering formerly unnoticed (according to palaeontologist Julian Hume) historical illustrations of extinct birds, such as one in the National Gallery of Denmark showing two white dodos (painting at top).

    So in short, Wikipedia reignited my childhood obsession with dinosaurs and other extinct animals. I’m thrilled when I can pass on any of that enthusiasm by improving the articles about them, thereby keeping these creatures alive in the collective memory.

    FunkMonk, English Wikipedia contributor

    “Why I …” is an ongoing series for the Wikimedia Blog. We want to hear what motivates you to contribute to Wikimedia sites: send us an email at blogteam [at] wikimedia [dot] org if you know of someone who wants to share their story about what gets them to write articles, take photographs, proofread transcriptions, and beyond.

    by FunkMonk at November 21, 2016 05:30 PM

    Wiki Education Foundation

    The Roundup: Evolution and Wikipedia

    Ever wonder why some plants will flower, set seed, and die in a single year while others keep going, sometimes for centuries?

    A student in Kasey Fowler-Finn’s Advanced Evolution class created a new article which looks at this big question: annual vs. perennial plant evolution.

    We generally think of fermentation as something that happens when oxygen is absent, but certain yeasts convert sugars to alcohol even when oxygen is present, provided that sugars are abundant, a phenomenon known as the Crabtree effect. The evolution of this phenomenon is the subject of an article created by another student in this class, the evolution of aerobic fermentation.

    Other articles created or greatly expanded by students in this class in April include Enchenopa binotata complex, a complicated group of closely-related treehopper species and Nothonotus which is either a genus or subgenus of darters found in the southeastern U.S. Wikipedia does a pretty good job both with big topics like evolution, and with small granular topics such as individual species or organs; mid-level topics are harder to write about, and are generally less well covered. Students in this course have helped fill in some of those gaps in Wikipedia’s coverage.

    Students in the course also created a new 500-word article about phylogenetic inertia. That article describes the ways evolutionary paths can be limited by past adaptations. It’s part of what makes the shape of humans so inefficient for walking on two legs.

    This course is a great example of quality student writing on diverse concepts related to evolution on Wikipedia. Above and beyond our free online student trainings, instructor orientation, and student editing guides, instructors who are interested in participating in a similar initiative in their own course may be excited to know about a resource from Wiki Ed made just for them. Wiki Ed offers three printed guidebooks for students exploring evolution, ecology, or species on Wikipedia: “Editing Wikipedia articles on genes and proteins,” “Editing Wikipedia articles on Species,” and “Editing Wikipedia articles on Ecology.”

    To get a conversation started, I encourage you to reach out to us by e-mail: contact@wikiedu.org.

    Photo:Charles Darwin 01” by J. Cameron – Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    by Ian Ramjohn at November 21, 2016 05:00 PM

    Andre Klapper

    Code review in open source projects: Influential factors and actions

    Coming from “Prioritizing volunteer contributions in free software development”, the Wikimedia Foundation allowed me to spend time on research about code review (CR) earlier in 2016. The theses and bullet points below incorporate random literature and comments from numerous people.
    While the results might also be interesting for other free and open source software projects, they might not apply to your project for various reasons.

    In Wikimedia we would like to review and merge better code faster. Especially patches submitted by volunteers. Code Review should be a tool and not an obstacle.
    Benefits of Code Review are knowledge transfer, increased team awareness, and finding alternative solutions. Good debates help to get to a higher standard of coding and drives quality.[A1]

    I see three dimensions of potential influential factors and potential actions (that often cannot be cleanly separated):

    • 3 aspects: social, technical, organizational.
    • 2 roles: contributor, reviewer.
    • 3 factors: Patch-Acceptance/Positivity-Likeliness, Patch-Time-to-review/merge, Contributor onboarding (not covered here).

    In general, “among the factors we studied, non-technical (organizational and personal) ones are betters predictors” (means: possible factors that might affect the outcome and interval of the code review process) “compared to traditional metrics such as patch size or component, and bug priority.”[S1]

    Note that Wikimedia plans to migrate its code review infrastructure from Gerrit to Phabricator Differential at some point.

    Unstructured review approach

    An unstructured review approach potentially demotivates first patch contributors, but fast and structured feedback is crucial for keeping them engaged.

    Set up and document a multi-phase, structured patch review process for reviewers: Three steps proposed by Sarah Sharp for maintainers / reviewers[A2], quoting:

    • Fast feedback whether it is wanted: Is the idea behind the contribution sound? / Do we want this? Yes, no. If the contribution isn’t useful or it’s a bad idea, it isn’t worth reviewing further. Or “Thanks for this contribution! I like the concept of this patch, but I don’t have time to thoroughly review it right now. Ping me if I haven’t reviewed it in a week.” The absolute worst thing you can do during phase one is be completely silent.[A2]
    • Architecture: Is the contribution architected correctly? Squash the nit-picky, perfectionist part of yourself that wants to comment on every single grammar mistake or code style issue. Instead, only include a sentence or two with a pointer to coding style documentation, or any tools they will need to run their contribution through.[A2]
    • Polishing: Is the contribution polished? Get to comment on the meta (non-code) parts of the contribution. Correct any spelling or grammar mistakes, suggest clearer wording for comments, and ask for any updated documentation for the code[A2]

    Lack of enough skillful, available, confident reviewers and mergers

    Not enough skillful or available reviewers and potential lack of confident reviewers[W1]? Not enough reviewers with rights to actually merge into the codebase?

    • Capacity building: Discuss consider handing out code review rights to more (trusted) volunteers by recognizing active users who mark patches as good-to-go or needs-improvement (based on statistics)? Encourage them to become habitual and trusted reviewers; actively nominate to become maintainers[W2]? Potentially recognize people not executing their code review rights anymore. Again this requires statistics (to identify very active reviewers) and stakeholders (to decide on nominations).
    • Review current code review patch approval handout practice (see Wikimedia’s related documentation about +2 rights in Gerrit).
    • Consider establishing prestigious roles for people, like “Reviewers”?[W3]
    • “we recommend including inexperienced reviewers so that they can gain the knowledge and experiences required to provide useful comments to change authors”[S2]; Reviewers who have prior experience give more useful comments as they have more knowledge about design constraints and implementation.[S2]

    Under-resourced or unclear responsibilities

    Lack of repository owners / maintainers, or under-resourced or unclear responsibilities when everyone expects someone else to review. (For the MediaWiki core code repository specifically, see related tasks T115852 and T1287.)

    “Changes failing to capture a reviewer’s interest remain unreviewed”[S3] due to self-selecting process of reviewers, or everybody expects another person in the team to review. “When everyone is responsible for something, nobody is responsible”[W4].

    • Have better statistics (on proposed patches waiting for review for a long time) to identify unmaintained areas within a codebase or codebases with unclear maintenance responsibilities.
    • Define a role to “Assign reviews that nobody selects.”[S3] (There might be (old) code areas that only one or zero developers understand.) Might need an overall “Code Review wrangler” position similar to a Bugwrangler/Bugmaster.
    • Clarify and centrally document which Engineering/Development/Product teams are responsible for which codebases, and Team/Maintainer ⟷ Codebase/Repository relations (Example: “How Wikimedia Foundation’s Reading team manages extensions”)
    • Actively outreach to volunteers for unmaintained codebases via Requesting repository ownership? Might need an overall “Code Review wrangler” position similar to a Bugwrangler/Bugmaster.
    • Advertise a monthly “Project in need of a maintainer” campaign on a technical mailing list and/or blog posts?

    Hard to identify good reviewer candidates

    Hard for new contributors to identify and add good reviewers.

    “choice of reviewers plays an important role on reviewing time. More active reviewers provide faster responses” but “no correlation between the amount of reviewed patches on the reviewer positivity”.[S1]

    • Check “owners” tool in Phabricator “for assigning reviewers based on file ownership”[W5] so reviewers get notified of patches in their areas of interest. In Gerrit this exists but is limited.
    • Encourage people to become project members/watchers.[W6]
    • Organization specific: Either have automated updating of outdated manual list of Developers/Maintainers, or replace individual names on the list of Developers/Maintainers by links to Phabricator project description pages.
    • In the vague technical future, automatic reviewer suggestion systems could help[S2], like automatically listing people who lately touched code in a code repository or related tasks in an issue tracking system and the length of their current review queue. (Proofs of concept have been published in scientific papers but code is not always made available.)

    Unhelpful reviewer comments

    Due to unhelpful reviewer comments, contributors spend time on creating many revisions/iterations before successful merge.

    • Make sure documentation for reviewers states:
      • Reviewers’ CR comments considered useful by contributors: identifying functional issues; identifying corner cases potentially not covered; suggestions for APIs/designs/code conventions to follow.[S2]
      • Reviewers’ CR comments considered somewhat useful by contributors: coding guidelines; identifying alternative implementations or refactoring[S2]
      • Reviewers’ CR comments considered not useful by contributors: Authors consider reviewers praising on code segments, reviewers asking questions to understand the implementation, and reviewers pointing out future issues not related to the specific code (should be filed as tasks) as not useful.[S2]
      • Avoid negativity and ask the right questions the right way. As a reviewer, ask questions instead of making demands to foster a technical discussion: “What do you think about…?” “Did you consider…?” “Can you clarify…?” “Why didn’t you just…” provides a judgement, putting people on the defensive. Be positive.[A1]
      • If you learned something or found something particular well, give compliments. (As code review is often about critical feedback only.)[A1]
      • Tool specific: Agree and document how to use Gerrit’s negative review (CR-1): “Some people tend to use it in an ‘I don’t like this but go ahead and merge if you disagree’ sense which usually does not come across well. OTOH just leaving a comment makes it very hard to keep track – I have been asked in the past to -1 if I don’t like something but don’t consider it a big deal, because that way it shows up in Gerrit as something that needs more work.”[W7]
      • Stakeholders with different expertise areas to review aspects need to split reviewing parts of a larger patch.

    Weak review culture

    Prioritization / weak review culture: more pressure to write new code than to review patches contributed? Code review “application is inconsistent and enforcement uneven.”[W8]

    • Introduce and foster routine and habit across developers to spend a certain amount of time each day for reviewing patches (or part of standup), and team peer review on complex patches[A1].
    • Write code to display “a prominent indicator of whether or not you’ve pushed more changesets than you’ve reviewed”[W9]?
    • Technical: Allow finding / explicitly marking first contributions by listing recent first contributions and their time to review on korma’s code_contrib_new_gone in T63563. Someone responsible to ping, follow up, and (with organizational knowledge) to add potential reviewers to such first patches. Might need an overall “Code Review wrangler” position similar to a Bugwrangler/Bugmaster.
    • Organization specific: Contact the WMF Team Practices Group about their thoughts how this can be fostered?

    Workload of existing reviewers

    Workload of existing reviewers; too many items on their list already.

    Reviewer’s Queue Length: “the shorter the queue, the more likely the reviewer is to do a thorough review and respond quickly” and the longer the more likely it takes longer but “better chance of getting in” (due to more sloppy review?)[S1].

    • Code review tool support to propose reviewers or display on how many unreviewed patches a reviewer is already added so the author can choose other reviewers. Proposal to add reviewers to patches[W2] but this requires already good knowledge of the community members as otherwise it just creates more noise.
    • Potentially document that “two reviewers find an optimal number of defects – the cost of adding more reviewers isn’t justified […]”[S3]
      • Documentation for reviewers: “we should encourage people to remove themselves from reviewers when they are certain they won’t review the patch. A lot of noise and wasted time is created by the fact that people are unable to keep their dashboards clean”[WA]
    • Tool specific: Gerrit’s negative review (CR-1) gets lost when a reviewer removes themselves (bug report) hence Gerrit lists (more) items which look unreviewed. Check if same problem exists in Phabricator Differential?
    • Tool specific: Agree whether ‘Patch cannot be merged due to conflicts; needs rebasing’ should be a reason to give CR-1[WB] in order to get a ‘cleaner’ list? (But depending on the Continuous Integration infrastructure tools of your project, such rejection via static analysis might happen automatically anyway.)

    Poor quality of contributors’ patches

    Due to poor quality of contributors’ patches, reviewers spend time on reviewing many revisions/iterations before successful merge. Might make reviewers ignore instead of reviewing again and again giving yet another negative CR-1 review.

    • Make sure documentation for contributors states:
      • Small, independent, complete patches are more likely to be accepted.[S4]
      • “[I]f there are more files to review [in your patch], then a thorough review takes more time and effort”[S2] and “review effectiveness decreases with the number of files in the change set.”[S2]
      • Small patches (a maximum of 4 lines changed) “have a higher chance to be accepted than average, while large patches are less likely to be accepted” (probability) but “one cannot determine that the patch size has a significant influence on the time until a patch is accepted” (time)[S5]
      • Patch Size: “Review time [is] weakly correlated to the patch size” but “Smaller patches undergo fewer rounds of revisions”[S1]
      • Reasons for rejecting a patch (not all are equally decisive; “less decisive reasons are usually easier to judge” when it comes to costs explaining rejections):[S6]
        • Problematic implementation or solution: Compilation errors; Test failures; Incomplete fix; Introducing new bugs; Wrong direction; Suboptimal solution works but there is a more simple or efficient way); Solution too aggressive for end users; Performance; Security
        • Difficult to read or maintain: Including unnecessary changes (to split into separate patch); Violating coding style guidelines; Bad naming (e.g. variable names); Patch size too large (but rarely matters as it’s ambiguous – if necessary it’s not a problem); Missing docs; Inconsistent or misleading docs; No accompanied test cases (When should “No accompanied test cases” be a reason for a negative review? In which cases do we require unit tests?[W4] This should be more deterministic); Integration conflicts with existing code; Duplication; Misuse of API; risky changes to internal APIs; not well isolated
        • Deviating from the project focus or scope: Idea behind is not of core interest; irrelevant or obsolete
        • Affecting the development schedule / timing: Freeze; low urgency; Too late
        • Lack of communication or trust: Unresponsive patch authors; no discussion prior to patch submission; patch authors’ expertise and reputation[S6]
        • cf. Reasons of the Phabricator developers why patches can get rejected
      • There is a mismatch of judgement: Patch reviewers consistently consider test failures, incomplete fix, introducing new bugs, suboptimal solution, inconsistent docs way more decisive for rejecting than authors.[S6]
      • Propose guidelines for writing acceptable patches:[S6]
        • Authors should make sure that patch is in scope and relevant before writing patch
        • Authors should be careful to not introduce new bugs instead of only focussing on the target
        • Authors should not only care if the patch works well but also whether it’s an optimal solution
        • Authors should not include unnecessary changes and should check that corner cases are covered
        • Authors should update or create related documentation[S6] (for Wikimedia, see Development policy)
      • Patch author experience is relevant: Be patient and grow. “more experienced patch writers receive faster responses” plus more positive ones. In WebKit, contributors’ very first patch is likely to get positive feedback while for their 3rd to 6th patch it is harder.[S1]
    • Agree on who is responsible for testing and document responsibility. (Tool specific: Phabricator Differential can force patch authors to fill out a test plan.)[W7]

    Likeliness of patch acceptance depends on: Developer experience, patch maturity; Review time impacted by submission time, number of code areas affected, number of suggested reviewers, developer experience.[S7]

    Hard to realize a repository is unmaintained

    Hard to realize how (in)active a repository is for a potential contributor.

    • Implement displaying “recent activity” information somewhere in the code repository browser and code review tool, to communicate expectations.
    • Have documentation that describe steps how to ask for help and/or take over maintainership, to allow contributors to act if interested in the code repository. For Wikimedia these docs are located at Requesting repository ownership.

    No culture to improve changesets by other contributors

    Changesets are rarely picked up by other developers[WB]. After merging, “it is very difficult to revert it or to get original developers to help fix some broken aspect of a merged change”[WB] regarding followup fixing culture.

    • Document best practices to amend a change written by another contributor if you are interested in bringing the patch forward.

    Hard to find related patches

    Hard to find existing “related” patches in a certain code area when working on your own patch in that area, or when reviewing several patches in the same code area. (Hence there might also be some potential rebase/merge conflicts[WB] to avoid if possible.)

    • Phabricator Differential offers “Recent Similar Open Revisions”.[WC] Gerrit might have such a feature in a newer version.[WD]

    Lack of synchronization between teams

    Lack of synchronization between developer teams: team A stuck because team B doesn’t review their patches?

    • Organization specific: Wikimedia has regular “Scrum of Scrum” meetings of all scrum masters across teams, to communicate when the work of a team is blocked by another team.

    Comment which important factors that you have experienced are missing!


    by aklapper at November 21, 2016 12:47 PM

    Tech News

    Tech News issue #47, 2016 (November 21, 2016)

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    November 21, 2016 12:00 AM

    November 19, 2016

    Wikimedia Foundation

    “The future of information is going to be collaborative”: Jesús Lau

    Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    “Wikipedia has democratised access to information among individuals and institutions around the world,” says Jesús Lau. “Today, anyone who has Internet access can find answers to their questions, regardless of their economic power or income; it’s something that was impossible before Wikipedia.”

    In a career spanning over 35 years, Jesús has worked as an academic librarian at five Mexican universities, served on the Governing Board of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and was President of the Mexican Library Association (AMBAC). Today, he works as a professor at the Universidad Veracruzana, a public university in the state of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico where he teaches classes at undergraduate and doctoral levels. While not a Wikipedian himself, Jesús actively uses Wikipedia in the classroom as part of an open access course that he has created and shared with universities across South America.

    “The subject I teach is called ‘information competencies for learning’,” he explains. “It combines a bit of research methodology and writing, and focuses on developing information skills. I try to teach students to use scientific, academic materials—encyclopedias or scientific journals—but I also have exercises on how to use, filter and evaluate mass media as well as Wikipedia exercises,” Jesús describes.

    “My students are mainly in their first or second semester, so for them it’s almost impossible to publish their work in a journal. However, on Wikipedia they can practice, and they do. When you publish something—and on Wikipedia you can also improve it later—you care for it, so I think that this is an excellent way of introducing students to the world of written communication,” he adds.

    Group photo of participants of a Wikipedia workshop at the Universidad Veracruzana in 2013. Photo by Alberto Ramírez Martinell, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Group photo of participants of a Wikipedia workshop at the Universidad Veracruzana in 2013. Photo by Alberto Ramírez Martinell, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Answering our question of what Wikipedia means to him as a reader, librarian, and a teacher, Jesús says: “I just love turning to Wikipedia for local information, information about things that are obscure, perhaps, for the world. I have been surprised many times by what information is available on Wikipedia. It’s not always the most academic information, but just the fact that the information is there already helps, as it’s a place where you can set off from,” he explains.

    “Take the Enciclopedia de México as a different example,” Jesús suggests. “It was published between 1966 and 1977 and has 12 volumes. The last volume was published in 50,000 copies, which for a country like Mexico, with a population of over 65 million at the time, is nothing. It means that most Mexican households never owned a copy of the encyclopedia; what is more, not even libraries, especially smaller libraries, ever had a copy,” he points out.

    “It’s why I think that Wikipedia is really beneficial both for the educational sector and the general population. It can be accessed on-line 24 hours a day, at no cost, has the most extensive subject coverage, and makes it possible for information to be used by anyone who needs it, and not just those who have the means to access it.”

    As our discussion turns to the use of information as an indicator of a society’s development, Jesús makes a comparison between his country, Mexico, and the developed world. “In Mexico, our society uses information without evaluating it, without questioning it. And you just have to use information by thinking critically,” he notes. “And that’s why I am against textbooks, because a textbook is a prison: a prison that doesn’t allow the student to develop information skills, such as localising, and, above all else, evaluating information.”

    As we near the end of our interview, Jesús makes sure that we pass on his praise to the wider Wikimedia movement. “I would just like to congratulate you all for the work that you do,” he says. “I think that the work that Wikimedia does is excellent; for me, it’s laudable and I think that the future of information is going to be collaborative—it’s going to be open access.”

    To read more about the use of Wikipedia in education, see the Wikipedia Education Program on the Wikimedia Outreach wiki.

    Interview and translation to Spanish by María Cruz, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation

    Profile by Tomasz W. Kozlowski, Blog Writer, Wikimedia Foundation

    by Tomasz Kozlowski and María Cruz at November 19, 2016 07:11 PM

    November 18, 2016

    Weekly OSM

    weeklyOSM 330


    Detail of the OSRM debug card OSRM’s debug map shows penalties given for turns. 1 | © OpenStreetMap Contributors CC-BY-SA 2.0

    About us

    • The OSM Foundation needs € 70.000 to cover its core operational expenses. Last Friday, Mapbox announced that they would “match the next ‎€10,000 in contributions“ to achieve the target. With €18,028 left to achieve the target, consider donating to keep OSM running.


    • Adrien Pavie introduces Pic4Carto, a website that combines recent pictures from Mapillary, Flickr and Commons, so mappers can easily refer to pictures from these three sites. He has also made the source code available.
    • CartInnov (automatic translation), the collaborative and open map of the innovation actors in the French-speaking world.
    • [1] OSRM’s debug map (we reported earlier) now also shows penalties given for turns.
    • Markus Schalke calls for discussion of the bird tower proposal in the tagging mailing list.
    • Daniel wants a tag for “not-a-roundabout” so that routing software can give better instructions. He explains here in more detail why is this needed.
    • On the tagging mailing list, Warin proposed a more detailed mapping of football (soccer) fields.
    • Joost Schouppe submitted a tag for dog toilets. There are various suggestions for the exact name of the tag.
    • James opened a task in the Canadian task manager to incorporate wikidata into OSM. User LogicalViolinist explains in his blogpost why this is important (but there is significant controversy). Also please read about what James writes about the is_in: tag.
    • User Tbsprs tweeted about OpenLevelUp! – a great tool for the representation of indoor mapping. For example, here is the multi-level Birmingham New Street Station.


    • The Dutch Computerworld magazine reports (automatic translation) about four projects that are “almost broke”. OSM, being one of them, has not yet reached its donation goal of €70,000. Time to donate!
    • There is a discussion over at OpenStreetMap Carto’s GitHub repository (where the ‘standard’ style that appears on the openstreetmap.org website is developed), asking why there are relatively few contributors, and why some features (such as wayside shrines) take so long to appear.
    • Gonzalo Pérez, from OSM Argentina, facilitated a workshop on mapping and collaborative practices. It was organized by Santalab (in Argentina, not at the North Pole) and the Centre for Media Studies, in the city of Rosario, Santa Fe.
    • Santiago Crespo reports that the Spanish community is now also using “osm-welcome-Belgium“, the tool created by the Belgian community (actually M1dgard). Pascal Neis has already noticed the new users on his twitter feed.
    • “kaxtillo” wrote a diary entry summing up (translation) the involvement of OSM in Colombia with the 3rd “citizen innovation lab”, (translation) whose aims were to promote citizen innovation in Latin America in order to foster social transformation, democratic governance, and social, cultural and economic development.
    • “Bike parking is not a problem, but part of the solution: Amsterdam’s 265K car places could allocate 2.1M bikes!” So says the “bike professor” from the Urban Cycling Institute. He explains (automatic translation) how to solve this, illustrated with an OpenStreetMap map.
    • Pascal Neis has updated his analysis of the activity of OpenStreetMap members for this year.


    • OSM Geography Awareness Week (OSMGeoweek on Github) aims to celebrate geography and OSM with over 120 events worldwide. This complements National Geographic Society’s initiative with many local and humanitarian mapping projects.

    Humanitarian OSM

    • The “Red Cross climate center” in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, reported about another workshop with several partners. This involved plans for a second phase with the support of OSM in the creation of development plans, flood protection and infrastructure development.
    • HOT is asking the community feedback on choosing the platform that would be the best to host activities such as live training. Please fill the three-question questionnaire!
    • A mapathon hosted in Ivry-sur-Seine (Paris, France) with the help of cartONG brought together mappers and members of the local Malian community. Together, they mapped the area of Dianguirdé, Mali, adding some 337 km of roads.


    • The French Ministry for the Environment, Energy and the Sea is organizing a hackathon under the name #HackRisques. The aim of the mapathon is to prevent natural hazards. In addition to Meteo France, the OSM community is also invited to participate – as Sebastian Dinot reported on OSM-talk-fr.


    • Thomas Konrad published the austriaaddresshelper, a Java OpenStreetMap Editor (JOSM) plugin which automatically assigns addresses to an object. It uses the BEV Address Data Reverse Geocoder which uses the address data sets released by the Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen (BEV) in Austria.
    • Frederik Ramm is in a look out for developers/admins, who would be interested in building and maintaining an OSM Sandbox around the test OSM APIs.
    • OSRM release candidate for version 5.5 features a bunch of interesting changes. It now supports oneway=reversible vs. oneway=alternating tagging, directions for the destination tag and implements new heuristics for turn angles.
    • On the talk list, Martijn van Exel describes how OpenStreetView has been asked to change its name “by a well-known company with a similarly-named product“. As ever anonymaps is Quick to Draw its own conclusions about Google’s “evenhanded respect for trademarks”.


    • Mapzen describes the background of the programming of the Tangram engine with new features to import, among other things, the new TRON 2.0 styles.
    • Railnialtial presents the Python library OSMnx. It was written during his dissertation, and allows the visualisation and analysis of street data.


    Software Version Release date Comment
    OSRM Backend 5.4.3 2016-11-08 Bugfix release.
    Mapillary iOS * 4.5.5 2016-11-10 Bugfix release.
    libosmium 2.10.0 2016-11-11 Too many changes, please read release info.
    Mapbox GL JS v0.27.0 2016-11-11 Many extensions and fixes, see release info.
    Komoot iOS * 8.4.2 2016-11-13 Gallery reworked.
    Komoot Android * var 2016-11-14 Minor enhancements.
    Maps.me Android * var 2016-11-14 Bug fixes and new map data.

    Provided by the OSM Software Watchlist.

    (*) unfree software. See: freesoftware.

    Did you know …

    • … Liberland, a new “country” which nobody is allowed to enter? Hacker News has more details about this and Wikipedia explains the border conflict that lead to its “creation”.
    • Framacarte, using uMap as part of an initiative to de-Google-ify the Internet?
    • … the sustainable Comenius project MychOSM? It shows a lot of possiblities on how to use OSM in schools.

    OSM in the media

    • The Genealogical Society of Ireland reported on its last edition (PDF – see page 2): “In early October the completion of the project to draw all the townlands on the Island of Ireland was celebrated in Berlin. It was on the occasion of the annual world-wide conference of the volunteer driven OpenStreetMap community”. “townlands.ie” is of course the main web site.

    Other “geo” things

    • Archdaily reports about David Rumsey’s Map Collection of high resolution maps (we reported earlier) which now features more than 71,000 maps to download.
    • Apple has been granted a US patent for augmented reality maps.
    • Hajime Narukawa, a Japanese architect has come up with a map projection, such that a printed map can be fold up into a perfect 3D globe. For his work he received the coveted Good Design Award. We presented last week the OSM Dymaxion Projection by the Brazilian architect Sérgio A. J. Volkmer.
    • Real-Time GPS tracking of scavenging gulls pinpoints illegal waste dumping.
    • Google will retire Map Maker on March 31st 2017, moving the POI editing functions to Google Maps, and users won’t be allowed to edit geometries anymore. We wonder if this would be another boost for our community.
    • In an effort to enable and support machine learning using satellite imagery, DigitalGlobe, CosmiQ Works and NVidia are launching the SpaceNet Challenge. In the first round, the challenge is to automate the extraction of 2D building outlines from satellite images. Prizes worth $34,500 to be won.
    • Surveillance under Surveillance is a project which visualizes crowd sourced data on surveillance. The project, currently available in German, English and Spanish, is looking (automatic translation) for translators to expand it to other languages.
    • Google Street View vs Mapillary: Greg Oates, Skift Digital, describes – using examples – the objectives, opportunities and the know-how of the two counterparts.

    Upcoming Events

    Where What When Country
    Espoo OSM kahvit Espoo 17.11.2016 finland
    Helsinki OSM GeoBeers 17.11.2016 finland
    Ottawa OSM Founder Steve Coast 17.11.2016 canada
    Urspring Stammtisch Ulmer Alb 17.11.2016 germany
    Heidelberg OSM Geoweek Mapathon 17.11.2016 germany
    Colorado Geoweek Mapathon Colorado State University, Fort Collins 17.11.2016 us
    California UC Davis Humanitarian Mapathon http://spatial.ucdavis.edu/humanitarian-mapathon/ Davis 17.11.2016 us
    Tampere OSM kahvit Tampere 18.11.2016 finland
    Bordeaux Missing Maps Diégo-Bordeaux 18.11.2016 france
    Milan Mapathon@Polimi, Politecnico di Milano 18.11.2016 italy
    Essen Stammtisch 19.11.2016 germany
    Chambéry Missing Maps Chambéry-Ouahigouya 19.11.2016 france
    Kyoto 諸国・浪漫マッピングパーティー:第3回 松尾大社、地蔵院(Matsuo-taisha Shinto Shrine and Jizoin Buddhist temple) 19.11.2016 japan
    Tokyo 東京!街歩き!マッピングパーティ:第2回 護国寺(Gokokuji Buddhist temple) 19.11.2016 japan
    Derby Derby 22.11.2016 united kingdom
    Karlsruhe Stammtisch 23.11.2016 germany
    Lübeck Lübecker Mappertreffen 24.11.2016 germany
    Sao Paulo State of the Map Latam 2016 25.11.2016-27.11.2016 brazil
    Trento SAT e OpenStreetMap – Sentieri e Cartografia libera – novità, opportunità e prospettive future 25.11.2016 Trentino
    Ala MappAla! party 26.11.2016 Trentino
    Taipei Taipei Meetup, Mozilla Community Space 28.11.2016 taiwan
    Bremen Bremer Mappertreffen 28.11.2016 germany
    Graz Stammtisch 28.11.2016 austria
    Rennes Rencontres mensuelles 29.11.2016 france
    Colorado OSM Brown Bag Talk Colorado State University, Fort Collins 29.11.2016 us

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

    This weeklyOSM was produced by Hakuch, Lamine Ndiaye, Laura Barroso, Peda, Rogehm, SomeoneElse, Spec80, SrrReal, TheFive, YoViajo, derFred, escada, jcoupey, jinalfoflia, muramototomoya, sabas88, sbiribizio, wambacher, widedangel.


    by weeklyteam at November 18, 2016 11:35 PM

    Wiki Education Foundation

    Happy Birthday, Margaret Atwood!

    November 18 marks Margaret Atwood’s birthday. The Oryx and Crake author writes on a variety of genres, including science fiction.

    Wiki Ed has been focusing on women scientists this year as part of our Year of Science. But when it comes to inspiring women to engage in the fields of science and technology, there’s no denying that science fiction has a role to play in the popular imagination. We’ve highlighted the great work from students in Dr. Ximena Gallardo C’s course on Octavia E. Butler in the past.

    This week, we’re looking at Carol A. Stabile’s Feminist Science Fictions course at the University of Oregon, which encourages her students to explore and share this perspective on science and speculative fiction.

    Students developed the article on James Tiptree, Jr., the pen name of Alice Bradley Sheldon, who was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2012. Sheldon used a masculine pen name from 1967 until her death in 1987, and only revealed her true identity in 1977. She explained her reason for using the assumed name in a 1983 interview: “I’ve had too many experiences in my life of being the first woman in some damned occupation.”

    Students contributed an article about the collection, Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson, which draws on Hopkinson’s background in Afro-Caribbean culture. They also wrote about Joanna Russ, a science fiction author who also published scholarly feminist criticism of pornography.

    If you’d like to read more about feminist science fiction, you’re in luck. Students edited the article on Feminist science fiction.

    The information these students shared for this course has been accessed more than 275,000 times! Thanks to these students for their great contributions to Wikipedia.

    Photo: Modified from Margaret Atwood star on Canada’s Walk of Fame by Tabercil, Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0

    by Eryk Salvaggio at November 18, 2016 05:00 PM

    November 17, 2016

    Wiki Education Foundation

    Attending the AAA conference

    The American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting takes place this week in Minneapolis. I’m here at the conference with Outreach Manager Samantha Weald to talk about how students improve the quality and coverage of public knowledge of anthropological topics on Wikipedia. In our time working with professors of anthropology and related fields, like through our partnership with the Linguistic Society of America, we’ve seen ample opportunities for students to make a difference. We’re excited to recruit more anthropologists into our Classroom Program.

    Educational Partnerships Manager, Jami Mathewson
    Educational Partnerships Manager, Jami Mathewson

    Since 2010, hundreds of college instructors have assigned their students to expand and improve Wikipedia. As an educational tool, developing Wikipedia articles allows students to work collaboratively and have a visible impact on a global audience. It requires careful sourcing, involves classroom peer review, and spreads anthropological knowledge to a global audience. Students gain deeper insight into their course material and learn to evaluate critically the reliability of sources. Faculty and students report high levels of motivation for the Wikipedia assignment over the traditional term paper.

    Anthropologists have a lot to contribute to Wikipedia from their deep study of the human past and present and up-close knowledge of parts of the world usually ignored by mass media. Anthropology students editing Wikipedia have written about ancient humans, indigenous peoples, cultural relics, languages, and cultural practices. They have critically reworked existing articles to find missing or misrepresented information, helping to overcome geographic, gender, and conceptual biases in one of the world’s most consulted information sources.

    We have created a suite of online tools and training materials to assist instructors in designing, leading, supporting, and grading Wikipedia assignments. We also have several printed resources aimed at students in particular fields overlapping with anthropology, like sociology, women’s studies, and linguistics.

    Samantha and I will be in the exhibit hall all week, eager to discuss the importance of Wikipedia in sharing accessible information about anthropology with the world. In tomorrow’s workshop from 1:00–5:00pm, Dr. Carwil Bjork-James and I will talk about why improving Wikipedia matters and how students can work on anthropological topics. Attendees will learn about best practices for using Wikipedia as a teaching tool and how Wiki Ed can support you and your students.

    If you’re at the conference, please stop by to see us and join us at the workshop. If you can’t make it, email us at contact@wikiedu.org.

    by Jami Mathewson at November 17, 2016 10:53 PM

    Wikimedia Foundation

    News on Wikipedia: Was the supermoon not so super? Wikimedia editors explain

     Photo by Owlphotostudio, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

    Photo by Owlphotostudio, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

    On Monday, the Moon was brighter and closer to Earth than it has been in 69 years.

    People around the globe ventured out of their houses to watch the phenomenon, and photographers—both amateurs and professionals—in different cities around the world took breathtaking photos of the supermoon with famous objects or monuments in the background.

    NASA was one of them. Their Twitter account posted photos of the supermoon alongside a rocket expected to carry their International Space Station crew by the end of this week: “As next crew preps for Nov. 17 launch, the rises behind the rocket that will carry them.”

    Photos like those helped arouse more interest in the supermoon phenomenon. On Monday, the English Wikipedia’s article on supermoons received over 300,000 views—about 1000% more than the sum of last month’s views of the page. Supermoon articles also exist in 40 different languages on Wikipedia, and they were visited over 1 million times during the last week. Readers referred to them to get more information about what the supermoon is.

    The term “supermoon” was first used by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. According to him, this phenomenon occurs when the “earth, moon and sun are all aligned, with the moon in its nearest approach to Earth.” The term is widely used by astrologists and the public. However, the astronomy community refers to it as perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system, or simply, lunar perigee-syzygy.

    The distance between the centers of the Earth and Moon varies between 357,000 and 406,000 kilometers (222,000-252,000 miles) every month. The Moon is at its perigee when its orbit takes it closest to Earth.

    “The definition is entirely arbitrary,” Keith Smith, a British astronomer who edits Wikipedia under the username Modest Genius, told us. “The moon’s orbit is slightly elliptical, so sometimes it’s slightly closer to Earth than usual at full moon. That causes the apparent size (angular diameter on the sky) to vary, but only by about 10% between the closest and furthest possible distances. It’s an even smaller difference between a supermoon and an average full moon. An experienced lunar observer might notice the small change, but the general public can’t tell the difference.”

    The small size difference was certainly noticed; many wondered why the ‘super’ moon was so much like the normal moon they see on most evenings. Smith explained:

    Most of the spectacular images appearing in the media rely on photographic tricks, not the size of the supermoon. For example, a photographer can use a very long lens to take an image of the moon just after it rises above the horizon, which will make it appear much bigger than usual in comparison to the trees, buildings, etc., which appear nearby (but are actually a long distance from the camera).

    Weather conditions also make a big difference to the appearance of photos. A great photo of the moon like these can be captured by a skilled photographer at any full moon with suitable weather, timing and planning the shot—it does not require a supermoon. Automatic exposures on phone or point-and-shoot cameras will almost always overexpose the bright moon. If it’s too long after sunset, the sky will also be too dark to show up, so they’re left with a white blob surrounded by blackness.

    Tom Ruen, a Wikipedian from Minnesota, was one of the first to capture this recent supermoon with a freely-licensed photo he used to illustrate the Wikipedia page. He went out to the backyard with his camera and telescope to have a closer look. However, he agrees that this supermoon in particular is not a totally different thing for ordinary watchers.

    “I think the supermoon part is silly,” he said, as it’s “just a fraction of a percent larger than an average perigee full moon, but still statistically special, and I was glad it was clear last night.” Ruen has been interested in the moon since his childhood. He has been working recently on a “computer program to render the phase of the moon,” and thought that this photo “would help test [his] lambert shading model.”

    Like Ruen, several other Wikipedians and photographers took photos of the supermoon on Sunday and Monday to help provide freely licensed content documenting the event.

    Supermoon over Medina of Tunis. Photo by IssamBarhoumi, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

    Supermoon over Medina of Tunis. Photo by IssamBarhoumi, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

    Issam Barhoumi is an amateur photographer from Tunisia. He told us why he took this photo: “I saw similar photos taken in New York and Paris that shows that you are in the city, so, I tried to do something that shows that you are seeing the supermoon in Tunisia.”

    Supermoon over San Francisco, CA. Photo by Dllu, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

    Supermoon over San Francisco, CA. Photo by Daniel Lawrence, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

    Daniel Lawrence works on a robot perception at a startup in San Francisco. He takes photos for fun when he has some free time and uploads them to Wikimedia Commons, like his panorama of Pittsburgh. He took this photo of the supermoon last Sunday. “I was giving my friend a tour of San Francisco, and while walking from Chinatown to the Golden Gate Bridge, I noticed the moon was very bright and I remembered seeing something about the supermoon on Facebook. So I set up the tripod and took a photo,” he explains.

    Smith said that “This particular supermoon was hyped as being unusually close—which is true, but by such a tiny amount that it depended where on the earth you were as to whether it was the closest or not.” However, “astronomers definitely want to encourage people to look at the night sky, and the media attention gives a good opportunity to engage with communities who don’t normally pay attention to astronomy.”

    Samir Elsharbaty, Digital Content Intern
    Wikimedia Foundation

    by Samir Elsharbaty at November 17, 2016 04:34 PM

    Wikimedia Foundation’s response to recently compromised staff and community wiki accounts

    Photo by PereslavlFoto, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Photo by PereslavlFoto, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Beginning on Friday, November 11, 2016, wiki accounts belonging to Wikimedia Foundation staff and community members were temporarily compromised. This incident is under investigation, and we will make more information available as we are able to do so. As part of our commitment to be transparent with our users, we are providing an overview of the incident, and sharing information about our response.

    What happened?

    On Friday, November 11, a number of Wikimedia Foundation staff and Wikimedia community accounts were temporarily accessed by an unidentified and unauthorized third party. This unknown person or persons made several edits to Wikimedia sites (en.wikipedia.org, wikimediafoundation.org, and mediawiki.org) while in control of these accounts. The attacker has continued attempting to access other accounts over the past several days, with the latest efforts taking place today, Wednesday, November 16.

    What is being done?

    Since the attack began, volunteer community members and Foundation staff have worked diligently to lock the compromised accounts and restore them to their owners, and to revert the edits made by the attackers. As this activity continues, we are actively monitoring the projects to secure compromised accounts, and revert malicious edits. We have enabled two-factor authentication for all Wikimedia Foundation staff and project administrators. We are working on enabling this feature for all accounts as soon as possible.

    Additionally, we encourage everyone to change their passwords as a standard precautionary measure, and to ensure that they are using good password hygiene. This means:

    • Using strong passwords, containing at least 8 characters and including letters, numbers, and symbols.
    • Using unique passwords for your wiki accounts, and not reusing them for any other website or any other purpose. This means not reusing them across Wikimedia services (for instance, using the same password on your Gerrit account that you do to access the projects)
    • Changing passwords periodically.
    • If you are an administrator and have not enabled two-factor authentication on your account, please do so right away.

    We recommend that everyone take a moment to consider their password practices. Strong, unique passwords will help us to protect the projects from attacks like this.

    Our investigation into this incident is still ongoing and we will make more information available as we are able to do so. We can reassure any concerns of donors now.

    “This incident did not affect fundraising operations,” said Lisa Gruwell, Chief Advancement Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation.

    Donor and payment information is kept in a separate database and uses separate and dedicated server infrastructure with additional security. Donor and payment information was not involved in this incident.

    The Wikimedia Foundation takes the privacy and security of user and staff very seriously. We will continue to monitor the projects and stop these attacks, and will be implementing additional security measures to prevent another similar incident.

    Darian Anthony Patrick, Security Manager*
    Wikimedia Foundation

    *We would like to thank the volunteer admins and WMF teams, including Ops, Support and Safety, Editing, Labs, Reading, Release Engineering, Legal, and Communications, that have worked diligently to investigate and respond to this incident.

    This post has been updated with information from the Wikimedia Foundation’s fundraising team.

    by Darian Anthony Patrick at November 17, 2016 12:02 AM

    November 16, 2016

    Wikimedia Foundation

    Let’s judge copyright law by its contribution to learning and education

    Photo courtesy of Mike Masnick.

    Photo courtesy of Mike Masnick.

    On October 27, we were pleased to welcome a great crowd joining us at our office in Downtown San Francisco for an energetic and inspiring talk by Techdirt founder Mike Masnick.

    A long-time supporter of free knowledge, Mike lead us through the history of copyright laws, from their origins and intentions to present day and the pressing need for reform. He demonstrated how the original goals of copyright and the results we are seeing nowadays are not aligned anymore. In Mike’s own words: “We should judge copyright law by its contribution to learning and education.”

    However, rather than promoting the advancement of knowledge, in 2016 copyright can be abused to keep competition from growing and to prevent people from “tinkering” with products. It is also often used as a tool against free expression. As Mike stated, “copyright has a serious free speech problem.”

    You can watch a recording of the event on Youtube.

    We at the Wikimedia Foundation actively participate in the debate around modernization of copyright and advocate for policy that promotes access to knowledge for everybody and fosters online collaboration, including on Wikipedia. We have voiced our concerns about current policy and presented our vision for productive and permissive law to the Copyright Office and to the European Commission. We support the ability of all internet users to create, remix, and share information as technology already allows them to. We believe that copyright should reflect this new reality.

    The push for copyright reform is a global effort, and Wikimedia supporters around the world are advocating for copyright policy that takes into account the needs and rights of internet users.

    Jan Gerlach, Public Policy Manager
    Wikimedia Foundation

    Free Open Shared is the Wikimedia Foundation’s new event series for conversations about policy, collaboration, and knowledge. We want to engage the public and inspire people to think about policy issues around collaboration on the internet, open culture, and free knowledge. If you are interested in these topics and enjoy discussing them with others, please consider joining our public policy email list.

    by Jan Gerlach at November 16, 2016 08:33 PM

    Wikimedia UK

    Open Archaeology and the Digital Cultural Commons

    A dig at Teotihuacan, Mexico in 2016 - Image by Daniel Case CC BY-SA 3.0
    A dig at Teotihuacan, Mexico in 2016 – Image by Daniel Case CC BY-SA 3.0

    By Lorna M. Campbell, Wikimedia UK Board Member and OER Liaison – Open Scotland at the University of Edinburgh.

    Although I’ve worked in open education technology for almost twenty years now, my original background is actually in archaeology.  I studied archaeology at the University of Glasgow in the late 1980s and later worked there as material sciences technician for a number of years. Along the way I worked on some amazing fieldwork projects including excavating Iron Age brochs in Orkney and the Outer Hebrides, Bronze Age wetland sites at Flag Fen, a rare Neolithic settlement at Loch Olabhat in North Uist, the Roman fort of Trimontium at Newstead in the Scottish Borders and prehistoric, Nabatean and Roman sites in the South Hauran desert in Jordan.  I still have a strong interest in both history and archaeology and, perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m a passionate advocate of opening access to our shared cultural heritage.

    Archaeological field work and post excavation analysis generates an enormous volume of data including photographs, plans, notebooks and journals, topographic data, terrain maps, archaeometric data, artefact collections, soil samples, osteoarchaeology data, archaeobotanical data, zooarchaeological data, radio carbon data, etc, etc, etc.  The majority of this data ends up in university, museum and county archives around the country or in specialist archives such as Historic Environment Scotland’s Canmore archive and the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) at the University of York.  And while there is no question that the majority of this data is being carefully curated and archived for posterity, much of it remains largely inaccessible as it is either un-digitised, or released under restrictive or ambiguous licenses.  

    How individuals can engage with global open heritage data
    How individuals can engage with global open heritage data. Image by Arbeck CC 3.0

    This is hardly surprising for older archives which are composed primarily of analogue data.  I worked on the reanalysis of the Cadbury Castle archive in the early 1990’s and can still remember trawling through hundreds of dusty boxes and files of plans, context sheets, finds records, correspondence, notebooks, etc. That reanalysis did result in the publication of an English Heritage monograph which is now freely available from the ADS but, as far as I’m aware, little if any, of the archive has been digitised.  

    Digitising the archives of historic excavations may be prohibitively expensive and of debatable value, however much of the data generated by fieldwork now is born digital. Archives such as Canmore and the ADS do an invaluable job of curating this data and making it freely available online for research and educational purposes.  Which is great, but it’s not really open.  Both archives use custom licenses rather than the more widely used Creative Commons licences.  It feels a bit uncharitable to be overly critical of these services because they are at least providing free access to curated archaeological data online.  Other services restrict access to public cultural heritage archives with subscriptions and paywalls.

    Several key thinkers in the field of digital humanities have warned of the dangers of enclosing our cultural heritage commons and have stressed the need for digital archives to be open, accessible and reusable.   

    The Journal of Open Archaeology Data is one admirable example of an Open Access scholarly journal that makes all its papers and data sets freely and openly available under Creative Commons licenses, while endorsing the Panton Principles and using open, non-proprietary standards for all of its content. Internet Archaeology is another Open Access journal that publishes all its content under Creative Commons Attribution licences.  However it’s still just a drop in the ocean when one considers the vast quantity of archaeological data generated each year.  Archaeological data is an important component of our cultural commons and if even a small portion of this material was deposited into Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, Wikipedia etc., it would help to significantly increase the sum of open knowledge.

    Wikimedia UK is already taking positive steps to engage with the Culture sector through a wide range of projects and initiatives such as residencies, editathons, and the Wiki Loves Monuments competition, an annual event that encourages both amateur and professional photographers to capture images of the world’s historic monuments.  By engaging with archaeologists and cultural heritage agencies directly, and encouraging them to contribute to our cultural commons, Wikimedia UK can play a key role in helping to ensure that our digital cultural heritage is freely and openly available to all.

    by Lorna Campbell at November 16, 2016 04:41 PM

    November 15, 2016

    Wikimedia Foundation

    Wait, what? Tarrare, the man with an insatiable appetite

    Painting by Pieter Aertsen via the Google Cultural Institute, public domain/CC0.

    Painting by Pieter Aertsen via the Google Cultural Institute, public domain/CC0.

    Tarrare was a French man with a slim profile and a prodigious, Hulk-sized appetite.

    Tarrare was born in 1772. By the time he was a teen, he could devour a quarter of a cow in one day, enough that his family ran him out onto the streets. Still, he only weighed about 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and had a very interesting appearance, according to the Wikipedia article about him:

    He was described as having unusually soft fair hair and an abnormally wide mouth, in which his teeth were heavily stained and on which the lips were almost invisible. When he had not eaten, his skin would hang so loosely that he could wrap the fold of skin from his abdomen around his waist. When full, his abdomen would distend “like a huge balloon”. The skin of his cheeks was wrinkled and hung loosely, and when stretched out, he could hold twelve eggs or apples in his mouth. His body was hot to the touch and he sweated heavily, constantly suffering from foul body odour; he was described as stinking “to such a degree that he could not be endured within the distance of twenty paces”.

    Tarrare joined the French Revolutionary Army in 1792. Unfortunately, he quickly found that standard military rations were far from enough to satisfy him. He quickly fell victim to exhaustion and was admitted to a military hospital, where even quadrupling the normal ration was found to not be enough.

    French officials decided that they should keep in the hospital for further study, where he ate food intended for fifteen people in one sitting. On other occasions, he ate a live cat, snakes, lizards, puppies, and an entire eel.

    Military officers decided to employ Tarrare as a courier, as he would have the perfect hiding place—his stomach. This did not work out, as he was captured by the Prussians and put through a mock execution.

    Terrified by the experience, Tarrare went back to the hospital and declared that he was prepared to try anything that might cure his appetite, like laudanum, wine vinegar, tobacco pills, and diets. All failed, especially the dieting, as he was discovered fighting stray dogs for food and drinking the blood of other patients in the hospital.

    Tarrare was finally kicked out of the hospital when a fourteen-month-old child disappeared, as he was suspected of eating them.

    Year later, Tarrare was found dying of tuberculosis. One physician was brave enough to do an autopsy, finding:

    The corpse rotted quickly; the surgeons of the hospital refused to dissect it. Tessier [the physician], however, wanted to find out how Tarrare differed from the norm internally … At the autopsy, Tarrare’s gullet was found to be abnormally wide and when his jaws were opened, surgeons could see down a broad canal into the stomach. His body was found to be filled with pus, his liver and gallbladder were abnormally large, and his stomach was enormous, covered in ulcers and filling most of his abdominal cavity.

    It’s hard to not feel sorry for the man. He was so hungry so often that he would eat anything in a fruitless attempt to sate it.

    You can read more about Tarrare in Wikipedia’s featured article about him.

    Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
    Wikimedia Foundation

    “Wait, what?” is a new series on the Wikimedia blog, bringing you some of the weirdest and unique topics that have been covered by Wikipedia’s editors. If you would like to write one, please contact blogteam@wikimedia.org.


    by Ed Erhart at November 15, 2016 07:49 PM

    November 14, 2016

    Wiki Education Foundation

    The Roundup: Cell service

    Unicellular organisms take the bare minimum to be considered complete. In that sense, they’re kind of the opposite of Wikipedia articles.

    It’s surprising that the Wikipedia article on unicellular organisms languished for so long. Once just a stub with a list of links, the article was transformed by a student in Joel Parker’s Cell Biology course at SUNY Plattsburgh.

    It’s now a deeply researched, illustrated summary article with quality citations to relevant academic literature. New additions include sections on prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells (with subsections), and a section on macroscopic unicellular organisms, that is, cells that we can see with our eyes alone. The article is clearly written and a great primer on the concept. It’s researched enough to help a specialist, but still accessible to curious readers who want to get a handle on the single-cell landscape.

    Another student from that course took a single-sentence stub article on Hürthle cell adenoma, and expanded it into a five paragraph article explaining the relevance of the (usually harmless) condition, which is most commonly seen in elderly women. A student also added information about four genes that aid in the adaptive response of DNA.

    It’s another example of how students in higher ed classrooms can take their knowledge to the world by providing comprehensive and comprehensible writing to Wikipedia, the world’s most-accessed open educational resource. Writing about genes and proteins on Wikipedia is now a little bit easier for students, thanks to our printed handbook that addresses exactly that. It’s available for free to students enrolled in courses participating in our Classroom Program.

    Interested in learning more about this unique science communications opportunity for your students? Get in touch with us: contact@wikiedu.org.

    Photo: Modified from Paramecium tetraurelia by DavidpBowmanOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    by Eryk Salvaggio at November 14, 2016 05:00 PM

    Tech News

    Tech News issue #46, 2016 (November 14, 2016)

    TriangleArrow-Left.svgprevious 2016, week 46 (Monday 14 November 2016) nextTriangleArrow-Right.svg
    Other languages:
    العربية • ‎čeština • ‎Deutsch • ‎Ελληνικά • ‎English • ‎español • ‎suomi • ‎français • ‎עברית • ‎italiano • ‎한국어 • ‎polski • ‎русский • ‎svenska • ‎українська • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎中文

    November 14, 2016 12:00 AM

    November 13, 2016

    Semantic MediaWiki

    Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.2 released/en

    Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.2 released/en

    November 12, 2016

    Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.2 (SMW 2.4.2) has been released today as a new version of Semantic MediaWiki.

    This new version is a minor release and provides bugfixes for the current 2.4 branch of Semantic MediaWiki. Please refer to the help page on installing Semantic MediaWiki to get detailed instructions on how to install or upgrade.

    by TranslateBot at November 13, 2016 10:15 AM

    Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.2 released

    Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.2 released

    November 12, 2016

    Semantic MediaWiki 2.4.2 (SMW 2.4.2) has been released today as a new version of Semantic MediaWiki.

    This new version is a minor release and provides bugfixes for the current 2.4 branch of Semantic MediaWiki. Please refer to the help page on installing Semantic MediaWiki to get detailed instructions on how to install or upgrade.

    by Kghbln at November 13, 2016 10:12 AM

    November 12, 2016

    David Gerard

    Two-factor authentication on Wikipedia for admins and up.

    Jimmy Wales’ Wikipedia account got hacked the other day, and it turns out a pile of others did too. So two-factor authentication is being made available for everyone with powers from administrator up on any Wikimedia wiki. Go to Special:Preferences and set it up.

    (If your account got hacked and has been locked, go to Steward requests. There’s a bit of a queue, please be patient … else it’s time to fire up the powerless sock account.)

    It’s still a bit fiddly, so is being rolled out slowly. (The aim is to have it available to all users in due course.) Authentication methods include mobile phone, Google Authenticator and emergency backup numbers you can print out and keep on hand (“scratch codes”). BWolff (WMF) notes:

    If you lose your scratch codes and your 2fa device, and you can prove who you are beyond doubt (what “beyond doubt” means I’m not sure, but I guess committed identity is a good choice), then a developer will remove the 2fa from your account. However, please don’t lose your scratch codes.

    I use two-factor at work (GMail, Github, AWS) and it’s just fine. This is basically a really good idea.

    Note that AutoWikiBrowser will be a bit fiddly, you will need to set up a BotPassword. (AWB plans to support OAuth soonish.)

    At least avoiding another Tubgirl is Love incident won’t require distributing RSA keyfobs to the user base. (Though WMF wants to support fobs too.)

    Update: Tim Starling on what actually happened. tl;dr change your password and SWITCH ON 2FA, IT’S IMPORTANT.

    by David Gerard at November 12, 2016 08:11 PM

    November 11, 2016

    Wikimedia Foundation

    Armenian and Spanish communities come together around castles

    Photo by Kike Sempere Barrachina, CC BY-SA 3.0 ES.

    Photo by Kike Sempere Barrachina, CC BY-SA 3.0 ES.

    At the 2016 Wikimedia Conference, held in Berlin earlier this year, representatives from Wikimedia Armenia and Wikimedia Spain began planning for a joint project. The initial conversation was focused on increasing Wikipedia content, so finally we decided to work on castles and fortifications of both countries, with the aim of improving the cultural and historical knowledge between the two countries and strengthen ties of communication between both Wikimedia communities.

    We agreed to organize a September online contest with prizes for the top participants, like Amazon gift cards and books—along with some surprises. The community in Armenia could win by editing articles on Spanish castles, and the one in Spain would do the same with Armenian castles. We worked together to create the contest pages, along with rules and a list of proposed articles, on Meta and the Armenian WikipediaOmicroñ’R, an Armenian Wikipedia Education Program participant, created a logo.

    We established three awards in each country: volume of contributions per user, best-quality article based on formal criteria, and volume of translation into other languages. Participation and content volume were very high, considering the narrow topic. A total of 283 articles were edited in 7 languages, of which 276 were new, by 21 editors—12 from Armenia and 9 from Spain. One of the Armenian participants of the contest, Anahit Baghdasaryan, noted:

    I like the Spanish language and always seek new information related to Spain, and this gave me the opportunity to get acquainted with the inimitable beauty of Spanish castles and forts. While translating articles I learned a lot of new things … I participated in this contest with great love. I’m glad that my contributions gave an opportunity to Armenian readers to find Armenian content about this part of Spanish culture on Wikipedia. “Castles challenge” was an interesting and admirable world for me.

    The Armenian winners of the contest will be announced on January 15, during a Wikipedia birthday ceremony at the Wikimedia Armenia office. The Spanish winners will be announced on the Meta contest page.

    Both Wikimedia Armenia and Wikimedia Spain are happy with the results and the experience, so we hope this is the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between the two chapters.

    Lilit Tarkhanyan, Wikimedia Armenia
    Rubén Ojeda, Wikimedia Spain

    by Lilit Tarkhanyan and Ruben Ojeda at November 11, 2016 03:30 AM

    November 10, 2016

    Jeroen De Dauw

    Maps 4.0.0-RC1 released!

    I’m happy to announce the first release candidate for Maps 4.0. Maps is a MediaWiki extension to work with and visualize geographical information. Maps 4.0 is the first major release of the extension since January 2014, and it brings a ton of “new” functionality.

    First off, this blog post is about a release candidate, meant to gather feedback and not suitable for usage in production. The 4.0 release itself will be made one week from now if no issues are found.

    Almost all features from the Semantic Maps extension got merged into Maps, with the notable omission of the form input, which now resides in Yaron Korens Page Forms extension. I realized that spreading out the functionality over both Maps and Semantic Maps was hindering development and making things more difficult for the users than needed. Hence Semantic Maps is now discontinued, with Maps containing the coordinate datetype, the map result formats for each mapping service, the KML export format and distance query support. All these features will automatically enable themselves when you have Semantic MediaWiki installed, and can be explicitly turned off with a new egMapsDisableSmwIntegration setting.

    The other big change is that, after 7 years of no change, the default mapping service was changed from Google Maps to Leaflet. The reason for this alteration is that Google recently required obtaining and specifying an API key for its maps to work on new websites. This would leave some users confused when they first installed the Maps extension and got a non functioning map, even though the API key is mentioned in the installation instructions. Google Maps is of course still supported, and you can make it the default again on your wiki via the egMapsDefaultService setting.

    Another noteworthy change is the addition of the egMapsDisableExtension setting, which allows for disabling the extension via configuration, even when it is installed. This has often been requested by those running wiki farms.

    For a full list of changes, see the release notes. Also check out the new features in Maps 3.8, Maps 3.7 and Maps 3.6 if you have not done so yet.


    Since this is a major release, please beware of the breaking changes, and that you might need to change configuration or things inside of your wiki. Update your mediawiki/maps version in composer.json to ~4.0@rc (or ~4.0 once the real release has happened) and run composer update.

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

    by Jeroen at November 10, 2016 10:32 PM

    Pete Forsyth, Wiki Strategies

    Wikipedia, controversy, and an acclaimed documentary

    The Hunting Ground, a 2015 documentary about sexual assault on college campuses exposed conflicts of interest, malfeasance and cover-ups.

    Drawing by Nicholas Boudreau, licensed CC BY 4.0.

    Drawing by Nicholas Boudreau, licensed CC BY 4.0.

    To learn about a complex topic—especially if powerful institutions have a major stake in it—we rely on experts. People who devote substantial effort toward understanding all facets of a topic can offer the public a great deal of value. We routinely refer to their perspectives and analysis when forming opinions on important social and political issues.

    But of course, our reliance on experts makes their interests and motivations highly significant. To what extent do an expert’s motivations inappropriately drive their opinions and judgments? Do those opinions and judgments color how they present the facts? As critical readers, we should always pay attention to conflicts of interest (COIs). And if they’re insufficiently disclosed, we’re at a significant disadvantage. If you learn that a product review you relied on was secretly written by the company that made it, you might feel some indignation—and rightly so.

    Publishers that care about accurate information face the same issue, but have a greater degree of responsibility; and if a publisher inadvertently amplifies biased information on to its readers, its reputation may suffer. So publishers establish standards and processes to eliminate COIs, or—since it’s often impossible to gather information that is 100% free of COI—to manage them responsibly. Wikipedia is no exception.

    But as a publication that invites participation from any anonymous person in the world, Wikipedia has unique challenges around COI. Despite Wikipedia’s efforts to require disclosure, COIs often go undeclared and unnoticed, which leaves everybody (understandably) a little skittish about the whole topic. Blogging pioneer Dave Winer’s words in 2005 illustrate this point: “Every fact in [Wikipedia] must be considered partisan, written by someone with a conflict of interest,” he said. But significantly, every change to the site is rigorously preserved and open to public review. Wikipedia editors routinely investigate and deliberate additions and edits to the site. Every change can be reverted. Every user can be chastised or blocked for bad behavior. The process can be messy, but since 2005, researchers have repeatedly found that Wikipedia’s process generates good content. A properly disclosed and diligently managed COI on Wikipedia is rarely a big deal; it’s part of what makes Wikipedia work. Disclosure is a key component that supports informed deliberation. Disclosing a COI doesn’t give a Wikipedia user carte blanche to do as they see fit; but it does express respect for Wikipedia’s values and for fellow editors, and it gives Wikipedia editors more information to use in resolving disagreements.

    One of the principle methods Wikipedia employs to minimize the impact of COI is an insistence on high quality sourcing. But on occasion, Wikipedia editors are overly swayed by sources that match up poorly against the site’s standards.

    See our previous blog post, Conflict of interest and expertise, for a deeper look at the subject.

    A Wikipedia case study

    The Hunting Ground  (2015), a documentary film which investigated the issue of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses, received widespread acclaim, but it also ignited controversy. The production company, Chain Camera Pictures, retained Wiki Strategies beginning early that year to assist with developing and improving the Wikipedia articles related to the film’s focus, as well as the article about the film itself. (See “Disclaimer” below.)

    Conflict of interest is a central focus of The Hunting Ground. Universities are required to investigate any report of a sexual assault involving their students; but they also have a strong financial and reputational interest in avoiding scandal. By vigorously investigating sexual assault cases, universities might associate their campuses with violent crime, which could impact recruitment and alumni donations.

    In one of the incidents explored in The Hunting Ground, Florida State University (FSU) football star Jameis Winston was accused of rape. A state attorney, when announcing months later that he had insufficient evidence to prosecute, noted substantial problems in the initial rape investigation carried out by both FSU officials and Tallahassee police. Independent investigative pieces from Fox Sports and the New York Times both suggested that COI might have been a factor.

    While the influence of a COI in any specific case is difficult to prove, it’s clear that the financial interests of entities like FSU―whose athletics programs bring in more than $100 million a year―sharply conflict with the interests of the women portrayed in The Hunting Ground. FSU is one of the many institutions that had reason to feel threatened by the film, alongside numerous universities, law enforcement agencies, and athletic programs.

    The Hunting Ground earned substantial accolades and validation. It received two Emmy nominations, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, and was one of 15 documentaries shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. CNN vetted and broadcast the film, along with a series of panel discussions, putting its own journalism reputation on the line. And student groups, faculty, and university administrators screened the film on hundreds of  college campuses.

    But unsurprisingly, given the threat it posed to powerful institutions, the film drew pushback as well as praise.

    Among the film’s more persistent critics has been the Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow, who has written columns about it or mentioning it more than 20 times since March 2015. In November 2015, during the runup to the Academy Awards, Schow announced Chain Camera’s Wikipedia efforts, under a headline proclaiming that they had been “caught” editing Wikipedia. But of course, you can’t be “caught” doing something you were open about from the start; and Chain Camera had been diligent about disclosure. Wikipedia editors working on the various articles had known of the efforts of Chain Camera’s employee Edward Alva for many months. As Chain Camera stated in their rebuttal, Schow’s charges were inaccurate and ill-informed.

    The complaints about Alva's editing, made initially by Schow and amplified by Wales, were considered in detail. The graphic highlights the formal decision by administrator Drmies. Click the image to see the full discussion.

    The complaints about Alva’s editing, made initially by Schow and amplified by Wales, were considered in detail. The graphic highlights the formal decision by administrator Drmies. Click the image to see the full discussion.

    Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales took Schow’s words at face value, praising her piece for “embarrassing” Alva. As Wikipedia editors took up the issue in a public discussion, several included Wales’ statement as part of the evidence of Alva’s wrongdoing. Much of the early discussion was characterized by a lack of diligence in considering Alva’s efforts. One comment stands out: “I don’t have enough time to do a thorough investigation,” said a Wikipedia editor. “But as I now see it, this situation could be dealt with very quickly and justly with a permanent ban of [Alva].” A lack of thorough information was apparently not enough to stop this editor from recommending strong sanctions.

    But as many Wikipedians recognize, diligent investigation is important. In the following week, several Wikipedians did indeed take a close look at the edit history. They ultimately rejected the accusations leveled by Schow and Wales. Drmies, the administrator who made the formal determination to close the discussion, stated that “the [Chain Camera] editor declared their COI early enough,” and that “the editor’s defenders present very strong evidence that [Wikipedia’s] system worked.

    Drmies’ closing statement carries weight in the Wikipedia world, and it is archived publicly. But from an outside perspective, it might as well be invisible. The media world is used to covering traditional decision-making processes, like court decisions and the acts of public officials, but it’s rare that a media outlet will understand Wikipedia well enough to track a contentious discussion effectively. Schow is ahead of the curve: she knows enough about Wikipedia to find some tantalizing tidbits, to generate copy, to generate clicks, and to influence those readers who lack deep familiarity with Wikipedia.

    Specific problems with Schow’s account

    But this story, despite its ramifications for an Academy Award shortlisted film and the National Football League’s #1 draft pick, was never picked up in any depth by a journalist who understands Wikipedia’s inner workings. Commentator Mary Wald did briefly note that Alva had observed Wikipedia standards, in a Huffington Post piece that highlighted the strength and stature of the interests taken on by the film. But this brief mention in a single story did not turn the tide. Anyone who follows the media coverage would likely be left with the incorrect impression that Chain Camera had done something wrong—to this day.

    If a journalist had covered the story in depth, paying close attention to Wikipedia’s policies, norms, and best practices, they would have noted several flaws in Schow’s analysis. For instance:

    1. Schow began with a common—and erroneous—premise: she assumed Wikipedia’s COI guideline, which recommends against editing an article while in a COI, is a policy. Wikipedia makes a distinction between the two, and explicitly notes that guidelines “are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply.” Guidelines are not to be treated as rigid requirements. The COI guideline, in particular, has been scrutinized and deliberated extensively over the last decade. Wikipedia’s need for experts and its philosophical commitment to open editing have both prevented it from ever adopting a formal policy prohibiting editing while under a COI. Wikipedia’s relevant policy does not prohibit someone like Alva from making edits, but it does require disclosure in one of three places. Alva made that disclosure from the start, and in fact exceeded the policy’s requirement by disclosing in multiple places.
    2. In her second column on the topic, Schow attaches significance to Jimmy Wales’ important-sounding words about changing Wikipedia policy in light of Schow’s report. This, again, is an understandable mistake; with most organizations, it’s safe to assume that a founder and board member’s ambitions have a close connection with reality. But with this particular board member and this particular issue, that assumption couldn’t be much further from the truth. Jimmy Wales has a long history of strongly advocating the “bright line rule,” which—had Wales’ efforts to have it codified a policy not been rejected—would have forbidden certain COI edits. Wales has even unequivocally stated that it doesn’t matter if the public thinks it’s policy; in his view, such details are unimportant. To put it simply, Wales is an entirely unreliable source on the topic of conflict of interest on Wikipedia. And despite Wales’ “renewed interest,” as Schow called it, his commentary on the topic ended as soon as it became clear the facts did not support his initial reaction to Schow’s column.
    3. Schow doubled down on some of her strongest words about Alva’s approach, in her third column (November 30): she claimed that Alva had failed to sufficiently disclose his editing of topics related to The Hunting Ground until September 2015. But he had in fact exceeded Wikipedia’s disclosure requirements, as mentioned above. As she did acknowledge, Alva disclosed his connection to The Hunting Ground as early as March 2015, prior to any edits to related Wikipedia articles. He made further, more specific disclosures on April 23, July 27, August 10, and again on August 10, all before the September edit noted by Schow. A columnist, of course, might not be expected to fully grasp the intricacies of Wikipedia editing; but to vet such strong opinions before doubling down, she might have interviewed an uninvolved Wikipedia editor or two.

    Schow’s errors may well have resulted from a good faith effort; but that doesn’t make them any less important. Her influence on the public perception of the connection between Chain Camera and Wikipedia has been substantial (see coverage at the Independent Journal Review and the Hill). So it’s significant that she got major parts of the story wrong.

    Let the Wikipedia process work – don’t try to shut it down

    In covering any story that challenges powerful institutions, Wikipedia editors have to sort through strong messages from various parties. Ultimately, Wikipedia relies on the sources it cites as references. High-quality source materials, not the interests or organizational affiliations of Wikipedia editors, should be the main factor in crafting its content. Wikipedians should not ignore those affiliations, and should always be mindful of the COI of various parties―not only of the editors, but of the people and institutions who generate and influence the stories they cite.

    Any COI can be either disclosed or obscured, and even a fully disclosed COI can be managed well or poorly. Of course, it’s impossible to know whether other, anonymous editors have undisclosed COIs; but it would be foolish to conclude with any certainty that those who disclose are the only Wikipedians with a COI, when more than a decade of experience tells us that secretive paid editing – despite being a policy violation – is commonplace. Wikipedians should applaud Alva and Chain Camera Pictures for disclosing from the start. Even if they disagree with his specific suggestions or edits, they result from a good faith effort to improve the encyclopedia. When Wikipedians disagree with a good faith editor, they should talk it through—not discuss whether to block them from editing.

    Wikipedia needs more, not fewer, expert contributors

    When experts engage openly with Wikipedia, seeking to improve the encyclopedia, we should celebrate and support that effort. Chain Camera Pictures brought something to the table that few Wiki Strategies clients do: they sought to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of a broad topic they knew well through their work. Does this mean that they alone should determine the content of relevant Wikipedia articles? Of course not—Wikipedia’s model demands that any Wikipedian present convincing arguments, with reference to independent reliable sources. That is exactly what Alva did.

    The approach Alva took, overall, is the right one. It should be readily apparent to any Wikipedian who looks at the edit history that Alva’s overall intent was to be transparent about his affiliation. Alva made several disclosures, and engaged other Wikipedians in discussion on points of contention multiple times. He added independent, reliable sources, sorting out disambiguation pages, reverting vandalism, and expanding content, and removed poorly-sourced, inaccurate information.

    For a topic as important as sexual assault allegations on university campuses, Wikipedia benefits when experts engage with its content. Every day, non-expert writers do their best to to place snippets of information into a narrative, to build Wikipedia articles; but it often takes some expertise to evaluate and refine that narrative. Wikipedians recognize this need; there is even a banner placed on articles deemed to lack an expert’s perspective.

    This banner is placed on a Wikipedia article when somebody thinks an expert opinion could help.

    This banner is placed on a Wikipedia article when somebody thinks an expert opinion could help.

    The creators of The Hunting Ground are not, of course, the only experts on this topic. Investigative reporters like Walt Bogdanich of the New York Times and Kevin Vaughan of Fox Sports reported extensively on the subject. They reviewed thousands of pages of documents and interviewed many and various parties. In so doing, they surely developed significant expertise. If Wikipedia seeks to excel at summarizing all human knowledge, it should engage people like investigative filmmakers and journalists, who often have the strongest understanding of a given topic. As readers and as Wikipedia editors, we rely on these people to report on difficult stories that institutions often try to keep secret.  We should applaud and welcome experts of all stripes when they bring their skills and knowledge to Wikipedia, as long as they are upfront about relevant affiliations. If it keeps the focus on including experts and sorting through disagreements, Wikipedia will be a more robust and comprehensive platform. Its editors, and more importantly its readers, will benefit.


    Chain Camera Pictures is a Wiki Strategies client. Our statement of ethics addresses cases like this; specifically, see item #4 under “Broad commitments & principles,” and the second paragraph of “Article composition and publishing.” It is unusual for us to blog about a client’s project, as we do here; in this case, the client made the decision (in consultation with us) to disclose our work together. In this blog post, we focus on the process Chain Camera Pictures followed in editing Wikipedia; in light of the issues addressed in our statement of ethics, we do not comment on the specific content of the Wikipedia articles in question.

    by Pete Forsyth at November 10, 2016 09:56 PM

    Weekly OSM

    weeklyOSM 329


    PIC World Map in Dymaxion Projection 1 | Sérgio’s blog, the file to print, cut, fold glue and have fun



    • The Spanish community plans to send welcome messages to new mappers, mainly because of a few unfortunate incidents in the recent past. The beginner’s welcome tool from the Belgian community is being considered. Joost Schouppe presents in his email the text and process. Upshot: This is a very interesting tool for all communities worldwide.
    • [1] Smaprs writes about 2 possibilities to tinker a paper globe with OSM data using dymaxion projection. Sérgio said to weeklyOSM: „… tell me if you see if school kids (or university ones, or adults too) could do it. Would love to see pictures of World in Dymaxion in many scales and colours. We’re studying how to do some script for converting to a soccer ball shaped globe.“
    • Nathalie Sidibé writes a blog about the digital mapping business, Free & Geographic Information System, entitled “CartoCamp de Segou” which was during 3rd to 7th August 2016, in Segou, by OSM_ML in Mali.
    • Lately there have been lot of discussions about mapping quality in the OSM community. Now in the Spanish mailing list there is a complete thread (strap yourself in, there’s a lot to read) about what they call the user “entrollización” on OSM. (Spanisch) (automatic translation)
    • mtc writes a diary entry saying thanks for the good support by provided by the OSM Help Website.
    • A complete article about an OSM Workshop for high school students by the Ghandalf Association in Galicia, who have being giving talks since 2010 about the use of free software and open data. (Spanisch) (automatic translation)
    • RobJN wrote a summary of the progress of the UK Quarterly Project to improve mapping via comparison against government food hygiene rating data. It includes a number of calls for help. The links in the article are recommended for example FHRS/OSM comparison or top 10 districts for completeness and growth.
    • The Russian Forum has voted for new moderators (automatic translation). The results are presented as a table.


    OpenStreetMap Foundation

    • The 10th Annual General Meeting of the OpenStreetMap Foundation will be held online in the IRC chat room #osmf-gm on the IRC network irc.oftc.net, at 16:00 UTC on Saturday, 10 December 2016. The agenda can be viewed here: http://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Annual_General_Meetings/16
    • Frederik explains how the confidentiality of donors to OSMF currently works and asks whether this rule should be limited in the sense of transparency.
    • Janet Chapman suggests on the OSMF-talk mailing list, not only to feed newcomers with a single email, but a “welcome pack to new members with a bit more background information about the foundation, its working groups, how you can get more involved, etc..”. weeklyOSM says: “Damn good idea!”.


    • The program of the SotM LatAM is published. SotM LatAM is happening on the 25th to 27th of November.

    Humanitarian OSM

    • EchoScience Grenoble reported about a Missing Maps Mapathon that is going to be held on November 24th by MaptimeAlpes in Grenoble. (French) (automatic translation)
    • Pierre Béland wrote to the HOT mailing list about the situation in Haiti, saying that this major crisis is simply forgotten. Part of the problem is the poor quality of the initial response, due to “Hit and Run” mapathons. Pierre documented this problem in his earlier presentation, which he made with data from the earthquake in Nepal.


    • On github there is a discussion about switching from http to https for openstreetmap.org by default.
    • Romainbou, an OSM novice from Avignon, France writes about his first experiences with overpass-turbo.eu. He analyzes the use of the name “Boulevard” in Paris, Lyon and Marseille. (French) (automatic translation)


    • Remster presents his new long distance bicycle route planner named Zikes and asks for feedback.
    • Bryan Housel is asking for support in testing and translation of iD v2.0.


    • Mapillary has released the v2 of its JavaScript viewer, which comes with faster photo loading and decreased amount of data downloaded.
    • Simple Opening Hours is a JavaScript class to parse opening hours and according to its author, it only supports the human readable parts of the opening hours syntax.
    • The size of the OSM-Database is now 6.1 TB. Tom Hughes has published a detailed list of index and table sizes.
    • User Zecke is asking for help on the Overpass mailing list. He would like to install a local Overpass instance. It looks like, that while solving his issue, the documentation has been updated.


    Software Version Release date Comment
    Locus Map Free * 3.20.1 2016-11-01 Bugfix release.
    Cruiser for Android * 1.4.13 2016-11-03 Various improvements.
    Cruiser for Desktop * 1.2.13 2016-11-03 Various improvements.
    Mapillary iOS * 4.5.4 2016-11-03 Bugfix release.
    OSRM Backend 5.4.2 2016-11-03 Bugfix release.
    Mapillary Android * 3.0.5 2016-11-04 Bugfix release.
    SQLite 3.15.1 2016-11-04 Three bugs fixes.
    JOSM 11223 2016-11-06 Many improvements, see release info.
    OsmAnd for Android * 2.4 2016-11-06 No actual info.
    OsmAnd+ for Android * 2.4.7 2016-11-06 No info.
    Tilemaker 1.4 2016-11-07 Please read release info.

    Provided by the OSM Software Watchlist.

    (*) unfree software. See: freesoftware.

    Did you know …

    Other “geo” things

    • Laura Bliss of Citylab in New York reported on the campaign involving 2300 volunteers to catalogue more than 685,000 inner-city trees with many details within a year. These open data, which is valuable to all citizens, have been summarized and visualized on an interactive map.
    • Juc Cerovic wrote a guest post for Human Transit Blog differentiating good or bad urban bus maps.
    • Quartz Africa reports on about how projects such as Missing Maps can fill in the gaps on African maps using crowdsourcing, and make the results available to all OpenStreetMap users.

    Upcoming Events

    Where What When Country
    Berlin 101. Berlin-Brandenburg Stammtisch 11/10/2016 germany
    Zurich Stammtisch Zürich 11/11/2016 switzerland
    Mainz-Bischofsheim Mappingparty auf dem Rangierbahnhof 11/12/2016 germany
    Ivry-sur-Seine Mapathon Missing Maps Ivry-Dianguirdé 11/12/2016 france
    Ambérieu-en-Bugey Mapathon Missing Maps SSI 11/16/2016 france
    Tatsuno 龍野城下町マッピングパーティ 11/12/2016-11/13/2016 japan
    Dortmund Stammtisch 11/13/2016 germany
    Osaka 365アースデイ大阪・2016コミュニティマッピングパーティー 11/13/2016 japan
    Colorado MSU Mapathon for Mongolia Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver 11/14/2016 us
    Colorado CSU Mapathon for Mongolia Colorado State University, Fort Collins 11/14/2016 us
    Bonn Bonner Stammtisch 11/15/2016 germany
    Lüneburg Mappertreffen Lüneburg 11/15/2016 germany
    Scotland Edinburgh 11/15/2016 united kingdom
    Colorado Humanitarian Mapathon Front Range Community College, Longmont 11/15/2016 us
    Porto Alegre O dia do SIG 11/16/2016 brazil
    Ottawa OSM Founder Steve Coast 11/17/2016 canada
    Urspring Stammtisch Ulmer Alb 11/17/2016 germany
    Heidelberg OSM Geoweek Mapathon 11/17/2016 germany
    Colorado Geoweek Mapathon Colorado State University, Fort Collins 11/17/2016 us
    Essen Stammtisch 11/19/2016 germany
    Kyoto 諸国・浪漫マッピングパーティー:第3回 松尾大社、地蔵院(Matsuo-taisha Shinto Shrine and Jizoin Buddhist temple) 11/19/2016 japan
    Tokyo 東京!街歩き!マッピングパーティ:第2回 護国寺(Gokokuji Buddhist temple) 11/19/2016 japan
    Derby Derby 11/22/2016 united kingdom
    Karlsruhe Stammtisch 11/23/2016 germany
    Lübeck Lübecker Mappertreffen 11/24/2016 germany
    Sao Paulo State of the Map Latam 2016 11/25/2016-11/27/2016 brazil

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

    This weeklyOSM was produced by Hakuch, Lamine Ndiaye, Laura Barroso, Nakaner, Polyglot, Rogehm, SomeoneElse, Spec80, TheFive, YoViajo, derFred, escada, jinalfoflia, wambacher.

    by weeklyteam at November 10, 2016 08:44 AM

    This month in GLAM

    This Month in GLAM: October 2016

    by Admin at November 10, 2016 03:19 AM

    November 09, 2016

    Wiki Education Foundation

    Announcing a partnership with the Association for Women in Mathematics

    I’m pleased to announce that the Wiki Education Foundation has signed a partnership with the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM).

    AWM encourages women and girls to study and have active careers in mathematical fields. They promote equal opportunity and treatment of women in math.

    That mission has significant overlap with our own. In Wiki Ed’s effort to develop content on Wikipedia, we often focus on getting program participants to fill content gaps reflecting the demographics of Wikipedia’s editor base. With nearly 90% of editors being men, many of those gaps are in fields that relate to women.

    By focusing on the gender content gap, we help Wikipedia grow in areas where content is currently lacking or underdeveloped. Biographies of women are one of those areas, and one we’re specifically focused on in our Wikipedia Year of Science initiative. This partnership will help us dedicate resources to the mission of adding women in STEM to Wikipedia, even beyond the Year of Science.

    Consider, for example, that of the 22 past presidents of the Association for Women in Mathematics, only one has a Wikipedia article that has been rated as B-class, designating it as one of Wikipedia’s higher-quality articles. In fact, one past president is missing an article altogether, and sixteen are either stubs or start-class. These women have gained recognition in their careers, yet several of them have incomplete Wikipedia articles.

    That’s one of the reasons AWM has decided to sponsor a Visiting Scholar who will add important content about women in math to Wikipedia. Our Visiting Scholars program matches host institutions, like AWM, with experienced Wikipedia editors. These institutions provide resources and expertise to the Scholar, who focuses on improving articles to B-class or higher.

    More information about women means more information and a better encyclopedia for everyone. We’re looking forward to this partnership with the Association for Women in Mathematics!

    Photo: Common Core and NAEP Alignment: The challenge of testing academic progress as instruction changes by the American Institutes for Research, CC-BY 3.0, via Vimeo.

    by Jami Mathewson at November 09, 2016 10:13 PM

    Wikimedia Foundation

    Community digest: Practical science experiments are being recorded in high definition for Commons, news in brief

    File:12. Тлеечко празнење.ogg

    Video by Andrejdam, CC BY-SA 4.0.


    Oliver Zajkov is a physics professor at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Macedonia. The video above, shot by the Shared Knowledge Wikimedians group in Macedonia, features him doing the low-pressure glow discharge. This is one of 45 physics and chemistry experiments recorded by Shared Knowledge to be published on Wikimedia Commons and used on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

    Shared Knowledge has been filiming high-quality videos featuring simple physics and chemistry experiments in a new project called WikiExperiments. The project aims to provide high-quality short films visualizing the theoretical ideas students study at school and read about on Wikipedia.

    The educational videos will be helpful for students and “anyone interested in understanding some general concepts in physics and chemistry,” according to Toni Ristovski, Board Member and Treasurer of Shared Knowledge.

    Shared Knowledge is a group of Wikimedians from Macedonia who started in March 2014 with the goal of holding initiatives and projects to support the Wikimedia movement. However, the WikiExperiments videos, which they started in December 2015, were made without narration and with descriptions in both English and Macedonian to ease global use.

    The project began with an idea by the group member and physicist Tsvetko Nedelkovski in early 2015. Shared Knowledge loved the idea and contacted Skopje University to collaborate on making the videos. “Following the success with recording physics experiments,” Ristovski says, the group wanted to expand the project and make videos for other chemistry experiments. A group of students took the lead in connecting Shared Knowledge with Vladimir Petruševski, who went on to perform the chemistry experiments.

    “Recording [these] videos of science experiments documents laws of physics and chemical reactions,” Ristovski explains. “Many schools only teach theory without practical demonstrations, [which is] a crucial part of the learning process.”

    In brief

    Polish and Czech Wikipedians join forces for a WikiExpedition: Photographs of over 100 towns and villages were taken by Polish and Czech Wikipedians during the joint WikiExpedition held by Wikimedia Polska and Wikimedia Ceska Republika. The expedition was held between October 21 and 30 in the Silesian region, near the Polish–Czech border, with a goal of taking 1500 photos of the area for Wikimedia Commons. While Wikipedia is rich with articles about the villages, towns, parks and museums in the region, both in the Polish and Czech Wikipedia, many of them still lack photos.

    The tenth round of the WikiCup is over and the winners have been announced. The WikiCup is a ten-month editing competition on the English Wikipedia that aims at promoting Wikipedia’s quality content in a fun editing atmosphere. The competition has been held on Wikipedia since 2007.

    Medical Wikipedia is now in the Odia language: The offline app that gives access to medical content on Wikipedia is now available in the Odia language. Odia is spoken by 40 million people in India. It is the first Indic language to be adopted on the app.

    #1lib1ref 2017 is kicking off soon; a call for volunteers: For Wikipedia’s 16th birthday next January, a new round of #1lib1ref will start, a campaign that challenges librarians to add one reference to an article on Wikipedia. Volunteers for local coordination of the campaign are now being accepted.

    Smartwatch tool to notify users when the subject of an unphotographed Wikipedia article is nearby: Wikipedian Sage Ross, known as ragesoss in the Wikipedia community, designs a new watchface for the Pebble smartwatch. The tool alerts you when you are close to the subject of a Wikipedia article that has no photo so that you can take the needed photo to illustrate the article.

    Submissions for WikiArabia 2017 are now open: WikiArabia, the annual conference of the Arabic Wikipedia, will be held in March 2017 in Egypt. Submissions for presentations, talks, discussion panels and workshops are now being accepted until November 15.

    Samir Elsharbaty, Digital Content Intern
    Wikimedia Foundation

    by Samir Elsharbaty at November 09, 2016 09:27 PM

    Wiki Education Foundation

    Wiki Ed students contributed 8.5% of new women’s studies content

    Over 16 years, Wikipedia has emerged as the leading educational resource on the planet. The English Wikipedia’s five million articles are read by billions of people every month.

    Who writes Wikipedia, however, is a different story. In 2008, a study found that Wikipedia, which strives to collect “the sum of all human knowledge,” was falling shockingly short. In the United States, merely 15% of those who contributed to Wikipedia were women.

    Since then, the source of the gender gap has fueled significant speculation. Sue Gardner, the previous Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, laid out nine reasons. The New York Times addressed the issue with a roundtable editorial.

    Studies were conducted. Most recently, Julia Bear of Stony Brook University’s College of Business, and Benjamin Collier of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, published a paper in the journal Sex Roles exploring why it may be the case. They looked at the experience of women who had tried editing on Wikipedia and stopped.

    Here’s what they found: The biggest hurdles to women’s editorship was that they were less confident about their expertise.

    Dr. Bear, one of the researchers of this study, told the Harvard Business Review: “That’s one of the reasons that we recommend Wikipedia be more proactive about finding and encouraging contributors, as opposed to depending on an individual’s decision that he or she is the expert in this area and should contribute.”

    On that front, Wiki Ed has reported good news: 68% of the students who write for Wikipedia through our Classroom Program are women. That’s led Sue Gardner to describe the Classroom Program as “our single most effective tool for boosting women’s authorship on Wikipedia.”

    A 2014 partnership with the National Women’s Studies Association has brought 102 women’s studies courses and more than 2,300 students to Wikipedia.

    When women edit Wikipedia through a classroom assignment, they’re empowered to apply knowledge to existing content. They compare what they know with what they know is missing. That, alone, is a powerful experience that develops confidence in their expertise.

    But most importantly, they contribute. That isn’t just making an impact on young women’s lives. It’s helping to balance Wikipedia’s representation of “all human knowledge.”

    The single most effective tool

    At the end of our NWSA partnership’s first year, when students were most actively contributing their work to Wikipedia, students in Wiki Ed-supported courses were contributing 8.5% of that month’s content related to women’s studies. Across our partnership, student editors contributed about 4.3% overall. That’s 4.3% of the new content contributed to a website with one of the most active volunteer bases on Earth.

    That marked a 36% increase in student activity in this area from the year before. Our NWSA partnership has had a powerful impact on public knowledge of women’s history, health, and achievements.

    Together, we’re helping students fill content gaps that have existed on Wikipedia for nearly 15 years. Though Wikipedia is the encyclopedia “anyone could edit,” not many have. Until now. We’re improving access to information that readers have historically searched for, but not always found.

    The idea is simple enough. Women’s Studies instructors assign students to write Wikipedia articles instead of a term paper or essay. Students draw from reliable sources, such as academic presses, journals, and textbooks. They present the information clearly and without attempting to persuade readers to draw certain conclusions.

    Students in women’s studies courses have contributed 1.4 million words to Wikipedia, to articles seen 65 million times. They’ve contributed content that brings balance to the content of Wikipedia articles, such as feminist perspectives on sexuality and disability. They’ve contributed content that balances the representation of biographies on Wikipedia, where the highest-quality biographies are more frequently accounts of men’s lives and achievements. Students have contributed articles about notable physicians, public health advocates,philosophers, psychologists, and screenwriters.

    It’s meant bringing women into focus, such as this article on women’s education in Iran. Finally, students are bridging gaps to other communities overlooked by Wikipedia, with articles such as LGBTI rights in Nepal.

    The experience also presents Wikipedia as a site of critique and analysis. Wikipedia is quite literally a collection of knowledge compiled by, written, and edited by men. Students engage the site with important questions about what information is missing, and what they can add. That’s a valuable opportunity for women to develop “confidence in their expertise” in any field. It’s been a cornerstone of our campaign to bring more women scientists to Wikipedia.

    What’s next?

    Wiki Ed is focused on improving Wikipedia across the board. Tackling Wikipedia’s gender-based content gaps is one of the most effective methods of improving Wikipedia as a resource for everyone. More biographies of women, more knowledge about women’s health, more knowledge about women’s history: that isn’t just a better encyclopedia for women. It’s a better encyclopedia.

    It’s clear that student editors have made an enormous impact. We’re hoping to include still more women’s studies courses in Spring 2017. Wiki Ed provides free online trainings, orientations, and staff time for your students to maximize their contributions to Wikipedia. We have printed guides, free for students in our program, specifically for Editing Wikipedia articles about women’s studies and another for those courses looking to write biographies.

    Getting started is simple: send us an email at contact@wikiedu.org!

    by Eryk Salvaggio at November 09, 2016 05:00 PM