October 19, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

First GLAM collaboration in Canada with BAnQ

1941: Two employees at a bottling plant of Coca-Cola Canada Ltd. in Montreal, Canada
Photo: Conrad Poirier, PD-Canada, BAnQ Vieux-Montréal

1945: Two young women read the front page of The Montreal Daily Star announcing the German surrender and the impending end of World War II in Europe
Photo: Conrad Poirier, PD-Canada, BAnQ Vieux-Montréal

The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and Wikimedia Canada are announcing a pilot project to upload public domain images from the Conrad Poirier collection at BAnQ Vieux-Montréal.[1]

Freelance photographer Conrad Poirier (1921-1968) sold his photographs to various newspapers and magazines including The Montreal Gazette, La Patrie and La Presse. A follower of the “new vision” (Nouvelle Vision, a photographic movement in the first half of the 20th century), he did social photography early on. He was interested in the working world, in street life and in popular events. Poirier’s work shows the developement of Montreal through historical photographs, and more widely the province of Quebec, Canada. With more than 20,000 photographs, the collection includes photographs taken between 1932 and 1960, which show the evolution of the Quebec metropolis – especially during the 1930s and 1940s. More broadly, the work of Poirier reflects the social changes underway in Quebec in the middle of the last century.

To date, approximately 700 photographs have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. In the coming months, an equivalent number of photographs will be added to the selection.

This collaboration between a GLAM institution and Wikimedia is a first in Canada.

Visit the BAnQ GLAM page on the English Wikipedia and the Category:BAnQ-Projet Poirier on Commons.

Thank you to the archives diffusion team of BAnQ Vieux-Montréal.

Benoit Rochon, Project Manager, Wikimedia Canada.

  1. Fund Conrad Poirier description, Pistard catalogue, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

by wikimediablog at October 19, 2014 05:52 AM

October 18, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Protecting users against POODLE by removing SSL 3.0 support

"Pudel-drawing" by Gustav Mützel (Brehms Tierleben), public domain

To protect our users against the recently disclosed POODLE security vulnerability, we are removing support for SSL 3.0 on all Wikimedia sites as of 15:00 UTC (8:00 am PDT) today.

SSL 3.0 is an outdated implementation of the HTTPS web encryption protocol. HTTPS helps people communicate more securely across networks by encrypting the data they send and receive in a web browser.

SSL 3.0 was introduced in 1996 and has long since been superseded in all modern browsers. This means that very few people will be affected by this change. However, if you still use Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), or another old browser that only supports SSL 3.0, you will be affected in the following ways:

  • It will no longer be possible to log into your user account while using IE6. Logins generally require an encrypted connection to prevent password snooping, and IE6 only supports SSL 3.0.
  • You will not be able to use HTTPS for browsing the Wikimedia projects while using IE6.
  • You will still be able to read Wikipedia and our other sites using an HTTP connection while using IE6.

We made this decision in order to protect all of our users. The POODLE vulnerability allows an attacker to to exploit weaknesses in the SSL 3.0 protocol, and potentially intercept a user’s data (something known as a man-in-the-middle attack). At the minimum, this could compromise the log-in details of registered users of the Wikimedia projects. IE6 is widely viewed as out of date and insecure, and Microsoft itself has urged users users to upgrade to modern alternatives for several years now. In fact, we disabled JavaScript for IE6 this past August, also for the purpose of protecting our users’ security.

If you are one of our affected users, we strongly encourage you to consider upgrading from IE6. We want everyone to be as secure as possible, and a modern, standards-compliant browser is a great place to start.

Mark Bergsma
WMF Director of Technical Operations;
WMF Lead Operations Architect


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by wikimediablog at October 18, 2014 09:38 PM

Wikimedia engineering report, August 2014

Major news in August includes:

Engineering metrics in August:

  • 160 unique committers contributed patchsets of code to MediaWiki.
  • The total number of unresolved commits went from around 1640 to about 1695.
  • About 22 shell requests were processed.

Technical Operations

Dallas data center

On August 21, our first connectivity to the new Dallas data center (codfw) came online, connecting the new site to the Wikimedia network. The following week, all network equipment was configured to prepare for server installations. The first essential infrastructure services (install server, DNS, monitoring etc.) were brought online in the days following August 25, and we are now working on deploying the first storage & data base servers to start replication & backups from our other data centers.

Labs metrics in August:

  • Number of projects: 170
  • Number of instances: 480
  • Amount of RAM in use (in MBs): 2,116,096
  • Amount of allocated storage (in GBs): 22,600
  • Number of virtual CPUs in use: 1,038
  • Number of users: 3,718

Wikimedia Labs

Andrew fixed a few sudo policy UI bugs (68834, 61129). Marc improved the DNS cache settings and resolved some long-standing DNS instability (70076). He also set up a new storage server for wiki dumps. This should resolve some long-term storage space problems that led to out-of-date dumps.
Andrew laid the groundwork for wikitech to be updated via the standard WMF deployment system. We’re investigating the upstream OpenStack user interface, ‘horizon’.

Features Engineering

Editor retention: Editing tools


In August, the team working on VisualEditor presented about VisualEditor at Wikimania 2014, worked with a number of volunteers at the hackathon, adjusted key workflows for template and citation editing, made major progress on Internet Explorer support, and fixed over 40 bugs and tickets.

Users of Internet Explorer 11, who we were previously preventing from using VisualEditor due to some major bugs, will now be able to use VisualEditor. Support for earlier versions of Internet Explorer will be coming shortly. Similarly, tablet users browsing the site’s mobile mode now have the option of using a mobile-specific form of VisualEditor. More editing tools, and availability of VisualEditor on phones, is planned for the future.

Improvements and updates were made to a number of interface messages as part of our work with translators to improve the software for all users, and VisualEditor and MediaWiki were improved to support highlighting links to disambiguation pages where a wiki or user wishes to do so. Several performance improvements were made, especially to the system around re-using references and reference lists. We tweaked the link editor’s behaviour based on feedback from users and user testing. The deployed version of the code was updated three times in the regular release cycle (1.24-wmf17, 1.24-wmf18 and 1.24-wmf19).


In August, the Editing Team presented at Wikimania 2014 on better ways to develop and manage front-end software, improved the infrastructure of the key user interface libraries, and continued the planned adjustments to the MediaWiki skins system.

The TemplateData GUI editor was significantly improved, including being updated to use the new types, and recursive importing of parameters if needed, and deployed on Norwegian Bokmål Wikipedia. The volunteers working on the Math extension (for formulæ) moved closer to deploying the “Mathoid” server that will use MathJax to render clearer formulæ than with the current versions.

The Editing team as usual did a lot of work on improving libraries and infrastructure. The OOjs UI library was modified to make the isolation of dialogs using <iframe>s optional, and re-organise the theme system as part of implementing a new look-and-feel for OOUI, to make it consistent with the planned changes to the MediaWiki design, in collaboration with the Design team. The OOjs library was updated to fix a minor bug, with two new versions (v1.0.12 and then v1.1.0) released and pushed downstream into MediaWiki, VisualEditor and OOjs UI.


In August, we wrapped up our face-to-face off-site meetup in Mallorca and attended Wikimania in London, which was the first Wikimania event for us all. At the Wikimania hackathon, we co-presented (with the Services team) a workshop session about Parsoid and how to use it. We also had a talk at Wikimania about Parsoid.

The GSoC 2014 LintTrap project wrapped up and we hope to develop this further over the coming months, and go live with it later this year.

With an eye towards supporting Parsoid-driven page views, the Parsoid team worked on a few different tracks. We deployed the visual diff mass testing service, we added Tidy support to parser tests and updated tests, which now makes it easy for Parsoid to target the PHP Parser + Tidy combo found in production, and continued to make CSS and other fixes.


Services and REST API

August was mostly a month of travel and vacation for the service team. We deployed a first prototype of the RESTBase storage and API service in Labs. We also presented on both Parsoid and RESTBase at Wikimania, which was well received. Later in August, computer science student Hardik Juneja joined the team as a part-time contractor. Working from Mumbai, he dived straight into complex secondary index update algorithms in the Cassandra back-end. At the end of the month, design work resumed, with the goal of making RESTBase easier to extend with additional entry points and bucket types.

Core Features


In August, the Flow team created a new read/unread state for Flow notifications, to help users keep track of the active discussion topics that they’re subscribed to. There are now two tabs in the Echo notification dropdown, split between Messages (Flow notifications) and Alerts (all of the other Echo notifications). Flow notifications stay unread until the user clicks on the item and visits the topic page, or marks the item as read in the notifications panel. The dropdown is also scrollable now, and holds the 25 most recent notifications. Last, subscribing to a Flow board gives the user a notification when a new topic is created on the board.



In August, the Growth team vetted CirrusSearch as back-end for personalized suggestions and prepared its first A/B test of the new task recommendations system. This test will deliver recommendations to a random sample of newly-registered users on 12 Wikipedias: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Persian, Russian, Ukrainian, Swedish, and Chinese. Several Growth team members also attended Wikimania 2014 in London. At Wikimania, the team shared presentations on its work and conducted usability tests of the recommendations system. Last but not least, design work began on the third major iteration of the team’s anonymous editor acquisition project.


Wikimedia Apps

In August, the Mobile Apps Team focussed on bug fixes for the recently released iOS app and for the Android app, as well as gathering user feedback from Wikimania. The team also had unstructured time during Wikimania, in which the engineers are free to work on whatever they fancy. This resulted in numerous code quality improvements on both iOS and Android. On iOS, the unstructured time also spawned a preliminary version of the feature “Nearby”, which lists articles about things that are near you, tells you how near they are to you, and points towards them. On Android, the unstructured time spawned a preliminary version of full text search, an improved searching experience which aims to present more relevant results.

Mobile web projects

This month the mobile web team, in partnership with the Editing team, launched a mobile-friendly opt-in VisualEditor for users of the mobile site on tablets. Tablet users can now choose to switch from the default editing experience (wikitext editor) to a lightweight version of VE featuring some common formatting tools (bold and italic text, the ability to add/edit links and references). We also began building a Wikidata contribution game in alpha that will allow users to add metadata to the Wikidata database (to start, occupations of people) directly from the Wikipedia article where the information is contained. We hope to graduate this feature to the beta site next month to get more quantitative feedback on its usage and the quality of contributions.

Wikipedia Zero & Partnerships

Wikipedia Zero page views held steady at around 70 million in August. We launched Wikipedia Zero with three operators: Smart and Sun in the Philippines (related companies) and Timor Telecom in East Timor. That brings our total numbers to 37 partners in 31 countries. Smart has been collaborating with Wikimedia Philippines for months, and they previously offered free access to Wikipedia on a trial basis. Just announced, Smart has now officially joined Wikipedia Zero and brought in their sister brand Sun, covering a combined 70 million subscribers in the Philippines. Timor Telecom launched Wikipedia Zero with a press event including the Vice Minister of Education and much promotion. Timor Telecom is keen to support growth in the Tetun Wikipedia by raising awareness in universities, with resources from the Wikipedia Education Program. In Latin America, we made progress toward app preloads by completing testing for the Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) program. The Wikipedia Android app is now certified for preload on QRD. We made terrific connections with Global South community members at Wikimania, which will lead to more direct local collaboration between partners and Wikimedia communities. Smriti Gupta, partnerships manager for Asia, moved to India where she will work remotely. We’re recruiting our third partnerships manager to cover South East Asia and tech partnerships.

Language Engineering

Language tools

Niklas Laxström (outside his WMF job) completed most of the work needed in Translate to Recover gracefully from session expiration, a known pain point for translators. The PageMigration feature (a GSoC project mentored by Niklas) was (GSoC project mentored by Niklas) released . The team also worked on session expiry checking (to prevent errors in long translations), updated YAML handling, deployed auto-translated screenshots for the VisualEditor user guide (a GSoC project mentored by Amir and done by Vikas Yaligar). They did internationalization testing of the new Android and iOS apps, as well as internationalization testing and bug fixes in VisualEditor, MobileFrontend and Flow.


Webfonts were enabled on the English Wikisource and Divehi wikis, following requests from the respective communities.

Language Engineering Communications and Outreach

The team was at Wikimania in London. Santhosh Thottingal and Amir Aharoni presented on Machine-aided machine translation, and Runa Bhattacharjee and Kartik Mistry on Testing multilingual applications. They conducted user testing for ContentTranslation in several languages (Catalan, Spanish, Kazakh, Russian, Bengali, Hebrew, Arabic), continued conversations with translators from Wikipedias in several languages, and published a retrospective on ContentTranslation and Wikimania.

Content translation

achine translation abuse algorithm was redone. The team also worked on reference adaptation improvements, refactoring the front-end event architecture and rewriting the cxserver registry to support multiple machine translation engines.

Platform Engineering

MediaWiki Core


We migrated test.wikipedia.org to HHVM in early August and saw very few issues. Giuseppe shared some promising benchmarks. Re-imaging an app server was surprisingly painful, in that Giuseppe and Ori had to perform a number of manual actions to get the server up-and-running, and this sequence of steps was poorly automated. Doing this much manual work per app server isn’t viable.

Mark submitted a series of patches to create a service IP and Varnish back-end for an HHVM app server pool, with Giuseppe and Brandon providing feedback and support. The patch routes requests tagged with a specific cookie to the HHVM back-ends. Tech-savvy editors were invited to opt-in to help with testing by setting the cookie explicitly. The next step after that will be to divert a fraction of general site traffic to those back-ends. The exact date will depend on how many bugs the next round of testing uncovers.

Tim is looking at modifying the profiling feature of LuaSandbox to work with HHVM; it is currently disabled.

Admin tools development

Most admin tools resources are currently directed towards SUL finalisation. There was a roundtable at Wikimania with developers and admins/tool users discussing some issues they’ve had, and feature requests they would like to see implemented. The GlobalCssJs extension was deployed to all public Wikimedia wikis, allowing for proper user global CSS and JS.


tarted deploying Cirrus as the primary search back-end to more of the remaining wikis and we found what looks like our biggest open performance bottleneck. Next month’s goal is to fix it and deploy to more wikis (probably not all). We’re also working on getting more hardware.

SUL finalisation

The SUL finalisation team continues to work on building tools to support the finalisation. There are four ongoing streams of work, and the team is on track to have the majority of the work completed by the end of September.

The ability to globally rename users was deployed a while ago, and is currently working excellently!

The ability to log in with old, pre-finalisation credentials has been developed so that users are not inadvertently locked out of their accounts. From an engineering standpoint, this form is now fully working in our test environment. Right now, the form uses placeholder text; that text needs to be ‘prettified’ so that the users who have been forcibly renamed get the appropriate information on how to proceed after their rename, and more rigorous testing should be done before deployment.

A form to globally merge users has been developed so that users can consolidate their accounts after the finalisation. From an engineering standpoint, this form is now fully working in our test environment. The form needs design improvements and further testing before it can be deployed.

A form to request a rename has been developed so that users who do not have global accounts can request a rename, and also so that the workload on the renamers is reduced. From an engineering standpoint, the form to request a rename has been implemented, and implementation has begun on the form that allows renames to rename users. Once the end-to-end experience has been fully implemented and tested, the form will be ‘prettified’.

Security auditing and response

ecurity reviews of the Graph, WikibaseQuery and WikibaseQueryEngine extensions. Initial work was done to enable regular dynamic security scanning.

Release Engineering

Quality Assurance

Having completed the migration of our Continuous Integration infrastructure from a third party host to Wikimedia’s own Jenkins instance, we are thinking about improvements and changes for future work. We aim to improve performance for Jenkins and also for beta labs. We are looking into creating other shared test environments along with beta labs to better support changes like we did this month with HHVM and with a security and performance test project. We also continue to improve the development experience with Vagrant and other virtual machine technologies.

Browser testing

This month, we continued to build out and adjust the new browser test builds on Jenkins. We saw updates to tests and issues identified for UploadWizard, VisualEditor, Echo, and MobileFrontend. New tests for GettingStarted pointed out a need to update our Redis storage on the beta cluster. We are currently monitoring an upstream problem with Selenium/Webdriver and IE11 on behalf of VisualEditor, as VE support for IE11 is coming soon.



Media Viewer’s new ‘minimal design’.

In August, the multimedia team had extensive discussions with community members about the various projects we are working on. We started with seven different roundtable discussions and presentations at Wikimania 2014 in London, including sessions on: Upload Wizard, Structured Data, Media Viewer, Multimedia, Community and Kindness. To address issues raised in recent Requests for Comments, we also hosted a one-week Media Viewer Consultation, inviting suggestions from community members across our sites.

The team also worked to make Media Viewer easier to use by readers and casual editors, our primary target users for this tool. To that end, we created a new ‘minimal design’ including a number of new improvements such as a more prominent button linking to the File: page, an easier way to enlarge images and more informative captions. These new features were prototyped and carefully tested this month to validate their effectiveness. Testers completed easily most of tasks we gave them, suggesting that the new features are now usable by target users, and ready for development in September.

This month, we prepared a first plan for the Structured Data project, in collaboration with many community members and the Wikidata team: we propose to gradually implement machine-readable data on Wikimedia Commons, starting with small experiments in the fall, followed by a wider deployment in 2015. We also continued our code refactoring for the UploadWizard, as well as fixed more bugs across our multimedia platform. To keep up with our work, join the multimedia mailing list.

Engineering Community Team

Bug management

Daniel made Bugzilla use ssl_ciphersuite to add HSTS and removed a superfluous STS header setting. Andre worked around a Bugzilla XML RPC API issue which created problems for exporting Bugzilla data for a Phabricator import. In Bugzilla’s taxonomy (components, descriptions, default CCs, etc.) some smaller changes took place.

Phabricator migration

The project is getting close to Day 1 of a Wikimedia Phabricator production instance. For better overview and tracking, the Wikimedia Phabricator Day 1 project was split into three projects: Day 1 of a Phabricator Production instance in use, Bugzilla migration, and RT migration. Furthermore, the overall schedule was clarified. In the last month, Security/permission related requirements got implemented (granular file permissions and upload defaults, enforcing that policy, making file data inaccessible and not only undiscoverable). In upstream, Mukunda added API to create projects and Chase added support for mailing lists as watching users. Chase worked on and tested the security and data migration logic. Mukunda continued to work on getting the MediaWiki OAuth provider merged into upstream. Chase and Mukunda also worked on the Project Policy Enforcer action for Herald, providing a user-friendly dropdown menu to restrict ticket access when creating the ticket. A separate domain for user content was purchased. Chase also worked on the scripts to export and import data between the systems and support for external users in Phabricator and the related mail setup. Chase and Chad also took a look at setting up Elasticsearch for Phabricator.

Mentorship programs

All Google Summer of Code and FOSS Outreach Program for Women were evaluated by their mentors as PASSED, although many were still waiting for completion, code reviews and merges. We hosted a wrap-up IRC meeting with the participation of all teams except one. We are still waiting for some final reports from the interns. In the meantime, you can check their weekly reports:

Technical communications

In August, Guillaume Paumier attended the Wikimania conference and the associated hackathon. He gave a talk about Tech News (video available on YouTube) and created a poster summarizing the talk. He also continued to write and distribute Tech News every week, and started to contribute to the Structured data project.

Volunteer coordination and outreach

We ran the Wikimania Hackathon in an unconference manner together with the Wikimania organizers. The event went well in a unique venue, and we are compiling a list of lessons learned to be applied in future events. Together with other former organizers of hackathons, we decided that the next Wikimedia Hackathon in Europe will be organized by Wikimedia France (details coming soon). Also at Wikimania, Quim Gil gave a talk about The Wikimedia Open Source Project and You (videoslides).



Following the prototype built for Wikimania, the team identified many performance issues in Wikimetrics for backfilling Editor Engagement Vital Signs (EEVS) data. The team spent a sprint implementing some performance enhancements as well as properly managing sessions with the databases. Wikimetrics is better at running recurring reports concurrently and managing replication lag in the slave DBs.

Data Processing

The team continued monitoring analytics systems and responding to issues when [non-critical] alarms in went off. Packet losses and kafka issues were diagnosed and handled.

Hadoop worker nodes now automatically set memory limits according to what is available. Previously all workers had the same fixed limit. This allows for better resource utilization.

Logstash is now available at https://logstash.wikimedia.org (Wikitech account required). Logs from Hadoop are piped there for easier search and diagnosis of Hadoop jobs.

Some uses of udp2log were migrated to kafkatee. The latter is not prone to packet losses. In particular Webstatscollector was switched over and error rates were seen to drop drastically. Eventually, the “collecting” part of Webstatscollector will be implemented in Hadoop, a much more scalable environment to handle such work.

Editor Engagement Vital Signs

The team implemented the stack necessary to load EEVS in a browser and has a rough implementation of the UI according to Pau’s design . The team also made available to EEVS two metrics already implemented on Wikimetrics: number of pages created, and number of edits.

Research and Data

This month we hosted the WikiResearch hackathon, a dedicated research track of the Wikimania hackathon. 3 demos of research code libraries were broadcast during the event and several research ideas filed on Meta. Highlights from the hackathon include: Quarry (a web client to query Wikimedia’s slave databases on Labs); wpstubs (a social media bot broadcasting newly categorized stubs on the English Wikipedia); an algorithmic classification of articles due to be re-assessed from the English Wikipedia WikiProject Medicine’s stubs.

We gave or participated in 8 presentations during the main conference.

We published a report on mobile trends expanding the data presented at the July 2014 Monthly Metrics meeting. We started work on referral parsing from request log data to study trends in referred traffic over time.

We generated sample data of edit conflicts and worked on scripts for robust revert detection. We published traffic data for the Medicine Translation Taskforce, with a particular focus on traffic to articles related to Ebola.

We wrote up a research proposal for task recommendations in support of the Growth team’s experiments on recommender systems. We analyzed qualitative data to assess the performance of Cirrus Search “morelike” feature for identifying articles in similar topic areas. We provided support for the experimental design of a first test of task recommendations. We performed an analysis of the result of the second experiment on anonymous editor acquisition run by the Growth team.

We hosted the August 2014 research showcase with a presentation by Oliver Keyes on circadian patterns in mobile readership and a guest talk by Morten Warncke-Wang on quality assessment and task recommendations in Wikipedia.

We also gave presentations on Wikimedia research at the Oxford Internet Institute, INRIA, Wikimedia Deutschland (slides) and at the Public Library of Science (slides). Aaron Halfaker presented at OpenSym 2014 a paper he co-authored on the impact of the Article for Creation workflow on newbies (slides, fulltext).


The Wikidata project is funded and executed by Wikimedia Deutschland.

August was a very busy month for Wikidata. The main page was redesigned and is now much more inviting and useful. A lot of new features were finished and deployed. Among them are:

  • Redirects: allowing you to turn an item into a redirect.
  • Monolingual text datatype: allowing you to enter new kinds of data like the motto of a country.
  • Badges: allowing you to store badges for articles on Wikidata. This includes “featured article” and “good article”. More will be added soon.
  • In other projects sidebar as a beta feature: allowing you to show links to sister projects in the sidebar of any article.
  • Special:GoToLinkedPage: allowing you to go to a Wikipedia page based on its Wikidata Q-ID. This will be especially useful if you want to create links to articles that don’t change even if the article is moved.
  • Wikinews: Wikinews has been added as a supported sister project. Wikinews can now maintain their sitelinks on Wikidata. Access to the other data will follow in due time.
  • Wikidata: Sitelinks to pages on Wikidata itself can now also be stored on Wikidata. This is useful to connect for example its help pages with those on the other projects.
  • Change of the internal serialization format: The internal serialization format changed to be consistent with the serialization format that is returned by the API.
In addition, the team worked on a lot of under-the-hood changes towards the new user interface design and started the discussions around structured data support for Commons. The log of the IRC office hour is available.


The engineering management team continues to update the Deployments page weekly, providing up-to-date information on the upcoming deployments to Wikimedia sites, as well as the annual goals, listing ongoing and future Wikimedia engineering efforts.

This article was written collaboratively by Wikimedia engineers and managers. See revision history and associated status pages. A wiki version is also available.

by Guillaume Paumier at October 18, 2014 05:35 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Máte nápad? Zorganizujte zajímavou Wiki akci v naší kanceláři

Jedna z akcí v kanceláři - workshop s novinářem.

Jedna z akcí v kanceláři – workshop s novinářem.

Naše pobočka Wikimedia byla založena už v roce 2008, ale skutečnou kancelář – v dobře dostupném místě na Praze 10 – má až od letošního roku. Účelem naší kanceláře však rozhodně není skladování šanonů či posezení nad fakturami. Chceme vytvořit místo, které pulzuje životem, kde se setkávají členové i naši hosté, a pumpuje se krev do žil dobrovolnickému úsilí, na němž je naše pobočka postavena.

A ačkoliv už v kanceláři řada akcí proběhla, většinou to bylo na nás jako na členech sdružení Wikimedia. Už jsme tam měli workshopy, přednášky, pracovní setkání, diskuze i editatony. Jsme rádi, že zázemí kanceláře máme a bohatě ho využíváme i pro pravidelná setkání komunity českých wikipedistů nebo třeba pro schůze rady spolku. Myslíme si ale, že takové místo má mnohem větší potenciál – česká komunita wikipedistů se totiž tak málo zná, a přitom mají navzájem velmi podobné zájmy. A třeba nás některé typy akcí ještě vůbec nenapadly.

Je to tedy na vás, milí wikipedisté a wikimediáni. Máte-li zajímavý nápad na akci v naší kanceláři, napište nám. Všem nejen vyjdeme vstříc, ale i pomůžeme s zajíštěním celé akce. Máme i finanční prostředky na některé typy akcí, takže se nás nebojte zeptat.

by Vojtěch Dostál at October 18, 2014 03:39 PM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

First editathon on the Spanish language and literature in Madrid

“Wiki Editatón Madrid 2014 – 04″ by Carlos Delgado, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Group photograph of participants in the editathon at the National Library of Spain.

On Saturday, September 27th, Wikimedia España co-organized in Madrid the first editathon focused on improving content about the Spanish language and literature in the Spanish Wikipedia. This editathon was fostered by three relevant institutions strongly committed to the promotion and dissemination of the Spanish language and culture around the world: the Cervantes Institute, the Royal Spanish Academy and the National Library of Spain. The meeting was hosted in the Board’s Hall (Salón del Patronato), an emblematic room inside the museum of the National Library of Spain, and it was primarily aimed at participants without prior experience editing in Wikipedia. The directors from the three institutions were present at the start of the event to welcome all attendees and thank them for their participation. Progress of the meeting could be tracked through Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms by following the hashtag #WikiEditatonMadrid. This facilitated the participation of other virtual editors who could not attend this meeting.

“Wiki Editatón Madrid 2014 – 14″ by Carlos Delgado, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

From left to right, José Manuel Blecua Perdices (director of the Royal Spanish Academy), Ana Santos Aramburo (director of the National Library of Spain) and Víctor García de la Concha (director of the Cervantes Institute) welcome participants in this editathon.

The registration was quite successful, with 114 enrolled participants from which approximately 61% were women. This was an outstanding achievement, especially considering the still low participation of women editors in Wikipedia. Ten volunteers, experienced Wikipedians from Wikimedia España, offered guidance to all editors and resolved their questions and doubts. The meeting took place from 10.00 to 18.00 (local time) and started with a short introduction to effective participation in Wikipedia. Lunch, beverages and cupcakes were served to all participants to keep up the editing enthusiasm.

The meeting was a great success and its main accomplishments can be summarized as follows:

During the editathon.
“Madrid – Editatón Madrid BNE 2014 – 140927 145624″ by Barcex, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

All editors received special surprise gifts: books from the Royal Spanish Academy, image products from Cervantes Institute, the National Library of Spain and WMF. On top of that, the National Library invited all attendees (editors and volunteering Wikipedians) to participate in an exclusive guided tour through the National Library museum, including visits to special areas and rooms. Overall, we were quite satisfied with the development of this editathon. We also hope that it can be the first step in a new series of similar initiatives in Spain to engage these and other renowned organizations and institutions on improving access to free knowledge in Wikipedia.

Felipe Ortega, co-organizer and member of Wikimedia España.

by wikimediablog at October 18, 2014 02:30 AM

October 17, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

How the #wikinobel Nobel Peace Prize collaboration came to be

Bente Erichsen, Executive Director at the Nobel Peace Center, and Atrid Carlsen of Wikimedia Norway, edit after the announcement. “Edit-a-thon Nobel Peace Prize 04″ by WMNOastrid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

In April 2013, the Nobel Peace Center and Wikimedia Norway came together for their first collaboration: an edit-a-thon to enhance the quality of Wikipedia articles on the Nobel Peace Prize, various Peace Prize laureates, and other related articles on war, peace and conflict resolution.

Both groups agreed it was a great experience, and were looking for opportunities to continue working together. Last week, they came together again at the Nobel Peace Center for the announcement of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. On Friday, 10th October, a group of Wikipedians from Wikimedia Norway converged at the Peace Center, in order to follow the announcement. There, they made updates to Wikipedia in real time as the winners — girl’s education activist Malala Yousafzai, of Pakistan, and childhood rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, of India — were made public.

At the same time, 500km away in the northern Norwegian city of Trondheim, Wikimedian Jon Harald Søby followed remotely, supporting updates to other language versions of Wikipedia by Wikimedians all around the world. Throughout the day we kept in contact via Skype, and Jon Harlad was even interviewed about the experience on Norwegian national radio.

Knowledge and education of young and old alike is pivotal to all activities at the Nobel Peace Center, which is visited by 220,000 people every year, one third of whom are children and young people. The Nobel Peace Center works to increase the knowledge of the Nobel Peace Prize and its history, its laureates and topics within the fields of war, peace, and conflict resolution. The Nobel Peace Center and Wikimedia Norway both want this collaboration to contribute to even more quality and fact-based knowledge to Wikipedia, to enhance public conversation on these important issues. We greatly appreciate all the efforts and feedback from community members around the world in connection with the event.

Kirsti Svenning at The Nobel Peace Center sums up: “The way a Wikipedia article is made, the fact that several people co-write it, bringing a joint pool of knowledge and facts together and continuously enhancing the quality of the final output, is very much in keeping with the Nobel Peace Center’s mission: to increase the knowledge and reflection about the Nobel Peace Prize. The collaboration with Wikimedia Norway is much appreciated and there are new events already being planned.”

Wikimedia Norway looks forward to a continued collaboration with the Nobel Peace Center. If there are any community members, Wikimedia chapters, or institutions with ideas or thoughts on an international collaboration, please contact astrid@wikimedia.no.

Astrid Carlsen
Prosjektleder, Wikimedia Norge

by maherwiki at October 17, 2014 06:42 PM

October 16, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Why librarians should edit Wikipedia: A testimonial from Switzerland

The Unithèque, one of the sites of the Library on the campus of the University of Lausanne
(“Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne” by Odrade123, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Since April, the Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne (BCUL) hosts, on a monthly basis, Wikipedian get-togethers in their Unitheque room, referred as the “Wikipermanences”. How do they proceed and what happens during those gatherings? Basically, between noon and 2 pm, representatives of Wikimedia CH, the Swiss Wikimedia chapter, are available to all members of the general public to answer any questions they may have. You can show up whenever you wish and stay as long as you want. The entrance is open to all, there are no strings attached.

You might think you have nothing interesting enough to tell the world to become a Wikipedia editor – maybe you believe that you are not enough of an expert to contribute to articles ? Or, maybe you believe that editing is complicated and requires you to register and hold technical competencies?

Having believed all the above, the Wikipermanence organised in our venue enabled me take a step forward towards editing on Wikipedia. After all, why not me? Are those beliefs justified after all?

Volunteers teaching Wikipedia to the librarians of the BCUL during a Wikipermanence
(“WMCH Volunteers teaching wikipedia during a wikipermanence “ by Chandres, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Myself, having never edited a Wikipedia page before, I began with a simple question – how to proceed? I was quickly introduced to editing pages by Frédéric, a member of Wikimedia CH, who is also working at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and passionate about Wikipedia. I quickly realised that editing an already existing page is as easy as pie. Previously, the editing option required an understanding of the wikipedia language to code information, nowadays, there is a WYSIWYG[1] editor which enables you to modify pages intuitively.

To edit a page, there is no need to have an existing user profile, or any requirement of a previous knowledge of Wikipedia codes. All you have to do is to click on the link entitled “edit” (in French: “modifier”) next to each section’s title to open a very straightforward editing window. Before confirming any modifications, it is asked to detail in a couple of lines the type of corrections you contributed, so that one can follow up on them. Indeed, all the changes are stored with the IP address of the computer used to make those changes from, or with the username of the contributor if he has a Wikipedia profile.

How can we librarians add value to this area of knowledge ? Actually, on several levels, as we all know something – either from our professional activity, or from our personal interests – which enables us to contribute by adding or amending Wikipedia entries. Or if your favorite hobby is grammar and checking details, you could also participate by correcting any mistakes you come across. More specifically, we can be quite particular on providing adequate references in the bibliographies. At a beginner’s level, I was able to correct the “Publications” section of an article concerning a public figure, as the bibliography was not presented properly with incomplete sources. With our professional backgrounds, who better than librarians may check the quality of the bibliographies as well as complete them if required ?

Wikipedia’s WYSIWYG editor provides multiple areas to fill out and automatically compiles the information with the correct Wikipedia presentation model. There is no need to select a particular style, it is all done automatically.

If you have a professional or a personal area of expertise, then your contribution may be even more important in creating a page, instead of completing an existing page‘s content. In this case only, it’s better to create a profile and officially enter the community of Wikipedia editors.

So, what are you waiting for to participate in one of these Wikipermanences? It is an easy opportunity to discover the anonymous world of many editors and who knows, maybe getting started yourself!

Olivia Trono, Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne

  1. What You See Is What You Get

by wikimediablog at October 16, 2014 12:49 AM

October 14, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

New learning series: Telling your program story

Stories are important for every community.

Every night, a different story.

«Any story worth telling relates to real life in some meaningful way.»Jane Espenson

Retelling is a significant technique for transferring knowledge to one another, engaging people, and triggering change. The Wikimedia movement has proven the value of a good story many times. Just look at the Love Dart story or the world acclaimed Wikipedia Zero letter. The time has come to spread this talent further for others to use as well.

Starting October 15, the Learning & Evaluation team will host a new learning series, Telling your program story. If you are a program or project leader and struggle to get your story across in reporting, this is your chance to learn tricks and gather resources to tell a better story. Through some key strategies you can improve not only the way you share about your efforts, but the impact of the work in advancing the movement and how others might benefit from such efforts.



How to report more effectively

One of the primary means for grantees to share stories is a grant report. However, the task of reporting is usually set aside until the last minute, and is not integrated in the flow of work. What is the current report structure? How does it help (or not) to bring out the stories you want people to know? How do you distinguish organizational details and core activities? These topics will be addressed in the first virtual meet-up.

There is more to reporting than meets the eye. You can keep a consistent frame of reference from one report to another by acknowledging the stages of your actions as part of a larger plan. In the second virtual event (planned for mid November), you will learn how to use color coding and infographics, as well as incorporating quotes and multimedia to showcase your work.

This series will also address how to frame your stories better.

The last virtual event that will take place in early December, will focus on how to frame your measures in advance to be able to tell the story you want. The report is most useful when articulated with both a project plan and an evaluation plan. How can reporting become a learning tool, instead of a mandatory page to complete? During this event we will talk about the importance of describing the context of your work, for example, why or how your results are important given the context of your community and situation. We will also discuss one of the biggest challenges, how to report on projects and programs with indirect linkages to outcomes (i.e., Advocacy, Community climate).

The aim of this series is to introduce storytelling as a core method to achieve the movement’s goals.

Why story-telling?

Join the conversation!

We want to support you in telling your stories. With this series, we open the conversation to discover what kind of support you need. We know that the current report structure can fall short when it comes to certain topics and activities. The only way to make it better is by discussing this resource in the community. If you struggle to find the right tone and to tell good stories, join the conversation! Any of the topics mentioned may ring a bell, bring your ideas to the virtual meet-ups and help us build better tools, tailored for every need.

The series is the first step in the development of a new set of tools on reporting-as-storytelling. They will be available on the Evaluation portal by the end of this year.

Bring a chair and get ready… let the story begin!

María Cruz, Community Coordinator of Program Evaluation & Design, Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at October 14, 2014 11:34 PM

Free licenses and freedom of panorama now recognized in Russian law!

One of the undeleted images: Main building of Moscow State University
(“Main Building of Moscow state University” by Victor Morozov (Rdfr), under CC-BY-2.5)

Wikimedia Russia congratulates the Russians and all the proponents of free culture to the changes in the Russian Civil Code, which are very significant for the promotion of the free knowledge. Particularly, the amendments are extremely important for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects; and for developers of free software. The amendments entered into force on October 1st, 2014; Wikimedia RU actively participated in their preparation.

Among the numerous changes, we should mention:

  • Open licenses introduced.
The new law directly recognizes free licenses (which are fundamental for projects like Wikipedia or Linux). The authors of free content will be able to have legal protection from misuse of their works.
Now it is allowed to take photos in any public territory. The photographers are no more formally offenders, as before when nobody was allowed to sell postcards with modern buildings without the permission of the architect or his successors (despite the fact that such situation was quite usual in practice). Unfortunately, monuments are still not covered by the introduced amendments.
  • Libraries are allowed to keep in electronic format dilapidated works and those scientific and educational works that have not been republished for more than 10 years.


«The direct inclusion of the stipulations on the free licenses into the law is a progressive step not only for Russia, but worldwide. There are no specific articles on free licenses in other countries’ laws, and hence these licenses are still in a grey area there. Actually, free licenses exploit the archaic tercentenary system of copyright, that always limited the readers’ freedoms in order to allow the authors and the publishers to earn money, for the opposite goal – to protect the readers’ right to free access. Therefore, without direct regulation, there is too vast judicial discretion, and free licenses users are not protected perfectly. In the Russian law there are no uncertainties like that anymore. Up to the wording that covers copyleft clauses as well; they poorly fit the traditional laws.» — explained Wikimedia RU director Vladimir Medeyko.

Members of Wikimedia RU worked hard on these and other amendments in the Civil Code. Namely:

  • In 2009-2010, numerous letters with the description of the problems and possible solutions were sent to special committees of the State Duma.
  • In 2010-2011, the directors of Wikimedia RU – Vladimir Medeyko and Stanislav Kozlovskiy – participated in sessions of the expert groups of the Committee of culture and the Committee of information policy and communications of the State Duma.
  • In April 2011, during a meeting with then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the representative of Wikimedia RU communicated the problems and possible solutions to the head of the state.
  • In 2011-2012, the experts from Wikimedia RU became part of the working group of the Ministry of Justice. We worked on the free licenses and related laws and also participated in various events organized by the Ministry of Communications, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and Science.
  • In 2012, the representatives of Wikimedia RU participated in sessions of the State Duma’s working group on intellectual property, attended the parliament hearings and sessions of the Federation Council on the information society proceedings.
  • From 2010-2014, members of Wikimedia RU participated in more than 200 conferences, seminars, and round tables, where they explained problems and ways to legalize the work. Hopefully, the foreign legislators will handle free licenses with the due care, and the uncertainty will vanish.

Featured image of Petrovskiy stadium in St. Petersburg that won’t be deleted now
(“Petrovskiy football stadium in SPB” by Florstein, under CC BY-SA 3.0)

What is the impact of these amendments on the Wikimedia movement?

  • more than four hundred deletion requests due to prior restrictions were cancelled and files were undeleted;
  • Commons will be able to receive thousands of images that couldn’t be uploaded before;
  • Now Russia can legally participate in the Wiki Loves Monuments contest, which is running till the end of October. Unfortunately, sculptures and monuments are still not covered by the changed law, but photos of historic buildings are permitted now and this opens wide opportunities for participation in the contest.


Linar Khalitov, Wikimedia Russia

by wikimediablog at October 14, 2014 11:21 PM

October 10, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)


Entrance to the Nobel Peace Center
(“Nobel Peace Center” by AMIRBL25, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced this Friday, and in cooperation with Wikimedia Norge, the Nobel Peace Center has invited Wikipedians from the Norwegian Wikipedia community to an editathon to improve the article about the winner(s?) as soon as possible. We’ll be sitting practically in the next room from where the announcement is screened at the Nobel Peace Center, updating relevant articles as fast as we can.

The Nobel Peace Center celebrates the new Peace Prize laureate(s) with a live screening of the announcement at the Norwegian Nobel Institute tomorrow, October 10. At 11:00 Norwegian time, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced. Around 14:15, the new laureate(s) get their own screen in the installation called the Nobel Field, where all Nobel Peace Prize laureates through history are featured. And from 10.30 to 14.00, Wikipedians are invited to the Nobel Peace Center to update Wikipedia on information on the new Nobel Peace Prize laureate! We will also take pictures at the announcement and of the new screen in the Nobel Field installation.

Who will be the winner this year? In two months’ time, the new laureate will receive the prize in Oslo and open the exhibition about him/herself at the Nobel Peace Center.

About the Nobel Peace Center
The Nobel Peace Center is the museum about the Nobel Peace Prize. Their permanent installations tell the story of Alfred Nobel and the Peace Prize laureates and their work. http://www.nobelpeacecenter.org/en/about-us/

For this to be a global event, we’d like to invite anyone who’s interested to join us in the IRC channel #wikipedia-nobel, where we’ll be talking and coordinating.
We’ll also try to livetweet the event using the hashtag #wikinobel, probably mainly from the account @WikimediaNorge.

Astrid Carlsen
Prosjektleder, Wikimedia Norge


Update 10 October 2014:

The winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize were announced at 11am CET today in Oslo. This year’s award went to girl’s education activist Malala Yousafzai, of Pakistan, and childhood rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, of India. At the invitation of the Nobel Peace Center, Norwegian Wikimedians were present for the announcement, and immediately set to work updating the articles about Ms. Yousafzai and Mr. Satyarthi and their work, as well as pages about the Nobel Peace Prize and its laureates.

by wikimediablog at October 10, 2014 07:56 PM

Hans Oleander: Using offline Wikipedia to guide tours at the bottom of the Earth

Hans Oleander at sea near the South Georgia Islands, Antarctica
(“Hans Oleander at work in South Georgia DSC_0513” by Hans Oleander, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

The MS Delphin and a tour group near Petermann Island.
(“Ms-delphin” by Hans Oleander under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Oleander (dressed in black, steering the boat in the foreground) guides an expedition of tourists in Antarctic waters.
( “At the engine of the rear zodiac” by Oleander, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Chinstrap penguins and one Gentoo penguin, photographed by Oleander.
(“Gentoo-chinstrap” by Hans Oleander, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

This user profile is part of a series about Offline Wikipedia.

Hans Oleander lives and works in southern Germany, but once a year he gets away from his desk and voyages to the bottom of the Earth to spend a few weeks as a tour guide in Antarctica.

“It started off as a love story.” says Oleander, “The girl I met was a learned marine biologist. She had been doing this for quite a while, and then as we would get separated on vacations, she eventually just asked if I would come along, [...] this is how I first traveled to that region of the world, and then I was seized by this Antarctica virus. It infects people – once they go there, they want to go again and again. So, I got infected too.”

For Hans, the nature of Antarctica is particularly captivating.

“Animals behave as if there were no humans on this planet.” He added, “And I think that this is what makes it fascinating. It’s still the Earth but it’s an Earth where we could have the illusion of how peaceful and how unpolluted it looks when there are no humans around.” Hans explains, “What makes Antarctica, among other things, pretty particular is the fact that there is no land-bound or land predators. In the north, in the Arctic, animals like ice bears would hunt other animals, but ashore in Antarctica, there’s no predators. And this is why the sea birds are not so anxious.  They don’t try to escape when humans try to approach.”

After falling in love with it, Oleander wanted to find an occupation in Antarctica to give him a greater reason to be there.

“That’s how I got involved with the expedition tourism.” He elaborates, “My role in Antarctic expedition tourism is two-fold. One is to be ashore and guide people [...] and the other part is aboard the cruise vessel which is used to go there and come back and also use – obviously – as a place to stay, to sleep, and eat for the tourists. And then, on this cruise vessel in the evenings and sometimes in the mornings on the trip, we would give presentations and explain to folks the environment, the history, all kinds of things that would be good to know, to give you a better experience of that area.”

In his role, Oleander fields a wide range of questions from tourists about Antarctica, and prepares his lectures using a variety of sources.

“People would get interested and start asking questions even beyond what your presentations were.” says Oleander, “No individual could know just all the answers to all the questions that could arise.”

Oleander needed the ability to quickly research facts in an area with no Internet access.

“In Antarctic waters, there’s no Internet connection available so you can surf on the web.” says Oleander, “[We] travel down to South America by plane, before boarding the cruise vessel, there’s limited resources and limited amount of books that you could take.”

As an alternative to printed books, Oleander researched his digital options and came across WikiTaxi.

“It was good. It at least offered me the text of Wikipedia.” He used that software for a few years until 2012 when he discovered Kiwix, which was easier to install, and contained images.

“I was giving this presentation about the life of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton [...] I was telling the story of his life, and the famous Endurance Expedition where his ship got stuck in the ice and eventually crushed, and they managed to survive.”

After the presentation, Oleander was asked a few questions that he did not know the answers to.

“One of the guys asked me, ‘Well, when and by whom was Ernest Shackleton made a Sir? When was he knighted? And who was it that awarded this title to him?’ And that was something I simply had to look up quickly. It’s that kind of information [that] an encyclopedia comes in handy.”

He turned to Kiwix for the answer.

“And so I was looking it up and found out he was knighted by King Edward [...] So, we are grateful to have Kiwix allowing us to access Wikipedia and help us find answers to questions like this one.”

Profile by Samir El-Sharbaty, Wikimedian

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

by wikimediablog at October 10, 2014 06:34 PM

October 09, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Soutěž Wiki miluje památky je ve finále

WLM_logo,_czech,_vectorized.svgÚderem půlnoci 30. září skončil letošní ročník Wiki miluje památky: tedy alespoň přihlašování fotografií – ještě nás samozřejmě čeká zhodnocení a vyhlášení těch nejlepších. Pojďme si ve stručnosti zrekapitulovat příspěvky do soutěže: Do soutěže jste nám poslali přesně 8589 snímků a tematická kategorie Rok lázeňské architektury obsahuje důstojných 257 souborů.  Zdaleka nejproduktivnější účastník, Petr1888, přihlásil rovných 900 fotografií a celkem se soutěže v ČR zúčastnilo 249 přispěvatelů.

Při pohledu zpět: České kolo soutěže mělo dosud 3 ročníky (2012, 2013 a 2014). Nafotilo se celkem 17118, 6433 a 8589 fotek, celkem 32 140 kusů za tři roky. Z globálního hlediska představuje český příspěvek 2,88 %. (z 1 114 613 ks). Jenom letos do soutěže přišlo 0,95 TB dat a hodnota 1 TB bude ovšem nejspíš překonána vzhledem k tomu, že v některých zemích (např. Ukrajina) soutěž ještě běží.

Celkový přehled za Českou republiku najdete na této stránce, statistiky všech účastnických zemí potom zde a zde.

Výsledky soutěže budu zveřejněny začátkem listopadu na těchto webových stránkách. Výherce kontaktujeme emailem, prosíme proto všechny přispěvatele, aby si zkontrolovali, zda mají ve svém uživatelském účtu na Commons zadanou platnou e-mailovou adresu.

Jestli jste nestačili fotografie přihlásit do soutěže, nevadí, Wiki miluje památky pořád! Při nahrávání nových fotografií můžete postupovat podle stejného návodu zde na stránkách. Wikipedii můžete pomoci i focením jiných lokalit – např. českých obcí nebo chráněných území (lze i proplatit cestovní náklady!) - či přímo rozšiřováním, opravováním a psaním článků!

Převzato z oficiálního webu soutěže www.wikimilujepamatky.cz.

by Milada Moudrá at October 09, 2014 08:28 PM

October 08, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

International Francophone Contribution Month

Sciences day, a collaboration between Wikimédia Canada, Acfas and BAnQ. Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Photo : Benoit Rochon, Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0

Advertising board in Strasbourg, France, for a Wikipedia workshop about Germain Muller.
Photo : Ctruongngoc, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Throughout October, the International Francophone Contribution Month, Wikipedia training workshops are organized in more than twenty cities of the Francophonie. In those workshops, experienced Wikimedians, students, and the local population get together to improve French Wikipedia and its sister projects. Whether in a college, a GLAM institution, in a library or in a pub, Wikimedians and novices mingle to share their experience, to initiate beginners to contribution to Wikimedia projects, or to simply get to know each other.

In Africa, America, and Europe, the French-speaking Wikimedia chapters and user groups connect and collaborate with local institutions that host workshops and train local population on the basics of collaborative editing. For example, the city council of Bordeaux in France invites its citizens to meet in ten city museums. In Paris and Rennes, there are no less than 16 workshops to train new contributors. In Montreal, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) welcomes new contributors over four days. Training workshops are multiplying in Algeria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Switzerland, and Tunisia.

Local workshops are organized by passionate and experienced Wikimedians; the topic, location and Wikimedia project are chosen at their discretion. The International Francophone Contribution Month is a unifying project that takes few resources from local chapters and can be executed with little cost. The goals of the contribution month are:

  • Promote the local production of content.
  • Allow local contributors to meet each other in the different participating countries.
  • Connect with institutions like libraries, archives, and colleges, etc.

Participants like these workshops because it’s “cool” to participate in Wikipedia. Institutions are delighted to be a host for contribution days because they share their educational mission with Wikimedia projects, and this is a modern approach for their members. Teachers and scholars are interested in the contribution month because they are looking for experienced Wikimedians to train their students in class. In short, this event organized by the collaborative WikiFranca promises to be a success again for this second year.

Presentation of the Contribution Month and detailed list of events (French)

Benoit Rochon (project manager, Wikimedia Canada and coordinator, WikiFranca).
Translated by JP Béland (Amqui).

by wikimediablog at October 08, 2014 09:50 PM

African cuisine is the theme of the first ever “Wiki Loves Africa” photo contest

Of all of the millions of subjects you can read about on Wikipedia, subjects relating to Africa have the least coverage. This is due to a number of reasons, but mainly because many people on the African continent do not know that they can donate their images, videos and audio to Wikipedia. We need help to show how rich, different and delicious Africa really is beyond the depressing headlines. As the two main organizers of Wiki Loves Africa, we (user:anthere and user:Islahaddow) hope that this competition will help close the gap in visual coverage of countries from Africa, which are currently inequitably represented on Wikipedia.

Wiki Loves Africa Logo.jpg

Wiki Loves Africa is an annual contest where people across Africa contribute photographs, video, and audio to Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikipedia and other project websites of the Wikimedia Foundation. The contest encourages participants to contribute media that illustrate a specific theme for that year. The theme changes each year to cover a universal, visually rich and culturally specific topic like markets, rites of passage, festivals, public art, and urbanity.

The theme for the 2014 photo contest is Wiki Loves Africa – Cuisine!

This year’s contest will ask for entries that document the diverse cuisine across the African continent. Entrants can submit media that encompass the “foods”, “dishes”, “crops”, “husbandry”, “culinary art”, “cooking methods”, “utensils”, “food markets”, “festivals”, “culinary events”, “famine food” and any other issues related to cuisine on the African continent. The contest is designed to appeal to the pride we have in the food we eat; how it is prepared, what it looks like, how it differs from another type of food, which types of rituals may be observed, and how that cuisine reflects our diverse culture.

The contest runs for two months, starting on October 1st and ending on November 30th, 2014. The project will be run across the continent (and beyond). Wiki Loves Africa has teams on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa, Tunisia and Uganda who will host specific actions like training and communication. Volunteers are encouraged to host Wiki Loves Africa events in their own countries, and entries from outside Africa will be accepted as long as they feature African cuisine. All entries will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons under a free license and will be judged by a panel of experts from across Africa who will select the best media at the continental level, with a ceremony and prizes as deemed appropriate.

So please. If you live in Africa, get your camera and start shooting now!

If you don’t live in Africa but had the opportunity to visit in the past and have some pictures that might be relevant to the contest, please get them from your hard drive and share them with everyone.

Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood, Wikipedians.

P. S.: We would like to thank user:Romaine for the technical support to set up banners and use the UploadWizard. As well as User:Nkansahrexford for the set up of the website. And, of course, we thank all the volunteers who are helping out as well!.

P.P.S.: Some examples of pictures you may propose…

Chips of Cassava plant (Manihot esculents) at Sawla market in Ghana’s Northern Region.
“Cassava on the Sawla market” by CIAT c/o:Neil Palmer, under CC-BY-SA-2.0


Cooking equipment in ceramics, bamboo. Production Cameroon. Self-initiative with institutional grants.
“Sandrine dole restorue03″ by Sandrine Dole, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

by wikimediablog at October 08, 2014 09:56 AM

October 05, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Dokumentace českého venkova – FČO vstupuje do zcela nové fáze

Stav zdokumentovanosti českých obcí v květnu 2014 (Autor: Jagro, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Stav zdokumentovanosti českých obcí v květnu 2014 (Autor: Jagro, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Letos se nám podařil neuvěřitelný kousek – poprvé počet obcí v České republice, které už nějakou svojí fotku na Wikipedii mají, překonal počet těch, které nám ještě zbývá vyfotit. Tomu je také i díky projektu Foto českých obcí, který běží (s krátkými přestávkami) již od roku 2009 pod taktovkou spolku Wikimedia Česká republika.

Projekt má jeden cíl: pěšky, za pomoci veřejné dopravy, nebo i vlastním autem objet zatím nenafocené části naší republiky a vyfotit to zajímavé, co se na jednotlivých českých vesnicích skýtá. Wikimedia Česká republika pak Vám pomůže s pokrytím některých nákladů spojených s cestováním. V dalších zemích probíhají v rámci wiki hnutí obdobné projekty – více či méně podobné tomu našemu.

Cestou českým venkovem se o svojí selfie přihlásil i tento sympaťák (foto: Aktron, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Cestou českým venkovem se o svojí selfie přihlásil i tento sympaťák (foto: Aktron, CC BY-SA 3.0)

V závěru tohoto léta proběhla v naší komunitě diskuze, zda-li by na dlouhodobém projektu bylo možné něco zlepšit. Nakonec se ukázalo, že to možné je. Venkov je koneckonců oblastí, kde lidé Wikipedii znají jen málo. O to méně pak rozumí problematice získávání svobodných znalostí prostřednictvím internetu. Na venkově žije přitom podstatná část české veřejnosti.

V rámci našich cest jsme se proto rozhodli já a můj kolega Jan Lochman zacílit také i na obyvatele venkova, které potkáváme. A to jak prostřednictvím materiálů, které máme k dispozici (letáky, plakáty, knihy o Wikipedii…) tak i diskuzí se zainteresovanými účastníky. V každé obci se najde nástěnka pro některé naše materiály. A potom také nacházíme často i knihovny, kam můžeme předat výtisk knihy Wikipedie – průvodce na cestě za informacemi. Česká republika má velice hustou síť obecních knihoven – v tomto směru jsme vlastně unikátní. Pro školy a jiná zařízení jsou zase určená pexesa projektu Chráněná území.

Cesty nyní pořádáme ve dvou, což má za výsledek mnohem rychlejší tempo dokumentace (okolo 20-30 sídel za jeden den), efektivnější navigaci a samozřejmě lepší rozdělení fotografovaných oblastí (tzn. větší sídla dokumentujeme po částech). V dokumentaci jsme se soustředili v posledních dnech na oblast Neveklovska, dále pak okresy Kutná Hora, Havlíčkův Brod a také Benešov. A tak se ocitáme v údolí řeky Sázavy, na České Sibiři, fotografujeme také rekonstrukci dálnice D1… Za několik málo dní jsme už zdokumentovali okolo stovky sídel.

Zajímavostí se po cestě najde spoustu: Ať jsou to již koně, které se zajímaly o naše fotografické vybavení v Leštině u Mladé Vožice, rozhledna v Moravči, Zlatý důl v Roudném, roubenky ve Staré Huti u Petrovic, nebo třeba pramen řeky Výrovky v Kochánově




by Jan Loužek at October 05, 2014 08:02 PM

October 01, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, September 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 4 • Issue: 9 • September 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

99.25% of Wikipedia birthdates accurate; focused Wikipedians live longer; merging WordNet, Wikipedia and Wiktionary

With contributions by: Scott Hale, Piotr Konieczny, Maximilian Klein, Andrew Krizhanovsky, Tilman Bayer and Pine

“Reliability of user-generated data: the case of biographical data in Wikipedia”

“Third Volume of a 1727 edition of Plutarch‘s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans printed by Jacob Tonson”; caption quoted from the Wikipedia article Biography

Review by User:Maximilianklein

0.75% of Wikipedia birthdates are inaccurate, reported Robert Viseur at WikiSym 2014.[1] Those inaccuracies are “low, although higher than the 0.21% observed for the baseline reference sources”. Given that biographies represent 15% of English Wikipedia,[supp 1] the third largest category after “arts” and “culture”, their accuracy is important. The method used was to find biographies that were both in Wikipedia and 9 reference databases, which are sadly not named due to the wishes of an “anonymous sponsor” of the paper (Red flag or Belgian bureaucracy?). Of 938 such articles found, those whose birthdates did not match in all 10 databases – 14.4% – were manually investigated. Some errors were due to coincidental names, thus proving the point for authority control in collecting data. One capping anecdote is that most of the mistakes in Wikipedia’s 0.75% were corrected in the intervening time between data collection and manual investigation. However, one may need to account for the sample bias that these were the biographies which existed in 10 separated databases – well known personalities. Therefore the predictive power of the study remains limited, but at least we know that some objective data on Wikipedia has the same order of magnitude error rate as other “reliable sources”.

Focused Wikipedians stay active longer

Group photo of Wikimedians at Wikimania 2012

A new preprint[2] by three Dublin-based computer scientists contributes to the debate around editor retention. The authors use techniques such as the topic modeling and non-negative matrix factorization. to categorize Wikipedians into several profiles (“e.g. content experts, social networkers”). Those profiles, or user roles, are based on namespaces that editors are most active in. The authors analyzed the behavior of about half a million Wikipedia editors. The authors find that short-term editors seem to lack interest in any one particular aspect of Wikipedia, editing various namespaces briefly before leaving the project. Long-term editors are more likely to focus on one or two namespaces (usually mainspace, plus article talk or user talk pages), and only after some time diversify to different namespaces; in other words, the namespace distribution of edits over time “predicts an editor’s departure from the community”. The authors note that “we show that understanding patterns of change in user behavior can be of practical importance for community management and maintenance”.

Unfortunately, the paper is heavy in jargon and statistical models, and provides little practical data (or at least, that data is not presented well). For example, the categorization of editors into seven groups is very interesting, but no descriptive data is presented that would allow us to compare the number of editors in each group. Further, the paper promises to use those profiles to predict editor lifecycles, but such models don’t seem to be present in the paper. In the end, this reviewer finds this paper to be an interesting idea that hopefully will develop into some research with meaningful findings – for now, however, it seems more of a theoretical analysis with no practical applications.

“WordNet-Wikipedia-Wiktionary: construction of a three-way alignment”

A Wiktionary logo

Reviewed by Andrew Krizhanovsky

The authors of this paper,[3] presented at the International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2014), integrated two previously constructed alignments for WordNet-Wikipedia and WordNet-Wiktionary into a three-way alignment WordNet-Wikipedia-Wiktionary. This integration results in lower accuracy, but greater coverage in comparison with two-way alignment.

Wiktionary does not provide a convenient and consistent means of directly addressing individual lexical items or their associated senses. Third-party tools such as the JWKTL (Java-based Wiktionary Library) API can overcome this problem.

Since the WordNet–Wikipedia alignment is for nouns only, the resulting synonym sets in the conjoint threeway alignment consist entirely of nouns. However, the full three-way alignment contains all parts of speech (adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs, etc.).

Larger synonym sets in the source data (WordNet and Wiktionary) results in more incorrect mapping in the outcome alignment (this is strange from the average person’s point of view and shows that the alignment algorithm is not perfect yet).

Informal examination shows that conjoint alignment is correct in general, but existing errors in the source alignments were magnified (snowball effect).


Measures of edit quality

A work-in-progress paper[4] reviews measures of edit quality on Wikipedia and reports the results of a pilot project to evaluate the “Persistent Word Revisions” (PWR)[supp 2] metric of edit quality with the ratings of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk users. PWR measures how much of an edit is preserved through subsequent revisions to the article. The paper only evaluates “a small pool of 63 total [Mechanical Turk] ratings of 10 [article] revisions” and therefore has no significant results. Nonetheless, the future validation on a much larger set of edits as promised in the paper should be useful to future researchers. It will also be useful to know how the distribution of PWR scores compare with other measures of article quality such as the quality assessments given by WikiProjects, nominations for Good Article or Featured Article status. A comparison with Adler et al.’s WikiTrust scores could also be valuable.

“A Wiki Framework for the Sweble Engine”

This master thesis[5] builds on previous work of professor Dirk Riehle’s research group at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg which had constructed a formal parser for MediaWiki wikitext, adding a web application that allows editing wikis based on this parser.

How quickly are drug articles updated after FDA warnings?

A short article[6] in the New England Journal of Medicine examined how quickly safety warnings by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 22 prescription drugs were incorporated into the corresponding Wikipedia articles. The authors “found that 41% of Wikipedia pages pertaining to the drugs with new safety warnings were updated within 2 weeks … The Wikipedia pages for drugs that were intended for treatment of highly prevalent diseases (affecting more than 1 million people in the United States) were more likely to be updated quickly (58% were updated within 2 weeks) than were those for drugs designed to treat less-prevalent conditions (20% were updated within 2 weeks …).” See also the discussion at WikiProject Medicine: 1 2

“Spiral of silence” in German Wikipedia’s image filter discussions

A paper titled “The Dispute over Filtering ‘indecent’ Images in Wikipedia”[7] examines disputes in 2010 and 2011 about controversial content on Wikipedia, and about the Wikimedia Foundation’s proposal for an opt-in image filter which would have allowed users to hide sexual or violent media for themselves (see the Signpost summary by this reviewer). The author finds that several of German sociologist Jürgen Habermas‘ criteria for public discourse apply to the lengthy discussions on the German Wikipedia about this topic (highlighting one talk page with 120 major threads that fill 175 pages in a PDF). “However, [Habermas'] criteria of rationality and objectivity seem to be less applicable. Compared to other areas of dispute in Wikipedia, the German discussions were civilized – but emotional.” The paper invokes the “spiral of silence” theory of public opinion to explain the German Wikipedia’s huge opposition to the Wikimedia Foundation’s plans: “the climate of opinion in the online discussions put supporters of the image filter under heavy pressure to conform or to be silent”. Finally, the paper reports on the results of a small web-based experiment where 163 participants were randomly shown one of three versions of the article de:Furunkel (boil): Either without images, or with a “neutral image”, or “with a somewhat disgusting image of an infected boil.” The author states that “The most interesting results for the Wikipedia community is that the disgusting image enhances the perceived quality of the article: It is perceived to be more fascinating (p=.023) and more worth reading (p=.032) than an article without any image.”

Other recent publications

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


  1. VISEUR, Robert (2014). “Reliability of User-Generated Data:the Case of Biographical Data in Wikipedia”. WikiSym 2014. http://www.wikisym.org/os2014-files/proceedings/p606.pdf. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  2. Qin, Xiangju (29 July 2014). “A latent space analysis of editor lifecycles in Wikipedia“. Proc. of 5th International Workshop on Mining Ubiquitous and Social Environments (MUSE) at ECML/PKDD 2014. 
  3. Miller, Tristan; Iryna Gurevych (May 2014). “WordNet-Wikipedia-Wiktionary: construction of a three-way alignment”. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluations. http://files.nothingisreal.com/publications/Tristan_Miller/Miller_2014_WordNet.pdf.  data
  4. Biancani, Susan (2014). “Measuring the Quality of Edits to Wikipedia”. WikiSym 2014. http://www.wikisym.org/os2014-files/proceedings/p609.pdf. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  5. Liping Wang: A Wiki Framework for the Sweble Engine. Master thesis, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg 2014 PDF
  6. Hwang, Thomas J. (2014). “Drug Safety in the Digital Age“. New England Journal of Medicine 370 (26): 2460–2462. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1401767. ISSN 0028-4793. PMID 24963564. 
  7. Thomas Roessing: The Dispute over Filtering “indecent” Images in Wikipedia. Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology Issue: 2/2013 PDF
  8. Britt, Brian C. (January 2014). “Evolution and revolution of organizational configurations on wikipedia: A longitudinal network analysis“. Purdue University.  Closed access
  9. Rijt, Arnout van de (28 April 2014). “Field experiments of success-breeds-success dynamics“. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 201316836. doi:10.1073/pnas.1316836111. ISSN 0027-8424. PMID 24778230. 
  10. Lee, Kyungho (2014). “How collective intelligence emerges: knowledge creation process in Wikipedia from microscopic viewpoint”. Proceedings of the 2014 International Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces. AVI ’14. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 373–374. DOI:10.1145/2598153.2600040. ISBN 978-1-4503-2775-6. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2598153.2600040.  Closed access
  11. Temple, Norman J. (2014). “How accurate are Wikipedia articles in health, nutrition, and medicine? / Les articles de Wikipédia dans les domaines de la santé, de la nutrition et de la médecine sont-ils exacts ?“. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 38 (1): 37–52. ISSN 1920-7239.  Closed access
  12. Joanne Robert: Community and the dynamics of spatially distributed knowledge production. The case of Wikipedia in: The social dynamics of innovation networks. edited by Roel Rutten, Paul Benneworth, Dessy Irawati, Frans Boekema p.179ff
  13. DeDeo, Simon (8 July 2014). “Group minds and the case of Wikipedia“. 
  14. Mesgari, Mostafa and Okoli, Chitu and Mehdi, Mohamad and Nielsen, Finn Årup and Lanamäki, Arto (2014) “The sum of all human knowledge”: A systematic review of scholarly research on the content of Wikipedia. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. ISSN 2330-1635 (In Press) PDF
Supplementary references and notes:
  1. Whats in Wikipedia?.
  2. Halfaker, A., Kittur, A., Kraut, R., & Riedl, J. (2009). A Jury. “A Jury of Your Peers: Quality, Experience and Ownership in Wikipedia”. WikiSym ’09. http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~halfak/publications/A_Jury_of_Your_Peers/. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 9 • September 2014
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email @WikiResearch on Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at October 01, 2014 06:55 AM

September 30, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Round-table with editors from the Catalan Wikipedia

On September 5, 2014, the Language Engineering team hosted an online round-table with editors of the Catalan Wikipedia to discuss the Content Translation tool. Besides the translation editor and tools, the first release of Content Translation supported machine translation from Spanish to Catalan. This helped the editors work efficiently and explore the tool more deeply.

The initial feedback from editors was greatly encouraging. They liked the tool and were pleased by the tool’s ease of use. After a month of extensive use during which 160+ articles had been created and contributed to the Catalan Wikipedia, the team wanted to find out more about how the tool was being used on day-to-day editing workflows by the editors as well as gaps that the tool leaves unaddressed. The conversation resulted in valuable feedback from the editors, some of which has been presented below.

Screenshot of the Content Translation tool that shows the user a warning about a large amount of machine translated content in the translated article.

(Content-Translation-Warning.png, includes text from en:Tree, by Wikipedia contributors, under CC-BY-SA 3.0, and es:Árbol, by Wikipedia contributors, under CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Faster Editing: The editors unequivocally agreed that the tool provided an overall improvement in their workflow. They were able to create new articles faster and the high-quality machine translated drafts often needed very few corrections. Editor Xavi Bosch felt that he could create articles in approximately 30% of the time he originally needed before the tool was available. With the extra time gained, the editors could focus on fine-tuning the article. For instance, by adding more references.

Machine Translation: Content Translation uses Apertium as the machine translation engine. The editors expressed their satisfaction at the overall quality of translation provided by the tool. However, they suggested adding more checks that would identify articles which were largely unchanged. Presently, the user is warned when the tool detects when not much has been changed from the original translation. Pau Giner suggested exploring community best practices from the Catalan Wikipedia to create additional baselines for articles published using Content Translation.

Category Adaptation: After creating an article, the current setup on beta labs requires users to publish the article manually on the Catalan Wikipedia. This allows the editors to review the articles and prepare them for publication. The editors highlighted that categories are a major addition during these reviews and a feature to adapt categories would be a major benefit. Category adaption is a feature planned for development. The editors suggested:

  • inserting the translated equivalents of the categories in the original article, and
  • a feature to add new categories (similar to HotCat)

Article continuity through red links: At present, articles from the source language that are not present in the target language are not marked in the translated text. In wiki pages, these are marked as red links. Editors suggested that a similar indicator should be displayed in the published article. This will be especially helpful when creating closely linked articles like the ones recently created on the Catalan Wikipedia for the Fields Medal awardees.

Complementing the current tools: The Catalan Wikipedia editors also use several tools for typo correction and other aids. It was suggested to explore the possibility of integrating these tools to complement the current services provided through Content Translation. Editor B25es highlighted some long existing minor errors in the Apertium translation service that were being carried into Content Translation as well. The editors recommended extending Content Translation to learn from these known issues and provide corrections that would be beneficial.

Issues while publishing articles : On several occasions the editors had not been able to save a translated article. While some of this was due to the technical instability of the beta labs environment where the tool is currently hosted, the editors found some patterns and content where this error had been recurring. Articles with more visual content or complex templates (like football results) have often been problematic. In a few cases where the article was not saved, it was noticed that the sequence in which the paragraphs had been translated was similar. For instance in articles about Cédric Villani or Stanislav Smirnov. The development team has begun investigating these issues.

To know more, watch the recording of the conversation and read about the features of the upcoming release. If you haven’t tried the tool yet, please do so using these instructions. We would love to hear your feedback.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 30, 2014 01:46 AM

Damon Sicore joins WMF as Vice President of Engineering

Damon Sicore
“Damon Sicore Headshot” by Stephanie Hall Sicore (sicore.com), under CC-BY-2.0

We are happy to announce that Damon Sicore officially joins the Wikimedia Foundation today in the newly created role of Vice President of Engineering, reporting to the Executive Director.

Damon’s work in the new VPE role will be crucial to further developing and maintaining the technology that supports the very core of the Wikimedia movement, and ensuring the development, scale, and stability of the MediaWiki architecture.

Damon is well prepared to fill this important new position. He has the skills necessary to drive platform growth and shares our values of community participation, open source and transparency. He brings years of experience as VPE in high tech and open source companies. He spent six years at the Mozilla Corporation, where he grew a small team of 27 people to a team of more than 600 open source software engineers, technical leads, managers, and directors in developing Mozilla Firefox, the Mozilla open source platform, Firefox for Android, and Firefox OS. Most recently Damon served as VP of Engineering at Edmodo, Inc., an educational content network, and was responsible for all web, platform, and mobile engineering, security, IT operations, support, and QA efforts.

Damon joins us as part of planned growth of the Wikimedia Foundation’s product and engineering teams, first announced in November 2012. As we have grown, we have seen a need to split our technical department into separate product and engineering departments, in line with the Foundation’s increased focus on industry best practices like performance engineering, continuous delivery, A/B testing, software re-architecture, UI/UX work, and user research. Erik Moeller, who has filled the role of Vice President of both Product and Engineering since 2011, has led in the creation of this new role and was essential to the search process.

Erik will continue as Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation and take on the role of VP of Product and Strategy.

In the meantime, you’ll be able to meet Damon, and ask him questions, this Thursday at our monthly Metrics Meeting. Please join us!

Lila Tretikov
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at September 30, 2014 01:05 AM

September 25, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Quantitative versus Qualitative: More friends than enemies

As Wikimedia program leaders and evaluators work together toward more systematic measurement and evaluation strategies, we face a common challenge to obtain both systematic quantitative data and qualitative information. By doing so, we can establish successful practices in outreach programs and understand the depth and variety of Wikimedia programs across our vast Wikimedia landscape. To meet this challenge, we are working to combine efforts and knowledge for two key purposes:

  • To generalize program knowledge and design patterns of Wikimedia programs and
  • To deepen our understanding of Wikimedia programs and projects and how they impact our communities.


Program leaders should seek a balance between quantitative and qualitative information.

“Schütte & Pöppe Fabrik hauswirtschaftlicher Maschinen Hannover-Linden Rechnung 1909-01-16 Rückseite Detail IIIII” by differents, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Oftentimes, program leaders and evaluators question whether methods and measures that are quantitative are preferred over the qualitative, or whether qualitative outcomes can be given value like quantitative outcomes.

A good evaluation requires numbers and stories – one does not have meaning without the other. How those stories and numbers are collected can – and will – vary greatly, as each program leader seeks to understand their project or program story. Methods and measures for program evaluation should be designed to track how your project or program is doing, what it intends to do and how well the expected outcomes are reached. Whether those methods and measures are qualitative or quantitative will vary depending on your interests, your measurement point and your evaluation resources, but should, no matter what, be useful in telling the story of what you did and whether or not your work was a success. (Read more on the Evaluation portal.)

Most often, through triangulation of quantitative and qualitative measures, today’s social researchers define approximate measures or «proxies» for focusing on and measuring a phenomenon of interest. Through triangulated measures, qualitative and quantitative information can tell a better story of outcomes than either can alone. For instance, consider the phenomenon of volunteer editing behavior:

“edit count” “bytes added/removed”
“page views”
+ =
“article subjects” “categories” “quality” ratings

In a mixed-methods world, quantitative and qualitative tend to be two sides of the same measurement coin: related and nearly inseparable in practice.

How do numbers and qualitative attributes come together?

All quantitative measures are based on qualitative judgments; all qualitative measures can be coded and analyzed quantitatively.

As illustrated in the images below, numbers do not mean anything without assigning a description; anecdotes mean nothing without numbers.

Whether it is a question about physical count data, or about an attitude, we must create the meaning of numbers, and numbers with meaning in measurement. (Read more here on a detailed example of how to ask yourself these questions during an education program with students, leading to a combined quantitative and qualitative approach.)

Defining count data in ordinal response categories that are assigned a response numeral (1) through (7)


Assigning numbers to mean different levels of applicability of a sensed state of being which cannot be otherwise observed.


Converting qualitative to quantitative via count data using the sum of codeable observations.


Next steps for Program Leaders

Trying to choose the best measures for your Wikimedia project or program?

Check out the helpful Measures for Evaluation matrix of common outcomes by program goal. We are working to map measures and tools for it.

Last week, the Program Evaluation and Design team initiated the Foundation’s second round of voluntary programs reporting. We invite all program leaders and evaluators to participate yet again in the most epic data collection and analysis of Wikimedia programs we’ve done so far. This year we will examine more than ten different programs:

  • Editing workshops
  • On-wiki writing contests
  • Editathons
  • Wikipedia Education Program
  • Conferences
  • Wikimedian in Residence
  • GLAM content donations
  • Wiki Loves Monuments
  • Hackathons
  • Wiki Loves Earth, Wiki Takes, Wiki Expeditions, and other photo upload events

Did you lead or evaluate any of these programs during the time from September 2013 through September 2014? If so, we need your data! For the full announcement visit our portal news pages.

Reporting is voluntary, but the more people do it, the better we can represent programs. This voluntary reporting will help us understand the depth and impact of programs across different contexts. It allows us to come together and generate a bird’s eye view of programs so that we can examine further what works best to meet our shared goals for Wikimedia. Together we can grow the AWESOME in Wikimedia programs!

Jaime Anstee, Ph.D, Program Evaluation Specialist, Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 25, 2014 09:12 PM

September 24, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Seminář o otevřených vzdělávacích materiálech v EDUin

Příjemná atmosféra setkání v prostorech EDUcentra. Foto: Juandev, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0

Příjemná atmosféra setkání v prostorech EDUcentra. Prezentace Aleka Tarkowského. Foto: Juandev, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0

V pondělí 15. září 2013 se v pražském EDUpointu, centru EDUin sešli zástupci škol, MŠMT, státních vzdělávacích institucí, spolků pohybujících se v oblasti vzdělávání, šíření svobodné tvorby (včetně zástupců Wikimedia Česká republika) a další odborníci z oboru.
Téma setkání neslo název Open Educational Resources (OER), tedy otevřené vzdělávací materiály). Hnutí k podpoře OER je postaveno na Kapské deklaraci otevřeného vzdělání Seminář pořádala obecně prospěšná společnost  EDUin, nezávislý iniciátor otevřené a věcné diskuse o vzdělávání. Realizace setkání byla podpořena nadací Open Society Fund, která podporu OER vnímá jako svoji celosvětovou prioritu. Cílem setkání bylo zjistit potřeby jedinců a institucí pohybujících se v oblasti otevřeného vzdělávání, tak aby bylo možno následně společně koordinovat společnou aktivitu tímto směrem.  
Věk otevřených zdrojů
Otevřené vzdělávací materiály  jsou všechny druhy textových, grafických, softwarových a jiných materiálů, které je možné volně užít pro vzdělávání. Znamená to, že mají být odstraněny veškeré bariéry v jejich dosažení, používání a vytváření.  Mohou to být bariéry finanční. Potřebujete ke studiu učebnici? Musíte ji zaplatit. Potřebujete více učebnic? Musíte je všechny zaplatit, nebo si zaplatit poplatek v knihovně, která tyto materiály nabízí.Chcete, aby Vaše děti uměly dobře anglicky? Někdo jim musí koupit softwarový program. Ceny učebnic přitom všude v západních zemích, především v USA rostou. A Česká republika sleduje přirozeně světové trendy. Druhým typem bariéry je bariéra dostupnosti. Příklad: potřebujete pro svůj výzkum určité publikace, které ale nejsou dostupné nikde v České republice. Musíte si je za draho zapůjčit, nebo zakoupit  ze zahraničí. Samostatnou kapitolu pak představuje další bariéra: licenční ujednání. Většina děl neumožňuje volné kopírování. Sice se to děje, ale současná právní úprava toto zapovídá. A právě otevřené vzdělávací materiály tyto překážky minimalizují. Mezi ně patří například Wikipedie, která nabízí encyklopedické informace zcela zdarma. Samozřejmě ale musíte mít přístup k Internetu. Ve výsledku to může být nicméně mnohem levnější, než nakupovat stovky knih. Další otevřeností Wikipedie je i to, že její obsah můžete volně kopírovat a upravovat. Za kopírování Wikipedie, či remixování jejího obsahu do jiných děl vám nehrozí žádný postih. To je princip otevřených děl obecně.
 Je však samozřejmě otázkou, jak je to s těmi jinými díly. A tam nastává problém…
Právní záležitosti
Volně užívat, kopírovat a šířit vzdělávací materiály – taková představa by mohla být poměrně idylická. Celá společnost by se dokázala s tímto přístupem obohatit a posunout mnohem rychleji kupředu. Takový model, který se s rozvojem digitálních technologií šíří světem může spoustě lidí (studentů) i institucí (školám) ušetřit finanční prostředky a zjednodušit život. Zatím tomu ale tak není. Vzdělávací materiály se užívají, kopírují a upravují, ale mnohdy se jedná o činnost z právního hlediska diskutabilní (byť si to přímo neuvědomujeme). Některé země světa už se ale k této idyle blíží a Česká republika nechce zůstat pozadu. Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy právě připravuje vzdělávací strategii nazvanou Strategie digitálního vzdělávání 2020, ve které reflektuje současný nárůst digitálních technologií ve společnosti a jejich prudký rozvoj. Celá koncepce je součástí širšího konceptu Digitální Česko 2.0.
 Pozadu nechtějí zůstat ani lidé, kteří se vzděláváním a šířením svobodných informací zabývají. Wikimedia Česká republika dlouhodobě podporuje tvorbu otevřených materiálů. Značnou část svého úsilí věnují dobrovolníci z této organizace vysvětlováním rozdílu mezi otevřenými a uzavřenými licencemi. Proto také Wikimedia ČR uvítala aktivitu EDUino.p.s., který se rozhodl činnost jednotlivých aktérů koordinovat, propojit a zaštítit. Na setkání došlo k vzájemnému seznámení, k představení toho co to jsou otevřené vzdělávací materiály a k hledání společných potřeb. Speciální host Alek Tarkowski, z Koalicje Otwartej Edukacji  (Sdružení pro otevřené vzdělávání), účastníky seznámil s podobnou aktivitou v Polsku, kde několik hráčů v této oblasti již aktivně spolupracuje.

by Jan Loužek at September 24, 2014 09:31 AM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Greek Wikipedia user wins key hearing in defamation case

We are happy to report that a member of our community, Greek Wikipedia user and administrator Diu, has won a critical hearing in an ongoing defamation suit brought by Greek politician and academic Theodore Katsanevas.

On 29 August 2014, the Court of the First Instance of Athens denied the preliminary injunction requested by Mr. Katsanevas. The preliminary injunction would have required Diu, along with co-defendant Greek Free / Open Source Software Society (“ELLAK”), to provisionally remove statements from the Greek language Wikipedia article about Mr. Katsanevas.[1]

The Wikipedia content in dispute involves what was written in the first will[2] of the late Andreas Papandreou, former father-in-law of Mr. Katsanevas and former Prime Minister of Greece. In the will, as reported by the court, Mr. Papandreou characterized Mr. Katsanevas as a “disgrace to the Papandreou family” with aims to “politically inherit the history of struggle of Georgios Papandreou and Andreas Papandreou.”

The court declared that the content appearing in the Wikipedia article did not differ from the content of the will and that the formulation of the article did not indicate an intent to disparage the reputation or honor of Mr. Katsanevas. Additionally, the court noted that the Wikipedia article provided the full context about the statements to which Mr. Katsanevas objected, that the article did not contain any additional commentary or pejorative expressions, and that the form of words used in the article was not immoderate.

Dismissing the petition against both Diu and ELLAK, the court found that Mr. Katsanevas was “not in need of provisional judicial protection from the [Wikipedia article] in question, which, for the reasons set out above, is not illegal.”

Unfortunately, this ordeal is not yet over for Diu and ELLAK. The trial for the underlying dispute is set to begin on 21 January 2015. As this case progresses, the Wikimedia Foundation will continue to support Diu through our Legal Fees Assistance Program.

In light of this ruling, we encourage Mr. Katsanevas to withdraw this baseless lawsuit and discontinue his attempts to censor Wikipedia and its users.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Counsel*

* We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Lambadarios law firm, particularly Chara Daouti, for their tireless defense of Diu.

  1. In his petition, Mr. Katsanevas also requested that ELLAK be fined and that Diu be held in custody for each day of refusal to comply with the preliminary injunction (if it were to be issued) as well as reimbursement of his legal costs.
  2. As the court explained, there was a second will, which had been decreed the “main” will and did not refer to Mr. Katsanevas. However, the court clarified that the existence of the second will does not revoke the first to the extent that the two wills do not contradict or cancel the other out. Because the second will did not contradict the statements about Mr. Katsanevas that appeared in the first, the existence of the second will – the court reasoned – did not revoke the statements made about Mr. Katsanevas in the first will.

by carlosmonterrey at September 24, 2014 01:43 AM

September 23, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Chilean regulator welcomes Wikipedia Zero

Since 2012, Wikipedia Zero has provided access to freely licensed educational information to mobile users in Africa and Asia, free of data charges. Its mission is to empower people in the Global South to access information and participate in the creation of knowledge, by bringing Wikipedia to the hundreds of millions of people who can’t afford mobile data charges. To ensure the program truly serves the public interest by expanding access to knowledge, it follows clear, publicly available operating principles.

Earlier this year, we began work to bring Wikipedia Zero to Latin America. We were concerned by articles that reported that a new government order in Chile would ban Wikipedia Zero in the country.[1] Together with Wikimedia Chile, we contacted the Chilean telecommunications regulator, the Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones (SUBTEL), who confirmed to us that the new order was not intended to prevent Wikipedia Zero and similar free knowledge initiatives.

Chile is a leader when it comes to internet policy — in 2010 it was the first country in the world to enact legislation to preserve the open Internet. This law empowered SUBTEL, which enacts policies aimed to reduce the digital divide and promote competition to improve the living conditions for Chileans, to safeguard the openness of the Internet.

On April 14, 2014, SUBTEL ordered mobile carriers to stop selling bundled social media apps with voice and/or data plans in Chile, following concerns raised by a Chilean advocacy group about the practice. The SUBTEL order, titled Circular No. 40, prohibited commercial offers that would waive data charges when using particular social media sites and applications, finding that these offers were inconsistent with the 2010 Telecommunications Act.

To understand whether initiatives like Wikipedia Zero would be affected, we joined efforts with Wikimedia Chile, a local movement organization that shares in the Wikimedia mission. On July 23, we sent a letter to SUBTEL[2], explaining the operating principles behind Wikipedia Zero, and requesting clarification on whether Circular No. 40 would apply.

Undersecretary Huichalaf, the head of SUBTEL, accepted our invitation to discuss the order. In our conversation, the Undersecretary indicated he sees a clear difference between initiatives like Wikipedia Zero and the practices prohibited under Circular No. 40. He said that much of the media coverage had misreported the issues at stake. He also stressed that the order, which is not a law or a regulation, was intended to ban the specific practice of bundling zero-rated social media access with voice and data plans offered at that time (early April 2014) by local operators, and was not meant to be generalized or applied to other cases. Undersecretary Huichalaf emphasized SUBTEL’s commitment to education and making knowledge available to all Chileans, in line with Chilean President Bachelet’s commitment to equal opportunity to public quality education for all Chilean youth.

Accordingly, we hope to bring Wikipedia Zero to Chile as one of the first Latin American countries to deploy the program. The Undersecretary encouraged us to begin by reaching out to mobile carriers in Chile to seek an opinion from SUBTEL on how educational services like Wikipedia Zero could be introduced into Chile, consistent with the Chilean telecommunications law. Only Chilean carriers have the legal standing to request such an opinion.

Wikipedia Zero brings free information to those who cannot afford the cost of mobile data. In many nations, people access the internet primarily through inexpensive, ubiquitous mobile phones rather than costly, uncommon computers. However, mobile data is often more expensive than voice services, creating a significant barrier for the poor to freely access information. Wikipedia Zero works with mobile carriers to waive data charges on mobile devices to allow users free access to all Wikimedia sites. So far, this program has made the knowledge freely accessible to an estimated 375 million mobile phone users in 31 countries.

According to our colleagues at Wikimedia Chile:

“A program like Wikipedia Zero would grant Chile the opportunity to access knowledge through Wikipedia in a way and at a scale that was unthinkable in the past. Mobile phones are very common throughout Chile, and this would open doors where this knowledge will be freely available to everyone instantly, with ease. This would certainly become a powerful educational channel, which would allow us, as Chileans, to increase our understanding of ourselves and our culture, and at the same time give us the chance to learn more about everything that surrounds us and to which we remain connected. A program like this could directly impact our human development and how we conceive our environment.”

We are confident the Wikipedia Zero program fits within Chile’s legal framework and is consistent with the country’s commitment to improving access to education for its citizens. We look forward to working with all Chilean mobile carriers interested in bringing free knowledge to the people of Chile through Wikipedia Zero. Carriers interested in Wikipedia Zero can contact us at wikipediazero@wikimedia.org for more information on how to get started.

Yana Welinder, Legal Counsel

Carolynne Schloeder, Director of Mobile Partnerships

  1. See e.g., Tech President, Quartz, Pando, and La Nación (in Spanish)
  2. A copy of the letter (in Spanish, with an English translation) is available on Wikimedia Commons, and reproduced below.


Carta a SUBTEL ref Wikipedia Zero.pdf

Carta a SUBTEL ref Wikipedia Zero.pdf

Carta a SUBTEL ref Wikipedia Zero.pdf

by carlosmonterrey at September 23, 2014 10:41 PM

A behind the scenes look at the Wikimedia Foundation’s emergency response system

Emergency “Blue Light” Telephone Used on College Campus: Monroe Community College

“Emergency Telephone Used on College Campus (cropped)” by David Maiolo, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

When my work phone rings in the middle of the night, I don’t ever have to wonder what it is. As one of the team of five who are in charge of addressing emails sent to the Wikimedia Foundation’s emergency address system, I sleep lightly on nights when I’m on call. Fortunately, emergencies don’t happen every night, but when they do I need to be prepared for the threat I’ll face – school bombing? Violence against another user? Threat of suicide? Maybe it’ll just be spam or vandalism and I’ll be back in bed in a few minutes, but I have faced all of the preceding and more. On the emergency team, we all have.

Threats of violence or self-harm are a sad, but luckily relatively uncommon, event on our projects. The English Wikipedia community has developed a process for handling them, as have a number of other projects. The emergency email address serves to help protect the public and users of Wikipedia, and the community advocacy team responds to these as part of our regular duties. We process threats of violence against self and others posted on WMF sites, running them through a protocol developed in consultation with the FBI. When a threat is credible and imminent according to the reporting criteria, we pass it along to federal or local authorities. This has brought us into contact with law enforcement around the world. We don’t always know how these reports resolve, which can leave us feeling very unsettled. Sometimes, though, it’s even more unsettling when we do.

The emergency system was established in 2010 by Philippe Beaudette (now Director, Community Advocacy), who had experience managing and creating processes for “Trust and Safety” issues with other companies and communities. He was joined in managing incoming issues by James Alexander and Christine Moellenberndt. In consultation with other staff and from years of experience, Philippe has worked to create a functional system that is manageable for the global scope of the Wikimedia projects.

What we’re looking for, primarily, is specificity and plausibility. “Block me, and I’ll kill you,” when authored by a vandal to an admin operating anonymously under a pseudonym, is neither. If a user in Philadelphia edits an area school article threatening to kill a teacher, it’s both. If we report on any private data, such as IP addresses behind accounts, we fill out a form that logs such instances. (We report any data that we have that may facilitate the rapid response of officials to these incidents, consistent with our privacy policy.) We follow this up by annotating the outcome to the other members of the team and filing a report, in our case management software, SugarCRM.

Many times during this process, we need to reach out for assistance. Sometimes reports come in from languages where we have no proficiency, and we need to find staff or volunteers to help us translate the threat and understand the context in which it was placed. Sometimes we need local administrators to help address the incidents on the projects, for instance blocking a user or oversighting content as appropriate under local policies.

Sometimes people misunderstand or misuse the system. While we are here to evaluate any threat of harm to self or others, we are sometimes contacted by people who are unhappy with the content of articles or with disputes they are having with other editors. As a matter of strict procedure, we do not assist with off-topic messages sent to this address; we don’t even forward them to other channels. We cannot afford the dilution of the emergency response system, and appropriate avenues for outreach for these kinds of problems are widely publicized on the projects themselves.

Over the years that I have worked for the Wikimedia Foundation, this process has continually improved. We have received training in dealing with emergencies and with decompressing afterwards, and the tools we use to handle them have been refined to make the whole process quick and efficient. But regardless of training, it remains a challenging experience. We seldom get a sense of closure. We are all aware of the possibility that no matter how quickly we respond, we may be too late. Even finding out that we were able to help can be distressing, because there was need for us to do it at all. Never mind the stress; it is a responsibility we shoulder willingly. It’s worth it for even a chance to help protect people and save lives.

Maggie Dennis, Senior Community Advocate

by carlosmonterrey at September 23, 2014 03:50 PM

September 21, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Cyklistický tým české Wikipedie úspěšně absolvoval Pražskou padesátku

Cyklistický tým wikipedistů před startem závodu

Cyklistický tým wikipedistů před startem závodu

Během projektu WikiMěsto Přibyslav padl rovněž návrh, abychom my, wikipedisté ukázali, že umíme nejen rychle klikat myší, ale že ovládáme i jiné tělesné aktivity. Cyklistická sekce české Wikipedie vznikla v červnu a začala pilně trénovat. Naším cílem bylo postavit tým pro závod Pražská padesátka, absolvovat jej bez úhony a pokud možno nebýt poslední. Na start závodu se nakonec postavili čtyři wikipedisté (z toho tři členové sdružení WMČR) a sestavu doplnil wikipedistický otec Karel. Trať byla po nočních deštích opravdu náročná, ale naštěstí se nenaplnila hrozivá předpověď počasí (hromy a blesky se spustily z nebes až několik minut po průjezdu všech členů našeho týmu cílem). Nakonec jsme se umístili na 35. místě z 36 hodnocených. Vzhledem k tomu, že proti nám stály i týmy (polo)profesionálních cyklistů, je to umístění, za které se rozhodně nemusíme stydět.

Vlastní sportovní výkon ale nebyl jediným přínosem celého projektu. Tréninků se zúčastnilo celkem šest wikipedistů. Podařilo se během nich také rozšířit obsah Wikipedie (Břežany II, Kostel svatého Havla (Štolmíř), Kostel Nanebevzetí Panny Marie (Tismice), Klepec (přírodní památka), Kostel svatého Jiří (Hradešín) a další). A také jsme se setkali a lépe poznali, což osobně považuji za možná to nejdůležitější.

O dalších akcích pořádaných českými wikisportovci se dozvíte na stránce Wikipedisté v pohybu.

by Jaro Zastoupil at September 21, 2014 09:08 PM

September 20, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

OpenGLAM at Wikimania 2014

The is a syndicated post originally published by OpenGLAM. The original version can be found here.

GLAM activities in the last two months have been quite happening! After Open Knowledge Festival in Berlin, OpenGLAM members and other GLAM contributors met again during Wikimania London, the official annual event of the Wikimedia movement focused on what people are making with wikis and open content. There were GLAM talks, workshops, discussions and brown bag talks: in this blog I’ll go into some of the highlights, but you can find an overview of all GLAM & Free culture submissions here.

Promoting OpenGLAM – Exchange of Experiences and Best Practices

OpenGLAM Working Group members Beat Estermann and Joris Pekel conducted a workshop during which they introduced the OpenGLAM working group and the various activities that members from different countries are involved in, such as the Open Cultuur Data masterclasses in the Netherlands and the Coding Da Vinci cultural data hackathon in Germany. For Switzerland, Beat Estermann talked about the OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey that aims to gather more information of open data principles in the heritage sector around the world.

OpenGLAM presentation at Wikimania 2014 in London.

“20140809 OpenGLAM presentation” by Beat Estermann, Joris Pekel, Maarten Brinkerink and Helene Hahnunder CC-BY-SA-3.0

Best practices for the evaluation of GLAM-Wiki cooperation

A GLAM-Wiki evaluation workshop was organized by Beat Estermann, Maarten Brinkerink and Wikimedia Foundation’s Program Evaluation specialist Jaime Anstee to assess the impact of the past GLAM projects and to create a road map by placing evaluation parameters in place for institutional collaboration. From the GLAM wiki residency project at Wikimedia UK, Jonathan Cardy presented the evaluation process needed in place for Wikipedia-in-Residence programs. Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE)’s Lilli Iliev shared information about the evaluation practices WMDE has put in place in order to implement small to large scale GLAM projects in Germany. While working with various cultural institutions in Germany, they focused on qualitative aspects of the content acquired, on goal oriented programs like “GLAM on Tour,” and on mass outreach by popular media and post campaign impact measuring. Four groups were then formed to work on particular GLAM projects, how they plan to evaluate tangible output and measure return on investments.

GLAM Evaluation Workshop at Wikimania 2014 – introductory presentation.

“20140808 GLAM Evaluation Workshop intro” by EdSaperia, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

In the scope of the Wikipedia Voice Intro Project that he founded, Andy Marbett (http://pigsonthewing.org.uk) spoke about the beauty of having recordings of notable people where they not just pronounce their names in their native languages, but introduce themselves with their dates and places of birth. With BBC’s collaboration, this project has grew to an avenue on Wikipedia to enrich biography-articles. This is indeed a project that has run at absolutely zero cost and aims at making Wikimedians meet their stars and document their voices forever on the Internet. The full video of the talk is available here.

Subhashish Panigrahi, Programme Officer, Access To Knowledge, Centre for Internet and Society

by carlosmonterrey at September 20, 2014 12:09 AM

September 19, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

A Focused Approach for Maithili Wikipedia

Biplab Anand, a versatile contributor on Maithili and Nepdali Wikipedia and also the admin of the Facebook page on Maithili Wikipedia.

In June of 2014, the Wikimedia blog had an interview with Ram Prasad Joshi, a dedicated Wikipedian contributing in six languages – Nepali, Sanskrit, Hindi, Fiji Hindi, Bhojpuri and Gujarati from his unelectrified remote village in the Western hills of Nepal. A few days back, this linguist Wikipedian posted a message of appreciation on compatriot Biplab Anand’s Incubator talk page: “बिप्लवजी धन्यवाद यो विकिलाई बाहिर निकाल्ने प्रयास गर्नु पर्ने छ।” which translated states, “Biplab ji, thank you for the efforts to bring out this wiki” – referring to Biplab Anand’s dedicated approach in trying to transform Maithili Wikipedia from its current incubator status into a full-fledged Wikipedia. Apart from appreciation from several other Wikipedians, on August 17, 2014, Rajbiraj Today, a daily newspaper from Saptari, Nepal, carried a special feature highlighting the coordinated tasks accomplished by individuals such as Biplab Anand and Ganesh Paudel with a focus on the genesis of Maithili Wikipedia.

One of the strategies adopted in the effort to launch a Maithili Wikipedia has been the use of social media. Biplab Anand has created a Facebook page to spread awareness and educate the people on Maithili Wikipedia. At the time that I wrote this post, the page had garnered 116 likes. The next strategy adopted by Biplab was to post awareness messages for Maithili-knowing Wikipedians on other language Wikipedias where a substantial number of editors could also become aware of the language. As part of this strategy, a message was posted on the Hindi Wikipedia Village Pump. During Wikimania 2014, another Maithili Wikipedian, Ganesh Paudel, managed to meet MF-Warburg, the admin, bureaucrat and importer of Wikimedia Incubator and also the member of the Language Committee, to discuss ways of unleashing the potential of an independent Maithili Wikipedia (see this discussion).

Ganesh Paudel, one of the high profile contributors of the Maithili and Nepali Wikipedias.

As these developments were in progress, I interviewed both Biplab Anand and Ganesh Paudel about the path ahead via a questionnaire. Both expressed their concern over the fact that a separate Maithili Wikipedia does not exist despite the language being native to over 40 million people in both Nepal and India. As to whether a Maithili organization can possibly support the language Wikipedia the way Samskrita Bharati does for Sanskrit Wikipedia (see this blog post), it emerged that currently it is not possible to expect such a strong institutional support for the cause. However, Biplab mentioned the possibility of garnering support from Maithili Sahitya Parishad Saptari Nepal in organizing Maithili Wikipedia Outreach programs in Nepal.

Regarding the quality improvement in the current content and contributions, it was felt that most of the articles are currently stubs and need revision. Similarly, the present articles are generally focused on personalities and places. However, a page on the essential prerequisite articles has been created and it is expected that as more editors join the arena, articles on diverse topics such as medicine, history, engineering, etc will also gain momentum. The vast geographical area where Maithili is spoken has given rise to a number of distinctly identifiable but mutually intelligible dialects. Biplab suggested the use of the Kalyani Maithili Dictionary as a standard for the language. Ganesh has identified several online resources which can be particularly helpful to the editors in accomplishing their tasks such as Bataah Maithili, Vidyapati, Videha, Mithila News, Esamaad and Mithila Lok. He also suggested that the next Maithili project could be the language Wikisource to start the documentation of ancient works.

There is a spirit of achievement among the small but growing community of Maithili Wikipedians, who are currently between 50-60 in number. Biplab Anand confirmed the presence of more than 1000 articles on the Maithili Incubator Project on his Hindi Wikipedia talk page. On the other hand, Ganesh Paudel highlighted that his efforts are not ending by simply getting the Maithili Wikipedia out of the incubator as he is equally concerned about having independent Limbu, Gurung, Tamang and Awadhi Wikipedias. He also spoke about a self-confident approach as a key to success in his statement “if you want Wikipedia in your language come forth, you are the best one to contribute for the growth of your language.” An encouraging development in this context is the assurance by MF-Warburg: “I’ll be glad to approve this project when the activity criteria are met,” referring to the need for sustained editing activity by the dedicated contributors for the next few months to get Maithili Wikipedia as a live and thriving project in the coming months.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Wikipedian

by carlosmonterrey at September 19, 2014 02:00 AM

New FOSS Outreach Program internships for female technical contributors

"Ghoshal, Sucheta staff photo Sept 2013" by Sucheta Ghoshal, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Rachel workathome" by Rachel99, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Himeshi De Silva" by Akila Panditha, under PD-author "GorillaWarfare, cropped" by Ktr101, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Schottlender, Moriel March 2014" by Myleen Hollero, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "RtDwd" by Rtdwivedi, under CC-BY-3.0

Former Wikimedia participants in the FOSS OPW and the GSoC

The Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women offers paid internships to developers and other technical contributors working on projects together with free software organizations. The program is run by the GNOME Foundation, joined by a stellar group of free software projects. You can learn about how this program works in this cartoon. Wikimedia is a strong stakeholder of this initiative. It fits into our strategy to prioritize efforts that empower disadvantaged and underrepresented communities by overcoming barriers to participation. There is no technical reason to have women underrepresented in open source projects, yet this is the reality we still have today.

So here we are in another OPW round, ready to keep working toward the goal of breaking even. We welcome candidates! This call is open to Wikimedia volunteers (editors, developers, etc.) and also to people who would contribute for the first time in our projects. We have a list of project ideas and we are also open to hear your own proposals.

In past editions, we have seen that candidates coming through a direct recommendation have good chances of success. It is also known that many good potential candidates will be reluctant to step in, but they will if someone (like you) encourages them to apply, or to contact us with any questions. You can make a difference. If you know women with background / interest in software development or open source and full time availability between December and March, please forward them this invitation.

Success stories

Wikimedia joined the FOSS OPW program in 2012 in its fifth round, the first one open to other organizations beyond GNOME. Sucheta Goshal and Teresa Cho were among the first Wikimedia interns. Later they became contractors for the Wikimedia Foundation in the Language Engineering and the Analytics team, respectively. Rachel Thomas joined the next round in 2013 with an internship on Quality Assurance and some time later she got a job in Boston on the same field.

In the Summer-in-Northern-Hemisphere edition, we synchronize our participation in OPW and Google Summer of Code (GSoC), a successful tactical move that has brought many Wikimedian women to a predominantly masculine program. Moriel Schottlender applied simultaneously to OPW and Google Summer of Code, her internship was devoted to the development of a VisualEditor plugin, and now she is working full time as a member of that team, where her former mentors are now her colleagues. In the same round, Aarti Kumari Dwivedi completed her project Refactoring of ProofreadPage extension and a few months later she was one of the mentors in Wikimedia’s first participation in Google Code-in. Himeshi De Silva worked successfully on a Semantic MediaWiki extension, and since then she has been participating in a series of free software events in Asia, Europe, and (soon) America. Liangent and Molly White (aka GorillaWarfare) already were established community contributors, they submitted proposals about problems they knew well and suffered as volunteers, and they were able to work full time on them during a Summer, getting close to fixing them.

Introduce yourself, ask, apply

The application period starts on September 22nd and ends one month later on October 22nd. Candidates who announce their plans early and get in touch with potential mentors have higher chances of success. The application process is well documented and we are already welcoming the early birds.

The last OPW round just finished a few weeks ago. Check the profiles and the reports of the six interns that took part. Feel free to contact them. Half year ago they were in the same situation as new candidates are now. You or someone you know could be selected for the next round. “OPW, Yes you should ladies.”

Quim Gil, Engineering Community Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 19, 2014 01:59 AM

September 18, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Editors find wide range of uses for source access donated by Newspapers.com

The Wikipedia Library is continuing to build opportunities for Wikimedia editors to access reliable sources, by negotiating with publishers to get Wikipedians free access accounts to their digital databases. We like to see Wikipedians able to access resources that they could only get through academic libraries or costly out of pocket subscriptions. We are very excited by the growing number of interested partners and the strength of our volunteers in helping distribute those accounts and who are also using that momentum to scale the project to include more publishers and more editors in more languages.

Our latest partnerships kicked off in August when we opened up several more access collaborations. New to the program is Newspapers.com which donated 100 full accounts and offers a fine across-the-Atlantic complement to the July British Newspaper Archive donation (see our prior coverage ). Volunteers who gain access to newspapers are very keen to use them to develop a whole range of different historical topics both well-documented in contemporary history texts and those under-represented in scholarship. To get a sense of just how useful and flexible historical newspapers can be for our users, we asked User:We hope to share how his access to Newspapers.com helps him on Wikipedia.

Traveling through history

Since I’ve always been interested in the past and what really happened in it, I’ve tended to draw quite a bit from newspapers. For me, accessing older newspapers is like traveling back in time for facts which may have been lost in later publications.

I’ve done quite a bit of work on Wikipedia around articles, such as US TV personalities Red Skelton and Perry Como, where my main sources were older newspaper stories. These sources allow me to “get closer” to when they were happening and allows us to present somewhat different information on Wikipedia than may be found in books on the given subject. When working on Red Skelton, I found that two book sources listed his son’s birthdate incorrectly. A newspaper article on the boy’s death said he was ten days shy of his tenth birthday; checking California vital records showed that the newspaper story had his birthday correct.

Wikipedia is a wonderful environment for capturing this information and correcting it for public record: almost everyone visits Wikipedia for research and providing both the older sources alongside new sources ensures that future researchers can discover the same information I did.

Exploring an old locomotive

The postcard from the Library of Congress uploaded by We hope and setting him off to develop the William Crooks article.

“William Crooks at station” by National Photo Company, Restoration by Adam Cuerden, under PD-National Photo Company

Recently, I became interested in the locomotive William Crooks when I discovered the engine while uploading public domain railroad photos and postcards to Wikimedia Commons. The old engine has an interesting history: it was built in 1861, almost destroyed by a fire in 1868 and was saved from the scrapyard by the Great Northern Railway’s president, James J. Hill, around the turn of the century.

When researching the Wikipedia article, a copy of an old railroad brochure about the train helped fill in some information, and provided photos of the William Crooks in various places after it was officially retired. The brochure helped document its many tours made under its own power across the country, such as the 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse in Baltimore and the 1939 World’s Fair, but there still was not enough information to expand on the article.

That changed with access to the older newspapers available on Newspapers.com. I have been able to add much more specific information. For example, I found an article with an interview of Albion Smith, who restored the locomotive after the 1868 fire and was one of its early engineers. Mr. Smith was instrumental in saving the old engine from the scrapyard by speaking to James J. Hill about the situation. Another interview in the article was with John J. Maher, who started as a fireman on the William Crooks. Mr. Maher helped highlight the earlier wood-burning days of the locomotive. These interviews allowed me to better document the trains transformation from wood-burner to a coal-burner. I hope to further expand the article wit many of my other Newspapers.com clippings.

More than just research

Having Newspapers.com access has also made it possible to verify the copyright status of comic strip images uploaded by various users over the years. Our community on Wikipedia and sister sites like the free media repository Wikimedia Commons, want to ensure every piece of material is free from non-free copyright claims when we publish it so it can be easily reused by our readership. We carefully screen images uploaded by thousands of contributors to make sure the copyright statements are accurate. Sometimes older images are uploaded to Wikipedia under a public domain claim due to age, but were not in fact public domain, or couldn’t be easily checked for their copyright status because they had been uploaded without contextual information like dates of first publication. Having access to a larger collection of newspapers provides us with the needed information so that I can double-check the original publication status of the comics, and allows me to send those images to Wikimedia Commons to be used and enjoyed by more people.

An example of one of the comics that We hope was able to verify the license of via a clipping.

“Frecklesfriends3598″ by Copyright 1935-NEA Service-Artist-Merrill Blosser, under PD US not renewed

In other contexts, I am using Newspapers.com to explore topics such biographies of public figures like Ruth Etting, the star of the Amos ‘n’ Andy television series Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and the bandleader and composer Paul Weston. Being able to capture all of my research with clippings allows me to share them with collaborators on those articles. For example, I recently worked with fellow Wikipedian User:This is Paul to explore the life and history of murder victim Joan Robinson Hill, who was discussed in the book Blood and Money. We were really successful in expanding the article using Newspapers.com information to compile what happened after the book was published. We were also able to add some previously “lost” information to the Featured Article Jo Stafford. An interview I discovered with Jo Stafford gave her first-hand account of how her hit record “Tim-tay-shun” was recorded with Red Ingle and her use of the name Cinderella G. Stump on the label.

Having access to so many sources means a lot of clippings on any given subject. I find that when I start searching on a subject, I start clipping and clipping and clipping, because there are just so many good sources that need to be added to the Wikipedia article! This partnership has helped make public a great deal of information about many, many different subjects and I hope we will be able to continue making these discoveries through the access to older newspapers.

Alex Stinson (User:Sadads), Project Manager, The Wikipedia Library
Jake Orlowitz (User:Ocaasi), Head of The Wikipedia Library

Editors and Publishers who are interested in contacting The Wikipedia Library can email wikipedialibrary@gmail.com

by carlosmonterrey at September 18, 2014 11:41 PM

September 17, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikipedia Is Built on Transparency

This post is cross-posted from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s blog. It is part of a Week of Action: A World Without Mass Surveillance held by the EFF and other organizations in September 2014 to bring attention to the Necessary and Proportionate Principles, which support the application of human rights to mass surveillance.

The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower people around the world to develop freely licensed educational content and to globally disseminate that content. We believe that transparency and user notification are essential to the success of that mission. Keeping users fully informed of our activities and our dealings with government authorities gives them the necessary freedom to share openly and safely.

While new technologies have empowered free speech and access to information on the Wikimedia projects and on the Internet as a whole, they have also enabled governments and organizations to monitor speech and activity at an unprecedented scale. In our current digital environment, and especially in light of the global surveillance revelations beginning in 2013, people are understandably wary about privacy and about their personal information being accessed by unwelcome parties.

We believe that transparency is a vital solution to this climate of uncertainty. Wikipedia, the other Wikimedia projects, and the rest of the Internet cannot flourish in an ecosystem where people are hindered from speaking, reading, sharing, and creating freely. We therefore believe that we have an urgent responsibility to inform users about our dealings and about potential threats to their privacy.

In response to these concerns, we recently issued a Transparency Report that sheds light on requests for user data that we receive from governments and private parties. It shows that we only provided information in 14% of all cases over the past two years. We fight back against vague and overbroad requests, and in every case, we carefully evaluate each request and notify users when possible that their information is being asked for. In certain cases, we may fund assistance for users to fight an invalid request under our Legal Fees Assistance Program or Defense of Contributors Program. Often, we will not even have the requested data given that we purposefully collect very little non-public information and retain identifying information for only a short period of time.

Transparency is a core value of the Wikimedia movement: anyone can see how a Wikipedia article has been created, contribute to the software that runs Wikimedia projects, or learn about the Wikimedia Foundation’s activities. Where possible, we aim to do our work in public because we believe in decentralized decision-making and accountability to the people who create the Wikimedia projects, to donors, and to readers. Transparency and public oversight, however, should not end with the Wikimedia Foundation. In the same way that projects like Wikipedia rely on open practices, the public cannot thrive without transparent and publicly accountable institutions.

Generally, companies cannot be transparent with users if they are legally restrained from providing notice, such as by a gag order. The Necessary and Proportionate Principles calls on governments to protect transparency by “not interfering with service providers in their efforts to publish the procedures they apply when assessing and complying with State requests.” Companies must have the freedom to be clear and transparent with their users, so that users can trust both the websites they visit and their government.

The Necessary and Proportionate Principles provide a good framework for pushing governments to stand up for our Internet freedoms. The growing chorus of organizations releasing transparency reports, including the Wikimedia Transparency report, reminds us that organizations have a role to protect users and provide transparency when governments and abusive parties put our freedoms at risk.

Yana Welinder, Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation

Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation

* Many thanks to Joseph Jung, Wikimedia Legal Intern, for his help in preparing this post

by carlosmonterrey at September 17, 2014 07:16 PM

Global Metrics for Grants: one way of doing, reporting and learning better

We want to understand in a better way the work being done by Wikimedia communities all over the world.

“Wikimania2014 GrantmakingLearningDay 11″ by AWang (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Wikimedia movement is known for its diversity, on many levels: individuals, groups and organizations, in different contexts, are invested in achieving the same goal of free knowledge. As community members seeking and executing grants have worked with grant committee members and the WMF Grantmaking team, we have reached a point of shared understanding: we need to do better at learning from each other and doing more to demonstrate our impact.

Starting this month, the Grantmaking team is putting into effect a set of Global Metrics, that will help us all understand, appreciate and be accountable for some of the work being done by Wikimedia communities worldwide. In particular, we are seeking a shared aggregate understanding of how successful we are at expanding participation and improving content on our projects. These will have the form of a table template that will be included in the reporting form, starting on future grants, from Round 1 2014-2015.

These metrics are not meant to replace, but to complement, each grant and grantee’s individual metrics and measures of success, both qualitative and quantitative.

Why Global Metrics and how were they designed?

For the past two years, we have worked with community members to build a funding framework that supports a spectrum of needs, ideas and initiatives from across the movement, led by individuals to established organizations. This framework was also supported by a self-evaluation strategy, that allowed any community member to build their own metrics and report against their own goals.

A look back: the outcomes of the first batch of FDC grants

“Learning and Evaluation. FDC Impact 2012-14″ by Jessie Wild Sneller, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Over the past year, we have begun reviewing grant progress and impact reports[1], and amongst many insights, three stand out: people are still finding it difficult to measure their work in clear ways; the larger the grants, the less proportionate the impact seems to be (and one challenge may be reporting); and we are finding it difficult to assess the collective impact of the considerable work supported by these grants in any systematic fashion. In particular, as a movement, we are not yet skillful in offering both the stories and the numbers, that describe how our offline work positively impacts our online successes.

After two years of observing the goals and measures of various grants projects, a few core metrics came out as indicators that are commonly used by community members in different contexts. These measures, however, were not calculated consistently across projects. As a result, it was difficult to convey outwards what we are accomplishing as a movement. Global Metrics, in this sense, provide a shared set of indicators that can be used across projects, to report on results. In addition, we did our best to design metrics that can, currently, be assessed with the support of tools built and used across the movement.

After research and consultation with some grantees and grants committee members, the new Global Metrics focus on participation, content and learning processes:

  • Number of active editors involved.
  • Number of new registered users.
  • Number of individuals involved.
  • Number of new images added to Wikimedia articles/pages.
  • Number of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects.
  • Number of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects.
  • Learning question: Did your work increase the motivation of contributors and how do you know?

The main challenge these Global Metrics are trying to overcome is the limited ability observed in Wikimedia projects and programs to sum up inputs, outputs and outcomes in self-evaluation and thereby to give us all a more cogent sense of the collective impact of our work. We hope that more cohesive reporting will help us celebrate our successes as a global movement, but also point out where we are not making an appreciable difference. We recognize, however, that numbers are not enough.

Numbers do not tell the full story

We are therefore counting on community members to offer both numbers and stories, since numbers only make sense within context. Secondly and critically, global metrics are not the only measures of success we will learn from: each grantee will continue to define and assess themselves against measures of success that are critical to them. We don’t expect that grant reports should or will focus only on these seven measures. In fact, some key insights that would significantly improve the effectiveness of our work may not be easily measurable, but we know and understand their impact: for instance, volunteer motivation.

Presentation from 29 July 2014 on the 2013-14 impact reports of PEG grantees. Covers the outcomes of 36 grants that submitted reports during 2013-14, with key learnings.

“PEG Impact learning series – 2014 July” by Jwild (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Global Metrics are also limited in what they can currently measure. As they stand, they do not directly measure quality, retention, or readership. In addition, they may not offer the right metrics for all types of grants. For instance, an individual engagement grant for research on our wiki projects may not directly produce content or recruit new editors. In this case, the grantee might only be able to report the number of individuals and/or active editors involved.

As we implement these metrics, keeping in mind the potential and the limitations of Global Metrics will help us learn from what is useful and what we may continue to need to improve upon.

Room to grow, work and be successful together

As we pilot this new set of metrics in the movement, the Grantmaking team will be available to provide consultation and support to grantees. We also encourage everyone involved in reporting to reach out to us to learn more what each metric means and how to measure them. We have prepared a set of learning patterns, available on the Evaluation portal on Meta, that go through each of the Global Metrics and explain how to gather data for those. We will work with community members during the next few months to further develop these information resources and to create new ones. Please check Grants:Evaluation/News and follow @WikiEval on Twitter for updates. We also encourage all community members to comment, share concerns and ask any questions related to global metrics. Do join the conversation on the talk page and reach out to the team at eval [at] wikimedia [dot] org: come talk to us, let’s do better together!

Anasuya Sengupta, Senior Director of Grantmaking, Wikimedia Foundation

María Cruz, Community Coordinator of Program Evaluation & Design, Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 17, 2014 06:06 PM

September 16, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Emmanuel Engelhart, Inventor of Kiwix: the Offline Wikipedia Browser

This user profile is part of a series about Offline Wikipedia.

Emmanuel Engelhart’s “offline Wikipedia”, Kiwix, is entirely open source.

“Emmanuel Engelhart-49″ by VGrigas (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Kiwix running a copy of Wikipedia in German on an OLPC laptop operated by Engelhart in 2012.

“Berlin Hackathon 2012-48″ by Victorgrigas, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wikipedia’s goal is to be the sum of human knowledge, available to anyone at any time, but when billions of people have no internet access at all, how can that goal be realized? The answer according to software developer Emmanuel Engelhart (User:Kelson) is quite simple – take Wikipedia offline.

Together with Renaud Gaudin, he invented Kiwix, an open source software which allows users to download a copy of Wikipedia in its entirety for offline reading.

Kiwix uses all of Wikipedia’s content through the Parsoid wiki parser to package articles into an open source .zim file that can be read by the special Kiwix browser. Since Kiwix was released in 2007, dozens of languages of Wikipedia have been made available as .zim files, as has other free content, such as Wikisource, Wiktionary and Wikivoyage.

After becoming a Wikipedia editor in 2004, Engelhart became interested in discussions of offline versions of Wikipedia. At the time, Engelhart was in his mid-20s and living in his small village near the town of Vendôme, a few hundred kilometers south of Paris. Learning that a 2003 proposal by Jimmy Wales to create a CD version of Wikipedia, Version 1.0, never made its initial timescale, inspired Engelhart to take action.

He argues that access to information is a basic right that the whole world should be entitled to. “Water is a common good. You understand why you have to care about water. Wikipedia is the same; it’s a common good. We have to care about Wikipedia.”

“Tools are not neutral. They have a big impact on our society and software is [becoming] always more central.” Engelhart says. “We live in an industrial and technical world…so how we make software, what are the rules around software, is really important.”

Engelhart elaborated his reasons for creating the software in an email: “The contents of Wikipedia should be available for everyone! Even without Internet access. This is why I have launched the Kiwix project. Our users are all over the world: sailors on the oceans, poor students thirsty for knowledge, globetrotters almost living in planes, world’s citizens suffering from censorship or free minded prisoners. For all these people, Kiwix provides a simple and practical solution to ponder about the world.”

Profile by Joe Sutherland, Wikimedia Foundation Communications volunteer

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

Do you have a story about your use of Offline Wikipedia that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Email: vgrigas(at)wikimedia.org


by carlosmonterrey at September 16, 2014 01:55 AM

September 14, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, August 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 4 • Issue: 8 • August 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

A Wikipedia-based Pantheon; new Wikipedia analysis tool suite; how AfC hamstrings newbies

With contributions by: Federico Leva, Piotr Konieczny, Maximilian Klein, and Pine

Wikipedia in all languages used to rank global historical figures of all time

A research group at MIT led by Cesar A. Hidalgo published[1] a global “Pantheon” (probably the same project already mentioned in our December 2012 issue), where Wikipedia biographies are used to identify and “score” thousands of global historical figures of all time, together with a previous compilation of persons having written sources about them. The work was also covered in several news outlets. We won’t summarise here all the details, strengths and limits of their method, which can already be found in the well-written document above.

Many if not most of the headaches encountered by the research group lie in the work needed to aggregate said scores by geographical areas. It’s easy to get the city of birth of a person from Wikipedia, but it’s hard to tell to what ancient or modern country that city corresponds, for any definition of “country”. (Compare our recent review of a related project by a different group of researchers that encountered the same difficulties: “Interactions of cultures and top people of Wikipedia from ranking of 24 language editions”.) The MIT research group has to manually curate a local database; in an ideal world, they’d just fetch from Wikidata via an API. Aggregation by geographical area, for this and other reasons, seems of lesser interest than the place-agnostic person rank.

The most interesting point is that a person is considered historically relevant when being the subject of an article on 25 or more editions of Wikipedia. This method of assessing an article’s importance is often used by editors, but only as an unscientific approximation. It’s a useful finding that it proved valuable for research as well, though with acknowledged issues. The study is also one of the rare times researchers bother to investigate Wikipedia in all languages at the same time and we hope there will be follow-ups. For instance, it could be interesting to know which people with an otherwise high “score” were not included due to the 25+ languages filter, which could then be further tweaked based on the findings. As an example of possible distortions, Wikipedia has a dozen subdomains for local languages of Italy, but having an article in 10 italic languages is not an achievement of “global” coverage more than having 1.

The group then proceeded to calculate a “historical cultural production index” for those persons, based on pageviews of the respective biographies (PV). This reviewer would rather call it a “historical figures modern popularity index”. While the recentism bias of the Internet (which Wikipedia acknowledges and tries to fight back) for selection is acknowledged, most of the recentism in this work is in ranking, because of the usage of pageviews. As WikiStats shows, 20% of requests come from a country (the US) with only 5% of the world population, or some 0.3% of the total population in history (assumed as ~108 billion). Therefore there is an error/bias of probably two orders of magnitude in the “score” for “USA” figures; perhaps three, if we add that five years of pageviews are used as sample for the whole current generation. L* is an interesting attempt to correct the “languages count” for a person (L) in the cases where visits are amassed in single languages/countries; but a similar correction would be needed for PV as well.

From the perspective of Wikipedia editors, it’s a pity that Wikipedia is the main source for such a rank, because this means that Wikipedians can’t use it to fill gaps: the distribution of topic coverage across languages is complex and far from perfect; while content translation tools will hopefully help make it more even, prioritisation is needed. It would be wonderful to have a rank of notably missing biographies per language editions of Wikipedia, especially for under-represented groups, which could then be forwarded to the local editors and featured prominently to attract contributions. This is a problem often worked on, from ancient times to recent tools, but we really lack something based on third party sources. We have good tools to identify languages where a given article is missing, but we first need a list (of lists) of persons with any identifier, be it authority record or Wikidata entry or English name or anything else that we can then map ourselves.

The customary complaint about inconsistent inclusion criteria can also be found: «being a player in a second division team in Chile is more likely to pass the notoriety criteria required by Wikipedia Editors than being a faculty at MIT», observe the MIT researchers. However, the fact that nobody has bothered to write an article on a subject doesn’t mean that the project as a whole is not interested in having that article; articles about sports people are just easier to write, the project needs and wants more volunteers for everything. Hidalgo replied that he had some examples of deletions in mind; we have not reviewed them, but it’s also possible that the articles were deleted for their state rather than for the subject itself, a difference to which “victims” of deletion often fail to pay attention to.

WikiBrain: Democratizing computation on Wikipedia

– by Maximilianklein

When analyzing any Wikipedia version, getting the underlying data can be a hard engineering task, beyond the difficulty of the research itself. Being developed by researchers from Macalester College and the University of Minnesota, WikiBrain aims to “run a single program that downloads, parses, and saves Wikipedia data on commodity hardware.” [2] Wikipedia dump-downloaders and parsers have long existed, but WikiBrain is more ambitious in that it tries to be even friendlier by introducing three main primitives: a multilingual concept network, semantic relatedness algorithms, and geospatial data integration. With those elements, the authors are hoping that Wikipedia research will become a mix-and-match affair.

Waldo Tobler’s First Law of Geography – “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things” – can be shown true for Wikipedia articles in just a few lines of code with WikiBrain.

The first primitive is the multilingual concept network. Since the release of Wikidata, the Universal Concepts that all language versions of Wikipedia represent have mostly come to be defined by the Wikidata item that each language mostly links to. “Mostly” is a key word here, because there are still some edge cases, like the English Wikipedia’s distinguishing between the concepts of “high school” and “secondary school“, while others do not. WikiBrain will give you the Wikidata graph of multilingual concepts by default, and the power to tweak this as you wish.

The next primitive is semantic relatedness (SR), which is the process of quantifying how close two articles are by their meaning. There have been literally hundreds of SR algorithms proposed over the last two decades. Some rely on Wikipedia’s links and categories directly. Others require a text corpus, for which Wikipedia can be used. Most modern SR algorithms can be built one way or another with Wikipedia. WikiBrain supplies the ability to use five state-of-the-art SR algorithms, or their ensemble method – a combination of all 5.

Already at this point an example was given of how to mix our primitives. In just a few lines of code, one could easily find which articles in all languages were closest to the English article on “jazz”, and which were also a tagged as a film in Wikidata.

The last primitive is a suite of tools that are useful for spatial computation. So extracting location data out of Wikipedia and Wikidata can become a standardized process. Incorporated are some classic solutions to the “geoweb scale problem” – that regardless of an entity’s footprint in space, it is represented by a point. That is a problem one shouldn’t have to think about, and indeed, WikiBrain will solve it for you under the covers.

To demonstrate the power of WikiBrain the authors then provide a case study wherein they replicate previous research that took “thousands of lines of code”, and do it in “just a few” using WikiBrain’s high-level syntax. The case study is cherry-picked as is it previous research of one of the listed authors on the paper – of course it’s easy to reconstruct one’s own previous research in a framework you custom-built. The case study is a empirical testing of Tobler’s first law of geography using Wikipedia articles. Essentially one compares the SR of articles versus their geographic closeness – and it’s verified they are positively linked.

Does the world need an easier, simpler, more off-the-shelf Wikipedia research tool? Yes, of course. Is WikiBrain it? Maybe or maybe not, depending on who you are. The software described in the paper is still version 0.3. There are notes explaining the upcoming features of edit history parsing, article quality ranking, and user data parsing. The project and its examples are written in Java, which is a language choice that targets a specific demographic of researchers, and alienates others. That makes WikiBrain a good tool for Java programmers who do not know how to parse off-line dumps, and have an interest in either multilingual concept alignment, semantic relatedness, and spatial relatedness. For everyone else, they will have to make do with one of the other 20+ alternative parsers and write their own glueing code. That’s OK though; frankly the idea to make one research tool to “rule them all” is too audacious and commandeering for the open-source ecosystem. Still that doesn’t mean that WikiBrain can’t find its userbase and supporters.

Newcomer productivity and pre-publication review

It’s time for another interesting paper on newcomer retention[3] from authors with a proven track record of tackling this issue. This time they focus on the Articles for Creation|Wikipedia:Articles for Creation|Articles for Creation mechanism. The authors conclude that instead of improving the success of newcomers, AfC in fact further decreases their productivity. The authors note that once AfC was fully rolled out around mid-2011, it began to be widely used – the percentage of newcomers using it went up from <5% to ~25%. At the same time, the percentage of newbie articles surviving on Wikipedia went down from ~25% to ~15%. The authors hypothesize that the AfC process is unfriendly to newcomers due to the following issues: 1) it’s too slow, and 2) it hides drafts from potential collaborators.

The authors find that the AfC review process is not subject to insurmountable delays; they conclude that “most drafts will be submitted for review quickly and that reviews will happen in a timely manner.”. In fact, two-thirds of reviews take place within a day of submission (a figure that positively surprised this reviewer, though a current AfC status report suggests a situation has worsened since: “Severe backlog: 2599 pending submissions”). In either case, the authors find that about a third or so of newcomers using the AfC system fail to understand the fact that they need to finalize the process by submitting their drafts to the review at all – a likely indication that the AfC instructions need revising, and that the AfC regulars may want to implement a system of identifying stalled drafts, which in some cases may be ready for mainspace despite having never been officially “submitted” (due to their newbie creator not knowing about this step or carrying it out properly).

However, the authors do stand by their second hypothesis: they conclude that the AfC articles suffer from not receiving collaborative help that they would get if they were mainspaced. They discuss a specific AfC, for the article Dwight K. Shellman, Jr/Dwight Shellman. This article has been tagged as potentially rescuable, and has been languishing in that state for years, hidden in the AfC namespace, together with many other similarly backlogged articles, all stuck in low-visibility limbo and prevented from receiving proper Wikipedia-style collaboration-driven improvements (or deletion discussions) as an article in the mainspace would receive.

The researchers identify a number of other factors that reduce the functionality of the AfC process. As in many other aspects of Wikipedia, negative feedback dominates. Reviewers are rarely thanked for anything, but are more likely to be criticized for passing an article deemed problematic by another editor; thus leading to the mentality that “rejecting articles is safest” (as newbies are less likely to complain about their article’s rejection than experienced editors about passing one). AfC also suffers from the same “one reviewer” problem as GA – the reviewer may not always be qualified to carry out the review, yet the newbies have little knowledge how to ask for a second opinion. The authors specifically discuss a case of reviewers not familiar with the specific notability criteria: “[despite being notable] an article about an Emmy-award winning TV show from the 1980’s was twice declined at AfC, before finally being published 15 months after the draft was started”. Presumably if this article was not submitted to a review it would never be deleted from the mainspace.

The authors are critical of the interface of the AfC process, concluding that it is too unfriendly to newbies, instruction wise: “Newcomers do not understand the review process, including how to submit articles for review and the expected timeframe for reviews” and “Newcomers cannot always find the articles they created. They may recreate drafts, so that the same content is created and reviewed multiple times. This is worsened by having multiple article creation spaces(Main, userspace, Wikipedia talk, and the recently-created Draft namespace“.

The researchers conclude that AfC works well as a filtering process for the encyclopedia, however “for helping and training newcomers [it] seems inadequate”. AfC succeeds in protecting content under the (recently established) speedy deletion criterion G13, in theory allowing newbies to keep fixing it – but many do not take this opportunity. Nor can the community deal with this, and thus the authors call for a creation of “a mechanism for editors to find interesting drafts”. That said, this reviewer wants to point out that the G13 backlog, while quite interesting (thousands of articles almost ready for main space …), is not the only backlog Wikipedia has to deal with – something the writers overlook. The G13 backlog is likely partially a result of imperfect AfC design that could be improved, but all such backlogs are also an artifact of the lack of active editors affecting Wikipedia projects on many levels.

In either case, AfC regulars should carefully examine the authors suggestions. This reviewer finds the following ideas in particular worth pursuing. 1) Determine which drafts need collaboration and make them more visible to potential editors. Here the authors suggest use of a recent academic model that should help automatically identify valuable articles, and then feeding those articles to SuggestBot. 2) Support newcomers’ first contributions – almost a dead horse at this point, but we know we are not doing enough to be friendly to newcomers. In particular, the authors note that we need to create better mechanisms for newcomers to get help on their draft, and to improve the article creation advice – especially the Article Wizard. (As a teacher who has introduced hundreds of newcomers to Wikipedia, this reviewer can attest that the current outreach to newbies on those levels is grossly inadequate.)

A final comment to the community in general: was AfC intended to help newcomers, or was it intended from the start to reduce the strain on new page patrollers by sandboxing the drafts in the first place? One of the roles of AfC is to prevent problematic articles from appearing in the mainspace, and it does seem that in this role it is succeeding quite well. English Wikipedia community has rejected the flagged revisions-like tool, but allowed implementation of it on a voluntary basis for newcomers, who in turn may not often realize that by choosing the AfC process, friendly on the surface, they are in fact slow-tracking themselves, and inviting extraordinary scrutiny. This leads to a larger question that is worth considering: we, the Wikipedia community of active editors, have declined to have our edits classified as second-tier and hidden from the public until they are reviewed, but we are fine pushing this on to the newbies. To what degree is this contributing to the general trend of Wikipedia being less and less friendly to newcomers? Is the resulting quality control worth turning away potential newbies? Would we be here if years ago our first experience with Wikipedia was through AfC?


PLOS Biology is an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal covering all aspects of biology. Publication began on October 13, 2003.
(“PLoS Biology cover April 2009″ by PLoS, under CC-BY-2.5)

15% of PLOS Biology articles are cited on Wikipedia

A conference paper titled “An analysis of Wikipedia references across PLOS publications”[4] asked the following research questions: “1) To what extent are scholarly articles referenced in Wikipedia, and what content is particularly likely to be mentioned?” and “2) How do these Wikipedia references correlate with other article-level metrics such as downloads, social media mentions, and citations?”. To answer this, the authors analyzed which PLOS articles are referenced on Wikipedia. They found that as of March 2014, about 4% of PLOS articles were mentioned on Wikipedia, which they conclude is “similar to mentions in science blogs or the post-publication peer review service, F1000Prime“. About half of articles mentioned on Wikipedia are also mentioned on Facebook, suggesting that being cited on Wikipedia is related to being picked up by other social media. Most of Wikipedia cites come from PLOS Genetics, PLOS Biology and other biology/medicine related PLOS outlets, with PLOS One accounting for only 3% total, though there are indications this is changing over time. 15% of all articles from PLOS Biology have been cited on Wikipedia, the highest ratio among the studied journals. Unfortunately, this is very much a descriptive paper, and the authors stop short of trying to explain or predict anything. The authors also observe that “By far the most referenced PLOS article is a study on the evolution of deep-sea gastropods (Welch, 2010) with 1249 references, including 541 in the Vietnamese Wikipedia.”

“Big data and small: collaborations between ethnographers and data scientists”

Ethnography is often seen as the least quantitative branch of social science, and this[5] essay-like article’s style is a good illustration. This is, essentially, a self-reflective story of a Wikipedia research project. The author, an ethnographer, recounts her collaboration with two big data scholars in a project dealing with a large Wikipedia dataset. The results of their collaboration are presented here and have been briefly covered by our Newsletter in Issue 8/13. This article can be seen as an interesting companion to the prior, Wikipedia-focused piece, explaining how it was created, though it fails to answer questions of interest to the community, such as “why did the authors choose Wikipedia as their research ground” or about their experiences (if any) editing Wikipedia.

“Emotions under discussion: gender, status and communication in online collaboration”

Researchers investigated[6] “how emotion and dialogue differ depending on the status, gender, and the communication network of the ~12,000 editors who have written at least 100 comments on the English Wikipedia’s article talk pages.” Researchers found that male administrators tend to use an impersonal and neutral tone. Non-administrator females used more relational forms of communication. Researchers also found that “editors tend to interact with other editors having similar emotional styles (e.g., editors expressing more anger connect more with one another).” Authors of this paper will present their research at the September Wikimedia Research and Data showcase.


  1. http://pantheon.media.mit.edu/methods
  2. Sen, Shilad. “WikiBrain: Democratizing computation on Wikipedia“. OpenSym ’14 0 (0): 1–19. doi:10.1145/2641580.2641615.  Open access
  3. Jodi Schneider, Bluma S. Gelley Aaron Halfaker: Accept, decline, postpone: How newcomer productivity is reduced in English Wikipedia by pre-publication review http://jodischneider.com/pubs/opensym2014.pdf OpenSym ’14 , August 27–29, 2014, Berlin
  4. Fenner, Martin; Jennifer Lin (June 6, 2014), “An analysis of Wikipedia references across PLOS publications”, altmetrics14 workshop at WebSci, doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1048991 
  5. Ford, Heather (1 July 2014). “Big data and small: collaborations between ethnographers and data scientists“. Big Data & Society 1 (2): 2053951714544337. doi:10.1177/2053951714544337. ISSN 2053-9517. 
  6. Laniado, David; Carlos Castillo; Mayo Fuster Morell; Andreas Kaltenbrunner (2014-08-20). “Emotions under Discussion: Gender, Status and Communication in Online Collaboration”. PLoS ONE 9 (8): e104880. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104880. 

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 8 • August 2014
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email @WikiResearch on Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at September 14, 2014 12:18 AM

September 13, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Now available: Charting Diversity – Working together towards diversity in Wikipedia

The Compass of Diversity

(“Compass of diversity” by Wikimedia Deutschland, under CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Within the last couple of years, a discussion arose concerning the ratio of male to female contributors on Wikipedia. Various studies verified a significant gender gap within the group of editors. A number of countries have since started initiatives that specialize in supporting female contributors. These include events run by female Wikipedians like Netha Hussain in India and Emily Temple Wood in the U.S. These projects work towards increasing the number of women actively participating on Wikimedia projects.

In our recently published study, Charting Diversity, we identified additional instruments and field of actions that could have a positive effect on promoting gender diversity in editors. Two approaches are key: Developing an understanding and awareness on the subject of “diversity” within the community as well as nurturing and enhancing an open and a welcoming culture are highly important. As Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, and others said at this year’s Wikimania, the promotion of mutual respect and a positive communication culture are essential for Wikipedia. Another field of action is our research on the connection between diversity and quality of knowledge production. There are still many unanswered questions as to how socio-demographic diversity affects the content of Wikipedia articles.

Download as a pdf file (424 KB)

“Charting Diversity” by Ilona Buchem (Beuth Univ.), Antje Ducki (Beuth Univ.), Sarah Khayati (Beuth Univ.), Julia Kloppenburg (WMDE), Nils Weichert (WMDE) , under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Charting Diversity deals with diversity and its importance to Wikipedia, documenting our current knowledge on the matter, setting out fields of action and concluding with a catalogue of measures to serve as motivation for our future work. The study incorporates the opinions and ideas of male and female Wikipedians, gathered at numerous meetings, workshops and at the 2013 Wikimedia Diversity Conference in Berlin.

This year Wikimedia Deutschland implemented two tools as a consequence of the study “Charting Diversity,” in collaboration with male and female Wikipedians. One of these is cMOOCs (connectivist Massive Open Online Course) – these are open online workshop-style meetings. Under the title Wiki Dialogue, all Wikipedians and Wikipedia enthusiasts have the opportunity to address problematic issues on cooperation within the community and discuss them in a structured, time-restricted and solution-oriented way. The second tool is topic-specific female multiplier networks, which we are currently setting up. Under the title Women Edit, female Wikipedians can actively take part in projects that motivate targeted participation, while also exploring the Wikipedian communication culture. The first results are the “Women in Science” edit-a-thon and the WikiWomen meetings, as well as other events.

Charting Diversity was created as part of the Wikipedia Diversity project. The project was developed in collaboration with Prof. Ilona Buchem, guest professor in digital media and diversity at the Gender and Technology Center of Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. Anyone who wishes to order printed copies in English or German can write to us at bildung@wikimedia.de. The German version can be found here, while the English version is here.

We are looking forward to your questions and comments on Meta!

Happy reading!

Julia Kloppenburg (Wikimedia Deutschland)

by carlosmonterrey at September 13, 2014 09:11 AM

September 12, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

New images released are quickly put to use

The image is a pictorial illustration depicting possible scar lines after surgery for oesophageal cancer

Diagram of possible scar lines after surgery for oesophageal cancer, from Cancer Research UK and now on Commons.
(Image by Cancer Research UK, under CC-BY-SA-4.0 )

This post was written by John Byrne, Wikimedian in Residence at the Royal Society and Cancer Research UK and was first published on the Wikimedia UK blog

I’ve had two recent uploads of images released by organizations where I am Wikimedian in Residence. Neither of them are huge in quantity compared to some uploads, but I’m really pleased that an unusually large percentage of them are already used in articles. Many thanks to all the editors who put them in articles, especially Keilana for CRUK and Duncan.Hull for the Royal Society images.

The first release was by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), of 390 cancer-related diagrams, including many covering anatomy and cell biology. Many medical editors had said they were keen to have these available, and they have been quickly added to many articles, with 190 already being used, some twice, and mostly on high-traffic medical articles like breast cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer.

Wikipedia cancer articles tend to be mostly illustrated with alarming shots of tumours, or purple-stained pathology slides which convey little to non-professional readers. The new images are from the patient information pages on CRUK’s website and explain in simple terms basic aspects of the main cancers – where they arise, how they grow and spread. Some show surgical procedures that are hard to convey in prose.

The photo is a portrait of Professor Martin Hairer FRS

Professor Martin Hairer FRS, already used in 18 different language versions of Wikipedia
(“Professor Martin Hairer FRS” by Royal Society uploader, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 )

Many files have generous labelling inside the image. All the files are in svg format, allowing for easy translation of these labels into other languages, which should be especially useful over time. All use the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence. All the images of this type that CRUK have are now uploaded, but additional ones should be uploaded as they are created, and other types of image, including infographics, are in the pipeline.

We are also working to change the standard model release forms CRUK uses, so that photos and videos featuring people that are made in future will be easier to release. CRUK also has some very attractive short animations, which in some ways are more culturally neutral and so preferable for use around the world. These avoid model release issues and some should be coming soon.

The other release is by the Royal Society, the UK’s National Academy for the Sciences. I’ve now completed my term as Wikipedian in Residence there, but had got their agreement to release the official portrait photos of the new Fellows elected in 2014, with the intention to continue this in future years. Some photos of their building were also released.

By early September, only a month after uploading completed, of the 72 files uploaded 38 (53%) are now used in Wikipedia articles. The portrait of Professor Martin Hairer, who won the Fields Medal this August is used in 18 different language versions of Wikipedia, having fortuitously been uploaded just before it was announced that he had won the Fields Medal, which is often called the mathematician’s equivalent of a Nobel. Most of the biographies were started after this announcement. Other images of Fellows are used in the French, Chinese and Persian Wikipedias, as well as English.

The availability of high-quality portraits is very likely to encourage the writing of articles on those Fellows who still lack Wikipedia biographies. There are 15 of these, which is already a better (lower) figures than for recent years such as 2012, where 29 still lack biographies.

John Byrne, Wikimedian in Residence at the Royal Society and Cancer Research UK

by carlosmonterrey at September 12, 2014 12:05 AM

September 11, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

WikiProject Report: Bats, gloves and baseballs

Photo of Maury Wills, Milton Berle, Jimmy Piersall and Willie Mays in a salute to baseball on the television program The Hollywood Palace.

“Maury Wills Milton Berle Jimmy Piersall Willie Mays Hollywood Palace 1967″ by ABC Television, under public domain

Last month, the Wikipedia Signpost, the English Wikipedia’s community-written newsletter, talked with three members of WikiProject Baseball: users Go Phightins!, Wizardman and isaacl. A WikiProject is a team of contributors who aim to improve Wikipedia articles on a specific topic. Every WikiProject has a special focus area (for example, American history). In this case, the subject is baseball.

Like many Wikipedia editors, WikiProject contributors are often motivated by a great passion for a given topic. Perhaps user Go Phightins! embodies this devotion best. “Baseball is a sport that I really enjoy and is the namesake of my username, as a matter of fact, the Philadelphia Phillies are known colloquially as the Phightin Phils.” For contributors, WikiProject baseball is not just a way to contribute to baseball-related articles, it’s also a place to talk all things baseball with other liked-minded individuals, explains user issacl. “Discussions on the project talk page are generally constructive and embody a cooperative spirit, which keeps editors interested.”

A game on Chicago’s Wrigley Field, April 13, 2005

“Wrigley Field Apr 2005″ by Papushin, under PD

Every WikiProject has its own peculiarities specific to that topic. For example, WikiProject cities has to keep a constant watch for changing factors within a city like population or transportation. WikiProject Baseball is no different in its constant efforts to maintain baseball articles as up-to-date as possible – especially during the active season. “One of the most crucial aspects of the project is stat updates and vandalism watches to articles, especially on current players,” explains Go Phightins. Maintenance gets particularly busy during times of great commotion, like the trade deadline midway through the season. “There is rampant speculation within the media about baseball players and transactions between teams, so upholding the principle of WP:CRYSTAL ["Wikipedia is not a crystal ball"] by refuting speculative edits while at the same time remaining committed to being an encyclopedia anyone can edit is a time-consuming, but ultimately worthwhile task.”

Though this may all seem like a lot of work, rewards come in the form of knowing that you’ve contributed to the collective knowledge on a topic that is important to you – and occasionally your work might earn recognition as a featured article, too. Wizardman and Go Phightins! both have enjoyed having some of their articles featured. Go Phightins! explains, “Jim Thome, my one and only featured article, played Major League Baseball for 20+ years and reached featured status after more than a year of work. I thoroughly enjoyed working on his article, as he was one of my favorite players back when he was a member of the Phillies and really is a ‘good guy.’” Wizardman adds, “I’ve contributed several featured articles and good articles over my time. Greatest is tough to say, but it would be between Bob Feller, which was already a good article that I completely modified to get through to featured article status and Harmon Killebrew, which was a stub I suggested as a collaboration that eventually progressed from good to featured.”

When asked what else they wanted to share, Go Phightins! stressed the good-natured environment of WikiProject Baseball. “The editors at WikiProject Baseball are an awesome group of folks with whom to collaborate on articles, but perhaps more importantly, are dedicated to enforcing Wikipedia policy with tact and excellence in dealing with new and clueless contributors (a group of which I was once a member).” Wizardman jokingly adds, “It’s both a great and easy project to get involved in, even if you like the [rival team] you’re still welcome!” If you find yourself fond of baseball, interested in sports stats and looking for a great community to share a mutual interest, then WikiProject Baseball might be for you. User isaacl puts it simply: “With the state of baseball analysis ever-improving, competition in MLB continues to be fierce, and we are the beneficiaries—enjoy the season!”

For more info on WikiProject Baseball, read the full Signpost interview by user Seattle, or go to the WikiProject’s overview page.

Report by Carlos Monterrey, communications associate for the Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 11, 2014 07:14 PM

September 10, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 has begun!

Calling all photographers! It’s that time of year again: Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 has begun! On Monday, September 1, for the fifth consecutive year, participants from around the world began competing in the world’s largest photography competition, which will last until the end of September. Like before, photos captured will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this coming Sunday, September 7th. The competition is driven by volunteers in an effort to document different cultural heritages online, boost participation in Wikimedia projects and – of course – illustrate Wikipedia articles.

Throughout the month, participants will upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons under a free license. These submissions will then be judged within their country to determine the best of that country. Judges of each country have until the end of the month of October to select the top 10 winning photos, where they will be submitted to an international panel for selection as the best overall. Winners are typically announced in early December. Past winning submissions have come from Switzerland (2013), India (2012), Romania (2011) and the Netherlands (2010).

Over the years, WLM has grown significantly. First started in 2010 in the Netherlands, the first competition yielded more than 12,500 pictures of Dutch monuments alone. The following year, a total of 18 countries throughout Europe participated, netting 168,208 photographs – a Guinness World Record for the largest photography competition. Last year, there were over 365,000 submissions to Wikimedia Commons, obliterating the record from the year before.

This year at least 37 countries from 5 continents are participating, with various countries making their WLM debut. Long-time participants include Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Switzerland, which will be joined for the first time by Iraq, Ireland, Lebanon, Macedonia and Pakistan.

Map of countries participating in Wiki Loves Monuments 2014.

“Despite having financial and social challenges, the Pakistani people are embracing the Internet and the growth rate of Internet users is on the rise,” says Saqib Qayyum, an active Wikimedian from Pakistan in a recent interview with Creative Commons. Saqib has high hopes for Pakistan’s first time in WLM:

“I believe once people participate in Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan they will eventually start to contribute to Wikipedia, which is amongst the most successful products of the open and free internet. Thus, they will eventually come to learn about the concept of free culture movement. Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan is the best, quickest and easiest way to introduce the free culture movement to the country.”

After all, he concludes, it may be challenging at times for many people to create a Wikipedia article, but “it’s pretty simple, fun and easy to take a photograph and upload it.”

The main organizer of Wiki Loves Monuments, (user:Romaine), holds similar hopes and goals as Saqib, particularly when it comes to coverage of countries from the Global South, which are inequitably represented.

“I noticed looking on Commons for photos of some new countries that these had almost no photos. Wiki Loves Monuments is changing that now and we are able to expand our visual knowledge in these countries with this contest. That is amazing.”

“Wiki Loves Monuments helps all the participating countries to have better coverage, but it is also a step in the right direction for helping those specifically lacking in coverage, especially in the Global South. Still many countries are missing in this year’s contest, as last year’s and year before that. Wiki Loves Monuments has just started, but we should already be thinking on how we can reach out to countries which have not participated before and how we can create the opportunity to get them involved,” he concludes. Whether you are participating from the Austria or Azerbaijan, Poland or Palestine, WLM is one way to help bridge the North-South Divide.

“We all need to play our part in ensuring a bright future for the open and free internet. I think the success of the movement globally depends on participation of people from not only the developed countries but also from the Global South”.

So go, get your camera and snap away. Also, stay up-to-date with the latest statistics from the competition here.

For the past winning photographs, see the list below.

Michael Guss, Communications Volunteer

2013 WLM winner. A RhB Ge 4/4 II with a push–pull train crosses the Wiesen Viaduct between Wiesen and Filisur, Switzerland (“RhB Ge 4-4 II Wiesener Viadukt” by Kabelleger, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)



2011 WLM winner. Winter picture of Chiajna Monastery (“Mănăstirea Chiajna – Giulești” by Mihai Petre, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-RO). The monastery is situated on the outskirts of Bucharest.


2010 WLM winner. Vijzelstraat 31 in Amsterdam. (“Amsterdam – Vijzelstraat 27-35 (halsgevel)” by Rudolphous, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-NL)

by carlosmonterrey at September 10, 2014 11:00 PM

September 06, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Will you join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wikimedia Commons?

Commons logo

Wikimedia Commons is turning 10 years old this Sunday — will you help celebrate? We’re asking everyone to join the Wikimedia community by sharing a freely licensed image with world.

Wikimedia Commons is one of the world’s largest resources of freely licensed educational media. It is the central repository of the majority of illustrations for Wikipedia, and it includes more than 22 million images of everything from the first human flight to the last of the quaggas. Historical treasures, like an 8th century Chinese star map, can be found alongside the most recent stars of the annual Eurovision song contest.

You can find the images on Commons illustrating the articles on Wikipedia, as the photographs in your newspapers, and as diagrams in your school projects. They are always freely licensed, and include the contributions of individual amateur photographers alongside donations from the collections of the world’s leading archives.

All this is possible thanks to the incredible work of the volunteer Wikimedia Commons community. Over ten years, four million registered users have uploaded the images and other media, curated licensing and attribution information, created categories, organized metadata, and removed non-educational content or images that are not freely licensed.[1] In addition to their work on-wiki, these volunteers have inspired partnerships with leading cultural institutions in order to make even more images and media available to the world.

The very first photograph uploaded to Wikimedia Commons ("Quail1.PNG " by Node, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

The very first photograph uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (“Quail1.PNG “ by Node, today under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Wikimedia Commons officially launched on September 7th, 2004, with an informal email to a Wikimedia mailing list. The note, which pointed users to commons.wikimedia.org, expressed a vague hope that someday the project would “get[s] its own domain.” (We’re happy to say that it’s still right there!) That same day, user:Node_ue uploaded the very first photograph, a snapshot of two wild Gambel’s quail, taken while they “happen[ed] to be eating birdseed in my parents’ backyard.”

The creation of Commons had been suggested by then-volunteer Wikimedian Erik Moeller (today the deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation). His initial March 2004 proposal for a central repository for images, public domain texts, and other freely licensed documents expressed the hope that Commons could “provide the largest such repository of freely licensed material, with a quality control mechanism” — the Wikimedia community itself – “that other projects lack.”

The years since have witnessed creativity, collaborations, and even competitions — all originating from the Commons community — , evidence that its initial vision has become reality.

Over the past decade, the Commons community has greatly expanded the depth, content, and availability of photographs, historical documents, and other materials through partnerships with cultural institutions, known to Wikimedians as GLAMs (for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums). Donations from organizations such as the French National Library and the German National Archives have added priceless educational and cultural richness to Wikimedia Commons. This past summer, the U.S. National Archives, having already provided more than 100,000 images, announced its intention to upload all of its holdings to Commons.

Wikimedia Commons is also the home of the community-created Wiki Loves Monuments competition, now in its fifth year and currently inviting entries until the end of September. Wiki Loves Monuments, which asks people from around the globe to share images of their cultural heritage, including historic buildings, monuments, and other creations, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest photo competition in the world.

We’re celebrating these and many more achievements and milestones on this 10th anniversary, and we’re asking you to celebrate with us. How can you get started? There’s a good guide here, but in general Commons is always looking for freely-licensed images that are not yet part of its collection, especially high quality images for Wikipedia articles that don’t yet have illustrations, or images of notable people, places, or historic events. If you don’t have a freely-licensed image of your own to share, you may want to consider starting a conversation with your local cultural institution about how they might contribute their collection to Commons.

By sharing appropriate images under a free license, you’re becoming a member of the Commons community of creators and curators, and ensuring the project’s strength for another decade to come.

Lila Tretikov, Executive Director

  1. In doing so, Wikimedia Commons volunteers have become well acquainted with the intricacies of international copyright law (did you know that users have researched and documented the “freedom of panorama” regulations for 147 countries on Commons?). The Commons’ community’s careful curation of images is evidenced by the extremely low number of copyright takedown requests received by the Foundation each year, as documented in our recently released transparency report.

A selection of images from Wikimedia Commons (you can also browse through the full collection of 6,389 Featured Pictures – images that the community has chosen to be highlighted as some of the finest on Commons):

"The Tetons and the Snake River" by Ansel Adams, under PD "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange, under PD "NTS Barrage Balloon" by US DOE, under PD "A butterfly feeding on the tears of a turtle in Ecuador" by amalavida.tv, under CC BY-SA 2.0 "Pāhoehoe Lava flow" by Brocken Inaglory, under CC BY-SA 3.0 "Figure of the heavenly bodies" by Bartolomeu Velho, under PD "Albert Harris - Coconut shy B" by Andrew Dunn, under CC BY-SA 2.0 "Lower Antelope Canyon 478" by Meckimac,  under CC BY-SA 3.0 "Martian Dust Devil Trails" by NASA, under PD "Biodegradable Plastic Utensils" by Agricultural Research Service, under PD "Milky Way" by Stéphane Guisard, under CC-BY-3.0 "Jakarta old football" by Jonathan McIntosh, under CC BY 2.0 "Ferenc Ilyes (HUN), Artur Siodmiak (POL)" by Steindy, under CC BY-SA 3.0 "Usain Bolt Olympics Celebration" by Richard Giles, under CC BY-SA 2.0 "Inde bondo" by Yves Picq veton.picq.fr, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Morgan Pressel" by Keith Allison, under CC BY-SA 2.0

by carlosmonterrey at September 06, 2014 04:38 AM

September 04, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Sixty ways to help new editors

Discussion in the Wikimania Discussion Room

Last August, Iolanda Pensa and I had the honor to facilitate a discussion at the Wikimania Discussion Room on the topic of Welcoming and retaining new users. This discussion was set up as a brainstorm session, and was one of the more rewarding experiences I had during Wikimania. In the session we focused on ideas on how we as a community can help new users become and remain involved. I hope that some of the ideas will be inspiring to you!

The round table discussion took place during Wikimania and was self-selected. Everyone was welcome to join, there was no expert panel and there was little preparation. The goal of the discussion was to come up with 30 ways to help new users on Wikimedia projects become and remain involved. We wanted ideas that did not depend on the Wikimedia Foundation or affiliate organizations, or on developers. I’m very glad to be able to say that 60 ways to help new users were shared – no doubt with some overlap, but still remarkable! At the end of the discussion we asked every participant to make a commitment for the coming month on how they would personally implement some of the 60 different methods to help new users.

Many people showed up

The ideas brought forward were all over the place. You can find the original list in the discussion notes. In this post I would like to share an abridged list, where some points are merged and clarified.

I encourage every experienced user to browse through this list and explore the different ideas. Similarly to the participants in the discussion, please commit to one of them in the coming weeks – if you want, you can do so publicly by posting a comment on this blog post. Your commitment might serve as encouragement for others to do the same!

Lodewijk Gelauff, facilitator of the Wikimania Discussion Room and volunteer at Wikimedia Netherlands

List of approaches (abridged)


  • Form tandems between experienced editors and newcomers.
  • Mentorship space/program. Contributors may be matched to new users based on similarity of interests (enwiki).


  • Send a welcome message, with a direct contact link. For example: “Hello, I’m Trizek, please contact me if you need assistance.”
  • Use Snuggle – A tool for experienced editors to welcome good faith newcomers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Snuggle
  • Join the “Teahouse” (enwiki; hewiki).
  • Find people who are willing and able to communicate in a friendly way – and new users should be channeled to them (where do I land after I created an account?)
  • It’s better to help five new users in a personalized way than to post 50 welcoming templates.
  • Organize/attend in-person meetups to help address the gap between ideal (“anyone can edit”) and reality (“it is tough”) – meetings that can be attended by new users.
  • Invite the new users to meetups – meet the contributors – put faces behind username.

Do not bite the newcomers:

  • Slow down the medium experienced users (~6 months of experience) that are overly enthusiastic and tend to ‘bite’ new users.
  • Rewrite messages into apologies (“we’re sorry if we didn’t understand what you intended; we had to revert your change”).
  • When interacting with new users, be more friendly.
  • Take “don’t bite the newbies” more seriously. Introduce (or enforce) a punishment for biting new users.
  • French Wikipedia had a message with a shark – “you have bitten a newbie” (no more biting newbies at fr.wp now, template has been deleted…)

Less is more:

  • Write shorter and clearer help and welcome messages with clear links. Help pages with 20 links are too much – a two sentence help message is better.
  • Make less use of templates in communication with new users; take more personalized action.
  • Reduce the number of rules (Ignore all rules at enwiki)

Give assignments:

  • Deliberately seeding small errors that are easy to fix. Or perhaps make them on sandbox/non article space? (Wikipedia adventure does that).
  • Organize a Wikipedia semi-regular scavenger hunt. Ask people to fulfill simple tasks, like “fix a dead link,” “fix a grammatical error” and reward them for that.
  • Provide a list of articles that new users can try to edit. (supposedly there’s an example of this on enwiki).
  • Give new users a list of assignments to do. Work queues that people can pick from, based on their interests.
  • Encourage people to play “The wikipedia adventure” (enwiki), or “the tourist bus” (cawiki).
  • More ways to contribute that are safe and have less drama – not only article creation/editing, like images, geo location, more fact checking, cleanup, checking external dead links.
  • Encourage micro editing thorough games.
  • Invite new users to advance in the stages of micro games.

Better training:

  • Produce and share a video of a new user seeing a mistake, going in and fixing it.
  • Set up some form of online training course on how to be a Wikipedia contributor.
  • Train experienced Wikipedians on how to welcome to new users.
  • Training in social manners/communication for experienced users and admins!

Better communication/documentation:

  • Reinforce that edits are live and seen by the whole world, use that as an intrinsic motivation.
  • Make visible how much training in editing someone has. Positive reinforcement for users investing – a progress bar to show how experienced they are.
  • Create a link page from which there is a an organised link tree to ALL possible instructions that the new user never finds.
  • Explain the basic principles of Wikipedia / Wikimedia projects in a friendly and understandable manner even if it is obvious to you and create instruction pages where these are explained in an understandable way.
  • Re-educate experienced users to use more friendly communication.
  • Give credit for being friendly to newbies, recognition, (gamification here?).
  • Encourage the use of discussion pages.
  • we need a much better manual and shorter summarized rule book (each rule is 8 pages long) – every rule should be a single sentence – and then put all nutshells in one page (“WP:Plain and simple” on enwiki?)
  • New editors want to create articles – and the feedback comes after weeks – speed up the process of checking new articles and giving feedback and improve the quality of the feedback.

Positive reinforcement:

  • Giving new editors recognition or a reward or a badge to show that they have learned something – a barnstar that you get for learning something – and each time you learn something the barnstar gets bigger. (example from enwiki) This may expand to include recognition of experienced users who complete education in nonviolent/civil communication or provide hospitality to new users.
  • Show after a week or month how many people saw the change and were positively affected.
  • Monthly emails showing how many people read the page you edited and used your knowledge, with a message like “the change you have made helped this amount of people.”
  • Give a “thumbs up” even for little things – Use ‘Thank you’ button right next to editor contributions.
  • Give recognition of outstanding edits (example dewiki: three level “barnstar type”).
  • Community post “achievement of the week” (enwiki).
  • Choose “contributor of the month” or “of the year” by the community.
  • More motivating messages – we are used to saying “work not good” but don’t get exercise giving out more positive messages.


  • Consider the expectations and the clash between expectations and reality – find ways to measure why new contributors leave.
  • Be sensitive to the different types of problems in different wiki’s – because every community has a different size and history, they work differently.
  • Recruit new people (events, museums, schools…)
  • Place a banner on Wikipedia with an explicit invitation to edit: if you want to edit follow this link and people are invited to meetup (But this should be displayed as part of the software, not an advertisement).
  • Do better research on why people do not edit even if they want or why they do an initial edit but do not become ongoing contributor.
  • Create a list of good ideas on meta. (Action point: share this list with the list of attendees of the discussion).
  • Introduce a “Panic button”: “here you can get help.”
  • Provide a way for new users to give feedback on how they have been treated.
  • Encourage new users to communicate with each other about their experiences.
  • Improve the (welcome/warning) templates to make them look less impersonal.
  • Provide a safe space for new users, such as a Draft namespace.
  • Make the edit button more inviting: for example, don’t show a blank page when creating a new article. Boost the confidence of new users.
  • Be humble in the front of expertise of new users who happen to be expert – recognize experts when they come around.
  • Specialist groups: specialist gathers users with expertise around a subject.

by carlosmonterrey at September 04, 2014 08:04 PM

Wikipedia in the classroom: Empowering students in the digital age

Anne in front of the Library at Diablo Valley College.

During her last year of high school, Anne Kingsley took a variety of classes at Sierra College, her local community college in Rocklin, CA. The experience greatly influenced her decision to pursue a career in teaching. “I loved the atmosphere of the community college and remember spending a lot of time printing out articles and copying books in the library,” Anne recalled. “I remember study groups with recent high school grads, returning students, veterans, single moms.”

The eclectic nature of the community college served her well in her first teaching position in 2002 at a New York organization called Friends of Island Academy (FOIA), where she helped youth in the criminal justice system gain literacy and other basic skills. At that time, the Internet was starting to become a valuable educational resource that would soon make photocopying books in the library a nostalgic pastime. Her time at FOIA was the beginning for discovering innovative ways to solve big educational problems. “Because I had to run a classroom that had very little materials and almost no budget, you had to be creative about content and curriculum design,” explained Kingsley. “This was a powerful experience to build a foundation for classroom experience as it taught me how to think outside of conventional teaching practices.”

Diablo Valley Community college.

Anne went on to teach at Northeastern University, Menlo College and Santa Clara University. While at Northeastern she pursued her doctorate and was part of a training program where the faculty encouraged curriculums that incorporated new media into the classroom. “This was the beginning of blogs and Facebook, so I remember experimenting with these kinds of shared information sources,” said Anne. At the same time Wikipedia, only a few years old at the time, was becoming an increasingly comprehensive encyclopedia. Though in its onset Wikipedia had a reputation for being discouraged by teaching professionals, it has since slowly garnered support and trust from a number of institutions. Today Anne teaches at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and finds herself once again experimenting with different teaching methods, including the use of Wikipedia.
Tired of assigning the standard research paper and disillusioned by its merits in the 21st century, Anne started to realize that technology has greatly altered the way we access information. Anne elaborates, “I kept thinking that technology has changed the place for research, so why do we keep handing in these static articles as though information doesn’t shift and change all the time. I also knew that old research papers that I had assigned my students were literally piled up in my closet, shoved into boxes, and forgotten about.”

Wikipedia in the classroom.

Simultaneously, Anne kept hearing about underrepresented histories on Wikipedia – from women’s literature to African American history. Though underrepresentation of marginalized subjects is still a concern on Wikipedia, much is being done to address it thanks to people like Anne. “Given that I was teaching at a community college, I figured, let’s see what my students could do with Wikipedia. We all use Wikipedia, so why not see if we could become producers of information rather than just consumers.”

As a Harlem Renaissance enthusiast, Anne taught a course titled “Critical thinking: Composition and Literature Reading the Harlem Renaissance.” It was during this course that she experimented with her idea of producing information in a public forum as a method of learning. Part of the course was to edit articles pertaining to the Harlem Renaissance that were not covered fully on Wikipedia. Using online publications like The Crisis Magazine — an important early 20th century publication for African American culture — the students set out on a journey to research, edit and contribute to the world’s largest encyclopedia.

Humanities Building Classroom at DVC.

Anne and her students soon became aware of the initial learning gap that many new editors face with regards to the Wikipedia syntax. Though somewhat intimidating at first, Anne agrees that editing Wikipedia was a great way to teach students how to become literate in new media language. Her students weren’t the only ones learning something new, Anne explains, “It certainly opened their (and my) eyes to what takes place behind the nicely edited entries.” Another obstacle was trying to figure out how and where to contribute. Anne recalls a student who was hoping to contribute a “religion” entry to the Harlem Renaissance page. The challenge was to figure out where it belonged and how they would go about incorporating it into an existing page in a cohesive manner. Despite a period of adjustment, Anne makes it clear that the benefits her and the students garnered greatly outnumber any difficulties they might initially have had.

From an academic perspective, the assignment captured many of the elements of research that the course aimed to teach – understanding of source material, citation, scholarly research and careful language craft. The fact that Wikipedia is a public forum motivated the students in a manner that perhaps a normal research paper wouldn’t, that is to say, it no longer was just the professor who read the work but also other editors from around the world. The project also proved to be a great collaboration process between the students and the professor. The project lent itself to broader collaboration, especially when it came to the selection process and some of the smaller nuances of contributing to Wikipedia. The project also seemed to greatly improve composition, says Anne, “They (the students) would literally groom their language sentence by sentence – as opposed to earlier experiences writing seven-page research papers where the language fell apart.” Perhaps most satisfying for the students was the sense of accomplishment in seeing their hard work in a public space. Among the new articles created were pages for Arthur P. Davis, a section for religion in the Harlem Renaissance article and a page for Georgia Douglas Johnson – formerly a stub.

Anne expresses great interest in assigning this project again to her students. “I don’t always get to select the classes I teach, but if I had the opportunity to teach the Harlem Renaissance again, I would repeat this curriculum.” When asked what she would do differently, if anything, she replied, “More time. I only gave my students four weeks to create their entries. I did not realize how many of them would choose to create full-length articles or more complex entries.” Anne is part of a growing number of teaching professionals who choose to think outside the box and embrace new mediums in an effort to not only contribute to the greater good, but also prepare their students for a 21st century academic landscape. She had a clear message to her colleagues who perhaps might not be as embracing of Wikipedia in the classroom, she says, “Think big…students have this amazing capacity to want to experiment with you and others, especially when it makes their work visible and meaningful.”

Carlos Monterrey, Communications Associate at the Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at September 04, 2014 02:39 AM

September 03, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Building a Better Wikimedia Together: Open Call for Grants Proposals

Share your idea for Individual Engagement Grants and get advice!

How do Wikimedia programs and projects start? In the beginning, there is an idea. If you want to build a better Wikimedia and want to focus on a specific issue, Individual Engagement Grants (IEG) can help you achieve this. The IEG program is staging a new open call for proposals. You can submit yours this month from September 1st to the 30th!

Your idea doesn’t have to be a massive, game-changing project (although big ideas are welcome!). It could be a new tool or gadget, an experiment in improving a community space, research on an important issue facing Wikimedia projects, or something else aimed at helping build Wikimedia community and content. Whether you need $200 or $30,000, Individual Engagement Grants can cover project development time and expenses for you and your team.

How does it work?

User I JethroBT at IdeaLab mixer in Wikimania London.

The program has a flexible schedule and reporting structure and the Grantmaking staff are there to support you through all stages of the process. We’ll even help you find project mentors!

After you submit your proposal, the grantmaking team will go through it to make sure it meets all eligibility criteria. Proposals should support the achievement of Wikimedia’s mission and strategic priorities. We are looking for experiments with high potential for learning and impact, and lots of community engagement, among other selection criteria.

IEG barnstar

Proposals are commented on and reviewed by the community from October 1 to November 3rd, and grantees are announced on December 5.

Some ideas funded in the past include a pronunciation recording tool for Wiktionary, a Medicine Translation Project, Reimagining Wikipedia Mentorship, and both community organizing initiatives and research on Wikipedia’s gender gap. Check out the list of all projects that received funding in the past IEG round for inspiration.

Test your idea and get advice

IdeaLab Hangout dates:

Do you have have a good idea, but you are worried that it isn’t developed enough for a grant? Put it into the IdeaLab, where volunteers and staff will give you advice and guidance on how to bring it to life.

During the month of September, we’ll be hosting three online Hangout sessions for real-time help on how to make your proposal better. The first one, How to Write an IEG Proposal, will take place on September 16, at 1600 UTC.

By working together we can make an impact on the future of Wikimedia projects. We are excited to see the new ways your project ideas can support the Wikimedia community! Share your proposal in September.

María CruzCommunity Coordinator of Program Evaluation & Design

by carlosmonterrey at September 03, 2014 12:34 AM

September 02, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Evaluation Portal on Meta: A Redesigned Space for Learning

Heading - Evaluation portal.png

Just over one year ago, the Wikimedia Foundation started talking about evaluating programs like Wiki Loves Monuments and the Wikipedia Education Program. The goal was to grow support for program leaders to evaluate activities and outcomes that would lead to learning and improving the effectiveness of their programs.

As we have engaged in this work, the collection of evaluation resources has grown significantly. In order to better support program leaders and the broader community in learning about evaluation, we had to reimagine our pages on meta. We are happy to introduce you to the newly redesigned evaluation portal!

Plan screenshot - Evaluation portal.png
Contact us screenshot - Evaluation portal.png
Top page - Evaluation portal.png
Evaluation at Wikimedia screenshot-Evaluation portal.png
Upcoming events screenshot - Evaluation portal.png

Improved organization

The new portal has four main sections with evaluation resources: Study, Plan, Measure and Share. Two other sections, Connect and News & Events, are spaces for networking within the evaluation community through talk pages, online and face-to-face events. We’d like to take a moment to explain these sections and how they may be useful for anyone who wants to evaluate their programs.

Study. Program evaluation is an academic field, with its own language and theory that can be studied. The Study section has resources to guide new evaluators with the vocabulary, theory and strategies related to evaluation in the Wikimedia movement.

The Glossary is one of the most valuable pages that defines some of the key terms that may be used in conversations about program evaluation. Explanations for phrases like program leader or program implementation, are found here. With evaluation, it can often help to read what others have done. You go through examples about how evaluation fits within the movement in Evaluation in the Wikimedia Movement: Case studies. Step-by-step guides called Learning modules walk through resources and tools for evaluating a program. Some of the topics include writing surveys and using Wikimetrics.

Plan. Evaluating a program means to plan in advance. This section of the portal is designed to include the important steps to planning an evaluation: identifying goals, choosing targets for those goals and deciding which metrics to use for measuring those targets.

Choosing Goals and Measures provides guidance for setting outcome targets. Once you identify your goal (or goals), you might review Program Resources as a most basic guide of best practices and associated program goals and metrics. If your program is slightly different, or if you are creating a new program, the Logic Model is a great process to map your program’s or project’s vision. Explore Learning Patterns related to implementation to learn how to collect usernames, how to ask about gender, or how to advertise a program.

Measure. In order to evaluate a program you must know what and how you will measure progress toward your goals. The Measure section can help: it provides strategies for collecting and keeping track of data.

Tracking and monitoring can capture data for telling the story of a program, how the program is working and where improvements might be needed. The Reporting and Tracking Toolkit offers guidance and templates for tracking a program, from the inputs, like hours or money, to the outputs, like t how many participants and the outcomes, like the number of editors retained. Wikimetrics is a useful tool for easily measuring user contributions on Wikimedia projects. Meanwhile, surveys can measure participant’s attributes (e.g. gender, hometown), attitudes (e.g. motivation to edit), or behaviors (e.g. how many times they edit per week). The Survey Question Bank is a repository for questions searchable by program goal or the survey goal and Qualtrics, an online survey platform, is a tool program leaders may access for large-scale online surveys.

Share. A key aspect of learning and evaluation is sharing what you know. This section is the portal space where the entire community can share results of activities and evaluations related to Wikimedia programs.

Writing and sharing reports can be very helpful for learning from one another about evaluation strategies. Evaluation Reports (beta) is an initial collection of program impact reports that provides many details on the process and ways to analyze data. Program leaders can also read or post Case Studies to show the work they have done. In addition to sharing reports, it is great to share tips or solutions to problems you have found along the way. Creating or endorsing Learning Patterns are great ways to reflect and share with your peers.

Better spaces for Communication

Connect is a space for the evaluation community to talk about evaluation, metrics, programs and to meet one another.

If you are involved in planning, implementing, or evaluating Wikimedia projects and programs, add your photo to the Community section and share which programs you have been involved in. If you want to ask a question about evaluation, this is the place to post it on-wiki.

News and Events is for the Learning and Evaluation team to post upcoming events we are hosting, or hear about from community members, related to Wikimedia learning and evaluation.

We frequently host Virtual Meet-ups and training events to build our shared knowledge around programs, measurement and evaluation. Follow this page to keep up with upcoming events and learning opportunities!

Visit the Portal @ meta:Grants:Evaluation

While the sections and resources in the portal will continue to develop, we hope that the new organization will help all of us better navigate the useful content that is held there. Please visit the portal and let us know how it can help you! Also feel free to post us any feedback about the site’s organization or content.

As always, email eval@wikimedia.org if you have any questions!

Edward Galvez, Program Evaluation Associate of Learning & Evaluation

by carlosmonterrey at September 02, 2014 11:40 PM

August 30, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Vzácná návštěva místostarostky Prahy 10 v kanceláři Wikimedia ČR

Ivana Cabrnochová v kanceláři Wikimedia ČR

Ivana Cabrnochová v kanceláři Wikimedia ČR

Dne 28. srpna 2014 navštívila neočekávaně kancelář našeho spolku místostarostka MČ Praha 10, paní Ivana Cabrnochová a pan Petr Vilgus, zástupce šéfredaktora časopisu FOTO. Za vedení spolku je přivítali Aktron, Limojoe a Gampe. Ukázali jsme hostům současný stav kanceláře, popsali současnou situaci (snaha o nájemní smlouvu na dobu neurčitou, instalace bojleru, instalace vodoměru) a mluvili jsme i o našich plánech do budoucna. Paní místostarostka ocenila práci všech členů i nečlenů sdružení, kteří se podíleli na úpravách, protože si dobře pamatovala stav prostor před jejich přidělením našemu spolku. Toto ocenění s radostí předávám všem, koho se týká.

Další spolupráce

Dalším okruhem otázek byly možnosti další spolupráce s městskou částí. Padly následující návrhy:

* na Wikipedii by se mohly objevit články o osobnostech, spjatých s touto městskou částí. Nedávno byly pojmenovány některé ulice či parky po významných obyvatelích Prahy 10,

* padlo několik různých námětů, jak doplnit články a fotografie architektury Prahy 10,

* MČ pořádá kurzy práce na počítači a na internetu pro různé věkové skupiny: děti a mládež, ženy na mateřské dovolené, seniory. Tyto kurzy by se daly doplnit i ukázkou práce na Wikipedii,

* prostor naproti naší kanceláři byl pronajat spolku Český svaz ochránců přírody. 4. základní organizace Botič-Rokytka. Jistě se najdou společná témata (například v rámci projektu Chráněná území, který Aktron představil a ukázal oběma návštěvníkům).

Na další plodnou spolupráci s Prahou 10, která je nyní naší „domovskou“ městskou částí, se velmi těšíme.

by Jaro Zastoupil at August 30, 2014 05:07 PM

August 28, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Venerable cultural institution partners with Wikimedia Serbia

Matica srpska building in Novi Sad

The Matica Srpska (MS) and Wikimedia Serbia (WMRS) are joining forces for an exciting new endeavor to digitalize all of the contents of at least two Serbian dictionaries over the next year, including the Serbian ornithological dictionary, and the dialects of Vojvodina dictionary. What is even more exciting for the free culture movement is this collaboration with Serbia’s oldest cultural and scientific institution, and how it came to be.

Founded in 1826, the Matica – which has become a Slavic symbol for an institution that promotes knowledge – was the nexus point for fostering the Serbian national identity and enlightenment during the days of the Ottoman and later Habsburg rule. Today, it still serves as an important center of Serbian culture, housing departments for Natural Sciences, for Performance Arts and Music, Lexicography and more. Additionally, the Matica Srpska acts as an art gallery for eighteenth and nineteenth century paintings, a library containing over 3.5 million books and a publishing house for ten periodicals and, of course, an array of Serbian dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Milos Rancic, the first president of Wikimedia Serbia, believes that this is a historical feat for Serbian culture and Wikimedia.

Logo of Wikimedia Serbia

“The significance of this cooperation for Wikimedia is that we are at the beginning of a close relationship with a national, cultural institution, whose foci include dictionaries and encyclopedias. They share our goals and want to cooperate with us.”

But how was Milos able to lay pavement on a potentially ground-breaking agreement between WMRS and MS? The answer: Micro-grants.

Back in June, WMRS received an interesting proposal for its micro-grants program. The project was about creating a photograph gallery of a single person over time. The project was later deemed unsuitable for the grant; but Milos, still intrigued by the concept of the project, decided to fund it personally.

By chance, this amateur photographer just so happened to be a top Serbian lector, an editor of the Orthography of the Serbian language and a lexicographer at the Matica Srpska. The two men proceeded to talk on a number of topics, including photography, the financial state of the MS and its desire to have more initiatives.

“I had bold ideas, of course, but I was quite skeptical about the possibility of cooperation between WMRS and Matica Srpska,” Milos admitted.

Image of Milos (left) taken at the Third regional conference of Wikimedia Serbia in Belgrade

“However, he convinced me that the president of MS is likely willing to cooperate and that we should talk about that.”

A meeting was scheduled, and a few weeks later, a delegation comprised of Mile Kis, Executive Director of WMRS, Ivana Madzarevic, WMRS program manager and Milos entered into initial talks with the Matica Srpska.

The meeting lasted two hours. Then, both parties dispersed.

Weeks went by without confirmation from MS.

It was not until July 16 that word arrived. “We got a formal letter from MS, which summarized our meeting and emphasized their commitment to accessibility of knowledge to as many people as possible.”

Milos notes that small, deliberate steps are necessary in order to achieve lasting results. “This is just the beginning, of course. We share important traits with these institutions like MS. It’s about long term goals. We want to start cooperation and develop it. They want to share their content on the Internet. With our (technological, licensing, etc.) help, they will become the institution which share their content by default, no matter if we are involved or not.”

Over the course of the next couple of years, Milos hopes to begin discussing uploading the main Serbian dictionaries too.

Milos says that one cannot overestimate the efficacy of having a grants program, no matter the size. “When you are going outside and are telling people that you are willing to support their projects, it could lead into some interesting outcomes. It is important to understand the possibilities that could be opened and catch them.”

Michael Guss, Communications volunteer at the Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at August 28, 2014 11:08 PM

August 27, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Reimagining Mentorship with the Wikipedia Cooperative

I JethroBT, Project Manager of the Co-op, at Wikimania 2014.

An editor’s initial experience when contributing to Wikipedia can be daunting: there is a ton to read and it’s easy to make mistakes right off the bat and feel pushed away when edits are reverted. My name is Jethro and a small team of editors and I are addressing these issues by building a mentorship space called the Wikipedia Cooperative, or simply the Co-op. In the Co-op, learners (i.e. editors seeking mentorship) will have the chance to describe how they want to contribute to Wikipedia and subsequently be matched with mentors who can teach them editing skills tailored to their goals.

We are working under an Individual Engagement Grant and hope to complete a pilot and analysis of our mentorship space by early next year. If successful, we hope to fully open the space and provide tools to allow similar projects to be built in other Wikipedia projects. We recently passed the second month of our grant and I wanted to share our progress with you thus far.


We recently brought Dustin York to our team as our graphic designer. York’s background designing the WMF’s Travel and Participation Support grantmaking pages and other experience such as with UNICEF will be invaluable to us. He has begun exchanging ideas in hopes that the design work will be in full swing by September. We intend to make the space friendly and inviting for both learners and mentors alike and are confident that we can create a promising look and feel.

Product/Interaction Designer Dustin York’s illustration work for the WMF’s Travel & Participation Support grants pages on Meta.

In program development, we’ve organized an editing curriculum that we hope to make available to learners as part of the mentorship. We’ve categorized these skills into three different levels of difficulty as well as by skill type (see example). We’ve also finalized a conceptual design for how learners will be matched with mentors.

Example skills planned to be made available at the Co-op.

In our research, we’ve finished designing interview protocols and questions for editors who have participated in help spaces on Wikipedia, such as the Teahouse and The Wikipedia Adventure. We have started reaching out to such editors for interviews – their feedback will help guide our upcoming design decisions.

We have narrowed down key questions we want answered which we will use to help us understand the impact of our project:

  • How well does the Co-op work?
  • What predicts how well the Co-op works for particular learners?
  • What features work best in various existing programs?
  • Why do learners seek out and continue mentorship?

We also completed background research in addition to a preliminary mentor survey to assess how and why editors participate in mentoring. We have published our key findings on our hub on the English Wikipedia.

Lastly, our team was well-represented at Wikimania 2014 in London. We met often, sought out prospective programming candidates and connected with a number of editors and Foundation staff to discuss feedback and ideas for our project.

We plan to begin our pilot in early December and are seeking out editors who are interested in mentoring a small number of learners during this pilot period. If you are interested, please let us know on our project talk page or contact me directly. We believe that mentorship is a positive and personalized way to promote good editing habits for editors in addition to engaging productively with the editing community. It is our hope that our efforts, along with those of the mentors, will create a more approachable atmosphere for users who want to contribute to Wikipedia.

This article was co-authored by Soni and IJethroBT

by carlosmonterrey at August 27, 2014 09:41 PM

August 26, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Content Translation: 100 published articles, and more to come!

On July 17, 2014, the Wikimedia Language Engineering team announced the deployment of the ContentTranslation extension in Wikimedia Labs. This first deployment was targeted primarily for translation from Spanish to Catalan. Since then, users have expressed generally positive feedback about the tool. Most of the initial discussion took place in the Village pump (Taverna) of the Catalan Wikipedia. Later, we had the opportunity to showcase the tool to a wider audience at Wikimania in London.

Initial response

In the first 2 weeks, 29 articles were created using the Content Translation tool and published in the Catalan Wikipedia. Article topics were diverse, ranging from places in Malta, to companies in Italy, a river, a monastery, a political manifesto, and a prisoner of war. As the Content Translation tool is also being used for testing by the developers and other volunteers, the full list of articles that make it to a Wikipedia is regularly updated. The Language Engineering team also started addressing some of the bugs that were encountered, such as issues with paragraph alignment and stability of the machine translation controller.

The number of articles published using Content Translation has now crossed over 100 and its usage has not been only limited to Catalan Wikipedia. Users have been creating articles in other languages like Gujarati and Malayalam, although machine translation has not been extended beyond Spanish−Catalan yet. All the pages that were published as articles had further edits for wikification, grammar correction, and in some cases meaningful enhancement. A deeper look at the edits revealed that the additional changes were first made by the same user who made the initial translation, and later by other editors or bots.

Wikimania in London

Amir Aharoni of the Wikimedia Language Engineering team introduces the Content Translation tool to the student delegation from Kazakhstan at Wikimania 2014, in London.

Amir Aharoni of the Wikimedia Language Engineering team introduces the Content Translation tool to the student delegation from Kazakhstan at Wikimania 2014, in London.

The Content Translation tool was showcased widely at Wikimania 2014, the annual conference of the Wikimedia communities. In the main conference, Santhosh Thottingal and Amir Aharoni presented about machine aided translation delivery through Content Translation. During the pre-conference hackathon, Pau Giner conducted a testing session with student volunteers from Kazakhstan, who were enthusiastic about using the tool in their local Wiki Club. Requests for fully supporting other language pairs were brought up by many users and groups like the Wikipedia Medical Translation project. Discussions were held with the Wikidata team to identify areas of collaboration on data reuse for consistent referencing across translated versions. These include categories, links etc.

The Language Engineering team members worked closely with Wikimedians to better understand requirements for languages like Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, Tajik, Swedish, German and others, that can be instrumental in extending support for these languages.

Further development

The development of ContentTranslation continues. Prior to Wikimania, the Language Engineering team met to evaluate the response and effectiveness of the first release of the tool, and prepared the goals for the next release. The second release is slated for the last week of September 2014. Among the features planned are support for more languages (machine translation, dictionaries), a smarter entry point to the translation UI, and basic editor formatting. It is expected that translation support from Catalan to Spanish will be activated by the end of August 2014. Read the detailed release plan and goals to know more.

Over the next couple of months, the Language Engineering team intends to work closely with our communities to better understand how the Content Translation tool has helped the editors so far and how it can serve the the global community better with the translation aids and resources currently integrated with tool. We welcome feedback at the project talk page. Get in touch with the Language Engineering team for more information and feedback.

Amir Aharoni and Runa Bhattacharjee, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by Guillaume Paumier at August 26, 2014 02:32 PM

Wikimedia engineering report, July 2014

Major news in July include:

Note: We’re also providing a shorter and translatable version of this report.

Engineering metrics in July:

  • 164 unique committers contributed patchsets of code to MediaWiki.
  • The total number of unresolved commits went from around 1575 to about 1642.
  • About 31 shell requests were processed.


Work with us

Are you looking to work for Wikimedia? We have a lot of hiring coming up, and we really love talking to active community members about these roles.


  • Arthur Richards is now Team Practices Manager (announcement).
  • Kristen Lans joined the Team Practices Group as Scrum Master (announcement).
  • Joel Sahleen joined the Language Engineering team as Software Engineer (announcement).

Technical Operations

Dallas data center

Throughout July, the cabling work of all racked servers and other equipment was nearly completed. We’re still awaiting the installation of the first connectivity to the rest of our US network in early August before we can begin installation of servers and services.

San Francisco data center

Due to a necessary upgrade to power & cooling infrastructure in our San Francisco data center (which we call ulsfo), our racks have been migrated to a new floor within the same building on July 9. The move completed in a very smooth fashion without user impact, and the site was brought back online serving all user traffic again in less than 24 hours.

PFS enabled

Through the help of volunteer work and research, our staff enabled Perfect Forward Secrecy on our SSL infrastructure, significantly increasing the security of encrypted user traffic.

Labs metrics in July:

  • Number of projects: 173
  • Number of instances: 464
  • Amount of RAM in use (in MBs): 1,933,824
  • Amount of allocated storage (in GBs): 20,925
  • Number of virtual CPUs in use: 949
  • Number of users: 3,500

Wikimedia Labs

We’ve made several minor updates to Wikitech: we added OAuth support, fixed a few user interface issues, and purged the obsolete ‘local-*’ terminology for service groups.
OPW Intern Dinu Sandaru has set forms for structured project documentation. This should will help match new volunteers with existing projects, and will make communication with project administrators more straightforward.
Sean Pringle is in the process of updating the Tool Labs replica databases to MariaDB version 10.0. This may reduce replag, and should improve performance and reliability.
We’re setting up new storage hardware for the project dumps. This will resolve our ongoing problems with full drives and out-of-date dumps.

Features Engineering

Editor retention: Editing tools


In July, the team working on VisualEditor converged the design for mobile and desktop, made it possible to see and edit HTML comments, improved access to re-using citations, and fixed over 120 bugs and tickets.

The new design, with controls focussed at the top of each window in consistent positions, was made possible due to the significant progress made in cross-platform support in the UI library, which now provides responsively-sized windows that can work on desktop, tablet and phone with the same code. HTML comments are occasionally used on a few articles to alert editors to contentious or problematic issues without disrupting articles as they are read, so making them prominently visible avoids editors accidentally stepping over expected limits. Re-using citations is now provided with its simple dialog available in the toolbar so that it is easier for users to find.

Other improvements include an array of performance fixes targeted at helping mobile users especially, fixing a number of minor instances where VisualEditor would corrupt the page, and installing better monitoring of corruptions if they occur, and better support for right-to-left languages, displaying icons with the right orientation based on context.

The mobile version of VisualEditor, currently available for beta testers, moved towards stable release, fixing a number of bugs and editing issues and improving loading performance. Our work to support languages made some significant gains, nearing the completion of a major task to support IME users, and the work to support Internet Explorer uncovered some more issues as well as fixes. The deployed version of the code was updated five times in the regular release cycle (1.24-wmf12, 1.24-wmf13, 1.24-wmf14, 1.24-wmf15 and 1.24-wmf16).

In wider news, the team expanded its scope to cover all MediaWiki editing tools as well, as the new Editing Team (covered below).


In July, the newly re-named and re-scoped Editing Team was formed from the VisualEditor Team. We are responsible for extending and improving the editing tools used at Wikimedia – primarily VisualEditor and maintenance for WikiEditor. We exist to support new and existing editors alike; our current work is mostly on desktop, and we are working with Mobile to take responsibility for all editing across desktop, tablet and phone platforms, spanning approximately 50 different areas of MediaWiki and extensions related to editing. We will continue to report progress on VisualEditor separately.

The biggest Editing change this month was in the Cite extension (for footnotes) – this now automatically shows a references list at the end of the page if you forget to put in a <references /> tag, instead of displaying an ugly error message. The Math extension (for formulæ) was improved with more rigorous error handling and LaTeX formula checking, as part of the long-term volunteer-led work to introduce MathML-based display and editing. The TemplateData GUI editor was deployed to a further six wikis – the English, French, Italian, Russian, Finnish and Dutch Wikipedias.

A lot of work was done on libraries and infrastructure for the Editing Team and others. The OOjs UI library was extensively modified to bring in a new window management system for comprehensive combined desktop, tablet and phone support, as well as other updates to improve Internet Explorer compatibility and accessibility of controls. In the next few months the team will continue working on OOUI to support other teams’ needs and implement a consistent look-and-feel in collaboration with the Design team. The OOjs library was updated to fix a minor bug, with a new version (v1.0.11) released and pushed downstream into MediaWiki, VisualEditor and OOjs UI. The ResourceLoader framework was extended to allow skins to set the “skinStyles” property themselves, rather than rely on faux dependencies, as part of wider efforts led jointly by a volunteer and a team member to improve MediaWiki’s skin support.


In July, the Parsoid team continued with ongoing bug fixes and bi-weekly deployments.

With an eye towards supporting Parsoid-driven page views, the Parsoid team strategized on addressing Cite extension rendering differences that arise from site-messages based customizations and is considering a pure CSS-based solution for addressing the common use cases. We also finished work developing the test setup for doing mass visual diff tests between PHP parser rendering and Parsoid rendering. It was tested locally and we started preparations for deploying that on our test servers. This will go live end-July or early-August.

The GSoC 2014 LintTrap project continued to make good progress. We had productive conversations with Project WikiCheck about integrating LintTrap with WikiCheck in a couple different ways. We hope to develop this further over the coming months.

Overall, this was also a month of reduced activity with Gabriel now officially full time in the Services team and Scott focused on the PDF service deployment that went live a couple days ago. The full team is also spending a week at a off-site meeting working and spending time together in person prior to Wikimania in London.


Services and REST API

The brand new Services group (currently Matt Walker and Gabriel Wicke) started July with two main projects:

  1. PDF render service deployment
  2. Design and prototyping work on the storage service and REST API

The PDF render service is now deployed in production, and can be selected as a render backend in Special:Book. The renderer does not work perfectly on all pages yet, but the hope is that this will soon be fixed in collaboration with the other primary author of this service, C. Scott Ananian.

Prototyping work on the storage service and REST API is progressing well. The storage service now has early support for bucket creation and multiple bucket types. We decided to configure the storage service as a backend for the REST API server. This means that all requests will be sent to the REST API, which will then route them to the appropriate storage service without network overhead. This design lets us keep the storage service buckets very general by adding entry point specific logic in front-end handlers. The interface is still well-defined in terms of HTTP requests, so it remains straightforward to run the storage service as a separate process. We refined the bucket design to allow us to add features very similar to Amazon DynamoDB in a future iteration. There is also an early design for light-weight HTTP transaction support.

Matt Walker is sadly leaving the Foundation by the end of this month to follow his passion of building flying cars. This means that we currently have three positions open in the service group, which we hope to start filling soon.

Core Features


In July, the Flow team built the ability for users to subscribe to individual Flow discussions, instead of following an entire page of conversations. Subscribing to an individual thread is automatic for users who create or reply to the thread, and users can choose to subscribe (or unsubscribe) by clicking a star icon in the conversation’s header box. Users who are subscribed to a thread receive notifications about any replies or activity in that thread. To support the new subscription/notification system, the team created a new namespace, Topic, which is the new “permalink” URL for discussion threads; when a user clicks on a notification, the target link will be the Topic page, with the new messages highlighted with a color. The team is currently building a new read/unread state for Flow notifications, to help users keep track of the active discussion topics that they’re subscribed to.



In July, the Growth team completed its second round of A/B testing of signup invitations for anonymous editors on English Wikipedia, including data analysis. The team also built the first API and interface prototypes for task recommendations. This new system, first aimed at brand new editors, makes suggestions based on a user’s previous edits.


Wikimedia Apps

Following on from the successful launch to Android, the Mobile Apps team released the new native Wikipedia app to iOS on July 31. The app is the iOS counterpart to the Android app, with many of the same features such as editing, saving pages for offline reading, and browsing history. The iOS app also contains an onboarding screen that is shown the first time the app is launched, asking users to sign up, a feature which was also launched on Android this month (see below).

On Android this month we released to production accessibility and styling features which were requested by our users, such as a night mode for reading in the dark and a font size selector. We also released an onboarding screen that asks users to sign up.

Our plan for next month is to get user feedback from Wikimania, wrap up our styling fixes, and begin work on an onboarding screen the first time that someone taps edit.

Mobile web projects

This month, the team continued to focus on wrapping up the collaboration with the Editing team to bring VisualEditor to tablet users on the mobile site. We also began working to design and prototype our first new Wikidata contribution stream, which we will build and test with users on the beta site in the coming month.

Wikipedia Zero

During the last month, the team worked on software architecture features that allow for expansion of the Wikipedia Zero footprint on partner networks and that get users to content faster with support for lowered cache fragmentation on Varnish caches. Whereas the previous system supported one-size-fits-all configuration for heterogeneous partner networks, inhibiting some zero-rated access, the new system supports multiple configurations for disparate IP addresses and connection profiles per operator. Additionally, lightweight script and GIF-ified Wikipedia Zero banner support has been added and is being tested; in time this should drastically reduce Varnish cache fragmentation, making pages be served faster and reducing Varnish server load. A faster landing page was introduced for “zerodot” (zero.wikipedia.org, legacy text-only experience) landing pages when operators have multiple popular languages in their geography. Work on compression proxy traffic analysis for header enrichment conformance with the official Wikipedia Zero configurations was also performed after more diagnostic logging code was added to the system. Finally, watchlist thumbnails, although low bandwidth, were removed from the zerodot user experience, as was the higher bandwidth MediaViewer feature for zerodot; mdot will have these features, though.

In side project work, the team spent time on API continuation queries, Android IP editing notices, Amazon Kindle and other non-Google Play distribution, and Google Play reviews (now that the Android launch dust has settled, mobile apps product management will be triaging the reviews). In partnerships work, the team met with Mozilla to talk about future plans for the Firefox OS HTML5 app (e.g., repurposing the existing mobile website, but without any feature reduction) and how Wikimedia search might be further integrated into Firefox OS, and also spoke with Canonical about how Wikipedia might be better integrated into the forthcoming Ubuntu Phone OS.

Routine pre- and post-launch configuration changes were made to support operator zero-rating, with routine technical assistance provided to operators and the partner management team to help add zero-rating and address anomalies. The team also continued its search for a third Partners engineering teammate.

Wikipedia Zero (partnerships)

We served an estimated 68 million free page views in July through Wikipedia Zero. We continue to bring new partners into the program, though none launched in July. Adele Vrana met with prospective partners and local Wikimedians in Brazil. We published our operating principles to increase transparency.

Language Engineering

Language tools

CLDR extension was updated to use CLDR 25; this work was mostly done by Ryan Kaldari. The team made various internationalization fixes in core, MobileFrontend, Wikipedia Android app, Flow, VisualEditor and other features. In the Translate extension, Niklas Laxström fixed ElasticSearchTTMServer to provide translation memory suggestions longer than one word; and improved translation memory suggestions for translation units containing variables (bug 67921).

Language Engineering Communications and Outreach

We announced the initial availability of the Content translation tool with limited feature support. We are focusing on supporting Spanish to Catalan translations for this initial release. You can read a report on the feedback received since deployment.

Content translation

An initial version was released on Beta Labs; it supports machine translation between Spanish and Catalan. The machine translation API leverages open source machine translation with Apertium. The tool supports experimental template adaptation between languages. Numerous bug fixes were made based on testing and user feedback. We worked on matching the Apertium version to the cluster, and planning for the next round of development has started.

Platform Engineering

MediaWiki Core


The Beta cluster is running HHVM. The latest MediaWiki-Vagrant and Labs-vagrant use HHVM by default.

Admin tools development

Most admin tools resources are currently diverted towards SUL finalisation, which will greatly help in reducing the admin tools backlog. July saw the deployment of the global rename tool (bug 14862), and core fixes including the creation of the “viewsuppressed” userright (bug 20476).


Our deployment of CirrusSearch to larger wikis as the primary search back-end turned out to be too ambitious. After encountering performance issues, we rolled back this change. We are now addressing the root of the problem, by getting more servers (nearly doubling the cluster size) and putting together more optimizations to the portion of Cirrus that fell over (working set). If everything goes as planned, it’ll be reduced by about 80%, by reducing indexing performance in return of search performance. These optimizations will slightly change result relevance; please let us know if you notice any issues.

Auth systems

Most work was spent on SUL Finalization tasks. Phpunit and browser tests were added for CentralAuth, global rename was deployed, and lots of small fixes were made to CentralAuth to clean up user accounts in preparation for finalization.

SUL finalisation

In July, the SUL finalisation team began work on completing the necessary feature work to support the SUL finalisation.

To help users with local-only accounts that are going to be forcibly renamed due to the SUL finalisation, the team is working on a form that lets those users request a rename. These requests will be forwarded onto the stewards to handle. The SUL team is currently in consultation with the stewards about how they would like this tool to work. When this consultation is wrapped up, the team will begin design and implementation.

To help users get globally renamed without having to request renames on potentially hundreds of wikis, the team implemented and deployed GlobalRenameUser, a tool which renames users globally. As the tool is designed to work post-finalisation, it only performs renames where the current name is global, and the requested name is totally untaken (no global account and no local accounts exist with that name).

To help users who get renamed by the finalisation and, despite our best efforts to reach out to them, did not get the chance to request a rename before the finalisation, the team is working on a feature to let users log in with their old credentials. The feature will display an interstitial when they log in, informing them that they logged in with old credentials and that they need to use new ones. We are also considering a persistent banner for those users, so that they definitely know they need to use their new credentials. An early beta version of this feature is complete, and now needs design and product refinements to be completed.

To help users who get renamed by the finalisation and, as a result, have several accounts that were previously local-only turned into separate global accounts, the team is working on a tool to merge global accounts. We chose to merge accounts as it was the easiest way to satisfy the use case without causing further local-global account clashes that would cause us to have to perform a second finalisation. The tool is in its preliminary stages.

The team also globalised some accounts that were not globalised but had no clashes. These accounts were either created in this local-only form due to bugs, or are accounts from before CentralAuth was deployed where the user never globalised. As these accounts had no clashes, there were no repercussions to globalising these accounts, so we did this immediately.

At present, no date has been chosen for the finalisation. The team plans to have the necessary engineering work done by the end of the quarter (end of September 2014), and have a date chosen by then.

Next month the team plans to continue work on these features.

Security auditing and response

MediaWiki 1.23.2 was released, fixing 3 security bugs. Security reviews were made for BounceHandler and Petition extensions, and the password API was merged.

Release Engineering

Release Engineering

This month, the Release and QA Team became the Release Engineering Team, mostly reflecting the transition of this team from being made up of members of other distinct teams to that of a coherent self-contained (mostly) team. This will, hopefully, allow better coordination of “Release” and “QA” things (broadly spreaking).

A lot of progress was made on making Phabricator suitable as a task/bug tracking system for Wikimedia projects. You can see the work to be sorted and completed at this workboard.

The Beta Cluster now runs with HHVM, bringing us much closer to full HHVM deployment. In addition, the Language Team deployed the new Content translation system on the Beta Cluster with the help of the Release Engineering team.

The second round of public RFP for third-party MediaWiki release management was conducted and concluded.

We now no longer use the third-party Cloudbees service for any of our Jenkins jobs and run all jobs locally. This will enable us to better diagnose issues with our build process, especially as it pertains to our browser tests (which still mostly run on SauceLabs).

Quality Assurance

This month, the QA team finished two significant achievements: after porting all the remaining browser tests from the browsertests repository to the repositories of the extensions being tested in June, as well as porting a significant set of tests to MediaWiki core itself, we completely retired the Jenkins instance running on a third-party host in favor of running test builds from the Wikimedia Jenkins instance, and we deleted the /qa/browsertests code repository. These moves are the result of more than two years of work. In addition, we have added more functions to the API wrapper used by browser tests, improved support for testing in Vagrant virtual machines, added new Jenkins builds for extensions, and improved the function of the beta labs test environments by preventing database locks and stopping users from being logged out by accident.

Browser testing

The browser tests are now all integrated with builds on the Wikimedia Jenkins host. We added browser tests for MediaWiki core that will validate the correctness of a MediaWiki installation regardless of language, or of what extensions may or may not exist on the wiki, so that the tests may be packaged with the distribution of MediaWiki itself and used on arbitrary wikis. We saw a lot of browser test activity for Flow development, and we are preparing to support even more extensions and features in the very near future.



Media Viewer’s new ‘minimal design’.

In July, the multimedia team reviewed more feedback about Media Viewer, from three separate Requests for Comments on the English and German Wikipedias, as well as on Wikimedia Commons. Based on this community feedback, the team worked to make the tool more useful for readers, while addressing editor concerns. We are now considering a new ‘minimal design’, which would include: a much more visible link to the File: page; an even easier way to disable the tool; a caption or description right below the image; removing additional metadata below the image, directing users to the File: page instead.

As described in our improvements plan, these new features are being prototyped and will be carefully tested with target users in August, so we can validate their effectiveness before developing and deploying them in September. You can see some of our thinking in this presentation.

This month, we continued to work on the Structured Data project with the Wikidata team and many community members, to implement machine-readable data on Wikimedia Commons. We prepared to host a range on online and in-person discussions to plan this project with our communities, and aim to develop our first experiments in October, based on their recommendations. We also continued a major code refactoring for the UploadWizard, as well as fixed a number of bugs for some of our other multimedia tools.

Last but not least, we prepared seven different multimedia roundtables and presentations for Wikimania 2014, which we will report on in more depth in August. For now, you can keep up with our work by joining the multimedia mailing list.

Engineering Community Team

Bug management

At the Pywikibot bugdays, 189 reports received updates. Technically, Jan enabled invalidating the CSS cache and strict transport security, Matanya updated Bugzilla’s cipher_suite and cleaned up a template, and Daniel deleted an unused config file. Tyler and Andre added requested components to Bugzilla. Planning of an exposed “easy bug of the week” continued, summarized on a wikipage.

Phabricator migration

Phabricator’s “Legalpad” application (a tool to manage trusted users) was set up on a separate server. This instance provides WMF Single-User Login authentication.

Mukunda implemented restricting access to tasks in a certain project which can be tested on fab.wmflabs.org. As a followup, he investigated enforcing security policy also on files and attachments and replacing the IRC bots by Phab’s chatbot. Chase worked on initial migration code to import data from Bugzilla reports into Phabricator tasks (and ran into missing API code in Phabricator), investigated configuring Exim for mail, set up a data backup system for Phabricator, and upgraded the dedicated Phabricator server to Ubuntu Trusty. Quim started documenting Phabricator.

Andre helped making decisions on defining field values and how to handle certain Bugzilla fields in the import script and sent a summary email to wikitech-l about the Phabricator migration status.

Mentorship programs

All Google Summer of Code and FOSS Outreach Program for Women projects continued their development toward a successful end. For details, check the reports:

Technical communications

Chart showing historical Flesch reading ease data for Tech News, a measure of the newsletter’s readability. Higher scores indicate material that is easier to read. A score of 60–70 corresponds to content easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students.

Guillaume Paumier collaborated with authors of the Education newsletter to set it up for multilingual delivery, using a script similar to the one used for Tech News. He also wrote a detailed how-to to accompany the script for people who want to send a multilingual message across wikis. In preparation for the Wikimania session about Tech News, he updated the readability and subscribers metrics. He also continued to provide ongoing communications support for the engineering staff, and to prepare and distribute Tech News every week.

Volunteer coordination and outreach

We focused on the preparation of the Wikimania Hackathon, encouraging all registered participants to propose topics and sign up to interesting sessions. We also organized a Q&A session with potential organizers of the Wikimedia Hackathon 2015. We organized two Tech Talks: Hadoop and Beyond. An overview of Analytics infrastructure and HHVM in production: what that means for Wikimedia developers. More activities hosted in July can be found at Project:Calendar/2014/07.

Architecture and Requests for comment process

Developers finished the security architecture guidelines, and discussed several requests for comment in online architecture meetings:


In July, Quim Gil sorted the tasks necessary for the first hub prototype into a Phabricator board, and Sumana Harihareswara determined which three APIs she would document first.



Wikimetrics can now generate vital sign metrics for every project daily. Rolling Monthly Active Editor metric has been implemented; the reports are in JSON format, in a logical path hosted on a file server and downloadable. The team also worked on backfilling data for the daily reports on Newly Registered and Rolling Active Editor, and numerous optimizations to backfill the data quickly.

Data Processing

New nodes were added to the cluster this month and all machines were upgraded to run CDH5. The team decided not to preserve any data on the cluster during the upgrade and started fresh. The team hosted a Tech Talk on our Hadoop installation (see video and slides). Duplicate monitoring has also been implemented in Hadoop to monitor the incoming Varnish logs.

Editor Engagement Vital Signs

The culmination of our efforts this month can be visualized in a prototype built for Wikimania. This was made possible thanks to many back-end enhancements (optimizations) to Wikimetrics, along with research and selection of the optimal technologies to implement the stack to display a dashboard.


EventLogging monitoring is now in graphite, and we can see which schemas cause spikes in traffic (example).

Research and Data

This month, we completed the documentation for the Active Editor Model, a set of metrics for observing sub-population trends and setting product team goals. We also engaged in further work on the new pageviews definition. An interim solution for Limited-duration Unique Client Identifiers (LUCIDs) was also developed and passed to the Analytics Engineering team for review.

We analyzed trends in mobile readership and contributions, with a particular focus on the tablet switchover and the release of the native Android app. We found that in the first half of 2014, mobile surpassed desktop in the rate at which new registered users become first-time editors and first-time active editors in many major projects, including the English Wikipedia. An update on mobile trends will be presented at the upcoming Monthly Metrics meeting on July 31.

Development of a standardised toolkit for geolocation, user agent parsing and accessing pageviews data was completed.

We supported the multimedia team in developing a research study to objectively measure the preference of Wikipedia editor and readers.

We hosted the July research showcase with a presentation by Aaron Halfaker of 4 Python libraries for data analysis, and a guest talk by Center for Civic Media’s Nathan Matias on the use of open data to increase the diversity of collaboratively created content.

We prepared 8 presentations that we will be giving or co-presenting next week at Wikimania in London. We also organized the next WikiResearch hackathon that will be jointly hosted in London (UK) (during the pre-conference Wikimania Hackathon) and in Philadelphia (USA) on August 6-7, 2014.

We filled the fundraising research analyst position: the new member of the Research & Data team will join us in September and we’ll post an announcement on the lists shortly before his start date.

Lastly, we gave presentations on current research at the Wikimedia Foundation at the Institute for Scientific Interchange (Turin) and at the DesignDensity lab (Milan).


Screenshot of the first Project Gutenberg ZIM file

The Kiwix project is funded and executed by Wikimedia CH.

We have pre-release binaries of the next 0.9 (final) release. Except for OSX everything seems to work file as far. The support of RaspberryPi was finally merged to the kiwix-plug master branch; this offers new perspectives because the price to create a Kiwix-Plug has dropped to around USD 100. We also started an engineering collaboration with ebook reader manufacturer Bookeen (in the scope of the Malebooks project) to be able offer an offline version of Wikipedia on e-ink devices.
We participated in the Google Serve Day at Google Zurich. The goal was to meet Google engineers during one day and have them work on open source projects. The result was a dozen of fixed bugs and implemented features, mostly on Kiwix for Android, but also in Kiwix for desktop and MediaWiki.
Four developers had a one-week hackathon in Lyon, France to develop an offline version of the Gutenberg library. We’re currently polishing the code and plan a release soon; our partners and sponsors plan the first deployments in Africa in Autumn.
Last but not least, a proof-of-concept of a Kiwix iOS app was made, so we might release a first app before the end of the year.


The Wikidata project is funded and executed by Wikimedia Deutschland.

The biggest improvement around Wikidata in July is the release of the entity suggester. It makes it a lot easier to see what kind of information is missing on an item. Helen and Anjali, Wikidata’s Outreach Program for Women interns, continued improving user documentation and outreach around Wikidata as well as worked on a new design for the main page. Guided Tours were published, helping newcomers find their way around the site. The developers further worked on supporting badges (like “featured article”), redirects between items, the monolingual text datatype (to be able to express things like the motto of a country) as well as the first implementation steps for the new user interface design. Additionally the first JSON dumps were published.


The engineering management team continues to update the Deployments page weekly, providing up-to-date information on the upcoming deployments to Wikimedia sites, as well as the annual goals, listing ongoing and future Wikimedia engineering efforts.

This article was written collaboratively by Wikimedia engineers and managers. See revision history and associated status pages. A wiki version is also available.

by Guillaume Paumier at August 26, 2014 10:10 AM

August 25, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Chinese Wikipedia Online Magazine: A Community Gateway

Front Page of The Wikipedian

Chinese Wikipedian Wilson Ye created an online magazine called The Wikipedian in December 2012, in partnership with Addis Wang and Eric Song. This project began as part of the Chinese Social Media Program as another way to connect the local community with the wider international community. Today it has over 500 subscribers on Chinese Wikipedia and is a new tool for spreading the idea of the Wikimedia movement to Chinese readers.

When Addis and Wilson first thought about creating an online magazine, they faced some challenges. Since 2005, many Chinese Wikipedians tried different ways to publish online magazines, but no one succeeded. These past failures brought up tough questions for the team regarding content and target audience. Instead of worrying, Wilson decided to make an experimental issue, which consisted of community news, abstracts of four Wikipedia articles and a featured picture. With a beautiful design by Eric, the first issue of the magazine received a lot of encouragement and advice.

After around six months of iterating on the magazine (which was originally published in simplified Chinese), The Wikipedian team published their first traditional Chinese version to promote news of the international community and interesting content contributed by community members to the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau communities. In a 2013 Wikimania special edition, the team invited the editors from Hong Kong and Taiwan to talk about their experiences at Wikimania. This was the first time The Wikipedian broke the geographical barrier to connect Chinese-speaking communities across countries.

Social media plays an important role in promoting the magazine. An account on weibo.com, funded by an Individual Engagement Grant from the Wikimedia Foundation, has become an incubator of new projects. With over 10,000 active followers, this social media account brings in a lot of attention to The Wikipedian and offers an easy way for its readers to provide feedback. One year later, now that The Wikipedian is itself an influencer, the magazine has in turn started to bring new followers to the social media account. This expands the diversity of followers and helps generate more influence in the Chinese-speaking world.

A Chinese proverb says: do not look at the sky from the bottom of a well, going outside is the only way to understand what the world you live in looks like. The Wikipedian would like to be one of the ways for Chinese Wikipedians to see and touch the broader international community.

Addis Wang, Coordinator of Wikimedia User Group China

by carlosmonterrey at August 25, 2014 05:45 PM

Grants, Programs and Learning: This year at Wikimania London

Grants, Programs & Learning booth in the Community Village.

Those present at this year’s Wikimania may have witnessed a different presence on behalf of the Grantmaking team. The department, formed by Grants, Learning & Evaluation and Education teams, was present in the global conference that brings together Wikimedia project programs, movement leaders and volunteers to learn from and connect with one another at the five day event. Whether at our booth in the Community Village or in the many presentations and workshops, the conversations we shared with community members from all over the world were very enriching.

We heard from more and more people interested in gathering data and working toward understanding, at a deeper level, what works and why. In this way, we are all working together towards building sustainable growth for the movement’s projects and programs; work that not only will involve new editors, but partnerships with other institutions that can help create free knowledge.

The need for sustainable growth

Learning Day notes on Logic Model.

Before the conference, we hosted a small Learning Day for leaders in our grants program to share experiences and insights, from applying evaluation to various projects – projects that might help the movement grow. Jake Orlowitz shared his game The Wikipedia Adventure, an experimental project aimed at onboarding new editors. Sandra Rientjes, the executive director from Wikimedia Nederlands (WMNL), presented her chapter’s long-term approach to programs. Wikimedia UK’s Daria Cybulska shared the Wikimedians in Residence Review to show how they have used evaluation to redesign and improve an existing program. To explore diversity, Amanda Menking talked about her experience in her research project on women and Wikipedia.

These four presentations demonstrated the wide range of experiments being conducted by the grants community. Continuing to measure and discuss evaluation can help us all discover projects that have impact and to understand if and how they can be replicated in different contexts.

The day came to a close with a lively Idea Lab Mixer and Learning Day Poster Session happy hour. This was an opportunity for grantees to showcase their work and insight gained in the past year and ignite conversations around creating new ideas to make Wikimedia even more awesome.

The need to learn from each other

Jake Orlowitz during his lightning talk.

For the first time, all the representatives from our grantmaking committees got together for training and impact discussions. The pre-conference sessions also hosted a special day to welcome new FDC members and discuss Participatory Grantmaking. Guest speaker Matthew Hart shared with the group his research on how this practice takes place and what benefits it has on donors, communities and movements. What does it mean to give a Wikimedia grant and work together in a project? Under the light of the recent Impact Reviews developed by Learning & Evaluation team, that focused on Annual Plan Grants and Projects and Event Grants, three main priorities were highlighted with regards on working towards the movement’s goals: expanding reach, generating more participation and improving quality.

The Wikimedia movement is known for its capacity to innovate and learn from peers. We are now at a point when we need to standardize learning processes and generate resources that guarantee this knowledge exchange. As we continue working on program resources, we will also start working more closely with grantees on their project evaluation plans, hopefully reducing the time invested in this task and increasing impact.

The need for better tools and resources!

Wikimania was a great place to share new tools, resources and strategies around shared programs. Some highlights include:

  • Category Induced: Allows you to know how many categories were created from a collection category.
  • Easy FDC report: a tool that lets you gather the number of uploaders, files uploaded and highlighted files from a specific category and make it format-ready for FDC reports.
  • Unused files: Allows user to see which files on any given category have not yet been used.
  • Wikimetrics new features: this tool now lets you know which users from your cohort are newly registered and also includes the new metric ‘Rolling active editor.’ Find out more on on this presentation!
  • Quarry: Allows you to run SQL queries against Wikipedia and other databases from your browser. Stay tuned for more documentation on this tool on the Evaluation portal on Meta!

For tool-driven program leaders, the new tools directory will come in handy to find these and other resources to measure online impact!

As we continue to work on the challenges that surfaced during conversations at Wikimania, we hope to continue the dialogue online with program leaders and grantees all over the world. We are working to connect talented people and good ideas across the movement, so we call out to movement leaders: stay connected, reach out and ask!

María CruzCommunity Coordinator of Program Evaluation & Design

by carlosmonterrey at August 25, 2014 05:30 PM

Remembering Jorge Royan

The is a syndicated post originally published by Wikimedia Argentina. The original Spanish version can be found here.

Wikimedia Argentina is saddened by the passing of our great friend and collaborator, the Argentinian architect and photographer Jorge Royan. Jorge was a winner of the National color photo Ranking by AFA and gold medal recipient from the International Federation of Photography (FIAP). Jorge also held various exhibits in local and international events. He was nominated by Agfa International as “professional of the month.”

As well as being a judge for Wiki Loves Monuments Argentina, Jorge donated hundreds of beautiful photos to Wikimedia Commons so that, in his own words, they won’t stay lost in his computer when he’s no longer around and serve a greater purpose other than just as a curiosity to his grandchildren. We hope that his wishes have been granted. Below you will find a small selection of Jorge’s work.

Thank you so much Jorge!

“A camera is like a bird that should be frozen in flight. To decide from where the bird looks into space (and with what eyes) is our job. Sometimes at ground level, others hang from a chandelier from four meters up. To obtain the wings is our responsibility.”

-Jorge Royan

Wedding photography, The Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic


A skater in the Vondelpark. Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Multi-neck guitar, Paris, France


Jama Masjid the main mosque in Delhi, India


Via delle Oche, Italy


Violin repair shop, Salzburg, Austria


Ford Motor Company vintage Ford, Havana, Cuba


Maori rowing ceremonial choreography, New Zealand

We are currently looking to incorporate a photo of Jorge into this blog. If you have access to a freely licensed photo of Jorge, please contact us. Thank You.

by carlosmonterrey at August 25, 2014 05:28 PM

Wikimedia Foundation releases its first transparency report

We are happy to announce the release of the Wikimedia Foundation’s first transparency report. Transparency is a tenet of the Wikimedia movement.  Anyone can see how a Wikipedia article is created and how it evolves, and anyone can contribute to the software that runs the Wikimedia projects. The transparency report we share today is in furtherance of our commitment to such openness.

Every year, the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization, receives requests from governments, individuals, and organizations to disclose information about our users or to change content on the Wikimedia projects. This transparency report is the amalgamation of two years of data — it details the number of requests we received, where these requests came from, and how we responded to them.

Among the wealth of information furnished in the report, we provide details about:

  • Content alteration and takedown requests. Of the 304 general content removal requests, zero (0) were granted. The Wikimedia Foundation is deeply committed to supporting an open and neutral space, where the users themselves decide what belongs on the Wikimedia projects.
  • Copyright takedown requests. Credit for the notably low number of these requests goes to our community of users, many of whom are creators and copyright holders themselves, and who work hard to ensure that our projects adhere to copyright laws. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides for a legal notice and takedown process, and we do adhere to that law.  When we do receive the infrequent DMCA notice, however, we thoroughly evaluate it and only remove infringing content if the request is valid.
  • Requests for user data. We do all we can to protect our users’ rights and privacy. Only 14.3% of requests for user data were granted because many requests were found to be illegal or not up to our standards. And often, we did not have any information to give. As part of our commitment to user privacy, Wikimedia collects little nonpublic user information, and retains that information for a short amount of time.

We invite you to learn more about our efforts to protect user privacy and the integrity of the Wikimedia projects at transparency.wikimedia.org.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Counsel*

Geoff Brigham, General Counsel

* This transparency report would not have been possible without the help and dedication of many individuals, including: Rubina Kwon, Roshni Patel, James Alexander, Eric Holmes, Dashiell Renaud, Lukas Mezger, Patrick Earley, Matthew Collins, and Megumi Yukie. Special thanks goes to Moiz Syed and Prateek Saxena for dreaming up the incredible design of the report and making it a reality.

by carlosmonterrey at August 25, 2014 05:27 PM

August 20, 2014


Zásada pro chování wikisprávců: Komunikovat a být otevřený

Danny B. je zasloužilý, zkušený a technicky nesmírně zdatný wikipedista. Využívat jeho služby by mělo být radostí pro každý wikiprojekt. Bohužel, mít ho jako správce je problém ve chvíli, když se najde v komunitě někdo, kdo se s ním neshodne. Danny B. totiž někdy využívá své znalosti a svá práva k vytvoření toho, co se jemu líbí, k ostatním požadavkům se někdy nehlásí, ignoruje je a jindy je

by Okino (noreply@blogger.com) at August 20, 2014 11:32 PM

Užitečnost, odbornost, Wikiverzita : 2. díl : Sebevzdělávání

Snad může někomu přijít divné, že má vůbec smysl psát o sebevzdělávání na Wikiverzitě, když jsem minule tak zdůrazňoval, aby Wikiverzita přinášela odbornost a druhými využitelný obsah. Vždyť kdo se sebevzdělává, dělá to proto, že není odborník, a dělá to sám pro sebe. Ve skutečnosti je na tyto dva požadavky – na odbornost a na tvorbu pro druhé – třeba myslet i zde, a právě pro ten paradox ještě

by Okino (noreply@blogger.com) at August 20, 2014 11:12 PM

Užitečnost, odbornost, Wikiverzita : 3. díl : Výzkum

Výzkum je zvláštností Wikiverzity. Ne-li všechny, pak naprostá většina ostatních projektů Wikimedia se originálnímu výzkumu (terminologií Wikipedie vlastnímu výzkumu) brání. Pro Wikiverzitu by ale měl být přirozenou součástí. Jak by ale měl vypadat? Než začnu, dovolte mi prosím uvést, že tento text nepíšu jako pojednání o vědecké metodě, ale jako zcela nesoustavný text z povšechně dostupných

by Okino (noreply@blogger.com) at August 20, 2014 11:12 PM

August 15, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Introducing the new blog: a place for movement news

Today we’re excited to announce the relaunch of the Wikimedia blog, with a new design and new features intended to make it easier for people to participate in sharing knowledge about the Wikimedia movement. We also hope this relaunch serves as a very public reminder: today is always the day you can–and should!–contribute a blog post.

The Wikimedia Foundation blog was started in 2008 as a place for staff of the WMF to share their work. Early blog posts often focused on the work of the Engineering team, including updates about the MediaWiki platform. News from the technology team remains a significant portion of the content shared on the blog today, but it has been joined by a riotous mix of content from every corner of the Wikimedia world.

Over the past six years, the blog has evolved and taken on a character closer to the movement of which it is a part. In April 2012, only 5 percent of blog posts were from authors who were not employed by the Wikimedia Foundation. Today community-authored posts often make up more than half of the total posts in a given month. The blog has become a platform for the movement, with more contributors, more languages, and increasingly diverse subjects and geographies. The volume of posts has grown tremendously: we frequently publish two or more posts a day. We long ago stopped referring to it as the Foundation blog — instead, it is a blog for the entire Wikimedia movement.

Today’s relaunch is designed to reflect some of these changes. We’ve dropped the word Foundation from the blog’s logo: visually, it is now the Wikimedia blog. The design changes offer more space to highlight stories and updates from across the movement, as well as different types of content. (For example, the big, beautiful images from initiatives like Wiki Loves Monument and Wiki Loves Earth will be right at home here.) Blog posts that attract lots of comments and discussion will be automatically featured on the homepage, making it easier to see what people are talking about. Posts in languages other than English will be easier to find and read, offering more opportunities to engage with other language communities.

Some other notable updates include:

  • Direct comment publishing with no moderator delay, thanks to a custom privacy-friendly captcha solution.
  • A responsive design that works better on varying screen sizes: Catch up with the movement as you commute.
  • The code for the theme will be released on Github: We’re looking forward to your pull request for bug fixes.
  • Easier and faster updates thanks to dedicated tech support.
  • An admin tool for simple transfer of licensing information for images from Wikimedia Commons, to easily and correctly attribute the work of community members.
  • Enabling multi-author bylines, reflecting the collaborative production process of many posts (such as this one)

With all these changes, it’s still a work in progress. In the year since we embarked on a redesign process (implemented by Exygy, a San Francisco software firm) we have continued to learn about how the community uses the blog; there are additional tweaks we may add to the look and feel in the future. We’re still working on how to best categorize posts in a way that works for longtime community members, as well as people new to the movement. In the spirit of Cunningham’s Law, we thought we’d start with Movement, Technology, Events, and Foundation as the main navigation categories, and learn from the feedback about how they work for readers. You will probably find other features you’d like to nominate for continued evolution. Please do. (And point out any bugs in the comments… we’re still finding some.)

In planning this relaunch, we had extensive conversations with members of the WMF Operations and Engineering teams about whether we should continue to host the blog on our servers, or move to a third-party host. We reconfirmed that the mission of the Operations team is to operate one the world’s most popular websites. Rather than staff up to support the blog, we jointly concluded that it made sense to work with a third-party host, Automattic, that has particular expertise in this area and understands our needs and values, including a commitment to free software.[1] They have been a strong partner, working to meet our privacy standards, disabling some of their standard analytics tools and clarifying how they handle certain information. They have also altered their WordPress VIP Terms of Service to accommodate Creative Commons licenses.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s taken the care and attention of many people to seamlessly move so much movement history from one platform to another, besides the work of the current Communications team (mainly Heather Walls, who designed the blog’s new theme, and Tilman Bayer, who lead the rollout process with Automattic and Exygy). We’d like to thank the many members of the community who have been–and no doubt will be–providing suggestions and bug reports for the blog platform (with a special thanks to Jeremy Baron). A very big thanks to former WMF Communications team member Matthew Roth, who spearheaded this process and led the redesign work in 2013; to Terry Chay, who provided invaluable technical advice on the process; to the WMF Legal, UX and Operations teams, in particular Luis Villa and Rob Halsell; and to the teams at Exygy (in particular Justin Carboneau and Zach Berke) and at Automattic.

A final reminder: Like the Wikimedia projects, the blog is created by you. You can draft posts directly on Meta, and the Communications team will work with you to edit and publish, according to a transparent editorial process: it’s now common for posts to be created in full view of anyone who is inclined to read or participate. This blog is a platform for the movement, and we’re here to help you share your message with the world.

The WMF Communications Team
Katherine, Tilman, Carlos, and Heather

  1.  Because one WMF Board member happens to be an executive at Automattic, the contract was reviewed with regard to the Foundation’s
    Conflict of Interest policy and approved by the Board in absence of this Board member.

Old vs. New:

Old Wikimedia blog, July 31, 2014 crop2.png New Wikimedia blog, July 31, 2014.png


2014-08-01: Edited to add a footnote explaining how the WMF COI policy was handled for the contract with Automattic.
2014-08-14: Edited to add more information about who on the current WMF Communications team had worked on which part of the project.

by carlosmonterrey at August 15, 2014 06:26 AM

August 14, 2014

Okinovo Okýnko

Wikipedie: otevřenost a zodpovědnost

Nedávná myšlenka vyslovená spoluzakladatelem Wikipedie Jimbem Walesem v diskusi na Wikiverzitě:„Be careful about valuing 'openness' above quality and the achievement of serious goals. Take a look at how badly trolls can upset and ruin a culture. I absolutely support openness - in a framework of quality and thoughtfulness.“Čili česky:„Buďte opatrní, když dáváte větší hodnotu otevřenosti nad

by Okino (noreply@blogger.com) at August 14, 2014 12:15 AM

August 12, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Třetí ročník soutěže Wiki miluje památky

Leták k letošnímu kolu soutěže Wiki miluje památky

Leták k letošnímu kolu soutěže Wiki miluje památky

Letos se již potřetí připojujeme k celosvětové soutěži Wiki miluje památky (WLM). Důvodem je skutečnost, že stále existuje celá řada zajímavých památek na území Čech, Moravy a Slezska, která doposud nebyly vyfotografovány. A rovněž mnohé památky, které již zdokumentovány byly, si zaslouží lepší nebo hezčí snímky.

I v tomto roce tedy můžete pomoci obohatit Wikipedii v češtině a zároveň vyhrát hodnotné ceny. Wikipedie potřebuje Vaše fotografie.

Za předchozí dva ročníky přihlásili lidé do soutěže celkem 23 555 snímků. Byly rozdány ceny v hodnotě několika desítek tisíc korun, které si odnesli autoři nejlépe provedených fotografií (vybraných soutěžní porotou). Sama Wikipedie získala ze soutěže dostatek obrázků na ilustraci například celé pražské památkové zóny. Ty jsou dnes k dispozici jak v seznamech památek, tak i v heslech o památkách samotných. A mnohdy i v článcích o odlehlejších českých obcích, kam zatím příliš dobrovolníků Wikipedie dosud nezavítalo. Ale nepředbíhejme…

Wiki miluje památky je letní fotografickou soutěží; nahrávání snímků probíhá v měsíci září, po skončení prázdnin a letních dovolených. Vítěze vyhlásí soutěžní porota v závěru měsíce listopadu na VI. české wikikonferenci v Brně. Podrobnější informace jsou k dispozici v pravidlech soutěže.

I letos tedy můžete své fotografie (ať už z prázdninových výletů, dovolených, nebo jiných výprav) nahrát do naší soutěže. Kromě snímků z letních měsíců ale uvítáme i fotografie památek jak pořízené třeba 2 dny před uzávěrkou soutěže (30. září), ale i například klidně 30 let staré (vlastně ty kvůli historické hodnotě asi nejvíce…). Památkový fond se totiž pravidelně mění; řada objektů, která byla dobře dostupná před několika lety či desítkami let, už dnes neexistuje a naopak; mnohé zanedbané stavby prošly kompletní rekonstrukcí. Památkových objektů je v seznamu NPÚ celkem 40 000. Řada z nich se proto může nacházet i ve vaší bezprostřední blízkosti – není těžké je najít.

V letošním roce se budeme soustředit především na dostatečně technicky kvalitní fotografie. V rámci naší soutěže jsme rovněž vyhlásili i zvláštní kategorii pro objekty lázeňské – reagujeme tím na akci Rok lázeňské architektury, která je v roce 2014 organizována Národním památkovým ústavem a vydavatelstvím Foibos Books.

Třetí ročník naší soutěže (opět bude spuštěn dne 1. září v 00:00 SELČ – od tohoto data můžete fotografie nahrávat) je nyní již profesionálně řízen díky našemu tříčlennému týmu, který se intenzivně věnuje přípravám akce. Podařilo se nám navázat spolupráci s řadou institucí (naše soutěž získala záštitu Národního památkového ústavu a Slezského zemského muzea) a dalších subjektů, se kterými aktuálně probíhá jednání o věcných cenách pro vítěze soutěže. O vývoji a výsledcích budeme informovat - soutěžní ceny budou zveřejněny do 1. září 2014.

by Jan Loužek at August 12, 2014 05:44 PM


Užitečnost, odbornost, Wikiverzita : 1. díl : Vzdělávání

Už je to skoro rok, co jsem dostal jako redaktor bulletinu Wikimedium k publikování materiál o tom, že na Wikiverzitě začali uklízet, aby se zvýšila její úroveň. Právě kvalita materiálů na Wikiverzitě je často terčem kritiky od přispěvatelů z jiných projektů Wikimedia, a to jak v případě anglické Wikiverzity, tak i české. Od té doby, co jsem ten materiál do Wikimedia převzal a bulletin ho tedy

by Okino (noreply@blogger.com) at August 12, 2014 12:01 AM

August 08, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, July 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 4 • Issue: 7 • July 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Shifting values in the paid content debate; cross-language vandalism detection; translations from 53 Wiktionaries

With contributions by: Piotr Konieczny, Maximilian Klein, Heather Ford, and Han-Teng Liao

Understanding shifting values underlying the paid content debate on the English Wikipedia

See related Signpost content: “Extensive network of clandestine paid advocacy exposed“, “With paid advocacy in its sights, the Wikimedia Foundation amends their terms of use
Reviewed by Heather Ford

Kim Osman has performed a fascinating study[1] on the three 2013 failed proposals to ban paid advocacy editing in the English language Wikipedia. Using a Constructivist Grounded Theory approach, Osman analyzed 573 posts from the three main votes on paid editing conducted in the community in November, 2013. She found that editors who opposed the ban felt that existing policies of neutrality and notability in WP already covered issues raised by paid advocacy editing, and that a fair and accurate encyclopedia article could be achieved by addressing the quality of the edits, not the people contributing the content. She also found that a significant challenge to any future policy is that the community ‘is still not clear about what constitutes paid editing’.

Osman uses these results to argue that there has been a transition in the values of the English language Wikipedia editorial community from seeing commercial involvement as direct opposition to Wikipedia’s core values (something repeated at the institutional level by the Wikimedia Foundation and Jimmy Wales who see a bright line between paid and unpaid editing) to an acceptance of paid professions and a resignation to their presence.

Osman argues that the romantic view of Wikipedia as a system somehow apart from the commercial market that characterized earlier depictions (such as those by Yochai Benkler) has been diluted in recent years and that sustainability in the current environment is linked to a platform’s ability to integrate content across multiple places and spaces on the web. Osman also argues that these shifts reflect wider changes in assumptions about commerciality in digital media and that the boundaries between commercial and non-profit in the context of peer production are sometimes fuzzy, overlapping and not clearly defined.

Osman’s close analysis of 573 posts is a valuable contribution to the ongoing policy debate about the role of paid editing in Wikipedia and will hopefully be used to inform future debates.

“Pivot-based multilingual dictionary building using Wiktionary”

Reviewed by Maximilian Klein (talk)

Straight edges represent translation pairs extracted directly from the Wiktionaries. The pair guildbreaslawas found via triangulating.

To build multilingual dictionaries to and from every language is combinatorially a lot of work. If one uses triangulation–if A means B, and B means C, then A means C (see figure)–then a lot of the work can be done by machine. A large closed-source effort did this in 2009[supp 1], but a new paper by Ács[2] defends “while our methods are inferior in data size, the dictionaries are available on our website”[supp 2]. Their approach used the translation tables from 53 Wiktionaries, to make 19 million inferred translations more than the 4 million already occurring in Wiktionary. The researchers steered clear of several classical problems like polysemy, one word having multiple meanings, by using a machine learning classifier. The features used in the classifier were based on the graph-theoretic attributes of each possible word pair. For instance, if two or more languages can be an intermediate “pivot” language for translation, that turned out to be a good indicator of a valid match. In order to test the precision of these translations, manual spot checking was done and found a precision of 47.9% for newly found word-pairs versus 88.4% for random translations coming out of Wiktionary. As for recall, which tested the coverage of a collection of 3,500 common words, 83.7% of words were accounted for by automatic triangulation in the top 40 languages. That means that right now if we were to try and make a 40-language pocket phrasebook to travel around most of the world just using Wiktionary, about 85% of the time there would be a translation, and it would be between 50-85% correct.

This performance would likely need to increase before any results could be operationalized and contributed back into Wiktionary. However, given the fact that the code used to parse and compare 43 different Wiktionaries was also released on GitHub[supp 3], that goal is a possibility. It’s yet another testament to the open ecosystem to see a Wikimedia project along with Open Researcher efforts make a resource to rival a closed standard. While Ács’ research isn’t the holy grail of translation between arbitrary languages, it cleverly mixes established theory and open data, and then contributes it back to the community.

“Cross Language Learning from Bots and Users to detect Vandalism on Wikipedia”

Reviewed by Han-Teng Liao (talk)

A new study[3] by Tran and Christen is the latest example of academic research on vandalism detection which has been developed over the years[supp 4] in the context of the PAN workshop[supp 5], where researchers develop both corpus data and tools to uncover plagiarism, authorship, and the misuse of social media/software. This work should be of interests to both researchers and Wikipedians because of (a) the need to detect vandalism and (b) the interesting question whether such vandalism-fighting data and tools are transferable or portable from one language version to another. Both the vandalism-fighting corpus and tools have both practical and theoretical implications for understanding the cross-lingual transfer in knowledge and bots.

In 2010 and 2011, Wikipedia vandalism detection competitions were included by the PAN as workshops. It started with Martin Potthast’s work on building the free-of-charge PAN Wikipedia vandalism corpus, PAN-WVC-10 for research, which compiled 32452 edits based on 28468 Wikipedia articles, among which 2391 vandalism instances were identified by human coders recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk[supp 6]. In 2011, a larger crowdsourced corpus of 30,000+ Wikipedia edits is released in three languages: English, German, and Spanish[supp 7], with 65 features to capture vandalism.

Based on even larger datasets of over 500 million revisions across five languages (en:English, de:German, es:Spanish, fr:French, and ru:Russian), Tran & Christen’s latest work adds to the efforts by applying several supervised machine learning algorithms from the Scikit-learn toolkit[supp 8], including Decision Tree (DT), Random Forest (RF), Gradient Tree Boosting (GTB), Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) and Nearest Neighbour (NN).

What Tran & Christen confirm from their findings is that “distinguishing the vandalism identified by bots and users show statistically significant differences in recognizing vandalism identified by users across languages, but there are no differences in recognizing the vandalism identified by bots” (p.13) This demonstrates human beings can recognize a much wider spectrum of vandalism than bots, but still bots are shown to be trainable to be more sophisticated to capture more and more nonobvious cases of vandalism.

Tran & Christen try to further make the case for the benefits of cross language learning of vandalism. They argue that the detection models are generalizable, based on the positive results of transferring the machine-learned capacity from English to other smaller Wikipedia languages. While they are optimistic, they acknowledge such generalization has at best been proven among some of the languages they studied (these languages are all Roman-alphabet-based languages except for Russian), and the poor performance of the Russian language model. Thus, Tran & Christen rightly point out the need for research on non-English and especially non-European language versions. They also recognize that many word based features are no longer useful for some languages such as Mandarin Chinese, because of tokenization and other language-specific issues.

Tran & Christen call for next research projects to include languages such as Arabic and Mandarin Chinese to complete the United Nations working set of languages. It will be interesting to see how such research projects can be executed and how the greater Wikipedia research and editor community can help and/or use such research efforts.

Readers’ interests differ from editors’ preferences

Reviewed by Piotrus.

A conference paper titled “Reader Preferences and Behavior on Wikipedia”[4] deals with the under-studied population of Wikipedia readers. The paper provides a useful literature review on the few studies about reading preference of that group. The researchers used publicly available page view data, and more interestingly, were able to obtain browsing data (such as time spend by a reader on a given page). Since such data is unfortunately not collected by Wikipedia, the researchers obtained this data through volunteers using a Yahoo! toolbar. The authors used Wikipedia:Assessment classes to gauge article’s quality.

The paper offers valuable findings, including important insights to the Wikipedia community, namely that “the most read articles do not necessarily correspond to those frequently edited, suggesting some degree of non-alignment between user reading preferences and author editing preference”. This is not a finding that should come as much surprise, considering for example the high percentage of quality military history articles produced by the WikiProject Military History, one of the most active if not the most active wikiproject in existence – and of how little importance this topic is to the general population. Statistics on topics popularity and quality of corresponding articles can be seen in Table 1, page 3 of the article. Figure 1 on page 4 is also of interest, presenting a matrix of articles grouped by popularity and length. For example, the authors identify the area of “technology” as the 4th most popular, but the quality of its articles lags behind many other fields, placing it around the 9th place. It would be a worthwhile exercise for the Wikipedia community to identify popular articles that are in need of more attention (through revitalizing tools like Wikipedia:Popular pages, perhaps using code that makes WikiProject popular pages listing work?) and direct more attention towards what our readers want to read about (rather than what we want to write about). Finally, the authors also identify different reading patterns, and suggest how those can be used to analyze article’s popularity in more detail.

Overall, this article seems like a very valuable piece of research for the Wikipedia community and the WMF, and it underscores why we should reconsider collecting more data on our readers’ behavior. In order to serve our readers as best as we can, more information on their browsing habits on Wikipedia could help to produce more valuable research like this project.

Wikipedia from the perspective of PR and marketing

Reviewed by Piotrus.

An article[5] in “Business Horizons”, written in a very friendly prose (not a common finding among academic works), looks at Wikipedia (as well as some other forms of collaborative, Web 2.0 media) from the business perspective of a public relations/marketing studies. Of particular interest to the Wikipedia community is the authors goal of presenting “the three bases of getting your entry into Wikipedia, as well as a set of guidelines that help manage the potential Wikipedia crisis that might happen one day.” The authors correctly recognize that Wikipedia has policies that must be adhered to by any contributors, though a weakness of the paper is that while it discusses Wikipedia concepts such as neutrality, notability, verifiability, and conflict of interest, it does not link to them. The paper provides a set of practical advice on how to get one’s business entry on Wikipedia, or how to improve it. While the paper does not suggest anything outright unethical, it is frank to the point of raising some eyebrows. While nobody can disagree with advice such as “as a rule of thumb, try to remain as objective and neutral as possible” and “when in doubt, check with others on the talk page to determine whether proposed changes are appropriate”, given the lack of consensus among Wikipedia’s community on how to deal with for-profit and PR editors, other advice such as “maximize mentions in other Wikipedia entries” (i.e. gaming WP:RED), “be associated with serious contributors…leverage the reputation of an employee who is already a highly active contributor… [befriend Wikipedians in real life]“, “When correcting negative information is not possible, try counterbalancing it by adding more positive elements about your firm, as long as the facts are interesting and verifiable”, “…you might edit the negative section by replacing numerals (99) with words (ninety-nine), since this is also less likely to be read. Add pictures to draw focus away from the negative content” might be seen as more controversial, falling into the gaming the system gray area. The “Third, get help from friends and family” section in particular seems to fall foul of meatpuppetry.

In the end, this is an article worth reading in detail by all interested in the PR/COI topics, though for better or worse, the fact that it is closed access will likely reduce its impact significantly. On an ending note, one of the two article’s co-authors has a page on Wikipedia at Andreas Kaplan, which was restored by a newbie editor in 2012, two years after it’s deletion, has been maintained by throw-away SPAs, and this reviewer cannot help but notice that it still seems to fail Wikipedia:Notability (academics)

“No praise without effort: experimental evidence on how rewards affect Wikipedia’s contributor community”

Reviewed by Piotrus.

In 2012, the authors of this paper[6] have given out over a hundred barnstars to the top 1% most active Wikipedians, and concluded that such awards improve editors productivity. This time they repeated this experiment while broadening their sample size to the top 10% most active editors. After excluding administrators and recently inactive editors, they handed out 300 barnstars “with a generic positive text that expressed community appreciation for their contributions”, divided between the 91st–95th, 96th–99th, and 100th percentiles of the most active editors (this corresponds to an average of 282, 62 and 22 edits per month) and then tracked the activity of those editors, as well as of the corresponding control sample which did not receive any award. The experiment was designed to test the hypothesis that less active contributors will be responsive to rewards, similar to the most highly-active contributors from the prior research.

The authors found, however, that rewarding less productive editors did not stimulate higher subsequent productivity. They note that while the top 1% group responded to an award with an increase in productivity (measured at a rather high 60% increase), less productive subjects did not change their behavior significantly. The researchers also noted that while some of the top 1% editors received an additional award from other Wikipedians, not a single subject from the less active group was a recipient of another award.

The researchers conclude that “this supports the notion that peer production’s incentive structure is broadly meritocratic; we did not observe contributors receiving praise or recognition without having first demonstrated significant and substantial effort.” While this will come as little surprise to the Wikipedia community, their other observation – that outside the top 1% of editors, awards such as barnstars have little meaningful impact – is more interesting.

Further, the authors found that while rewarding the most active editors tends to increase their retention ratio, it may counter-intuitively decrease the retention ratio of the less active editors. The authors propose the following explanation: “Premature recognition of their work may convey a different meaning to these contributors; instead of signaling recognition and status in the eyes of the community, these individuals may perceive being rewarded as a signal that their contributions are sufficient, for the time being, or come to expect being rewarded for their contributions.” They suggest that this could be better understood through future research. For the community in general, it raises an interesting question: how should we recognize less active editors, to make sure that thanking them will not be taken as “you did enough, now you can leave”?


Wikipedia assignments improve students’ research skills

It is refreshing to see a continuing and growing stream of academic works endorsing various aspects of teaching with Wikipedia paradigm. A study[7] of eleven students “enrolled in a semester-long academic literacy course in a preparatory program for study at an Australian university… showed an educationally statistical improvement in the students’ research skills, while qualitative comments revealed that despite some technical difficulties in using the Wikipedia site, many students valued the opportunity to write for a ‘real’ audience and not just for a lecturer.”

A split in the growing field of Chinese-language Wikipedia research

A blog post[8] by Han-Teng Liao (廖漢騰) presents an interesting exploratory overview of a Chinese language research on Wikipedia. The findings suggest that Chinese-language scholars and academic publication outlets are increasingly doing research in the field of Wikipedia studies; however there’s “a divide between mainland Chinese academic sources/search results on one hand, and Hong Kong/Taiwanese ones on the other.” The reason for this seems to be primarily technical, as scholars from different regions seem to publish in different outlets, which in turn are not indexed in the academic search engines preferred by those from other region.

Other recent publications

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

  • “Uneven Openness: Barriers to MENA [Middle East/North Africa] Representation on Wikipedia”[9] (blog post)
  • ” Detecting epidemics using Wikipedia article views: A demonstration of feasibility with language as location proxy”[10]
  • “The Reasons of People Continue Editing Wikipedia Content – Task Value Confirmation Perspective”[11]
  • “Circling the Infinite Loop, One Edit at a Time: Seriality in Wikipedia and the Encyclopedic Urge”[12]
  • “Identifying Duplicate and Contradictory Information in Wikipedia”[13]
  • “The impact of elite vs. non-elite contributor groups in online social production communities: The case of Wikipedia”[14]
  • “What do we Think an Encyclopaedia is?”[15] From the abstract: “Based on survey and interview research carried out with publishers, librarians and higher education students, [this article] demonstrates that certain physical features and qualities are associated with the encyclopaedia and continue to be valued by them. Having identified these qualities, the article then explores whether they apply to three incidences of electronic encyclopaedias, Britannica Online, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Wikipedia.”
  • “Crowdsourcing Knowledge Interdiscursive Flows from Wikipedia into Scholarly Research”[16]. From the abstract: “using a dataset collected from the Scopus research database, which is processed with a combination of bibliometric techniques and qualitative analysis [this article finds] that there has been a significant increase in the use of Wikipedia as a reference within all areas of science and scholarship. Wikipedia is used to a larger extent within areas like Computer Science, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities, than in Natural Sciences, Medicine and Psychology.”
  • “How Readers Shape the Content of an Encyclopedia: A Case Study Comparing the German Meyers Konversationslexikon (1885-1890) with Wikipedia (2002-2013)”[17]


  1. Osman, Kim (2014-06-17). “The Free Encyclopaedia that Anyone can Edit: The Shifting Values of Wikipedia Editors“. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research 6: 593–607. doi:10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146593. ISSN 2000-1525. 
  2. Ács, Judit (May 26–31, 2014). Pivot-based multilingual dictionary building using Wiktionary.
  3. Tran, Khoi-Nguyen; P. Christen (2014). “Cross Language Learning from Bots and Users to detect Vandalism on Wikipedia”. IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering Early Access Online. doi:10.1109/TKDE.2014.2339844. ISSN 1041-4347. 
  4. Janette Lehmann, Claudia Müller-Birn, David Laniado, Mounia Lalmas, Andreas Kaltenbrunner: Reader Preferences and Behavior on Wikipedia. HT’14, September 1–4, 2014, Santiago, Chile. http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~mounia/Papers/wiki.pdf
  5. Kaplan, Andreas; Michael Haenlein. “Collaborative projects (social media application): About Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia“. Business Horizons. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2014.05.004. ISSN 0007-6813.  Closed access
  6. Restivo, Michael; Arnout van de Rijt. “No praise without effort: experimental evidence on how rewards affect Wikipedia’s contributor community“. Information, Communication & Society: 1-12. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2014.888459. ISSN 1369-118X. 
  7. Miller, Julia (2014-06-13). “Building academic literacy and research skills by contributing to Wikipedia: A case study at an Australian university“. Journal of Academic Language and Learning 8 (2): A72-A86. ISSN 1835-5196. 
  8. Liao, Han-Teng (2014-06-20). Chinese-language literature about Wikipedia: a meta-analysis of academic search engine result pages.
  9. Graham, Mark; Bernie Hogan (2014-04-29). “Uneven Openness: Barriers to MENA Representation on Wikipedia”. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2430912. 
  10. Generous, Nicholas; Geoffrey Fairchild, Alina Deshpande, Sara Y. Del Valle, Reid Priedhorsky (2014-05-14). “Detecting epidemics using Wikipedia article views: A demonstration of feasibility with language as location proxy“. arXiv:1405.3612 [physics]. 
  11. Lai, Cheng-Yu; Heng-Li Yang. “The Reasons of People Continue Editing Wikipedia Content – Task Value Confirmation Perspective“. Behaviour & Information Technology (ja): 1-47. doi:10.1080/0144929X.2014.929744. ISSN 0144-929X. 
  12. Salor, E.: Circling the Infinite Loop, One Edit at a Time: Seriality in Wikipedia and the Encyclopedic Urge. In Allen, R. and van den Berg, T. (eds.) Serialization in Popular Culture. London: Routledge p.170 ff.
  13. Weissman, Sarah; Samet Ayhan, Joshua Bradley, Jimmy Lin (2014-06-04). “Identifying Duplicate and Contradictory Information in Wikipedia“. arXiv:1406.1143 [cs]. 
  14. Mihai Grigore, Bernadetta Tarigan, Juliana Sutanto and Chris Dellarocas: “The impact of elite vs. non-elite contributor groups in online social production communities: The case of Wikipedia”. SCECR 2014 PDF
  15. Schopflin, Katharine (2014-06-17). “What do we Think an Encyclopaedia is?“. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research 6: 483-503. doi:10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146483. ISSN 2000-1525. 
  16. Lindgren, Simon (2014-06-17). “Crowdsourcing Knowledge Interdiscursive Flows from Wikipedia into Scholarly Research“. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research 6: 609-627. doi:10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146609. ISSN 2000-1525. 
  17. Spree, Ulrike (2014-06-17). “How Readers Shape the Content of an Encyclopedia: A Case Study Comparing the German Meyers Konversationslexikon (1885-1890) with Wikipedia (2002-2013)“. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research 6: 569-591. doi:10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146569. ISSN 2000-1525. 

Supplementary references and notes:
  1. Mausam and Soderland, Stephen and Etzioni, Oren and Weld, Daniel S. and Skinner, Michael and Bilmes, Jeff (2009). “Compiling a Massive, Multilingual Dictionary via Probabilistic Inference“. 
  2. Hungarian Front Page.
  3. wiki2dict github.
  4. For example, in 2013 only two languages are studied [1] in contrast to the five languages reported in this 2014 journal article.
  5. http://pan.webis.de/
  6. See[2]
  7. See [3]
  8. Scikit-learn is an open source project in Python for machine-learning

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 7 • July 2014
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email @WikiResearch on Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at August 08, 2014 09:59 PM

Two shades of Wikipedia in Punjabi

Punjabi Wikipedian Satdeep Gill (left) discussing a general Wikipedia editing aspect with Shyamal Lakshminarayan and Shubha

In June of 2014, the Wikimedia blog reported the end of a month-long Umepedia Challenge which aimed to create Wikipedia articles on the Swedish city of Umeå in as many languages as possible. If somebody were to take a wild guess, they could make the assumption that the contributing winner would hail from Europe since the contest pertains to a European city. But surprisingly, the winner is Satdeep Gill, a contributor for Punjabi Wikipedia. He proudly claimed in his Facebook post: “I won the Umepedia Challenge by creating all the articles in Punjabi and a few of them in Hindi and Urdu.” This is the zeal and enthusiasm of Punjabi Wikipedia admin Satdeep. His efforts to advance and maintain the Punjabi Wikipedia are equally shared by co-admin Vigyani as seen in the latter’s inquiries and application of the editing norms of other Indian language Wikipedias on Punjabi Wikipedia. One of Vigyani’s recent initiatives is a query regarding translating and transliterating foreign words on the Hindi Wikipedia Village Pump.

Intrigued by the keenness of the two sysops and the increase in the number of contributors on Punjabi Wikipedia, I decided to get more information from Punjabi Wikipedians by way of a 20-point questionnaire. I got responses from five leading Punjabi Wikipedians. A common factor I noticed from the responses is that they all were introduced to Punjabi Wikipedia out of curiosity when they noticed the interwiki link provided by Wikidata on the left-hand side of the screen of many English articles. A motivating factor of these editors was reflected in the words of Babandeep Singh: “Seeing how the wiki was lagging with respect to the quantity and quality of articles, I decided to contribute as much as I could.” It was also revealed in the survey that Patiala has the highest number of active editors, with at least three known contributors hailing from the city. The main facilitating factors in attracting and retaining new editors here has been the satisfactory language interface and the editing tools. Although the size of the current Punjabi Wikipedia Community is relatively small, according to Parveer Singh Grewal, the atmosphere here is good and there is very little room for conflict.

Punjabi Wikipedian Charan Gill (right) along with Niraj Suryavanshi

According to Charan Gill, while Punjabi Wikipedia has a number of stubs that don’t go beyond a one-line description, many are in the process of being reworked into full-length articles. The respondents generally felt that a neutral point of view is being observed. With regards to the future growth of Punjabi Wikipedia, Vigyani points out: “I recently created many articles using AWB and data lists in form of CSV files on topics of geography and politics. Articles related to politics were already being done on Hindi Wikipedia. I borrowed their data. I then created my own data sheets for geography articles, which were also provided by Hindi Wikipedia. This kind of collaboration can be done across all the other language projects, especially among Indian languages. A huge number of stub/start class articles can be created by recording the data in excel sheets and using bot or AWB. A large part of data is numeric and rest text. By easily translating those text portions, data lists for each local language can be created, resulting in a huge number of articles on important topics.” On the other hand, Satdeep Gill plans to promote Wikipedia in government schools of Punjab. According to him, even a single editor from one school will make a huge difference to the Punjabi Wikipedia. It was also acknowledged that Punjabi Wiktionary and Wikibooks are short of contributors. These projects can reach a commendable level contributions only after enlisting more users from Punjabi Wikimedia into these projects.

It is widely known that Punjabi is written in Gurmukhi script in India while a Persian-style Shahmukhi script is used in Pakistan. Most Punjabi people of these countries speak the same language but are aware of only one predominantly used script in their country. Even in the midst of of this divide, there are a few Wikipedians who contribute to Wikipedia in both the scripts. One such contributor is Abbas Dhothar from Pakistan. Even when he is active on the Shahmukhi script version of Punjabi Wikipedia, called “Western Punjabi Wikipedia,” he contributes to a cultural integration of Punjabi Wikipedians by creating and expanding articles on notable personalities such as Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He has listed links to the website of the Indian Punjabi weekly newspaper Ajit and the global Punjabi unity website Sanjha Punjab on his Western Punjabi Wikipedia userpage. Abbas also created 20 articles on the Gurmukhi version of Punjabi Wikipedia besides editing several articles written by Indian users. In some ways, he seems to echo the statement of Shahmukhi-knowing Satdeep Gill: “I was even thinking one day we could unite both the Wikipedias into one.”

During my humble efforts to reach out to Western Punjabi Wikipedians, I was lucky to get a response from Khalid Mahmood, the lone admin of the Western Punjabi Wikipedia. As a professor of English, Khalid realized the immense difficulties faced by the students in learning English and favours dissemination of knowledge in native languages such as Punjabi. According to him, while there are only 7-8 active and dedicated contributors on Western Punjabi Wikipedia, the qualitative content generation of native language contributions has resulted in 23,000-27,000 clicks everyday, making it the most referred website in the language. For the last six years, the commencement and advancement of Western Punjabi Wikipedia remained a passion for Khalid. He considers the invitation and travel scholarship to Wikimania 2012 in Washigton DC and Wikimania 2014 in London as rewards for his dedicated efforts in starting Western Punjabi Wikipedia, Western Punjabi Wiktionary and Western Punjabi Wikiquote, which is likely to soon come out of incubation as a full-fledged Wikimedia project. Khalid wants to see Western Punjabi Wikipedia as a reliable source of information, a cultural centre for Punjabi people and a matter of pride for them. He wishes a friendly collaboration from the Indian Punjabi Wikipedians. While both Punjabi and Western Punjabi Wikipedias are witnessing growth and expansion, I consider it as a welcome gesture that the Punjabi Wikipedians across both India and Pakistan believe in the need for cooperation and collaboration and are even ready to work in a cordial and mutually beneficial manner on the Wikipedia sphere.

I would like to thank all Punjabi Wikipedians from both India and Pakistan for the valuable input used in this survey.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Wikipedian.

by carlosmonterrey at August 08, 2014 09:19 PM

August 07, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

New “open” licenses aren’t so open

Open access image from the Public Library of Science.

Wikimedians have long been excited by the growth of the Open Access scholarship movement. Open Access scholarship has made vast amounts of images, video, and data available to the entire world, and in the process enriched Wikimedia projects as well. For example, over 2,000 images from the open access Public Library of Science are used in Wikipedia articles, including the adorable Brookesia micra to the right.

Unfortunately, some participants in scholarly publishing would like to water down “open access”, so that they get credit for being “open” while continuing to charge the public for access to knowledge. Today, we join fifty-five other open access groups in protesting the latest such attempt – publication of new “open” licenses that aren’t actually open.

These new licenses were written by the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM). STM’s new “open access” licenses fail to meet the basic standards set out by the Freedom Definition and the Open Knowledge Definition. For example, they restrict commercial use, and in some cases even “competing” uses. They also restrict text and data mining, activities that should be permitted to ensure that researchers can grow and expand human knowledge.

The licenses also damage interoperability. Beyond being incompatible with reuse in Creative Commons-licensed works, two of the licenses are designed to be added on to other licenses, causing even more confusion. While the title says that they “add” rights, and the body speaks of “enabling” researchers, that is only true if the addendums are added to restrictive licenses that prohibit derivatives. If the addendums are combined with open licenses like Creative Commons Share-Alike licenses, the result would be a reduction of rights. Because these licenses and addendums are not compatible with our licensing policies, materials licensed under them cannot be uploaded to Wikimedia.

We join the Public Library of Science, Open Knowledge, and many other groups in urging STM to withdraw these licenses. We also urge publishers and authors who are considering these licenses to instead grow the knowledge commons by using standard, interoperable, open licenses like Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike and Creative Commons Zero.

Luis Villa, Deputy General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation

by carlosmonterrey at August 07, 2014 07:57 PM