February 11, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation removes The Diary of Anne Frank due to copyright law requirements

Anne Frank in 1940. Photo by Collectie Anne Frank Stichting Amsterdam, public domain.

Today, in an unfortunate example of the overreach of the United States’ current copyright law, the Wikimedia Foundation removed the Dutch-language text of The Diary of a Young Girl—more commonly known in English as the Diary of Anne Frank—from Wikisource.[1]

We took this action to comply with the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), as we believe the diary is still under US copyright protection under the law as it is currently written. Nevertheless, our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms, an issue that has plagued our communities for years.

What prompted us to remove the diary?

The deletion was required because the Foundation is under the jurisdiction of US law and is therefore subject to the DMCA, specifically title 17, chapter 5, section 512 of the United States Code. As we noted in 2013, “The location of the servers, incorporation, and headquarters are just three of many factors that establish US jurisdiction … if infringing content is linked to or embedded in Wikimedia projects, then  the Foundation may still be subject to liability for such use—either as a direct or contributory infringer.

Based on email discussions sent to the Wikimedia Foundation at legal[at]wikimedia.org, we determined that the Wikimedia Foundation had either “actual knowledge” (i in the statute quoted below) or what is commonly called “red flag knowledge” (ii in the statute quoted below) that the Anne Frank text was hosted on Wikisource and was under copyright. The statute section states that a service provider is only protected by the DMCA when it:

(i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing;

(ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or

(The rest applies when we get a proper DMCA takedown notice.)

Of particular concern, the US’ 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated in their ruling for UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners LLC that in circumstances where a hosting provider (like the Wikimedia Foundation) is informed by a third party (like an unrelated user) about infringing copyrighted content, that would likely constitute either actual or red flag knowledge under the DMCA.

We believe, based on the detail and specificity contained in the emails, that we received that we had actual knowledge sufficient for the DMCA to require us to perform a takedown even in the absence of a demand letter.

How is the diary still copyrighted?

You may wonder why or how the Anne Frank text is copyrighted at all, as Anne Frank died in February 1945. With 70 years having passed since her death, the text may have passed into public domain in the Netherlands on January 1, 2016, where it was first published, although there is still some dispute about this.

However, in the United States, the Anne Frank original text will be under copyright until 2042. This is the result of several factors coming together, and the English-language Wikipedia has actually covered this issue with a multi-part test on its non-US copyrights content guideline.

In short, there are three major laws that together make the diary still copyrighted:

  1. In general, the U.S. copyright for works published before 1978 is 95 years from date of publication. This came about because copyrights in the U.S. were originally for 28 years, with the ability to then extend that for a second 28 years (making a total of 56). Starting with the 1976 Copyright Act and extending to several more acts, the renewal became automatic and was extended. Today, the total term of works published before 1978 is 95 years from date of publication.
  2. Foreign works of countries that are treaty partners to the United States are covered as if they were US works.
  3. Even if a country was not a treaty partner under copyright law at the time of a publication, the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) restored copyright to works that:
    • had been published in a foreign country
    • were still under copyright in that country in 1996
    • and would have had U.S. copyright but for the fact they were published abroad.


Court challenges to the URAA have all failed, with the most notable (Golan v. Holder) resulting in a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the URAA.

What that means for Anne Frank’s diary is unfortunately simple: no matter how it wound up in the United States and regardless of what formal copyright notices they used, the US grants it copyright until the year 2042, or 95 years after its original publication in 1947.

Under current copyright law, this remains true regardless of its copyright status anywhere else in the world and regardless of whether it may have been in the public domain in the United States in the past.

Jacob Rogers, Legal Counsel*
Wikimedia Foundation

*Special thanks to Anisha Mangalick, Legal Fellow, for her assistance in this matter.

[1] The diary text was originally located at https://nl.wikisource.org/wiki/Het_Achterhuis_(Anne_Frank).

This article was edited to clarify that it is not just the location of the Wikimedia Foundation’s servers that determine whether we fall in US jurisdiction.

by Jacob Rogers at February 11, 2016 09:01 PM

Super Bowl searches show Wikipedia is the ‘second screen’

Broncos host Military Day
Peyton Manning was one of the most-searched articles on the English-language Wikipedia during and after the Super Bowl. Photo by the US Air National Guard, public domain.

On Sunday evening, the most valuable player of the Super Bowl—the US’ biggest sports event—was announced: Von Miller.


The Denver Broncos linebacker was not a household name, unlike the two quarterbacks in the game, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. So out came viewer’s mobile phones, and up came his Wikipedia article.

In the minute after Miller was announced as MVP, his article received 41,000 clicks, or 683 a second. The position Wikipedia played in the Super Bowl was clear: second screen.

Anticipation for the game, which is the NFL’s final contest each year, was high. Before, during, and after the game, the Wikipedia article on Super Bowl 50 received tens of thousands of hits, with some hours reaching 50,000. Over one million hits were registered in the 48 hours around the game,[1] adding even more pageviews to what was already the eighth-most popular article at the end of January; the article on the Super Bowl as an institution added over 500,000 more.

We obtained this data with the help of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Analytics team, and mined it to match up viewcount spikes with events during the game.


Players graph
Players’ viewcounts were erratic and tended to match the flow of the game. You can click on these images for larger views; the times correspond with UTC, where 22:00 is 2pm PST and 5pm EST. Graph by Joe Sutherland, public domain.

Of the players we examined, the largest jump in pageviews for a player’s Wikipedia article came in the minute after Von Miller was named as the game’s MVP: 40,849 hits were recorded between 7:40 and 7:41 PST (11:40–41pm EST).

Overall, Miller’s game as viewed through the lenses of Wikipedia views was fascinating. Before the game, Miller rarely crested above 50 views per minute. He had one spike twelve minutes before the game, although we don’t know why—readers, please let us know if you have a solution. They soon settled back into a two-digit pattern …

… until he strip-sacked Newton in the game’s first quarter, knocking the ball out of his hands and into the arms of a waiting teammate for a Broncos score—that’s the spike you’ll see in the graph above between 0:00 and 00:15 UTC. At the time, the Panthers offense had gained a grand total of -6 yards.

Interest in Miller remained high after that, spiking several times—such as when he split a sack with teammate DeMarcus Ware at the end of the third quarter. Sustained interest took hold after Miller’s second strip-sack of Newton near the end of the game, jumped as noted when he won the MVP, and had a small bump long after the game when he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert live via satellite.

Miller finished the night with five solo tackles, two forced fumbles, and two and a half of his team’s seven quarterback sacks, playing a key role in putting pressure on Cam Newton on 21 out of 48 pass plays.

Denver’s quarterback Peyton Manning came close to matching Miller’s high-water mark at and after the end of the game (7:16–29pm PST), including one minute with 38,238 hits. He did, however, blow Miller out of the water in total views during the 7pm PST hour—Manning’s article was viewed 226,099 times, driven by those 13 minutes of five-digit attention.

We also looked at the matchup between the two starring quarterbacks, where Manning clearly beat out Carolina’s Cam Newton for views—Newton won the head-to-head matchup in only two hours and only by a total of 15,000 views. Manning cleaned up during the rest of it, besting Newton by 19,000 views in one hour and a whopping 169,000 in the next, which corresponded with the end of the game.

Newton had several early game view spikes, including after his first-quarter fumble and after he was sacked just before halftime.

All that said, the longer view is more nuanced.[1] Newton beat Manning in the pre-game 24 hours by about 46,000 views, but in the endgame/post-game thrill of victory, Manning won the succeeding 24 hours by over 904,000 views.


HT graph
Thousands looked up the half-time performers as they took the stage in Santa Clara. Graph by Joe Sutherland, public domain.

The halftime performers received a good deal of attention at, unsurprisingly, halftime. Traditionally, featured artists have received quite a bump in sales from the tens to hundreds of millions of people tuning in.

Coldplay and Bruno Mars spiked at 38,149 and 32,029, respectively, in single minutes when they were singing, but no one this year approached a record number of views for a Super Bowl halftime show. Data from 2013 shows that halftime performers Madonna and the Who received nearly a million and 570,000 views (respectively) in the hours they performed—and it is almost certain that these numbers are understated, as at that time mobile phone views were not counted.

Up against these numbers, Coldplay managed only 417,516 for the day, much less in a single hour, where they received a maximum of 126,898 hits. Bruno Mars topped out at 94,347 in an hour.

That said, we have reason to question Beyoncé‘s figures: the much-anticipated appearance of the pop icon, who many news outlets thought ‘stole the show,’ did not result in anything close to a similar view count. Beyoncé’s article spiked at just 13,282 views and hit five digits in only one other minute. We don’t have a good answer for this discrepancy, as the difference is not made up by Wikipedia redirects or her choice of song; were people we too entranced by the performance to look up her Wikipedia article, or did they simply already know who she was? Like Miller above, we’d love to hear readers’ theories.

In miscellanea, Lady Gaga’s sterling (albeit controversial, at least in the prop betting world) rendition of the US national anthem led to a ten-minute increase in interest in her from 3:29–39pm PST, including one minute of 22,663 hits. Michael Jackson, whose image appeared during halftime as part of a callback to past performances, had a small but notable seven-minute increase in traffic of his own.


Team graphs
Both teams’ pages also attracted thousands of hits over the course of the night. Graph by Joe Sutherland, public domain.

Denver and Carolina also battled it out on their own Wikipedia pages. With an average of 1,283 views per minute over both the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers Wikipedia articles, people were clearly interested in the clubs’ histories as the game went on. Carolina had the higher average, at 661 views per minute to Denver’s 621.

With halftime came a big drop in visits for both teams’ pages, presumably as viewers focused on the eclectic show. The largest spike came for Denver as Miller’s MVP award was announced; 24,580 visitors arrived at the Broncos’ article in the two minutes that followed.

We’ve put all of the minute-by-minute Wikipedia pageview data in a Google spreadsheet; play around with it and let us know what you find.

Our thanks go to the Wikimedia Foundation’s Dan Andreescu, who compiled and tabulated this data for us despite having very little advance notice. This post would not exist without his assistance.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Joe Sutherland, Communications Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

[1] Wikipedia’s day ends at 12am UTC, or 4pm PST/7pm EST. This time change came sometime in the first quarter, so the per-game day-by-day views are split between February 7 and 8. We get into more detailed data later in the post.

This post was edited after publication to correct the source of our data.

by Ed Erhart and Joe Sutherland at February 11, 2016 02:00 PM

What TPP missed: meaningful transparency

Photo by LeeChangmin, public domain.

Last week, we criticized the intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and how its promotion of extended copyright terms harms the public domain. There we took issue with the results of the TPP process. Here we’ll focus on the issue of the process itself. Had the process been truly transparent, it may have had better results.

The TPP negotiations were held in secret over the course of seven years, with no draft of the text being presented to the public until after the negotiations ended. Many have criticized how that secrecy is designed to exclude the voices of stakeholders until it is too late for their criticisms to actually improve the deal itself. For years, there have been calls for the negotiators to open up the process and release the draft text.

Simply dumping the TPP text on the public, though, would not make the process transparent. In fact, the public has had access to draft versions of TPP chapters during the negotiations—just through leaks rather than official channels. It was because of those leaks that we were able to take positions on TPP before it was finalized and officially released. But because the drafts were only available through confusing leaks, it was easier for the TPP negotiators to ignore the criticism.

True transparency requires that information be released in a way that facilitates understanding and action. It’s not enough that the public have access to all the information; we must be able to comprehend it. TPP is an extensive international trade agreement whose text is only meaningful to people with specialized knowledge and training (and the time to read all two million words!). The US Trade Representative (USTR) actually provided a good example of how to provide an understandable version of transparency with TPP… but only after the text was finalized. In its explanation of TPP, the USTR provides summaries of each chapter, followed by the full chapter text. It is unfortunate that these materials came only at the end of the process. Transparent TPP negotiations would have involved making similar summaries and full text available periodically, and before it was finalized.

Without true transparency, there was not much anyone could do to participate in the TPP negotiation process unless they were invited to do so.[1] It is easy for negotiators to ignore letters and petitions that are based on leaked documents. It is easy to ignore voices and viewpoints by shutting them out of the room. There was no one involved in the TPP negotiations who was advocating for the commons and the public domain. The entire population of the world serves to gain from an expanded public domain, but there was no voice in the room to advocate for it.

Lack of transparency plagues trade negotiations, particularly when they have copyright implications, and regularly leaves the public domain in the lurch. It happened with ACTA, it’s happened with TPP, and it seems to be happening again with TTIP. Transparency is not just an ideal, it’s a necessary tool for building a more democratic society.

You can join the Wikimedia public policy mailing list to discuss issues like this that matter for a strong public domain.

Chuck Roslof, Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

[1] In the US, the draft TPP text was made available to members of “trade advisory committees”. Providing information to members of those committees does not increase transparency. The government sharing information with a committee of government-selected advisors is not the same as sharing the information with the general public. And the committees in no way represent the public or the public interest. The Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations almost entirely represents the interests of corporate America, with no members from organizations that advocate for the rights and interests of everyone.

by Charles M. Roslof at February 11, 2016 02:00 PM

February 10, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

He wrote the article on the Carolina Panthers: tales from Wikipedia’s NFL editors

The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will play Super Bowl 50 in Levi’s Stadium, seen here. Photo by Jim Bahn, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

As with many topics, the English-language Wikipedia’s coverage of the National Football League is extensive. Players from as large as Cam Newton or Peyton Manning to as little-known as Shamar Stephen or Gerald Christian all have articles, and their statistics are updated after every game by legions of volunteer editors.

The encyclopedia even has a dedicated project to keep track of these reams of articles: WikiProject National Football League (NFL). Of the 22,265 articles in its scope, 80 are of “featuredquality—that is, they have gone through and passed a rigorous peer-review process, making them “the best articles Wikipedia has to offer.”

We talked with several members of the project about their work on the site, starting with the pseudonymous Toa Nidhiki05, the author of the featured article on the Carolina Panthers. Toa has been a fan of the Panthers since he was eight or nine years old, starting with their run to the Super Bowl in 2003—where they lost to the New England Patriots, who were in the middle of a historically dominant period where they won three of four Super Bowls.

Toa had started editing Wikipedia with articles on Christian rock bands like MercyMe, but as a Panthers fan, he was eventually “naturally” drawn to the Wikipedia article on his favorite team. He was the first to try to get an NFL football franchise’s article to featured status, but he was able to draw from other sports for the examples he needed.

Since he finished in 2013, the team has markedly improved, having won 12 games in that year and 15 this season. Toa told us that in step with their improved performance, the article has received more attention and “vandalism”—problematic or joke edits that are usually reverted in a few minutes.

How does it feel to have your favorite team in the Super Bowl? Toa told us that “This whole season was a shock so I’m still kind of processing it.” He’ll be watching the game with his family, possibly with tacos on the side.

We also talked to WikiProject NFL members Bagumba, Rockchalk717, Dirtlawyer1, Giants2008, Crash Underride, and Dissident93. At least five of the six are Americans, but all of them take on different roles when editing Wikipedia: Crash Underride and Dissident do important but unheralded “wikignome” work, “keeping things consistent from one article to the next.” On the other side of the coin, Giants2008—as you might expect by the username—helped to construct an entire suite of New York Giants-related articles.

Bagumba and Dirtlawyer both avoid articles related to current events; Bagumba tries to avoid the “fanboy” elements inherent in San Diego Chargers articles and tries to do their gnoming in older topics, while Dirtlawyer similarly prefers to take advantage of the higher-quality references that appear months after events—and not just for the NFL. Dirtlawyer also takes on baseball, university sports (especially the Florida Gators), and Olympic swimming. Rockchalk contributes to Kansas City Chiefs articles, which are his favorite team, in his 15–20 hours a week of editing after work.

When it comes to the Super Bowl, most of these hardcore editors avoid the article because they are popular enough to get attention from mainstream editors. Giants, however, keeps up on several related articles, like the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award. “While it’s the kind of article that typically needs to be updated only once per year,” Giants2008 says, “it does face a lot of vandalism that has to be cleaned up. It requires a careful eye to ensure that the information remains accurate.”

These editor’s missions are not any different than the tens of thousands of Wikipedia editors that watch over the world’s largest encyclopedia 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They watch over the sum of all knowledge, whether it’s American football, military history, medical content, or African breads, to ensure that it is preserved for generations to come.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

by Ed Erhart at February 10, 2016 05:53 AM

February 09, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Looking at Wikidata and the future: Gerard Meijssen

Meijessen, seen here in 2011. Photo by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Gerard Meijssen is a high-volume contributor to Wikidata and frequently comments on the state of the Wikimedia movement through his personal blog and posts to Wikimedia-l, the community’s mailing list. Here, fellow community member Syed Muzammiluddin interviews him about the Wikimedia movement and his contributions to it. As always, comments and critical commentary are invited in our comments section at the bottom.

You’ve played a significant role on Wikimedia projects, including the Language committee, OmegaWiki, ICANNWiki, and more. How do you describe your contributions in your own words?

The one thing why my contributions matter is that I believe very much that the only way to be credible is by being involved and making a difference by leading by example. To me Wiktionary proved to be horribly broken and it is why I tried the OmegaWiki approach.

Given that Wikipedia is not English only, it makes sense to have other languages and at the time it was likely that no more new languages would be possible. This is why the Language Committee started. When you want to make a difference, it is not about what is wrong, it is more about how it can be improved, how to make it right.

Going by your contributions, your preferred project appears to Wikidata. Why is that?

Wikidata has many similarities with OmegaWiki. It has the benefit of being supported by the WMF and it makes a difference because it makes data accessible in any language. To me this makes a crucial difference. Every language is eligible as long as it is recognised in ISO-639-3. Wikidata was relevant from the start because it is such a big improvement for Wikipedia.

What especially motivates you to be a zealous contributor on this project, with over two million edits?

Making a lot of edits was relatively easy because much of the data was based on information available in the categories of Wikipedia. As I blog about the work that I do and the difference it makes, I invite people to make a difference as well. When I can make a difference, everybody can make a difference.

What special areas have you contributed to on Wikidata?

I have been particularly involved in people who recently died. For them I have been adding information that connects them with others. Things like the school they went to, the club they played for and the award they received. At this time I am particularly interested in awards because it connects “the best and brightest”.

You’ve remarked that “Wikidata is a tool, it is a mechanism that allows us to make a difference. Only storing data is so little of what we can do.” Can you elaborate on your “difference” statement?

Adding data to Wikidata is important, it is one way of improving quality. There are however issues with some of the data we hold. When we have a clue where we have issues, it makes a real difference when we point people to them. It is how their effort gains value. We should concentrate on where we have the most effect.

What according to you is the most significant aspect of Wikidata which is often not recognized?

The most important aspect of Wikidata is its quality. Many people approach it on the basis of single items and are easily disappointed. There has never been research to determine relative quality for our data. The main point to do this would be to determine where we can do better. Whatever the number, people will complain because they do not understand what Wikidata stands for and the many ways you can experience quality.

What are the most interesting areas of Wikidata according to your experience?

Wikidata is too big to really appreciate everything that is going on. I love what Jane and Maarten are doing for GLAM’s and art. I am really curious about what is done about genes and proteins. My interest is mostly in people and what I find is how much the “third world” is lacking in attention. I find that there are some things that I can do but it is only scratching the surface. Given the overwhelming amount of data on the “global north” it hardly registers.

What special approaches do you suggest to create awareness and a high level of enthusiasm about Wikidata?

There are lists that can be automatically updated on a Wikipedia using the Listeria bot. When you have the same list on multiple Wikipedias for instance about an award, all the list will be updated when Wikidata is updated.

In one of my earlier interviews, it was suggested that training and workshops are needed for Wikidata. How important do you feel is the training and orientation here?

When you start from scratch and when you are not fluent in English, it makes a real difference when you first get a good introduction followed by hands on experience together. Once multiple people “get” Wikidata they cab support each other and together they will raise the relevance of their culture and language a lot.

As a sysop on the Urdu Wikipedia, I noticed that clicking “Edit links” often opens the page for creating new Wikidata item. Users innocently create a new secondary item and this become s a mess. How do we deal with such situations?

The first thing is to keep calm. Things happen. You can check if an item already exists in another language and just add it to the existing item. Alternatively when you find that two items exist for one subject, it is easy enough to merge them. There is a gadget that makes it easy.

There are bots active on Urdu Wikipedia and several other Wikis which add categories to the articles automatically provided the articles and the categories of Urdu Wikipedia are integrated with English Wikipedia on Wikidata. Can you suggest additional areas where Wikidata integration can ease editorial activity?

When you add labels to items in Wikidata, you will find them in your Wikipedia when you enable Wikidata Search like it is done in the Tamil Wikipedia. Try searching for for instance for any article that exists in the Urdu Wikipedia and, you will find it anyway.

In moving to Wikidata, identifiers and other information in non-English Wikipedia pages get integrated along with English Wikipedia. Is the process giving more weightage to English Wikipedia or do you believe it aims for a harmony of English and non-English Wikipedias?

VIAF is a system of the international library organisation. By moving to Wikidata any language is now represented with equal relevance. So it is a very welcome move as it removes the existing English bias and brings in all the other languages from the cold.

Do you suggest some changes in the present structure of Wikidata?

If there are two things I would suggest, The first would be to have Reasonator implemented natively for Wikidata; it would give meaning to the data that is available. The second is that I would spend a lot more effort on comparing sources and in an iterative way ensure that the quality of Wikidata improves.

Do you believe Wikidata can check self-promotional efforts of individuals through different versions of Wikipedia?

This is a non issue for me. The only way any person becomes more relevant is by ensuring that he or she is well connected to other items. In the process all the others become more relevant as well and when the data provided is wrong, it becomes easier to find fault and remove any nonsense. Knowing objective facts is worthwhile in its own right. When a subject is hardly relevant, knowing the facts about it do not hurt.

How do you leverage your association with Wikidata vis-à-vis other Wikimedia projects?

I have been involved in so many projects that I do not care too much about the distinctions between projects. There is only one “sum of all knowledge” and this is not specific to any one project. With Wikidata we are able to serve the sum of all available knowledge and it provides the glue between the many projects that make up everything that is the Wikimedia Foundation.

How do you foresee the future of Wikidata?

Wikidata increasingly connects many sources. My expectation is that people will build applications that rely on data that is available never mind where it is. These applications will estimate how likely information is relevant and correct. One easy example is suggesting to load a book from the library and enable you to reserve it at YOUR local library. Alternatively they will provide you a book from Wikisource.

Syed Muzammiluddin
Wikimedia community volunteer

by Syed Muzammiluddin at February 09, 2016 09:30 PM

February 08, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

50 weird Super Bowl facts for 50 Super Bowls

“Left Shark” became a social media sensation last year for its offbeat and seemingly mistaken dance moves. Photo by Huntley Paton, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The first Super Bowl in 1967 was simulcast by two TV networks, NBC and CBS, which had to share one microphone in the postgame show. The teams used different balls because the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs played in separate leagues and the balls were slightly different in shape. The cost of a 30-second commercial was $42,000. Due to the then-common practice of tape wiping, Super Bowl I was not seen again until 2016, when the NFL strung footage together from over two dozen sources and overlaid it with the radio broadcast.

These days, the Super Bowl is the most-watched US television broadcast each year—in fact, the NFL can say that with one way of counting, it holds the top 23 spots on the all-time list. Americans eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than they do any other day of the year, except for Thanksgiving. And with all the hoopla comes cultural zeitgeists: from multi-million dollar ads for failing startups to Left Shark’s viral popularity, the Super Bowl is a championship of pop culture.

Wikipedia chronicles them all.

The main Super Bowl article provides an overview of the National Football League championship, which started in 1966 in response to the growing popularity of the upstart American Football League. That page lists article pages for each game that note the halftime performers, cost of commercials, statistics, and quirky events.

Based in San Francisco and not far from the site of Super Bowl 50, the Wikimedia Foundation supports Wikipedia and its sister projects such as the media repository Wikimedia Commons. The foundation, fresh off celebrating Wikipedia’s 15th birthday, is paying homage to the Super Bowl’s 50th birthday with 50 fascinating factoids you are unlikely to find anywhere else.

Unlike mainstream media, Wikipedia and its sister projects are written and edited by volunteers—around 80,000 actively maintain its articles, which last year exceeded 5 million on the English-language Wikipedia alone (there are Wikipedia editions in 291 languages). Those volunteers combine and hone a crowdsourced view off the mainstream media path; there are many odd nuggets along the way. As we head into Super Bowl 50, the first one not to go by Roman numerals, take a peek at a quirky factoid for each of the games below.

Feel free to share them, show them off at your Super Bowl party, tweet them, or write about them in a blog post or article—Wikipedians will find more. Wikipedia’s Super Bowl of facts is played every day, all around the world, by all kinds of people.



The first Super Bowl featured the top teams from two separate leagues—the American and National Football Leagues. They would later merge under the latter’s name. Logo by unknown, public domain.


  1. It is the only Super Bowl to have been simulcast. NBC and CBS both televised the game—with both wanting to win the ratings war, tensions flared and a fence was built between their trucks.
  2. Almost 80% of the country lost the video feed of the CBS broadcast late in the second quarter.
  3. Performers representing players from the teams appeared on top of a large, multi-layered, smoke topped cake.
  4. The cost of one 30-second commercial was $78,000.
  5. The two teams had a Super Bowl record 11 combined turnovers in the game.
  6. Dolphins safety Jake Scott entered the game with a broken left hand and soon broke his right wrist as well.
  7. Dolphins employees inspected the trees around the practice field every day for spies from the Redskins.
  8. The Vikings complained that their practice facilities at a Houston high school had no lockers and most of the shower heads didn’t work.
  9. Pittsburgh played for a league championship for the first time in its 42-year team history.
  10. Scenes for the film Black Sunday, about a terrorist attack on the Super Bowl, were filmed during the game.
  11. The national anthem was not sung. Vikki Carr sang “America the Beautiful.”
  12. Halftime featured the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles drill team.
  13. Cowboys linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson said opposing quarterback Terry “Bradshaw couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the C and the A.”
  14. The Rams barely outscored their opponents, ending the season up only 323-309 overall, and finished the regular season with a 9-7 record—the worst ever by a team who advanced to the Super Bowl.
  15. The winning Oakland Raiders were suing the NFL at the time of the game over a proposed move to Los Angeles.
  16. 49.1 percent of all US television households tuned into the game, the highest-rated Super Bowl of all time.
  17. A players’ strike reduced the 1982 regular season from a 16-game schedule to 9.
  18. The broadcast aired the famous “1984” television commercial, introducing the Apple Macintosh.
  19. Ronald Reagan appeared live via satellite from the White House and tossed the coin on the same day that he was inaugurated for a second term.
  20. The Bears’ post-Super Bowl White House visit was canceled due to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Members of the team were invited back in 2011.
  21. Giants players celebrated their victory with what was then a new stunt—dumping a Gatorade cooler on head coach Bill Parcells.
  22. The halftime show featured 88 grand pianos.
  23. Prior to the game, Coca-Cola distributed 3-D glasses at retailers for viewers to use to watch the halftime festivities.
  24. The halftime show featured a float so huge that one of the goal posts had to be moved so it could be put on the field.
  25. Whitney Houston performedThe Star-Spangled Banner,” and the recording reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  26. Bills defensive line coach Chuck Dickerson said Redskins tackle Joe Jacoby was “a Neanderthal—he slobbers a lot, he probably kicks dogs in his neighborhood.”
  27. The opening coin toss featured OJ Simpson, who was working for NBC Sports at the time; the halftime ceremony featured Michael Jackson and 3,500 children.
  28. This main stadium lights were turned off for a halftime performance by dancers with yard-long light sticks.
  29. 30 second ads exceeded the $1,000,000 mark.
  30. Some weeks before the game, it was found that some proxy servers were blocking the web site for the event because XXX is usually associated with pornography.
  31. The last in a run of 13 straight Super Bowl victories by the NFC over the AFC.
  32. Except for two penalties and quarterback kneel-downs to end each half, the Broncos did not lose yardage on any play.
  33. On the night before the Super Bowl, Falcons safety Eugene Robinson was arrested for solicitation of prostitution after receiving the league award that morning for “high moral character.”
  34. Pets.com paid millions for an advertisement featuring a sock puppet. The company would collapse before the end of the year.
  35. This was the last Super Bowl to have individual player introductions for both teams.
  36. Janet Jackson was originally scheduled to perform at halftime, but allowed U2 to perform a tribute to September 11.
  37. Referred to as the “Pirate Bowl” due to the teams involved (the Buccaneers and Raiders).
  38. Janet Jackson‘s breast was exposed by Justin Timberlake in what was later referred to as a “wardrobe malfunction“.
  39. The Eagles signed Jeff Thomason, a former tight end who was working construction, to a one-game contract for the Super Bowl.
  40. Aretha Franklin, Aaron Neville, John and a 150-member choir performed the national anthem.
  41. The Art Institute of Chicago’s lions were decorated to show support for the Chicago Bears—see the photo at the bottom.
  42. The band Eels attempted to pull together 30 one-second ads but were told they could cause seizures.
  43. Due to the recession, 200 fewer journalists covered the game than the previous year.
  44. The U.S. Census Bureau spent $2.5 million on a 30-second commercial advertising the upcoming census.
  45. Fans who paid $200 per ticket for seats in a part of the stadium damaged by a winter storm were allowed to watch outside the stadium.
  46. Some hotel rooms in downtown Indianapolis reportedly cost more than $4,000 a night.
  47. Power went out in the Superdome, causing a 34-minute interruption in play. Luckily Norman the Scooter Dog was in New Orleans to entertain.
  48. The Broncos hosted press conferences on a cruise ship at the pier of their Jersey City, N.J., hotel.
  49. Left Shark,” pictured at the top, became an Internet meme.


And for Super Bowl 50, the only Super Bowl to be identified without a Roman numeral: CBS set the base rate for a 30-second ad at $5,000,000, a record high price for a Super Bowl ad.


When the Chicago Bears last went to the Super Bowl, the city’s art institute decorated their lion statues. Photo by Señor Codo, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Barack Obama watched part of Super Bowl 43 (2009) with 3D glasses. Photo by Pete Souza, public domain.

A traditional flyover from military aircraft prior to the beginning of the game. Photo from the US Air Force, public domain. 

SB TV viewers by year
Television viewing statistics for each Super Bowl—all sourced from Wikipedia. The bars represent an average of the number of people watching, not the highest total reached during the event. Graph by Andrew Sherman, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Jeff Elder, Digital Communications Manager
Michael Guss, Research Analyst
Wikimedia Foundation

by Jeff Elder and Michael Guss at February 08, 2016 10:38 PM

February 04, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

What’s TPP? The problematic partnership

Photo by Christopher Dombres, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tomorrow, government representatives from twelve countries of the Pacific Rim will meet in New Zealand to sign a 6,000 page long treaty called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Among other things, the agreement will govern how the signatory countries protect and enforce intellectual property rights.

On Wikipedia, millions of articles are illustrated with public domain images, meaning images that are not restricted by copyright. At the Wikimedia Foundation, we believe that shorter copyright terms make it possible for more people to create and share free knowledge. We’ve previously shared some of our concerns about TPP and co-signed letters asking negotiators not to extend copyright terms and to refrain from forcing intermediaries to police their sites and block content.

Since the final text was released, various digital rights groups have condemned both the secrecy of the negotiations and the substance of the treaty. We’d like to talk about what effect TPP may have on Wikipedia, the other Wikimedia projects, and our mission to share free knowledge.

Wikipedia and its power for the creation and sharing of free knowledge are directly driven by a strong and healthy public domain. Unfortunately, TPP would extend copyright terms at a minimum of the author’s life plus 70 years, eating into the public domain. This cements a lengthy copyright term in countries where it already exists like Australia, the US, and Chile. But it’s especially worrisome for the public domain in countries like Japan, New Zealand, and Canada that now have shorter copyright terms because it means that a great number of works will not be free to use, remix, and share for another 20 years. In some countries, the lengthy copyright term is mitigated by strong and broad exceptions from copyright. But TPP makes this sort of balance optional. It only contains a non-binding exception for education, criticism, news reporting, and accessibility, like fair use in the US, that countries can choose not to enact in their national laws.

TPP tips the balance in favor of rigid copyright, at the detriment of the public domain we all share.

TPP isn’t all bad. It states that countries should not require the hosts of sites like Wikipedia to monitor their content for copyright infringement and provides for safe harbors from intermediary liability. Sites can rely on a notice and takedown system, where they remove infringing material once they get alerted by copyright holders. Yet, TPP doesn’t get this balance right either. It lacks a process for counter notices, so that users can push back when a site receives an invalid request to remove content. It also allows rightsholders to demand identifying information about users when they allege there is copyright infringements. The vague standards in TPP leave this notice and takedown process open for abuse that can chill speech.

TPP is a problematic treaty because it harms the public domain and our ability to create and share free knowledge. It is time for countries to partner for the policies and projects that benefit everyone, like the public domain, clear copyright exceptions and intermediaries empowered to stay out of content creation with good safe harbor protections.

Yana Welinder, Legal Director
Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel
Jan Gerlach, Public Policy Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

by Yana Welinder, Stephen LaPorte and Jan Gerlach at February 04, 2016 04:02 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Uskutečnilo se setkání legislativní skupiny Aliance pro otevřené vzdělávání

Právě v této budově v Bruselu se nyní chystá základ nové evropské autorskoprávní legislativy (foto: Matthias v.d. Elbe, CC BY-SA 3.0).

Právě v této budově v Bruselu se nyní chystá základ nové evropské autorskoprávní legislativy (foto: Matthias v.d. Elbe, CC BY-SA 3.0).

Dne 27. ledna se v kanceláři našeho spolku v Praze ve Vršovicích uskutečnilo příjemné setkání. Wikimedia Česká republika zde uspořádala setkání se zástupci různých iniciativ, které se věnují problematice vzdělávání a autorského práva. Diskutovali jsme o tom, co nás čeká a nemine.

Jak již bylo na tomto blogu uvedeno dříve, hnutí Wikimedia prosazuje své cíle na úrovni evropských institucí. Evropská komise a Evropský parlament se dlouhodobě zabývají problematikou autorského práva; loni byla europarlamentem schválena hodnotící zpráva, ze které bude vycházet nová autorskoprávní legislativa pro členské země. Je to stejný dokument, který byl mediálně přetřásán především kvůli problematice svobody panoramatu. Kromě toho se chystá i nová směrnice ohledně vymáhání autorského práva. Diskutován je rovněž i nový návrh dokumentu regulujícího ochranu užívání databází, který by mohl zavést novou formu ochrany podobnou copyrightu, ale časově neomezenou. Několik výborů Evropského parlamentu totiž žádá nahrazení původní směrnice. V sázce je hodně. Míč je ale nyní na straně Evropské komise.

Loňská kampaň ohledně Svobody panoramatu rozjela zájem o tuto tématiku v řadě zemí, kde právo svobodně šířit fotografie nemají. Mezi ně patří Francie, ale podobné iniciativy se vytvářejí i v dalších státech, např. v Estonsku.

Všechny zmíněné dokumenty, které jsou schvalovány na evropské úrovni, budou muset být transponovány (tj. přeneseny) i do českého autorského práva. Proto ten zájem. Co schválí Brusel, budeme mít do několika let v české legislativě.

Co z toho plyne pro nás? Co bychom mohli chtít a očekávat? Jako člen Aliance pro otevřené vzdělávání prosazujeme a podporujeme otevřené licence. Proto usilujeme o to, aby jakákoliv nová autorskoprávní regulace umožnila a podporovala svobodnou tvorbu. Chceme do budoucna spolupracovat s dalšími podobnými iniciativami, aktivně se budeme účastnit konzultací Evropské komise k tématu a budeme vyzývat i ostatní, aby se do nich zapojili. První z konzultací by měla být zveřejněna již v dubnu tohoto roku. Se zájmem proto budeme očekávat, co nám v tomto směru Brusel přichystá.

by Jan Loužek at February 04, 2016 11:13 AM

February 03, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia and zero rating: clear principles for free knowledge

Photo by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation works to expand free and open access to knowledge everywhere, including areas where affordable access to the internet is a fundamental barrier.

In some regions, the Foundation has utilized “zero-rating” to make mobile traffic to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites entirely free. This approach removes the barrier of cost for those wishing to read, learn, and contribute to Wikipedia, in any language. We call this program Wikipedia Zero. Today, more than 600 million people in 64 countries can read, edit, and contribute to Wikipedia through Wikipedia Zero partnerships.

Recently, Facebook’s zero rating program, Free Basics, has come under public scrutiny in India. Facebook’s Free Basics includes Wikipedia as one of its services, but we wish to be clear that neither Wikipedia nor the Wikimedia Foundation are partners of Free Basics. Wikipedia is included in the Free Basics package through our free license. In line with our open policies, anyone can use and distribute Wikipedia content without formal permission.

We have our own approach to zero rating that we believe respects the fundamental values of the Wikimedia movement. This approach was first articulated in our Operating Principles, which are used in considering each Wikipedia Zero partnership.

Our guiding concepts are:

  • No collection of personal information. Carriers receive the IP addresses of sites that will be zero-rated so that they can identify Wikipedia Zero traffic. Wikipedia Zero does not enable carriers to collect or receive personal information about Wikimedia users.
  • No compromise of experience. Carriers zero-rate access to the regular mobile version of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. To ensure users do not mistakenly incur data charges, they are prompted with a notice if they are about to leave a zero-rated page.
  • No shift of editorial control. Wikipedia articles and other Wikimedia content are community curated and will remain that way. Zero-rating agreements do not shift editorial considerations, responsibilities, or policies. In fact, partnerships are meant to extend access to local Wikimedia volunteers and chapters around the world and aid in their community work.
  • No exchange of payment. The Wikimedia Foundation does not pay carriers to zero-rate access to the Wikimedia sites and does not receive payments from carriers through Wikipedia Zero.
  • No exclusive rights. We try to partner with as many carriers as possible to maximize the number of users that can benefit from the initiative.
  • No commercial bundling. Access to the Wikimedia sites through Wikipedia Zero cannot be sold through limited service bundles.
  • Commitment to collaboration with other public interest sites. Our main goal is to promote free access to knowledge, and we want to help other similar services interested in doing the same (just contact us!).

As a Foundation dedicated to free and open access to knowledge for all, we yearn for affordable internet around the world. Until then, we will continue working to bring free access to knowledge to every person on the planet.

Adele Vrana, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Global Emerging Markets
Smriti Gupta, Regional Manager, Strategic Partnerships—Asia
Wikimedia Foundation

by Adele Vrana and Smriti Gupta at February 03, 2016 09:26 PM

What I Learned: Improving the Armenian Wiktionary with the help of students

Group photo of the participants in Winter WikiCamp 2016, the latest edition of this program. Photo by Beko, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

WikiCamp is an education program that aims to get young students editing Armenian-language content on Wikimedia sites. National identity, recreation and knowledge are at the core of this program, as participant Shahen Araboghlian states: “WikiCamp is a new experience, a chance to meet other people, self-develop and enrich Western Armenian language in the Internet”.

This exciting initiative, which aims to get young Armenian Education Program participants aged 14 to 20 to edit the Armenian Wikipedia, has been around since July 2014—since which there have been five WikiCamps. The return from the camps is surprisingly high, and they are well known in Armenia—having been covered by Aravot and News.am in January 2015, along with several others.

The camp has also increased in popularity among students, increasing the number of participants from 59 in the first camp to 76 in the second edition, and growing. Participants are not only happy to join WikiCamp and make new friends, but also, to contribute to expand open knowledge in their own language. “Honestly, I never edit Wikipedia to have high points and to come to Wikicamp. I edit to make articles available in Armenian, for people who share the same interests as me. This is what motivates me when I edit”, says participant Arthur Mirzoyan.

Since Winter WikiCamp 2015, however, we have made this activity available to even younger editors in this education project with a new, much easier wiki activity: Wiktionary editing.

Participants editing in one of the camp workshops. Photo by David Saroyan, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Shared lesson: Look beyond Wikipedia to create a more accessible Education Program

Before Winter WikiCamp 2015, Armenian Wikipedia Education program focused only on Wikipedia. As the Wikipedia Education program rapidly spread in different regions of Armenia and became popular, many secondary school students expressed their wish to join the program—but not all of these students could easily learn Wikipedia editing techniques or were able to write and improve articles that met the project’s guidelines, like writing in encyclopedic style or having reliable sources.

As their wish to edit Wikipedia and its sister projects was enormous, we decided to involve these students in editing Wiktionary. Editing Wiktionary doesn’t have the same requirements as writing an encyclopedic article; the editors just fill the necessary fields using the provided dictionaries. Helpful guides, word lists, dictionary links made the editing process much easier for secondary school students. As the Armenian Wiktionary did not have active users, we created Wiktionary tutorials for them. We also found different free dictionaries and digitized them, created word lists and provided these to the students, all of which gave us a foundation to begin enriching Armenian Wiktionary with words.

The process was simple: we asked students to write the word’s definition, examples of usage, etymology, expressions, synonyms, derived forms and translations. Before we started with the Education program, there was a major gap in Armenian-language content and no complete free dictionary. This gap inspired us and was the main reason why we focused solely on Armenian content. At that time, we had only 3,000 Armenian words which needed to be improved, and during the Winter WikiCamp 2015 a portion of those words were enriched. The improvement process continued successfully after the camp ended, transforming our education initiative into a well-known Wiktionary-based program for secondary school students.

Where do we go from here?

As a result of Wikimedia Armenia’s Education Program and its participants’ efforts, this year the Armenian Wiktionary reached 100,000 entries.

After this success, we decided to include Wiktionary editing in the next WikiCamp: in Summer 2015, Wiktionary editors were actively involved in the camp and around 14,000 entries were created with joint efforts. Our main breakthrough was realizing that other Wikimedia projects could be as effective education tools as Wikipedia, so we attempted to implement other iterations in WikiCamp. Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons are still in development stage. You can find this and other outcomes in WikiCamp project page on Armenian Wikipedia.

David Saroyan, Program Manager, Wikimedia Armenia
Lilit Tarkhanyan, Wikipedia Education Program leader, Wikimedia Armenia
María Cruz, Communications and Outreach, Learning and Evaluation team, Wikimedia Foundation
Samir Elsharbaty, Fellow, Wikipedia Education Program, Wikimedia Foundation

«What I Learned» is a blog series that seeks to capture and share lessons learned in different Wikimedia communities over the world. This knowledge stems from the practice of Wikimedia programs, a series of programmatic activities that have a shared, global component, and a singular, local aspect. Every month, we will share a new story for shared learning from a different community. If you want to feature a lesson you learned, reach out!

by David Saroyan, Lilit Tarkhanyan, María Cruz and Samir El-Sharbaty at February 03, 2016 09:25 PM

February 02, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

MIT’s Pantheon explores historical culture with Wikipedia

Denis Law, centre, is scientifically the most famous person from my home town. Who’s yours? Photo by apasciuto, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Who is, scientifically, the most famous person in your home town? A new research project might be able to tell you.

Pantheon, a project developed by the Macro Connections group at the MIT Media Lab, is collecting data from thousands of Wikipedia biographies across 25 language editions, then using that data to visualise historical significance.

With the dataset (and its data visualisation kit), it’s possible to create a treemap of the occupations of a certain region’s famous people across history. You can also use it to find out the most famous people in a certain city—in my home town of Aberdeen, Scotland, that honour belongs to Manchester United footballer, and one-third of the “United Trinity“, Denis Law.

The tool uses a metric the team call “Historical Popularity Index”, gained through a variety of methods laid out on the tool’s methods page. One of these is the number of Wikipedia language editions which contain the person’s biography—for example, Jesus Christ is featured in 214 Wikipedias.

César Hidalgo, director of the MIT Media Lab’s Macro Connections group, where he uses Wikipedia data together with Amy Yu, Cristian Jara, and Shahar Ronen, says the project studies “collective memory”. During a previous project, in which he worked on mapping cities and countries’ industrial output, he realised that he was missing a significant part of national exports: “The US exports soybeans and jet engines, but it is also the birthplace of Miles Davis and Malcolm X. That should count for something, but our records of international trade do not gather information on cultural exports.

“I decided to start a project to map globally famous biographies as a mean to map [these] cultural exports,” he says. “By now our thinking has evolved, and we think of this dataset as a biographical view of human collective memory. But the origins came from the cultural exports framing.”

Right now, the dataset is limited to just over 11,000 individuals, thanks in part to manual verification and data cleaning. The team of researchers behind the project say this incompleteness is unavoidable, but that it’s also a motivation for them to continue to improve the service.

To find the most popular person on Wikipedia from your home town, head over to Pantheon’s site and find the right city.

Joe Sutherland, Communications intern
Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at February 02, 2016 06:17 PM

January 29, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, January 2016

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 6 • Issue: 01 • January 2016 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Bursty edits; how politics beat religion but then lost to sports; notability as a glass ceiling

With contributions by: Brian Keegan, Piotr Konieczny, and Tilman Bayer

Burstiness in Wikipedia editing

Reviewed by Brian Keegan

Wikipedia pages are edited with varying levels of consistency: stubs may only have a dozen or fewer revisions and controversial topics might have more than 10,000 revisions. However, this editing activity is not evenly spaced out over time either: some revisions occur in very quick succession while other revisions might persist for weeks or months before another change is made. Many social and technical systems exhibit “bursty” qualities of intensive activity separated by long periods of inactivity. In a pre-print submitted to arXiv, a team of physicists at the Belgian Université de Namur and Portuguese University of Coimbra examine this phenomenon of “burstiness” in editing activity on the English Wikipedia.[1]

The authors use a database dump containing the revision history until January 2010 of 4.6 million English Wikipedia pages. Filtering out pages and editors with fewer than 2000 revisions, bots, and edits from unregistered accounts, the paper adopts some previously-defined measures of burstiness and cyclicality in these editing patterns. The measures of editors’ revisions’ burstiness and memory fall outside of the limits found in prior work about human dynamics, suggesting different mechanisms are at work on Wikipedia editing than in mobile phone communication, for example.

Using a fast Fourier transform, the paper finds the 100 most active editors have signals occurring at a 24-hour frequency (and associated harmonics) indicating they follow a circadian pattern of revising daily as well as differences by day of week and hour of day. However, the 100 most-revised pages lack a similar peak in the power spectrum: there is no characteristic hourly, daily, weekly, etc. revision pattern. Despite these circadian patterns, editors’ revision histories still show bursty patterns with long-tailed inter-event times across different time windows.

The paper concludes by arguing, “before performing an action, we must overcome a “barrier”, acting as a cost, which depends, among many other things, on the time of day. However, once that “barrier” has been crossed, the time taken by that activity no longer depends on the time of day at which we decided to perform it. … It could be related to some sort of queuing process, but we prefer to see it as due to resource allocation (attention, time, energy), which exhibits a broad distribution: shorter activities are more likely to be executed next than the longer ones.”

Emerging trends based on Wikipedia traffic data and contextual networks

Reviewed by Brian Keegan

Google Trends is widely used in academic research to model the relationship between information seeking and other social and behavioral phenomenon. However, Wikipedia pageview data can provide a superior – if underused – alternative that has attracted some attention for public health and economic modeling, but not to the same extent as Google Trends. The authors cite the relative openness of Wikipedia pageview data, the semantic disambiguation, and absolute counts of activity in contrast to Google Trends’ closed API, semantic ambiguity of keywords, and relative query share data. However, Trends data (at a weekly level) does go back to 2004, while pageview data (at an hourly level) is only available from 2008.

In a peer-reviewed paper published by PLoS ONE, a team of physicists perform a variety of time series analyses to evaluate changes in attention around the “big data” topic of Hadoop.[2] Defining two key constructs of relevance and representation based on the interlanguage links as well as hyperlinks to/from other concepts, they examine changes in these features over time. In particular, changes in the articles’ content and attention occurred in concert with the release of new versions and the adoption of the technology by new firms.

The time series analyses (and terms used to refer to them) will be difficult for non-statisticians to follow, but the paper makes several promising contributions. First, it provides a number of good critiques of research relying exclusive on Google Trends data (outlined above). Second, it provides some methods for incorporating behavioral data from strongly related topics and examining these changes over time in a principled manner. Third, the paper examines behavior across multiple languages editions rather than focusing solely on the English Wikipedia. The paper points to ways in which Wikipedia is an important information sources for tracking publication and recognition of new topics.

“Hidden revolution of human priorities: An analysis of biographical data from Wikipedia”

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny

This paper[3] data mines Wikipedia’s biographies, focusing on individuals’ longevity, profession and cause of death. The authors are not the first to observe that the majority of Wikipedia biographies are about sportspeople (half of them soccer players), followed by artists and politicians. But they do make some interesting historical observations, such as that the sport rises only in the 20th century (particularly from the 1990s), that politics surpassed religion in the 13th century, until it was surpassed by sport, and so on. The authors divide the biographies into public (politicians, businessmen, religion) and private (artists and sportspeople) and note that it was only in the last few decades that the second group started to significantly outnumber the first; they conclude that this represents a major shift in societal values, which they refer to as “hidden revolution in human priorities”. It is an interesting argument, though the paper is unfortunately completely missing the discussion of some important topics, such as the possible bias introduced by Wikipedia’s notability policies.

“Women through the glass-ceiling: gender asymmetries in Wikipedia”

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny

This paper[4] looks into gender inequalities in Wikipedia articles, presenting a computational method for assessing gender bias in Wikipedia along several dimensions. It touches on a number of interesting questions, such as whether the same rules are used to determine whether women and men are notable; whether there is linguistic bias, and whether articles about men and women have similar structural properties (e. g., similar meta-data, and network properties in the hyperlink network).

They conclude that notability guidelines seem to be more strictly enforced for women than for men, that linguistic bias exists (ex. one of the four words most strongly associated with female biographies is “husband”, whereas such family-oriented words are much less likely to be found in biographies of male subjects), and that as the majority of biographies are about men and men tend to link more to men than to women, this lowers visibility of female biographies (for example, in search engines like Google). The authors suggest that Wikipedia community should consider lowering notability requirements for women (controversial), and adding gender-neutral language requirements to the Manual of Style (a much more sensible proposal).


Wikipedia influences medical decisionmaking in acute and critical care

Reviewed by Tilman Bayer

A survey[5] of 372 anesthesists and critical care providers in Austria and Australia found that “In order to get a fast overview about a medical problem, physicians would prefer Google (32%) over Wikipedia (19%), UpToDate (18%), or PubMed (17%). 39% would, at least sometimes, base their medical decisions on non peer-reviewed resources. Wikipedia is used often or sometimes by 77% of the interns, 74% of residents, and 65% of consultants to get a fast overview of a medical problem. Consulting Wikipedia or Google first in order to get more information about the pathophysiology, drug dosage, or diagnostic options in a rare medical condition was the choice of 66%, 10% or 34%, respectively.” (A 2012 literature review found that “Wikipedia is widely used as a reference tool” among clinicians.)

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.

Papers about medical content on Wikipedia and its usage

  • “How do Twitter, Wikipedia, and Harrison’s Principles of Medicine describe heart attacks?”[6] From the abstract: “For heart attacks, the chapters from Harrison’s had higher Jaccard similarity to Wikipedia than Braunwald’s or Twitter. For palpitations, no pair of sources had a higher Jaccard (token) similarity than any other pair. For no source was the Jaccard (token) similarity attributable to semantic similarity. This suggests that technical and popular sources of medical information focus on different aspects of medicine, rather than one describing a simplified version of the other.”
  • “Information-seeking behaviour for epilepsy: an infodemiological study of searches for Wikipedia articles[7] From the abstract: “Fears and worries about epileptic seizures, their impact on driving and employment, and news about celebrities with epilepsy might be major determinants in searching Wikipedia for information.”
  • “Wikipedia and neurological disorders”[8] From the abstract: “We determined the highest search volume peaks to identify possible relation with online news headlines. No relation between incidence or prevalence of neurological disorders and the search volume for the related articles was found. Seven out of 10 neurological conditions showed relations in search volume peaks and news headlines. Six of these seven peaks were related to news about famous people suffering from neurological disorders, especially those from showbusiness. Identification of discrepancies between disease burden and health seeking behavior on Wikipedia is useful in the planning of public health campaigns. Celebrities who publicly announce their neurological diagnosis might effectively promote awareness programs, increase public knowledge and reduce stigma related to diagnoses of neurological disorders.”
  • “Medical student preferences for self-directed study resources in gross anatomy”[9] From the abstract: “To gain insight into preclinical versus clinical medical students’ preferences for SDS resources for learning gross anatomy, […] students were surveyed at two Australian medical schools, one undergraduate-entry and the other graduate-entry. Lecture/tutorial/practical notes were ranked first by 33% of 156 respondents (mean rank ± SD, 2.48 ± 1.38), textbooks by 26% (2.62 ± 1.35), atlases 20% (2.80 ± 1.44), videos 10% (4.34 ± 1.68), software 5% (4.78 ± 1.50), and websites 4% (4.24 ± 1.34). Among CAL resources, Wikipedia was ranked highest.”

Papers analyzing community processes and policies

  • “Transparency, control, and content generation on Wikipedia: editorial strategies and technical affordances”[10] From the abstract: “Even though the process of social production that undergirds Wikipedia is rife with conflict, power struggles, revert wars, content transactions, and coordination efforts, not to mention vandalism, the article pages on Wikipedia shun information gauges that highlight the social nature of the contributions. Rather, they are characterized by a “less is more” ideology of design, which aims to maximize readability and to encourage future contributions. … Closer investigation reveals that the deceivingly simple nature of the interface is in fact a method to attract new collaborators and to establish content credibility. As Wikipedia has matured, its public notoriety demands a new approach to the manner in which Wikipedia reflects the rather complex process of authorship on its content pages. This chapter discusses a number of visualizations designed to support this goal, and discusses why they have not as yet been adopted into the Wikipedia interface.”
  • “Policies for the production of content in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”[11] From the abstract: “It is a case study with qualitative approach that had Laurence Bardin‘s content analysis as theoretical and methodological reference.”
  • “Validity claims of information in face of authority of the argument on Wikipedia”[12] From the abstract: “proposes to approach the claims of validity made by Jürgen Habermas in the face of the authority of the better argument. It points out that Wikipedia is built as an emancipatory discourse according to Habermas’ argumentative discourse considering the process of discursive validation of information.”
  • “Wikipedia and history: a worthwhile partnership in the digital era?”[13]
  • “Is Wikipedia really neutral? A sentiment perspective study of war-related Wikipedia articles since 1945”[14] From the abstract: “The results obtained so far show that reasons such as people’s feelings of involvement and empathy can lead to sentiment expression differences across multilingual Wikipedia on war-related topics; the more people contribute to an article on a war-related topic, the more extreme sentiment the article will express; different cultures also focus on different concepts about the same war and present different sentiments towards them.”
  • “The heart work of Wikipedia: gendered, emotional labor in the world’s largest online encyclopedia”[15] (CHI 2015 Best Papers award, slides)
  • “Knowledge quality of collaborative editing in Wikipedia: an integrative perspective of social capital and team conflict”[16] From the abstract: “Despite the abundant researches on Wikipedia, to the best of our knowledge, no one has considered the integration of social capital and conflict. […] our study proposes the nonlinear relationship between task conflict and knowledge quality instead of linear relationships in prior studies. We also postulate the moderating effect of task complexity. […] This paper aims at proposing a theoretical model to examine the effect of social capital and conflict, meanwhile taking the task complexity into account.”

Papers about visualizing or mining Wikipedia content

  • “Visualizing Wikipedia article and user networks: extracting knowledge structures using NodeXL[17]
  • “Utilising Wikipedia for text mining applications”[18] From the abstract: “Wikipedia … has proven to be one of the most valuable resources in dealing with various problems in the domain of text mining. However, previous Wikipedia-based research efforts have not taken both Wikipedia categories and Wikipedia articles together as a source of information. This thesis serves as a first step in eliminating this gap and throughout the contributions made in this thesis, we have shown the effectiveness of Wikipedia category-article structure for various text mining tasks. … First, we show the effectiveness of exploiting Wikipedia for two classification tasks i.e., 1- classifying the tweets being relevant/irrelevant to an entity or brand, 2- classifying the tweets into different topical dimensions such as tweets related with workplace, innovation, etc. To do so, we define the notion of relatedness between the text in tweet and the information embedded within the Wikipedia category-article structure.”
  • “Integrated parallel sentence and gragment extraction from comparable corpora: a case study on Chinese-Japanese Wikipedia”[19] From the abstract: “A case study on the Chinese–Japanese Wikipedia indicates that our proposed methods outperform previously proposed methods, and the parallel data extracted by our system significantly improves SMT [ statistical machine translation ] performance.”
  • “How structure shapes dynamics: knowledge development in Wikipedia – a network multilevel modeling approach”‘[20] From the abstract: “The data consists of the articles in two adjacent knowledge domains: psychology and education. We analyze the development of networks of knowledge consisting of interlinked articles at seven snapshots from 2006 to 2012 with an interval of one year between them. Longitudinal data on the topological position of each article in the networks is used to model the appearance of new knowledge over time. […] Using multilevel modeling as well as eigenvector and betweenness measures, we explain the significance of pivotal articles that are either central within one of the knowledge domains or boundary-crossing between the two domains at a given point in time for the future development of new knowledge in the knowledge base.” (cf. earlier paper coauthored by the same researchers: “Knowledge Construction in Wikipedia: A Systemic-Constructivist Analysis”)


  1. Gandica, Yerali; Carvalho, Joao; Aidos, Fernando Sampaio Dos; Lambiotte, Renaud; Carletti, Timoteo (2016-01-05). “On the origin of burstiness in human behavior: The wikipedia edits case”. arXiv:1601.00864 [physics]. 
  2. Kämpf, Mirko; Tessenow, Eric; Kenett, Dror Y.; Kantelhardt, Jan W. (2015-12-31). “The Detection of Emerging Trends Using Wikipedia Traffic Data and Context Networks”. PLoS ONE 10 (12): e0141892. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141892. 
  3. Reznik, Ilia; Shatalov, Vladimir (February 2016). “Hidden revolution of human priorities: An analysis of biographical data from Wikipedia”. Journal of Informetrics 10 (1): 124–131. doi:10.1016/j.joi.2015.12.002. ISSN 1751-1577.  Closed access
  4. Wagner, Claudia; Graells-Garrido, Eduardo; Garcia, David (2016-01-19). “Women Through the Glass-Ceiling: Gender Asymmetries in Wikipedia”. arXiv:1601.04890 [cs]. Jupyter notebooks
  5. Rössler, B.; Holldack, H.; Schebesta, K. (2015-10-01). “Influence of wikipedia and other web resources on acute and critical care decisions. a web-based survey”. Intensive Care Medicine Experimental 3 (Suppl 1): –867. doi:10.1186/2197-425X-3-S1-A867. ISSN 2197-425X.  (Poster presentation)
  6. Devraj, Nikhil; Chary, Michael (2015). “How Do Twitter, Wikipedia, and Harrison’s Principles of Medicine Describe Heart Attacks?”. Proceedings of the 6th ACM Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Health Informatics. BCB ’15. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 610–614. doi:10.1145/2808719.2812591. ISBN 978-1-4503-3853-0. 
  7. Brigo F, Otte WM, Igwe SC, Ausserer H, Nardone R, Tezzon F, Trinka E. Information-seeking behaviour for epilepsy: an infodemiological study of searches for Wikipedia articles. Epileptic Disorders, 2015 Dec 1;17(4):460 DOI:10.1684/epd.2015.0772 Closed access
  8. Brigo, Francesco; Igwe, Stanley C.; Nardone, Raffaele; Lochner, Piergiorgio; Tezzon, Frediano; Otte, Willem M. (July 2015). “Wikipedia and neurological disorders”. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience: Official Journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia 22 (7): 1170–1172. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2015.02.006. ISSN 1532-2653. PMID 25890773. 
  9. Choi-Lundberg, Derek L.; Low, Tze Feng; Patman, Phillip; Turner, Paul; Sinha, Sankar N. (2015-05-01). “Medical student preferences for self-directed study resources in gross anatomy”. Anatomical Sciences Education: n/a. doi:10.1002/ase.1549. ISSN 1935-9780.  Closed access
  10. Matei, Sorin Adam; Foote, Jeremy (2015). “Transparency, Control, and Content Generation on Wikipedia: Editorial Strategies and Technical Affordances”. In Sorin Adam Matei, Martha G. Russell, Elisa Bertino (eds.). Transparency in Social Media. Computational Social Sciences. Springer International Publishing. pp. 239–253. ISBN 978-3-319-18551-4.  Closed access
  11. Sandrine Cristina de Figueirêdo Braz, Edivanio Duarte de Souza: Políticas para produção de conteúdos na Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre (Policies For The Production Of Contents In The Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia). In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE PESQUISA EM CIÊNCIA DA INFORMAÇÃO, 15., 2014, Belo Horizonte. Anais … Belo Horizonte: UFMG, 2014. PDF (in Portuguese, with English abstract)
  12. Marcio Gonçalves, Clóvis Montenegro de Lima: Pretensões de validade da informação diante da autoridade do argumento na wikipédia (Validity claims of information in face of authority of the argument on wikipedia). In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE PESQUISA EM CIÊNCIA DA INFORMAÇÃO, 15., 2014, Belo Horizonte. Anais … Belo Horizonte: UFMG, 2014. PDF (in Portuguese, with English abstract)
  13. Phillips, Murray G. (2015-10-07). “Wikipedia and history: a worthwhile partnership in the digital era?”. Rethinking History 0 (0): 1–21. doi:10.1080/13642529.2015.1091566. ISSN 1364-2529.  Closed access
  14. Yiwei Zhou, Alexandra I. Cristea and Zachary Roberts: Is Wikipedia really neutral? A sentiment perspective study of war-related Wikipedia articles since 1945. 29th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation pages 160–68. Shanghai, China, October 30 – November 1, 2015 PDF
  15. Menking, Amanda; Erickson, Ingrid (2015). “The heart work of Wikipedia: gendered, emotional labor in the world’s largest online encyclopedia”. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI ’15. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 207–210. doi:10.1145/2702123.2702514. ISBN 978-1-4503-3145-6.  Closed access , also as draft version on Wikimedia Commons
  16. Zhan, Liuhan; Wang, Nan; Shen, Xiao-Liang; Sun, Yongqiang (2015-01-01). “Knowledge quality of collaborative editing in Wikipedia: an integrative perspective of social capital and team conflict”. PACIS 2015 Proceedings. 
  17. Shalin Hai-Jew (Kansas State University, US): Visualizing Wikipedia article and user networks: extracting knowledge structures using NodeXL. In: Developing Successful Strategies for Global Policies and Cyber Transparency in E-Learning. DOI:10.4018/978-1-4666-8844-5.ch005 Closed access
  18. Qureshi, Muhammad Atif (2015-10-08). “Utilising Wikipedia for text mining applications”.  (PhD thesis, U Galway)
  19. Chu, Chenhui; Nakazawa, Toshiaki; Kurohashi, Sadao (December 2015). “Integrated parallel sentence and gragment extraction from comparable corpora: a case study on Chinese-Japanese Wikipedia”. ACM Trans. Asian Low-Resour. Lang. Inf. Process. 15 (2). doi:10.1145/2833089. ISSN 2375-4699.  Closed access
  20. Halatchliyski, Iassen; Cress, Ulrike (2014-11-03). “How structure shapes dynamics: knowledge development in Wikipedia – a network multilevel modeling approach”. PLoS ONE 9 (11): e111958. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111958. 

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 6 • Issue: 01 • January 2016
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by Tilman Bayer at January 29, 2016 09:14 PM

WikipediansSpeak: Odia Wikisourcer shares her journey and goals

File:Odia Wikisourcer Pankajmala Sarangi sharing her experience and future plans.webm

Odia Wikisourcer Pankajmala Sarangi shares her experience and future plans to grow the community. Video by Pankajmala Sarangi (original video) and Subhashish Panigrahi (post production), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

The most active editor on the Odia Wikisource is Pankajmala Sarangi, a native of Odisha who now lives in New Delhi, where she works at a non-profit. As a leader in a broad community that is dominated by males—indeed, she is the most active contributor to the Odia-language Wikisource—we asked her to share her journey and her goals to grow the project and community as part of the “WikipediansSpeak” interview series.

What is the community like on the Odia Wikisource?

Pankajmala feels that the community is like her home. “I can’t tell how happy I am after seeing that this one year-old project has already digitized over 200 books. With more and more youth coming on the internet, the internet won’t disappoint them when the type and search in Odia language.”

What are projects that you would like to start or get help from the existing community to grow?

  • Forming expert /resource groups to increase the thematic group structure in the community so that each group could work collaboratively for specific goals.
  • We can also create groups through the help of the resident welfare associations in Odisha cities where Odia WikiTungis (in Odia Wikimedia community city based informal groups have been started that actively organize outreach and engage with new Wikimedians) are already working. They can work hand-in-hand. This will help us expand this program to more new places.
  • We can tie up with basic computer training institutes where their students and new Wikimedians who do not have access to computer/internet could learn about Odia Wikipedia editing as a vocational training. These institutes remain idle during day time and get busy after 4 pm as schools and college students come to learn about computer basics after their class hours.
  • One idea could be involving veterans whose expertise could help improve the quality of the articles which is otherwise going in vain after retirement. Post retirement life is otherwise lonely and many feel worthless who could enjoy the company of many new friends. The senior citizens groups could train new Wikimedians using these institutional facilities.
  • Summer vacation Wikipedia outreach for school/college students:
    • It has became mandatory in all private schools and colleges to do voluntary work for a few hours every day for six months to finish up a program. We can ask these private institutions to include editing and contributing to Odia Wikipedia and other Odia Wikimedia projects in their syllabus. They would not only get Wikipedians as facilitators without spending any money but will become part of such a global and multilingual group. We can involve students for both editing Wikipedia articles, and digitizing and correcting typos and other mistakes on Odia Wikisource. If a manual with the above details is available then it would be better to refer it while working. When we are discussing something in our community then the users (who are eligible for giving suggestions) should automatically get a message saying your suggestion/input is required on this (with that link to the page).

An overall statistics of the Odia Wikisource as per December 2015. Infograhphics by Subhashish Panigrahi, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

According to a 2011 survey, Wikipedia editors are only about nine percent female. The Wikisource statistics is not yet known, but I would theorize that it is similar. How do you think we could bridge this gap in Odia?

We surely have less women. We could reorient our current work to bring in a few other aspects like more focused outreach in women’s college and schools, creating a network of women who are interested to contribute to Wikimedia projects, making Twitter lists and Facebook groups for women for more friendly conversation and support, inviting and involving more women participants in Wikimedia outreach. I also wonder how we can gift the top contributors some gifts as a token of appreciation. We could also organize field trips for them to a public library, museum or art gallery so that they get to see how Wikimedia projects could grow by imbibing available resources.

What are your personal plans to build a community for Odia Wikisource in New Delhi?

Well, I think I would work on creating a database of all the Odia speakers living in New Delhi and the city organizations that work in propagating Odia language and culture, and plan Wikisource outreach programs for them.

Subhashish Panigrahi, Wikimedian and Programme Officer, Access to Knowledge (CIS-A2K), Centre for Internet and Society
Nasim Ali, Odia and English Wikimedian

This post is part of the WikipediansSpeak series, which aims to chronicle the voices of the Wikipedia community. You can find more of these posts on the Wikimedia Commons.

by Subhashish Panigrahi and Nasim Ali at January 29, 2016 08:07 PM

Millions read Bowie biography following sudden death

David Bowie, left, who released twenty-six studio albums during his lifetime, died earlier this month. Photo by CBS Television, public domain.

On January 10, just two days after the release of his twenty-sixth studio album, enigmatic British artist David Bowie died following an eighteen-month battle with liver cancer.

His death kicked off a string of deaths among aging male entertainers, including Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, René Angélil, and Abe Vigoda—all but the last within six years of age from one another. All five followed Lemmy and Natalie Cole, both of whom died at the end of 2015.

Wikipedia’s page view statistics show that the site is the first stop for many when actors and entertainers pass away. Bowie received almost seven million views in the day after he died—over 185 times the number he had the day before. His article received another four million more hits over the next few days. Rickman peaked at almost 3.4 million after his own death.

Wikipedia’s weekly traffic report shows just how beloved these two entertainers are. Bowie was the most popular article for the time period, followed by Rickman. Bowie’s wife and son followed at numbers 3 and 5, respectively, and his first wife came in at number 10. The total number of views on Bowie’s article in the two weeks after his death—over twelve million when the second week’s stats are added in—would have been enough to put it on the list of Wikipedia’s top 25 most popular articles from the entire year of 2015.

bowie rickman
Graph created with the Wikimedia Foundation’s Sample App for Pageview API, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. You can read more about it in our December 2015 blog post, “Making our pageview data easily accessible.”

There is generally a huge uptick in interest in an entertainer following their death, both from people who may not be familiar with their work as well as those seeking confirmation and information on the circumstances. Having a fully-fleshed out article on both meant that Wikipedia already had a thorough overview of their lives, more detailed than the media might be able to put out on a short timeframe—especially Bowie’s “featured”-class article.

Even when it comes to updating, Wikipedia has an advantage in that it can be updated immediately by anyone at any time. Indeed, the article has been edited over a thousand times this month—about ten percent of its more than 10,000 edits since 2001.

Bowie’s disease was a tightly guarded secret, to the point that his death came as a big surprise. In particular, it gave new light to his final album, Blackstar—it was only afterwards that critics noted themes of death and mortality within the lyrics. These were most readily apparent in the music video for the single “Lazarus”, in which Bowie is pictured lying on a deathbed, bandage around his head, singing lyrics like “Look up here, I’m in heaven” and “Oh, I’ll be free; just like that bluebird”.

Bowie had been subjected to a number of death hoaxes in the months leading up to Blackstar‘s release, so when his official social media profiles announced his sudden passing, the information was treated with scepticism. For the most part, editors elected to wait for verified sources to confirm the accuracy of the information coming from social media; the edits were made permanent minutes after Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, confirmed the news on Twitter: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true, I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

His Wikipedia article—identified as “featured“, peer-reviewed as one of the best articles on the site—provides a thorough overview of his life, his work, and his legacy. It now serves as a fitting obituary for a pioneering musician.

Articles on Wikipedia are unique in that they can turn from biographies to obituaries in only a few edits. The confirmation of Bowie’s death led to several editors making the changes necessary to the article in due course—generally small, but important, changes of tenses and article layout.

Alan Rickman died only four days after Bowie, at the same age. Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Four days later, we also lost Alan Rickman, an English actor and director who found fame in a number of roles across stage and screen from the 70s to the present day. He first found fame when he was nominated for a Tony Award in 1985 for his role in Les Liaisons dangereuses.

He earned more widespread and commercial success in his film roles, most notably playing Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the eight-film Harry Potter series.

Both Bowie and Rickman were 69 when they died within days of each other, a curious coincidence compounded by the later deaths of Glenn Frey and Rene Angelil at a similar age.

Having a fully-fleshed out article on both meant that Wikipedia could provide a thorough overview of their lives, more detailed than the media might be able to put out on a short timeframe.

Joe Sutherland, Communications intern
Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at January 29, 2016 08:06 PM

Content Translation tool has now been used for 50,000 articles

Content Translation session at Wikimania 2015. Photo by Amire80, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Last year around this time, we announced the arrival of a new tool that evolved out of an experiment aimed at making the editing process easier for our users. The tool in question—Content Translation—was initially enabled for 8 languages: Catalan, Danish, Esperanto, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian Bokmal, Spanish and Portuguese. Today, 12 months later, this article creating tool has been used by more than 11,000 editors across 289 Wikipedias to create more than 50,000 new articles.

Content Translation introduced a simple way to create Wikipedia articles through translation. Many editors have used this method for years in an effort to enrich content in Wikipedias where creation of high quality articles has been an uphill struggle due to many reasons. However, translating a Wikipedia article included several cumbersome steps like copying content across multiple browser tabs, manual adaption of links and references, etc. Content translation abstracts all these steps and provides a neat interface that is easy to use and provides a much faster method of creating a new article.

Content Translation is a beta feature. As part of the beta program, it is available for all logged-in users on 289 Wikipedias to try and provide us with their feedback.

Progress during the year

Over the last year, we have regularly documented the progress of the tool and how it was being adapted. Feedback from the users of Content Translation through many interactions helped us ascertain the features that had been helpful, or lacking and needed more attention. Also, we relied heavily on trends determined through the statistics that were being captured every day. For instance, during initial days we found that many users were unaware of the existence of this tool. To make it easier we surfaced several access points where the tool may be needed, including the contributions page, the list of interwiki languages on an article and other easily accessible spots. Sometime during the middle of 2015, we found that many users had not used the tool after 1 or 2 times. During conversations, users cited several reasons, like lack of machine translation support for their language, technical difficulties with some features, greater effort to find articles that needed translation etc. As a result, we focused on two key aspects:

  1. continued engagement with our returning users, and
  2. increased reliability and stability of the tool.

While working on Content Translation, we also made simultaneous improvements to the Statistics page. This page displays the weekly and total figures related to articles translated and deleted, as well as information related to the active languages. The statistics page (Special:ContentTranslationStats) is available in all wikis where Content Translation extension exists. Several interesting information is surfaced through the statistics page. For instance:

  • 64% of all articles have been translated from the English Wikipedia. Spanish is the second popular choice (12%).
  • more than 1000 new articles have been created in 15 languages, of which 6000 individual articles have been written in both Catalan and Spanish Wikipedias.
  • highest number of individual translators have used Content Translation in the Spanish Wikipedia (more than 2000).
  • the highest number of articles created during a single week is 1968. Over 1900 articles are created using Content Translation every week—up from about 1000 per week in August 2015, the first month when it was enabled in all languages.
  • weekly deletion rates have been found to be between 6 to 8% of the total articles created

Besides this regular set of data, occasionally we have observed some interesting trends related to specific events. For example, when a machine translation system was enabled on the Russian Wikipedia in early November, the weekly article translation numbers doubled and has continued to grow.

Comparison between articles created in Content Translation with and without the suggestions feature. Image by Runa Bhattacharjee, public domain/CC0.

Engagement and Stability

One of the major outcomes in recent months is the addition of the ‘Suggestions’ feature. Instead of searching for what to do, users can view a list of articles that they can translate. This is an ongoing collaboration between the Language and Research teams at the Wikimedia Foundation. Users are displayed a list comprising of articles on topics determined on the basis of various factors like their past translations, popular topics in the language, etc. Additionally, topic-based targeted campaigns with predetermined article lists have also been introduced. The first of these was proposed by the Medical Translation Project and completed for translating a set of articles from English to Persian. A month after this feature was introduced, we found that suggestions have been used to start about 16% of the translations.

In terms of stability, increased usage of the tool has thrown up some of the technical challenges that need further attention. These include better handling of translation saving and publishing errors, reducing wikitext errors in published articles and uninterrupted service uptime through better monitoring of services. As a development team, constant interactions with users of Content Translation have been valuable as a source of information regards the performance of the tool and its shortcomings.

Coming up next

The main focus at the moment continues to be improving the wikitext sanity of the published content, reducing publishing and saving errors, and an overall improvement in stability of the article translation workflow.

Besides this, we will continue improvements of a feature that is an important aspect of this project. Content Translation uses third-party machine translation systems for several languages. To help benefit the wider machine translation development community, we recently completed the initial development of the parallel corpora API that provides an easy access to the human-modified translations. This is an open repository compiling examples of translated content and the corrections users had to make. It will be a valuable resource in improving quality and language coverage in all new and existing machine translation systems.

We would like to sincerely thank everyone for comments, feedback, encouragement and wholehearted participation that provided direction to this project. We look forward to many new things in the next 12 months.

You can share your comments and feedback about the Content Translation tool with the Wikimedia Language team at the project talk page. You can also follow us on twitter (@whattotranslate) for updates and other news.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Language team (Editing)
Wikimedia Foundation

by Runa Bhattacharjee at January 29, 2016 01:10 PM

January 28, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation takes part in Google Code-in 2015

Photo by Swiss National Library/Simon Schmid/Fabian Scherler, freely licensed under CC BY-SA-4.0.

Google Code-in 2015 is over. As a co-admin and mentor for the Wikimedia Foundation—one of the 14 organizations who took part and provided mentors and tasks—I can say it’s been crazy as usual.

To list some of the students’ achievements:

  • More than a dozen of MediaWiki extensions converted to using the extension registration mechanism
  • Confirmation dialogs in UploadWizard and TimedMediaHandler use OOjs-UI
  • Vagrant roles created for the EmbedVideo and YouTube extensions
  • Two more scraping functions in the html-metadata node.js library (used by Citoid)
  • Many MediaWiki documentation pages marked as translatable
  • lc, lcfirst, uc and ucfirst magic words implemented in jqueryMsg
  • Screenshots added to some extension homepages on mediawiki.org
  • ReCaptchaNoCaptcha of the ConfirmEdit extension uses the UI language for the captcha
  • MobileFrontend, MultimediaViewer, UploadWizard, Newsletter, Huggle, andPywikibot received numerous improvements (too many to list)
  • Long deprecated wfMsg* calls were removed from many extensions
  • The CommonsMetadata extension parses vcards in the src field
  • The MediaWiki core API exposes “actual watchers” as in “action=info”
  • MediaWiki image thumbnails are interlaced whenever possible
  • Kiwix is installable/moveable to the SD card, automatically opens the virtual keyboard for “find in page”, (re)starts with the last open article
  • imageinfo queries in MultimediaViewer are cached
  • The Twinkle gadget‘s set of article maintenance tags was audited and its XFD module has preview functionality
  • The RandomRootPage extension got merged into MediaWiki core
  • One can remove items from Gather collections
  • A new MediaWiki maintenance script imports content from text files
  • Pywikibot has action=mergehistory support implemented
  • Huggle makes a tone when someone writes something
  • Many i18n issues fixed and strings improved
  • Namespace aliases added to MediaWiki’s export dumps
  • The Translate extension is compatible with PHP 7
  • …and many, many, more.

Numerous GCI participants also blogged about their GCI experience with Wikimedia:

The Grand Prize winners and finalists will be announced on February 8.

Congratulations to our many students and 35 mentors for fixing 461 tasks, and thank you for your hard work and your contributions to free software and free knowledge.

See you around on IRC, mailing lists, Phabricator tasks, and Gerrit changesets!

Photo by AKlapper (WMF), freely licensed under CC BY-SA-4.0

Andre Klapper, Bug Wrangler
Wikimedia Foundation

This post originally appeared on Andre’s personal blog.

by Andre Klapper at January 28, 2016 09:46 PM

Who edits Wikipedia?

File:I am a Wikipedian.webm

Seven Wikimedia editors are featured in this documentary video. Video uploaded by Giselle Bordoy WMAR, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Today is Wikipedia’s 15th birthday! To commemorate the event, our friends in Argentina have shot a documentary about seven editors on Wikipedia or the various Wikimedia projects. It has English subtitles.

Wikimedia Argentina, a local Wikimedia chapter, told us that they often find that “there is a general ignorance about who edits Wikipedia and writes the encyclopedia’s articles.” Many, they say, believe that Wikipedia editors are hired or are selected for their expertise in specific areas.

These experiences heavily influenced Wikimedia Argentina’s decision to create a video documentary that showcased the editors of Wikipedia. They want to “break the different myths that we found in the collective imagination,” by “showing the first-hand personal stories of different Wikipedians.”

The featured volunteers, all people who faced Wikipedia’s challenges in their first edits but kept trying and helping to approach Wikipedia to others, are:

  • Beatrice, photographer. Her main contributions are in Wikimedia Commons.
  • Alberto Robles, a union lawyer. Wikipedia editor since 2006.
  • Andrea, a psychologist and visual artist. She leads the WikiProject:Women
  • Jorge fan of the astronomy. Wikipedia editor in Spanish since 2006.
  • Mauritius, student of librarianship . Leads the digitization project.
  • Leandro, student of tourism. Editor of Wikipedia since 2004, former librarian.
  • Lucas Reynoso, secondary student. He is the youngest member of Wikimedia Argentina.

Giselle Bordoy, Communications Manager, Wikimedia Argentina
Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

by Giselle Bordoy and Ed Erhart at January 28, 2016 09:39 PM

Wikimedia Highlights, December 2015

Wikimedia Highlights, December 2015 lead image.png

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

Wikipedia celebrates 15 years of free knowledge

(2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report) -Government primary school in Amman, Jordan - Young girls reading.jpg
As Wikipedia marks its 15th anniversary, its community celebrated with nearly 150 events on six continents. Meanwhile, the Wikimedia Foundation is announcing an endowment to sustain Wikipedia for the future. Photo by Tanya Habjouqa, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

On January 15, we celebrated not just Wikipedia, but the birth of an idea: that anyone can contribute to the world’s knowledge. As part of this milestone, the Wikimedia Foundation is pleased to announce the Wikimedia Endowment, a permanent source of funding to ensure Wikipedia thrives for generations to come. The Foundation’s goal is to raise $100 million over the next 10 years. You can follow along with the anniversary by tagging @Wikipedia, using the hashtag #wikipedia15, and visiting 15.wikipedia.org.

Fifteen years ago, Wikipedia was a very different place: Magnus Manske

Wikidata Birthday Talk Magnus Manske.jpg
Magnus Manske, a Wikipedia contributor since 2001, spoke at Wikidata’s third Birthday Party in 2015 at Wikimedia Deutschland. Photo by Jason Krüger, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Manske vividly remembers the early days of Wikipedia: “Back in 2001, Wikipedia was the new kid on the block. We were the underdogs, starting from a blank slate, taking on entities like Brockhaus and Britannica, seemingly eternal giants in the encyclopedia world. I remember the Main Page saying ‘We currently have 15 not-so-bad articles. We want to make 100,000, so let’s get to work.’ ‘Not-so-bad’ referred to stubs with at least one comma.” In those days, even MediaWiki—the software that underpins Wikipedia and other wiki sites around the word—didn’t exist. However, the site’s growth posed problems for the original UseModWiki code, as it could not scale up to meet the demand. Manske coded a replacement for UseMod, which he called Phase II. It introduced a number of innovations that Wikipedia editors still use today, such as namespaces, watchlists, and user contribution lists.

Making our pageview data easily accessible

Solomon Northup by Nebro, edit.jpg
Solomon Northup was the most-visited Wikipedia article on December 12, according to HatNote’s Top 100—a new app that takes advantage of the new pageview API. Illustration from Twelve Years a Slave (1853), public domain.

Wikipedia and its sister projects receive more than 16 billion pageviews each month—more than double the earth’s population. The popularity of different Wikipedia articles can reflect trends in society if we ask simple questions: what’s more popular on Spanish Wikipedia, fideuà or paella? How many views did Punjabi Wikipedia get after the last editathon? What are the top destinations people look up on German Wikivoyage?

You can now use the Wikimedia Foundation’s new pageview API to get these answers quickly and easily. The API is built on a RESTful architecture making it easy to retrieve data with a URI. To make it easier to use, there is a R client and a recently released python client.

In brief

Discovery: What happens when you search Wikipedia?: The Wikimedia Foundation’s Discovery team has replaced prefix search with a “completion suggester.” They are also working on improving search for multilingual users.
Maithili Wikipedia turns one year old: Maithili Wikipedians from Rajbiraj, Nepal organized an event to facilitate the winners of first Maithili Edit-a-thon and to celebrate first anniversary of Maithili Wikipedia.
Live a year in 4 minutes: Introducing #Edit2015, Wikipedia’s year-in-review video: You can experience some of the wonder, pain, and triumph of 2015 in four minutes with #Edit2015, the Wikimedia Foundation’s second year-in-review video, replaying a year through the lens of history’s largest crowd-sourced movement.
Documenting Tunis for future generations: A series of workshops are taking place in the Tunisian Association of the Preservation of the Medina – Tunis (ASM Tunis) headquarters. Volunteers will be gathered on a monthly basis and work in their spare time on four themes: madressas (schools), souks (markets), diar (palaces), and mosques/mausoleums.

Andrew Sherman, Digital Communications Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

Photo Montage credits: “Wikidata Birthday Talk Magnus Manske.jpg” by Jason Krüger, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0; “Solomon_Northup_by_Nebro,_edit.jpg” from Twelve Years a Slave (1853), public domain.; “(2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report) -Government primary school in Amman, Jordan – Young girls reading.jpg” by Tanya Habjouqa, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO; Collage by Andrew Sherman.

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

by Andrew Sherman at January 28, 2016 09:39 PM

Community digest: Urdu Wikipedia reaches 100,000 articles

The tiger shark was the Urdu Wikipedia’s 100,000th article. Photo by Albert kok, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

On December 29, 2015, the Urdu Wikipedia community achieved a major milestone: 100,000 articles. The article in question, tiger shark (en), was created by Ameen Akbar, an administrator who has made almost 17,000 edits to the project.

The Urdu Wikipedia has come a long way since its inception in 2004. It has a very large number of contributors from Pakistan, where Urdu is the national language, followed by India (where Urdu is among the official languages). There are also contributors from the United States, Finland and Germany.

Urdu Wikipedia bureaucrat Mohammad Shuaib says that, with this feat, the project now joins the bigger league of Wikimedia communities with a much wider presence of free knowledge, and that it is imperative to make it a high-quality, referenced tool, useful to people from all walks of life, including students and teachers.

Mohammad specifically cited the recent success of Quarterly Editing Project, and hopes that, in the near future, Urdu Wikipedians will rise to the position of stewardship, discharging the administrative and maintenance actions with higher implication spread across all Wikimedia projects.

The community’s achievement comes six months after Tahir Mahmood, a bureaucrat, was featured on the Wikimedia blog on achieving a record number of edits. His tally now exceeds 150,000. Second-placed Sajid Amjad has over 50,000 edits, and is the senior most active sysop since 2010.

A survey of ten active Urdu Wikipedians found the community now hopes to consolidate on quality improvement measures such as stub expansion, grammar correction, incorporating more elaborate themes and topics, as well as developing a scheme of action leading to an integrated approach for the further development of all south Asian Perso-Arabic script Wikipedias.

Among those surveyed was Ameen Akbar—who wrote the 100,000th article on the project—who emphasized the need for outreach and engaging more editors. Arif Soomro, several of whose articles have been peer-reviewed and are now in the featured category, listed his future editing priorities in the areas of Urdu, Sindhi and world literature.

Another administrator, Obaid Raza, placed stress on popularizing the Urdu keyboard and making multilingual editing user-friendly. In this direction, Usman Khan has recently embarked on the mission of creating instructional videos on how to use the Urdu Wikipedia for the first time.

A notable idea which has gained significant momentum recently as a result of the recent increase in the number of active editors is the planned coordination of Wikipedias in Perso-Arabic scripts, such as Western Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi and Pushtu with Urdu, to ensure that these projects have the widest reach among the masses in south Asia.

Syed Muzammiluddin
Urdu Wikipedia Sysop and Wikimedia community volunteer

In brief

An Education Hackathon was conducted by Wikimedia Argentina that attracted over 400 people from around the world.
First results from the community wishlist survey are in: Danny Horn of the WMF writes that they have committed to investigating and responding to the top ten requests. So far, two are being worked on: migrating dead links to the Internet Archive, which maintains an enormous database of webpages going back to the early 2000s, and coming up with a new pageview tool to replace the occasionally unreliable alternative.
Wikimedia Endowment: The WMF is forming an endowment with funds from a legacy donor. The eventual goal for the fund is “to serve as a perpetual source of support for the operation and activities of Wikipedia and its sister projects.” More information and required legal information is available in the official announcement.
WMF needs your input on its future strategy: There is a strategy consultation with the community that the WMF needs feedback on. Executive Director Lila Tretikov writes that your time and effort will “help guide the Foundation in its work to support the movement.” An FAQ is available. The organization hopes to have a strategy in place in time for the community to review its annual budget, which community member Pete Forsyth calls “an important step toward running its finances in a more transparent and accountable way.”
#1Lib1Ref campaign wrapping up: The libraries community has an opportunity to help bridge Wikipedia’s systemic gaps. To get these people to participate, the WMF’s Wikipedia Library team is engaging them in an innovative social media campaign with the hashtag #1Lib#1Ref; organizations and associations like the Internet Archive have also lended assistance in spreading the word. Urge your local librarian(s) to join this global movement! See the official announcement, updated for January 21.
Wikimedia tutorial videos: Pre-production has started for a series of motivational and educational videos that will introduce Wikipedia and some of its sister projects to new contributors, featuring VisualEditor, Citoid (a new citation tool), and Wikimedia Commons. Translations and feedback on the script outline are needed, and there will be an office hour IRC meeting in #wikimedia-office on Monday, January 25, at 11 AM PST / 2 PM EST / 7 PM UTC.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

by Syed Muzammiluddin and Ed Erhart at January 28, 2016 09:39 PM

Fifteen years ago, Wikipedia was a very different place: Magnus Manske

Magnus Manske, a Wikipedia contributor since 2001, was born and went to university in Cologne, Germany. The city’s famed cathedral is pictured here. Photo by Thomas Wolf, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Germany.

Update, January 25: today is Magnus Manske Day. On this day in 2002, Wikipedia switched over the the so-called “Phase II” software, which was one of the first iterations of what we now know as MediaWiki. Jimmy Wales said at the time that “Wikipedians of the distant future will marvel at the day when the new software era dawned upon us. Tonight at dinner, every Wikipedian should say a toast to Magnus and his many inventions.”

The world and the Internet have been permanently altered in the last fifteen years: Altavista and Lycos, for instance, were the popular search engines of the day, and “Googling” something had three more years to come about. The concept of social media was nearly non-existent.

It should come as no surprise, then, that when Magnus Manske started editing Wikipedia in 2001, the encyclopedia was a very different place. Its home page in November 2001, now utterly dated, boasts of having 16,000 English-language articles—and the contributors could only dream of getting to 100,000. There were no images on the front page, only black text and blue hyperlinks.

Manske told the blog that he vividly remembers this original front page: “Back in 2001, Wikipedia was the new kid on the block. We were the underdogs, starting from a blank slate, taking on entities like Brockhaus and Britannica, seemingly eternal giants in the encyclopedia world. I remember the Main Page saying ‘We currently have 15 not-so-bad articles. We want to make 100,000, so let’s get to work.’ ‘Not-so-bad’ referred to stubs with at least one comma.”

“It was a ghost town, with just about no content whatsoever.”

Still, humor was not lost on the pioneering editors who were working towards a seemingly impossible and unattainable goal. When the subject of replacing the Wikipedia logo came up—at this time, there was no world-famous Wikipedia ‘globe’ logo; in its place was a quote from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan—one contributor referenced the infinite monkey theorem: “A million monkeys. A million typewriters. Wikipedia.”

At that point in time, even MediaWiki—the software that underpins Wikipedia and other wiki sites around the word—didn’t exist. However, the site’s growth posed problems for the original UseModWiki code, as it could not scale up to meet the demand. Manske coded a replacement for UseMod, which he called Phase II. It introduced a number of innovations that Wikipedia editors still use today, such as namespaces, watchlists, and user contribution lists.

However, even Manske’s code had to be rewritten a year later, as Wikipedia was growing explosively. That original goal 100,000 articles would have put Wikipedia in the same category of Brittanica; Manske said that based on Wikipedia’s initial growth, they thought they would hit 100,000 in ten years—and “even that seemed overly optimistic.”

In reality, it took only two. “Once we hit exponential growth, it all became a blur; suddenly, the rocket was off the ground. We tried our best to hold on and stay on course. Two months ago we passed five million articles, fifty times the number we hoped for.”

In the succeeding fifteen years, Manske has seen several life changes—in 2001, he was just another a biology student at the University of Cologne. His work on Wikipedia since then has heavily influenced his life. His current job in population genetics actually sprung out of it: “During my PhD, I got an email from a professor in Oxford who wanted to run a wiki in his lab, and he somehow heard that I am the man to talk to. He invited me over to the UK to give a brief talk and answer some questions, which I did. He then realized I was in biology and would be looking for a post-doc soon, and he was starting a group in Cambridge.”

Wikipedia has too. The blog asked Manske for his thoughts on where Wikipedia is today:

While it is fine to grow a little conservative in order to protect our common achievement that is Wikipedia, I think we should be more open and enthusiastic for new possibilities. A prime example is the site itself. People love the site not just for its content, but also for its calm, ad-free appearance, an island of tranquility in the otherwise often shrill web; the calm and quiet of a old-fashioned library, a refuge from the loud and hectic online world.

But we have gone from slowdown to standstill; the interface has changed little in the last ten years or so, and all the recent changes have been fought teeth-and-claw by the communities, especially the larger language editions. From the Media Viewer, the Visual Editor, to Wikidata transclusion, all have been resisted by vocal groups of editors, not because they are a problem, but because they represent change. For these editors, the site has worked fine for years; why change anything?

To some degree, all websites, including Wikipedia, must obey the Red Queen hypothesis: you have to run just to stand still. This does not only affect Wikipedia itself, but the entire Wikimedia ecosystem. Our media handling is antiquated to say the least; video inclusion in article is only now starting to pick up, many years after sites like YouTube have become as ubiquitous as Wikipedia itself. Other great projects, like Wikisource and Wikiquote, remain in their own little niche, hampered to a large degree by the lack of appropriate technology. Wikidata, the only radical new technology in the recent WikiVerse, was spawned by [Wikimedia Deutschland/Germany], not WMF proper, and remains poorly understood by many Wikipedians.

A lot has changed since 2001. Wikipedia is a success. We are no longer fighting with our back at the abyss of failed start-ups; we have a solid foundation to work from. But if we wall our garden against change, against new users, new technologies, new approaches, our work of 15 years is in danger of fading away. An established brand name only carries so far. Ask IBM. Ask AOL. Right now, we are in an ideal position to try new things. We have nothing to lose, except a little time.


Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

When Magnus Manske started editing Wikipedia (left), the encyclopedia was a very different place; Manske still contributes today (right). Photo on left courtesy of Magnus Manske. Photo on right by Jason Krüger, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

by Ed Erhart at January 28, 2016 09:38 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Novým manažerem vzdělávacího programu Wikimedia ČR se stala Gabriela Boková

Gabriela Boková

Představujeme novou koordinátorku našich vzdělávacích programů, Gábinu Bokovou (autor: Tomáš Slavík).

Začátek února bude pro Wikimedia ČR zas o něco radostnější. Přivítá do svého týmu novou posilu, Gabrielu Bokovou, která se ujme role manažera vzdělávacích aktivit. Jejím úkolem bude především koordinovat projekty Studenti píší WikipediiSenioři píší Wikipedii a rozvíjet nové způsoby spolupráce Wikipedie s institucemi. Cílem je zkvalitnit Wikipedii a zvýšit počet jejích autorů – wikipedistů. Věříme, že jsme z více než 200 velmi kvalitních uchazečů na tento post vybrali správně, a proto bychom vám Gábinu rádi představili.

Gábina se dlouhodobě zajímá o oblast vzdělávání, především neformálního. Ať už z pohledu lektora zážitkových aktivit pro děti a mládež, konzultanta diplomových prací, nebo člověka, který usiluje o změny vzdělávacího systému. Proto se v září 2015 přidala do týmu TEDx Prague a v současné době se podílí na projektu „Have you met TED?“, kde šíří slávu TEDu mezi středoškoláky prostřednictvím učitelů občanské výchovy. V roce 2011 založila v Brně festival Youth for You(th), který pracuje s konceptem neformálního vzdělávání a vytváří pro mládež bezpečný tréninkový prostor k získání dovedností, které se ve škole neučí. Celý festival stojí na práci dobrovolníků, ať už z řad organizátorů či účinkujících, a jeho šestý ročník se chystá na letošní duben. Klíčové zkušenosti pro roli manažera vzdělávacích aktivit získala i v YMCA Brno, kde působila nejen v roli programového koordinátora, ale i lektora neformálního vzdělávání a metodika vzdělávacích programů.

Edit-a-thon Ženy v minulosti vědy

Výuka Wikipedie v rámci edit-a-thonu „Ženy v minulosti vědy“ ve spolupráci s NKC Gender a věda, listopad 2015

Jak sama říká, díky svému přirozenému smyslu pro strukturu, který si dříve vybíjela v neziskových organizacích jako projektový manažer, se často zamýšlí nejen nad tím, kterou cestou se vydat k cíli, ale také nad tím, zda jdeme k tomu správnému cíli a zda to celé dává smysl. „Práce pro Wikimedia mi smysl dává a nabízí i přesah,“ vysvětluje Gábina. „Když něco dělám, chci spíše usilovat o celospolečenskou změnu, než pouze reaktivně řešit dílčí problémy, a v tomto vidím ve Wikipedii velký potenciál,“ dodává.

K rozhodnutí zaměstnat manažera vzdělávacích projektů nás vedl obrovský úspěch projektů Studenti píší Wikipedii a Senioři píší Wikipedii a zároveň pocit, že jejich potenciál ještě není plně využit. Ač Wikimedia Česká republika stále stojí převážně na činnosti dobrovolníků, takto rozsáhlé a ambiciózní projekty již přestává být možné vést pouze na dobrovolnické bázi. Postupná profesionalizace některých klíčových projektů je ve shodě s naším plánem činnosti pro rok 2016 a předpokládáme, že tento proces bude v následujících měsících a letech pokračovat.

by Gabriela Boková at January 28, 2016 03:11 PM

January 25, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

What are the most-edited articles through Wikipedia’s history?

War and tragedy features heavily on the list. Photo by Jonathan Rashad, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In the beginning, there was Creationism.

The much-debated belief that a supreme being created the physical universe was the most-edited article in Wikipedia’s first year, 2001. But in the genesis of the open-sourced encyclopedia powered by the world, that didn’t amount to a lot of edits: just 179 edits made it the top article for all of Wikipedia’s first year.

As Wikipedia turns 15 on Friday, things have evolved a great deal. The English-language Wikipedia is just one of many Wikimedia projects today, and it’s 5,053,647 articles have now been edited 808,187,367 times (as of press time). Parsing those edits by year brings into focus a fascinating evolution of the current millennia online, revealing not just what people clicked on or read or even shared. The most-edited articles show what Wikipedians created and shaped and gave to the world as this millennia began to unfold.

The most-edited article this past year, Deaths in 2015, inspired 18,271 edits[1]—more than 100 times the total that put creationism on top 15 years ago. Deaths in [year] are staples in the English Wikipedia’s editing history; they are the most-edited articles in each year between 2007 and 2015, and the second-most in 2001, 2003, and 2006. As such, we’ve mostly omitted them in the list.

Obituaries of the year show up through the list of each year’s most-edited articles, but some surprises and zeitgeist zings also pop up among the most edited articles in each of Wikipedia’s 15 years. The aggregate list from all 15 years follows at the bottom.

Our thanks go to Stephen LaPorte for obtaining the year-by-year data. You can see the full list on Hatnote.

2001 – Most edited article: Creationism (149 edits) Also on the list at #3: Feminism, which today boasts 225 references and resources at Wikipedia's sister projects, Wikimedia Commons, Wikiquote, and Wikiversity. 2001: Most edited article: Creationism (149 edits) Also on the list at #3: Feminism, which today boasts 225 references and resources at Wikipedia’s sister projects, Wikimedia Commons, Wikiquote, and Wikiversity. Painting by Michelangelo, public domain

2002 – Wikipedia’s Main Page got the most work in its second year, with 449 edits, after being moved from "homepage" (now an actual article). Also on this list in Year 2: List of Canadians, topped by the end of that year by author Margaret Atwood and songwriter Leonard Cohen.2002: Wikipedia’s Main Page got the most work in its second year, with 449 edits, after being moved from “homepage” (now an actual article). Also on this list in Year 2: List of Canadians, topped by the end of that year by author Margaret Atwood and songwriter Leonard Cohen. Screenshot by English Wikipedia editors, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Tetris_DOS_19862003: In year three the Main Page again saw the most editing, jumping to 2,072 edits. Also on the list was Timeline of computer and video games, which creaks with age when looked at now: Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, Tomb Raider close the list. Screenshot by tetris.com, used under fair use in the Wikipedia article for this game.

Bush_Kerry_20042004: Wikipedia got political in 2004, with Republican George W. Bush getting the most scrutiny from editors with (5,527 edits). After a community vetting process, the article is today rated as a “good” article. Coming in second, as in other arenas that year, was Democrat John Kerry. Photo by Matthew Trump, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

050830-C-3721C-0322005: George W. Bush was again the most edited article, this year with 20,894 edits; the havoc-wreaking Hurricane Katrina was right behind the president. #3 got meta: the Wikipedia article on Wikipedia. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class NyxoLyno Cangemi, public domain

Wii-Console2006: That year’s Lebanon War drew 15,067 edits. #3 on the list was Wii (12,735 edits), the home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19 of that year. Photo by Evan-Amos, public domain

WWE's_The_New_Day_Jan_20152007: The annual deaths of the year topped the list, as it did for the following eight years. It was followed by List of WWE personnel (9,825 edits)—one of the most-edited pages of all time, even though it only appears on this list once. #3 was the Virginia Tech shooting (9,116 edits) that killed 32 in April 2007. Photo by Megan Elice Meadows, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Sarah_Palin_at_Chambliss_rally2008: #2 was a controversial personality much discussed in that US election year: vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (10,429 edits). #3 got meta again: 2008 (9,155 edits). Photo by Bruce Tuten, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

H1N1_map_by_confirmed_cases2009: Gaza War (10,490 edits) slotted in behind deaths but ahead of the H1N1 influenza virus pandemic (7,460 edits). Photo by HotWikiBR, public domain

Gaza_flotilla_raid_map2010: Miss Universe 2010 (6,109 edits) came in second; the Gaza flotilla raid (5,881 edits) followed. Photo by Montgomery, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Tahrir_Square_during_8_February_20112011: The Arab Spring had an impact on Wikipedia as well as the Middle East: the #2 and #3 most-edited articles were Libyan Civil War (9,311 edits) and Egyptian Revolution of 2011 (6,470 edits), respectively. Photo by Mona, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Gangnam Style by Psy2012: Unrest popped up again with the Syrian Civil War (#2; 7,760 edits), but popular culture took #3: the absolutely inescapable viral pop music hit “Gangnam Style” (5,028 edits), still the most-viewed video on YouTube. Photo by Eva Rinaldi, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

1st_Boston_Marathon_blast_seen_from_2nd_floor_and_a_half_block_away2013: Death was prevalent in this year: the annual list of deaths was still #1, the deadliest typhoon season since 1975 took #2 (6,077 edits), and the Boston Marathon bombing was #3 (6,005 edits). Photo by Aaron Tang, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Boeing_777-200ER_Malaysia_AL_(MAS)_9M-MRO_-_MSN_28420_404_(9272090094)2014: Second on the list was Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March of that year and was edited 10,055 times. Photo by Laurent ERRERA, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Taku_D_Peak2015: And last year’s most-edited stories proved once again that Wikipedia can still be zany, despite all its accomplishments. While Deaths of the year was still the most-edited story, Geospatial summary of the High Peaks/Summits of the Juneau Icefield was #2—one editor made 7,265 edits, and everyone else made 29. Photo by Walles39, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Most-edited articles of all time

Photo by Eric Draper, public domain.

After getting the data for each year, we wondered what the most-edited articles on the English-language Wikipedia for all 15 of its years. It turns out that it’s a controversial president who served for eight years, followed by wrestlers.

George W. Bush, 2004 and 2005’s most edited article, topped this list—an unsurprising place, given that it’s was named as the most controversial topic on the English Wikipedia in Global Wikipedia, published in 2014. Several other articles on this list are mirrored on the most controversial list, such as list of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. personnel, which came in second by only a few thousand edits. History comes up with Adolf Hitler and World War II, while religion includes the Catholic Church and the article for Jesus.

Of course, Wikipedia’s oddities also spring up. While Britney Spears is a world-famous music artist, one would probably not put her into world history alongside the Catholic Church, Adolf Hitler, or World War II. Also making appearances is the list of programs broadcast by ABS-CBN, one of oldest television stations in Asia and the first in the Philippines, and Wikipedia’s meta article on itself

You can see more of this data on the English Wikipedia; sort by namespace zero.

](1)George W. Bush (45,862); (2)List of WWE personnel (42,863); (3)United States (35,742); (4)Wikipedia (33,958); (5)Michael Jackson (28,152); (6)Jesus (28,084); (7)Catholic Church (26,421); (8)List of programs broadcast by ABS-CBN (25,188); (9)Barack Obama (24,708); (10)Adolf Hitler (24,612); (11)Britney Spears (23,802); (12)World War II (23,739); (13)Deaths in 2013 (22,529); (14)The Beatles (22,399); (15)India (22,271). Chart by Andrew Sherman.

Jeff Elder, Digital Communications Manager
Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation


[1] Wikipedians chronicle the deaths by month, so the page now redirects to a so-called “list of lists of deaths.”

by Jeff Elder and Ed Erhart at January 25, 2016 11:16 PM

15 years of Wikipedia in data visualization

Image by Stephen Laporte, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Article edits become musical bubbles. User languages become maps. Volunteer communities become circles of connections. World history becomes a sliding timeline.

Read on for 15 of our favorite data visualization projects from the last 15 years of Wikipedia.

Listen to Wikipedia

Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi

In musical bubbles, recent Wikipedia edits pop across the screen of “Listen to Wikipedia.” The pitch of each note and the size of the bubble indicate the size of the edit. Small changes are high-pitched blips while big changes echo. Watch the top of the screen. You might see a new user announcement set to the sound of strings. Wikipedia is always evolving. And in “Listen to Wikipedia,” you’ll hear the live symphony of its change.

Terra Incognita

Gavin Baily and Sarah Bagshaw

What is the terrain of a language on Wikipedia? What parts of the world are known in Hebrew but invisible in Japanese? In “Terra Incognita,” Wikipedia articles with geo-code data are mapped back to the parts of the world they represent and color coded per language. Select a few languages and explore the planet as a constellation of known and unknown spaces. It’s a colorful Wikipedia world out there, but there is so much terrain to discover.

Wikipedia Gender

Santiago Ortiz

Which topics do men edit more often than women on Wikipedia? That’s the question that behind the interactive “Wikipedia Gender” chart, designed with a data set in 2012. Along the center y-axis run articles that are revised increasingly more by female contributors. Along the x-axis run articles crafted by more men. In the center of the graph are articles like “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” and “A Tale of Two Cities” – which share a near equal gender parity.

Backstory: 13 Years of AIDS/HIV On Wikipedia

Florian Kräutli

As the discourse around AIDS/HIV has changed, so has its Wikipedia article. In “Backstory,” 13 years of revisions on the English-language AIDS/HIV Wikipedia article are charted. The study reveals a constant, contested, and collaborative effort to understand this global pandemic.

Africa on Wikipedia

Ralph Straumann, Mark Graham, Bernie Hogan, and Ahmed Medhat

What is the online visibility of African nations? In a series of distorted maps, “Africa on Wikipedia” shares a striking set of answers. Using 3.7 Million Wikipedia articles from 2013, and searching for topics geotagged into African nations, the project renders a map of Africa created solely by free knowledge. Then it offers a comparison map on the right. Cross-reference ‘population’, ‘internet connection,’ ‘gross domestic product’ and more against the density of Wikipedia articles to consider how much more visibility is needed for Africa today.


Matan Stauber

Image by S Page, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

World history is on a sliding scale in “Histography.” Across a resizable timeline, small black dots mark historical milestones. Click to select a moment, and explore the Wikipedia sources. Play with the categories to filter history to ‘music’, ‘inventions’, ‘riots’ and more. Time has rarely appeared so succinct. But within each dot there are thousands of further paths on the Wikipedia articles through history and culture.

Wikipedia Radial Graph


Since at least 2008, Wikipedia editors and readers have documented a phenomenon dubbed “getting to Philosophy.” It’s a simple set of rules that slowly but overwhelmingly link a topic back to the Wikipedia page for Philosophy. As of May 2011, 94.52% of articles could be successfully be connect to Philosophy. In the “Wikipedia Radial Graph” the simple rules are followed automatically to connect any search term back to the Philosophy root. Can you find one of the few articles that doesn’t connect?

One Year on Wikipedia

Valerio Pellegrini

A year is a long time, demonstrated by pageview patterns on Wikipedia. This project takes pageview data from the twelve months of 2013 and graphs them to show the evolution of popular topics as told by the Italian-language edition of Wikipedia. From film and television to sports and current events, the infographic documents how Italian readers navigated through the year.


Dario Taraborelli, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, and Moritz Stefaner

Whether or not to delete a Wikipedia article is a tough decision, and one that can lead to long and drawn-out discussions. This project maps those discussions—an editor suggesting to delete the article results in a swing to the center, while an editor arguing to keep pushes the branch to the right. The result is a tree of deletion discussions documenting visually the hundred longest such conversations of Wikipedia’s history.

What Is Wikipedia About?

Paul-Antoine Chevalier and Arnaud Picandet

This project takes more than ten million items from Wikidata, the free knowledge base providing public-domain data for the Wikimedia projects, and sorts them into broad, colorful categories. Almost a quarter of these refer to individual human beings, while 25,000 refer to association football clubs.


Owen Cornec

Image by NASA, public domain.

Float through 100,000 of 2014’s most popular Wikipedia articles in the “WikiGalaxy.” Here, related topics are grouped as 500 ‘nebulae’ with colorful points of light referencing articles in dark 3D space. Try ‘fly mode’ to experience the joy of encountering random articles in any and all directions. This is Star Trek for browsing the world’s greatest public library.

Articles of War

David McCandless

Wikipedia has been a collaborative platform almost since its inception, which while allowing for exponential growth, has also caused some teething issues. In “Articles of War”, the most prolific and, ultimately, lamest edit conflicts are tallied and presented as squares of varying size on a virtual pin board. Are humans “owners” or “companions” of cats? Is sulphur sulfur? Which millennium is 2000 in? All debates wrought by Wikipedians in years past.


Patti Bao, Brent Hecht, and Darren Gergle

A project still in the works, “Omnipedia” aims to provide all possible information on any topic by collating information from up to 25 of Wikipedia’s hundreds of language editions. With eight million concepts to scour, the project provides a thorough overview of pretty much everything written about pretty much every topic. It highlights how different languages and cultures handle these data, as well as covering gaps and exploring different avenues of information.


Bastien Guerry

Since 2012, the “Wiki Loves Monuments” project has identified international landmarks lacking freely-licensed photographs. Then photographers around the world can work on this checklist, identifying existing media or capturing new photos to illustrate the monuments. This handy “Map of Wiki Loves Monuments” from 2013’s data enables fast exploration of the itemized cultural heritage sites. Blue markers show monuments with photos. Red markers indicate a photo is still needed. How does your town look?

Wikimedia Community Visualization

Haitham Shamaa

Wikipedia is built by people, and in the “Wikimedia Community Visualization” it becomes clear how deeply users around the world collaborate. Beautifully illustrated for 27 language groups plus Wikimedia Commons and Meta Wiki, these graphs show users as single dots, with lines connecting users who have corresponded via ‘Talk’ pages. Explore any language group and you’ll find bright blue centers of social interaction. These are some of Wikipedia most talkative users, with spokes of connection branching out. The visualization offers a detailed glimpse at the human network behind Wikipedia. The society of free knowledge is shaped like this.

Haoting Zhang, Communications Design Intern
Zachary McCune, Global Audiences Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

by Haoting Zhang and Zachary McCune at January 25, 2016 11:16 PM

Wikipedia statistics show that 2015 was the year of the movie


Were you one of the people contributing a pageview to these articles? Photo by Runner1616, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

2015 was the year of the movie on the English-language Wikipedia, with nine film-related articles in the top 25—and one climbing all the way up to #3 in the last two months of the year.

In contrast, only seven film articles appeared in the top 25 in 2013 and 2014 combined.

Early on January 6, pageview data for the English-language Wikipedia’s most popular articles of 2015 came in. Film led any other category by large margins: Star Wars: The Force Awakens came in at #3 with 23.5 million views, followed by Avengers: Age of Ultron at #9 with 17.4 million hits.

Force Awakens was a popular article throughout the year, but interest in the topic skyrocketed around the movie’s December release. As a topic, Star Wars actually took 11 of the top 25 slots in the week before its release and 10 of 25 in the week after; the article on the overall franchise was #13.

Other 2015 movies slotting in the top 25 were Furious 7 (#15), Jurassic World (#16), and Fifty Shades of Grey (#18)—something that likely come as little surprise to avid film fans, as Jurassic, Star Wars, Avengers, and Furious are, respectively and as of publishing time, numbers three through seven on Wikipedia’s list of highest-grossing films of all time. While Fifty Shades of Grey (film) actually received 7,073,570 views, it appears that an even greater number of people either accidentally navigated to or wanted to read about the book.

The annual list of Bollywood films, a perennial favorite, hit #7, and two individuals important in film made the list as well. Chris Kyle’s biographical film American Sniper was released in the United States at the tail end of 2014, and the resulting controversy clearly carried over into 2015; Kyle’s article was viewed nearly 27.8 million times. Paul Walker (#24) died in a car crash during during the filming of Furious 7.

Television only factored with Game of Thrones (#12) and the drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar (#19), who was depicted in Netflix’s Narcos and was the most popular article on the English Wikipedia for five of six weeks in September.

These stats are very different from the two other full years of pageview data we have. In 2013, the top 25 had seven TV series: Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, Arrow, How I Met Your Mother, and Doctor Who. By 2014, this dropped to four shows: two different Games of Thrones articles, Walking Dead, True Detective, and Agents of SHIELD.

In neither year did any film, aside from the annual lists of film and Bollywood films, feature in the top 25.

Are we seeing a shift back to film? Is the so-called “golden age” of 2000s TV coming to an end? Has Hollywood perfected the art of a hit franchise film? Is this an anomaly year with an unusual number of attention-grabbing blockbusters? Is this an artifact of the data that we’re overinterpreting?[1] Only time will tell.

Oddities of interest include the first-place deaths in 2015, an article that was also the most-edited article of the year by a large margin with nearly 27.9 million views[2]—but few no individual deaths feature in the list, Chris Kyle notwithstanding. Stephen Hawking, a famous theoretical theorist, landed at #6 for 2015 thanks in large part to an extraordinary 19-week run in the weekly top 25 after the release of The Theory of Everything in 2014.

Perhaps most notable is the decidedly lacking number of current news events. The two terror attacks in Paris, for instance, were two of the most-edited articles on the English Wikipedia in 2015, they were only #533 and 680 on the raw list. Aside from ISIS, the terror group fighting for control of a swath of territory in the Middle East, the only examples come from celebrities. Donald Trump slotted in at #17: the outspoken real estate mogul and Republican candidate for President of the United States has been in the US news on an almost constant basis since he declared his intention to run for president in June. Kanye West came in at #11, although over one-third of his 16.5 million hits came in a two-week span after “loser.com” began redirecting to his Wikipedia article.

  1. Deaths in 2015 (27,885,484)
  2. Chris Kyle (27,765,570)
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (23,523,985)
  4. Facebook (22,330,302)
  5. Stephen Hawking (20,060,944)
  6. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (19,335,481)
  7. List of Bollywood films of 2015 (18,171,094)
  8. Google (18,107,283)
  9. Avengers: Age of Ultron (17,409,029)
  10. United States (16,855,064)
  11. Kanye West (16,478,369)
  12. Game of Thrones (16,135,993)
  13. Star Wars (15,580,814)
  14. Wikipedia (15,157,792)
  15. Furious 7 (14,740,823)
  16. Jurassic World (14,283,010)
  17. Donald Trump (14,052,391)
  18. Fifty Shades of Grey (13,362,580)
  19. Pablo Escobar (13,190,232)
  20. India (12,864,393 )
  21. 2015 in film (12,542,233)
  22. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (12,436,450)
  23. Ronda Rousey (12,298,765)
  24. Paul Walker (12,201,471)
  25. World War II (12,149,875)

This data was collected and collated by researcher Andrew West, a Senior Research Scientist at Verisign Labs. You can read through weekly lists with insightful and occasionally witty commentary from Milowent and Serendipodous in the Signpost or Wikipedia’s Top 25 Report. For films specifically, Wikipedia statistics are a prime component of Variety‘s Digital Audience Ratings. For interested coders, a new pageview API is available.

On a methodological note, these entries have been screened for for spam and botnets. The raw data has been published on Wikipedia, where you will see that there are many articles with below 2% or above 95% mobile views, an almost certain indicator of false popularity. Without this check, articles like the small German town of Angelsberg—with 78.1 million views, all (100.0%) from mobile—would be featured even though readers aren’t actually looking for them.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

[1] One point in favor of this interpretation is that pageview numbers across years are not directly comparable, as pageview data prior to October 2014 did not include mobile readers. We assume here that even though the 2013–14 counts are not complete snapshots, the overall order would not significantly change.

[2] Wikipedians chronicle the deaths by month, so the page now redirects to a so-called “list of lists of deaths.”

by Ed Erhart at January 25, 2016 03:14 AM

January 21, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Updated: the story of Wikipedia and libraries is being rewritten around the world this week with #1Lib1Ref

Chiaki and Zana reading book about a mantis
Talk to your librarians about Wikipedia 15. Photo by Joi, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Update, January 21: The story of Wikipedia and libraries is being changed, updated, improved and broadened around the world this week. Forty-four news agencies and blogs have mentioned the #1Lib1Ref campaign, which has also received support from The Internet Archive, TechConnect, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. At press time, 983 tweets use the hashtag. You can follow along with the campaign on Twitter by watching the hashtag and following @WikiLibrary. Urge your local librarian(s) to join this global movement!

It’s important to recognize the lasting impact of Wikipedia on the online research environment: Wikipedia has become the default location for every type of researcher, both casual and professional, to start their research. After 15 years, Wikipedia has over 35 million articles in hundreds of languages, many of which have references and external links that guide researchers to authoritative sources about the topics they are researching.

Without a doubt, this makes Wikipedia one of the most important research tools in the world. It’s the largest hand-curated annotated bibliography ever, and is one of the biggest referrers to scholarly publications and one of the biggest sources for readers of medical information. However, Wikipedia’s strengths sometimes hide its systematic gaps and failings—there are many pieces of information on Wikipedia that can’t be verified by a source, or are missing because of our community’s systemic biases.

The libraries community has a huge number of opportunities to help solve these gaps, from educating their patrons about how Wikipedia works to curating local cultural heritage knowledge.

Librarians are a diverse community, working with diverse patrons. However, there is one skill which every librarian has been trained in: helping answer research and reference questions. The skill of finding references for patrons and public researchers has great value to Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia Library, a program focused on improving Wikipedia’s research, is asking librarians all over the world to take 15 minutes to celebrate Wikipedia’s 15th birthday, by adding one more reference to Wikipedia. Join the campaign!

Every Wikipedia page needs more citations to authoritative sources to become a better starting point for researchers. We ask the library community,to take responsibility for these gaps and join in the campaign.

If you help organize a library coalition, network, or consortium, we invite you to sponsor this campaign by participating in our social media—using the hashtags #Wikipedia15 and #1Lib1Ref—and encouraging your members to participate!

You can learn more about engaging your library network.

Alex Stinson, Project Manager, The Wikipedia Library
Wikimedia Foundation

Editor’s note: this post was originally titled “#1Lib1Ref: Ask your librarians to take 15 minutes to celebrate Wikipedia’s 15th birthday” and dated to January 12.

by Alex Stinson at January 21, 2016 09:04 PM

January 15, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikipedia celebrates 15 years of free knowledge

As Wikipedia marks its 15th anniversary, its community is celebrating with nearly 150 events on six continents. Meanwhile, the Wikimedia Foundation is announcing an endowment to sustain Wikipedia for the future. Photo by Tanya Habjouqa, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

This Friday marks the 15th anniversary of Wikipedia, the world’s free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. This week, we celebrate not just Wikipedia, but the birth of an idea: that anyone can contribute to the world’s knowledge. Globally, readers and editors are coming together to celebrate, with nearly 150 events across six continents. From editing marathons in Bangladesh and lectures in Switzerland, to picnics in South Africa and a conference in Mexico, the world is celebrating the joy of knowledge.

As part of this milestone, the Wikimedia Foundation is pleased to announce the Wikimedia Endowment, a permanent source of funding to ensure Wikipedia thrives for generations to come. The Wikimedia Endowment will empower people around the world to create and contribute free knowledge, and share that knowledge with every single human being. Our goal is to raise $100 million over the next 10 years. The Endowment has been established, with an initial contribution by the Wikimedia Foundation, as a Collective Action Fund at the Tides Foundation.

Wikipedia launched on January 15, 2001 with a bold vision: a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. At the time, the idea that people around the world would collaborate to build an encyclopedia—for free—seemed unbelievable. Since then, Wikipedia has grown to more than 36 million articles in hundreds of languages, used by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Wikipedia and its sister projects are still built by volunteers around the world: each month, roughly 80,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikimedia sites.

“Wikipedia challenged us to rethink how knowledge can be gathered and shared.” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, “Knowledge is no longer handed down from on high, instead it is freely shared by everyone online. Wikipedia seemed like an impossible idea at the timean online encyclopaedia that everyone can edit. However, it has surpassed everyone’s expectations over the past 15 years, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world who have made Wikipedia possible.”

We’re celebrating Wikipedia’s global community with a commemorative website and week-long campaign, collecting and sharing the stories of individuals and organizations that have helped develop Wikipedia into the world’s largest collection of collaboratively created free knowledge. These stories show the truly global nature of the Wikimedia community: from Ziyad Alsufyani, a medical student at Taif University in Ta’if, Saudi Arabia who has been editing the Arabic Wikipedia since 2009, to Susanna Mkrtchyan, a professor and devoted grandmother working to give Armenian students better educational opportunities. We will continue to collect stories throughout the month of January.

Today, we celebrate all of the projects, partnerships, events, and joy the Wikimedia movement has inspired over the past 15 years, with many still to come. Wikipedia is much more than a website. Wikipedia and its sister Wikimedia projects represent a global, ever-expanding resource and community for free knowledge. Here are just a few examples:

  • Wikipedia started in January 2001 in English, but soon expanded to other languages—within the first year, it grew to 18 languages. Today, it is available in nearly 300.
  • Volunteers constantly edit and improve Wikipedia. Every hour, roughly 15,000 edits are made to Wikipedia. Every day, around 7,000 new articles are created.
  • Wikipedia became one of the top 10 websites in the world in 2007, and the only non-profit website anywhere near the top.
  • It’s not just Wikipedia. There are 11 other Wikimedia free knowledge projects, including Wikimedia Commons, with more than 30 million freely licensed images, as well as Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikivoyage, and more.
  • The Wikimedia community supports global projects that spread the joy of knowledge. Wiki Loves Monuments, a global photo competition, launched in 2010 to document images of cultural heritage. In 2011, the contest was named the largest photo competition in the world. Companion projects like Wiki Loves Earth, Wiki Loves Africa, and even Wiki Loves Cheese document more knowledge from around the globe.
  • Volunteers around the world have built hundreds of partnerships with galleries, libraries, museums to make institutional collections more broadly available. These partnerships have contributed to more than 1.5 million images of cultural works on the Wikimedia projects.

If you’d like to help celebrate Wikipedia’s 15th anniversary, you can share on social media what Wikipedia means to you by tagging @Wikipedia and using the hashtag #wikipedia15. To learn more about Wikipedia and the joy it inspires, visit 15.wikipedia.org.

Katherine Maher, Chief Communications Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

About the Wikimedia Endowment

The purpose of the Wikimedia Endowment is to serve as a perpetual source of support for the operation and activities of Wikipedia and its sister projects. It will empower people around the world to create and contribute free knowledge, and share that knowledge with every single human being. The Endowment has been established, with an initial contribution by Wikimedia Foundation, as a Collective Action Fund at Tides Foundation. Tides is a public charity with a 40-year track record of holding and managing charitable funds for nonprofit organizations. An Advisory Board, nominated by the Wikimedia Foundation and appointed by Tides, will make recommendations to Tides related to the Endowment. Tides or the Wikimedia Foundation may choose to transfer the Endowment from Tides to the Wikimedia Foundation, or other charities identified by the Wikimedia Foundation. At that point, the Endowment would continue to be a permanent, income-generating fund to support the Wikimedia projects.

by Katherine Maher at January 15, 2016 10:29 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Patnáct let největší internetové encyklopedie

 Čeští editoři Wikipedie uspořádají setkání ve Skautském institutu v Praze při příležitosti oslav patnáctého výročí největší internetové encyklopedie.

Wikipedisté často oslavují narozeniny s dortem. Ale bude i letos?

Wikipedisté často oslavují narozeniny stylovým dortem. Ale bude i letos? (Autor: Elya, CC BY-SA 2.5)

Patnáctého ledna před patnácti lety – tehdy byla v USA spuštěna internetová encyklopedie Wikipedie. Cílem editorů před patnácti lety bylo napsat 100 000 encyklopedických článků a vybudovat tak největší internetovou encyklopedii. Skutečnost však překonala tato očekávání; v roce 2016 má Wikipedie přes 37 milionů článků v 290 jazycích. Česká verze, která je co do počtu článků na 26. místě, má přes 340 tisíc článků na různá témata.

Wikipedisté píší o všem možném; od biografií českých herců přes exotické pokrmy až například po právní termíny. Do tvorby encyklopedie je zapojena komunita dobrovolníků, která čítá několik set až několik tisíc lidí různého věku, vzdělání, pohlaví i odbornosti. Wikipedii nepíší placení editoři, ale pouze dobrovolníci. Za patnáct let se jim všem podařilo popsat téměř vše kolem nás, a to nejen do šířky, ale i do hloubky. Nejpodrobnější články české Wikipedie dnes dosahují délky řady stránek a jsou podloženy kvalitními monografiemi. V současné době existují různé projekty na rozvoj Wikipedie v knihovnách, na školách, na univerzitách, v muzeích i jinde. 

Od roku 2008 funguje i nezisková organizace (spolek) s názvem Wikimedia Česká republika, která se snaží Wikipedii propagovat a prosazovat v reálném světě. Založili jej editoři Wikipedie, kteří se domnívají, že si jedna z nejnavštěvovanějších webových stránek u nás zaslouží více prostoru ve společenské diskuzi i vzdělávacím procesu. Okolo pouhé encyklopedie se tak postupem času vytvořilo rozsáhlé hnutí prosazující otevřené vzdělávání.

To vše vzniklo jen díky dobrovolné práci jednotlivců. Připomeňme si proto oněch uplynulých patnáct let spolu. Stylová oslava, která se uskuteční v centru Prahy, se ponese v duchu číslice patnáct. Největší internetová encyklopedie je již mladistvá, a proto jí bude předán občanský průkaz! Sice ještě nemůže pít, zato ale s ní můžete slavit i vy! Připomeneme si, jak se internetová encyklopedie vyvíjela spolu s tím, jak se měnil i internet a svět kolem nás. Dále vystoupí i předseda spolku Wikimedia Česká republika Vojtěch Dostál, který podrobně představí dějiny české Wikipedie. Akce bude doprovázena i živou hudbou k poslechu.


by Jan Loužek at January 15, 2016 09:55 AM

January 14, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Kelly Battles and Arnnon Geshuri join Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

Meet the two new members of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees: Kelly Battles (left), and Arnnon Geshuri (right). Photos by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Today the Wikimedia Foundation announced two new members to its Board of Trustees: Kelly Battles and Arnnon Geshuri. The new Trustees bring deep expertise in strategy and financial oversight, and diversity and organizational development, as well as a commitment to advancing Wikimedia’s vision of free knowledge for the world.

“We considered dozens of candidates from all over the world, with not-for-profit and technology experience, and the highest professional standards.” said Dariusz Jemielniak, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board Governance Committee and Board Trustee. “Kelly’s finance and auditing skills will be essential to the Board’s oversight and budgeting responsibilities. Arnnon’s expertise in talent development and cultural diversity will be indispensable for the development of the Wikimedia Foundation, and communications and transparency within the Wikimedia movement. We look forward to partnering with them.”

A veteran financial executive, Kelly brings more than 25 years of experience in financial management and administrative oversight for leading technology companies and non-profit organizations. She currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Bracket Computing, a cloud virtualization company in Mountain View, California. Her earlier roles included Chief Financial Officer at Host Analytics, Vice President of Finance at IronPort, and Director of Strategy and Corporate Development at Hewlett Packard.

“As a non-profit supporting one of the most popular websites in the world, the Wikimedia Foundation has a unique responsibility to practice transparent, effective stewardship of donor resources,” said Kelly. “I am excited to lend my financial and strategic experience to an organization dedicated to making knowledge more freely available to the world.”

Arnnon brings more than 20 years of experience in developing strong organizational cultures with diverse, passionate employees. He is currently the VP of Human Resources  at Tesla Motors, where he shepherds Tesla’s unique culture and oversees all global people operations, analytics, and staffing. Before joining Tesla, Arnnon served as Senior Director of HR and Staffing at Google, where he built the company’s talent acquisition and diversity strategy, growing the organization to more than 20,000 people in five years. Earlier in his career, Arnnon served as Vice President of People Operations and Director of Global Staffing at E*TRADE Financial.

“I have always believed in the power of open, transparent knowledge. Wikipedia represents some of the best aspects of our changing world: deeper knowledge, collaboration, and, ultimately, understanding,” said Arnnon. “This opportunity is a true privilege for me and I am thrilled to help support this powerful mission.”

“Kelly and Arnnon bring a special combination of expertise, integrity, and love for our mission. From Arnnon’s people and culture expertise to Kelly’s strong financial management background, both members bring valuable skills to strengthen our Board and help grow the Wikimedia movement for future generations. Most importantly, they bring a deep commitment to making knowledge more freely available for people around the world,” said executive director Lila Tretikov.

Kelly and Arnnon were approved unanimously by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Both terms are effective Jan 1, 2016 and will last for two years.

Please see the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees for complete biographies.

Katherine Maher, Chief Communications Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

by Katherine Maher at January 14, 2016 10:59 PM

Wikimedia Foundation to explore new ways to search and discover reliable, relevant, free information with $250,000 from Knight Foundation

A new grant from the Knight Foundation will improve search and discovery on Wikipedia. Photo by Julo, public domain.

The Wikimedia Foundation will launch a new project to explore ways to make the search and discovery of high quality, trustworthy information on Wikipedia more accessible and open with $250,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Funding will support an investigation of search and browsing on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, with the goal of improving how people explore and acquire information.

Wikipedia includes more than 35 million articles across hundreds of languages. Its standards for neutral, fact-based and relevant information have made it a reliable resource for nearly half a billion people every month. With more than 7,000 articles created every day and 250 edits made per minute, Wikipedia is constantly growing and improving. Its open, nonprofit model, allows anyone to participate and contribute. This project will help improve discoverability of this vast resource of community-created content.

Over the last decade, the world has seen a surge in digital information. People today can access vast amounts of information online, mostly through a small number of closed technologies. Through this project, the Wikimedia Foundation will test ways to make relevant information more accessible and investigate transparent methods for collecting, connecting, and retrieving this information consistent with the values of Wikipedia and the open web.

With Knight support, the Wikimedia Foundation has begun six months of deep research, testing, and prototyping on user search habits and practices on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. Using these platforms as testing grounds, the organization will examine questions around content preferences, queries, the quality and relevance of results, and what information people consume and why. It will conduct open discussions with the Wikimedia community to help inform the project. A public-facing dashboard will display results and metrics from this discovery and lessons will be shared widely.

“Finding an article on Wikipedia is like opening the first page in the book of knowledge. We have an obligation to our communities to make this first experience captivating for every user. We share Knight Foundation’s belief in the power of open information in building engaged, strong communities. We are excited for the potential of this project to bring free, relevant, trustworthy knowledge to every person,” said Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov.

“As the amount of digital content continues to grow, helping people search for and discover relevant information so they can make decisions important to their lives is becoming increasingly essential,” said John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation. “This project will help uncover more effective, transparent ways to do just that, drawing on the Wikimedia Foundation’s commitment to an open and free Internet.”

For more information, please see our FAQ.

Wikimedia Foundation Communications

by Wikimedia Foundation Communications at January 14, 2016 10:59 PM

Top 20 most-edited pages on Wikipedia in 2015

The Sydney Opera House lit in French tricolor after the November 2015 Paris attacks. In only a month and a half, this article received one of the highest edit totals of any article on the English Wikipedia in 2015. Photo by Ludopedia, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Each day, volunteer Wikipedia editors make thousands of edits to maintain and expand Wikipedia, the world’s free encyclopedia.

These unpaid contributors volunteer an enormous amount of time to bring the sum of all knowledge to the world, free of charge. While it would be extremely difficult to come up with a reasonable estimation of invested time, we can tell you these people created more than 2.5 million articles and, along with several programmed “bots”, made over 115 million edits in the last year alone.[1]

In fact, the English-language Wikipedia actually reached its five-millionth article this year. Even individually, without counting any other language Wikipedia, it is authored by millions of volunteers from all over the world—from more than eight million logged-in accounts and an untold number of anonymous editors.

With all of this in mind, we wondered what articles received the most attention from Wikipedia editors in 2015. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Aaron Halfaker helpfully put together a list of the most-edited articles on the English-language Wikipedia in 2015, similar to a list he created last year.

Most of the list breaks down into three general categories. Topics like “Deaths in 2015” are perennial top-edited pages and will surprise few if anyone.[2] Others reflect popular culture and major events, such as the two tragic terror attacks in Paris or Jurassic World; this becomes much more prevalent as you move down the list. Last, articles like “Geospatial Summary of the High Peaks/Summits of the Juneau Icefield” are principally the work of one author making many thousands of edits.

In either case, they reflect the intense effort Wikipedians—the demonym for Wikipedia editors—put into unlocking the world’s knowledge.

  1. Deaths in 2015 (18,121)
  2. Geospatial summary of the High Peaks/Summits of the Juneau Icefield (7,291)
  3. 2015 in sports (6,163)
  4. 2015 Pacific typhoon season (6,130)
  5. Charlie Hebdo shooting (5,202)
  6. Miss World 2015 (4,792)
  7. ATP World Tour records (4,764)
  8. November 2015 Paris attacks (4,675)
  9. Asia’s Next Top Model (cycle 3) (4,474)
  10. List of the works of Bastien and Henry Prigent (4,424)
  11. United States presidential election, 2016 (4,168)
  12. 2015 Pacific hurricane season (4,008)
  13. April 2015 Nepal earthquake (4,008)
  14. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (3,893)
  15. 2015 in Philippine television (3,717)
  16. The Voice (U.S. season 9) (3,605)
  17. 2015 in film (3,592)
  18. Jurassic World (3,561)
  19. 2015 in South Korean music (3,533)
  20. Pangako Sa ‘Yo (2015 TV series) (3,472)

For more on what happened in 2015, live a year in four minutes and watch #Edit2015, our year-in-review video.


[1] These totals do not include December 2015, for which data was not available as of publishing time. Averaged over eleven months, this is over four edits per second.
[2] Wikipedians chronicle the deaths by month, so the page now redirects to a so-called “list of lists of deaths.”

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

by Ed Erhart at January 14, 2016 05:38 PM

Inside the game of sports vandalism on Wikipedia

Soccer Flight
Sports fans vandalize Wikipedia articles, and sports bloggers write about it—often. Photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung of U.S. Air Force, public domain.

On November 22, football (soccer) team Manchester City lost 4–1 at home to Liverpool. Some Liverpool fans commemorated the drubbing by vandalizing the Wikipedia page for the City of Manchester Stadium, and the press took notice.

“Manchester City stadium now ‘owned by Jürgen Klopp’, claims Wikipedia page,” read a story on The Guardian’s online sports section. Klopp is Liverpool’s manager. The Guardian story reported that the Wikipedia article had been edited to show Liverpool’s coach owned the stadium, which had supposedly been renamed, and that a Liverpool player now operated it.

The Guardian‘s story was published at 11:28 a.m. GMT, and shared on social media 4,498 times.

Yet before the story ever appeared online, the vandalism reported by The Guardian was reverted. Within an hour of publication, the Wikipedia article was “protected,” or closed to anonymous edits.

The speed of the reversion could not chase down online reporting of the vandalism. Few actually saw the bad edits—yet according to Google News, 1,541 articles reported the vandalism, including The Mirror and BBC News Online.

Anyone can edit any Wikipedia page, and for exuberant fans, that temptation can prove too much to resist.

“I was just trying something new,” a Facebook user who posted about vandalizing the Manchester City page later told Wikipedia on Facebook. “I was like, hey is it possible if I add something by myself, even if it was wrong? So I decided to do it.” He said he is a football fan who otherwise greatly appreciates Wikipedia.

On the other end of the vandalism was Smartse, a Wikipedia editor since 2006 with more than 32,000 edits. “I was reading The Guardian, and noticed an article about the vandalism. So I checked the history and protected it for a few days,” Smartse said via email. “I would say that it was being taken out of proportion since it was hardly any different to all the other vandalism high traffic articles get. Publicising vandalism like this isn’t helpful in general as it will only encourage others to do the same. Even if it’s funny, someone still has to revert it.”

Wikipedia vandalism can reach some very high places. On October 20, Barack Obama noted vandalism to the article on US women’s soccer team star Carli Lloyd at a White House press appearance. In July, Lloyd’s Wikipedia page was vandalized to state that she was the president of the United States after she scored three goals in the final game of the World Cup. The president joked that Lloyd knew more about being president than some of the current candidates.

The vandalism to Lloyd’s page was reverted in five minutes; still, a Google News search shows more than 6,000 news articles cited the prank.

In a similar incident, goalkeeper Tim Howard’s Wikipedia page was changed to list him as Secretary of Defense after his 16 saves in a 2014 World Cup game. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Howard to congratulate him—a fact reported by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Yahoo! Sports, among many others.

For every inspired vandalism edit, there are many that are not. As millions of fans curious about Howard’s life story were simply trying to learn facts about him, his Wikipedia article was repeatedly vandalized.

TV networks have long declined to broadcast fans interrupting games. A spokeswoman for CBS Sports told The New York Times a decade ago that “It’s our policy to turn our cameras away from any exhibitionist behavior. We’re not going to provide the vehicle for these people.” But the Web has changed that, elevating streakers on the field and other pranks on websites and social media. “The exhibitionists who interrupt sporting events no longer have to rely on the reluctant gaze of a television camera to advance their notoriety,” the Times wrote in 2005.

Some say online reporting of Wikipedia vandalism should have ended then.

“Media reports of Wikipedia vandalism are more than a decade obsolete,” said Howard Rheingold, who helped to develop early crowdsourced projects and social networks, and taught about them at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University. “Wikipedia has always worked,” Rheingold said, because the number of people “who have the power to revert to a previous version with one click has vastly outnumbered the number of vandals.”

The reports of vandalism continue, some even noting that the edits are gone in an instant, but immortalized in blogs.

The New England Sports Network reported on Dec. 28 about vandalism to New England Patriots’ player Matt Slater’s Wikipedia page the day before. The edit cited in the blog post disappeared in five minutes, and NESN noted “the sarcastic jokes were quickly removed.” The post then showed the vandalized articles, noting:

“But nothing ever really disappears on the Internet, as the following screen shots prove.”

Jeff Elder, Digital Communications Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

Photo by Uncleduke, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

by Jeff Elder at January 14, 2016 05:15 PM

January 08, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

“Wikipedia is a testament to what we can create together as a global community”: Sara Mörtsell

Sara Mörtsell.jpg
Sara Mörtsell works with Wikimedia Sverige to educate schools on open knowledge. Photo by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The differences between “free” and “open” are nuanced, but can be vast. So how can a free schooling system make the most out of open knowledge and education? That’s where Sara Mörtsell comes in.

As the Education Manager for Wikimedia Sverige (WMSE), the Swedish Wikimedia chapter, Sara is responsible for training and encouraging educators and students on how best to incorporate Wikipedia into the learning process. Her first interactions with editing actually came at a WMSE workshop.

“I sort of got behind the scene for the first time and did a few edits, and thinking, ‘How can I use this with my students?’,” she says. “At the time I was teaching students who had just come into Sweden, and I couldn’t really find a way to make it work with my curriculum.”

Despite this, she was still keen to work out a method for tapping into Wikipedia in the classroom. At the time, she was a teacher of children aged 16 to 18, and was applying her interest in open education and information literacy that drew her to Wikipedia in the first place. She’s interested in helping younger people get to grips with this kind of collaborative knowledge production and dissemination, through tools like Wikimini.

“We like to talk about Wikipedia as a collaborative project, and how what looks as one text can actually be the result of many different editors collaborating,” Sara explains. “This is also what we can show with Wikimini. What you are used to is one text, one author, but in this technical environment we can actually show how this is the result of a collaboration of different editors.”

This concept she says might help youngsters understand the concept of mass-collaboration in an online context—an increasingly vital concept in the digital age. “One student said something in translation like, ‘I never realized how ordinary people were allowed to create an encyclopedia’,” she adds. “Barriers are easily taken down once you realize it’s possible.”

Sara at an editathon during International Women’s Day 2015. Photo by Jonatan Svensson Glad, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

As well as working with students directly, Sara attends outreach events in her role with WMSE to educate teachers about open education in the classroom. “Talking about education in this context, I think it’s just really, really rewarding,” she says. “I really would like to sort of be able to package the amazing thing that we’re doing and really show how it’s different, and why it’s so important.”

Sara says a major misunderstanding is the confusion over “open” knowledge. “The challenge I find is how I want to talk about free knowledge and free resources,” she explains, “and how someone would say to me, ‘But Sara, everything I use is free. I don’t pay for anything.’ …If you look at licensing … a free license could become the norm.”

These misunderstandings are something Sara wants to address as a priority. Part of the reasoning for this, she says, is that Wikipedia comes off as something of an impersonal place for a lot of people.

“We have to realize, Wikipedia is really faceless,” she explains. “And it’s, perhaps, intimidating for some. We can’t just take for granted that that’s nice, because it can also be a mystery, and unknown, and a not familiar place.

“So when we can put faces on who’s contributing, or this is how it actually, what it looks like in the physical room, then we’re demystifying what editing Wikipedia is.”

By doing this, Sara believes the true potential of Wikipedia could be opened up to the world.

“Wikipedia is one of the best things the internet has really given us. I truly believe it. It’s a testament to what we can create together as a community, a global community, which has never been possible before.”

Profile by Joe Sutherland, Communications intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Interview by Caitlin Cogdill, Global Fundraising Email Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

You can view other Wikipedia in education initiatives here.

by Joe Sutherland and Caitlin Cogdill at January 08, 2016 11:41 PM

January 07, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, December 2015

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 5 • Issue: 12 • December 2015 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Teaching Wikipedia; Does advertising the gender gap help or hurt Wikipedia?

With contributions by: Piotr Konieczny, Tilman Bayer and Max Klein

Does advertising the gender gap help or hurt Wikipedia?

Reviewed by Tilman Bayer
Mind the gap1.jpg

A working paper[1] in economics provides several novel results shedding light on Wikipedia’s much discussed gender gap, focusing on three aspects: The causes of the gender gap in contributors, its impact on Wikipedia’s content, and how outreach measures that highlight the gender gap influence participation on Wikipedia.

It uses several sources of data, including the edit histories of all registered English Wikipedia users who have stated their gender in the user preferences, a survey and experiment with 1000 Amazon Mechanical Turk users (from the US only, who were paid $1.50 for a 20 minutes task), and a dataset of biographical articles with the subject’s gender obtained from Wikidata (excluding “celebrities like actors, athletes, and pop stars”, focusing on “professionals”, e.g. politicians and scientists, and cultural figures like writers and composers), together with pageview data.

Regarding causes of the gender gap, the author provides an overview of existing research, for example dismissing the so-called second shift as an explanation (“There are no gender differences in the amount of free time”, p.3) and pointing out that “women contribute no less than men to another example of online public good provision, writing user reviews for products and services”.

From the survey, the author concludes that “almost half of the gender gap in Wikipedia writing is explained by gender differences in two characteristics: frequency of Wikipedia use and belief about one’s competence … The gender difference in the belief about competence could be due to women being less competent or due to women underestimating their competence. The survey data does not allow to distinguish these.” (While the paper is otherwise well-informed about pre-existing research, it would have benefited from connecting this result to the work of Shaw and Hargittai; see our review of their paper “Mind the skills gap: the role of Internet know-how and gender in differentiated contributions to Wikipedia”).

Moving on to the effect of the editor gender gap on Wikipedia’s content, the paper finds “that women are about twice as likely as men to contribute to Wikipedia articles about women”, based both on the edit histories dataset and the Mechanical Turk survey. Intriguingly, “the number of readers per editor is higher for articles about women, and the share of articles that no one reads is larger in the case of articles about men”. In other words, readers prefer articles about women, editors prefer articles about men. The author indicates that the readership discrepancy mostly comes from the tail end of low-traffic biography articles:

“On a typical (median) day in September 2014, no one read 26 percent of the biographies of men versus only 16 percent of the biographies of women.”

The third part consisted of an experiment designed to “test whether providing information about gender inequality in Wikipedia changes editing behavior”. Mechanical Turk respondents were divided into two groups that were provided with different introductory information about Wikipedia:

“Wikipedia has been criticized by some academics and journalists for having only 9% to 13% female contributors and for having fewer and less extensive articles about women or topics important to women.” (a quote from the article Gender Bias on Wikipedia)


“Wikipedia started in 2001. English-language Wikipedia has over 4.5 million articles.”

They were then “asked to imagine a hypothetical situation in which they edit a person’s Wikipedia page. Respondents were asked to look at Wikipedia articles and find some relevant information from the web that is missing from a Wikipedia article. … In the end, they were also asked how likely they are to edit Wikipedia in the future.”

The first version, highlighting the criticism of Wikipedia’s gender gap, is “associated with a 35 percent decrease in the likelihood of editing Wikipedia in the future”, i.e. discouraged rather than encouraged respondents from contributing, which the author calls “somewhat unexpected”. This negative effect is concentrated among men: “The information that the majority of Wikipedia editors are men, leads men to reduce their editing effort, but it does not change the behavior of women.” As summarized by the author:

“The result provides an example where encouraging gender equality can partially backfire. Wikipedia has set a goal to increase the share of female editors. One way to achieve this is by discouraging male editors. However, this might not be desirable … The implication for Wikipedia and other forms of media is that it is important to balance the efforts of attracting new contributors and keeping the current ones.”

She also points out that “there are other examples in the literature where informational treatment has backfired”.

The paper is highly innovative and adds several novel results (with direct relevance for Wikipedians’ work to combat this kind of systemic bias), some of which are not mentioned in this summary. The author seems justified in calling it “the first comprehensive study of gender inequality in a new media environment such as Wikipedia”. A weakness of the part of the paper that studies the effect of editors’ gender on their contributions might be its partial reliance on the gender as stated in their accounts’ user preferences. The author stresses that her methodology is robust against potential under-reporting by one gender (for examples, female editors being less willing to publish their gender in this way because of concerns about harassment). However, she adds that the validity of the results rests on the assumption “that editors don’t systematically report wrong gender. Since the default option is not specifying one’s gender, I would not expect that they are massively reporting wrong gender.” In contrast, a 2011 paper by other authors (“WP:CLUBHOUSE”, see Signpost summary) that used the same methodology (and concluded that e.g. women vandalize Wikipedia more often than men) explicitly pointed to the possibility that their results might be affected by deliberately wrong reporting (although this might mostly concern vandals with few edits overall, i.e. less relevance to the questions studied here). The paper also falls victim to a survivor bias fallacy when interpreting an otherwise interesting result as “female editors [having] increased from 3.7 percent in 2002 to a peak of 11.5 percent in 2011. In 2013, 10.4 percent of the active editors were female.” The option to state a gender in one’s user preferences was only introduced in 2009, so it is possible that, for example, there was a much higher percentage of women editing Wikipedia in 2002 who however left before they had the opportunity to state their gender seven years later.

Teaching Wikipedia: The Pedagogy and Politics of an Open Access Writing Community

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny

This dissertation[2] looks at the opportunities for writing pedagogy offered by the Wikipedia:Education program. It provides an interesting, though not comprehensive, overview of the literature in the field, and then proceeds to describe and analyze a number of educational assignments that the author has carried out on Wikipedia through their 2011 course. The author concludes that the “teaching with Wikipedia” approach is generally beneficial to students in a number of ways, from improving their writing and research skills, to an increase in student’s rhetorical skills, and understanding of topics relating to knowledge creation. The main limitations of the study, acknowledged by the author, is that it is based on a small sample of students (the course seems to have only about seventeen participants). Nonetheless, it is a useful addition to our still limited understanding of the practice and benefits of the use of Wikipedia in an educational setting.

“Wikipedia, sociology, and the promise and pitfalls of Big Data”

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny

This paper,[3] or perhaps an essay or an Onion piece (2,500 words, with little original research), entitled “Wikipedia, sociology, and the promise and pitfalls of Big Data”, is a strange beast. Published in the journal Big Data & Society, it doesn’t really address the topic of big data; instead presenting a sociologically-informed and critical discussion of a number of aspects of Wikipedia that, while interesting, seems out of place in an academic journal, and reads more like an academic blog entry. The authors display a reasonable familiarity with Wikipedia, though they make a few factual mistakes (such as suggesting that Wikipedia:WikiProject Sociology was formed with the assistance of the American Sociological Association in 2004; in fact ASA has not been aware of WP:SOCIO until late 2000s and its support for it has been limited to linking to the WikiProject from their Wikipedia Initiative Page).

Based on their literature review, the authors don’t hesitate to make some strong claims about Wikipedia, primarily in the vein of Wikipedia becoming less friendly to new editors, though most of those claims are more or less supported by the sources cited. The authors’ research question is how the discipline of sociology is framed on Wikipedia, with special attention to the concepts of notability of academics (WP:PROF) and the gender imbalance of the Wikipedia biographies of sociologists. Unfortunately, as this is not a proper research piece, the authors’ findings are rather sparse, and primarily concern the fact that topics covered by the WikiProject Sociology and its related portal are poorly structured, that Wikipedia’s biographies of sociologists are mostly about male subjects (the article omits, however, the question of gender bias in academia – aren’t most sociologists male anyway…? ), and that WP:PROF guideline may not be enforced too strictly for sociological biographies. It was an enjoyable reading, but overall, as seen in the article’s sections which are entitled Abstract, Declaration of conflicting interests, Funding and Notes, there is something important missing – the article proper. As the authors make a point of stressing (twice) the chaotic and unorganized nature of Wikipedia’s coverage of sociological topics, I can’t help but feel that the article, which also fails to drive home any particular and well organized point, could well fit that description too.

See also our earlier coverage of the authors’ research project: “Gender imbalance in Wikipedia coverage of academics to be studied with 2-year NSF grant


Wikipedia and the Stock Market

Reviewed by Max Klein

Wikipedia may effect the stock market in a “governing” way, says Crowd Governance: The Monitoring Role of Wikipedia in the Financial Market[4]. It looks at how the stock market and insider trading reacts to the creation of a Wikipedia article about a traded firm. Using a sample of 413 articles on S&P500 firms, it was found that stock prices significantly drop on the days their Wikipedia article is created. Furthermore prices drop further for companies that have more insider traders, or which are more institutionally owned. This goes to show, the authors say, that Wikipedia governs the stock market by “reducing information asymmetry”. Firm information on Wikipedia would seem to benefit the public more than information in newspapers, that is bad news for Wall Street.

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.

  • “Understanding the ‘Quality Motion’ of Wikipedia Articles Through Semantic Convergence Analysis”‘[5] From the abstract: “This study aims to check if Wikipedia’s [quality] ratings really reflect its stated criteria. According to Wikipedia criteria, having abundant and stable content is the key to article’s quality promotion; we therefore examine the content change in terms of quantity change and content stability by showing the semantic convergence. We found out that the quantity of content change is significant in the promoted articles, which complies with Wikipedia’s stated criteria.”
  • “Wikipedia’s Politics of Exclusion: Gender, Epistemology, and Feminist Rhetorical (In)action”[6] From the abstract: “In this article, I explore how Wikipedia functions as a rhetorical discourse community whose conventions exclude and silence feminist ways of knowing and writing. Drawing on textual analysis of Wikipedia’s editorial policies, as well as interviews with female users, I argue that Wikipedia’s insistence on separating embodied subjectivity from the production of knowledge limits the site’s ability to facilitate any substantial, subversive feminist rhetorical action.”
  • “Knowledge Quality of Collaborative Editing in Wikipedia: an Integrative Perspective of Social Capital and Team Conflict”[7] From the abstract: “Despite the abundant researches on Wikipedia, to the best of our knowledge, no one has considered the integration of social capital and conflict. Besides, extant literatures on knowledge quality just pay attention to task conflict, while relational conflict is rarely mentioned. Meanwhile, our study proposes the nonlinear relationship between task conflict and knowledge quality instead of linear relationships in prior studies. We also postulate the moderating effect of task complexity.”
  • “Collective remembering of organizations: Co-construction of organizational pasts in Wikipedia”[8] From the abstract: “The authors analyze 1,459 edits of Wikipedia pages of ten organizations from various industries. Quantitative content analysis detects Wikipedia edits for their reputational relevance and reference to formal sources, such as corporate communication or newspapers. Furthermore, the authors investigate to which degree current corporate communication in form of 177 press releases has an influence on the remembering process in Wikipedia. … The analysis of press releases shows that current frames provided by corporate communication finds only little resonance in the ongoing remembering processes in Wikipedia.”


  1. Marit Hinnosaar (2015): Gender Inequality in New Media: Evidence from Wikipedia. No 411, Carlo Alberto Notebooks from Collegio Carlo Alberto. PDF
  2. Vetter, Matthew A. Teaching Wikipedia: The Pedagogy and Politics of an Open Access Writing Community. Thesis, 2015, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Ohio University, English (Arts and Sciences). PDF
  3. Julia Adams, Hannah Brückner: Wikipedia, sociology, and the promise and pitfalls of Big Data. DOI:10.1177/2053951715614332, Dec 2015
  4. Weifang, Wu; Xiaoquan, (Michael) Zhang; Rong, Zheng (2014). “Crowd Governance: The Monitoring Role of Wikipedia in the Financial Market” (PDF). Unpublished: 33. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  5. Huijing Deng, Bernadetta Tarigan, Mihai Grigore, Juliana Sutanto: Understanding the ‘Quality Motion’ of Wikipedia Articles Through Semantic Convergence Analysis. Proceedings of HCI in Business, Second International Conference, HCIB 2015, held as Part of HCI International 2015, Los Angeles, CA, USA, August 2-7, 2015, DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-20895-4_7 Closed access
  6. Leigh Gruwell: Wikipedia’s Politics of Exclusion: Gender, Epistemology, and Feminist Rhetorical (In)action. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S8755461515000547 Closed access
  7. Zhan, Liuhan; Wang, Nan; Shen, Xiao-Liang; and Sun, Yongqiang, “Knowledge Quality of Collaborative Editing in Wikipedia: an Integrative Perspective of Social Capital and Team Conflict” (2015). PACIS 2015 Proceedings.Paper 171. http://aisel.aisnet.org/pacis2015/171
  8. Michael Andreas Etter , Finn Årup Nielsen, (2015) “Collective remembering of organizations: Co-construction of organizational pasts in Wikipedia”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 20 Iss: 4, pp.431 – 447 DOI:10.1108/CCIJ-09-2014-0059 Closed access

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 12 • December 2015
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by Tilman Bayer at January 07, 2016 09:39 PM

Our most popular posts of 2015: black hats, artificial intelligence, John Oliver, and a photobomb

Our story on John Oliver’s ‘fowl’ jokes was one of the blog’s most popular posts of the year. Photo by TechCruch, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

On December 15, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Victor Grigas, in collaboration with several Wikimedia community members, released #Edit2015, a look back at the wonder, pain, and triumph that happened in the world over the last year.

With that in mind, we here at the Wikimedia Blog decided to take on a decidedly narrower scope: what stories were the most popular on the blog this year? What did our nearly 700 thousand unique visitors, generating over 1.1 million views, flock to?

The top five is decidedly heavy on Foundation announcements—chief among them being actions we’ve taken to protect our users.

We sued the US’s National Security Agency to challenge its mass surveillance practices, an announcement that had over 70,000 views, by far the most views for the blog this year. Jimmy Wales said at the time that “We’re filing suit today on behalf of our readers and editors everywhere … Surveillance erodes the original promise of the internet: an open space for collaboration and experimentation, and a place free from fear.”

You can follow our Legal department’s frequent updates with the Wikimedia v. NSA category; we are currently appealing Judge T.S. Ellis, III’s ruling that we lack standing to bring the challenge.

Also in 2015, we began encrypting all of our traffic with HTTPS to ensure that users and readers alike can use our services “without sacrificing privacy or safety,” a process took years to complete (#2):

We believe encryption makes the web stronger for everyone. In a world where mass surveillance has become a serious threat to intellectual freedom, secure connections are essential for protecting users around the world. Without encryption, governments can more easily surveil sensitive information, creating a chilling effect, and deterring participation, or in extreme cases they can isolate or discipline citizens. Accounts may also be hijacked, pages may be censored, other security flaws could expose sensitive user information and communications.

–Yana Welinder, Victoria Baranetsky, and Brandon Black

Other announcements included the disclosure that 381 accounts on the English Wikipedia had been blocked for so-called ‘black hat’ editing (#3), and the release of a new artificial intelligence service (“ORES”) that “highlight[s] potentially damaging edits, [allowing] editors to triage them from the torrent of new edits and review them with increased scrutiny” (#5). This development is quite exciting; Aaron Halfaker, the lead researcher, hopes that the new automated service will conversely increase the number of human editors by reducing their workload.

Pop culture made several appearances as well. Our post on John Oliver’s chicken-related (“fowl”) jokes and their impact on several Wikipedia articles was amusing enough to land at #9 on the list. In a lengthy diatribe about the plight of independent chicken farmers vis a vis the major chicken producers they contract with, he asked his audience to vandalize the Wikipedia pages of congressional representives who had supported the producers—”unless they want [a “chicken f****r”] label to follow them for the rest of their lives, they might want to think [about their votes], because “chicken f****r” accusations do not come off a Wikipedia page easily. Or if they do, they tend to go right back up.”

Soon after, we published a descriptive essay on Wikipedia’s coverage of Caitlyn Jenner’s transition (#7) and how the experience of Chelsea Manning played a crucial role in the encyclopedia’s response.

The photographs that researchers believe feature the first-ever smile and photobomb—two of many images that the National Library of Wales donated to Wikimedia Commons—was intriguing enough to close out our list.

  1. Wikimedia v. NSA: Wikimedia Foundation files suit against NSA to challenge upstream mass surveillance (March 10)
  2. Securing access to Wikimedia sites with HTTPS (June 12)
  3. Hundreds of “black hat” English Wikipedia accounts blocked following investigation (August 31)
  4. Civility, Wikipedia, and the conversation on Gamergate (January 27)
  5. Artificial intelligence service gives Wikipedians ‘X-ray specs’ to see through bad edits (November 30)
  6. Launching the Wikimedia Public Policy site (September 2)
  7. How Wikipedia covered Caitlyn Jenner’s transition (June 3)
  8. A Wikimedian asks European Parliament members for copyright reform (April 24)
  9. A dark side of comedy: the impact of John Oliver’s ‘fowl’ jokes on Wikipedia (May 27)
  10. The first smile and photobomb ever photographed (September 18)

As an honorable mention, we would be remiss in leaving out “My life as an autistic Wikipedian” (July 31; #12)—a remarkably poignant account from editor and Wikimedia Foundation staff member Guillaume Paumier.

Thank you for reading the Wikimedia Blog; we hope for an even more successful 2016.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

by Ed Erhart at January 07, 2016 06:03 PM

January 05, 2016

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Discovery: What happens when you search Wikipedia?

Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M Landing
A spacecraft floats over a sea of golden clouds in this NASA image. When you search “parachute” on Wikipedia, what happens? The Discovery team works to improve that experience. Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls, public domain.

How do people experience Wikipedia and its sister projects? At the Wikimedia Foundation, our product organization develops features that help people experience Wikipedia and the other projects. In April 2015, we organized these teams around different aspects of the user flow: Discovery, Editing, Reading, Fundraising tech, and Community Tech.  These teams build and maintain technology for different audiences–readers, editors, and donors–across desktop, mobile web, and mobile apps.

We strive to be transparent about of our work and respond to the needs of our users. In this new series on the Wikimedia Blog, we’ll introduce you to the teams behind these processes and share how you can get involved. We’ll kick off the series with a post on the Discovery team.

You: How do I deploy a parachute?
Internet: Here are 418,000 pages to help you answer that.
You: *Clicks Wikipedia link.*

The path from question to answer, from curiosity to understanding, is discovery. It’s how someone finds the exact information they need, whether by asking a friend, raising a hand in a classroom, going to a library, using a search engine, or searching on a Wikimedia site like Wikipedia.

Wikipedia and its sister projects have more than 35 million articles across nearly 300 languages, nearly 30 million images, and terabytes more across the other Wikimedia sites. As the world’s free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia has made discovery of free knowledge available to people around the world.

And discovering all of this information begins with search.

The search box at the top right of every page on Wikipedia operates what’s called a “prefix search.” It compares your search query to the titles of articles on Wikipedia. Prefix search is fast and can scale to the millions of people who use Wikipedia each day, but can provide the user with no results with the wrong query.  “How do I deploy a parachute” turns on no light bulbs, but “parachute” sends you right to the article.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 4.12.22 PM

To address that, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Discovery team has replaced prefix search with a “completion suggester,” as you may have seen on search engines. This could reduce the zero results rate by around 10%, and work faster. To test search results relevance—whether the suggester is guessing right that you want a parachute and not a parashoot—we’ve turned it into a beta feature that is now live on nearly all Wikimedia projects.

This is one of the many Discovery projects we’ve undertaken since our team formed in April 2015. We’re also working on improving search for our multilingual users. Data shows that users often enter queries in the wrong language—paracadute instead of parachute. When we included a search function that tried detecting the language of the user’s query, users were up to six times more likely to get results.

Not all discovery is text-based. In September, the Discovery team released the Wikimedia Maps Service, using OpenStreetMap data to connect Wikimedia content to corresponding locations around the world. The Wikipedia Android app now features an interactive map based on this service with little pins for Wikipedia articles about nearby points of interest.

A screenshot of the Wikipedia Android app, showing the capabilities of the Wikimedia Maps service. Screenshot by Dmitry Brant, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Data can also play an important role in discovery, which is why we created the Wikidata Query Service earlier this year. This service, which is still in beta, allows you to query against the dataset of Wikidata, a free collection of structured data from the Wikimedia sister projects. Being able to search and integrate this dataset could mean improved search experiences across the Wikimedia projects.

Relatedly, we’re exploring how to improve the user interface of the search page for Wikipedia. It’s mostly just text right now, and we’re hoping that we can improve it by adding imagery and short descriptions based on Wikidata.


The Discovery team at NASA.

Our work is focused on a number of priority areas:

  1. Zero results rate for search. If users receive no results, it means we’ve not been able to help find what they’re looking for, so we measure the zero results rate.
  2. User engagement with search results. If users do not click on results, then we haven’t given them the results they wanted.
  3. Search latency. The faster our search works, the better.
  4. API use. It’s important that apps and third parties can search our site too.

These priorities help us get a rounded perspective of how search is being used, and let us know how well the efforts we’re undertaking help move the needle. They also keep us focused on user needs.

Get involved

To get involved with the Discovery team’s work, you can:

  • Subscribe to the Discovery team’s public mailing list
  • Read about projects and upcoming plans at the MediaWiki Discovery page
  • Reach out to the Discovery team on their IRC channel: #wikimedia-discovery on Freenode.

We would love to hear your thoughts about our projects and goals!

Working with the Wikimedia community is a core priority for the entire product organization. Some specific ways we’re increasing open communication with this community include: Product Showcases, a Community Wishlist Survey and participation at the 2016 Wikimedia Developer Summit. Our Community Liaisons and Developer Relations teams are excellent partners in bringing user feedback to the forefront of product development. We also participate in conferences, hackathons and of course at Wikimania!

You can learn more about the entire Product organization on our public product page.

Tomasz Finc, Director of Discovery
Wes Moran, Vice President of Product
Wikimedia Foundation

by Tomasz Finc and Wes Moran at January 05, 2016 01:25 AM

January 04, 2016

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Quo vadis Wikimedia? Co se u nás chystá v roce 2016 a na co možná zapomínáme

Wikipedisté působící na půdě Masarykovy univerzity, jeden z velkých úspěchů loňského roku

Wikipedisté působící na půdě Masarykovy univerzity, jeden z velkých úspěchů loňského roku (foto Dominik Matus, licence CC-BY-SA 4.0).

Rok 2015 byl pro spolek Wikimedia Česká republika velmi úspěšný. Spustili jsme celou řadu projektů, jejichž cílem je podpora a propagace Wikipedie, byli jsme „vidět“ v médiích, uzavřeli jsme smlouvu o spolupráci s Národním památkovým ústavem a s Masarykovou univerzitou a v neposlední řadě se nám podařilo sehnat finanční prostředky nutné pro provoz spolku a pro rozvoj našich projektů. V tomto směru bylo zřejmě nejvýznamnější získání tzv. „Simple APG“ (Annual Plan Grant) od nadace Wikimedia v prosinci 2015, který se uděluje rozvinutým pobočkám Wikimedia, jež směřují ke své profesionalizaci. Jako jediní žadatelé jsme obdrželi 100 % částky, o kterou jsme žádali, a to nám otevírá cestu k realizaci našich pobočkových snů.

"Senioři píší Wikipedii" se dočkají profesionálního manažera. Na fotce kurz v Jablonném nad Orlicí (foto Jana Šmídová, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

„Senioři píší Wikipedii“ se dočkají profesionálního manažera. Na fotce kurz v Jablonném nad Orlicí (foto Jana Šmídová, CC-BY-SA 4.0).

Naše činnost se v roce 2016 rozdělí do dvou základních směrů: do podpory fotodokumentace České republiky pro potřeby projektů Wikimedia a do vzdělávacích programů. Nejedná se pro naši pobočku o žádnou novinku – první projektový blok v podstatě kopíruje dosavadní aktivity v rámci tzv. Mediagrantu, zatímco vzdělávání zahrnuje velkou část českého Outreach grantu. Přesto se jisté novinky chystají. Fotodokumentační program, či chcete-li, Mediagrant, se bude zabývat i snahou o katalogizaci všech objektů vhodných ke zdokumentování (jsou jich v Česku desetitisíce a mnohé z nich ještě nemají na Wikipedii ani fotku). Vzdělávací program bude procházet částečnou profesionalizací, protože je extrémně náročný na lidské síly. Proto bude pro potřeby našich programů „Studenti píší Wikipedii“ a „Senioři píší Wikipedii“ ustanovena placená pozice manažera vzdělávání (Education manager), jehož úkolem bude tyto projekty řídit a rozvíjet. Nelehké výběrové řízení na manažera v současné době probíhá a rozhodnutí očekáváme během ledna 2016. Jednodušší situaci budeme mít v programu zaměřeném na spolupráci s Masarykovou univerzitou – tam od letošního roku budeme kofinancovat projekt Marka Blahuše, dlouholetého wikipedisty a od loňského roku oficiálního wikipedisty-rezidenta pro Masarykovu univerzitu. Pro pobočku, která doteď fungovala téměř dobrovolnicky, bude výzvou naučit se se zaměstnanci dobře pracovat a ukázat, že profesionalizace pobočky byla správným rozhodnutím.

Všechno toto jsou ale projekty, které Wikimedia Česká republika podporovala již v roce 2015 – ale co když někde v koutě čekají nějaké další výzvy, které pro všechny ty stávající projekty nejsme schopni vidět? Zde je možná největší současná slabina celého hnutí Wikimedia, které se začíná v některých zemích izolovat od Wikipedie, a svět „Wikimedia“, který má za úkol podporovat Wikipedii, se odděluje od wiki-včeliček – pisatelů článků – čím dál tlustší stěnou. Přiznejme si, že i centrální nadace Wikimedia nyní zaměstnává především newikipedisty a podobnou linii sledují i některé další velké pobočky Wikimedia. Zastávám názor, že Wikipedii prospěšné projekty budeme schopni uskutečnit jen v případě, budeme-li prostředí Wikipedii hluboce rozumět, a osobně se velmi snažím neztratit s komunitou Wikipedie kontakty.

Dr. James Heilman se stal v roce 2015 symbolem rozšiřující se propasti mezi Wikimedia Foundation a zbytkem hnutí Wikimedia - ač je úspěšným vizionářem a respektovaným wikipedistou, byl vyloučen z rady Wikimedia Foundation.

Dr. James Heilman se stal v roce 2015 symbolem rozporů mezi Wikimedia Foundation a zbytkem hnutí Wikimedia – ač je úspěšným vizionářem a respektovaným wikipedistou, byl vyloučen z rady Wikimedia Foundation (foto VGrigas, licence CC-BY-SA 3.0).

Víte třeba, který správce české Wikipedie je ve funkci nejkratší dobu? Je to Urbanecm, a přitom je to správce druhý nejaktivnější! A kolik správců české Wikipedie vlastně znáte, a kolik znáte wikipedistů patřících mezi ty nejaktivnější? Například kolega Davcza stihl systematicky založit už více než 11 000 článků, zejména o českých politicích 19. a 20. století. Nebo Matěj Suchánek se stal českým expertem na Wikidata a dokáže zodpovědět jakýkoliv dotaz, který se jich týká. A jak dobře vůbec znáte Wikidata, která jsou nejprogresivnějším projektem Wikimedia vůbec – zkoušeli jste přidávat do Wikidat nové údaje nebo třeba nastavit přejímání dat z Wikidat do infoboxů na české Wikipedii? Víte, které šablony to už nyní umí? Jak dobře znáte vizuální editor (VisualEditor), který je pro nováčky editorem číslo jedna a umožňuje nově i automatické generování citací podle čísla PMID, DOI nebo adresy URL? A umíte doporučit nováčkům průvodce po Wikipedii a navést je na místní interaktivní GuidedTour? Slyšeli jste o úspěšné kampani #100wikidays, kterou spustila bulharská kolegyně Vassia Atanassova, nebo o WikiProject Medicine Translation Task Force Jamese Heilmana, který v době vrcholící epidemie eboly překládal článek o ebole do všech možných i nemožných afrických jazyků?

Ukazuje se, že nejlepší nápady přichází zpravidla od komunity – dobrovolníků „nerdů“, kteří Wikipedii věnují každou volnou minutu svého času a vidí dovnitř problémů a nedostatků Wikipedie. Měli bychom těmto wikipedistům velmi naslouchat, začít se jich ptát na jejich názor a pokud možno s nimi i co nejvíce spolupracovat. Není to v jejich zájmu, ale spíše v našem – hnutí Wikimedia jen tak bude stále schopna „cítit tep“ Wikipedie a řídit se podle něj.

V příštích týdnech budeme dopracovávat plán činnosti Wikimedia ČR na rok 2016 a posléze i strategický plán na příští léta. Přeji si, abychom mysleli co nejprogresivněji a měli neustále na mysli naše hlavní poslání – podporu Wikipedie a dalších projektů hnutí Wikimedia.

by Vojtěch Dostál at January 04, 2016 10:18 PM

December 29, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

“I need to see a doctor”: building an open-source refugee phrasebook

Flüchtinge 9999-Michelides.jpg
Refugees resting on a bridge between Germany and Austria. Photo by Christian Michelides, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Refugee Phrasebook Cover by bisnode.hr, freely licensed under CC0.

This is a guest post from the team behind Refugee Phrasebook.

With the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and in Europe, where over a million refugees have and are seeking safe haven in Europe, the need for better communication with and for refugees has become urgent. These refugees are coming into countries like Turkey, Greece, Italy, Slovakia, or Germany with little to no knowledge of the Turkish, Greek, Italian, Slovak, or German languages.

In response, an international group of volunteers started the Refugee Phrasebook in August to collect and translate useful phrases for refugees in more than 30 languages.

The phrasebook catalogs a general set of phrases as well as sentences for juridical and medical needs, from the simple “hello” or “water” to more complex requests like “I need to see a doctor.” Requests for more phrases have tripled the total length of the tables in the last four months.

All of this has been collected into a single Google Doc, which we have licensed under CC-0—also known as the public domain. Anyone can take the work and reuse or remix it for any purpose, including refugee aid projects all over the world, without fear of copyright infringement.

However, many of the refugees have little access to the Internet or mobile phones, so we have had to print several booklets. Supported by Wikimedia Deutschland, we organized a Wikibooks workshop and printed 10,000 of them in Thessaloniki, Greece, each containing 20 to 40 pages. Local volunteers and OKF Greece helped with distributing them to the Aegean Greek islands, where many of the refugees have ended up.

Meanwhile, Hungarian advertising agency Bisnode used the phrasebook data to create a custom version of their own, eventually printing 100,000 to be distributed at the borders (40,000 in Germany). A Croatian-Slovenian Wikibooks version was promoted on the websites of radio stations and printed by local volunteers on demand, and local versions have been designed at several locations, including a phrasebook made by the Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel.

Several mobile apps have been designed as well, for use when refugees have access to the Internet. Refugee Phrasebook interactive provides data from the tables in a more user-friendly interface, while RefuChat supports refugees, helpers and paramedics with custom sets of phrases. The app InfoAid not only includes the language data, but also helps distribute important information and updates. The web app refugee-phrasebook.github.io presents the data in an accessible format with selectable sets of languages, while other projects are being developed on GitHub.

Where do we go from here? The printing and distribution project is now in its fifth month, and the demand for phrasebooks is still very high. Translations in several languages still have to be completed and checked, a common issue in our feedback is the lack of an Arabic pronunciation guide for non-Arabic languages, which could make it easier for non-native speakers to pronounce words in the languages of their destination countries.

Most of all, we need dedicated workshops with refugee committees to identify the most useful phrases to recommend for printing. Since the language data has been corrected and extended since the first print runs, all existing apps as well as Wikibooks and custom design versions have to be updated. There is a lot to do.

Contact info

Together with Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e. V. (OKFDE), Refugee Phrasebook maintains the website refu­geephrase­book.de, a Wikibooks page, social media accounts (Facebook/ Twitter) and a bank account for donations to support the distribution of printed versions (to ensure transparency, all funding is accounted and reported by the OKFDE; at the end of each year, the unused funds are donated to Doctors without Borders). As this is an open data project, local groups are encouraged to coordinate their own version with refugee initiatives; we try to help organize funding or match volunteers with potential donors.

Markus Neuschäfer, Refugee Phrasebook

by Markus Neuschäfer at December 29, 2015 10:42 PM

Wikipedia Android app, now with interactive map, named a Best App of 2015

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Image courtesy of Google Play.

Have you downloaded the Wikipedia Android app yet? You should. Google has just called it a “Best App of 2015,” featuring the app in the Google Play Stores of Russia, India, Mexico, Japan, and Indonesia.

A screenshot of the Wikipedia Android app, showing the capabilities of the Wikimedia Maps service. Screenshot by Dmitry Brant, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The entire Android team at the Wikimedia Foundation is thrilled about this recognition. We hope it helps people around the world engage more with free knowledge. And like everything we do, it’s free to download and use.

We work hard to build an app that is easy and fun to use, while bringing the knowledge of Wikipedia to your fingertips. Looking back at 2015, there’s no shortage of new features in the app:

  • Previews of linked Wikipedia articles so you can explore a topic without leaving the original page.
  • Share-a-fact cards that allow you to easily and quickly create image cards with facts from Wikipedia and share via social media, email, or text message.
  • More image-centric design, improved search functionality, and suggestions for further reading.

We’d also like to introduce another new feature that we released in our latest version of the app: using the Nearby tab, you can access a full, interactive map (based on the new Wikimedia Maps service), with little pins for Wikipedia articles about nearby points of interest. This interactive feature lets you drag and zoom the map to any other part of the world, and see Wikipedia articles for those locations.

Tapping on any of the little pins will show you the familiar link preview that you see when tapping on regular links in articles. We designed it for anyone curious about what’s around them, from travelers abroad to people learning more about their hometowns.

We have much more planned in 2016—get the app from the Google Play Store, and stay tuned for more great features in the new year!

Dmitry Brant
Software Engineer, Product Owner
Wikimedia Foundation

by Dmitry Brant at December 29, 2015 10:42 PM

See these striking photos from the European Science Photo Competition

Piemontite Epidote.JPG
Pink-yellow Piemontite crystals from Apuan Alps by Strekeisen from Italy, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

“European culture cannot be imagined without European science,” said the European Science Photo Competition (ESPC), and opened the contest up for everyone to participate. It was held on Wikipedia in this November so everyone could have access to some of best and brightest moments of Europe’s science landscape in 2015. It’s a chance to see what the scientists are working on this very same moment.

To fulfill the mission of Wikipedia, we need to collect and present the finest images, graphics, videos and other media—it is the only way to bring free access to all human knowledge. When scientists are working all days and nights to expand our current understanding of the world, then what could a better place than Wikipedia to show what has been found out by now?

This competition was based on the Estonian Science Photo Competition that started back in 2006 and moved to Wikipedia in 2011, following the example of HELP image collecting campaign from the summer of 2010.[1] Those two events showed that Wikipedia not only needs more scientific images, but is also a suitable environment for the process of collecting these images.

The idea of making this competition bigger has been around for years, and it finally materialized in 2015. By this time there were also two new fine examples of international photo competitions: Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth. ESPC followed their example, but we also wanted to bring something new. For example, we added categories of “non-photographic media” for videos and other media files.

Not all countries followed the timeline. In Ukraine, the competition was held in October so that their national winners could be honored on World Science Day on November 10. Russia and Macedonia, on the other hand, have kept going and are collecting images throughout December. Local winners are likely to be announced by late December or early January, depending on the country. Overall winners will be made known by the end of January 2016.

Over 8000 files have been submitted from 40 different countries, with nearly 1800 people participating. The media submitted show the wide array of disciplines involved, from the dark realms of macrocosm to the shattering lights of the cosmos. There are stunning polarized light images of minerals from Italy and grand views of the macrocosm from Germany, striking chemistry videos from Estonia and beautiful diagrams from Ukraine; photos that show the scientists in action, or images about the objects and phenomena that they study so passionately.

A selection of them is presented below.

Домашняя муха.png
Head of a cluster fly by Dack9 from Russia, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Macrophages undergo mitosis after ingesting a fungal cell.jpg
Macrophage (light blue) ingesting a fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Image by Carolina Coelho from Portugal, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The parallel microscopic Universe IV.jpg
Microbes cultivated in Petri dishes by Sofia Vini from Greece, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Ascorbinsäure in polarisiertem Licht 4.jpg
Ascorbic acid in polarized light by Radix2010 from Germany, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Close look to butterfly feeler by Pavel kejzlar from Czech Republic, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

LUT SEM Calcium sulphate crystals 600x.jpg
False colored calcium sulfate crystal grown on a ceramic filter plate surface by ToniVakiparta from Finland, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Spectacular stellar nursery IC 2944.jpg
Stellar nursery IC 2944 seen through of ESO’s Very Large Telescope, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Radio telescope RT-70.jpg
Inside an antenna mirror of the radio telescope RT-70 by Володимир Власенко from Ukraine, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.


X-ray crystallography tool by Kaspar Kallip from Estonia, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Water under 11 Hz vibration.jpg
Water under sinusoidal vibration of 11 Hz by Jordi Torrents from Spain., freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Suvi ponor-2.jpg
Exploring cave Suvi Ponor by Vkrzalic from Serbia, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Ivo Kruusamägi, European Science Photo Competition, Estonian Wikipedian


  1. This campaign has so far brought over 2200 images to Wikimedia Commons and the sixth installment of it is currently ongoing in Estonian Wikipedia

by Ivo Kruusamägi at December 29, 2015 10:42 PM

December 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Making our pageview data easily accessible

Solomon Northup was the most-visited Wikipedia article on December 12, according to HatNote’s Top 100—a new app that takes advantage of the new pageview API. Illustration from Twelve Years a Slave (1853), public domain.

Wikipedia and its sister projects receive more than 16 billion pageviews each month—more than double the earth’s population. The popularity of different Wikipedia articles can reflect trends in society if we ask simple questions: what’s more popular on Spanish Wikipedia, fideuà or paella? How many views did Punjabi Wikipedia get after the last editathon? What are the top destinations people look up on German Wikivoyage?

You can now use the Wikimedia Foundation’s new pageview API to get these answers quickly and easily.

Until recently, the best way to get these answers was to download large data dumps and crunch the numbers yourself, or manually compile the numbers from Henrik’s stats.grok.se.  This data didn’t differentiate between web crawler and user views, and didn’t have mobile views.  With the new API we solve those problems and guarantee performance and stability.  We want to empower our communities to build tools that make the wiki universe more fun and interactive.

Some community members are already working on interesting tools. HatNote, a collection of wiki-centric apps, now shows a fascinating display of the most popular articles each day with lead images and text blobs.  It is a mesmerizing view into what is trending and draws you down the knowledge rabbit hole.  TreeViews is a tool recently updated to use the new data.  It lets you analyze pageviews for given categories.  This is especially useful for individuals involved with galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (“GLAM“), as it allows them to assess the success of posting high quality, archive worthy content to Wikimedia Commons.  The Research team is working on recommending important articles for translation or creation: they find out which articles are popular in one wiki but don’t exist in another using Wikidata and the pageview API.  The Graph extension is a fun way to visualize data on a wiki, and it’s been made to work with the API as well.

If you’d like to play with the data, we’ve made a demo app to compare pageviews for articles over time.  You can look at emacs vs vim or how attention was drawn to the Beirut and Paris articles in the aftermath of the recent bombings.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.08.59 PM
Our demo app is ready for anyone who wants to play with this data. Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0.

This pageview API has been long in the making, and its history may be relevant to future projects.  Members of the community, and especially people involved with GLAM, have been asking for ways to query this data for over a decade.  While the Wikimedia Foundation—the non-profit that supports Wikipedia and its sister projects—would release raw data dumps, stats.grok.se was the only way to query it until now.

Wikimedia Foundation realized this was an important community ask, but did not prioritize the project for two main reasons: the infrastructure wasn’t ready and demands for other metrics were too high for the small team.  When we started thinking about this project on the Analytics team, it became apparent that we needed to change our infrastructure.  This took our small team about two years to work out all of the problems.  Once the infrastructure was up in October 2014, we immediately made the more reliable raw data available, but the pageview API again took a back seat to other projects such as Event Logging and helping to monitor Wikipedia’s visual editor.  Given the great feedback we’ve received since launching it, we are adjusting our process to more closely work with our communities.

Andrew West, a senior research scientist at Verisign Labs, told us that “Page view data has long been available, and the researchers with the capability to parse and interpret that tremendous volume of data have produced impactful results. That said, a public API that abstracts away those difficulties will enable access to a new class of editors, programmers, and researchers whose diverse perspectives will yield novel ways to analyze and utilize page view data.”

We believe in what he says and sincerely hope you’ll be part of that discussion on our IRC channel (#wikimedia-analytics on freenode.net), any MediaWiki event such as the upcoming developer summit, and our task tracking tool, Phabricator, where we have feature brainstorms like this.  This API is just the beginning.  We’re working on opening more pageview data and editing data in ways that maintain privacy and are as easy and fun to use.

Technical Details

The API is built on a RESTful architecture making it easy to retrieve data with a URI.  The Services team built RESTBase, which makes it easier to deploy projects like the pageview API.  You can immediately start playing with the API by filling out this form and seeing what kind of URIs the API uses and the results returned.  Our Quick Start guide shows additional HTTP endpoints for different sources of data.

To make it easier to use, we have an R client and we’ve just released a python client.  You can install it with pip (pip install mwviews) and use it like this:

from mwviews.api import PageviewsClient
p = PageviewsClient()

# Fideuà vs. Paella on Spanish Wikipedia
p.article_views(‘es.wikipedia’, [‘Fideuà’, ‘Paella’])

# Views on Punjabi Wikipedia for August 2015
p.project_views([‘pa.wikipedia’], start=’20150801′, end=’20150831′)

# Top articles on German Wikivoyage
p.top_articles(‘de.wikivoyage’, limit=10)

Dan Andreescu, Software Engineer
Wikimedia Foundation

by Dan Andreescu at December 24, 2015 07:58 AM

Community digest—Wikipedia in Ukrainian education expands

Wikitraining in Mykolaiv National University. Image by Illia Korniiko, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Being wholly committed to Wikipedia, we in Wikimedia Ukraine have no doubt that Wikipedia belongs in education—the more educators and authorities who know this the better. This month, a significant step forward was made in the expansion of the Wikipedia Education Program in Ukraine, as we welcomed a whole new region into the Education Program: Mykolaiv Oblast.

The story began, not uncommonly, when one lecturer in the Vasyl Sukhomlynskyi National University of Mykolaiv learned about the “Edit” button on Wikipedia articles and decided to share this with his students. Using the Education Program extension for MediaWiki, Taras Kremin, a docent (or assistant professor) in the Faculty of Philology, created the course “Culture of the South. 100 Literary Biographies“. One hundred articles about the writers, poets, historians, specialists in study of literature, and of Mykolaiv Oblast are to be created or improved during this course by 30 students.

Taras Kremin got in contact with Wikimedia Ukraine to help with training students to edit and format Wikipedia pages. On December 12th and 13th, several experienced Wikipedians held a Wikitraining event for these students. Afterwards, students said that they had either no idea that anyone can edit Wikipedia or considered that it was too difficult for them to do. Of course, a two-day training event, though rather extensive, is not enough to learn everything. However, after that training, students had faith in themselves as editors.

As Taras Kremin is also a Member of Parliament of Ukraine, he brought this idea with him to other authorities. People writing Wikipedia are contributing important content that Ukrainian media is not so rich with. Mykolaiv State Region Administration expressed its readiness to spread the word about Wikipedia to other institutions. So on the same day, a memorandum of cooperation between Wikimedia Ukraine and Mykolaiv State Region Administration was signed as well.

Oksana Yanishevska, Deputy Chair of Mykolaiv State Region Administration, had underlined that state region administration cooperated with Wikimedia—and not for first time. Back in 2013, they ran an article contest under the title “Mykolaiv Spring in Wikipedia” that resulted in 250 Wikipedia articles about famous sites and citizens of Mykolaiv Oblast. Today we still don’t have full lists of monuments of architecture in Mykolaiv Oblast needed for a Wiki Loves Monuments contest, but, hopefully, this will change soon; on one occasion Wikimedia Ukraine was even forced to file a lawsuit to get one such list. Taras Kremin is also acting as co-author of the draft law which will bring freedom of panorama to Ukraine when passed.

The Wikipedia Education Program in Ukraine is mainly about replacing ordinary student papers with Wikipedia articles. Such papers have the same topic year after year. So even if writing them is useful somehow for a student, it is certainly not useful for the educators or the public. On the other hand, Wikipedia articles need be created only once, but can be read by anyone on the web and are improved constantly by other editors. Educators in the Vasyl Sukhomlynskyi National University of Mykolaiv understand this and other advantages of working with Wikipedia, and they expressed their willingness to continue working with this new education model. On December 14th, representatives of Wikimedia Ukraine and the Vasyl Sukhomlynskyi National University of Mykolaiv signed the memorandum of cooperation.

The first event within this collaboration will be a training for tutors planned for February 2016. The organization of this training was discussed with Vasyl Shuliar, Director of the Mykolaiv Oblast institute of post-graduate education for teachers. The Wikipedia Education Program cannot be realized without teachers getting involved in editing Wikipedia, and Wikimedia Ukraine plans to provide as much training events as possible.

Up until 1989, Mykolaiv was a closed city of shipbuilders with military-industrial enterprises. No foreigners were allowed here and the city wasn’t on a map even though it had 500 thousand citizens. This is a reason why Mykolaiv is poorly known in the world and in Ukraine. And its high time to complete this gap. Joint efforts on the article contest “Mykolaiv Spring in Wikipedia” led to the addition of new information about the city and the region in Wikipedia. I hope that such a collaboration will open us to the world. The education process is also going to become more innovate and fruitful for the country in general as information published will be available for everyone. We have so many worthy things to share. And we have much to be proud of.

— Taras Kremin

Wikimedia Ukraine would be happy to see a rich collaboration with this region, and a lot of already ongoing projects and ideas can be implemented here. We plan to work with Wikipedia Education Program, organize regional events for Wikipedians from all over the southern part of Ukraine etc. Placing QR-codes on the monuments of the city will mean motivation for writing articles about them in Ukrainian, English, and other languages. Mykolaiv Oblast is an attractive territory for tourists. There are many places worth covering by Wiki Loves Earth and Wiki Loves Monuments photo contests, and we plan to initiate some preparatory work and engage students of photo schools. GLAM can be raised to a new level in the wonderful museums of Mykolayiv and the surrounding region, like the Mykolayiv Regional Museum of Local History , The Museum of Shipbuilding and Fleet, and others. We also considering holding Summer Wikischool for high school students, similar to Wikicamp in Armenia. Wikipedia belongs in education and now it is in Mykolaiv Oblast.

Vira Motorko, Wikimedia Ukraine

Valerii Budak, Mykolaiv National University rector (chancellor), Nataliia Tymkiv, ED of WMUA, and Taras Kremin, Member of Parliament of Ukraine. Image by Illia Korniiko, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

In brief

Wikimania: The 2017 edition of the annual conference for the Wikimedia community will be held in Montreal, according to an official announcement on Wikimedia-l. Unusually, this decision was presaged by a leak on the same mailing list in October and a subsequent Signpost article. Meanwhile, there is a major consultation on Meta about the future of Wikimania and what form it will take.
Sources, data, and Wikipedia: All three were subjects in a recent Argentine hackathon that targeted teachers. The event was a collaboration between four organizations and boasted 70 people in attendance. Read and see more on Wikimedia Argentina’s blog and on Storify.
Drone photography: An op-ed from a German Wikipedian ran in this week’s Signpost. Of note: “… drone photography offers great possibilities for Commons photographers. Aerial views allow readers to better understand the location and setting of a monument or a place described in an article. And, you can add a whole new dimension with aerial video, to give readers the whole picture.” We ran a profile of another drone photographer in September.
Week of Arts: Wikimedia Argentina and Chile collaborated at the University of Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina to show the Aart productions done by students, teachers and graduates of the faculty and share them with the educational community. Both the Chilean and Argentine chapters were invited as partners to organize activities together under the topic of the relations between Chile and Argentina; the visit was coordinated by the Department of Learning Technologies and Communication (TAC). The meeting aimed to sensitize the educational community regarding Wikipedia as an educational tool and how the dissemination of knowledge built collaboratively; it marks a paradigm that shifts the educational paradigm, opening new challenges to face. We also built up our capacity of teaching Wikipedia to people in the trasandine culture.
Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

by Vira Motorko and Ed Erhart at December 24, 2015 07:57 AM

December 23, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Star Wars awakens, but Gone With the Wind remains on top

"Force Awakens Changi Airport" by Nikolaevna Romanov, under CC-BY-2.0
“Star Wars fever” has gripped the world this month; here, a promotional exhibit in Singapore’s Changi Airport. Photo by Nikolaevna Romanov, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Editor’s note: Wikipedia’s article on Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not censored for spoilers; read at your own risk. This post, however, is spoiler free.

Daisy Ridley’s scavenging Rey, Adam Driver’s intimidating Kylo Ren, and Harrison Ford’s rogue Han Solo may be packing theaters and tingling the spines of Star Wars fans worldwide, but a Southern belle in a hoop skirt is kicking galactic behind on Wikipedia’s list of all-time highest-grossing movies.

The Force Awakens has objectively taken the film world by storm after being released on Thursday, and with analysts predicting it to land in third place—based on the strength of a box office record of $57 million in its first-day preview screenings, $13.5 million more than the previous record-holder—it is well on its way to a place on Wikipedia’s lists of highest-grossing films. In this scenario, Force Awakens would only be topped by James Cameron’s 2009 science-fiction film Avatar (which has made just over $2.78 billion worldwide) and Cameron’s Titanic from 1997.

Wikipedia’s community of volunteer editors have helpfully subdivided the list of highest-grossing films of all time by the overall amount, by year, and adjusted for inflation.  The highest-ranked Star Wars film currently on the full list is 1999’s The Phantom Menace, with $1.03 billion in takings putting it in 20th place.

Adjusted for inflation, however, the highest-grossing list looks markedly different: it is topped by Gone with the Wind, an epic-historical romance film released back in 1939, where main character Scarlett O’Hara is entwined in a complicated love triangle in the midst of the American Civil War. The film made the 2014 equivalent of $3.44 billion; the first, eponymous Star Wars movie ranks third, with $2.83 billion, and even the most ambitious projections for The Force Awakens have it hitting only $3 billion.

For its part, Gone with the Wind was a mammoth production. With a budget of $3.85 million, it was one of the most expensive films of its time—arguably the most expensive ever, for a while—and took two years of production. Actors were interviewed and auditioned for most of that time, with casters targeting big names of the time. With a high-profile cast and Pulitzer prize-winning subject material, 300,000 turned out for its Atlanta premiere; US President Jimmy Carter later called it “the biggest event to happen in the South in my lifetime.”

The film only entered general release in 1941; before that, it was exclusively advance-ticket roadshows, charged at $1 (more than twice the regular price of the time), and production company MGM collected 70 per cent of takings before lowering them upon saturation. It was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, winning ten of them.

The Star Wars franchise of now eight movies has a way to go as well: they weigh in at fifth place, behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Harry Potter, James Bond, and Middle-earth [Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit].

Edits to the new film’s article from its creation in 2012. Image by Joe Sutherland, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Meanwhile on Thursday, The Force Awakens‘ first night in most markets, its Wikipedia article saw a massive pageview spike. General hype for the film across the Internet—including the official trailer, which currently has 74 million views—mean it has been in the top 20 most-read Wikipedia articles for the whole of December, and number one for three days straight. Yesterday, it surpassed a million views.

The final revealing of Episode VII’s plot means the article has also experienced a flurry of editing. The first edition of the article was published as long ago as 2006—but only as a hoax, refuted by another editor: “George Lucas has said time and time again that there are and will only ever be 6 movies,” one wrote. “Any Real Star Wars fan will not hesitate to discredit this guy as everyone knows, [sic] Lucas never just decided to give away a script to a friend to show to the world before a movie was released.”

The first real article appeared on October 30, 2012, the day the seventh edition was formally announced, under the generic title Star Wars: Episode VII. Though editors originally disagreed with its existence since information was scarce, the article quickly grew as more became known. As the official release neared, editors contributed information as it was slowly revealed by Lucasfilms and, following its acquisition later in development, by Disney.

Now, the article contains a full plot summary, as well as an overview of the film’s development, promotion, and reception. Episode VIII, to be directed by Rian Johnson, is currently slated for release in May 2017.

Joe SutherlandCommunications intern
Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at December 23, 2015 09:53 PM

Bringing libraries closer to Wikipedia: Merrilee Proffitt

Merrilee Proffitt, a librarian and Wikipedian. Photo by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Merrilee Proffitt (Merrilee) is on a mission to bring American librarians closer to Wikipedia—a group she think is hesitant towards the idea of a community edited encyclopedia.

As a long-term Wikipedian and professional of library sciences, Proffitt understands the views on both sides. In her opinion, librarians and Wikipedians share many common goals being passionate to ease people’s access to information. “I think it’s the appreciation of quality and drive to help people in finding the sources they want and increase their own personal knowledge or whatever their pursuits are, that librarians and Wikipedians have in common.”

When talking to librarians, Proffitt encourages them to go beyond the surface to see what’s behind Wikipedia articles. Looking at talk pages and community portals, for example, helps to discover the passionate human side of Wikipedia. “I think because they are so critical of quality, they might land on a given Wikipedia article and not see that it’s of high quality and just miss it without having an understanding of how Wikipedia works,” she says. “If librarians had an understanding of how Wikipedia works [and] how driven the community is, they would really change their tunes pretty dramatically.”

Proffitt believes that Wikipedia and libraries face similar challenges on bringing people to them in the times of decreasing library users. From the side of Wikipedia, Proffitt hopes for more welcoming attitudes, similar to what people have when meeting face-to-face. “Every single person I’ve ever met at an in-person event, or have interacted at Wikimania has been so helpful, so generous with their time and their knowledge and I wish that could be translated into the online environment as well.  Some of the conversations we have there can be pretty unhelpful and antagonist.”

As a positive example, she recalls her start on Wikipedia ten years ago, when she enthusiastically wrote an article promoting a project she was involved in. Despite the unintentional violation of Wikipedia’s conflict of interest guidelines, she was not discouraged. Other Wikipedians cleaned up her article while she learned how to become a better editor. ”It wasn’t judging, there was no inflammatory language, there was no saying you’re a new editor, you shouldn’t be doing this. It was nice”, she points out.

Today, the co-operation in improving the articles is what Proffitt considers is one of the best characteristics of Wikipedia.”I wish the real world would work that way. I can start something and somebody will come along and make it so much better. I just love that all for working together to make things so much better.”

As a bridge builder, another group Proffitt wants to bring closer to Wikipedia is children.  Prior to going to Wikimania 2015, Proffitt found her eight-year-old daughter reading the Wikipedia article on Mexico City, where the conference was held. “ She can’t wait for to start her first article. In fact, she told she me wants to write an article called dumb things that only eight year olds care about,” she recalls.

Proffitt hopes there would be more opportunities for kids to collaborate with Wikipedia on their level, like by choosing images. At the moment, positive talking about the encyclopedia is a good starting point. Instead of discouraging children from participating in online communities like Wikipedia, Proffitt aims at educating and explaining how they work.”I can talk to students, and young people about Wikipedia in an encouraging way and help them to look at the talk pages to see how the articles are constructed, look at the edit history and think critically about it. But I don’t think there are teachers and other adults in their life necessary doing that.”

As a help to familiarize people with Wikipedia and share a positive image about it, Proffitt mentions visualization tools like Listen to Wikipedia. Her daughter listens to the soothing sounds of the tool as bedtime routine, but it also raises the curiosity on the edits made on Wikipedia. ”The article names that are going by show the range of topics that are on Wikipedia. Things you might not have thought about, because you never searched for them. I think tools like that are great in terms of hoping to explain Wikipedia,” Proffitt adds.

Interview by Rosemary Rein, Director of Learning and Evaluation
Post by Reetta Kemppi, Communication Volunteer
Wikimedia Foundation

by Reetta Kemppi at December 23, 2015 09:52 PM

Live a year in 4 minutes: Introducing #Edit2015, Wikipedia’s year-in-review video

File:Wikipedia Edit 2015.webm

Watch #Edit2015, a culmination of a year on Wikipedia, all set to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. You can watch it in full on YouTube or Vimeo. Video by Victor Grigas, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Pluto came into focus. A Shanghai skyscraper climbed into the sky. Tunisia’s civil society won the Nobel Peace Prize. A Pharaoh chased down the Triple Crown. Paris mourned.

Wikipedia editors recorded it all in 2015, a world of volunteers editing a year into history.

Today you can experience some of the wonder, pain, and triumph of 2015 in four minutes with #Edit2015, the Wikimedia Foundation’s second year-in-review video, replaying a year through the lens of history’s largest crowd-sourced movement.

A collaboration between the Wikimedia Foundation’s storyteller Victor Grigas and several volunteer editors, #Edit2015 celebrates the individuals all over the world who’ve invested thousands, if not millions, of hours in curating Wikimedia sites.

The year was scarred with tragedies. Along with attacks in Beirut and Paris, #Edit2015 shows glimpses of the European migrant crisis, the death of Freddie Gray, the Syrian Civil War, a terror attack on an airliner in the Sinai, and the Mina stampede at Mecca. Wikipedian Bassel Khartabil, imprisoned in Syria and possibly sentenced to death, is represented with his contributions to recording the ancient city of Palmyra in 3D for future generations.

Appropriately, Grigas included World War II images alongside tragic contemporary events because “the largest and deadliest human conflict that has ever happened was 70 years ago, so it was memorialized this year by China and Russia—they thought it was appropriate to remember.” The style of that scene was inspired by The Fifth Element, where a main character (Leeloo) researches ‘war’ on a future digital encyclopedia and sees a montage of war images. “I interpreted this scene as the main message of that film, to show what awful things we’re capable of and how we need to know that they exist so we can do something about it,” Grigas says.

#Edit2015’s jubilance shows in the sporting events of the year, like American Pharoah’s, Triple Crown, and the victors of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Tour de France, Monaco Grand Prix, and La Liga. And history repeated itself with the ongoing jinx of the Chicago Cubs, tarred by the Curse of the Billy Goat.

Fans looked ahead to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Nobel Prize laureates included Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet, and volunteer Wikipedia editors were on hand at the ceremony to document the recipients. The quartet now has an article in 45 languages. Earthlings gazed at a dwarf planet for the first time with the first-ever high-resolution photos of Pluto. Hundreds of thousands of readers were able to learn from the 5,700 word “featured” article, a status that is considered the best Wikipedia has to offer, and if they wanted to know more about the Solar System, they could turn to dozens of articles encompassed in the featured topic.

Wikimedia volunteers are represented in every frame of #Edit2015 through the articles and images presented, including the fruits of Wiki Loves Earth 2015, an international photo competition sponsored by the Wikimedia community to illustrate protected natural areas of the world. During 2015, more than 100,000 pictures were submitted by nearly 9,000 participants. Grigas notes that he had to include them because the images “were just stunning. I wanted to go print them into posters to hang up in my office, which you can legally do because they are all freely licensed. I actually know a photographer with a professional poster-size printer who did just that with images from Wikimedia Commons,” Wikipedia’s central media repository.

Wikipedians continue to build that vast collection of freely licensed images, and they climbed to the sky in a construction montage showing the Shanghai Tower reach its ultimate height of 632 meters (2,073 feet). “I love when you can animate something that was never intended for it,” Grigas says. “I put the photos in a sequence, timed it to the beat of the music, and this skyscraper sprouted up like a mushroom.”

Unlike some news media, Wikipedians take a people-powered, global view of the year that Grigas said was an honor to capture. “The montage of everything together expresses the international concept. I love seeing Georgian, Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic all together.”

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

You can view #Edit2015 on YouTube or Vimeo, or watch 2014’s year-in-review.

by Ed Erhart at December 23, 2015 06:29 PM

How the first scientific Wikimedia photo contest in Ukraine came together

Radio telescope RT-70.jpg
Picturing inside antenna mirror of one of the biggest radio telescopes in the world: Yevpatoria RT-70. Image by Володимир Власенко, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Alwisia lloydiae, one of three images to receive first place in the “Microscopy” category. Images by Dr. Dmytro Leontyev (Uk: Дмитро Леонтьєв), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

A wet and chilly month makes one want to curl up on a couch, bury oneself in a fluffy blanket, drink hot tea, and look at the falling golden leaves under dark and stormy clouds outside.

Intriguingly, “falling leaves” is how the term “apoptosis” is translated from ancient Greek. Apoptosis, also known as “programmed cell death”, describes how cells in a multicellular organism (e.g. human) can destroy themselves if enough damage is endured and there are little or no possibilities of repairs. Such a self-sacrificing mechanism allows the organism to survive, while the cell in question dies—not unlike how leaves fall off trees to minimize water loss by the tree and allowing it to survive throughout winter.

Reticularia olivacea, another one of the images that received first place in the “Microscopy” category. Images by Dr. Dmytro Leontyev (Uk: Дмитро Леонтьєв), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The European Scientific Photo Competition (ESPC) was held in order to entice scientists into editing and creating Wikipedia articles, the photo competition helps spread the idea that it’s actually possible to share one’s research achievements in peer-reviewed journals while also helping the world’s free encyclopedia obtain better illustrations.

ESPC has been held annually for the last three years, but this is the first time it expanded its scope beyond Estonia. All European countries could take part, and there were two rounds of winners—nationally and continentally. The competition took place in November, and the final awards will be handed out in the next two months.

Tubifera dudkae, the third winner in the “Microscopy” category. Images by Dr. Dmytro Leontyev (Uk: Дмитро Леонтьєв), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

In Ukraine, however, we moved up the timeline a month so our national winners could be honored on November 10, World Science Day. This ceremony was held at the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, and the winning images, reprinted here, are currently being exhibited.

You can see more images on Commons: all seventeen winners, the award ceremony, and the best 159 images—from single molecules seen with an scanning tunneling microscope to different cell lines and archaeological expeditions to astronomy images.

User:Helixitta, Wikimedia Ukraine

by Helixitta at December 23, 2015 07:06 AM

December 16, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Notice of appeal filed in Wikimedia v. NSA

The ACLU has filed a notice of appeal in Wikimedia v. NSA in the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, seen here. Photo by Acroterion, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Today, on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation and our eight co-plaintiffs, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a notice of appeal in Wikimedia v. NSA. We filed this suit in March, 2015 to challenge the United States’ National Security Agency’s Upstream mass surveillance practices, in order to protect the rights of our users around the world. You can read the full complaint here.

On October 23, 2015, Judge T.S. Ellis, III, ruled that the Wikimedia Foundation and our co-plaintiffs lack standing to bring this challenge. Today’s filing indicates that we intend to appeal that decision to the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The exact timetable of the appeal will be determined in the near future by the appeals court.

Our users’ rights to privacy and free expression are fundamental to the Wikimedia free knowledge movement. This lawsuit is an important vector by which we can defend those rights. We look forward to the coming appeal, and we will post additional updates as they develop.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Director*
Geoff Brigham, General Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

*Special thanks to all who have supported us in this effort, including the ACLU’s Patrick Toomey, Jameel Jaffer, Alex Abdo, and Ashley Gorski, along with the Wikimedia Foundation’s Aeryn Palmer and Jim Buatti.

by Michelle Paulson and Geoff Brigham at December 16, 2015 06:34 PM

December 15, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

MediaWiki 1.26 released

The latest version of MediaWiki is live. Photo by Zach Dischner, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The MediaWiki developer community has proudly released the latest version of the software that provides the backbone of Wikipedia. MediaWiki 1.26 was developed beginning in April and released on November 25. Alpha versions were deployed to Wikimedia wikis in weekly intervals during the development period.

The 1.26 release has a major focus on performance, with across the board improvements both frontend and backend. All JavaScript is now delivered to the client asynchronously, significantly improving the page load time. Due to performance issues in the old implementation, syntax highlighting support was completely overhauled using the Python “Pygments” library, and added support for several hundred new languages at the same time.

In an effort to clean up outdated and bad code, the “AuthManager” project to clean up and overhaul MediaWiki’s authentication layer put some groundwork in this release, mainly deprecating functionality that is planned for removal in the next release.

MediaWiki supports over 350 languages, and added support for four new languages in 1.26: American sign language, डोटेली/Doteli, لئری دوٙمینی / Southern Luri, and Livvinкarjala / Livvi-Karelian.

Several long-standing feature requests were also implemented, including the possibility to check actual watchers of a page and support for WebP image files. About 390 bugs have been fixed in this release, thanks to the code contributions of about 117 developers. All the details can be found in the release notes.

MediaWiki is the popular open source wiki platform that powers Wikipedia, hundreds of other Wikimedia wikis, and thousands of public and private sites out there. The core MediaWiki software, provides the basic functionality, which can be enhanced with extensions, gadgets, templates, and bots. Check the instructions to download MediaWiki, install or upgrade your instance.

MediaWiki is released every six months. MediaWiki 1.27 is expected to be released in May 2016, and will be a long-term support release. Wikimedia users are helping test through weekly development versions already. Contributors are welcome!

Kunal Mehta, Software engineer
Greg Grossmeier, Release Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

SyntaxHighlighting with Pygments.png
New Pygments syntax highlighting. Screenshot by Wikipedia contributors, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

by Kunal Mehta and Greg Grossmeier at December 15, 2015 06:23 PM

Community Digest—collaboration bears fruit in Quebec

A small church in Quebec, now available for free on Wikimedia Commons thanks to an innovative collaboration between Wikipedia, museums, and education. Photo by Champlain Marcil, public domain.

Wikimedia Canada, the Gatineau Center at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ Gatineau), and the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) are proud to announce a successful educational project in partnership with a cultural GLAM institution. In the middle of 2015, BAnQ Gatineau team uploaded part of the Champlain Marcil archive holdings to Wikimedia Commons. A few months later, UQO students edited Wikipedia, inserted Champlain Marcil photographs in their articles, and digitized archival documents during a visit to BAnQ Gatineau Preservation Centre.

First, the BAnQ Gatineau team went through 135,425 scanned files from the iconographic archival holdings of Champlain Marcil, a photojournalist for the daily Le Droit from 1947 to 1969. The BAnQ Gatineau team was led by Nathalie Gélinas (Coordinator archivist), with the support of Benoît Rochon (vice president of Wikimedia Canada).

Nearly 200 files, documenting the religious architectural heritage of the Outaouais region, were selected and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Second, students from the course “Wikis, pictures and free licenses” (fr), led by Professor Nathalie Casemajor from the Department of Social Sciences at UQO, worked on eighteen Wikipedia articles on municipalities of Outaouais. They placed images of Champlain Marcil in articles and developed content through a bibliographic research.

Nathalie Gélinas came in class to present the resources of the archive center, and students went to BAnQ Gatineau and digitalized documents in connection with the municipalities of the Outaouais region.

You can visit the Champlain Marcil project and see the uploaded images from BAnQ Gatineau.

Nathalie Casemajor, Wikimedia Canada and Université du Québec en Outaouais
Benoit Rochon, Wikimedia Canada

In brief

60 hour editathon: A straight 60 hours of editing with over 80 people has just concluded in Mexico City’s Museo Soumaya, where they uploaded documents from Mexico’s history to Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons.  Wikimedia Mexico’s Ivan Martinez told us that “we think this event is a testament to our still-living chapter after a Wikimania. One third of the participants were Wikimania volunteers so we are very happy about retention.” Tweets about the event used #50Años50Horas, and a previous 50 hour editathon was held at the museum last year.
Wikipedia Library signups in English, Finnish, Farsi: New signups for the Wikipedia Library, a Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) program that connects editors with the reliable sources they need to create content, have been announced.
Wikimania scholarships open: You may now apply for a full or partial scholarship to Wikimania 2016, the annual conference of the Wikimedia movement that will be held next June in Esino Lario, Italy. Partial scholarships are being brought back after a two-year hiatus.
Foundation news
Discovery team: The WMF’s Discovery department is planning on improving Wikimedia’s search function and adding OpenStreetMaps to the sites, among other initiatives. Do you have questions? Join their IRC office hour on December 17 at 19:00 UTC.
Gadgets 2.0: Wikimedia’s gadget function will be overhauled to make it “more powerful and user-friendly.” For more, see the November Community Tech update on the Wikimedia-l mailing list.
Ombudsman Commission: The Ombudsman Commission, the body charged with investigating potential violations of the Privacy Policy on any Wikimedia project, is looking for new members. Applicants are required to meet several qualifications; if interested, email pearley [at] wikimedia [dot] org.
Help define a new IdeaLab campaign: After the successful Inspire campaign earlier this year, the WMF’s Community Resources team has invited community members to generate ideas for future campaigns, which “generate novel proposals for improving and addressing community needs on the Wikimedia projects to which you contribute.”
State of the Commons: The 2015 State of the [Creative] Commons, the non-profit whose free licenses underpin the Wikimedia projects, has been published.
GLAM newsletter: The monthly GLAM Newsletter, looking back on November, has been published.
Arbitration Committee: The English Wikipedia’s Signpost has a rundown and analysis of the recent arbitration committee election. Nine individuals were elected by a record number of voters: “[one] consequence of surge in voter numbers was a reduction in raw proportional support for the most popular candidates. Last year, the top four candidates were supported by between 50% and 60.5% of voters; this year, the top four were supported by just over 40% of the electorate, and the other successful candidates ranged from the high 30s down to 27.6%.”
Beirut and Paris: How did Wikipedians respond to the reports of terror attacks in Beirut and Paris last month? The WMF’s Joe Sutherland writes that “Wikipedians are changing how breaking news is gathered and reported by curating news from around the world to produce a constantly updated, crowdsourced view.”


Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

by Nathalie Casemajor, Benoit Rochon and Ed Erhart at December 15, 2015 06:03 PM

December 14, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Highlights, November 2015

Wikimedia Highlights, Novemeber 2015 Lead Image.jpg

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

Artificial intelligence service gives Wikipedians ‘X-ray specs’ to see through bad edits

Revscore WP.jpg
Illustration by Mun May Tee, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The WMF, in collaboration with several volunteers and researchers, has released a new artificial intelligence service designed to improve the way editors maintain the quality of Wikipedia. This service empowers Wikipedia editors by helping them discover damaging edits and can be used to immediately “score” the quality of any Wikipedia article. We’ve made this artificial intelligence available as an open web service that anyone can use.

Wikipedia is edited about half a million times per day. In order to maintain the quality of Wikipedia, this firehose of new content needs to be constantly reviewed by Wikipedians. The Objective Revision Evaluation Service (ORES) functions like a pair of X-ray specs, the toy hyped in novelty shops and the back of comic books—but these specs actually work to highlight potentially damaging edits for editors. This allows editors to triage them from the torrent of new edits and review them with increased scrutiny.

By combining open data and open source machine learning algorithms, our goal is to make quality control in Wikipedia more transparent, auditable, and easy to experiment with.

Our hope is that ORES will enable critical advancements in how we do quality control—changes that will both make quality control work more efficient and make Wikipedia a more welcoming place for new editors. ORES brings automated edit and article quality classification to everyone via a set of open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The system works by training models against edit- and article-quality assessments made by Wikipedians and generating automated scores for every single edit and article.

We’ve been testing the service for a few months and more than a dozen editing tools and services are already using it. We’re beating the state of the art in the accuracy of our predictions. The service is online right now and it is ready for your experimentation.

Wikimedia’s Funds Dissemination Committee—how to fairly distribute money in a global movement

Funds Dissemination Committee November 2015 at Wikimedia Foundation Office.jpg
The FDC and supporting WMF staff. Photo by MGuss (WMF), freely licensed under CC0 1.0.

This week, the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) recommended the distribution of almost $3.8 million to 11 independent affiliate organisations around the world. This committee is composed of nine elected and appointed volunteers from countries around the world; each has been editing Wikimedia projects for over a decade, and this round of recommendations is the first of two they will conduct in the Annual Plan Grant (APG) 2015–16 process.

Applicant Amount requested Amount recommended Indicative recommendation
in USD (approx)
Change in allocation
from last year
Amical Wikimedia (Catalan language) EUR 68,000 EUR 68,000 $76,000 100.0% −17.2%
Wikimedia Argentina* USD 241,680 USD 232,500 $232,500 96.2% 9.7%
Wikimedia CH (Switzerland) CHF 315,000 CHF 294,000 $305,000 93.3% −16.0%
Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. (Germany) EUR 1,500,000 EUR 1,200,000 $1,346,000 80.0% 42.9%
Wikimedia Israel* NIS 834,000 NIS 834,000 $212,000 100.0% 8.3%
Wikimedia Nederland (Netherlands) EUR 340,000 EUR 340,000 $381,000 100.0% 11.8%
Wikimedia Serbia EUR 112,500 EUR 112,500 $126,000 100.0% 13.9%
Wikimedia Sverige (Sweden) SEK 2,616,000 SEK 2,616,000 $309,000 100.0% 2.3%
Wikimedia UK* (United Kingdom) GBP 310,000 GBP 277,300 $427,000 89.5% −11.7%
Wikimedia Ukraine USD 75,000 USD 75,000 $75,000 100.0% 82.2%
Wikimedia Österreich (Austria) EUR 250,000 EUR 250,000 $280,000 100.0% 9.6%
Total ~ USD 4,189,000 ~$3,770,000

Check out these new features and extensions kicked off at Google Summer of Code 2015

Operating a Computer Keyboard MOD 45158106.jpg
Image from the UK Ministry of Defence, freely licensed under OGL 1.0.

Google Summer of Code and Outreachy are two software development internship programs that Wikimedia participates in every year. For the last nine years, college students have applied to be a part of the coding summer, one of many outreach programs operated by the Wikimedia Foundation.

For the first time, all Wikimedia projects that passed the evaluation were immediately deployed in production or Wikimedia Labs. Here they are:

  • TranslateWiki is a popular translation platform used by many projects across Wikimedia and several times as many outside it. Originally developed single-handedly by Niklas Laxström, the platform has expanded significantly since its launch in 2006. This project aims to add a Search feature to the Translate extension.
  • Crosswatch is a cross-wiki watchlist for all Wikimedia wikis. The goal of the project is to help editors who are active in several wikis to monitor changes and generally to provide a better watchlist for all editors.
  • Wikivoyage has a special preference for showing page wide banners at the top of each of their articles to enhance their aesthetic appeal. An example of such a banner can be seen here. The project is all about addressing these issues and adding capabilities through a Mediawiki extension to take the banner experience to the next level.
  • LanguageTool is an extension for VisualEditor that enables language proofing support in about twenty languages.
  • Newsletter Extension for MediaWiki offers a catalog with all the newsletters available in a wiki farm, and the possibility to subscribe/unsubscribe and receive notifications without having to visit or be an active editor of any wiki.
  • ve-graph is a module within the Graph extension that aims to bring graph editing tools to VisualEditor in order to bridge the gap between editors and Vega, the visualization engine powering graphs in MediaWiki pages.

In brief

Ukrainian Wikipedia reaches 600,000 articles: With Окисно-відновні індикатори (Redox indicators), substances that are used in chemistry to determine the equivalence point of an redox reaction, the Ukrainian-language Wikipedia reached a milestone.
Wikimedia Foundation begins annual year-end contribution campaign: On December 1, the WMF began its annual fundraiser drive on the English Wikipedia to support Wikipedia and the various sister projects. It aims to raise US$25 million.
Wikipedia Town and Wikipedia ARTS in Kyoto: Wikipedia Town helps people find local information and edit Wikipedia articles—people who used to be merely readers of Wikipedia. Every one of them enjoys working in their own roles: people enjoy working on the same articles as a team, helping each other. Some may not be good at using computers, but other participants can jump in to help uploading their photographs taken during the trail to Wikimedia Commons.

Andrew Sherman
Digital Communications Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

Photo montage credits: “Operating_a_Computer_Keyboard_MOD_45158106.jpg” from the UK Ministry of Defence, freely licensed under OGL 1.0.; “Funds Dissemination Committee November 2015 at Wikimedia Foundation Office.jpg” by MGuss (WMF), freely licensed under CC0 1.0; “Revscore_WP.jpg” by Mun May Tee, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.; Collage by Andrew Sherman.

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

by Andrew Sherman at December 14, 2015 11:31 PM

Maithili Wikipedia turns one year old

Happy first birthday, Maithili Wikipedia. Image from Bijay chaurasia, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Maithili Wikipedia completed its first year on 6 November 2015. To celebrate, Wikimedians of Nepal and Rajbiraj Wikimedia Community team members have organized an event to facilitate the winners of first Maithili editathon and the anniversary celebration. Community members have organized a 45-day-long editathon to expand and create new articles on Maithili Wikipedia, which started on 1 October and lasted to 19 November. During the online edit-a-thon, 999 articles were created and modified—out of a total of 1,557 articles on the site.

Seven Maithili Wikipedians took part on the edit-a-thon competition, whose main purpose was to grow participation among Maithili speakers and editors. After the end of the competition Wikimedians of Nepal and Rajbiraj Wikimedia Community members organized an event to reward the winner of the competition and commemorate the anniversary.

The event and prize distribution was organized at Neta Chowk, Rajbiraj. In the programme, Maithili Wikimedians, Maithili linguists, and Maithili journalists spoke about the need for a Maithili Wikipedia and its importance. The winners of the edit-a-thon are Tulsi Bhagat (1st), Nilam Karn (2nd), and Bijay Chaurasia (3rd) and received awards from the Maithili Sahitya Parishad President Subha Chandra Jha. During the programme, the participants discussed:

  1. To expand the articles base.
  2. To improve the quality of the articles.
  3. To upload images showcasing Maithili culture and heritage.
  4. To Plan editathons and other outreach events.
  5. To extend support to Maithili as well as Wikipedias in other languages of Nepal.

The event ended with an informal session in which each of the participants was part of a ceremonial cake party. The event was reported in the Rajbiraj Today, News Today and Aajko Waatawaran newspapers of Nepal as well as the online Saptari Jagaran.

Biplab Anand and Tulsi Bhagat, Wikimedians of Nepal

by Biplab Anand and Tulsi Bhagat at December 14, 2015 11:30 PM

Global milestones for November

Persoonia terminalis ssp terminalis, Australian National Botanic Garden, Canberra, ACT, 04-02-12 (6805661222).jpg
The English Wikipedia’s five millionth article was reached this month, covering a rare Australian shrub. Photo by Russell Cumming, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The English Wikipedia this month became the first language edition of Wikipedia to break the five-million article barrier, almost three and a half years after reaching four million. Persoonia terminalis, a rare shrub native to some parts of eastern Australia declared as such by botanists in 1991, took the accolade following a quite intense period of deliberation among volunteers.

With the publication of an article about redox indictors on November 13, the Ukrainian Wikipedia reached its 600,000th article. It remains the third-largest Slavic-language Wikipedia by quantity, only behind the Russian and Polish projects. “Congratulations, colleagues,” wrote Alex Kushnir of the article, created by chemist Олег.Н, who has been an editor of the project for almost four years.

It was also a good month, statistically, for the English Wikipedia—it surpassed 800 million total page edits, or just over 100 per minute since the site’s launch in 2001. The Arabic Wikipedia hit 20 million edits this month, as Polish Wikisource reached its first million.

Several projects hit new userbase milestones as well. Both the Azerbaijani and Bengali Wikipedias surpassed 100,000 registered users, while Wikimedia’s Meta-Wiki—a tool for cross-project collaboration and for the discussion of the projects themselves—now has 10 million users registered on the site. It is by far the largest project outside of the English Wikipedia in terms of userbase.

Other milestones

November 1

Joe Sutherland

Communications intern
Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at December 14, 2015 11:30 PM

December 11, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

See the 14 gorgeous winning photographs from Wiki Loves Monuments

Vakil mosque Panorama.jpg
10th place: Vakil mosque Panorama by Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Today, the winners of Wiki Loves Monuments 2015 were revealed by the contest’s international jury. Wiki Loves Monuments is an international photo competition held each September; it aims to increase knowledge about the world’s cultural heritage sites, such as this year’s winners: Westerheversand Lighthouse, Sacra di San Michele, Hanover’s New Town Hall, and more. The contest has seen 231,431 files uploaded by 6,618 users from 33 countries; 41 users uploaded over a thousand each, and over ten thousand files were added from the countries of Ukraine, Germany, Armenia, Russia, Italy, and France. The international jury’s final report will be issued in the coming weeks; look for coverage in an upcoming edition of the blog’s community digest.

See the stunning 14 winners below.

Leuchtturm in Westerheversand.jpg
1st place: Leuchtturm in Westerheversand by Phantom3Pix, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

La Sacra ammantata dalla neve.jpg
2nd place: La Sacra ammantata dalla neve by Elio Pallard, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Neues Rathaus Hannover, Innenansicht.jpg
3rd place: Neues Rathaus Hannover, Innenansicht by Raycer, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Olympiastadion Berlin Innenansicht.jpg
4th place: Olympiastadion Berlin Innenansicht by Jan Künzel, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

5th place: เศียรพระพุทธรูปในรากโพธิ์ by Siripatwongpin, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Château de Chambord - 19-08-2015 - Arnaud Scherer.jpg
6th place: Château de Chambord – 19-08-2015 – Arnaud Scherer by Arnaud Scherer, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Opernpassage Panorama.jpg
7th place: Opernpassage Panorama by Thomas Ledl, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Соловецкий монастырь.jpg
8th place: Соловецкий монастырь by Алексей Задонский, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Wat phra mahathat woramahawihan nakhon si thammarat.jpg
9th place: Wat phra mahathat woramahawihan nakhon si thammarat by Kosin Sukhum, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

مسجد الرفاعى والسلطان حسن ومدفع رمضان بقلعه صلاح الدين.jpg
11th place: مسجد الرفاعى والسلطان حسن ومدفع رمضان بقلعه صلاح الدين by Mohamed kamal 1984, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Museu da inconfidencia.JPG
12th place: Museu da inconfidencia by Ricardotakamura, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Biserica Calvaria de la Cluj-Mănăștur, vedere sud-vestică, 2014.JPG
13th place: Biserica Calvaria de la Cluj-Mănăștur, vedere sud-vestică, 2014 by Pan Ioan, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

42 Apollo in bosquet Fächer, gardens of Schönbrunn 03.jpg
14th place: 42 Apollo in bosquet Fächer, gardens of Schönbrunn 03 by Herzi Pinki, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.


Andrew Sherman
Digital Communications Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at December 11, 2015 04:22 PM

Creative Commons: Preserving culture, 1 billion items at a time

Wiki Loves Monuments 2015’s winner: an aerial photograph of a lighthouse in Germany. It’s available online, free for anyone to use, thanks to an open access Creative Commons license. Photo by Phantom3Pix, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The golden ceiling of a mosque in Iran, an orange and white lighthouse in Germany, the red roof of a Buddhist temple in Thailand. This year’s Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest winners glow with the colorful cultural heritage of the world. And the over 230,000 entries poured into Wikimedia projects with the help of Creative Commons licenses.

As photographers all over the world sent their photos into the contest, they did so with licenses from Creative Commons, the nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. “Content no longer lives in silos,” says Ryan Merkley, chief executive of Creative Commons. “The ability to collaborate and share has revolutionized the world of free information.”

Founded in 2001, Creative Commons is today releasing its 2015 State of the Commons report, which shows Creative Commons licensed works have tripled in the last five years to more than 1 billion. By providing licenses for open works of education, data, science, research, music, photography and public policy, the global non-profit’s powerful affiliate network of researchers, activists, legal, education and policy advocates in more than 85 countries seeks to “drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.”

Images can be culturally important and vulnerable. Photo by Олег Сыромятниковens, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Some 140 million works on Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, and related projects are released under Creative Commons licenses. Worldwide, CC-licensed works were viewed online 136 billion times this year in 34 languages.

In a case such as Wiki Loves Monuments, images are not only beautiful, but culturally important—and vulnerable. A 2011 Wiki Loves Monuments entry featured the Trinity Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia in flames, following a construction accident. Organizers said this underscored the importance of preserving the architectural marvels. “Our beloved cultural heritage is not forever,” says Lodewijk Gelauff, an organizer of Wiki Loves Monuments.

“Wikipedia relies on Creative Commons to make vast amounts of material available for the world to discover,” says Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Freely licensed images and works of the world illustrate and enrich the articles Wikimedia’s volunteer editors write each day, making it possible for people everywhere to share in knowledge.”

The 1 billion CC-licensed works online include nearly 391 million images, 47 million documents, 18 million videos, and 4 million audio tracks. In addition to importance of these images and media to the Wikimedia projects, they feature on YouTube, Flickr, the Internet Archive, and many other platforms.

Read Creative Commons’ 2015 State of the Commons, published today.

Jeff Elder, Digital Communications Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

by Jeff Elder at December 11, 2015 04:22 PM

December 10, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Documenting Tunis for future generations

Tunis’ historic medina is the subject of a new Wikimedia project. Photo from the Library of Congress, public domain.

Tunis: today, it’s the capital and most-populated city in the country of Tunisia. In ancient times, it was the seat of Carthage, the grand empire destroyed by Rome in the Punic Wars. In medieval times, it was a major and militarily strategic city of several Arab empires.

It was during the latter’s time that the Tunis’ medina—a walled center area with narrow, sometimes maze-life streets common in many North African cities—was constructed. The MedinaPedia concept aims to host workshops to improve all aspects of Wikimedia’s coverage on Tunis’ medina, including Wikipedia articles, Wikimedia Commons images, or Wikidata entries.

A series of workshops is taking place in the Tunisian Association of the Preservation of the Medina – Tunis (ASM Tunis) headquarters. Volunteers will be gathered on a monthly basis and work in their spare time on four themes: madressas (schools), souks (markets), diar (palaces), and mosques/mausoleums. After the end of the project, which will last one year, we will place ceramic QRpedia codes in front of 145 selected monuments—all of which are notable enough to have dedicated Wikipedia articles, although it is likely that our list is incomplete and there are more out there.

The project started when I met Yamen Bousrih, a very motivated Wikipedian and Senior Business Analyst who helped me engage with the Wikimedia movement. MedinaPedia was born when Yamen pointed out the common interests between my NGO Carthagina, his association CLibre, and Wikipedia. The project was promoted first in the Tunisian stall during Wikimania 2014 in London.

Still, progress was slow as we concentrated on what we thought were more important initiatives, like Wiki Loves Monuments,  Wiki Loves Africa, WikiArabia, and Software Freedom Day. The project took off after we were put in touch with ASM Tunis; we were able to sign a memorandum of understanding that granted us free access to their extensive library collections.

In August 2015, we put out a call for volunteers to begin work on documenting Tunis’ historic medina for future generations—something we called “MedinaPedia.” We recieved awesome statements where volunteers shared their vision of a better-preserved heritage; we accepted a manageable thirty of them. These were mainly Tunisian students from around the country, but also included foreigners—for instance, we have a Japanese student who speaks fluent Arabic.

These students will take part in a series of twelve monthly Wikipedia workshops where they will create and expand Wikimedia’s knowledge relating to monuments residing in the medina of Tunis, focusing on four themes: madressas (schools), souks (markets), diar (palaces), and mosques/mausoleums. The students are not limited to Wikipedia articles; we are encouraging them to contribute to other Wikimedia projects like Wikimedia Commons or Wikidata. At the end of the project, we will produce ceramic QRpedia codes in front of the selected monuments.

At least three trainers from Wikimedia TN User Group, the de facto Wikimedia affiliate in the country, will be in attendance at the workshops, along with an unknown number of people from the global community.[1] They will take place at ASM Tunis’ headquarters, and at least one staff member will attend to help expand the acquired knowledge to the rest of the association.

We are hopeful that the experience we gain from these workshops can be duplicated in other medinas from around the world.

Emna Mizouni, President of Carthagina Organisation, member of Wikimedia TN User Group

  1. 1. We would like to thank the Wikimedia Foundation’s Asaf Bartov and their Education Program’s Samir Elsharbaty and Tighe Flanagan for their assistance with this.

by Emna Mizouni at December 10, 2015 11:18 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Upozorňujeme na osud syrského wikipedisty a zastánce svobodné tvorby Bassela Khartabila


Fotografie Bassela Khartabila (autor: Joi Ito, CC-BY 2.0)

Dnešní Den lidských práv s Wikipedií a jejími sesterskými projekty souvisí spíš zprostředkovaně. Náš cíl je prosazovat zejména právo každého na svobodný přístup k informacím a na vzdělání. Ale zrovna v této době se nás dotýká případ wikipedisty, kterého práva byla omezena mnohem radikálněji, a podle nedávných informací dokonce hrozí, že může být popraven.

Bassel Khartabil se narodil před 34 lety v Damašku a stal se programátorem. Zapojil se i do editování Wikipedie, ale důležitější roli sehrál ve sféře open source softwaru a svobodné kultury obecně. Koordinoval například úpravu svobodných licencí Creative Commons pro celý arabský svět. V poslední době vytvořil i pozoruhodný projekt trojrozměrného modelování historických památek v historickém městě Palmýra. Ano, v té Palmýře, kterou od května okupuje Islámský stát; a také těch památek, které Islámský stát v Palmýře záměrně vyraboval a zničil.

I sám Khartabil se už ale mezitím stal obětí syrského konfliktu. 15. března 2012, v den jednoletého výročí povstání proti syrskému režimu byl při raziích zadržen a od té doby je vězněn. Po měsíce byl držen bez obvinění, dlouhou dobu na samotce a podroben týrání. Až v prosinci 2012 byl obviněn z ohrožení státní bezpečnosti a další roky trávil čas v nelidských podmínkách syrských vězení. V říjnu letošního roku byl znovu přemístěn na neznámé místo a v listopadu se objevily nepotvrzené zprávy, že ho vojenský soud mohl v tajnosti odsoudit k trestu smrti.

Khartabilovu případu se věnovaly nejvýznamnější lidskoprávní organizace jako Amnesty International nebo Human Rights Watch. Podporu mu vyjádřily a o jeho propuštění se zasazovaly nadace Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Mozilla a další organizace. Jeho osud se projednával i na půdě Evropského parlamentu, ale byl brzy zastíněn jinými politickými problémy. I když syrská vláda ke kampani #FREEBASSEL zůstala hluchá, ta přesto nevyhasla a dále živí naděje jeho příbuzných i jeho přátel, že se znovu setkají a že Bassel bude moct dál pracovat na zpřístupňování nenahraditelných znalostí o historii Sýrie stejně jako těch úplně nejobyčejnějších informací, jak si kdo bude svobodně přát.

Bassel Khartabil není jistě jediná podobná oběť syrského konfliktu a dost možná není ani jediný pronásledovaný wikipedista na celém světě. Proto nám ale nemůže být právě dnes jeho osud lhostejný. V Den lidských práv se připojuje i Wikimedia Česká republika se svým vyjádřením podpory a se svou výzvou #FREEBASSEL. Obracíme se na české politiky a diplomaty, aby znovu oživili zájem evropských a mezinárodních institucí o osudy Bassela Khartabila. Obracíme se na média, aby zveřejnila jeho příběh. Obracíme se i na Vás, sdílejte informace o Basselu Khartabilovi a upozorňujte na něj odkazem na náš blog, hashtagem #FREEBASSEL, odkazem na web freebassel.org a podobně.


Odkazy s podrobnějšími informacemi:

by Miroslav Langer at December 10, 2015 10:26 AM

December 08, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Of Great Pyramids and agile software development: how and why we developed Phragile

Great Pyramid of Giza edge.jpg
Average core blocks of the Great Pyramid weigh about 1.5 tons each, and the granite blocks used to roof the burial chambers are estimated to weigh up to 80 tons each. Photo by Mgiganteus1, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Phragile is a tool that generates burn down charts, burn up charts and sprint oberviews for the Phabricator boards of agile software projects. It supports scrum masters, product managers, and agile software development teams in their daily work.

Below, we unpack and explain those terms, along with showing why Wikimedia Deutschland (Germany) worked together with the Wikimedia Foundation to develop the tool.

Once upon a time in Ancient Egypt

A long time ago, writing software was not unlike building a pyramid in Ancient Egypt. There was a plan and a monumental goal and it was carried out to the end, never taking a detour from what was planned.

But as software has taken a greater and greater importance in everyday life, it became apparent that software projects should not be treated like pyramids. Until you start building, sometimes you don’t understand that what you really want is not a pyramid but rather something else. Sometimes there are new requirements from those who actually commissioned the building that make you refocus. For today’s challenges in software development, teams of experts that actively collaborate are much more likely to produce meaningful results than people being commanded to carry out a grand plan as an unskilled worker. And last, not least, wouldn’t it be nice to have a report on the tasks for this week instead hoping that after years of hard labor the pyramid will finally come together?

In software development, we call methods that deal with collaboration in a potentially rapidly changing world agile. Agile software development is a group of software development methods in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

Stories, Scrum, and Burndown Charts

Phragile showing a burnup chart of a sprint. Screenshot by Jens Ohlig (WMDE), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

When we started to develop Wikidata at Wikimedia Deutschland in Berlin in April 2012, it was clear from the very beginning that we had to follow these agile principles and prepared a scrum board in our office. A scrum board is a to-do list that covers your wall with tasks that can be put on it with post-it stickers. Very much like in the game of rugby, scrum is when the players (or software developers) pack closely together with their heads down and attempt to gain possession of the ball—or in our case, the goals of the software project.

Development in scrum style is usually done in fixed time-frames of one or two weeks to stay focused on feasible tasks. Such a time-frame is called a sprint. Doing everything the wiki way, we maintained stories and epics in a wiki. Stories and epics are an important part of agile development: A story describes a change for the better in the software from the perspective of a user (“As a Wikidata editor, I want to do this in order to do that“) and many stories make up an epic with a larger theme, such as a user interface overhaul. Bugs and tasks were maintained in Bugzilla. That was not optimal, so we looked for alternatives to better manage our agile processes.

The one major thing we were missing were burndown and burnup charts for the sprint. As a sprint progresses, tasks get finished by the developers. As tasks and stories usually have points—according to how difficult they are—a sprint may start with 100 points and by Wednesday 50 of them are already finished. A burndown chart shows how these points “burn down” during the sprint as a graph. This is both a motivation for the team and a great tool to see how fast you go in solving problems in the sprint. Sometimes you may also want a different visualization of where you are in the sprint: Instead of showing a downwards vertical line approaching zero, things may become clearer by showing an upwards vertical line that approaches the total number of points in the sprint. Such a graph is appropriately called a burnup chart.

That’s how we discovered Scrumbugz and, after some struggles with the confusing setup, started using it for burndown charts and reports. When the Wikimedia Foundation replaced Bugzilla with Phabricator Maniphest in late 2014, we needed to think again about how we could best visualize our sprints and how to automatically generate burndown charts from the sprint boards in Phabricator.

That’s how Phragile got started.

Enter Phragile

Phragile’s main goal is to add a visualization and aggregation layer on top of Phabricator. It dynamically generates sprint overviews including burnup, burndown and status distribution charts for Phabricator projects.

Create a new sprint directly on Phragile. Screenshot by Jens Ohlig (WMDE), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Phragile was initially developed by Jakob Warkotsch as a bachelor thesis project at Freie Universität Berlin in cooperation with the software engineering department of Wikimedia Deutschland. During the initial development phase, Jakob was advised by Abraham Taherivand (Head of Software Engineering) and Tobias Gritschacher (Scrum Master). Later the project was taken over by a software development team at Wikimedia Deutschland. After the demo of the first working prototype in March 2015 the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland worked together on a shared vision of Phragile and came up with a roadmap of features that would fulfill the additional requirements of the WMF. A lot of valuable feedback was gathered during the MediaWiki Hackathon in Lyon in May which allowed both parties to sit together in person to discuss and hack on new Phragile features. The collaboration resulted in several great additions like burnup charts, chart data export, automatic snapshots of chart data and automated deployments on Wikimedia Labs.

Connect Phragile with a Phabricator project. Screenshot by Jens Ohlig (WMDE), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Currently Phragile is deployed on Wikimedia Labs and is used by the product management and the Scrum Master of Wikimedia Deutschland in several software projects such as Wikidata and by the team that works on the technical wishes list. The Wikimedia Foundation requested to enable several projects on Phragile such as Wikipedia-iOS-App or WikidataQueryService.

Phragile is under active development and will further evolve over the next year. One big upcoming feature would be to support and visualize user stories. An overview of Phragile’s currently supported features can be found on GitHub and a roadmap of upcoming features is available on Phabricator.

With Phragile, we have successfully developed a tool to make our software development more agile. It is our hope that teams across the Wikimedia movement will make use of it as we never intended it to be just used as an in-house tool for our specific needs. After all, developing software in a way that is less like building a monumental pyramid and more agile as it is necessary today is something that connects coders all across technical contributors to Wikimedia projects.

Tobias Gritschacher (WMDE), Jakob Warkotsch (WMDE), Jens Ohlig (WMDE)
Wikimedia Deutschland

by Tobias Gritschacher, Jakob Warkotsch and Jens Ohlig at December 08, 2015 11:47 PM

10 stunning photos from Ukraine’s Wiki Loves Monuments

Kamianiec Podilsky Stary Zamek DSC 0829 68-104-9007.jpg
1st place: Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Khmelnytskyi Oblast, by Serge Krynytsia, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

In the midst of long-term unrest, Ukrainian Wikimedians took part in Wiki Loves Monuments, a worldwide photo competition that aims to add to the world’s coverage of cultural heritage monuments

The 232 Ukrainian participants uploaded more than 41,000 images—the most of any participating country—of about 14,000 monuments. 3,334 of these were being shot for the first time.

The award ceremony was held on November 21 in the museum of the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, a newly minted UNESCO World Heritage Site. The organizers recognized the best ten photos, seen below; the best picture from each oblast (region, or province); and the individuals with the largest number of monuments captured. An exhibition of the top photos was held in the Great Belfrey.

For more information, please see Wikimedia Ukraine’s blog post (Google Translate). For other country-wide winners, see our posts on Germany (English, German), Nepal, and Pakistan.

Німецький Народний дім.jpg
2nd place: 180°-panorama of German House, Chernivtsi, by Maksym Prysiazhniuk, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Комплекс Успенського печерного монастиря.jpg
3rd place: Bakhchysarai Cave Monastery, Bakhchysarai, Crimea, by Maksym Prysiazhniuk, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

4th place: Halych Castle, Halych, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, by Kateryna Baiduzha, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

5th place: Odesa Opera Theatre, Odesa, by Kostiantyn Brizhnichenko, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

6th place: Holy Mountains Monastery, Sviatohirsk, Donetsk Oblast, by Kostiantyn Brizhnichenko, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Мереживо Пассажу.jpg
7th place: Passage, Odesa, by Kateryna Krasnytska, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Замок "Ласточкино гнездо", Ялта, АР Крым.jpg
8th place: Swallow Nest Castle, Haspra, Crimea, by Vitalii Bashkatov, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Розпис куполу церкви Трьох святителів.jpg
9th place: Ceil of Three Saints Church, Chernivtsi, by Ihor Kunytskyi, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Khotin fortress - view from hill.jpg
10th place: Khotyn Fortress, Khotyn, Chernivtsi Oblast, by Serhii Kurlia, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Vira Motorko
Wikimedia Ukraine
Wiki Loves Monuments 2015 in Ukraine organizing team

by Vira Motorko at December 08, 2015 08:11 AM

Working together on the problem of online harassment in Wikimedia communities

Illustration by Heinrich Vogeler, public domain.
Illustration by Heinrich Vogeler, public domain.

Online harassment and behavioral issues have long been an area of serious concern for the Wikimedia Foundation and particularly for the Community Advocacy team. A major focus of our department is the protection of our users and others impacted by our sites, so we spend a large amount of time thinking about how to support our community in creating safe and inclusive environments.

As our team has been gearing up for several months towards major community conversations and a wide-ranging survey on the issue, a large part of our work has been focused on learning more about online harassment and its solutions.  We’re now conducting a first community-wide harassment consultation that already has nineteen proposals (as of publishing time).

In early July 2015, Patrick had the unique opportunity to join a workgroup at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, focused on misogyny on the internet. Patrick attended this as a representative of the Community Advocacy team; he was invited to discuss how the phenomenon has affected the Wikimedia sites and to share what we have learned about potential approaches to the problem.

The Berkman workshop included a diverse collection of academics, activists, internet experts, and website representatives. Its primary focus was on collective, community-based approaches to a very real and pervasive problem: the treatment of women in online spaces. Victims of abuse had the opportunity to share their experiences, and activists highlighted their challenges in pushing for change. Other topics of the discussions Patrick joined included technical solutions, free-speech concerns, “counterspeech,” legislation, ally training, and techniques used to combat organised harassment campaigns.

From these conversations, it became clear that the internet community needs to stop facing these problems alone or in small groups, and instead use our shared knowledge to collaborate on new approaches.

Patrick was lucky enough to connect with a group of researchers who are trying to collate and summarize the large, cross-discipline body of online harassment research into a more public-friendly literature review. This work in progress can be found on Meta, Wikimedia’s coordination wiki. One of the biggest roadblocks often encountered by people who experience online harassment is that the problem is belittled or denied by commenters. Access to summarized research equips victims with knowledge that will help them cope with the attacks they are suffering and educate those who are sceptical of the gravity of this issue. Too often, people feel alone in having been harassed, or are given well-meaning advice to “just ignore the trolls.” Neither the victims of harassment nor their supporters may be aware of the emerging support groups and platforms for people who experience online harassment. Access to research on internet harassment will let those helping to support victims, as well as those communities in which people are being victimized, approach the problem effectively and construct solutions for their communities.

Patrick has been able to bring his discussions at the Berkman workshop to our collaboration with a group of volunteers from across the Wikimedia projects, exploring new solutions and ideas to address harassment on the sites. This group has already started important conversations within our community. At WikiConference USA earlier this month, Community Advocacy worked with Wikimedia DC and dedicated volunteers to bring in widely respected legal scholar Danielle Citron (see her speech on YouTube), and started dialogue with elected US officials on changes to legislation and law enforcement approaches to online harassment.

This fall, the Community Advocacy team will gather focused data on harassment-related issues experienced on the projects. The team ran a survey, translated into 16 languages, to learn about the ways contributors have experienced harassment and difficult engagements with other users. We are following this survey with an open discussion about these issues with our community in the form of an online consultation.

We hope that this work will lead towards a better understanding of how misanthropy in all its forms—misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and the many other types of hatred some humans harbor for others—manifests in our movement, and how it can be countered.

This problem is not something the Wikimedia movement can fight on its own, though we are very lucky to have a community of dedicated volunteers who care deeply about this issue. Together they are leading efforts to address and reform our culture, but the problem of internet harassment is not limited to our sites and cannot be solved without changes in the world around us.

The Internet community is finally starting to come together in larger conversations, and public recognition of the issue is growing. Now is the time to put all we can into solving this shared problem.  

Patrick Earley, Community Advocate
Maggie Dennis, Director of Community Advocacy
Wikimedia Foundation

by Patrick Earley and Maggie Dennis at December 08, 2015 08:10 AM

Wikimedia Foundation to begin annual year-end contribution campaign

The Wikimedia Foundation relies on small donors to support a global slate of programs. Photo by NASA, public domain.

Today, Giving Tuesday, the Wikimedia Foundation kicks off its annual contribution campaign on the English Wikipedia to support Wikipedia and its sister projects. Wikipedia is supported predominantly by small individual donations averaging $15. Ahead of Wikipedia’s 15th anniversary, we are asking readers who value Wikipedia to help keep it growing for years to come.

Wikipedia launched on January 15, 2001 with a bold vision: to create a world in which every person could freely access the sum of all knowledge. Written entirely by volunteers, Wikipedia has since grown to be one of the most popular websites in the world. It offers more than 35 million articles across nearly 300 languages, and its articles are viewed each month more than 15 billion times. Together with its sister projects like Wikimedia Commons, which includes more than 29 million free images, videos, and audio files, Wikipedia helps people everywhere discover and understand the world around them.

For nearly 15 years, people have experienced the joy of knowledge through Wikipedia and its sister projects. Here are just a few recent examples:

  • Volunteer contributor and naturalist Jeevan Jose from Kerala, India helped identify a new species of crane fly with his freely licensed images on Wikimedia Commons.
  • Inventor Jack Andraka used Wikipedia’s science articles to develop a prototype for a potential breakthrough method of cancer screening before his 17th birthday.
  • Emily Temple-Wood has been editing Wikipedia since she was 12. A budding scientist herself, she started WikiProject Women Scientists—estimated to have doubled coverage of women scientists on English Wikipedia.
  • Computer science graduate student Owen Cornec created WikiGalaxy, a 3D visualization that turns Wikipedia into a galactic network of knowledge.
  • Volunteer editor Lourdes Cardenal, at the age of 75, is the longest-running active editor on Spanish Wikipedia and a mentor to Wikipedians around the world.
  • The Goodall family from Tierra del Fuego sailed the Pacific Ocean for a year, using Wikipedia to discover the world—from classification systems to civilizations.

Small donations allow the Wikimedia Foundation to keep Wikipedia and the other websites fast, secure, and available, putting this knowledge in the hands of people around the world for free. These contributions not only help maintain critical systems, but enable improvements in technology to keep Wikipedia relevant and easy to use.

The Foundation also uses donations to support the work of volunteer editors who write and maintain Wikipedia. We offer resources to people and organizations with great ideas that support the Wikimedia mission. We defend editors when they are threatened. We stand against censorship, and support open source, open licenses, and open access. We have programs that make Wikipedia freely available for people with limited access to expensive mobile data plans, believing they should have the same, unrestricted access to Wikipedia that others have enjoyed over the last 15 years. Donor contributions support these efforts.

As with previous campaigns, this year the Wikimedia Foundation will use a variety of banner formats to reach the movement’s diverse global audience. This year, the Wikimedia Foundation aims to raise $25 million in December through the annual campaign on the English Wikipedia. The remainder of the Wikimedia Foundation’s funding comes from individuals gifts given outside the year-end campaign, and from a handful of foundation grants.

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

Lisa Gruwell, Chief Advancement Officer
Megan Hernandez, Director of Online Fundraising
Wikimedia Foundation

by Lisa Gruwell and Megan Hernandez at December 08, 2015 08:10 AM

December 07, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Community Digest—when a province mobilizes for Wikipedia

Wikimisiones embajadores wikipedistas 2015.jpg
Wikimisiones ambassadors. Photo by Melina Masnatta (WMAR), freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

In 1615, a Roman Catholic missionary, Father Roque González de Santa Cruz, founded a settlement on what Argentines know today as the city of Posadas. In 1884, Posadas became the capital of Misiones, a political peninsula bordered by Paraguay on one and Brazil on two sides. Four hundred years later, over one thousand high school students from over 200 schools around the province took part in “Wikimisiones” Wikipedia edit-a-thons to commemorate this history, contributing to 40 articles and adding many images.

Today, Misiones is not one of Argentina’s most prosperous regions, and its general level of Internet connectivity is mediocre. Still, it boasts an impressive level of cultural diversity between the indigenous Guaraní people; Polish, Swedish, and German immigrants, among others; and its location on Argentina’s northern frontier with two international borders. Melina Masnatta, the Education Manager for Wikimedia Argentina, notes that these qualities make Misiones “a very rich culture in terms of Wikipedia purposes, needs, and content.” On connectivity, the federal government has mandated the use of technology in the classroom—a policy aimed at lessening educational opportunity gaps in the nation and pushing the Internet into the top priority of school administrators—but in our case, it did not always work as expected. This shortcoming led us to train and conduct virtual and in-site meetings in advance. These first meetings were key in building a community of Wikiambassadors, who worked offline on their articles a month before the event.

Using the unique quadricentennial anniversary, Wikimedia Argentina organized Wikipedia trainings and edit-a-thons around the country for high school students so that could add to the Spanish Wikipedia’s coverage about the province they all live in. Due to Internet issues, many of these were completed offline. The final event which started with a panel between the WMAR´s team and the local education coordinator Flavia Morales, was a two day conference in Posadas—a special event, given that many of the students had never seen the capital before and traveled through the night to be there. Students rotated between “Scanpedia,” a media digitization station that taught students about the Wikimedia Commons and allowed them to upload historical documents and images, and a Wikipedia station where they were able to upload their own work. They posted on social media using the hashtag #Wikimisiones.

Also present at the conference was Leandro Kibisz, who was born and began editing Wikipedia in Misiones. He attended the conference in an effort to inspire the young students, saying (edited for clarity):

“It was a great joy to have the chance to be part of Wikimisiones. It was an idea that I had in mind many years ago, and it’s now finally come. I started editing Wikipedia ten years ago by adding content about Misiones, and it feels great to know that I helped transfer those skills and that experience to the thousands of young people who attended the event. To see involved kids from cities like Bernardo de Irigoyen or San Pedro—populations that are usually behind in technological access—fills me with emotion and makes me believe that we are closer to Wikipedia’s utopian ideals: ‘Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.’ Thanks to this event, our encyclopedia is nurturing useful information, and the people that were once just readers will now be able to be active editors.”

According to Masnatta, they tried “to empower the young students as protagonists and make them into digital citizens using technology … to spread their local history.” With this in mind, they kept long-term goals in mind while planning this conference by recruiting active Wikipedians from our community to become volunteers or mentors that will help students with their edit-a-thons. Wikimisiones has also gained a place in a provincial educational online portal. The chapter plans to use the lessons learned from this experience in planning future edit-a-thons in the rural areas outside of the Buenos Aires province.

Melina Masnatta, Education Manager, Wikimedia Argentina
Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

In brief

Revscore WP.jpg
Illustration by Mun May Tee, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

New artificial intelligence service: Aaron Halfaker of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has developed “ORES,” which will increase the accuracy of Wikipedia’s automated anti-vandal tools. According to the Wikimedia Blog announcement, “This service empowers Wikipedia editors by helping them discover damaging edits and can be used to immediately “score” the quality of any Wikipedia article. … Wikipedia is edited about half a million times per day. In order to maintain the quality of Wikipedia, this firehose of new content needs to be constantly reviewed by Wikipedians. [ORES] functions like a pair of X-ray specs, the toy hyped in novelty shops and the back of comic books—but these specs actually work to highlight potentially damaging edits for editors. This allows editors to triage them from the torrent of new edits and review them with increased scrutiny.” The story has been covered by Wired, MIT Technology Review, BBC News, Engadget, InformationWeek, Digital Spy, The Stack, The Next Web, Yahoo News UK, and Slashgear, among others. It has also been featured on HackerNews.
Wikimedia Conference: The 2016 edition of the annual Wikimedia Conference will be held in Berlin, organized by Wikimedia Germany (Deutschland) with assistance from the Wikimedia Foundation. The conference is intended only for Wikimedia affiliates, the WMF Board of Trustees and staff, the Affiliations Committee, and the Funds Dissemination Committee; it has been held each year since 2009. This year’s event will focus on “movement impact,” a crucial component of Wikimedia financing that is, according to the organizers, not always fully understood.
Community Wishlist Survey: This survey is soliciting ideas that the WMF’s Community Tech team can work on in the coming months, restricted to “improving or producing curation and moderation tools for active contributors.” These proposals are now open for voting on Meta (see previous coverage). The survey was covered in the German Wikipedia’s Kurier.
Scholarship committee announced: The members of the Wikimania scholarship committee have been announced. It will be composed of eleven community members, seven of which come from the Global South (see previous coverage).
Legal: New developments on Wikimedia’s legal front include a lawsuit from a museum in Germany and a victory in Dr. Evelyn Schels v. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc..
Wikimedia grants: The volunteer-led Funds Dissemination Committee recommended the disbursement of nearly US$3.8 million last week.
Annual fundraiser begins: The WMF’s annual fundraiser has begun. It “aims to raise $25 million in December through the annual campaign on the English Wikipedia.” More information is available in last week’s Signpost, the community news outlet on the English Wikipedia.
Endowment?: The WMF’s Lisa Gruwell has opened a discussion on whether the organization should have an endowment to safeguard against future funding problems. The multifaceted essay is already receiving attention on its talk page, where Gruwell has solicited the community’s thoughts on five different questions.
Wikidata: Is Wikidata the new Rosetta Stone? Wikimedia editor Kippelboy believes so in an op-ed published on the blog of Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, a museum in Barcelona, and re-published in the Signpost. Kippelboy writes that “We can create a new Rosetta Stone that can serve as an open, transparent key to unlock the secrets of today’s world, and perhaps as a documentary source for future generations or civilisations. Let us take responsibility for it.” However, Mark Graham in Slate this week separately raised questions about Wikidata and related initiatives, concluding that “Linked data and the machine-readable Web have important implications for representation, voice, and ultimately power in cities, and we need to ensure that we aren’t seduced into codifying, categorizing, and structuring in cases when ambiguity, not certainty, reigns. There is perhaps still much to be said for a Web more tailored to humans rather than machines.”
Knowledge is joy: Presented without comment. What do the words mean to you?
Erasmus Prize: The prestigious Erasmus Prize was awarded to Wikipedia on November 25 (see previous blog coverage or the Kurier‘s two articles). Desiderius Erasmus was a Dutch Catholic theologian who lived during the Reformation; he is remembered today as a preeminent humanist and scholar. According to the official announcement from the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation:

Wikipedia receives the prize because it has promoted the dissemination of knowledge through a comprehensive and universally accessible encyclopaedia. To achieve that, the initiators of Wikipedia have designed a new and effective democratic platform. The prize specifically recognises Wikipedia as a community — a shared project that involves tens of thousands of volunteers around the world who help shape this initiative. …
By distributing knowledge to places where it was previously unavailable, Wikipedia also plays an important role in countries where neutrality and open information are not taken for granted. With its worldwide reach and social impact, Wikipedia does justice to the idea of a single yet diverse world. It is a digital reference work available in various languages, undergoing permanent development. Through its open character, Wikipedia highlights how sources of knowledge are not neutral and must always be weighed. With its critical attention to text, sources and the expansion of knowledge, Wikipedia reflects the ideas of Erasmus, the world citizen after whom the prize is named.

File:Wikipedia, an introduction - Erasmus Prize 2015.webm

Wikipedia’s introduction video at the Erasmus Prize ceremony. Video by Loviisa Mellin, freely licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

by Melina Masnatta and Ed Erhart at December 07, 2015 07:20 AM