May 05, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Meet the Inspire grantees working to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia

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

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

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

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

The Inspire grantees are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by fflorin2015 at May 05, 2015 06:11 PM

May 04, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl Sigfrid European Union Policy Manager Wikimedia Sweden

by Andrew Sherman at May 04, 2015 11:41 PM

May 03, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, April 2015

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

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

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

Popularity does not breed quality (and vice versa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The calculation is done in three passages.

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

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

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

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

Methodological nitpicks

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

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


“Automatic Text Summarization of Wikipedia Articles”

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

Relationship between Google searches and Wikipedia edits

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

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

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

Perceptions of bot services

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

Other recent publications

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

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


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

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 4 • April 2015
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
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by wikimediablog at May 03, 2015 07:44 AM

May 01, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

How many women edit Wikipedia?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General user surveys

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

2012 Editor Survey

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

December 2011 Editor Survey

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

April 2011 Editor Survey

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

UNU-MERIT/WMF survey (2008)

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

Other surveys

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

Global South User Survey (WMF, 2014)

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

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

Gender micro-survey (WMF, 2013)

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

JASIS paper on anonymity (2012)

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

Grassroots Survey” (Wikimedia Nederland, 2012)

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

Wikibooks survey (2009/2010)

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

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

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

“What motivates Wikipedians?” (ca. 2006)

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

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

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

Trend analysis: How the gender gap changed during 2012

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

2012 editor survey Dec 2011 editor survey Change Significant change?
Country %female n % female n (Dec’11 to Oct/Nov’12) (2-tailed z-test, p = 0.05)
not significant
not significant
not significant
not significant
not significant
not significant
not significant
not significant
not significant

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

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

Other data sources about the size of the gender gap

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

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

Other research about the gender gap

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

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

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

Tilman Bayer, Senior Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

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

by wikimediablog at May 01, 2015 10:56 PM

What we learned from the blog survey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

To learn more, read the full survey report.

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


Fabrice Florin, Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at May 01, 2015 08:18 PM

Sharing images of the earthquake in Nepal: Krish Dulal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victor Grigas, Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

More photos are welcome in this category.

by Andrew Sherman at May 01, 2015 04:28 PM

April 30, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Join Wiki Loves Earth 2015: help capture our natural heritage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ievgen Voropai, Project coordinator, Wiki Loves Earth 2015

Wiki Loves Earth 2014/Top 10 Winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Andrew Sherman at April 30, 2015 08:06 PM

April 28, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

First 2015 Wikimedia Programs Evaluations reports examine Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events

Main du juive à Tikjda
Wikimedia Programs Evaluation reports show that Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events were used in articles at 5 times the rate of Commons uploads overall. Here: “Main du Juif à Tikjda”, which won 5º prize on Wiki Loves Earth Algeria 2014. Photo by Chettouh Nabil, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The first two Wikimedia Programs Evaluation Reports in 2015 have been released. The reports are a collaborative effort of program leaders and the Learning and Evaluation team at the Wikimedia Foundation. They focus on Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events, providing a snapshot of their purpose and impact, as well as the resources and efforts that go into their implementation.

Highlights of the first reports show that media uploaded to Wikimedia Commons as part of the Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events represent 14% of the media uploaded to Commons during September 2013 to September 2014; media uploaded are used in articles at five times the rate of Commons uploads overall, compared to other media uploaded by registered users during the same period of time.

Our approach to evaluation

Wiki Loves Africa 2014: Kisra maker. Photo by Mohamed Elfatih Hamadien, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Program Evaluation and Design initiative started in April 2013, with a small team and a community call to discuss program evaluation. The goal was to explore what programs were out there, what was important for program leaders and what they were measuring. In the first few months, the team worked to identify the most popular Wikimedia programs and collaborated with a first set of program leaders to map the program goals and potential metrics.

By August 2013, informed by initial survey results, we launched the first Round of Data Collection in September 2013 and completed our first Evaluation Report (beta). This high-level analysis started to answer many of the questions raised by movement leaders about key programs and their impact. The report was well received by our communities and generated many discussions about the focus of these programs, their diverse designs and the data they collected. But it still left room for improvement. Since the launch of the beta reports, the team has hosted 11 in-person meet-ups, 24 virtual events (recorded and shared), and wrote 15 blog posts on different topics around learning, evaluation, measures and storytelling, to help develop capacity of program leaders to evaluate and report.

Wikimedia Programs Evaluation Reports 2015

Giza Necropolis, 1º Prize in Egypt of Wiki Loves Monuments 2014. Photo by Mohamed nabawy, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

We have completed the data collection phase for the Wikipedia Programs Evaluation Reports 2015, and the first two reports have now been released. In collaboration with grantees and program leaders across the movement, the reports cover over 700 implementations of 10 different types of programs, reported by at least 98 different program leaders from 59 countries. This second round of data represents twice as many countries, more than three times more program leaders reporting, and six times more program implementations.

The goals of these reports are:

  • To develop a clearer understanding of Wikimedia programs and their impact.
  • To identify positive examples of programs to explore in more depth, in order to develop best practices and support networks across communities
  • To help Wikimedia community leaders explore methods for improving the data collection and reporting of their programs.
  • To highlight key lessons learned that can be applied to data collection and reporting.

The first two reports: Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events

Estonian Science Photo Competition: Isase metsasääse (Aedes cinereus) hüpopüüg ehk genitaalid. Photo by Viktoria Burtin, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The first programs evaluation reports released focused on photo events: Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events, such as Wiki Loves Earth and WikiTakes. Follow the links to find out more on how many new users are introduced to wiki projects through these programs, to learn about user retention, and to see how effective photo events are at expanding and improving content on Wikimedia projects.

Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events are successful in adding hundreds of thousands of new images to Wikimedia Commons. The media uploaded to Commons as part of the Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events captured in the reports represents 14% of the media uploaded to Commons during the reporting period (September 2013 through September 2014).

Media uploaded for Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events is used in articles at five times the rate of Commons uploads overall.

The effort and resources invested in each event varies widely and does not always align directly to outcomes and impact, and the investments sometimes seem to be increasing, while the use of images is not. We encourage all Wikimedia community members to use these reports to learn about what others have accomplished. The information can be used to help set appropriate expectations for future events, resource investments and outcome targets. We also hope the data shared will help connect program leaders across the movement — to share practices and help plan, implement, and measure the impact of photo events.

To that end, the program reports include a dedicated section that encourages peer-learning: “How this information can apply to program planning” draws out key advice on planning for program inputs and outputs.

Join the conversation!

As we work to make these reports relevant to different communities, we also need program leaders views to explore possible next steps. Some possible areas for further investigation of Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events include:

  • Do different types of photo events attract different types of users?
  • How can we apply the successes of low-cost, low-scale events to other contexts?

These and other questions are framed for discussion, along with any other questions, on the talk pages of the Wiki Loves Monuments and other photo events reports. With so much data in our hands, we are curious to get input on what questions we might approach next and what thoughts are provoked by the data shared in this reporting.

We believe this collection of reports is only the beginning of the conversation. We hope the data we shared will stimulate discussions of the changes that Wikimedians make possible through photo events – as well as other programs – and how we can best capture and understand these efforts and their impact.

In the coming months we will be releasing reports on additional Wikimedia programs:

  • Onwiki Writing Contest
  • Edit-a-thons
  • Editing Workshops
  • GLAM Content donations
  • Wikipedia Education Program
  • Conferences
  • Hackathons
  • Wikipedians in Residence

If you helped organize a Wiki Loves Monuments or other photo event in your country (or even if you only participated in one), please join us in reviewing the findings presented in these reports and share your feedback. See you on the Talk Page!

* Updated on April 24: Wiki Loves monuments images are no more likely than others to be rated Featured Picture on Wikimedia Commons. 

María Cruz, Community Liaison, Learning and Evaluation team
Jaime Anstee, PhD, Program Evaluation Specialist, Learning and Evaluation team

by Andrew Sherman at April 28, 2015 09:08 PM

April 27, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

A Wikimedian asks European Parliament members for copyright reform

Freedom of Panorama in Europe.svg

European copyright laws are very complex, as shown in this map: only countries highlighted in green allow taking pictures of buildings in public places — a law known as “freedom of panorama”. Free knowledge advocates are asking that all European Union countries adopt this law. Map by Quibik, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Last week, I visited Brussels to meet with members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and discuss copyright laws, from the perspective of a Wikimedia project editor. I met 9 MEPs, representing all Italian political groups (EFD, EPP, NI, S&D). All expressed support, and some long-term work collaborations were established.

During that time, the Industry, Research and Technology committee (ITRE) approved an opinion in strong support of the public domain, which among other things “calls on the Commission to explore the possibility of significantly shortening the duration of the harmonized terms of copyright protection.” It proposes a legal definition of ‘public domain’ works — to ensure that such works are protected against private appropriation through digitization or other means.

What I told the European Parliament

What did I tell MEPs? It was easy for me, because I don’t have to negotiate or represent anyone: our proposals and demands are all in the open; nothing is secret, since they can read all the details on our wikis. I just told them my story as Wikimedia volunteer contributor to thousands of Wikiquote and Wikipedia articles; I also shared the stories of other editors I know through the network of our association, Wikimedia Italia.

  • As a photographer, when I take a picture of a public space, I consider that photo to be my own work. I should have full copyright over the photo and decide what to do with it, whether it’s about selling it for work, or publishing it under a free license on Wikimedia Commons for inclusion in a Wikipedia article — or both. When I visit another country, I just want to take photos, without having to study the local law; when I upload the photo on the web, I don’t want to worry where the server is located and what their local law says on the matter. Hence I support the freedom of panorama law and I think it should be enforced in all European Union countries. (Freedom of panorama permits taking photos or videos of buildings in public places.)
  • Additionally, as an Italian citizen I think that people wishing to increase global public awareness of our cultural heritage should be allowed to do so freely. They currently can’t: Wiki Loves Monuments Italy was only possible thanks to hundreds of resolutions by municipalities and other entities, obtained by Wikimedia Italia. A lot of paperwork for just a few monuments — and no practical solutions for photographing millions of other monuments: why so much red tape?
  • As a Wikipedia author, journalist and popularizer, I could save time and do a better job if works by public officials were with in the public domain — like a ministry’s informational page on a recent law, or a museum’s description of a topic. These public officials would only see their work furthered. If I’m writing about space exploration, I can’t take photos myself, but I can use NASA images freely thanks to PD-Gov — while most images from the European State Agency (ESA) stay locked in drawers.

The perspective I tend to give is one of an author of freely licensed content. This helps further two underlying principles at the core of copyright reform.

  • It’s important to remember that Wikimedia projects are made by several millions authors, who edit pages or upload files; our hundreds of millions of “users” are always just a click away from co-authoring this free content. Our main issue is that copyright legislators still think of copyright as something held by a few culture workers (and their “representatives”) as opposed to an undistinguished mass of billions of “users”, which they view as passive and parasitical in nature: as long as the Internet is seen as a “value tree”, copyright laws will always fail to be realistic and achieve their goals.
  • Moreover, I believe the Public Domain Manifesto should always be stressed: public domain should be the foundation on which all authors build their own contribution to our culture. When a work becomes public domain, we should view this as a success and the beginning of a new life — not the end of the story. It’s just the end of an exclusive relationship with the copyright holder.

How we got here

The office used by Wikimedians in Brussels. Photo by Dimitar Dimitrov, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wikimedia Italia started its first copyright reform campaigns in 2007. Recently, we sent our own response to the 2014 European Union copyright consultation, stressing issues we faced — such as with Wiki Loves Monuments and digitizing books in Italy. Several other volunteer chapter members in Europe helped with similar documents. The consultation seemed to reach a dead end, as it proved that current laws are unbalanced but there was no energy to change their underlying paradigm.

Things changed in 2015. After the new European Commission made copyright reform a priority, the European Parliament took the lead in summarizing the situation and the way ahead: a non-binding report drafted by Julia Reda is being discussed in the European Parliament committees and will be voted on by some committees this week. The draft comes from a “minority” of the Parliament, but is just common sense — and it managed to put all real issues and possible solutions on the table, opening a wide discussion in institutions.

This time we are ready, thanks to the support of Dimitar Dimitrov for the EU policy initiative (see his earlier blog post, The Twilight of Copyright). Many groups have agreed on two clear demands: universal freedom of panorama (FOP) and public domain for works created by public sector employees (PD-Gov). So we don’t feel alone. Dimitar has been particularly helpful because he monitors the process continuously from Brussels , and alerts us when we can help.

For Wikimedia Italia and many other “weasels”, this is a volunteer activity: motivation is key. Last February, Dimitar asked us to pick up the phone and call a MEP to get their attention and point them to our position statement; that sounded easy enough: why not do it, if just a few minutes on the phone can make the difference? I started calling and I kept track of that work on our wiki, so all chapter members could check and have their say. I was happy to discover that many MEPs were happy to talk with a citizen like me: about 20 answered my calls, from all Italian political groups. Turns out the European Parliament is full of people who care and who are happy to listen to someone other than the usual professional corporate lobbyists.

Given the positive response from Italian MEPs, Dimitar suggested that I join him in Brussels for a week, as the first “visiting weasel”. Once again, I was unable to refuse, and was happy to make the trip: after all, a flight from Milan to Brussels costs less than 100 Euros — and it’s a good investment compared to the years spent talking to the Italian governors, who never gave us an answer. It was easy to get a handful of meetings scheduled and more half-confirmed. The transparency register offers a seamless accreditation system.

Federico Leva, Wikimedia Italia
with Dimitar Dimitrov, Wikimedian

All views in this blog post are the author’s own; discussion is welcome in the comments section below.

by fflorin2015 at April 27, 2015 09:23 PM

April 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Celebrity photographer Allan Warren shares the big shots on Wikipedia

Sir Roger Moore Crop.jpg
British photographer Allan Warren has taken portraits of many popular artists and politicians, ranging from Roger Moore (above) to Sophia Loren and HRH Prince Charles. He has been uploading them on Wikimedia Commons since 2010. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Lucky breaks, especially those that launch careers, don’t happen often. But Allan Warren, a Wimbledon, London native, can point to a serendipitous opportunity to snap photos for his friend Mickey Deans’ wedding to Judy Garland, after he bought a Rolleiflex camera to dabble in photography. His impromptu shots of the wedding reception ended up fascinating those around him to the point that they began to demand that Warren start taking more pictures.

Mickey Deans and Judy Garland. Photo by A. Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Since then, Warren has taken portraits of many popular artists and politicians, ranging from Roger Moore to Sophia Loren and Prince Charles, publishing his work in books like Confessions of a Society Photographer (1976) and Strangers in the Buff (2007). For the past few years, he has uploaded many of his images to Wikimedia Commons. His portraits caught our attention, so we reached out to him for an interview. He spoke from his home in London. (The interview has been edited and condensed for clarification.)

Sir Alec Guinness. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Q: If you can give me a little background, what was the story behind photographing Alec Guinness?

A: Ah, Alec Guinness. I originally met him for Nobs & nosh: Eating with the Beautiful People (Warren’s first book, published in 1975), through the marvelous Irish film director called Brian Desmond Hurst, who was probably, the most prolific, Irish film director ever. Brian said to me one day, (and [this] was because I photographed the British actor Paul Scofield).‘You should get Sir Alec to been in your book as well!’ Brian knew Alec Guinness, from directing him in such classic films as The Malta Story. Anyway, Alec agreed to be photographed and said, ‘I’ll come to do the shoot.’ So we agreed the time at like 11 o’clock, on the dot, one morning, he arrived. But, I had forgotten about Paul Scofield, who was coming at that precise time, to check the results of his pictures.

Paul Scofield. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

When I opened the door, both of them were on the doorstep. Sir Alec immediately turned to walk away, saying ‘I should probably leave, because of Paul.’ Paul Scofield took his arm, and said, ‘Don’t go, you must come in and see my pictures, they are wonderful.’ What was interesting: Scofield hadn’t seen any of his pictures, he was just making it up. And as for Alec, during the session, he said, ‘I’m sorry I actually hate being photographed unless I have a character to play; if I’m just being myself, I can’t stand to be in front of cameras.’ As it turned out, after the shoot, we all all had breakfast. Scofield made the tea, and then went through his pictures and approved them. In the end, they toddled off together and everybody was happy.

Peter Sellers. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Q: Can you tell me about Peter Sellers?

A: I met him for my first book as well. And I remember ringing and him telling me, ‘Come around, I will do your photographic food book; and give you some recipes for it.’ So he did and he was lovely. He was a gadget freak, so we sat there and discussed cameras and the whole lot. He gave me a recipe for the book which was linguini. The funny thing was: I had a book coming up called Stand By To Repel All Boarders and all these years later, he is in it. The reason is, because he gave me an anecdote about theatrical landladies and staying with them. They’re a special breed and they only cater to the theatricals, namely the actors. Sellers was sharing a double room with another actor, who was a friend, and she said to them as they entered the front door, ‘Don’t you two be behaving like the last two, they blew their noses on the sheets.’ Sellers, was a lovely man.

Sophia Loren. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Q: Can you tell me about Sophia Loren?

A: I had known this American friend of mine for years, his name was Robert Sydney. Bob directed many people, including Bing Crosby. Unfortunately for him, he did look like the reincarnation of Boris Karloff — actually, he looked more like Frankenstein’s creation. A bolt through his neck being all he needed to go with this very deep voice to complete the picture. But he was such a sweetheart of a man. He became a great friend of mine. At one time, I was in L.A. and I had to take pictures of Sophia Loren. Although Bob knew many people, he had never met her. So I agreed to let him drive me, and pretend to be my assistant so that he could … So we get to this studio in Los Angeles, where she is in this huge rehearsal room. Sophia was sitting on a chair at one end of it, holding this little compact with a mirror, doing her makeup. So Bob lumbers in with the equipment, bashing it everywhere, and as he lurches towards her, she looks in her mirror and then snaps shut, the compact, and looks at him and said, ‘Has anybody told you have a beautiful face?’ That night, he could be seen in several local bars in Hollywood saying, ‘Sophia Loren said I have a beautiful face!’ Of course, no one believed him.

HRH Prince Charles. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Q: Tell me about Prince Charles.

A: Oh, Prince Charles, well that was thanks to Louis Mountbatten: one morning he called and said ‘Are you out of bed yet?’ and added ‘I have someone for you to photograph: get to Buckingham Palace by 10:30 and photograph The Prince of Wales.” So I said, ‘okay.’ I was hardly awake. I remember I had this metallic green Mini car, so I stuffed the equipment in and drove to the palace, even though it was walking distance. I was just going through the gate where all the tourists were taking pictures of the palace and they were looking at me like, ‘Why is he going into the palace?’ So I rolled down my window and said, very loudly, ‘Allan Warren here, to see His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales!’ Then, as I put my foot down on the accelerator, my car shuddered to a halt and wouldn’t move. It was stuck in the gateway. I couldn’t get in or get out — and more importantly, nor could anybody else. It became somewhat embarrassing, especially as the tourists began chuckling at my predicament. The poor guard at the gate had to help me push it through the gates to get in. As we started the shoot, Prince Charles was charming and very self effacing. Claiming his nose and ears were too big, so it would be difficult to get a decent picture of him. As I stepped up onto a small ladder, I replied: ‘Not a problem, from this angle, I’ll have you looking like Michael York in no time.’

Michael York. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Early one morning, a month or so later, the phone rang. I remember thinking, ‘Oh god, it’s only 9:00.am in the morning.’ When I eventually picked up the receiver, the voice at the other end asked ‘Allan, what have you said to the royal family?’ It was Michael York. When I said hadn’t seen any of them for months, or for that matter said anything, he replied: ‘Well, we had the opening of Murder on the Orient Express last night. After the screening, we were all lined up. When the Prince of Wales came down the line, I introduced my wife to him as Patricia, and told him she was a photographer. To which he replied, ‘Oh so you must know Allan Warren … I don’t think he likes Michael, I think it’s the other way around!’

Rod Stewart. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Q: Tell me about Rod Stewart.

A:I sort of knew Rod years ago, he is fun. He used to come to my parties … One time, he came to a party when everybody arrived at the same time. And you’ve got understand, in those days, as a man in his mid-20s, I was giving out invitations sometimes to 500 people and they would all show up … with extra guests! As for Rod, he was with Britt Ekland.

Britt Ekland. Photo by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

They saw that was a big problem, so he rolled up his sleeves and got behind the bar and she played waitress for a while, to get all the drinks going. But then, he has always been down to earth.

Q: One last name here, Roger Moore (see photo at the top of this post).

A: Yes, Roger Moore. I was in the South of France with two American friends and two children, who had bought a beautiful yacht. They were cruising up from Italy, and I joined them for a few days between Monte Carlo and Cannes. We arrived one lunchtime at the Eden Rock hotel. The yacht had a tender that ferried us, back and forth. As we sat down at our table, on the restaurant terrace, their son Jack, who was only about 9 years of age, suddenly announced, in his little Texan accent: ‘There’s James Bond!’ And his mother, Maggie, added: ‘It’s Roger Moore!’ Then asked if I knew him, and if I could get a photo of him and little Jack. I told her that I had photographed Roger many years before, and that was about it: ’I’d never seen him since.’ She then kept nagging. So we agreed that I was going to ask him, only if he left his table and got up to go to the loo or something, but I was not going to interrupt his lunch. Sure enough, he did get up, and so I got up, and as I did so, I grabbed Jack. This boy was 9 years old, but he only looked about 6. I went up to Roger and said, ‘Mr. Moore, this is your biggest and smallest fan.’ And he replied, ‘Hi Allan, what’s all this Mr.Moore deal?’ And I answered, ‘Look he’d like a picture of you.’ To which he said, ‘Lets go over to your table then. He introduces himself to my friends, and then sits the boy on his lap and I snap a couple of pictures. Because they were so wealthy, the best shot they made into wall paper for his room.

Photographer Allan Warren. Photo by Christoph Braun,CCO 1.0.

Q: I want to ask a technical question: What kind of camera equipment were you fond of?

A: Well I started Rolleiflex twin reflex camera, which is wonderful by the way. I then progressed: I had a Nikon 35mm and the quality was excellent. I lived by Hyde Park and that’s where I did a lot of shoots, including James Baldwin. It was at the foot of The Albert Memorial: there is a freeze around it of different, famous people throughout British history. One of them is Shakespeare and so I got Baldwin to sit, without realizing he had Shakespeare over his shoulder. He was so full of his own ego, I thought it suited him perfectly. I used to use Hyde Park as my studio for all my exterior shots. You went out and took shots under trees. That was the way you did it, in black and white … that was all in 35 mm. It wasn’t until the 80s that I went with Hasselblad, when the money rolled in. I never liked them, in the sense of a two and a quarter format. It wasn’t until this wonderful RB67 by Mamiya which had a 6 X 7 format that was fabulous — it was like a tank. And then they advanced to the RZ67, which was perfection itself. Absolutely perfection. You could flip the back, for either landscape or portrait; it will do either with one flip of your fingers. I don’t think there is a better camera than this.

While in Los Angeles, this American friend of mine, said to me, ‘Oh you’re crazy, you should get into this digital age.’ I thought, ‘I guess I better,’ and I went into a shop and bought my first digital camera, but never really studied what digital was all about. And it was a couple of years later, that somebody told me. The quality of my photograph was not even as good as 35mm film. Then I realized, I had gotten into a world, where basically, it is convenience and you see what you get and what you pay for. I don’t like it as much. In fact, I’m returning to my quality RZ67, and am okay with the fact that you have to develop and print it yourself. But at least you know you can do anything you want with it, quality-wise.

Q: At what point did you decide to start uploading your photos to Wikimedia Commons? For Wikipedia?

A: It started because of this German friend of mine — you know how exacting the Germans are. He said, ‘Your photographs are all cracking up.’ I haven’t been particularly kind with my photographs. I’ve got a whole storeroom of them in Jersey, an island off the coast of France. What happens with Celluloid is that they start crackling over several years and start falling apart. And then my friend said, ‘You could store them on Wikimedia’. So he put a couple of up. And that’s how it started really, and after that I met that man who set up Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales. I thought ‘Well, it’s all for free what he does. Why don’t I give something?’ And that was it really. A lot of people get happy and you get these societies that come and say ‘Look, you sure you won’t charge us?’ and I say ‘Nope’. In the end, what would have happened to them anyway? You know, it might go to some library, but would never get seen, whereas people get to use these.

To see more of Allan Warren’s photos, visit his Wikipedia user upload page.

Interview by Victor Grigas, Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation
Profile by Yoona Ha, Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 24, 2015 10:09 PM

April 22, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Fighting corruption with Wikipedia: Johnson Oludeinde

Photo by Victor Grigas, free licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Johnson Oludeinde says he is using Wikipedia to expose corruption in Nigeria.
Photo by Victor Grigas, free licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Why is it important that “every single human being freely share in the sum of all knowledge”, as stated in Wikipedia’s vision? Johnson Oludeinde Oluata, a Wikipedian from Nigeria, has a simple answer:

“This world will be better if we all have knowledge, if you know your rights, if there is equality, if there’s justice, then we will have peace,” says Oluata. “So I think it’s better not to hoard your knowledge.”

Oluata, known to his fellow editors as Joluata, thinks Wikipedia is a starting point for helping others improve their lives through shared knowledge. And readily available information on important topics, like corruption in Nigeria, can become a learning opportunity.

Among the many topics on Wikipedia, Oluata believes that corruption in Nigeria is a topic in desperate need of more public scrutiny and volunteer participation.

“Corruption is a global disease. If you want to fight corruption in Nigeria, it’s not only Nigeria that needs to fight. Other countries must join,” he says. “Because other countries provide the cover, the warehouse … They provide warehouses for corruption.”

In other words, other countries must recognize that if they are not joining forces to fight this practice, they are ultimately aiding the growth of corruption in Nigeria. So how can people from around the world participate?

By writing and editing corruption topics in Wikipedia, Oluata says. Through the work of many editors, people have already taken a stance in addressing Nigerian corruption by creating extensive articles that provide insights into the global dialogue on Nigerian corruption.

“All professionals should work together to kill corruption, not to commit it,” he says. “I’m always putting the problem of people in my head: there’s no money, they’re trying to have a better society. I don’t know how to go about it, but I try.”

Growing up in Ondo state, Oluata had a mentor named Donald Moore who taught him how to type, which eventually developed into an interest in computers. Throughout his professional career in accounting, he has given back by inspiring others, and exposing them to interests they would never expect to pursue.

As a part of the Cherie Blair Foundation, Oluata mentors women worldwide on business practices through Google Hangouts. Over time, he has become an avid advocate of “giving knowledge to people.” Currently, he is exploring ways to integrate Wikipedia into his mentoring work, but for now, his activities as an editor include writing on diverse topics related to Nigeria, as well as to business and accounting practices.

“Wikipedia is a source of knowledge … on a global scale, for everybody, for all professions, for all backgrounds,” says Oluata. “I mentor students who are doing their graduate and undergraduate studies, [and who need] a robust platform. That’s why I am interested in using Wikipedia to train people.”

Interview by Victor Grigas, Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation
Profile by Yoona Ha, Assistant Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation
Joe Sutherland, Wikimedia Foundation Communications volunteer

by Andrew Sherman at April 22, 2015 11:46 PM

Introducing the new Wikipedia store

The new Wikipedia store now features many new items, such as plantable "sprout" pencils and more T-shirt designs.Photo by  Mun May Tee-Galloway, CC BY-SA 4.0. The new Wikipedia store now features many new items, such as plantable “sprout” pencils and more T-shirt designs. Photo by Mun May Tee-Galloway, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Welcome to your brand new Wikipedia store!

We closed doors temporarily for a few months to re-think our structure and visual identity, but we are back with amazing new items. We kept all the bestsellers and added new and socially responsible items that will promote our mission and remind our supporters of the great work by all the volunteers who build Wikipedia and its sister projects.

Every time you purchase an item from the Wikipedia store, the proceeds go back to the community and reward our outstanding contributors. The t-shirt you purchase today will help support the sum of all human knowledge remain free, independent, and accessible to everyone on the planet.

We have also started to collaborate with new vendors, designers and artists with compatible visions to create meaningful merchandise for our users. Soon you will see more creative representations of Wikipedia and its sister projects from these collaborations. These new designs aim to motivate you and people around you, to help spread knowledge through the Wikimedia projects.

Take a look at our new, inspiring items:

  • “Free knowledge t-shirt”.  Knowledge should cost this: nothing  zip, nada, zero. The Free knowledge shirt comes as Catherine DiMalla’s representation of Wikipedia. Catherine collaborated with Wikimedia to create a typographic and ornamental illustration that draws visual parallels between the first mass printed texts — the Gutenberg Bible, for example — and the Wikimedia Foundation’s mission to make all knowledge accessible to all people at zero cost.

 “ Rabbit hole” t-shirt. Photo by Mun May Tee-Galloway, CC BY-SA 4.0.
“Free Knowledge t-shirt”. Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar, CC BY-SA 4.0.

  • “ Rabbit hole” t-shirt: Have you ever searched Wikipedia with a subject in mind, only to find yourself spending hours reading about something completely different?  This design represents the joy of falling down the (knowledge) rabbit hole, a quintessential Wikipedia experience.  You get almost hypnotised with the information you discover by clicking the familiar blue links on Wikipedia. Glenn Newcomer, an artist and designer from the “mossy” city of Olympia, succinctly captures this experience by blending both commercial and artistic  elements from his clients on this shirt: coffee, music, cycling, fly fishing and the fine arts are all represented. Fall down your own rabbit hole – it’s amazing what you’ll discover!

Plantable "Sprout" pencils. Photo by Mun May Tee-Galloway, CC BY-SA 4.0. Plantable “Sprout” pencils. Photo by Mun May Tee-Galloway, CC BY-SA 4.0.

  • Plantable “Sprout” pencils:  A pencil that gives itself until its last length. Sprout pencils can be used as regular pencils, but when they become too short to write, they can be planted  – and who says knowledge can’t grow on trees? These were designed by MIT students and come carved with the Wikipedia core content policies  you can keep in mind while editing Wikipedia.

  • Scout Books: These notebooks are made of 100% recycled and sourced paper from Portland, Oregon. Supporting domestic paper mills strengthens our local economies. All Scout Books are printed with vegetable-based inks made from plant oils like safflower, soy, corn and canola. Combine them with Plantable Sprout pencils to write down your own notes — and jot down ideas for edits you’d like to make on Wikipedia!

  • Baby onesies: to support our newly born Wikipedians. Wikipedia was introduced to the world with the optimistic friendly words, ‘hello world’! Now you can share the same enthusiasm and joy with our ‘hello world’ onesie.

Spread the word about the Wikipedia store! The store is engaged in giveaway programs rewarding volunteers, supporting edit-a-thons and hack-a-thons, along with other community conferences.  As usual, all sales support and reward contributors all over the world.

We invite you to browse the store and support the community with your purchase!

Victoria Shchepakina, Wikimedia Foundation
Michael Guss, Wikimedia Foundation

Be sure to follow us  @wikipediastore on Twitter and on Instagram!

by Andrew Sherman at April 22, 2015 03:22 PM

April 21, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Improving the security of our users on Wikimedia sites

Wikimedia Foundation teamed up with iSEC Partners and the Open Technology Fund to assess the security of our sites and protect the privacy of our users. Image by Woodennature, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wikimedia Foundation teamed up with iSEC Partners and the Open Technology Fund to assess the security of our sites and protect the privacy of our users. Image by Woodennature, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to keeping our users safe when they contribute and view content on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. This requires us to ensure that MediaWiki, the open-source software that powers our sites, is working as intended, protecting the safety and privacy of our users. To that end, we have been working with iSEC Partners, a respected security firm with a strong reputation for assessing applications security.

Today we’re publishing the Application Penetration Test report, performed by iSEC Partners this past December (download the full report PDF here). During this assessment, their security engineers developed attacks against the current version of MediaWiki. They did this by assessing the source code and launching attacks against a virtual environment that we configured for them — mimicking the way MediaWiki runs on our sites.

This assessment was sponsored by the Open Technology Fund (OTF), an organization established in 2012 to support freedom of information on the Internet. The OTF determined that the Wikimedia projects aligned with their mission, and saw an opportunity to collaborate on improving the security and privacy of users on Wikimedia sites.

The OTF’s Red Team Lab sponsors security audits of Internet freedom projects by third-party partners, such as iSEC Partners. As a consumer of many open-source applications and tools, many of which clearly had little security oversight, the Wikimedia Foundation is thrilled that the OTF is providing this much-needed service in a critical area. They deserve a small truckload of barnstars for their effort.

Why are we doing this?

Recent security bugs like Shellshock and Heartbleed have shown that it’s not enough for open-source projects to have lots of users looking at their code to prevent security issues, projects need regular audits specifically looking for security issues. Both security bugs had significant vulnerabilities that were not discovered for several years.

This assessment identified several specific issues for us to address. Going forward, we hope that regular assessments from third-party organizations will allow us to measure the effectiveness of our security process.

What did we learn?

• Although most of the issues identified by iSEC were new flaws, there were two issues that were previously known, but fixes weren’t completed. Additionally, planned hardening countermeasures would have prevented one of the issues from being exploitable in the WMF environment. We’re hiring on our Wikimedia Security Team to ensure we can address issues faster in the future.

• In another case, we had specifically tested for a vulnerability previously, and although the MediaWiki code hadn’t changed much since we tested for the vulnerability, changes to the underlying platform and libraries caused subtle changes in functionality that we relied on. This highlighted for us the need for continuous security regression testing, as part of our QA process. We plan to adopt this in the near future.

• This assessment also reinforced the uniqueness of the information security challenges that the WMF faces. For example, where common security guidelines recommend hiding the usernames of privileged accounts so an external attacker might not be able to target their attacks to accounts with specific privileges, the WMF relies on this type of transparency for our community to function. This means that MediaWiki truly can’t rely on any “security through obscurity” tactics, and instead must rely on strong security fundamentals. We take this challenge to do things the right way seriously, and hope to inspire other organizations to do the same.


Huge thanks to Chad Hurley at the OTF for believing in our mission, and coordinating this valuable service for us. Thanks also to Valentin Leon, Justin Engler, David Thiel, and Tom Ritter from iSEC Partners for a professional and thorough review, and for taking time during their holiday schedules to make freely sharing in the sum of all knowledge a little safer for everyone.

Chris Steipp
Security Engineer
Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 21, 2015 04:19 PM

April 20, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

File:Video Wikipedia CKoi Dance.webm

Watch this fun TV spot: “Wikipedia? Isn’t that a new dance?” You can also view this video on YouTube.com here. Video by Michael Epaka, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The first-ever television spots for Wikipedia aired in mid-2014 in Cameroon, as part of a campaign designed to raise awareness of Wikipedia in this western African country — where the use and awareness of Wikipedia has been historically low.

File:Video Wikipedia CKoi Maladie - Sickeness.webm

“I’m sorry, but your daughter has a case of Wikipedia.” Video also available on Youtube.com here. Video by Michael Epaka, free licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Iolanda Pensa, researcher at SUPSI and former scientific director for WikiAfrica, produced this awareness campaign along with Mike Epacka and others at doual’art, a non profit cultural organization based in Douala, Cameroon.

“The starting point of any kind of possible participation [in Wikipedia] is that you need to know that it exists, you need to find it useful and relevant, and you need to know that something is missing,” says Pensa. “This is the typical way people start contributing because people think there are better ways to improve it.”

A production still from the campaign. Photo by Michael Epacka, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The idea of producing a video came about in 2010 when Pensa sat down with Epacka, who works as a creative professional in Cameroon, to talk about the challenges faced by Wikipedia in this region.

In September 2013, Pensa applied on behalf of the team for an individual engagement grant from the Wikimedia Foundation; she received approval for a grant in January 2014. The concept, script and all of the production took place locally in Cameroon. Pensa got to work right away, along with Epaka, videographer Regis Talla, artists Bibi Benzo — and members of doual’art including Didier Schaub, Marilyn Douala Bell and Victor Njehoya. Their first challenge was to approach the Cameroonian audience in such a way that Wikipedia would not be “[…] sold as something that will save the world – we didn’t want that.”

The premise for the spots was simple:

  1. Someone is asked to define Wikipedia.
  2. The person responds with an inaccurate guess.
  3. The person is corrected.

Pensa told us that the team aimed for the script to be easy to imitate, so that the same idea could be adapted in other countries that also have low Wikipedia participation.

“We were doing three things at once: we were producing for the people of Cameroon, we were talking to an international audience and we were producing something that is easily reproducible.” says Pensa.

In addition to the two television spots, the campaign included a series of comics that were placed in the major national newspaper of Cameroon.

Soon after the videos were produced, they were shown at WikiIdaba and at Wikimania 2014 in London, where they were received favorably.

The airtime for the television campaign was funded by Orange Cameroon (with whom the Wikimedia Foundation has a Wikipedia Zero partnership).

The campaign and grant report was finalized in October 2014.

The full impact of the campaign is not yet known. Overall desktop and mobile traffic for Wikipedia in Cameroon has increased since the campaign began, though the data has not yet been analyzed (see image here).

Pensa views this project as a success and hopes that African chapters of Wikimedia will submit their own individual engagement grant applications to make their own videos in the same way. “It would be great to have new communication projects and videos in Tunisia and South Africa” says Pensa.

She is optimistic about the future of participation in Wikipedia in Cameroon, “People like to edit because they also have fun: we don’t do it because we have the mission of writing an encyclopedia, we do it because it’s fun.”

Blog post by Victor Grigas, Storyteller, Wikimedia FoundationInterview by Yoona Ha, Communications intern, Wikimedia Foundation

Wikipedia BD: A french comic that was placed in newspapers in Cameroon. More here. Comic strip by Biba Jacques Claver, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Wikipedia BD: A french comic that was placed in newspapers in Cameroon. More here. Comic strip by Biba Jacques Claver, CC BY-SA 3.0.

by Andrew Sherman at April 20, 2015 11:37 PM

Wikimedia Highlights, March 2015

Editatonas by Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 4.0. Raspberry Pi by Janet Chapman, CC BY-SA 4.0. Terry by Myleen Hollero, CC BY-SA 3.0. Open Data by LSE Library, CC BY-SA 3.0. Kourosh by Myleen Hollero, CC BY SA 4.0.

A lot happened on the Wikimedia Blog last month. Photo montage by Andrew Sherman. Editatonas photo by Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 4.0. Raspberry Pi photo by Janet Chapman, CC BY-SA 4.0. Terry Gilbey photo by Myleen Hollero, CC BY-SA 3.0. Open Data graph by LSE Library, CC BY-SA 3.0. Kourosh photo by Myleen Hollero , CC BY SA 4.0.

Here are some of the highlights from the Wikimedia blog in March 2015. We covered a wide range of stories this month:

Wikimedia v. NSA: Wikimedia Foundation files suit against NSA
Women and gender diversity on Wikimedia
Growing free knowledge through open data
Raspberry Pi in Masekelo: Bringing Wikipedia to a school without electricity
Wikimedia Foundation adopts Open Access Policy
Wikimedia Foundation welcomes new executives

Wikimedia v. NSA: Wikimedia Foundation files suit against NSA to challenge upstream mass surveillance

Fountain of Justice
Photo by Roland Meinecke, GFDL 1.2.
This March, the Wikimedia Foundation filed a suit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States. The lawsuit challenges the NSA’s mass surveillance program. Learn more.

Women and gender diversity on Wikimedia

Photo by Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Last month, we featured a special collection of stories on women and gender diversity in the Wikimedia movement, to celebrate International Women’s Day and WikiWomen’s History Month. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

• Meet some of the women who contribute to Wikipedia
• Art+Feminism Events on International Women’s Day
15 women who made a difference
Gender as a text field: What Wikipedia can learn from Facebook
Inspire Campaign to fund new gender diversity initiatives
Why Italian fashion history should be just a click away: Virginia Gentilini
The Editatona: Helping women edit Wikipedia in Mexico (VIDEO)

Growing free knowledge through open data

London Clickstream
Graph by Ellery Wulczyn and Dario Taraborelli, CC0 1.0.
Open data can help us understand how people find and share knowledge online. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Research and Data Team published 5 open data sets about Wikimedia projects.

Raspberry Pi in Masekelo: Bringing Wikipedia to a school without electricity

Photo by Janet Chapman, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Students in a Tanzanian high school without electricity can now access Wikipedia via Wi-Fi, using a donated Raspberry Pi computer. Find out how a generous donation is bringing this school into the 21st century.

Wikimedia Foundation adopts Open Access Policy to support free knowledge

Library Book
Photo by LSE Library, CC BY-SA 3.0.
The Wikimedia Foundation announces a new policy to make all research it directly supports freely available to the public under open licenses.

Wikimedia Foundation welcomes new executives


Guy Kawasaki, Board of Trustees
The Wikimedia Foundation is pleased to announce that Guy Kawasaki has joined our Board of Trustees. Mr. Kawasaki is a noted author, entrepreneur and internet evangelist, who will bring a wealth of experience and perspective to our movement.
Photo by Nohemi Kawasaki, CC BY-SA 4.0.


Terry Gilbey, Chief Operating Officer
This month, we also welcomed Terry Gilbey as interim Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Executive Director Lila Tretikov. Previously, Terry was Executive Director of Enterprise Operations at Kaiser Permanente, and served in various management roles at IBM Global Services.
Photo by Myleen Hollero, CC BY-SA 3.0.


Kourosh Karimkhany, VP Strategic Partnerships
And Kourosh Karimkhany joined the WMF as VP of Strategic Partnerships, reporting to Lisa Gruwell. A longtime media executive, Kourosh has worked with leading companies such as Yahoo and Conde Nast — where he spearheaded the acquisition of Wired.com, Ars Technica and Reddit.
Photo by Jerry Kim, CC BY SA 4.0.

Andrew Sherman, Digital Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Fabrice Florin, Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 20, 2015 08:05 AM

April 19, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Wikipedisté a jejich hosté navštívili vilu Karla Čapka

Pracovní stůl Karla Čapka

Pracovní stůl Karla Čapka

Vila Karla Čapka se v roce 2013 stala vlastnictvím Prahy 10. V současné době zde probíhá soupis inventáře. Díky velkorysé nabídce příznivců našeho spolku si mohla skupina wikipedistů a jejich hostů prohlédnout toto mimořádné místo. Přidal se k nám nejen čestný člen Wikimedia ČR, zakladatel české Wikipedie Miroslav Malovec, ale i zástupci sponzorů z firmy Active24.

Dostalo se nám podrobného výkladu od předního „čapkologa“, pana Hasana Zahiroviće. Ten nás seznámil s bohatou historií objektu i s překvapivými objevy a novými fakty, které vzešly z probíhajícího podrobného průzkumu. Mohli jsme si zblízka prohlédnout Čapkovy poznámkové sešity a skicáře z cest po Evropě, jeho osobní předměty, místa, kde vznikala jeho díla a kde se scházela společnost Pátečníků. Nesmíme zapomenout ani na obrazy, sochy a grafiky jeho přátel (Josef Čapek, Bohumil Kubišta, Karel Dvořák, Hana Dostalová a další). Velice ochotně se nám věnovali i další pracovníci, kteří se podílejí na inventarizaci, přestože jsme jim spíše překáželi v práci. Pro wikipedisty z této návštěvy ale vyplývá rovněž obrovské množství práce, kterou je třeba v naší encyklopedii udělat. Oceníme každou pomocnou ruku!

by Jaro Zastoupil at April 19, 2015 01:05 PM

April 17, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

The updated Wikipedia app offers many new features for iOS devices. For example, you can share a fact from Wikipedia with friends on social networks, as shown here. Watch this video for a quick preview. You can also watch it on YouTube or Vimeo. Video by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Each month, nearly half a billion people turn to Wikipedia for everything from preserving cultural heritage, to improving cancer detection, to researching homework. Today, the Wikimedia Foundation is excited to release an update to the official Wikipedia mobile app for iOS.

It includes big, beautiful images at the top of every article, the ability to share quick facts and images with your social networks, improved search, and suggestions for further discovery. The updated app is available for iOS users today.

Quick look-up and deep learning

With more than 34 million articles in 288 languages, Wikipedia has an endless amount of knowledge to explore. The new Wikipedia app for iOS is designed to help readers easily navigate Wikipedia and find exactly what they need, while giving them the tools to explore topics in depth.

The updated app includes a number of features that help readers look-up and understand information quickly from an iPhone or iPad.

  • A clean design with a short descriptor of the topic helps readers get the answer they seek within seconds of opening an article.
  • A prominently displayed image at the top of each article provides additional context and supports different styles of learning.
  • Improved search functionality includes a list of recent searches and a more defined, higher contrast search bar.

When readers want to explore a topic more deeply, new engagement features create a more immersive reading experience.

  • A read more section at the end of each article encourages people to read further about a particular topic.
  • An enhanced image viewer helps visual learners easily swipe through all of the images of an article.

These updates were recently released on Android, and we are pleased to bring them to iOS users in this release. Other features currently available on the iOS Wikipedia app include nearby articles that suggest content related to your location, and the ability to save articles for reading offline.

Share a fact with friends

We believe knowledge is contagious. That’s why we’ve built a feature that allows readers to easily and quickly create customized images overlaid with text from an article that can be shared with anyone via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.), email, or text message. This feature was also recently released on Android.

The new iOS app lets you share fact cards like this one with friends on social media. Galaxy image by NASA, Public Domain
The new iOS app lets you share fact cards like this one with friends on social media. Galaxy image by NASA, Public Domain

To use this feature, simply choose an article, select the text you’re interested in, and then click the “share as image” option. The same information can also be shared in a text-only format. To learn more, check out this quick guide.

Download it and share your feedback

You can download the new iOS app here on the Apple Store.

Once you’ve tried the new app, please let us know what you think of these new features. You can either leave a comment here — or share your own Wikipedia fact cards with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Dan Garry
Product Manager
Wikimedia Foundation
Translated to Spanish by Walter Alejandro Gomez

by Andrew Sherman at April 17, 2015 04:43 PM

April 15, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

Group Photo
Students and teachers participate in the a massive three-day edit-a-thon at Tec de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de Mèxico. Photo by Thelmadatter, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Tec de Monterrey‘s Education Program (Wiki Learning) held a massive three-day edit-a-thon on three campuses, from March 4 to 6, 2015. Called Experiencias Retadoras (in English: challenging experiences), this edit-a-thon was part of a larger event called Espacios de Innovación (in English: Innovation Spaces): this is a one-week period each semester, when classes are suspended so that students and staff can work on technology-focused educational projects, called retos (in English: challenges), with a focus on challenges with social impact.

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

Working with Wikipedia was one of the options selected for this first semester’s Espacios de Innovación at three of Tec de Monterrey’s 31 campuses: Campus Ciudad de México, Campus Santa Fe and Campus Estado de México, all in the Mexico City metropolitan area. Wikipedia was chosen because of its global reach and openness to new participants — as well as for the challenge of creating content that is published, reviewed, and read worldwide. The main aim of this semester was to explore working with Wikipedia with as many students and staff as possible, focusing on “simpler” tasks and navigating not only the technology but also community norms and practices. Each campus developed their own activities, with support from Wiki Learning coordinators, Leigh Thelmadatter, Lourdes Epstein and Paola Ricaurte. Beginning in January, teacher training workshops were offered as well as editing workshops for students of the Ciudad de México campus, all of whom who were encouraged to translate short articles (mostly from English into Spanish, but there were also translations into French and even one into Finnish) as part of their classwork so that as many students as possible had some practice with editing Wikipedia before the event.

There were a variety of activities for participants in the edit-a-thon, including writing articles, translating articles, reviewing articles, uploading media, and captioning media. In addition to developing and translating new articles, students were also reviewing and correcting them for each other. Other students were taking and uploading new photographs, uploading videos and animations, improving and translating descriptions of existing media files on Commons, uploading and documenting 27 radio episodes from the series “Shot Informativo,” a joint project between the Tec de Monterrey’s campus radio (Concepto Radial) and Radio Netherlands, which were donated to Commons by the campus radio station. Two other innovative activities involved a local WikiExpedition where a group of foreign students from Campus Ciudad de Mexico documented a historical site and a photography project at Campus Estado de Mexico created images related to social issues in Mexico. One photo from this activity was picked up within three days of being uploaded to Commons and was published in Science Times magazine here. More information about these projects is available in the Education Newsletter here.

The flags of Tec de Monterrey. Student photo by Niwadare, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Some of the articles that were created and improved were those related to the Festival Internacional Cervantino, in collaboration with Mexico’s National Council for Culture and Arts (Conaculta), which sent two representatives to the event, Georgina Hughes Montaño and Talía Guraieb Carrillo. Also in attendance at the edit-a-thon was Wikipedia Education Program Manager Anna Koval. Anna gave motivational talks at all of the campuses, gave an interview on campus radio, assisted students and staff with editing and demonstrated VisualEditor, and delivered the opening remarks (see photos here). Anna said, “According to stats.wikimedia.org, Spanish is the 10th largest Wikipedia by article count. And Mexico has the largest number of readers of Spanish Wikipedia. There are more than 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide. And more than 20 million of them live in Mexico City. That means there is tremendous potential for impact from this country, this city, and this education program. And that is why an event like this is so monumental and why this school is so special.”

WikiMetrics shows impressive impacts from this event: 311 students and teachers worked hard during the event (see the event page for additional statistics). 97 articles were translated, 79 articles were revised and corrected (including the number of articles written or translated by edit-a-thon participants), 45 articles were created or expanded with new information, 27 radio broadcasts were uploaded, and 2 animations were contributed. Naomi Iwadare Akachi, a digital animation major, created a hamstring animation and a quadricep animation in her Servicio Social class and released the gifs under a free license during the editathon; these files can now be used to illustrate medical articles on Wikipedia in any language. Students also worked on summaries of and later transcripts for those files, along with 307 photos and 6 videos, including those from the first academic WikiExpedition to Tepoztlan and a series of files related to social issues. In total, 1,315,324 bytes were added to the article namespace on Spanish Wikipedia.

Day 1 of the edit-a-thon in the library at Tec de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México. Photo by Thelmadatter, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Several students commented on the impact of this event for them personally. María José Felgueres Planells, is a biotechnology major enrolled in the Servicio Social class at Campus Ciudad de Mexico. She noted that writing Wikipedia articles for community service is not easier than other participation options available to students completing their mandatory 480 hours of service, and, in fact, it is much harder because they must “read and translate terms and understand and learn.” However, she added, “It helps me grow my knowledge and spread knowledge. It is also very attractive to rehearse my English and improve my grammar and spelling in both English and Spanish.” Pamela Varillas Urquiza, also a Servicio Social student, stated her reason for completing her service by writing articles on Wikipedia: “If you are really interested in something, you can find more information about it English than in Spanish. That’s why it feels like I’m giving back to my community.”

This edit-a-thon was not the end of the story, as students continue editing and creating new articles at campus Ciudad de México. They are now editing articles related to the Festival Cervantino in Spanish and English, as well as reviewing translated articles by Spanish language writing classes. Valuable lessons were learned from this experience, such as the need to organize projects geared towards smaller groups, with thematic focus, and the need for additional support from instructors and others with significant experience in Wikipedia to both plan the activities and help students execute them. One other lesson learned was the need to plan wiki activities farther in advance, and that is happening now. Preparations for the September 2015 Experiencias Retadoras are already underway. All in all, this event was a challenge, nevertheless, it was an important educational opportunity for students and staff alike as well as an innovation in the global Education Program. This pilot project was one of the largest educational edit-a-thons to date. Learn more about the education program at Tec de Monterrey on Outreach wiki. Have a look at the results on Spanish Wikipedia and see the photos on Wikimedia Commons.

Leigh Thelmadatter, Tec de Monterrey Wiki Learning coordinator
Anna Koval, Wikipedia Education Program, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 15, 2015 05:43 PM

Single-User Login provides access to all wikis

Collaboration logo V2.svg
Later this month, everyone will be able to use the same user name on every wiki, thanks to Single-User Login. As a result, cross-wiki collaboration and communication is expected to improve. Collaboration logo by Berdea, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

On March 16, 2001, two months after Wikipedia’s creation, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales announced and launched the first Wikipedia projects to be written in languages other than English, starting with the German and Catalan Wikipedias. The Wikimedia Foundation now hosts over 900 wikis in hundreds of languages, covering ten subject areas; this includes Meta-Wiki, the global community site, and MediaWiki.org, the website for development and documentation of the software that runs the Wikimedia wikis.


The rapid growth of the projects presented a problem early on — one that is finally being solved this month with Single-User Login: accounts created on one wiki used to only work on that wiki. If you wanted to edit a different wiki, you had to register a new account. Sometimes, and with growing frequency over the years, your account name was already registered by someone else on that different wiki. Lack of single-user login required you to register a different account name, splitting your identity across the wikis. This caused problems in software development, making it hard to develop global notifications or global watchlists, for example. The lack of persistent identity across the wikis also caused problems with users being mistaken for other users: users blocked on one wiki were sometimes assumed to be the same person on another, for instance. As of last month, there were 2.8 million accounts with conflicting, identical usernames, out of over 90 million local accounts.


As early as May 2004, while proposing Wikimedia Commons as a free media repository, Erik Moeller (User:Eloquence) put forward the idea of using Commons as a place to unify all usernames. In June of 2005 the first specifics were proposed to establish and use “global accounts.” The Wikimedia Foundation committed software architect and engineer Brion Vibber to work on that project. Due to various complications, the resulting global log-in system, CentralAuth, was not ready for general use until 2008 — and only in 2009 were new account name requests checked against those that registered their global name. Following a community request in 2012 to complete single-user login and make all accounts global, the Wikimedia Foundation provided more resources for that task. In the spring of 2013, James Forrester was tasked with unifying and globalizing all accounts, and early planning began. Dan Garry took over the project at the end of 2013, and throughout the summer of 2014 he led the engineering work to complete the task. I, Keegan Peterzell, took over the project once most engineering challenges had been met, at the end of October 2014.


The move to all-global accounts has been taking place in stages over the past eight months. In August 2014, we started migrating all local accounts that did not conflict with another local account or a global account, making them global across all wikis. In September 2014, the ability to rename accounts moved from local requests to a global group, to prevent local renames that would separate an account from its global owner. In November and December 2014, we tested new global rename processing tools. In January 2015, GlobalRenameRequest was deployed on all wikis, with the special queue where requests are sent for processing. This special page allows users to request a new name from the wiki on which they are logged in, using localized, translated text. The form is short and allows global renamers to smoothly process requests from all wikis. In February 2015, we focused on preventing the ability to create an account that conflicted with a global account by anyone, as well as contacting over 80,000 accounts with unconfirmed email addresses to request confirmation. In March 2015, a script was run over all the remaining clashing accounts, based on a rename selection scheme to determine the final global accounts and which other accounts needed to be renamed.

Final stages

On March 17, 2015, we started contacting the 2.8 million accounts being renamed. Since being contacted, over 1.34 million accounts have been connected to their global accounts and will no longer need to be renamed; and over 10,000 accounts have been renamed to a new global account name of their choosing. This week, we will begin the process of renaming the remaining 1.46 million accounts – those which have not responded to all attempts at outreach. That process is expected to take approximately one to two weeks. Once renamed, account owners will still be able to log in using their old credentials and will be shown information about the renaming. At any point after being renamed, all affected accounts are free to request a new name of their choice, using GlobalRenameRequest. To learn more, visit this help page.

Once finalization is complete, every account on Wikimedia projects will be unique in all projects. Any confusion about user identities will be addressed by setting up a global user page for your account in the unified world; and software developers will be able to start projects that had been put on hold for over a decade due to this ongoing issue.

As a result of Single-User Login, cross-wiki collaboration and communication should improve, which should help the health of the overall Wikimedia movement. I look forward to sharing this new, unified wiki experience with the rest of you. The wait and the work should all be well worth it.

Keegan Peterzell
Community Liaison
Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 15, 2015 04:18 PM

April 10, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation releases latest transparency report

In the second half of 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation received hundreds of requests from governments, individuals, and organizations to disclose nonpublic user data and remove content from the Wikimedia Projects. Only two requests were granted. Photo by Booksworm, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0.
In the second half of 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation received hundreds of requests from governments, individuals, and organizations to disclose nonpublic user data and remove content from the Wikimedia Projects. Only three requests were granted.
Photo by Booksworm, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0.

We are pleased to announce the release of our biannual update to the Wikimedia Foundation’s Transparency Report. Transparency has always been core to our mission, and last year’s first-ever report was a step forward in achieving even greater openness for the Wikimedia community of users. This year’s report details how, of the 201 content and copyright takedown requests we received from July through December 2014, only three were granted.

As supporters of the world’s largest free knowledge resource, the Wikimedia Foundation regularly receives requests from governments, individuals, and organizations to disclose nonpublic user data and remove content from the Wikimedia Projects. These requests often conflict with our mission of making the sum of all knowledge freely available to everyone, and our commitment to protecting user privacy. Our Transparency Report documents these requests, their origins, and how we responded to them.

The first report published in August 2014, which covered requests from July 2012 through June 2014, documented how we complied with none of the 304 general content removal requests received during this time. The current update continues this practice with fresh numbers. We’ve also highlighted new, interesting stories from this period and have included even more information about the requests we’ve received. The report now documents which government entities made requests for user data, sheds light on requests made under the European Union’s so-called “right to be forgotten,” and discusses our infrequent voluntary information disclosures during emergency situations.

The recently released report focuses on three key areas: :

  • Content alteration and takedown requests. Of the 190 general content removal requests, only one was granted by staff at the Wikimedia Foundation. We receive relatively few content removal requests because of the vigilance of the Wikimedia user community, which often works to address legitimate concerns dealing with issues like content accuracy, Wikipedia policy compliance, and potential copyright infringement. However, when we do receive such requests, we defend against them vigorously — maintaining open and neutral platforms means resisting attempts to censor users. It is the users who decide what content belongs on Wikimedia projects. We therefore strongly encourage complaining parties to engage with the user community instead of resorting to unproductive legal threats.
  • Copyright takedown requests. Of the 11 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requests received, only one was granted. Wikimedia users, many of whom are copyright holders themselves, remain instrumental in ensuring that Wikimedia projects comply with copyright laws. As a result, we receive very few DMCA requests. For the occasional DMCA notices we do receive, however, we conduct a thorough evaluation and only remove infringing content if the request is valid.
  • Requests for user data. Of the 28 user data requests received, only one has resulted in disclosure of nonpublic user information. We carefully review every request we receive to ensure that it is legal and meets our standards. We reject those that don’t. And often, we do not have any information to give. As part of our commitment to user privacy, Wikimedia collects little nonpublic user information, and retains that information for a short amount of time.

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

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

* This transparency report would not have been possible without the help of many individuals, including: Moiz Syed, Prateek Saxena, Jacob Rogers, James Buatti, Aeryn Palmer, Katherine Maher, Jove Oliver, James Alexander, and Patrick Earley.

by Andrew Sherman at April 10, 2015 10:36 PM

April 09, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Share a fact with friends on the Wikipedia Android app

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

You can now easily share facts from the Wikipedia Android app. Watch this video for a quick preview. You can also watch it on YouTube or Vimeo. Video by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Have you ever won an argument by finding a fact on Wikipedia? Or maybe you love sharing Wikipedia articles with your friends and family?

If that sounds like you, there’s a new feature on the Wikipedia Android app you might enjoy! Now, you can easily and quickly create Wikipedia fact cards — images overlaid with whatever text you choose from an article — that can be shared with anyone via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.), email, or text message.

Anyone can generate and share fact cards from the official Wikipedia Android app developed by the Wikimedia Foundation. Simply choose your favorite article, select some text, and then click the “Share as image” option. The app will pull the main image from the article and apply selected text on top. This card can then be shared with your friends, family, and the world on your communication channel of choice. You can also choose a text-only option if you prefer.

Quick guide

Step one: Choose and highlight text.

Share a fact
Strasbourg Wikipedia article with highlighted text to be shared.
Image by Dan Garry, CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo by Jonathan Martz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Step two: Click share.

Share a fact2
Share options for card creation.
Image by Dan Garry, CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo by Jonathan Martz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Step three: And the card is created!

Card to be shared on media channels. Image by Dan Garry, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Card to be shared on media channels.
Image by Dan Garry, CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo by Jonathan Martz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

This is just one of many other existing features available on the Android app.

Other recently added features include:
• Read more feature at the end each article, to encourage further exploration
• Lead image at the top of each article, to engage readers in the topic
• Image gallery that lets you swipe left or right through all of an article’s images
• Nearby articles that suggest content related to your location
• Saved pages that allows you to read articles while offline

What do you think of this new feature? Let us know in the comments here — or share your own Wikipedia fact cards with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Dan Garry, Product Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 09, 2015 01:48 AM

The new Content Translation tool is now used on 22 Wikipedias

The Content Translation tool makes it easier to create new Wikipedia articles from other languages. You can now start translations from your Contributions link, where you can find articles missing in your language. Screenshot by Runa Bhattacharjee, freely licensed under CC0 1.0
The Content Translation tool makes it easier to create new Wikipedia articles from other languages. You can now start translations from your Contributions link, where you can find articles missing in your language. Screenshot by Runa Bhattacharjee, licensed under CC0 1.0

Since it was first introduced three months ago, the Content Translation tool has been used to write more than 850 new articles on 22 Wikipedias. This tool was developed by Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Engineering team to help multilingual users quickly create new Wikipedia articles by translating them from other languages. It includes an editing interface and translation tools that make it easy to adapt wiki-specific syntax, links, references, and categories. For a few languages, machine translation support via Apertium is also available.

Content Translation (aka CX) was first announced on January 20, 2015, as a beta feature on 8 Wikipedias: Catalan, Danish, Esperanto, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian (Bokmal), Portuguese, and Spanish. Since then, Content Translation has been added gradually to more Wikipedias – mostly at the request of their communities. As a result, the tool is now available as a beta feature on 22 Wikipedias. Logged-in users can enable the tool as a preference on those sites, where they can translate articles from any of the available source languages (including English) into these 22 languages.

Here is what we have learned by observing how Content Translation was used by over 260 editors in the last three months.


Number of users who enabled this beta feature over time on Catalan Wikipedia. Graph by Runa Bhattacharjee, CC0 1.0

To date, nearly 1,000 users have manually enabled the Content Translation tool — and more than 260 have used it to translate a new article. Most translators are from the Catalan and Spanish Wikipedias, where the tool was first released as a beta feature.


Articles published using Content Translation. Graph by Runa Bhattacharjee, CC0 1.0

Articles created with the Content Translation tool cover a wide range of topics, such as fashion designers, Field Medal scholars, lunar seas and Asturian beaches. Translations can be in two states: published or in-progress. Published articles appear on Wikipedia like any other new article and are improved collaboratively; these articles also include a tag that indicates that they were created using Content Translation. In-progress translations are unpublished and appear on the individual dashboard of the translator who is working on it. Translations are saved automatically and users can continue working on them anytime. In cases where multiple users attempt to translate or publish the same article in the same language, they receive a warning. To avoid any accidental overwrites, the other translators can publish their translations under their user page — and make separate improvements on the main article. More than 875 new articles have been created since Content Translation has been made available — 500 of which were created on the Catalan Wikipedia alone.


When we first planned to release Content Translation, we decided to monitor how well the tool was being adopted — and whether it was indeed useful to complement the workflow used by editors to create a new article. The development team also agreed to respond quickly all queries or bugs. Complex bugs and other feature fixes were planned into the development cycles. But finding the right solution for the publishing target proved to be major challenge, from user experience to analytics. Originally, we did not support publishing into the main namespace of any Wikipedia: users had to publish their translations under their user pages first and then move them to the main namespace. However, this caused delays, confusion and sometimes conflicts when the articles were eventually moved for publication. In some cases, we also noticed that articles had not been counted correctly after publication. To avoid these issues, that original configuration was changed for all supported sites. A new translation is now published like any other new article and in case an article already exists or gets created while the translation was being done, the user is displayed warnings.

New features

Considering the largely favorable response from our first users, we have now started to release the tool to more Wikipedias. New requests are promptly handled and scheduled, after language-specific checks to make sure that proposed changes will work for all sites. However, usage patterns have varied across the 22 Wikipedias. While some of the causes are outside of our control (like the total number of active editors), we plan to make several enhancements to make Content Translation easily discoverable by more users, at different points of the editing and reading workflows. For instance, when users are about to create a new article from scratch, a message gives them the option to start with a translation instead. Users can also see suggestions in the interlanguage link section for languages that they can translate an article into. And last but not least, the Contributions section now provides a link to start a new translation and find articles missing in your language (see image at the top of this post).

In coming months, we will continue to introduce new features and make Content Translation more reliable for our users. See the complete list of Wikipedias where Content Translation is currently available as a beta feature. We hope you will try it out as well, to create more content

Runa Bhattacharjee, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 09, 2015 12:43 AM

15 women who made a difference

Malala Yousafzai is one of the inspiring women recommended by our community for this month's search for high-quality women's biographies. The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, she is a human rights advocate for education and for women in Pakistan.  Photo by Russell Watkins, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0.

Malala Yousafzai is one of the inspiring women recommended by our community for this month’s search for high-quality women’s biographies on Wikipedia. The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, she is a human rights advocate for education and for women in Pakistan. Photo by Russell Watkins, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0.

This month, we invited the Wikimedia community to recommend high-quality Wikipedia articles about women and gender diversity, to celebrate International Women’s Day and WikiWomen’s History Month.

Together, we collected a wide range of factual, well-written and insightful articles, with over 43 community recommendations, shared via email, social media and on Wikimedia sites this month.

Here are some of our favorite biographies, based on community and team feedback. The articles we selected together feature 15 women from diverse backgrounds, who made important contributions in a variety of fields, from science to the arts, business and politics.

We hope you will find their life stories as inspiring as we do.

Ada Lovelace

Image by Alfred Edward Chalon, public domain.

Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, wrote what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is often described as the world’s first computer programmer. This article is factual and well-written; it features a woman that’s an inspiration to many, particularly in the technology community.
Suggested by Fabrice Florin.
Image by Alfred Edward Chalon, Public domain.

Anita Sarkeesian

Image by Anita Sarkeesian, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian American feminist public speaker, media critic, blogger and thought leader on women’s studies in popular culture. Her essays and video blogs have been used to teach university-level courses, drawn millions of readers and viewers, and intend to create a renewed taste for originality and diversity in modern media.
Suggested by Glitchygirl.
Image by Anita Sarkeesian, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Anne Frank

Image by Getty, Fair use.

Anne Frank is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. She gained international fame posthumously after her wartime diary was published: The Diary of a Young Girl documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Featured article.
Suggested by Andrew Sherman.
Image by Getty, Fair use.

Barbara McClintock

Image by Smithsonian Institution.

Barbara McClintock was an American scientist and cytogeneticist who discovered several important concepts that make modern molecular genetics possible. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University, where she lead the development of maize cytogenetics, the focus of her research for the rest of her life. She received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Featured article.
Suggested by Keilana.
Image by Smithsonian Institution, Public domain.

Corazon Aquino

Suggested by Jewel457. Image by Airman Gerald B. Johnson, Public domain.

Corazon Aquino was a Philippine politician who served as the 11th President of the Philippines — the first woman to hold that office, and the first female president in Asia. Aquino was the most prominent figure of the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled the 20-year authoritarian rule of President Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy to the Philippines. Prior to that, she had not held any elected position in government, and is said to be “the housewife that launched a revolution.”
Suggested by Jewel457.
Image by Airman Gerald B. Johnson, Public domain.

Emma Goldman

Suggested by Kaldari. Image by Emma Goldman Papers, Public domain.

Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century. For that reason, she has been described as “the most dangerous woman in America.” Featured article.
Suggested by Kaldari.
Image by Emma Goldman Papers, Public domain.

Hedy Lamarr

Suggested by Katherine Maher. Image by author, license.

Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian and American inventor and film actress. Lamarr is known primarily as an actress, but also co-invented the technology for spread spectrum and frequency hopping communications, used by the American military to control torpedoes during World War II. Those inventions have more recently been incorporated into Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technologies, and she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.
Suggested by Katherine Maher.
Image by Studio, Public domain.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Suggested by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mary_Mark_Ockerbloom"Mary Mark Ockerbloom. Image by Prathyush Thomas

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian entrepreneur, the chairman and managing director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore. In 2014, she was awarded the Othmer Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to the progress of science and chemistry. She is on the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list — an impressive feat, considering she was told that she could not be hired in a male-dominated field.
Suggested by Mary Mark Ockerbloom.
Image by Prathyush Thomas, GFDL 1.2.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is one of the inspiring women recommended by our community for this month's search for high-quality women's biographies. The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, she is a human rights advocate for education and for women in Pakistan.  Photo by Russell Watkins, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0.

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy for education and for women in northwest Pakistan, where she faced abuse from the local Taliban. Her advocacy has since grown into an international movement. This article is informative, in-depth and well-researched; it’s about an inspiring young woman that’s shown exceptional courage and started an international movement.
Suggested by Fabrice Florin.
Image by Russell Watkins, CC BY 2.0.

Navi Pillay

Suggested by Katherine Maher. Image by US Mission Geneva, Public domain.

Navi Pillay is a South African human rights lawyer who most recently served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She defended anti-apartheid activists while breaking color and gender barriers as a jurist in South Africa, before becoming a respected international human rights jurist. A South African of Indian Tamil origin, she was the first non-white woman judge of the High Court of South Africa, and she has also served as a judge of the International Criminal Court and President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Suggested by Katherine Maher.
Image by US Mission Geneva, Public domain.

Patricia Locke (Tawacin WasteWin)

Suggested by Wiki-uk. Image by source, Fair use.

Patricia Locke (Tawacin WasteWin) was an American Indian educator-activist who is best known for her work in promoting, preserving and maintaining indigenous languages and cultures. She was a MacArthur Fellow and represented the US National Bahá’í community at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. She was honored with an award from the Indigenous Language Institute in 2001, just before her death; posthumously, she was inducted by the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Suggested by Wiki-uk.
Image from Gobonobo, Fair use.

Rosalind Franklin

Suggested by Er Mohsin Dalvi. Image by Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage-Images, Copyright.

Rosalind Franklin was instrumental in deciphering the structure of DNA, which today is the cornerstone of modern medicine. In 1952, while at King’s College, London, she and Raymond Gosling obtained exceptionally clear diffraction pictures of DNA, which led to the discovery of its helical structure. Due to long exposure to X-rays, she developed ovarian tumors and died young at 37 years of age, without receiving recognition for her scientific contributions. Many believe that she should have shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for decoding the structure of DNA, along with James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins.
Suggested by Er Mohsin Dalvi. Image by Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage-Images, Copyright.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Suggested by Katherine Maher. Image by Steve Petteway, Public domain.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, the second female judge ever appointed, and the first Jewish female judge in the court’s history. She is also 81 years old, and has a healthy sense of her own vitality and influence. Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg spent a considerable portion of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of women’s rights as a constitutional principle.
Suggested by Katherine Maher.
Image by Steve Petteway, Public domain.

Juana Inés de la Cruz


Juana Inés de la Cruz was a self-taught scholar and poet of the Baroque school, and Hieronymite nun of New Spain, known in her lifetime as “The Tenth Muse.” Although she lived in a colonial era when Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire, she is considered today both a Mexican writer and a contributor to the Spanish Golden Age, and she stands at the beginning of the history of Mexican literature in the Spanish language. Featured article.
Suggested by Ivan Martinez.
Image by Miguel Cabrea, Public domain.

Susan Sontag

Suggested by Jane023. Image by Juan Bastos, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Susan Sontag was an American writer and filmmaker, teacher and political activist. Sontag was active in writing and speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture and media, AIDS and illness, human rights, and communism and leftist ideology. The New York Review of Books called her “one of the most influential critics of her generation.”
Suggested by Jane023.
Image by Juan Bastos, CC BY 3.0.

More articles

For more notable women’s biographies, visit our community submissions page: ‘Women and gender diversity on Wikimedia’.

This short list of community suggestions is not meant to be comprehensive, but introduces a few of the many women who helped change the world we live in.

Besides women’s biographies, we also collected other suggestions of interesting articles about gender diversity and related topics:
Women in piracy
Women in popular legends
Gulabi Gang


Thanks to everyone who contributed to this community-created collection of articles!

Together, we found really well-written, factual and insightful articles, which introduced us to some fascinating individuals. Your collective suggestions broadened our perspectives about women and gender diversity.

And we are grateful to all the women profiled here, for their inspiring achievements in making the world a better place.

What do you think?

What do you think about this community curation experiment? Did you learn anything new? Should we try this again? If so, what themes would you like to focus on next?

Please chime in the comments below, with your ideas and suggestions.

We hope that collaborations like these can help us discover new ways to share knowledge with each other, by combining Wikimedia projects, our blog and social media.


Fabrice Florin – Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 09, 2015 12:17 AM

April 07, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

How content translation improved my wiki edits

Group photo
The Content Translation tool has made it a lot easier for Catalan Wikimedians to convert articles to and from different languages. Photo by Flamenc, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Catalan Wikimedians are a very enthusiastic wiki community. In relation to the whole movement, we are mid-sized but one of the most active in terms of editors per millions of speakers.

Surprisingly Catalan, our mother language, was banished for more than 40 years. Thankfully, editors like to use wikis for digital language activism. With Wikipedia (Viquipèdia, in Catalan) we founded a digital space where we can freely spread our language without real life restrictions (governments, markets).

Almost 99% of Catalan speakers are bilingual and also speak Spanish. This means that content translation from Spanish Wikipedia happens frequently on our project. Some translate by hand, others use commercial platforms like Google Translate or freely licensed translation engines like Apertium. Some users even create their own translation bots, like the AmicalBot or EVA, which our community loves and uses often.

A few months ago, we heard news of the upcoming Wikimedia’s ContentTranslation tool, and we’re really happy to find that the very first language tests were planned between Spanish and Catalan. Our community responded to this news with great enthusiasm and we have been testing the tool for months now. The development team has kindly listened to our comments and demands, while implementing many of our shared recommendations.

At a personal level, I found the tool really helpful. It is easy to use and understand, and it greatly facilitates our work. I can now translate a 20- line article in less than 5 minutes, saving lots of time. Before, the worst part of translating articles was spending extra time translating reference templates and some of the wikicode. We understand the tool is not perfect yet, but nothing is perfect in a wiki environment: it is continuously being improved.

One of our community’s biggest challenges is updating different language wikis. We have good content about Catalan culture in the Catalan language, but we are not that good at exporting this content to other wikis. I personally hope that this tool can help us with both tasks.

I recommend that you try the ContentTranslation tool with an open mind and spend some time with it. Translate a few articles and if you find any bugs, please report them. When we say Wikipedia is a global project, we mean that it is multilingual, and this tool really helps us reach our shared vision to help every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

Alex Hinojo, Amical Wikimedia community member

by Andrew Sherman at April 07, 2015 07:03 PM

Women and gender diversity on Wikimedia: our top stories

Last month, the Wikimedia Blog featured a special collection of stories on women and gender diversity in the Wikimedia movement — to celebrate International Women’s Day and WikiWomen’s History Month.

Our goals for that month’s editorial focus were to show how women around the world are contributing to Wikimedia projects today, to invite more women to participate, and to identify best practices for increasing gender diversity in our communities, as well as in the content we create together.

We published 15 different stories on this theme, ranging from profiles of women who contribute to the Wikimedia movement, to reports about programs that encourage gender diversity, to recommended articles about women on Wikipedia.

Here are the most popular stories we featured this month on this topic:

Meet some of the women who contribute to Wikipedia

Zinaida Good grew up in Russia, studied in Canada and started editing Wikipedia in 2008, as a college assignment. Photo by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Zinaida Good grew up in Russia, studied in Canada and started editing Wikipedia in 2008, as a college assignment. Photo by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Here are 11 inspiring profiles of some of the women who actively participate on Wikimedia projects — many of these stories include video interviews. They have very diverse backgrounds and come from different parts of the world, including: a Russian biology student, an Indian math teacher and a Swiss community leader. They all share a passion for knowledge — and see editing as a way to freely share that knowledge with the world. Read more.

Art+Feminism Events on International Women’s Day

Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon in Madrid, Spain. Events like these took place around the world on International Women's Day, to increase gender diversity on Wikipedia.  Photo by Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 4.0

Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon in Madrid, Spain. Events like these took place around the world on International Women’s Day. Photo by Carlos Delgado, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Over 75 edit-a-thons were held around the world on International Women’s Day weekend, to improve coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia. This global effort was organized by the Art+Feminism Campaign in New York. Here is their report on this massive undertaking, which engaged 1,500 participants to help increase gender diversity on Wikimedia projects. Read more.

15 women who made a difference

Malala Yousafzai is one of the inspiring women recommended by our community for this month's search for high-quality women's biographies. The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, she is a human rights advocate for education and for women in Pakistan.  Photo by Russell Watkins, CC-BY-SA-2.0.

Malala Yousafzai is one of the inspiring women recommended by our community for this month’s search for high-quality women’s biographies. The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, she is a human rights advocate for education and for women in Pakistan. Photo by Russell Watkins, CC-BY-SA-2.0.

Here are our favorite biographies of women on Wikipedia, suggested by community and team members. The articles we selected together feature 15 women who made important contributions in the arts, sciences, business and politics. We hope you will find their life stories as inspiring as we do. Read more.

Gender as a text field: What Wikipedia can learn from Facebook

We are more than our sex and more than our gender, and many users want more nuanced options for identifying themselves online. Andrógino by Ismael Nery. Public Domain.

Andrógino by Ismael Nery. Public Domain.

We are more than our sex and more than our gender, and many users want more nuanced options for identifying themselves online. This thoughtful essay gives an overview of sex and gender differences and explores how other sites like Facebook have addressed questions of gender identification. Read more.

Inspire Campaign to fund new gender diversity initiatives

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

Inspire Campaign graphic by Vpseudo, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Complex issues require collective action. Last month, the Wikimedia Foundation launched the Inspire Campaign, inviting community ideas to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects. In response to this call to action, over 266 ideas were submitted, with 629 people joining the campaign, as outlined in this update. Read more.

Serbian women edit Wikipedia together in new FemWiki project

Women participate in a FemWiki workshop in Kraljevo, to increase gender diversity on the Serbian Wikipedia. These events help them form friendships, share advice and support each other to write more articles about women and gender issues. Photo by BoyaBoBoya, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by BoyaBoBoya, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The FemWiki project invites women to collaborate to increase gender diversity on the Serbian Wikipedia. Regular workshops help them form friendships, share advice and support each other to write more articles about women and gender issues. Learn more.

Why Italian fashion history should be just a click away: Virginia Gentilini

Italian fashion history is not well covered on Wikipedia. Librarian Virginia Gentilini is helping turn that around. Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Italy is a global leader in the fashion industry. But Italian fashion history is not well covered on Wikipedia. Librarian Virginia Gentilini explains why. She thinks the dearth of Italian fashion articles results from a lack of female writers and editors on Wikipedia — as well as the misconception among some users that fashion is strictly a female topic. Learn more.

Thanks to our contributors

We are very grateful to everyone who made this special series possible!

Special thanks to story authors Juliet Barbara, Siko Bouterse, Tilman Bayer, María Cruz, Siân Evans, Victor Grigas, Michael Guss, Katherine Maher, Amanda Menking, Dorothy Howard, Jacqueline Mabey, Michael Mandiberg, Sanja Pavlovic, Andrew Sherman, Heather Walls and Alex Wang, for taking the time to share your news and ideas with our community.

Together, we featured a diverse collection of insightful stories, which introduced us to some amazing women — and helped surface promising ideas for encouraging more gender diversity in our projects. We hope you learned as much from this exploration as we did.

And our deepest thanks go to all the women featured in these stories: your wonderful contributions and dedication to free knowledge is truly inspiring!

What do you think?

What do you think of this special focus on Women and gender diversity? Was this topic interesting to you? Did you learn anything new?

Should we focus on other monthly themes in the future? If so, which topics would you recommend? Should we do this regularly, or just once in a while?

Please share your comments below — or on the blog talk page.

We look forward to hearing from you, so we can share more stories that match your interests — and help grow and diversify our movement!

Fabrice Florin
Movement Communications Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at April 07, 2015 07:02 PM

April 03, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Inspire Campaign receives hundreds of new ideas to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia projects

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

Last month, the Wikimedia Foundation launched the Inspire Campaign, inviting community ideas to address gender disparity on the Wikimedia projects, with USD $250,000 of funding available through the IdeaLab.

A wealth of ideas

The first phase of that campaign started on March 4th and came to a close on April 1st. During that time, over 266 ideas were submitted, far surpassing the initial goal of 100 proposals.

About 629 people participated on the Inspire pages, suggesting new approaches, endorsing ideas, offering feedback, and discussing issues. While discussions about gender were active, the conversations were generally friendly and productive — thanks to the supportive Meta community, its administrators, and the new IdeaLab friendly space guidelines.

Ideas ranged from major, movement-wide initiatives, to smaller, local proposals. Some focused on existing Wikimedia workflows and projects, while others looked at outreach to other educational communities. Research was also a popular category. Ideas were submitted in multiple languages, and proposals involved communities from around the world.

Here are just three examples of proposals submitted during the campaign:

Gender-gap admin training: Focusing on the English Wikipedia, this idea seeks to provide training to site administrators on the topic of gender diversity.

Wikineedsgirls: This proposal hopes to engage female students in Ghana to edit the Wikimedia projects through training sessions, mentoring, and edit-a-thons.

Linguistics Editathon series: Through a focused series of edit-a-thons and instructor training at academic conferences, this idea will promote more participation on Wikipedia by linguists – a group with an above-average percentage of women.

What’s next?

In the next phases of the Inspire Campaign, we plan to develop ideas that need funding into viable grant applications, then award grants. In the second half of April, the Funding Committee and IdeaLab staff will apply a scoring rubric to proposals. In the first half of April, the Committee will discuss ideas, and publish feedback on the proposal talk pages. The grantees will be announced on April 30th.

There are still a lot of innovative ideas that don’t need funding and/or could use additional support, such as finding project leaders and mentors. We’d love to see those ideas move forward, so please keep developing them. We are committed to supporting gender-related work year-round, through all our grantmaking programs.

If you have questions about the process, you can post them here, or email grants-at-wikimedia.org.

Patrick Earley, Community Advocate, Wikimedia Foundation
Alex Wang, Project and Event Grants Program Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 03, 2015 10:41 PM

New Wikimedia Foundation report on activities in 2014

The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the top sites on the web, with only two hundred employees. Our new report outlines what we accomplished together in 2014. Staff photo by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Staff photo by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Today the Wikimedia Foundation is pleased to release a report on the State of the Wikimedia Foundation for the 2014 calendar year. The report provides a snapshot view of the Foundation’s major initiatives and considerations during that period. It also offers a baseline assessment of key efforts made by internal Foundation departments, with an emphasis on data-based results, project impact, challenges, and how our work supports our mission.

We developed this report as part of an organizational effort to align around the opportunities and challenges ahead of the Wikimedia Foundation and broader Wikimedia movement. Gaining a clear understanding of our activities today is a critical first step toward the development of a strategic vision for the future. A shared understanding empowers the Foundation and Wikimedia community to make more informed decisions about how we work to further our mission.

The report is based on information shared by various departments and teams throughout the Foundation. Each team reported on achievements and challenges from 2014. They took a fresh, candid look at where the Wikimedia Foundation is currently—and where we are headed. As such, this report is designed as a standalone product, and is not intended to replace other regular reporting and planning processes, such as the Annual Plan, Quarterly Reports, or the Annual Report.

The report is divided into eight sections, each of which covers a specific department or team within the Foundation. It includes a team overview (About), a summary of the team’s work during the year (2014: Overview), a summary of key initiatives (Key Efforts), a summary of challenges identified throughout the year (Considerations), and a look into 2015 work (2015: The year ahead).

The report also highlights the Wikimedia Foundation’s internal 2015 Call to Action, a set of actions for Foundation staff to focus the organization around immediate and long-term opportunities in the 2015 calendar year.

These Call to Action objectives emerged from initial strategy conversations, as a way to help focus the Wikimedia Foundation and set priorities for the upcoming year. The various points of the Call to Action reflect the Foundation’s commitment to improve the processes by which we do our work, build relationships with our communities, and explore new ways in which we might expand free knowledge. Our goal is to reinforce the core of the Wikimedia Foundation and set the state for future innovation.

The full State of the Wikimedia Foundation report is available as a wiki here and on Wikimedia Commons here.

Juliet Barbara, Senior Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation
Katherine Maher, Chief Communications Officer, Wikimedia Foundation
Heather Walls, Communications Design Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at April 03, 2015 02:25 AM

April 02, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

The Editatona: Helping women edit Wikipedia in Mexico


Editatonas are edit-a-thons for women, hosted by Wikimedia Mexico to increase gender diversity on the Spanish Wikipedia. To learn more, watch this video from the second Editatona at Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Mexico City. The video can also be viewed YouTube. Video by Ivan Martínez, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wikimedia Mexico has started a new program called the Editatona (our feminine word for ‘Editathon’ in Spanish): this editing marathon for women aims to increase gender diversity on the Spanish Wikipedia. We have already hosted two Editatonas this year — and plan two more in 2015, with a focus on Latin America and Spanish-speaking Wikimedia organizations.

Our first Editatona took place on January 31, 2015, bringing together 36 women participants who came in-person — and five more who joined online; this Editatona was held in the Instituto de Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir, an institution devoted to women, gender gap investigations and empowerment workshops. The second Editatona took place on March 14, 2015, gathering 25 women in-person and three more online participants; it was held in Mexico City’s Biblioteca Vasconcelos, the venue for Wikimania 2015 this summer.

After observing the low participation of women on Wikipedia and the types of content generated on this topic, we concluded that it would be important to cover three areas: Mexican Women, Feminism and Femicide in Mexico — and then add one additional focus on International Women. We also joined the international Iberocoop contest about Women in Wikipedia, which is now organized by several countries with Wikimedia organizations.

The first Editatona focused on Feminism, the history of that movement, as well as other related movements. The second Editatona focused on International Women, and was related to this Iberoamerican Wikipedia contest: “The woman you’ve never met.”

Two more Editatonas will be hosted in 2015:
• September: “Mexican women”
• November: “Femicide in Mexico”


Since October 2014, one of our goals has been to increase the participation of women in Spanish Wikipedia, through events we organize throughout Mexico. To that end, we decided to collaborate with nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to working with women.

We found support from a range of partners: Ímpetu A.C., Luchadoras TV, Mujeres Construyendo, La Sandía Digital and SocialTIC, groups which also work with technology and host gender gap activities.

Group photo of the first Editatona. Photo by Lulu.barrera, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Group photo of the first Editatona in Mexico City’s the Instituto de Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir. Photo by Lulu.barrera, CC BY-SA 4.0.


The two Editatonas engaged 61 women in person and 7 online — from different countries, such as Argentina, India and Mexico. As some attendants pointed out, having a safe space to learn about Wikipedia was a very important factor to encourage more participation by women in Wikipedia.

Here are just some of the new articles that were created worldwide during our edit-a-thons: Feminismo comunitario, History of feminism in Mexico, Lesbian feminism, Porn feminism, Petra Herrera, Lourdes Benería, Elizabeth Jelin, Francesca Gargallo, Harriet Taylor Mill, Carmen Álvarez Alonso, Sara Lovera, Ximena Escalante, Las Patronas, among others.


Here are some observations from both events we hosted so far.

The atmosphere during both Editatonas was always cordial and fun. Throughout the events, we could hear frequent murmurs of women talking, giving each other feedback, laughing and cheering. For the first event, organizers offered coffee and cookies, but most of the participants brought food and drinks to share: fruits, pastries, sweets, etc; since we didn’t have a scheduled time for meals, women would go to eat on their own time in the venue’s kitchen. For the second event, we had fabulous stickers made by User:Christian Cariño.

Online Collaboration
People who couldn’t attend in person where encouraged to join online: workshops were streamed and several people attended to learn how to edit. There was even a group of 5 women who met in an Argentinian coffee shop to join the first event together. For the second Editatona, we had online participants from the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

We also hosted special activities to complement the editing workshops. During the first event, we had a session about gender-neutral language; participants were divided in two groups: one group attended the talk and the other kept editing Wikipedia. For the second event, we organized activities two days earlier, including: a Wikipedia edition workshop, a workshop on Digital Women Security and another on Info-activism (these last two workshops were organized by SocialTIC). We also hosted a talk on Human Rights for Women: the right to information by Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission (CDHDF).

The Editatona was well documented. Luchadoras TV made a video of the event and hosted an earlier program on Rompeviento’s internet TV channel. The Wikipedia edition workshop was streamed, recorded and aired in Fractal, a program on ForoTV, on broadcast TV. As a result of our social media campaign, we had a lot of interactions over social networks, with the hashtag #Editatona.

Lessons learned

Here are some of the lessons we learned from the Editatona program.

Social media helped draw a lot of participants
We never thought that a social media campaign (Facebook and Twitter) would generate so much attendance — far exceeding our quota for enrollment in the first Editatona. The first venue we selected can only hold about 30 people — and within hours from our first announcement, we had surpassed that number. So, we decided on a 50 person quota, but continued receiving more requests: we had 87 by the end — compared to an average of 30-40 people for other Wikimedia Mexico events. These numbers are very encouraging. In the second Editatona, we registered fewer participants, since we had changed the venue to accommodate more people, but we still engaged 25 women in person.

Men or not?
One of the questions we had to solve was whether or not to accept men for these events. At first, we didn’t have a problem with men attending; but when we reviewed our first registrations, we saw that more women wanted to join the Editatona. We decided to give women preference over men, so they could participate: we can’t deny access to women for a women’s event. Wikimedia Mexico’s community and a lot of followers on Facebook and Twitter accused us of being exclusive; we responded by citing the importance of ‘positive discrimination’, to favor members of a disadvantaged group who suffer from discrimination within a culture. In the second Editatona, we decided to continue registration for women only; the key difference is that we hosted previous activities that could assist men and women prior to the main event.

Choosing a name for this program was hard. We proposed Editatona, our feminine word for the traditional ‘Editathon’ name in Spanish, which immediately raised eyebrows: ‘Editathon’ is derived from ‘hackathon’ and has its origins in the hacker culture. After discussing this with the Wikimedia Mexico community, we decided to call it Editatona because we intended for the content to be created by women with a feminist perspective. We wanted to make it clear that this is an initiative to engage and attract more women to Wikipedia.

Unfortunately we had low results in terms of edits made and articles created. This occurred for several reasons. One was technology: we experienced bad connectivity, not all the participants had their own equipment and some of them wanted to edit the same article. Also, a number of women spent a lot of time discussing the format and content of a single article, so the creation process was very slow.

Participants seemed engaged by this program and expressed appreciation for these events. One woman told us: “The Editona was incredible for me. It think it’s a great opportunity to record women’s history on Wikipedia. In addition, it has helped us build a community between us.” And another participant chimed in: “It has always seemed important to me that the participation of women become more visible.”

Overall, the Editatonas were a beautiful and hopeful experience for many participants, who enjoyed this opportunity to come together and edit Wikipedia articles with and about other women.

Carmen Alcázar, Wikimedia México
Translated by Iván Martínez, Wikimedia México

by fflorin2015 at April 02, 2015 05:21 PM

April 01, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Art+Feminism Events on International Women’s Day

File:Art + Feminism Edit-a-thon at the Museum of Modern Art March 7, 2015.webm

Over 75 Art+Feminism Edit-a-thons were hosted worldwide on International Women’s Day, to increase gender diversity on Wikipedia. To learn more, watch this video from the main event at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City: it can also be viewed on YouTube, and Vimeo. (Versions with burned-in English captions can also be found on Wikimedia Commons, YouTube, and Vimeo.) Video by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Art+Feminism Campaign organized a global drive to host edit-a-thons on the weekend of International Women’s Day, to improve Wikipedia articles about women in the arts, feminism, and gender — as well as to raise awareness of the Wikipedia gender gap. Over 75 events took place around the world, bringing together about 1,500 participants — ranging from small gatherings of friends to large groups at significant cultural institutions like LACMA, the Walker Art Center, and the Stedelijk Museum. As a result, at least 400 new articles were created, and another 500 articles were significantly improved.

The New York event at the Museum of Modern Art was the central node. This event was organized by Siân Evans and Jacqueline Mabey, Michael Mandiberg, and Dorothy Howard, in collaboration with POWarts and the Museum of Modern Art, and made possible by team of dedicated volunteers. Approximately 200 participants came through MoMA, including librarians, academics, curators, artists, art lovers, feminists, male allies, and experienced Wikipedians. Trainings were held throughout the day, in multiple locations across three floors of the Department of Education. New and experienced editors worked in a variety spaces: the mezzanine level, two classrooms, the Time Warner theatre, multiple lounges, and the library. The day was marked by a spirit of collaboration, with spontaneous volunteering and enthusiastic team editing.

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

Edit-a-thon in Lima, Peru.
Photo by Arandana17, CC BY-SA 4.0

Edit-a-thon in Madrid, Spain.
Photo by Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 4.0

Edit-a-thon in Montreal, Canada.
Photo by Micsmeets, CC BY-SA 4.0

Edit-a-thon in Paris, France.
Photo by Benoît Prieur, CC BY-SA 4.0

Edit-a-thon in Toronto, Canada.
Photo by Art Gallery of Ontario, CC BY 4.0

A lot of behind-the-scenes work went into catalyzing and coordinating over 75 events and effectively organizing this community. This work was made possible in part by a Project and Event Grant (PEG) and an Individual Engagement Grant (IEG) from the Wikimedia Foundation to build out infrastructure, including a website, and design training materials.

The project reached out extensively to librarians and scholars — primarily off-wiki and through social media — in order to harness their unique skills and build a network of advocates. As our project grows, we hope to empower the many local organizers to take leadership in hosting Art+Feminism events on their own, leveraging the training materials and other resources we have developed.


The Art + Feminism Edit-a-thons engaged 1,500 participants to collaborate actively in this global effort to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia sites. This gave them a unique opportunity to join forces with other women to take direct action in support of this cause. As one of the participants put it: “Sometimes we think that someone else is going to do it, but if we wait until that person does it, it’s going to be very slow. So we have to sometimes take things in[to] our own hands and just do it.”

Here are just some of the new articles that were created worldwide during our edit-a-thons: Elise Forrest Harleston, Amy Maria Sacker, Janet Payne Bowles, Lisl Steiner, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Kali (fine artist), Betty G. Miller, Camille Henrot, Sarah McEneaney, Kyle DeWoody, Jennie C. Jones, and the Heresies Collective.

Some of the articles that were improved include: Cecily Brown, Elaine de Kooning, Evelyn De Morgan, Carol Shaw (video game designer), Coco Fusco, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Valerie Hegarty, Yael Bartana, and Augusta Savage.

The event garnered significant international press coverage, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Libération, ArtNews, Wired, BBC World News, Radio Canada, and more than 30 other stories.

To learn more about what each site accomplished, visit the the Art+Feminism Outcomes page.

Lessons Learned

We think that our approach of organizing online but off-wiki though personal and professional networks and social media has been one of the keys to our success. It only makes sense; if you want to bring in new editors, you have to seek them out where they are. If you’re concerned about the gender gap, then offering some form of childcare is important. And having refreshments and multiple editing spaces was crucial to creating a spirit of welcoming and enthusiastic collaboration.

As organizers, we have no desire to rest on our laurels, but seek to continually improve. We actively seek feedback from our fellow organizers and going forward, we will submit our materials for a diversity review. It is impossible to be all things to all people, but we want to be accessible to as many as is feasible, the best jumping off point for groups to remix the processes and materials we’ve developed to suit the needs of their community.


The Art+Feminism project firmly supports a re-evaluation of the notability guidelines on Wikipedia. How do we address the fact that women’s accomplishments generally receive less coverage and may have less notable references to cite? We have an amazing opportunity to reverse that trend on Wikipedia. The Art+Feminism project seeks to ensure we don’t reproduce the same structural biases of past encyclopedic projects.

The Art+Feminism project is also interested in rethinking what makes the ideal Wikipedia; we wish to spark conversations about Wikipedia Editing and Digital Labor, in the context of leisure inequality and gender imbalance in the time people have to contribute to knowledge production and online communities. It’s neither realistic nor sustainable to seek to make every editor a heavy editor, someone whose volunteer labor becomes a part-time or full-time job. Encouraging casual editors can more effectively address content gaps and create a more accurate encyclopedia.


The Art+Feminism edit-a-thon series itself was the result of a collaboration between a number of artists, scholars, curators, librarians and Wikipedians. Specifically, it arose out of two separate conversations between the co-organizers. Siân Evans and Jacqueline Mabey had discussed trying to organize an event around art and feminism — similar to the edit-a-thons geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) that take place every year on Ada Lovelace Day. Evans’ goal was to engage ARLiS NA’s Women and Art Special Interest group to build public knowledge and address gender disparities in art research. Mabey mentioned this to Michael Mandiberg, a professor at CUNY Staten Island and the Graduate Center, because of his use of Wikipedia in teaching. Mandiberg had actually had a similar conversation earlier that day with curator Laurel Ptak. At the time, Ptak was a fellow at Eyebeam, a center for art and technology, where she was doing work around cyberfeminism, and he had encouraged her to hold an edit-a-thon focused on art, technology, and feminism. Evans, Mabey, Mandiberg, and Ptak’s specific knowledge of and connections within the arts and library communities were instrumental in building out the project.

After an initial meeting in the fall of 2013, we decided to hold an edit-a-thon and started the organizing process by getting a few local Wikipedia ambassadors involved. We initiated our outreach and organization off-wiki, and quickly extablished a network of nodes, which began planning events. Richard Knipel, of Wikimedia NYC connected node events with Wikipedians, and Dorothy Howard, Wikipedian in Residence at METRO conducted the trainings in NYC. At the Art+Feminism edit-a-thons in 2014, we had around 600 participants in 31 locations and created 101 new articles, and improved 90.

Siân Evans, Librarian and Implementation Manager, Artstor, Art Libraries Society of North America’s Women and Art Special Interest Group
Jacqueline Mabey, Independent Curator and Art Worker, failed projects
Michael Mandiberg, Associate Professor, CUNY Graduate Center and College of Staten Island/City University of New York
Dorothy Howard, Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Metropolitan New York Library Council

Related Links

by Andrew Sherman at April 01, 2015 05:00 PM

Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Kourosh Karimkhany as VP of Strategic Partnerships

A longtime media executive, Kourosh Karimkhany has worked with leading companies such as Yahoo and Conde Nast -- where he spearheaded the acquisition of Wired.com, Ars Technica and Reddit. Photo by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0
A longtime media executive, Kourosh Karimkhany has worked with leading companies such as Yahoo and Conde Nast — where he spearheaded the acquisition of Wired.com, Ars Technica and Reddit. Photo by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation is pleased to welcome Kourosh Karimkhany as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships on March 30, 2015. In this newly created role, Kourosh will initiate, maintain, and grow strategic relationships and partnerships that advance the Wikimedia mission, support the community, and increase access to knowledge globally.

Today, Wikipedia attracts nearly half a billion visitors and more than 20 billion page views each month. At the same time, hundreds of millions of people interact with data and content from the Wikimedia projects on third party platforms and properties. Our mission is to make the sum of all human knowledge freely available to the world, and content distribution and sharing play a key role in that process.

The Wikimedia Foundation has created this new strategic role to identify and manage these opportunities, and convert some of them into sharing and distribution partnerships in order to advance our mission. Kourosh joins us in this senior leadership role to craft a partnership strategy and create long-term value for Wikimedia projects through partnerships, projects, and relationships.

“Our aim is to empower people around the world with knowledge,” said Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “To fulfill that goal, we need to think creatively about opportunities to work with like-minded organizations. Kourosh will help us focus on our continued service to our community and users, and progress toward our mission.”

As Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Kourosh will oversee the Wikimedia Foundation’s partnership strategy, including Wikipedia Zero, a partnership-based project. Wikipedia Zero is designed to increase access to knowledge for people around the world. Applying additional focus to that work and orienting it within a larger partnerships strategy will help us work more effectively to achieve our mission.

The many fruitful and creative partnerships the Wikimedia community has already built to support knowledge creation and sharing around the world will be better supported as a result of this change. The partnerships group will help us identify the strategic initiatives we must take on at the WMF and increase our ability to support the movement and mission.

Kourosh is an experienced digital media executive. He started his career as a technology journalist covering Silicon Valley for Bloomberg, Reuters and Wired. He switched to the business side of media when he joined Yahoo as senior producer of Yahoo News. Later, he was the head of corporate development at Conde Nast where he spearheaded the acquisition of Wired.com, Ars Technica and Reddit. He also cofounded Food Republic in 2009, which was acquired in 2013. He is an active angel investor and startup advisor.

Kourosh will report to me under the newly created Advancement Department. To learn more about these changes, please see our FAQ.

Lisa Gruwell, Chief Advancement Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at April 01, 2015 01:15 PM

March 31, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Discovering a community through cryptology: Elonka Dunin

Video game developer Elonka Dunin is a multilingual Wikipedia editor with a knack for cryptology. Photo by Suzy Gorman, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

Video game developer Elonka Dunin is a multilingual Wikipedia editor with a knack for cryptology. Photo by Suzy Gorman, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5.

Elonka Dunin is an American video game developer and creator of cryptography websites about some of the world’s most famous unsolved codes.

Her cryptology work was cited on Wikipedia as early in 2005, leading her to contribute extensively on that topic. Since then, Dunin has written or substantially expanded over 500 articles. She has earned 24 barnstars for her contributions.

Dunin was born and raised in Los Angeles. Since she was a child, she was always interested in games, as her father was an avid gamer. According to Dunin, “he would program these large room-sized computers to play games with me, the little girl playing at the teletype machine, and he would also have gaming groups that would come by the house and this was of course before computer games.”

Dunin started her video game career at Simutronics in St. Louis in 1990, and worked there until 2014. Then she moved to Tennessee to co-found a new games studio, Black Gate Games. Attending gaming conventions led Dunin to a new passion: cryptology.

At one of the Dragon Con conventions in Atlanta, she was intrigued by a challenge to solve a cryptology code for a contest organized by PhreakNIC. “They’re handing out flyers with the code, and they’re saying that there’s a prize for the first solver,” she said. “I saw that code, and I just got obsessed with it.” Over the course of ten days, Dunin solved the puzzle and won a trip to a hacker convention.

Over the years, her cryptology skills developed so much that some conventions have banned her from competition. When an Atlanta hacker conference released a code challenge a few years ago, the instructions included this note: ‘Note: Past code crackers are ineligible for prizes associated with solving the @LANta.con2 puzzle; give someone else a chance, Elonka’’!

Kryptos is an encrypted sculpture at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Photo by Jim Sanborn, free licensed under  CC BY-SA 3.0.
Kryptos is an encrypted sculpture at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Photo by Jim Sanborn, free licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

During a visit to Washington DC, Dunin came across Kryptos, an encrypted sculpture by American artist Jim Sanborn, located on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia. She was so inspired by her experience that she created a website about this unusual sculpture. Kryptos features four separate, enigmatic messages — only three of which have been solved.

The website changed her life, as she received many questions about Kryptos and its codes — and responded to as many as she could, on her own and other sites.

Around 2005, Dunin noticed that her sites were getting links from something called Wikipedia. She followed the links back to learn about the growing encyclopedia, which intrigued her — and she began making her own edits. One of her first experiences was controversial, as one editor advised her to edit her own biography, other editors said she shouldn’t, and this led to a rapid education in community policies and attitudes towards conflicts of interest. Despite this initial setback, Dunin has become an active and respected editor, contributing to a wide range of articles on Wikipedia over the years.

One of Dunin’s projects has been to try to piece together the bits and pieces of her family genealogy and heritage. Her father, Stanley Dunin, was a war orphan: both of his parents were killed in Poland in September 1939 during the German invasion, while other family members were arrested and sent to Auschwitz. “Wikipedia has been a good source for my research,” she said, “as I have been learning about some of my more famous relatives, especially from the Polish szlachta (noble/gentility) classes.”

Dunin has found Wikipedia to be a diverse and engaging community. Her experience editing and creating articles has been both inspiring and motivating.

“I have gained new skills by working on Wikipedia. I have grown as a person by working on Wikipedia. I have helped other people by working on Wikipedia. I have been a part of an amazing global phenomenon.”

Profile by Andrew Sherman, Digital Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Interview by Matthew Roth, former Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at March 31, 2015 10:40 PM

March 30, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, March 2015

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 5 • Issue: 3 • March 2015 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Most important people; respiratory reliability; academic attitudes

With contributions by: Piotr Konieczny, Anwesh Chatterjee and Tilman Bayer.

Most important people of all times, according to four Wikipedias

"George-W-Bush". White house photo by Eric Draper. - This Image was released by the United States Department of Defense with the ID 030114-O-0000D-001_screen. Public Domain "Mao Zedong portrait" attributed to Zhang Zhenshi and a committee of artists (see [1]). - Intermediate source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardfisher/3451116326/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 "IkuhikoHata" by Dr. David McNeill under CC BY-SA 4.0 "Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S33882, Adolf Hitler retouched" by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S33882, under CC BY-SA 3.0 de Most prominent person on the English, Chinese, Japanese, and German Wikipedia, according to the paper’s PageRank method

This social network analysis[1] looks at the entire corpus of Wikipedia biographies (with data from English, Chinese, Japanese and German Wikipedias). The authors created several thousand networks (unfortunately, this short conference paper does not discuss precisely how) and used the PageRank algorithm to identify key individuals.

The authors attempt to answer the question “Who are the most important people of all times?” Their findings clearly show that different Wikipedias give different prominence to different individuals (the most prominent people, for the four Wikipedias, appear to be George W. Bush, Mao Zedong, Ikuhiko Hata and Adolf Hitler, respectively). The Eastern cultures seem to prioritize warriors and politicians; Western ones include more cultural (including religious) figures. Interesting findings concern globalization: “While the English Wikipedia includes 80% non-English leaders among the top 50, just two non-Chinese made it into the top 50 of the Chinese Wikipedia … Japanese Wikipedia is slightly more balanced, with almost 40 percent non-Japanese leaders”. Findings for the German Wikipedia are not presented. Though the authors don’t make that point, it seems that no women appear in the Top 10 lists presented. Overall, this seems like an interesting paper (it also received a writeup in Technology Review), through the brief form (two pages) means that many questions about methodology remain unanswered, and the presentation of findings, and analysis, are very curt. On a side note, one can wonder whether this paper is truly related to anthropology; given that the only time this field is referred to in this work is when the authors mention that they are “replacing anthropological fieldwork with statistical analysis of the treatment given by native speakers of a culture to different subjects in Wikipedia.”

See also our earlier coverage of similar studies:

“Wikipedia a reliable learning resource for medical students? Evaluating respiratory topics”

A paper in Advances in Physiology Education[2] claims to assess the suitability of Wikipedia’s respiratory articles for medical student learning. Forty Wikipedia articles on respiratory topics were sampled on 27 April 2014. These articles were assessed by three researchers with a modified version of the DISCERN tool. Article references were checked for accuracy and typography. Readability was assessed with the Flesch–Kincaid and Coleman–Liau tools.

The paper found a wide range of accuracy scores using the modified DISCERN tool, from 14.67 for “[Nail] clubbing” to 38.33 for “Tuberculosis”. Incorrect, incomplete or inconsistent formatting of references were commonly found, although these were not quantified in the paper. Readability of the articles was typically at a college level. On the basis of these findings, the paper declares Wikipedia’s respiratory articles as unsuitable for medical students.

The researcher apparently uses an arbitrary unvalidated modification of the DISCERN tool to assess the accuracy of articles. The nature of this modification is not specified; nor is it available at the journal’s website as claimed in the paper.

The DISCERN tool does not assess accuracy; rather, it is designed to assess “information about treatment choices specifically for health consumers”. As such, the use of this tool is inappropriate to assess the suitability for medical students.

There is no acknowledgement that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Several of the DISCERN tool’s questions are unsuitable for an encyclopedia. DISCERN questions such as “Does it describe how each treatment works?” and “Does it describe the risks of each treatment?” would be answered on other Wikipedia pages, not on the disease article’s page. The author makes an a priori assumption that the medical textbooks used for comparison are perfect sources. The author does not assess those textbooks with the DISCERN tool.

The paper states: “[t]he number of citations from peer-reviewed journals published in the last 5 yr was only 312 (19%).” However this is far superior to the number of citations in the textbooks listed. The chapter on “Neoplasms of the lung” in Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (18th ed.) contains no citations at all. Seven sources are listed in its “Further readings” section, of which only one is from the last five years.

The claim that the article on “clubbing … had no references or external links” is incorrect. On 27 April 2014, Wikipedia’s article on “Nail clubbing” had ten references.

Several of the articles are at a rudimentary stage, containing limited information and lacking appropriate references. However two articles, “Lung cancer” and “Diffuse panbronchiolitis“, were assessed by Wikipedia’s editors at the highest standard and awarded “Featured article” status. Five more articles, “Asthma“, “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease“, “Pneumonia“, “Pneumothorax” and “Tuberculosis“, reached “Good article” standard. These articles are exceptionally detailed, accurate, and well-referenced. Azer’s paper makes no mention of the high quality of these articles.

The research uses an unvalidated tool for an inappropriate purpose without applying a suitable comparator, and inevitably draws incorrect conclusions.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. It is not a medical textbook; nor is it intended to replace medical textbooks. Rather, it should be used as a starting point by medical students. The quality of an individual article should be quickly assessed by the reader, and information can be confirmed in the references provided. Missing information should be sought from other sources, such as textbooks. Students should be encouraged to use Wikipedia alongside medical textbooks to assist their learning.

Disclosure: I (Axl) am a Wikipedia editor, a pulmonologist, the main author of Wikipedia’s “Lung cancer” article, and a major contributor to other respiratory articles.

Most academics are not concerned about Wikipedia’s quality – but many think their colleagues are

This recent study[3] is a valuable contribution to the small body of work on academics attitudes towards Wikipedia, and is the largest-scale survey in that field so far, with nearly a 1000 valid responses from the faculty at two Spanish universities. The authors find that Wikipedia is generally held in a positive regard (nearly half of the respondents think it is useful for teaching, while less than 20% disagree; similar numbers use it for general information gathering, though the numbers are split at about 35% on whether they use it for research in their own discipline). Almost 10% of the respondents say they use it frequently for teaching purposes. The numbers of those who discourage students from using it and those who encourage student to consult the site are nearly equal, at about a quarter each. Almost half have no strong feelings on this, and fewer than 15% strongly disagree with students’ use of Wikipedia – suggesting that the past few years have witnessed a major shift in universities (less than a decade ago, the stories of professors banning Wikipedia were quite common). Unsurprisingly, the faculty is much less likely to cite Wikipedia, with only about 10% admitting they do so.

Almost 90% of the academics think Wikipedia is easy to use, but only about 15% think editing is easy – with more than 40% disagreeing with that statement. Some 2% of respondents describe themselves as very frequent contributors to the side, and 6% as frequent. More than 40% have no thoughts on Wikipedia’s editing and reviewing system, which leads the authors to suggest that “most faculty do not actually know Wikipedia‘s specific editing system very well nor the way the [site’s] peer-review process works”. Asked about Wikipedia’s quality, those who think its articles are reliable outnumber those who disagree by two to one (40% to 20%), with an even higher ratio (more than three to one) agreeing that Wikipedia articles are up to date. The respondents are equally divided, however, on whether the articles are comprehensive or not. The authors thus conclude that the impression that most academics are concerned about Wikipedia’s quality is not proven by their data. Nonetheless, the artifacts of Wikipedia early poor reception within academia linger: more than half of the respondents think the use of Wikipedia is frowned on by most academics, even though only 14% say they frown on it themselves.

The study goes beyond presenting simple descriptive statistics, giving us a number of interesting findings based on correlations: strongest correlation for teaching use is related to making edits (r=0.59), followed by opinions that it improves student learning (r=0.47), perception of and use by colleagues (r=0.41), Wikipedia’s perceived quality (r=0.4), and its passive use (r=0.3). The researchers find that the use of Wikipedia is higher, and views of the site more favourable, among the STEM fields than in the “soft”, social sciences. This also explains the Wikipedia’s higher popularity among male instructors (which disappears when controlled for discipline and the corresponding much lower population of women teaching in the STEM fields). Interestingly, the influence of age was not found to be significant: “faculty’s decision to use Wikipedia in learning processes does not follow the usual pattern of other Web 2.0 tools where young people tend to be more frequent users.”

Of immediate practical value to the Wikipedia community are the findings on what would help the respondents design educational activities using Wikipedia: 64% would like to see a “catalog presenting best practices”, with similar numbers (~50%) pointing to “getting greater institutional recognition”, “having colleagues explaining their own experiences”, and “receiving specific training”.

Wikipedia assignments at Finnish secondary schools

A conference paper titled “Guiding Students in Collaborative Writing of Wikipedia Articles – How to Get Beyond the Black Box Practice in Information Literacy Instruction”[4] (already briefly mentioned in our October issue) reports on the use of Wikipedia student assignments in a somewhat different environment than the usual American undergraduates: this one instead deals with Finnish secondary school students. The authors use the guided inquiry framework, postulating that “information literacies are best learned by training appropriate information practices in a genuine collaborative process of inquiry”, and asking how collaborative Wikipedia writing assignments fit into this approach. The findings tie in with the previous research on this subject: students are more motivated than in traditional writing assignments, develop skills in and understanding of wikis and Wikipedia (including its reliability) and more broadly encyclopedic writing. However, students are less likely to develop skills such as identifying reliable sources without specific additional instructions. The researchers note that “the limitation of encyclopaedic writing is that it is not intended to generate new knowledge but to synthesize knowledge from existing sources (i.e., a type of literature review)”; hence teachers who aim to develop skills in generating new knowledge might consider alternative assignments. The paper stresses the need to tailor the Wikipedia assignment (or any other) to the specific class.


Detecting the location of an editing controversy within a page

Researchers at Google, AT&T, Purdue University and the University of Trento have developed[5] an algorithm that “in contrast to previous works in controversy detection in Wikipedia that studied the problem at the page level […] considers the individual edits and can accurately identify not only the exact controversial content within a page, but also what the controversy is about and where it is located.” As an example, the paper names the article about Chopin where “our method detected not only the known controversy about his origin but also the controversies about his date of birth and his photograph by Louis-Auguste Bisson.”

7.8% of Germans use Wikipedia on any given day

In a survey[6] by the German state media authorities, 26.8% of all Germans who had been seeking information on Internet on the preceding day had used Wikipedia for that purpose. In absolute terms, this means that 7.8% of Germans use Wikipedia on any given day to obtain information, compared to 11.2% for Facebook, 8.1% for YouTube, and 6.3% for Twitter.
A separate study[7] found that 40% of German teenagers use Wikipedia daily or several times per week (compared to 38% in 2013[supp 1]).

Vandals’ lack of spelling discipline hampers automatic detection of vulgar words

A student project[8] at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County trained a vandalism detector on the well-known PAN 2010 vandalism corpus. The author concludes that compared to features based on the metadata of the revision (e.g. the size change, or whether the edit was made by an IP editors), or on quantiative features of the inserted text (e.g. the frequency of upper case character), “Language Features provide the least information gain. It is expected that language features would provide the maximum information gain. But the problem is if anyone wants to vandalize a page, he or she would not care to spell the words correctly and so in most cases vulgar/slang dictionaries fall short identifying the bad words. “

New Wikimedia open access policy

At the recent CSCW conference (see also an overview of Wikimedia-related events and presentations there), the Wikimedia Foundation announced its new Open Access Policy to ensure that all research work produced with support from the Foundation will be openly available to the public and reusable on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. See also coverage in this week’s Signpost

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.

  • “Reproduction of male power structures in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia” (in German; original title: “Reproduktion männlicher Machtverhältnisse in der Online-Enzyklopädie Wikipedia”)[9]
  • “Links that speak: The global language network and its association with global fame”[10] From the abstract: “we use the structure of the networks connecting multilingual speakers and translated texts, as expressed in book translations, multiple language editions of Wikipedia, and Twitter, to provide a concept of language importance that goes beyond simple economic or demographic measures.” (See also coverage in the Economist)
  • “Queripidia: Query-specific Wikipedia Construction”[11] (demo)
  • “Using Wikipedia to enhance student learning: A case study in economics”[12] (preprint without paywall:[13])
  • “Automatically Assessing Wikipedia Article Quality by Exploiting Article–Editor Networks”[14]
  • “Quality assessment of Arabic web content: The case of the Arabic Wikipedia”[15]
  • “Wikipedia vs Peer-Reviewed Medical Literature for Information About the 10 Most Costly Medical Conditions”[16] (see also discussion and published rebuttal[17] by medical Wikipedia editors, and media coverage summary)
  • “Do Experts or Collective Intelligence Write with More Bias? Evidence from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia”[18] (cf. Harvard Business Review coverage and our reviews of related papers by the same authors: “Language analysis finds Wikipedia’s political bias moving from left to right“, “Given enough eyeballs, do articles become neutral?“)
  • “Improving Wikipedia-based Place Name Disambiguation in Short Texts Using Structured Data from DBpedia”[19]


  1. (2015-02-18) “Cultural Anthropology Through the Lens of Wikipedia – A Comparison of Historical Leadership Networks in the English, Chinese, Japanese and German Wikipedia“. arXiv:1502.05256 [cs]. 
  2. Azer, Samy A. (2015-03-01). “Is Wikipedia a reliable learning resource for medical students? Evaluating respiratory topics“. Advances in Physiology Education 39 (1): 5-14. doi:10.1152/advan.00110.2014. ISSN 1043-4046. PMID 25727464. 
  3. Factors that influence the teaching use of Wikipedia in Higher Education (Article) (2014-12-11).
  4. Sormunen, E. & Alamettälä, T. (2014). Guiding Students in Collaborative Writing of Wikipedia Articles – How to Get Beyond the Black Box Practice in Information Literacy Instruction. In: EdMedia 2014 – World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. Tampere, Finland: June 23-26, 2014
  5. Siarhei Bykau, Flip Korn, Divesh Srivastava,Yannis Velegrakis: Fine-Grained Controversy Detection in Wikipedia. http://disi.unitn.it/~velgias/docs/BykauKSV15.pdf
  6. MedienVielfaltsMonitor Ergebnisse 2. Halbjahr 2014. Die Medienanstalten, Berlin, March 19, 2015 PDF
  7. JIM 2014: Jugend, Information, (Multi-) Media. Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest. Stuttgart, November 2014 PDF (in German, with English summary)
  8. Atul Mirajkar: Predicting Bad Edits to Wikipedia Pages. Master project, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. PDF
  9. Kemper, Andreas; Charlott Schönwetter (2015-01-01). “Reproduktion männlicher Machtverhältnisse in der Online-Enzyklopädie Wikipedia”. In Andreas Heilmann, Gabriele Jähnert, Falko Schnicke, Charlott Schönwetter, Mascha Vollhardt (eds.). Männlichkeit und Reproduktion. Kulturelle Figurationen: Artefakte, Praktiken, Fiktionen. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. pp. 271-290. ISBN 978-3-658-03983-7. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-658-03984-4_15.  Closed access
  10. Ronen, Shahar (2014-12-15). “Links that speak: The global language network and its association with global fame“. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 201410931. doi:10.1073/pnas.1410931111. ISSN 0027-8424. PMID 25512502. 
  11. Laura Dietz, Michael Schuhmacher and Simone Paolo Ponzetto: Queripidia: Query-specific Wikipedia Construction PDF
  12. Freire, Tiago (2014-12-23). “Using Wikipedia to enhance student learning: A case study in economics“. Education and Information Technologies: 1-13. doi:10.1007/s10639-014-9374-0. ISSN 1360-2357.  Closed access
  13. Freire, Tiago; Li, Jingping (2014-02-11). “Using Wikipedia to Enhance Student Learning: A Case Study in Economics”. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2339620. 
  14. Li, Xinyi; Tang, Jintao; Wang, Ting; Luo, Zhunchen; Rijke, Maarten de (2015-03-29). “Automatically Assessing Wikipedia Article Quality by Exploiting Article–Editor Networks”. In Allan Hanbury, Gabriella Kazai, Andreas Rauber, Norbert Fuhr (eds.). Advances in Information Retrieval. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing. pp. 574-580. ISBN 978-3-319-16353-6. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-16354-3_64.  Closed access Author copy: PDF
  15. Yahya, Adnan; Ali Salhi (2014). “Quality assessment of Arabic web content: The case of the Arabic Wikipedia”. 2014 10th International Conference on Innovations in Information Technology (INNOVATIONS). 2014 10th International Conference on Innovations in Information Technology (INNOVATIONS). pp. 36-41. DOI:10.1109/INNOVATIONS.2014.6987558.  Closed access
  16. (2014-05-01) “Wikipedia vs Peer-Reviewed Medical Literature for Information About the 10 Most Costly Medical Conditions“. JAOA: Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 114 (5): 368-373. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2014.035. ISSN 0098-6151. PMID 24778001. 
  17. Anwesh Chatterjee, Robin M.T. Cooke, Ian Furst, James Heilman: Is Wikipedia’s medical content really 90% wrong? Cochrane blog, June 23, 2014
  18. Do Experts or Collective Intelligence Write with More Bias? Evidence from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia (2014-11-07). HBS Working Paper Number: 15-023, October 2014
  19. Yingjie Hu , Krzysztof Janowicz, Sathya Prasad: Improving Wikipedia-based Place Name Disambiguation in Short Texts Using Structured Data from DBpedia. GIR’14, November 04 2014, Dallas, TX, USA. PDF
Supplementary references and notes:
  1. JIM-STUDIE 2013. Jugend, Information, (Multi-) Media. Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest, 2013 PDF (in German, with English summary)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 3 • March 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 Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at March 30, 2015 02:39 PM

March 26, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Guy Kawasaki as board member

Guy Kawasaki is a noted author, entrepreneur and internet evangelist. He will bring a wealth of experience on the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees. Photo by Nohemi Kawasaki, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

Guy Kawasaki is a noted author, entrepreneur and internet evangelist. He will bring a wealth of experience on the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Photo by Nohemi Kawasaki, under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Guy Kawasaki. Guy is a noted entrepreneur, writer, and speaker, chief evangelist of Canva, an online, graphic-design service, and as an executive fellow of Haas Business School at the University of California, Berkeley.

“There are few projects in the history of the world that can have the long-term impact of Wikimedia.” said Guy. “The democratization of knowledge that Wikimedia stands for has been a long time in the coming, and I relish applying my passion and experience to this amazing mission.”

Prior to joining Canva, Guy served as special advisor to the CEO of the Motorola business unit of Google. He is perhaps most widely known for his time at Apple, where he developed and popularized the concept of “secular evangelism” for Apple’s brand, culture, and products as the firm’s chief evangelist.  Guy will continue in his full-time role as chief evangelist of Canva while serving on the Wikimedia board.

Guy is a New York Times bestselling author of books such as The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and ten other books about change, innovation, marketing, and disruption. He is passionate about writing and speaking about topics in which he believes, and sharing this passion with others. He gives dozens of speeches a year, and is a frequent public commentator on subjects such as innovation, enchantment, social media, evangelism, and entrepreneurship.

“Guy grasps what really moves people,” said Lila Tretikov, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director. “His passion for extraordinary experiences is a perfect fit for Wikipedia’s remarkable mission. I am confident this will be an incredible collaboration.”

Guy joins the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees at an exciting time. Around the world, we are accessing knowledge in new and different ways, and people are coming online and discovering Wikipedia for the first time. Our mission is more vital than it has ever been. We have great opportunities ahead, and Guy brings a wealth of experience and perspective as we look to that future.

Please see the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees for a complete biography of Guy Kawasaki.

Jan-Bart de Vreede
Chair, Board of Trustees
Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at March 26, 2015 12:42 AM

March 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Highlights, February 2015

Here are the highlights from the Wikimedia Blog in February 2015, covering selected activities of the Wikimedia Foundation and other important events for the Wikimedia movement.


Love on the Wikis

Lead image
3D Love: This mathematically-defined heart shape is one of the many ways that love is represented on Wikimania sites.
Photo By Chiph588, CC0

For Valentine’s Day, we asked Wikimedians to share their favorite articles or images about love, from Wikipedia and sister projects. Together, we collected a wide range of insightful articles, images, videos, sounds, quotes and websites on the many different ways this topic is represented in our wikis: from platonic to fraternal, divine or romantic love.

A WikiLove story

Lead image
Avner and Darya fell in love while touring Israel with other Wikipedians. Here they are at Mount Eitan.
Photo by Deror Avi, CC-BY-SA 4.0

Wikipedians Avner and Darya fell in love while volunteering with Wikimedia Israel. They were engaged soon after, thanks to a shared passion for knowledge. Here is their moving love story, which was published on Valentine’s Day.

Who links to Wikipedia?

Lead image

Here are the top external sites that link to Wikipedia, based on overall link volume for all Wikipedia languages and all top-level domains.
Graph by Gianluca Demartini, CC-BY-SA 4.0

To learn more about who links to Wikipedia, the research team at the University of Sheffield analyzed the structure of links that point to Wikipedia pages from external websites, looking specifically at which top-level domains dominate the link volume for each Wikipedia language. Here’s what they found.

What is Wikipedia Zero? (VIDEO)

File:What is Wikipedia Zero?.webm

What is Wikipedia Zero? This short video explains the Wikipedia Zero program, in under two minutes. You can also view it on Vimeo.com here and YouTube.com here.
Video by Victor Grigas (WMF), CC-BY-SA 3.0

Learn how mobile carriers waive data charges for accessing Wikipedia, around the world. Watch this short video, which explains the Wikipedia Zero program, in under two minutes.

Join the Wikimedia strategy consultation

Lead image
The Wikimedia movement works because it brings together many different perspectives to solve complex problems. The Wikimedia Foundation hosted a community consultation to discuss the movement’s strategy.
Group photo of Wikimania 2014 participants by Ralf Roletschek, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Wikimedia Foundation invited community participation in a two-week consultation to discuss the future of Wikimedia. This online discussion was very productive and will help shape the future of Wikimedia.

Black History Month edit-a-thons tackle Wikipedia’s multicultural gaps

Group editing Wikipedia at the Schomburg Center in New York City
For Black History Month, many new Wikipedia articles about black culture were created in edit-a-thons across the United States, such as this at the “BlackLivesMatter” event at the Schomburg Center in New York City.
Photo by Terrence Jennings, CC BY-SA 4.0

Edit-a-thons took place throughout the United States in February 2015, to honor black history and help fill the multicultural gaps in Wikipedia. Many new articles about black culture were created as a result.

Wiki Loves Africa photo contest announces winning pictures

Egyptian food Koshary.jpg
A plate of koshary, the most popular food in Egypt. This picture was taken for “Wiki Loves Africa Cuisine”, a photo contest about african food.
Photo by Dina Said, CC BY-SA 4.0

The “Wiki Loves Africa” photo contest about “Cuisine” resulted in over 6,000 image uploads to Commons. See the jury-selected prize winners and learn more about this project.

Andrew Sherman, Digital Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at March 24, 2015 04:34 PM

March 23, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Soutěž CEE Spring běží již týden. A čeká ji ještě několik měsíců

Logo soutěže

Logo soutěže (Licence: CC-BY-SA 4.0, Autor: Aktron)

Možná jste si všimli banneru na české Wikipedii. Po několika letech probíhá na Wikipedii opět soutěž v editování článků. Tentokrát je zaměřená na region střední a východní Evropy a je mezinárodního charakteru. Lze se s ní tak setkat nejen na české verzi největší světové encyklopedie, ale také i na Wikipedii polské, ruské, maďarské, albánské, bulharské… a mnohých jiných.

O co vlastně jde? Na rozdíl od soutěže Ceny za rozvoj české Wikipedie, které se v minulosti uskutečnilo několik ročníků je CEE Spring mnohem více kulturně a geograficky zaměřená soutěž. Zpracovává se ohromné množství regionů, doslova „od Aše až po Vladivostok“. Včetně například Slovenska, kde je možné překládat existující články ze slovenštiny již rok fungujícím nástrojem. Témata soutěže musí souviset s jednotlivými zeměmi, ale výběr je víceméně volný. Do soutěže tak lze například přihlásit články o maďarské klasické hudbě, rumunských památkách, ukrajinské kuchyni, ruských hradech aj…

V loňském roce se v mezinárodním prostředí, tzn. na Wikimedia Commons, konaly různé soutěže, které měly přesah i do české Wikipedie. Byla to například Umepediašvédská soutěž, kterou iniciovalo město Umeå spolu se spolkem Wikimedia Sverige. Články mohly vznikat ve všech jazycích. A výsledek? Podívejte se sami...

Igo Sym

Igo Sym, první článek, který vznikl v rámci naší soutěže.

Za druhou zajímavou akci lze považovat soutěž, kterou zorganizovali španělští wikimediáni. Na rozdíl od města Umeå, kde byl jasně daný seznam témat, šlo do této akce přihlásit jakoukoliv památku ze Španělska. Vzhledem k tomu, že iberský poloostrov je kulturně nesmírně bohatý, vzniklo spoustu článků o vskutku unikátních objektech. A mnohé z nich byly napsány i v češtině

Ale vraťme se zpět k soutěži CEE Spring. Naše soutěž má dvě kategorie (jednu zaměřenou na Polsko v druhé světové válce a jednu na obecně region střední a východní Evropy). Tato skutečnost, která do jisté míry odkazuje na dobře fungující praxi ze soutěže Wiki miluje památky, vychází se spolupráce s Polským institutem. Polsko si letos připomíná výročí 70 let od konce druhé světové války (která v zemi napáchala ve srovnání s Českem nebo Slovenskem nesrovnatelné škody) – a proto je připomínka výročí na místě.

Takže pokud máte čas a chuť, zapište se do jedné ze dvou kategorií, vyberte si vhodné téma, pište nebo překládejte, přečtěte si pravidla a pomáhejte rozšiřovat českou Wikipedii. Soutěž poběží až do přelomu května a června. Společně můžeme zpřístupnit veškeré lidské vědění celému světu.


by Jan Loužek at March 23, 2015 10:31 PM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Terry Gilbey as COO; bids farewell to Gayle Karen Young

Terry Gilbey joins the Wikimedia Foundation as interim Chief Operating Officer. Photo by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Terry Gilbey joins the Wikimedia Foundation as interim Chief Operating Officer.
Photo by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Like wikis themselves, the Wikimedia Foundation changes. Today, we have two announcements of changes in Foundation leadership. We are pleased to announce that Terry Gilbey has joined the Wikimedia Foundation in the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Executive Director Lila Tretikov. The second is that our Chief Talent and Culture Officer, Gayle Karen Young, has decided to move on to her next adventure. We are thankful for her time with us, and wish her well.

Introducing a Chief Operating Officer

At the Wikimedia Foundation, our mission is to empower people around the world to create and share free knowledge. One of our top priorities for the Wikimedia Foundation in 2015 is improving our organizational effectiveness in service of this mission. We created the role of Chief Operating Officer to focus on that goal. As COO, Terry will be responsible for building rigor and discipline around the Foundation’s operational processes, empowering us to adapt and innovate.

Terry is transitioning to the COO role from a consulting role with the Foundation. He has already worked with us on a number of projects around goal-setting, financial planning, and budgeting. Previously, he was the Executive Director of Enterprise Operations at Kaiser Permanente, a nationwide healthcare organization, and served in various management roles at IBM Global Services.

Terry is originally from England and has lived in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Central America. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also spends time in Panama on a rural farm. He enjoys some unusual hobbies, such as bull riding, surfing, riding motorcycles and more recently, refereeing a women’s flat track roller derby. An early adopter of Tor, Terry believes strongly in the right to privacy and the free and open access to knowledge as an equalizer.

With the introduction of the COO role, we are also making some organizational reporting changes. Beginning this week, our Finance, Administration, and Culture and Talent teams will report to Terry. Garfield Byrd will continue to serve as the Chief Financial Officer for the organization, a member of the C-level team, and Treasurer of the Board. Terry and Garfield will manage all financial and business planning activities together.

Saying goodbyes

Gayle Karen Young served as Chief Talent and Culture Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation from 2011 to 2015. Photo by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Gayle Karen Young served as Chief Talent and Culture Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation from 2011 to 2015. Photo by Myleen Hollero, CC-BY-SA-3.0

It is with sadness that we say farewell to Gayle Karen Young, our Chief Talent and Culture Officer. Gayle has been with the Wikimedia Foundation for three and a half years, and has brought us wisdom and warmth on a daily basis. In her time with the Foundation, she created a human resources department that is fundamentally about caring for the people in the organization and offering services that allow people to do their best work.

Gayle let us know some time ago that she was looking to move on to her next challenge. With the introduction of the COO role, she felt this was the right moment in time and the human resources team were in good hands. We thank her for her leadership, celebrate her future adventures, and are grateful she plans to continue as a volunteer in the Wikimedia movement.

Our mission is to help Wikimedians around the world make the sum of all knowledge available to everyone. We believe these changes will help us progress toward this mission, and focus on our continued service to our community and readers.

Lila Tretikov
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at March 23, 2015 06:00 PM

March 19, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation adopts Open Access Policy to support free knowledge

An image from a 1973 London School of Economics appeal for funds for its library. Photo by London School of Economics and Political Sciences Library, free licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Open access scholarship is central to Wikimedia’s mission to empower people around the world to participate in knowledge creation. This image was used by the London School of Economics in its 1973 appeal for funds for its library. Photo by London School of Economics and Political Science’s Library, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to making knowledge of all forms freely available to the world. Beginning today, our new Open Access Policy will ensure that all research work produced with support from the Wikimedia Foundation will be openly available to the public and reusable on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. We are pleased to announce this new policy at the 18th ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2015).

“Wikimedia is committed to nurturing open knowledge for all, unrestrained by cost barriers,” said Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “The Wikimedia movement has a longstanding commitment to open access practices. Today, we are excited to formalize that commitment with this policy.”

Over the past decade Wikipedia has been the subject of hundreds of academic studies on topics such as flu forecasting, the influence of major global languages, and Wikipedia’s own geographic imbalances. The Wikimedia Foundation has made this research possible through a commitment to making Wikipedia’s data open and accessible.

Open access scholarship is central to Wikimedia’s mission to empower people around the world to participate in knowledge creation. Access to these open sources is critical to ensuring that articles on Wikipedia are reliable, accurate, and reflect our ever-evolving understanding of the world. Paywalls and copyright restrictions too often prevent the use of academic research in this effort.

Our new Open Access Policy builds on previous efforts led by the Research Committee, members of WikiProject Open Access, and the Foundation’s grantmaking team. It will ensure that all research the Wikimedia Foundation supports through grants, equipment, or research collaboration is made widely accessible and reusable.  Research, data, and code developed through these collaborations will be made available in Open Access venues and under a free license, in keeping with the Wikimedia Foundation’s mission to support free knowledge. The policy sets guiding principles that govern future collaborations between researchers and the Foundation, we wrote a set of frequently asked questions to provide guidance and best practices on the applicability of the policy.

Heather Joseph, the executive director of SPARC, an international open access coalition of research libraries, commented on the policy launch: “The Wikimedia Foundation continues to lead by example in its efforts to democratize access to knowledge. By adopting an Open Access policy to make all outputs of the research that it supports freely accessible and fully useable to the public, the Foundation will help speed the pace of discovery and innovation around the globe.”

The Wikimedia Foundation is proud to join the growing ranks of leading institutions with open access policies.

Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Scientist, Wikimedia Foundation
Yana Welinder, Senior Legal Counsel, Wikimedia Foundation


Related Links:
Wikimedia Open Access Policy
Frequently Asked Questions

Many thanks to members of the Legal, Research & Data, and Grantmaking teams, and in particular Manprit Brar and Leila Zia for their work on the policy. We would also like to thank all the researchers and Open Access advocates who provided helpful feedback on an earlier version of the policy, including Daniel Mietchen, Melissa Hagemann, Heather Joseph, and Peter Suber.

by fflorin2015 at March 19, 2015 07:13 PM

March 18, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

What happens when you give a Wikipedia editor a research library?

Wikipedia Library owl.svg

The Wikipedia Library Team (owl included) reflects on its new Visiting Scholars program — and the new content and collaborations it makes possible. Logo by Heather Walls, CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Wikipedia Library‘s core mission is to provide Wikipedians with the best possible access to research, to help them write better Wikipedia content. When we started this project, we quickly realized that universities, with their extensive collections and journal subscriptions, offered one of the best opportunities for Wikipedians to access scholarly materials.

This led to the creation of our Wikipedia Visiting Scholar program: a university gives a top Wikipedia editor free and full access to the university library’s entire online content—and the Wikipedia editor, who is unpaid and not on campus, then creates and improves Wikipedia articles in a subject area of interest to the institution.

Several universities have stepped up to pilot Wikipedians Visiting Scholars: George Mason University, Montana State University, University of California at Riverside, and Rutgers University. This experiment was a great success, with each institution producing at least a dozen well-researched articles, many of which have undergone community review as Featured or Good articles. In this report, we would like to share some of the great content and outcomes created by this Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program and our partner institutions.

Improving quality on Wikipedia

The main goal of the Visiting Scholars program is to equip Wikipedia editors with the highest quality resources, so that they can write the most comprehensive Wikipedia articles alongside the help of expert researchers. Montana State University Visiting Scholar Mike Cline, who focused his writing on the environment and Montana’s natural history, described the impact university library access had on his work:

“First, access to these resources helps me write better content, in many cases content that would otherwise not be included in Wikipedia. The journal resources via JSTOR and other sources are invaluable in fleshing out content in articles. Second, having access to these resources allows me to step into various content debates and issues and help other editors resolve them with better sources and more accurate content. An example of that was on William F. Raynolds, my access to more scholarly works helped resolve sourcing issues within that article during the Featured Article Review process.”

Montana State resources have become part of Mike’s Wikipedia routine, “for every article I work on”.

Babe Ruth in his New York Yankees uniform, in 1920. Visiting Scholar Wehwalt expanded the article with the help of George Mason University Library Resources. Photo by United States Library of Congress. Public Domain

Wehwalt, Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at George Mason University, used his access to develop an impressive 10 Featured Articles in the area of American history. He writes:

“I’m somewhat envious of the massive academic databases college students have at their disposal these days, given how useful having access to that material is. Since I started at the beginning of April, I’ve used GMU materials to get six articles to Featured Article status where I did most of the writing: Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, William H. Seward, Babe Ruth, Judah P. Benjamin, John Hay, and Hay’s only novel, w:The Bread-Winners. In addition, there have been collaborations with Designate, John Tyler and Franklin Pierce and others, where works from GMU again came in handy.”

Two other articles that Wehwalt improved, Horace Greeley and Benjamin Tillman, have become featured articles since he first shared his experiences with us! These articles aren’t always ones other editors will write about: “Due to his racist views, Tillman is difficult to write about, and not a fun read. But our readers aren’t coming just to find information on nice people.”

At Rutgers University, we had two visiting scholars, and they saw their work as an opportunity to collaborate with the academic community to help fill diversity gaps on Wikipedia. As Staticshakedown noted, when we asked her about her joint appointment with WeijiBaikeBianji:

“We were both chosen because our goals and interests for the project aligned with the goals of the librarians and graduate students. For this initiative we narrowed the theme into four topics to work on in Wikipedia: Women in Jazz, Newark Jazz history, Asian immigrant experience in New Jersey, and Cultural competence in health care. So far, the collaboration has expanded over twenty-five articles and categories, and created eighteen new articles.”

Library access strengthened the ability for all of our contributors to do what they do best: create content on Wikipedia, content that will become the most-viewed research starting point for hundreds of thousands of readers.

Striking up a conversation

Part of our goal with the Visiting Scholars program is to familiarize Universities Libraries with the practices of Wikipedia and to provide an accessible member of Wikipedia’s community on those campuses. Visiting Scholars Chris Troutman and Wehwalt found themselves in conversations with library staff at UC Riverside and George Mason, helping the library or professors become more familiar with Wikipedia’s research and writing practices. Mike Cline learned at Montana State University that there are plenty of opportunities to interact with faculty letting them begin to understand Wikipedia’s important role in communicating their knowledge:

“I have also had the opportunity to consult with MSU library staff and faculty when they have desired to create or contribute to Wikipedia articles. In most cases, such faculty and staff have little or no practical knowledge of how Wikipedia really works. I have enjoyed bringing my experience on such issues and notability, reliable sourcing and original research to their attention and helping them devise the best approach in making their contributions to Wikipedia. In several cases, I’ve helped them by reviewing their work and making appropriate adjustments to drafts in user spaces and in articles themselves. In all cases, the staff and faculty are appreciative of the availability of such consultative services.”

Working closely with the library staff at Montana State helped Mike Cline create an article about the Library’s unique holding a trout and salmon archive in addition to a wide range of people and topics written about with a top notch regional collection and the guidance of the experts who curate it. “My only wish, personally, is that they would take even greater advantage of my [consulting] services,” Cline said.

The stairs leading up to Rutgers University Art Library, one of the libraries that our Visiting Scholars had access to. Photo by Tom Sulcer, CC0.

Visiting Scholars at Rutgers University also seized further opportunities to participate in the campus environment. Staticshakedown shared:

“This was both Rutgers University’s first collaboration with Wikipedians, as well as our first collaboration of this type with an organization. The initiative from Rutgers’s side was directed by head librarian Grace Agnew, who has been accessible, friendly, and resourceful throughout the whole exchange. As part of this initiative, twelve members from the Rutgers University team have learned more about how to add content to Wikipedia. Aside from teaching librarians and students about Wikipedia, I have also been the student. Graduate students Yingting and Yu-Hung jointly held a video conference with me on how to access the library resources of Rutgers remotely and how to use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) to investigate healthcare-related subjects.”

Solving a critical problem

For all of our Visiting Scholars, this has been a great opportunity to fill in major gaps found throughout the encyclopedia and to ensure that the best scholarly materials—not just information that happen to be available on the open web—are leveraged to create public knowledge. This is an important mission, as Wehwalt points out:

“There was a time when Wikipedia was still working to get articles in place on a lot of significant subjects. Well, it has them now, and the number of articles continue to grow. But there’s also a need to improve what we have. Many scholarly articles are hidden behind paywalls for most Wikipedia editors without an academic connection. Visiting Scholar positions are helping us create better content using those sources. Everyone consults Wikipedia, and the need to improve the quality of what we give them through a larger network of experts and scholarly access.”

Wikipedia Visiting Scholars offers an opportunity for the best keepers of knowledge—libraries—and the best sharer of knowledge—Wikipedia—to collaborate in disseminating knowledge to the public. We are proud to be able to facilitate these opportunities and deeply impressed by the contributions of this year’s prolific Visiting Scholars.

Join us

Would your research library like to host a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar? Let us know here.

To learn more about the program, visit the Wikipedia Visiting Scholars information page.

Alex Stinson, Project Manager, The Wikipedia Library
Jake Orlowitz, Project Lead, The Wikipedia Library

The Wikipedia Library is a nonprofit project funded by the Wikimedia Foundation.

by Andrew Sherman at March 18, 2015 07:14 PM

Raspberry Pi in Masekelo: Bringing Wikipedia to a school without electricity

Masekelo pi.jpg
Students in a Tanzanian high school without electricity can now access Wikipedia via Wi-Fi, using a donated Raspberry Pi computer. Photo by Janet Chapman, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Masekelo secondary school in Tanzania’s Shinyanga region faces many challenges: there’s no electricity or water — each pupil needs to collect over a gallon of water each day and carry it to school. There were insufficient desks and chairs, many had to sit on the dirt floor — until Tanzania Development Trust gave them a grant in November 2014.

A Raspberry Pi serves Wikipedia via Wi-Fi to nearby phones or computers, using RACHEL server software. Photo by Janet Chapman, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Tanzanian government has decreed that every secondary school must have science laboratories by the end of February. But no money was provided for this: funds are expected to come from parent contributions alone. This can be a challenge when your parents are subsistence farmers.

The school has few text books or resources — and a dire shortage of math and science teachers. The dedication of its headteacher and staff have led to the best results of any government school in the district.

When I visited the school in September 2014, the dynamic headteacher, Steve Mihambo, told me about his dream of a computer room — once they had power.

So I brought them a credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer, powered by an external battery, with a 32GB SD card — and content downloaded from World Possible. This includes the Wikipedia for Schools edition, 2,000 math and science videos from Khan Academy, and 800 classic books and various health resources. A Wi-Fi stick in the Raspberry Pi allows any nearby smartphone, tablet or laptop to access all this content.

I demonstrated this to the teachers and school board on 5 tablets and a couple smart phones I brought as a donation. They were astounded. “It’s like a miracle”, said the board chair. “Now we are in the 21st century”, added a teacher. I’ve stayed in regular contact with the school via WhatsApp, and they tell me the students are very excited to have access to all this new content.

You can follow the progress of this project, and the school in general, on their Facebook Page.

If you would like to know more, or have an tablet or laptop you’d like to donate to a good cause, please email me at j.chapman at tanzdevtrust.org .

Janet Chapman, Communications Manager, Tanzania Development Trust

This blog post is part of a series about Offline Wikipedia. It was originally published on Hiara, a blog about empowering girls. Minor edits were made by WMF staff to clarify a few terms for the Wikimedia blog.

by Andrew Sherman at March 18, 2015 07:13 PM

Why Italian fashion history should be just a click away: Virginia Gentilini

Virginia Gentilini
Italian fashion history is not well covered on Wikipedia. Librarian Virginia Gentilini is helping turn that around. Photo by Victor Grigas, free licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Italy is a global leader in the fashion industry. Gucci. Dolce & Gabbana. Armani. These are just a few of the many well-known Italian brands that are associated with high quality, luxury and style. However, despite the country’s rich history in fashion, many language versions of Wikipedia (Including Italian Wikipedia) do not cover that topic as well as one might expect from the world’s largest online encyclopedia.

“It’s very strange”, says Virginia Gentilini, an Italian native and librarian, “in Italy, fashion is an important sector — and we have a traditional textile production too”. She thinks the dearth of Italian fashion articles results from a lack of female writers and editors on Wikipedia — as well as the misconception among some users that fashion is strictly a female issue.

To address this issue, Gentilini, who is a member of Wikimedia Italy and a GLAM project coordinator, has contacted a range of museums, universities and other organizations in this field and invited them to work together to increase awareness of Italian fashion history. Last year, she helped organize an edit-a-thon at a shoe museum.

“[If you] think about this history of painting involving art and technique and so on, [the] same thing [goes for] shoes: there is a history behind them,” says Gentilini. “This is a complete field of human knowledge in a way, which is very strict and focused. You can think of it as art or human production.”

As a writer, she has added to articles about fashion, such as the Chanel No.5 article, which offers a rich and interesting history.

Gentilini says it made sense for her to become involved with Wikipedia, since her role as a librarian is to reach people and give them the information they need.

“I am interested in giving non-academic ordinary people information. And ordinary people read Wikipedia, so I had to work on Wikipedia,” Gentilini says. “I think we can fight for ordinary people having … the knowledge to cope with their needs.”

Gentilini believes that the preservation of knowledge goes beyond archiving information on paper — and now needs to be stored digitally, as Wikipedia does.

“I think Wikipedia is the future — because it works, it simply works.”

Interview by Victor Grigas, Storyteller and Video Content Producer, Wikimedia Foundation
Profile by Yoona Ha, Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation

by yoonahawikimedia at March 18, 2015 12:06 AM

March 17, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Growing free knowledge through open data

This Sankey diagram shows how readers reach the English Wikipedia article about London and where they go from there, based on the Wikipedia Clickstream data set. Graph by Ellery Wulczyn and Dario Taraborelli, CC0.

This Sankey diagram shows how readers reach the English Wikipedia article about London and where they go from there, based on the Wikipedia Clickstream data set. Graph by Ellery Wulczyn and Dario Taraborelli, CC0.

Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects are among the most visited repositories of human knowledge. They are also a unique source of data for understanding how we collaborate to create that knowledge, access it and share it with others.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Research and Data Team has recently published a number of open data sets about Wikimedia projects, making them freely available to everyone – researchers, developers and community members – under a CC0 license.  These aggregate data sets were collected to show general trends about how people use Wikimedia projects and do not include any personal information about users, as required by Wikimedia’s privacy policy.

We invite you to turn this data into useful insights, applications and visualizations, and help our communities and projects thrive. If you have any questions on these releases, feel free to reach out to the Research and Data team via the Analytics mailing list or our #wikimedia-research channel on IRC.

Dario Taraborelli
Senior Research Scientist, Research and Data Team Lead
Wikimedia Foundation

Open Data Sets

Scholarly citations in Wikipedia
A data set of citations to scholarly articles in the English Wikipedia. Includes all citations with DOIs and PubMed identifiers added to Wikipedia articles as of the most recent content dump.
Halfaker, A., Taraborelli, D. (2015). Scholarly article citations in Wikipedia. figshare.

Wikipedia clickstream
This data set shows how people get to a Wikipedia article and what links they click on next. The most recent release captures 22 million pairs (referer, resource), extracted from a total of 3.2 billion requests to the English Wikipedia. We wrote a step-by-step tutorial and IPython notebook to get you started with this data.
Wulczyn, E., Taraborelli, D. (2015). Wikipedia Clickstream. figshare.

Browser choices of Wikimedia users
This data set provides statistics on the top browsers and platforms used by readers and editors on Wikimedia projects, obtained from the Wikimedia HTTP request logs during a 90-day window. You can also explore this data online via this application.
Keyes, O. (2015). Browser Choices of Wikimedia Readers and Editors. figshare.

Where in the world is Wikipedia?
This data set includes the proportion of traffic to Wikimedia projects originating from a specific country, computed from all HTTP requests collected over the course of 2014. You can also explore this data online via this application.
Keyes, O. (2015). Geographic Distribution of Wikimedia Traffic. figshare.

Wikipedia Article Feedback corpus
The Article Feedback experiment invited readers to participate on Wikipedia by leaving comments on articles, to help editors improve them. This data set includes over 1.5 million messages posted to the English, French and German Wikipedia during the pilot.
Florin, F., Mullie, M., Taraborelli, D. (2014). Wikipedia Article Feedback corpus. figshare.

by fflorin2015 at March 17, 2015 05:40 PM

March 16, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Wikimedia vs. NSA: Nadace Wikimedia podala žalobu proti Národní bezpečnostní agentuře USA

Spravedlnost - socha ve Frankfurtu nad Mohanem. Autor: Roland Meinecke, Free Art Licence

Spravedlnost – socha ve Frankfurtu nad Mohanem. Autor: Roland Meinecke, Free Art Licence

Přinášíme částečný český překlad vyjádření nadace Wikimedia Foundation na jejím blogu v souvislosti s dnes učiněnými právními kroky ve Spojených státech.

Nadace Wikimedia Foundation se dnes ve spolupráci s řadou dalších občanských iniciativ ve Spojených státech amerických rozhodla podat žalobu proti Národní bezpečnostní agentuře (NSA) a Ministerstvu spravedlnosti USA. Žaloba se týká programu sledování NSA; přesněji rozsáhlých aktivit a pozorování internetové komunikace, které často bývá označováno termínem „upstream surveillance”. Cílem Wikimedia Foundation je boj proti masovému sledování, jehož konec by znamenal ochranu práv uživatelů projektu nadace po celém světě. Osm dalších organizací se přidalo k žalobě. Jsou zastoupeni Americkým svazem pro občanské svobody (ACLU).  Text žaloby je veřejně k dispozici.

Jimbo Wales, zakladatel Wikipedie, uvedl k této skutečnosti následující: „Žalobu jsme podali za naše čtenáře a editory z celého světa. Rozsáhlá sledování narušují původní záměr fungování internetu: Otevřený prostor, kde je možné spolupracovat i experimentovat a kde strach nemá své místo.”

Soukromí ja základem osobní svobody. Univerzální právo, které doplňuje svobodu projevu a shromáždění. Na jejich základě je možná diskuze, dialog a svobodná tvorba – klíčové prvky vize hnutí Wikimedia, jež vyjadřuje právo všech na přístup k veškerému lidskému vědění. Podrývání těchto práv znamená také ohrožení cílů hnutí. Pokud by lidé museli zpozornět vždy předtím, než začnou vyhledávat informace na internetu, rozmýšleli si přispívání do kontroverzních článků Wikipedie nebo se zdráhali sdílet důvěryhodné, ale nepopulární informace, byla by Wikipedie i svět o mnoho chudší.

V roce 2013 se na světlo světa dostaly aktivity Národní bezpečnostní agentury a komunita okolo Wikimedia zpozorněla. V loňském roce nadace Wikimedia Foundation zahájila dialog s Americkým svazem pro občanské svobody v souvislosti s možností podání žaloby na NSA a další subjekty.

Žaloba se soustředí na praxi „upstream surveillance”, kterou umožnil zákon Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA), schválený v roce 2008. Spočívá ve sledování komunikace internetové páteře, a to především osob, které nejsou občany USA. „Tento zákon povoluje shromažďovat veškerou komunikaci, spadá-li do široké kategorie informací pro zahraniční rozvědky. Umožňuje sledovat v podstatě jakékoliv informace, které lze interpretovat jako významné z hlediska národní bezpečnosti nebo mezinárodních vztahů. Výsledkem několika let trvající praxe bylo vybudování rozsáhlé sítě informací, mnohdy takových, které se netýkají žádného možného „cíle”, nebo vztahujících se ke komunikaci občanů USA. Například i pracovníků nadace Wikimedia Foundation a uživatelů projektů nadace.

Výkonná ředitelka nadace Wikimedia Foundation, Lila Tretikov, k této skutečnosti uvedla: „Odposloucháváním internetové páteře Národní bezpečnostní agentura přiškrcuje páteř demokracii. Wikipedie je postavena na svobodě vyjadřování, diskuze a informací. Porušováním soukromí uživatelů našich projektů ohrožuje NSA svobody klíčové pro schopnost lidí vytvářet a porozumět vědění.”

Národní bezpečnostní agentura interpretovala FAA jako možnost, která ji otevírá dveře zcela volně identifikovat cíle, sledovat lidi, organizace a skupiny bez ohledu na jejich proporcionální význam ve společnosti. Věříme tomu, že současná praxe Národní bezpečnostní agentury překračuje již tak široké pravomoce amerického Kongresu. Navíc se tímto domníváme, že dochází k porušování prvního dodatku ústavy Spojených států, který se zabývá svobodou projevu a shromažďování a čtvrtého dodatku, který chrání před neodůvodnitelným sledováním a pronásledováním.

Wikipedie je historicky nejrozsáhlejším kolaborativním projektem v oblasti sdílení svobodného vědění. Představuje zhmotnění všeho, čeho lze dosáhnout, jsou-li možnosti spolupráce otevřeny a nespoutány strachem. Za posledních 14 let napsali wikipedisté přes 34 milionů článků v 288 různých jazycích. Každý měsíc k informacím Wikipedie přistupuje zhruba půl miliardy lidí z téměř z každé země na světě. Tvoří dohromady oddanou komunitu lidí, které spojuje vášeň pro šíření vědomostí. Jejich odhodlanost dokázala, že projekt Wikipedie může fungovat. Především kvůli nim jsme proto dnes podali tuto žalobu.

Další informace k tomuto tématu byly zveřejněny v tiskové zprávě, kterou spolu napsala výkonná ředitelka nadace Wikimedia Foundation Lila Tretikov a zakladatel největší online encyklopedie, Jimbo Wales. Zpráva rovněž vyšla v deníku New York Times.

by Jan Loužek at March 16, 2015 08:39 PM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

First Welsh university edit-a-thon creates new articles on medieval women

Editathon Editors at work.jpg
The Medieval Women Edit-a-thon at Swansea University focused on women’s access to justice in Wales, Britain and Ireland. Photo by Swansea University, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

On January 28, 2015, Prof. Deborah Youngs and Dr Sparky Booker of Swansea University ran the first edit-a-thon at a university in Wales. The aim was to improve articles on women and reduce the gender gap on Wikipedia – by getting more women involved as editors and increasing coverage of medieval and early modern women on Wikipedia.

This Medieval Women Edit-a-thon was organized as part of “Women Negotiating the Boundaries of Justice”, a four-year research project on the history of women’s access to justice in Britain and Ireland between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries (led by Prof. Youngs and funded by the AHRC).

About 45 people attended and around 30 participated in editing. Participants included undergraduates, postgraduates, academic researchers and librarians from Swansee University — and workers from Paris. Three quarters were women, and only three had previously edited Wikipedia. A few spoke Welsh, and therefore, some of the jargon was in that language (being my mother tongue). We were also joined by researchers from Trinity College, Dublin, who were keen to update material on Irish women. Their focus was on Alice Kyteler and Petronilla de Meath, her servant, who were the first women to be tried for witchcraft in medieval Ireland. This inspired one of the editors in Swansea to write about Gwen daughter of Ellis, the first person to be executed on charges of witchcraft in Wales.

The online connection with Dublin was mainly through emails. Looking back, it would have been helpful to use video conferencing — for a more personal touch, which is so important when training editors. Independent researchers in the US were also interested in participating remotely. This is definitely something to consider for future events, as new technology can enable anyone, anywhere in the world to take part in training and discussions, as well as in the editing itself.

I have strong personal feelings about gender equality on Wikipedia (especially the English Wikipedia), where I think the number of female administrators should be at least half the total. In my opinion, this would help reduce the ‘bullying’ which happens so often. On the Welsh Wikipedia, the discussions hardly ever become over-heated; and three of our longest serving administrators happen to be women.

At my side were Jason Evans, the new Wikipedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales, and Marc Haynes, former Wikipedian in Residence at Coleg Cymraeg (the federal Welsh language university); they helped people with simple wiki code (Wiki markup), in both Welsh and English. After an hour or so of training, it was time to get down to the actual editing.

Our participating editors worked individually and in groups, on a variety of different articles featuring women from Wales and Ireland during c.1000–1600. Some editors worked on subjects of their own personal research and others suggested women we had identified before the edit-a-thon. We thought these women deserved their own new articles — or serious edits to the existing articles they were featured in. Many notable women only appear in the articles of their husbands, fathers, or other male family members; they deserve coverage in their own right.

During this Swansea edit-a-thon I tried something new: getting new editors to create links from their user page to the project page immediately! In the past, the actual wiki-coding was kept back – too long in my opinion. This worked well: they took to it like ducks to water and created other links – to my user page and to each other’s. As soon as they realized how simple it is, inhibitions evaporated!

Woman tagged as a ‘Vietnamese civilian’. Photo By Philip Jones Griffiths, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Bringing people’s attention to weaknesses of Wikipedia is a good thing: drawing their attention to the fact so many notable women do not have articles on Wikipedia encourages a change. It would be interesting to have a room full of men who also wish to close this gap. An edit-a-thon of men who don’t see the injustice could be even better! Why do some men only write about military killing machines, ignoring the death and pain caused by them? For example, if women were to write the article on the 2011 military intervention in Libya, I’m sure it would also contain images of the civilian death and destruction caused by these machines. We need a change in minds and we need to take the ‘romance’ out of war. Maybe the next edit-a-thon shouldn’t focus on writing articles about women, but debunking the male, jingoistic attitude of many mainstream articles.

Jason Evans, Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales, recently announced an edit-a-thon to be held at the Library on April 10th. It will be based on Welsh photographers — including the Magnum photographer Philip Jones Griffiths, whose defining images captured the horrors of the Vietnam War. One of the two images uploaded by Jason (as an example of things to come) depicts a bandaged woman tagged as a ‘Vietnamese civilian’. I certainly hope that those who write about American bombers, tanks and other killing machines will also add such images to these articles.


Participants found the Medieval Women Edit-a-thon successful and enjoyable: in a single day, they created 6 new articles and edited 10 articles about notable Welsh, English and Irish medieval women. More importantly, they became comfortable with editing Wikipedia and plan to keep contributing.

Prof. Deborah Youngs noted that:

“The exercise of writing in this style, and making sure that our articles were written very clearly and simply in as factual a manner as possible, was a very enjoyable and we succeeded (we think!) in keeping our opinions out of it. Of course, even as we got used to encyclopaedic writing style, we also became accustomed to the very liberating thing about the Wikipedia format – that we can change the articles so easily as new information comes to light and as other editors in the community comment on it – and now that we have a core of enthusiastic editors, we know that while this was the first edit-a-thon in Swansea University, it won’t be the last.”

Three other direct outcomes include:

  • 5,000 images of Egyptian artifacts held at Swansea University will be uploaded to Commons on a CC-BY-SA license.
  • The university’s Athena Swan team voiced their interest in holding a similar edit-a-thon later this year, to increase the number of articles on women from all areas of life.
  • Cardiff University has also requested a similar edit-a-thon.

The main aim of the Swansea edit-a-thon was to increase content based on women c.1000–1600; the outcome, however, was more about changing mindsets.

Robin Owain, Manager of Wales, Wikimedia UK


by Andrew Sherman at March 16, 2015 05:23 PM

March 13, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Serbian women edit Wikipedia together in new FemWiki project

FemWiki radionica u Udruženju Fenomena, Kraljevo 02.jpg
Women participate in a FemWiki workshop in Kraljevo, to increase gender diversity on the Serbian Wikipedia. These events help them form friendships, share advice and support each other to write more articles about women and gender issues.
Photo by BoyaBoBoya, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

FemWiki is a volunteer project started in May 2014 to help increase the number of women who edit Wikipedia in the Serbian language — as well as the quality and quantity of articles about gender issues, feminist terminology and biographies of women.

The idea behind Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopedia, is to collect the sum of human knowledge, in a collaborative way, and to provide access to it for every person in the world. This makes it possible to represent different viewpoints, while preserving the diversity of editors and their experiences.

Unfortunately, global statistics are showing a different picture: a 2010 survey conducted by the United Nations University found that only 13% of Wikipedia contributors identified as female. In Serbia, we don’t have the exact data, but estimates of how many women edit the Serbian Wikipedia are even smaller: ~3%.

The idea for the FemWiki project came to me while I was attending the international Wikimedia Diversity conference in Berlin, in October 2013. During this event, I met a great number of female Wikipedians from different countries. Most were already engaged in their local communities to address the gender gap issue on Wikipedia. Motivated, inspired and excited, I came back to Belgrade with a lot of ideas and an incentive to start this project.

Is Wikipedia a “male” encyclopedia?

Not long after the conference, I got an invitation from the activists of Women INDOK Centre to give a talk about the visibility of women on Wikipedia for a public discussion series called “Gender and the Left”. To that end, I conducted the first mini research of feminist content on Serbian Wikipedia.

The data I collected was devastating: gender-sensitive speech wasn’t being used, although it is very easy to use in the Serbian language; articles about some of the most important feminist theoreticians didn’t exist; articles about gender didn’t exist; within the article about discrimination, there were no words about discrimination on the basis of sex or gender …

The conclusion was very clear: the content that is posted on Wikipedia is predominantly written by men. Therefore, it’s not surprising that articles are not substantiated with gender-sensitive topics, feminist terminology and biographies of women.


FemWiki workshop in in Hacklab Belgrade. Photo by Sanja Pavlovic, CC BY-SA 4.0.

After the “Gender and the Left” discussion, I connected with some other feminist organizations and hosted FemWiki workshops across the country. That’s how we started collaborating with Women Space from Niš, Fenomena from Kraljevo and activists from Kragujevac. Although I was traveling to share my knowledge, every workshop on editing Wikipedia revealed how much unrecognized knowledge women already have. Every workshop brought new experiences and insights about women’s history — which is not valued in a man-dominated culture, and is therefore not visible on Wikipedia. Virtual space seems to be a reflection of the real world.

Wikipedia has become a place where all kinds of knowledge can become more accessible.

After one of the events that we organized in Belgrade, Women from the Internet, we saw a need for more consistent workshops. To that end, I started scheduling FemWiki meetings on Friday afternoons, at Hacklab Belgrade, a local hackerspace; I have actively used this space for the past few years.

On several occasions, we experienced negative attitudes from some male members, who thought these kind of events actually discriminate towards men. However, the Hacklab community, even though it is predominantly composed of men, recognized the need for women to be more motivated when working with technology, computers and Wikipedia. So, our women-only workshop was accepted as a regular part of their schedule.

During that time, the workshops became a lot more than just about editing Wikipedia: we are forming friendships, giving advice, encouraging each other and sharing knowledge. Also, Wikimedia Serbia has now gained five new female members, who are interested in more activities within the organization.

Contest about women’s issues

Wikimedia posters in Hacklab Belgrade. Photo by Sanja Pavlovic, CC BY-SA 4.0.

During October and November 2014, Wikimedia Serbia organized a contest to write Wikipedia articles on women’s issues. As the coordinator of the contest, I asked three women to be members of the jury, which had never happened before — causing discriminatory and sexist comments on the talk page.

By the end of the contest, we had collectively written 246 new articles! Two out of three participants rewarded in the contest were women — and one of them decided to mark all her articles with the FemWiki template, as her way of contributing.

During the contest, I received emails from ten women who had never edited Wikipedia, but who were attracted by the contest. While some of them gave up, others successfully wrote Wikipedia articles — and several of them expressed interest in joining the FemWiki project.

All of this confirmed that women have the interest and motivation to edit Wikipedia, when they don’t feel alone.

Dictionary of Gender Equality

This year, we reached out to the authors of the Dictionary of Gender Equality (2010), Vesna Jaric and Nadezda Radovic. They gave us permission to put all the contents of their dictionary on Wikipedia, which will increase the number of articles by 102! (Although some of these articles were already written, they will also be edited and supplemented with content from the dictionary).

This is one of the big steps we made during 2014, not only because of the free content, but also because we have succeed in expanding the FemWiki project beyond the workshops. The battle for better visibility of women topics on Wikipedia is now being fought on several fronts.


In 2014 we started, edited or fixed 80 articles (~30 of them were written during the contest, and now have a FemWiki template).

We also participated in two public events, where we presented the topic of women on Wikipedia: the Gender and the Left discussions; and BeFem, a festival on feminist culture and activism. And the FemWiki project was presented at Women Rock IT, a regional conference held in Sarajevo in December 2014.

In our Belgrade hackerspace, we have held regular Friday afternoon meetings since September, which is used for women-only gatherings and talks about Wikipedia, open knowledge and women’s topics. On the last Friday of 2014, we hosted the first mixed workshop (men and women), during which we wrote four articles together. Also, in the same space, we organized the Women and Technology event, where we presented biographies of women from Wikipedia who made important contributions in the STEM field.

Besides meetings in Belgrade, we have hosted workshops in Niš, Kraljevo and Kragujevac — and we got in touch with more organizations to cooperate with in the future. We also visited Tirana and participated in the Wikipedia weekend event, where we presented the FemWiki project and talked about the gender gap on Wikipedia and the importance of women-only events. In October, we attended Ada Camp in Berlin, where we had the opportunity to seek advice and inspiration from other women who are engaged in the topic of women, Wikipedia and open culture and technology.


As mentioned before, the FemWiki project was launched in May 2014. Before that, the project wasn’t part of annual plans or expected projects of Wikimedia Serbia (WMRS). It started spontaneously when a mix of different things happened, creating a fruitful ground for the project to start.

For the whole year, our expectations were focused on educating feminist activists within countries where Wikipedia is fighting against the gender gap. We didn’t expect a lot of new contributors to stay on Wikipedia, but we wanted to spread the word about the gender gap, about the importance of activities surrounding it, and, within the feminist community in Serbia, about Wikipedia itself.

Today, we can say that this goal was reached: FemWiki is now widely recognized among feminists as the project which deals with the issue of women on the Serbian Wikipedia. Our FemWiki page on Facebook now has 293 likes, and our recent blog post about activities in 2014 was shared more than 10 times (from my personal profile and from the project’s page). The majority of shares were done by feminist organizations which support our efforts. After familiarizing feminists with Wikipedia and educating them, our new focus for 2015 will be organizing edit-a-thons and doing workshops with high school students. In that way we will be more oriented towards editor retention and increasing the quantity of written articles.

What we’ve learned during the workshops is that it is important to announce the theme of every gathering in advance (e.g.: Women and Science, Women and Art, etc.) — and to motivate women to prepare documentation for their chosen articles before the workshop begins. In that way, we are not spending our meeting time researching a topic online or just translating English Wikipedia. And the content that our participants have prepared is evaluated more carefully, with discussions of why it is good or bad and Wikipedia editing guidelines (e.g. licenses, neutral point of view, etc).

FemWiki 2015

In 2015, FemWiki will expand to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender topics ( LGBT). With this expansion, we want to make Wikipedia more relevant and more accessible to all discriminated groups in society. We are fighting for the recognition of all communities that are not already visible or valued enough in the public space and on Wikipedia.

Besides the usual FemWiki workshops, we will be organizing a few thematic edit-a-thons (International Women’s Day, Women in Art, Women in Science and Technology, LGBTQ edit-a-thon during Pride Week, etc.). We will also organize workshops for high-school girls on editing Wikipedia.

At the start of the spring, we will organize the first regional WikiWomen Camp, together with female Wikipedians from the regions of Albania and Kosovo! More details about that will be coming soon.

Sanja Pavlovic
FemWiki project leader
Former board member, Wikimedia Serbia

by Andrew Sherman at March 13, 2015 05:12 PM

March 12, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia v. NSA: Wikimedia Foundation files suit against NSA to challenge upstream mass surveillance

Photo of Lady Justice by  Roland Meinecke,  licensed under Free Art license.

Justice presides with her scale and sword at Frankfurt am Main.
Photo by Roland Meinecke, licensed under a Free Art license.

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation is filing suit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States [1]. The lawsuit challenges the NSA’s mass surveillance program, and specifically its large-scale search and seizure of internet communications — frequently referred to as “upstream” surveillance. Our aim in filing this suit is to end this mass surveillance program in order to protect the rights of our users around the world. We are joined by eight other organizations [2] and represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The full complaint can be found here.

“We’re filing suit today on behalf of our readers and editors everywhere,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. “Surveillance erodes the original promise of the internet: an open space for collaboration and experimentation, and a place free from fear.”

Privacy is the bedrock of individual freedom. It is a universal right that sustains the freedoms of expression and association. These principles enable inquiry, dialogue, and creation and are central to Wikimedia’s vision of empowering everyone to share in the sum of all human knowledge. When they are endangered, our mission is threatened. If people look over their shoulders before searching, pause before contributing to controversial articles, or refrain from sharing verifiable but unpopular information, Wikimedia and the world are poorer for it.

When the 2013 public disclosures about the NSA’s activities revealed the vast scope of their  programs, the Wikimedia community was rightfully alarmed. In 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation began conversations with the ACLU about the possibility of filing suit against the NSA and other defendants on behalf of the Foundation, its staff, and its users.

Our case today challenges the NSA’s use of upstream surveillance conducted under the authority of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA). Upstream surveillance taps the internet’s “backbone” to capture communications with “non-U.S. persons.” The FAA authorizes the collection of these communications if they fall into the broad category of “foreign intelligence information” that includes nearly any information that could be construed as relating to national security or foreign affairs. The program casts a vast net, and as a result, captures communications that are not connected to any “target,” or may be entirely domestic. This includes communications by our users and staff.

“By tapping the backbone of the internet, the NSA is straining the backbone of democracy,” said Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Wikipedia is founded on the freedoms of expression, inquiry, and information. By violating our users’ privacy, the NSA is threatening the intellectual freedom that is central to people’s ability to create and understand knowledge.”

The NSA has interpreted the FAA as offering free rein to define threats, identify targets, and monitor people, platforms, and infrastructure with little regard for probable cause or proportionality. We believe that the NSA’s current practices far exceed the already broad authority granted by the U.S. Congress through the FAA. Furthermore, we believe that these practices violate the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech and association, and the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

Additionally, we believe that the NSA’s practices and limited judicial review of those practices violate Article III of the U.S. Constitution. A specialized court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), hears issues related to foreign intelligence requests, including surveillance. Under U.S. law, the role of the courts is to resolve “cases” or “controversies” — not to issue advisory opinions or interpret theoretical situations. In the context of upstream surveillance, FISC proceedings are not “cases.” There are no opposing parties and no actual “controversy” at stake. FISC merely reviews the legality of the government’s proposed procedures — the kind of advisory opinion that Article III was intended to restrict.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a previous challenge to the FAA, Amnesty v. Clapper, because the parties in that case were found to lack “standing.” Standing is an important legal concept that requires a party to show that they’ve suffered some kind of harm in order to file a lawsuit. The 2013 mass surveillance disclosures included a slide from a classified NSA presentation that made explicit reference to Wikipedia, using our global trademark. Because these disclosures revealed that the government specifically targeted Wikipedia and its users, we believe we have more than sufficient evidence to establish standing.

Wikipedia is the largest collaborative free knowledge resource in human history. It represents what we can achieve when we are open to possibility and unburdened by fear. Over the past fourteen years, Wikimedians have written more than 34 million articles in 288 different languages. Every month, this knowledge is accessed by nearly half a billion people from almost every country on earth. This dedicated global community of users is united by their passion for knowledge, their commitment to inquiry, and their dedication to the privacy and expression that makes Wikipedia possible. We file today on their behalf.

For more information, please see our op-ed, Stop Spying on Wikipedia Users, by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov, in the March 10 edition of The New York Times. [3]

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

* The Wikimedia Foundation and its co-plaintiffs are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in this suit. We would like to thank them, in particular Patrick Toomey, Ashley Gorski, and Daniel Kahn Gillmor for their work and dedication throughout this process.



  1. Other defendants include: Michael Rogers, in his official capacity as Director of the National Security Agency and Chief of the Central Security Service; Office of the Director of National Intelligence; James Clapper, in his official capacity as Director of National Intelligence; and Eric Holder, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the United States.
  2. Today, we’re proud to bring this lawsuit alongside a coalition of organizations from across the ideological spectrum, including The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, Pen American Center, Global Fund for Women, The Nation Magazine, The Rutherford Institute, and Washington Office on Latin America. We believe the wide variety of perspectives represented in this lawsuit demonstrates that the defense of privacy and freedom of expression and association is not defined by partisanship or ideology.
  3. To read more about our opposition to mass government surveillance, please see our previous blog posts on PRISM, opposing mass surveillance on the internet, and transparency in the use of surveillance.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What does this lawsuit challenge?
A: Our lawsuit challenges the NSA’s unfounded, large-scale search and seizure of internet communications, frequently referred to as “upstream” surveillance. Using upstream surveillance, the NSA intercepts virtually all internet communications flowing across the network of high-capacity cables, switches, and routers that make up the internet’s “backbone.” This backbone connects the Wikimedia global community of readers and contributors to Wikipedia and the other the Wikimedia projects.

Q: What is the U.S. government’s legal justification for this program?
A: The U.S. government has used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) (see 50 U.S.C. § 1881a) to justify broad, “upstream” mass surveillance. Under the FAA, “the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence may authorize jointly, for a period of up to one year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of [non-US] persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” The statute only requires “reasonable belief” that a non-US person is located outside the United States. There is no need to show that target is a foreign agent, much less a terrorist. The purpose of the statute is to acquire “foreign intelligence information”– a very general concept. We believe the broad interpretation of this statute that allows for upstream surveillance is unconstitutional.

Q: How does surveillance or the fear of surveillance affect readers and editors of Wikipedia and its sister projects?
A: Mass surveillance is a threat to intellectual freedom and a spirit of inquiry, two of the driving forces behind Wikimedia. Wikipedia is written by people from around the world who often tackle difficult subjects. Very frequently they choose to remain anonymous, or pseudonymous. This allows them to freely create, contribute, and discover, without fear of reprisal. Surveillance might be used to reveal sensitive information, create a chilling effect to deter participation, or in extreme instances, identify individual users. Pervasive surveillance undermines the freedoms upon which Wikipedia and its communities are founded.

Q: How does surveillance affect Wikipedia as a knowledge resource?
A: Wikipedia is a living resource for knowledge. It is written by volunteers around the globe, in hundreds of languages. It reflects the world around us and changes to embodies current events, notable individuals, evolving theories, emerging art, and more. Wikipedia relies on the contributions of editors and the support of readers to evolve and grow. If readers and editors are deterred from participating in Wikipedia because of concerns about surveillance, the health of Wikipedia as a resource to the world is jeopardized.

Q: What kind of Wikimedia communications could the NSA be intercepting?
A: Wikipedia and its sister projects is created entirely by volunteer editors. More than 75,000 editors each month edit Wikipedia, amounting to more than 33 million articles. These editors not only contribute content, but also discuss and share information on discussion pages and elsewhere within the project. Privacy and free expression are core values of the Wikimedia community. When volunteer editors contribute to Wikipedia, they expect it to be a safe, open space in which creativity and knowledge can thrive.

Q: Why is it important that the Wikimedia Foundation ensures privacy and anonymity for its users?
A: Privacy is a core value of the Wikimedia movement. From the beginning, Wikipedia has allowed for users to maintain private identities through the use of anonymous or pseudonymous editing. This has been reinforced by the Wikimedia Foundation’s firm commitment to protecting the privacy and data of its users through legal and technical means.

Privacy makes freedom of expression possible, sustains freedom of inquiry, and allows for freedom of information and association. Knowledge flourishes where privacy is protected.

Q: Why is the NSA interested in the communications of innocent Wikimedia users?
A: You would have to ask them. One could guess, however, that they are trying to amass as much information as possible into their databases, and, as with other websites, they may believe there is value in the data, conversations, and personal information on Wikipedia and in the Wikimedia community.

Q: How do you know Wikimedia has been singled out for surveillance by the NSA?
A: One of the NSA documents revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden specifically identifies Wikipedia for surveillance alongside several other major websites like CNN.com, Gmail, and Facebook. The previously secret slide declares that monitoring these sites can allow NSA analysts to learn “nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet.”

Q: Has the Wikimedia Foundation taken any measures to protect its users’ privacy?
A: The Wikimedia Foundation takes privacy very seriously, which is why we find the NSA’s upstream mass surveillance so troubling. You do not need to create an account or login to read or edit Wikipedia or the other Wikimedia sites. If you do decide to create an account, you can choose any username you like — we don’t require real names, email addresses, or any other personally identifying information, and we never sell your data.

Q: Why did Wikimedia join this lawsuit against the NSA?
A: Our role at the Wikimedia Foundation is to protect Wikipedia, its sister projects, and the Wikimedia community of users. This means providing our users with the right conditions to facilitate their work, and protecting them when necessary. Defending the privacy of our editors, readers, and community is paramount to us. We believe privacy is essential to facilitating and advancing free knowledge.

You can also find this FAQ here on Wikimedia.org.

by fflorin2015 at March 12, 2015 08:06 PM

Hindi Wiki Sammelan: Bringing together dispersed Wikipedians

Translated versions: English | Hindi

Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meetup Group Photo
Hindi Wikipedians met to discuss a conference (‘sammelan’) in Delhi, to bring together editors dispersed across India. Photo by Muzammiluddin, free licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.
In July 2012, a group of five Hindi Wikipedians started a discussion on the Hindi Wikipedia Village Pump to explore the possibility of holding a Sammelan (conference) for Hindi Wikipedia, against the backdrop of Wikimania 2012 and Malayalam Wiki Sammelan. The idea was to bring together the geographically dispersed Hindi community and to drive a coordinated approach for the growth of the Hindi Wikipedia. During the last few years, this need had been felt by Hindi Wikipedians on a number of occasions. In March 2014, when I was working as Programme Officer of the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, I tried to elicit the opinions of Hindi Wikipedians on the village pump about the possibility of holding this Hindi Wiki Sammelan. The idea was welcomed by all Hindi Wikipedians and most of them favored Delhi as the location for the event.

Unlike other Indian regional language Wikipedias, the Hindi Wikipedia has a very special set of characteristics. Its contributors are geographically dispersed across the country, with practically no face-to-face interaction. There have only been a handful of workshops for Hindi Wikipedia. And a disturbing trend for the Hindi Wikipedia is, except for a few dedicated contributors, the editors keep changing frequently. However, the number of editors, articles and overall edits on Hindi Wiki has exceeded all other Indian language Wikipedias. Therefore, as a precursor to the Hindi Sammelan, efforts were initiated to hold a Hindi Sammelan Meetup with a few dedicated editors as well as individuals concerned about the growth of the Hindi Wikipedia. At the Wikimedia Foundation, Asaf Bartov supported this initiative and said on the Hindi Wiki Sammelan Project Page: “We at the Wikimedia Foundation are eager to provide the resources to make this event possible.”

Hindi Wikipedia admins Ashish Bhatnagar and Aniruddha Kumar. Photo by Muzammiluddin, free licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

In line with this objective, a Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meetup was organized in Delhi on February 14-15, 2015. The event was attended by 15 people, including three administrators of the Hindi Wikipedia: Ashish Bhatnagar, Aniruddha Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar. Also present were two reviewers: Piyush Maurya and myself. The event was supported by the Centre for Internet and Society and was coordinated by Abhishek Suryawanshi.

During our discussions, we decided that before planning a pan-India Hindi Wiki Sammelan, we would work on a Wiki Sammelan in Delhi this year. Participants also reviewed the idea of holding outreach programs in a number of colleges and universities. Here are some of the suggestions which were endorsed:

  • Design a special promotional brochure for Hindi Wikipedia.
  • Explore outreach programs in educational and research-oriented organizations.
  • Plan for “Wikipedian-in-residence” positions for the growth of Hindi Wikipedia in collaboration with various organizations.
  • Use “Hindi Fortnight” programme in Central Government organizations for the growth of Hindi Wikipedia.
  • Aim for a syndicated weekly Wikipedia editing tutorial column for Hindi newspapers in the north.
  • Plan Wikipedia programmes for radio and television.
  • Make effective use of social media.
  • Plan a better integration with different regional languages — since many of the languages in India such as Marathi, Konkani, Bhojpuri, etc use Devanagari script, Hindi Wikipedia outreach in these regions (Maharashtra, Goa, Bihar,etc) could be planned in harmony.
  • Distribute the workload: During the meeting, many participants agreed to oversee outreach activities, especially in Delhi, Lucknow and Punjab.

If this initial meetup is successful in focusing our efforts to promote the Hindi Wikipedia, we hope that the proposed Wiki Sammelan events (both at the local level in Delhi and at the national level with as well as the actual Hindi Wiki Sammelan) can support the future growth and development of Hindi Wikipedia. We also hope these events can serve as a model for building a coordinated approach between other wiki communities that are geographically dispersed.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Hindi Wikipedian

by Andrew Sherman at March 12, 2015 08:03 PM

हिन्दी विकि सम्मेलन: विस्तृत समुदाय को एकत्रित करना

Translated versions: English | Hindi

Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meetup Group Photo.JPG

हिन्दी विकिपीडियन्स ने दिल्ली में एक विकिसम्मेलन आयोजित किया। जिसका उद्देश्य देशपर्यन्त बिखरे हुए योगदानकर्त्ताओं को एकत्रित कर उनमें आपसी सद्भाव एवं समन्वय स्थापित करना था।

Photo हिन्दी विकिपीडियन हिन्दुस्तानी लैंग्वेज, अर्थात श्री मुज़म्मिलुद्दीन सय्यद द्वारा CC-BY-SA 4.0 अन्तर्गत्त मुक्त चित्र।
जुलाई २०१२ में, मात्र पाँच हिन्दी विकिपीडियन्स के समूह ने चौपाल पर एक चर्चा आरम्भ की जिसका विषय विकिमेनिया २०१२ एवं मलयालम विकि सम्मेलन के भांति ही हिन्दी विकिपीडिया हेतु, एक सम्मेलन आयोजित करने की संभावनाएं ढूंढना था। इसके पीछे मूल उद्देश्य था विभिन्न नगरों एवं शहरों में फ़ैले हुए हिन्दी विकिपीडियन्स को साथ लाकर हिन्दी विकिपीडिया के विकास के लिये एक समन्वयित प्रयास करना रहा था। पिछले कुछ वर्षों से हिन्दी विकिपीडियन्स में ऐसे किसी सम्मेलन की आवश्यकता कई अवसरों पर महसूस एवं चर्चा की गई थी। मार्च २०१४ में एक सम्मानीय हिन्दी विकिपीडियन श्री सैयद मुज़म्मिल जी द्वारा सेण्टर फ़ॉर इंटरनेट एण्ड सोसाइटी, बंगलुरु में उनके प्रोग्राम अधिकारी के कार्यकाल के समय हिन्दी विकिसम्मेलन आयोजित करने के बारे में चौपाल पर सदस्यों की राय भी ली थी। इस विचार का चर्चा में उपस्थित लगभग सभी सदस्यों ने स्वागत किया एवं अधिकांश सदस्यों का मत इसे पहली बार दिल्ली में आयोजित करने के पक्ष में ही था।

अन्य भारतीय भाषा विकिपीडियाओं की तुलना में विशेषकर हिन्दी विकिपीडिया के योगदानकर्त्ताओं की विशेष बात ये है कि ये देश भर में, एक बड़े भौगोलिक क्षेत्र में फ़ैले हुए हैं, एवं इनमें आपस में आमने-सामने का संचार विकल्प अभी तक कोई नहीं है। हालांकि कुछ हिन्दी कार्यशालाएं आयोजित की भी गई हैं, किन्तु एक बडी समस्या ये भी रही है, कि हिन्दी विकिपीडिया में बहुत ही अल्प संख्या में निष्ठ एवं स्थिर योगदाता हैं, अन्यथा अधिकांश योगदानकर्त्ता आते जाते, बदलते रहते हैं। यहां उल्लेखनीय है कि हिन्दी विकिपीडिया सदस्य संख्या, लेख संख्या एवं सम्पूर्ण सम्पादन संख्या में अन्य भारतीय भाषाओं की अपेक्षा वृद्धि दर्ज हुई है। इसीलिये हिन्दी सम्मेलन के आयोजन पूर्व एक पूर्वायोजन कार्यक्रम के प्रयास की आवश्यकता रही है, जिसमें कुछ समर्पित योगदानकर्त्ता एवं हिन्दी विकिपीडिया के उत्थान हेतु सहायक कुछ लोगों का संगम हो। आसफ़ बार्तोव ने इस विषय पर अपना समर्थन देते हुए हिन्दी विकिसम्मेलन परियोजना पृष्ठ पर कहा है कि: We at the Wikimedia Foundation are eager to provide the resources to make this event possible.

हिन्दी विकि प्रबंधक: आशीष भटनागर एवं अनिरुद्ध कुमार। चित्र हिन्दी विकिपीडियन श्री मुज़म्मिलुद्दीन सय्यद (Hindustanilanguage) द्वारा लिया गया एक CC-BY-SA 4.0 के अन्तर्गत्त मुक्त चित्र।

इन्हीं उद्देश्यों हेतु, नई दिल्ली में १४-१५ फ़रवरी, २०१५ को एक हिन्दी विकि सम्मेलन का आयोजन किया गया था। इस सम्मेलन में तीन हिन्दी विकि. प्रबन्धकगण: आशीष भटनागर, अनिरुद्ध कुमार एवं संजीव कुमार सहित १५ लोग उपस्थित थे। इनके अलावा दो पुनरीक्षक: पीयुष मौर्य एवं मुज़म्मिल सैयद भी थे। इस कार्यक्रम में सेण्टर फ़ॉर इंटरनेट एण्ड सोसाइटी ने सहयोग दिया एवं मुख्य समन्वयकर्त्ता एवं आयोजनकर्त्ता अभिषेक सूर्यवंशी थे।

यहां चर्चा के दौरान हमने तय किया कि एक भारतव्यापी सम्मेलन पूर्व, हमें इसी वर्ष दिल्ली में ही एक और विकि सम्मेलन आयोजित करना चाहिये। अन्य सदस्यों ने विभिन्न्न कॉलिजों एवं विश्वविद्यालयों में आउटरीच कार्यक्रम एवं कार्यशालाएं आयोजित कर हिन्दी विकि को बढ़ावा देने पर जोर भी दिया। इस सम्मेलन के मुख्य सुझावों का सार इस प्रकार से है:

  • हिन्दी विकिपीडिया हेतु एक विशेष प्रचार पत्र बनाया जाए।
  • विभिन्न्न शैक्षणिक एवं शोध-उन्मुख संगठनों एवं संस्थाओं में आउटरीच कार्यक्रमों की संभावनाएं तलाशी जाएं।
  • विभिन्न संगठनों की सहायता से विकिपीडियन-इन-रेज़िडेन्स पोज़ीशन्स का नियोजन कर हिन्दी विकिपीडिया के उत्थान में सहयोग किया जाए।
  • केन्द्र सरकार के संगठनों में यथासंभव हिन्दी पखवड़े जैसे कार्यक्रम के दौरान हिन्दी विकिपीडिया को बढ़ावा देने एवं योगदान करने की भी योजनाएं बनायी जाएं।
  • उत्तर-भारत एवं अन्य हिन्दी भाषी क्षेत्रों के समाचार-पत्रों में हिन्दी विकिपीडिया सम्पादन एवं उपयोग हेतु कोई ट्यूटोरियल स्तंभ दिये जा सकते हैं।
  • रेडियो एवं दूरदर्शन पर हिन्दी विकिपीडिया के प्रचार-प्रसार संबंधी कार्यक्रम के आयोजन की संभावनाएं तलाशी जाएं।
  • सोशल मीडिया की सहायता भी इसके लिये प्रभाई रहेगी।
  • अन्य भारतीय भाषाओं के संग एक बेहतर समाकलन की योजना बनायी जाए, जिसके मुख्य कारण हैं:
  • कई भारतीय भाषाओं जैसे मराठी, कोंकणी, भोजपुरी, नेपाली भाषाएं समान देवनागरी लिपि का ही प्रयोग करती हैं। महाराष्ट्र, बिहार, गोआ, राजस्थान, उत्तर प्रदेश एवं मध्य प्रदेश में आपसी सद्भाव से विकास योजना बनाई जा सकती हैं।
  • अधिकांश भारतीय भाषाओं के व्याकरण समान होते हैं, अतः इनमें अनुवाद अन्य भाशाओं की अपेक्षा अधिक सुलभ होता है।
  • कार्यभार का विभाजन: सम्मेलन के दौरान कई सहभागियों ने अलग-अलग स्थानों पर आउटरीच गतिविधियों में सहयोग का आश्वासन दिया, विशेषकर दिल्ली, लखनऊ एवं पंजाब में।


यदि इस प्रारम्भिक सम्मेलन में हिन्दी विकिपीडिया के विकास के हमारे प्रयास सफ़ल होते हैं, तो हमें आशा है कि हमारा प्रस्तावित विकि सम्मेलन (दिल्ली में स्थानीय स्तर एवं राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर भी, तथा मुख्य हिन्दी विकिसम्मेलन) भविष्य में हिन्दी विकिपीडिया के विकास एवं प्रगति में सहायक होगा। इसके साथ ही हमें ये भी आशा है कि ऐसे सम्मेलन भौगोकिक विविधता के कारण बिखरे हुए अन्य विकि समुदायों के बीच भी समन्वय रखने में एक प्रतिरूप सिद्ध होगा।

हिन्दी विकिपीडियन श्री मुज़म्मिलुद्दीन सय्यद के ब्लॉग का हिन्दी अनुवाद। द्वारा: प्रबन्धक हिन्दी विकिपीडिया: आशीष भटनागरAshish BhatnagarPlume pen w.giftalk 05:44, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

by Andrew Sherman at March 12, 2015 06:38 PM

March 10, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Gender as a text field: What Wikipedia can learn from Facebook

Ismael Nery - Andrógino.jpg

We are more than our sex and more than our gender, and many users want more nuanced options for identifying themselves online. Andrógino by Ismael Nery. Public Domain.

She/He/Prefer not to say

Last year, Facebook introduced more than 50 drop-down options for gender identification[1]. In February 2015, the social media giant took another step, allowing users to override the drop-down options with their own terms[2]. Today, the English language Wikipedia offers three gendered options via Preferences > Internationalisation > “How do you prefer to be described?”: “prefer not to say,” “she,” and “he”[3]. While these options provide an alternative to the biological binary, they are still closely tied to it. For example, Help:Preferences reads, “Option to reveal your sex [emphasis added] in order for the software to grammatically refer to you correctly.”

Sex and Gender Differences

So, what’s the difference between sex and gender identification? Sex generally refers to biological and physiological characteristics[4]. One is born male, female, or with biological variations that may be described as intersex[5]. The degree of one’s biological “maleness” or “femaleness” may vary even if one is recognized as either side of the binary at birth (or, through the marvels of modern medicinal technologies, in utero). Hormone levels fluctuate from person to person and throughout life, sometimes shifting the degrees to which we present “maleness” or “femaleness”–even physiologically. Biological sex means a female may be able to conceive and bear a child. It also means a male may have more muscle mass and be stronger than a female of the same size and age.

Gender refers to “the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate”[6] for a given biological sex. Gender, then, may be related to but not the same as sex. Gender may mean women are expected to be the primary caregivers for children, or are expected to have children simply because they can. It also means men may be expected to be physically stronger than women and more interested in feats of said strength.

Gender also extends beyond the binary of man/woman. For those who identify as the sex and associated gender assigned at birth–sometimes called cisgendered–thinking about notions of non-gendered, transgendered, or genderqueer may be uncomfortable. However, gender identity is an essential part of self-identity and, consequently, an essential part of how we perceive others.

Of course, sex and gender based expectations don’t apply across all individuals at all times. Some females can’t conceive and bear a child. Some males don’t have more muscle mass and aren’t stronger than females of the same size and age. Some women don’t want to have or care for children. Some men don’t want to compete in displays of physical strength. While sex and gender evidence patterns and these patterns are used to construct expectations (or stereotypes), we know from our lived experiences that we are all more than male/female, or man/woman. We are more than our sex and more than our gender.

How We Frame the “Gender Gap”

The term “gender gap” was first coined by Eleanor Smeal in the 1980s to describe patterns in voting differences between men and women in the U.S. presidential elections[7]. Today, the term may be used to note specific differences in the labor market[8][9], or broader disparities across areas such as health, politics, and education[10]. Essentially, using the term “gender gap” signals a discrepancy in patterns between men and women. It’s important to note, however, that discussions regarding a “gender gap” of any kind are almost always binary and do not always recognize differences amongst men and women.

Intersectionality, a term introduced by the work of Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in the late 1980s, suggests and seeks to understand how “various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, caste, and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic injustice and social inequality” [11].

Wikipedia’s “gender gap” has been framed as a lack of female contributors[12] resulting in biased and skewed content as well as different editing experiences[13]. While the work I’ve done in my IEG thus far supports these findings, throughout my interviews (n = 30) and in response to my survey (n = 125), I’ve heard another voice from the community: one that questions how we frame the “gender gap.” For example, one survey participant notes:

[T]here is an absurd and very sexist notion that the gender gap is only a problem if women are indeed “useful”, i.e. contribute to articles not already covered by the existing base of editors. This completely sidesteps the problem.

An interview participant shares:

I think that gender is something that we’re trained in and it’s enacted culturally. I mean, sure, there are some fundamental biological differences and some of those are probably neurological and so on. But it doesn’t seem to me like that, that your sex and gender are the most important property. Since 2010 I’ve come to acknowledge that it’s important to look at the community aspect of a Wikipedia. It’s important to think about people who are involved. I still think like that in some ways because what we get is a product of who’s writing it.

But I’m more concerned about the product and the process than about how do we recruit more women to edit Wikipedia. That doesn’t seem really central to me. It’s more important to me that we get information from all over the world and from a lot of different cultures. It’s more important to me that we at least have some plan for balance and coverage among topics. If we’re going to go out and try to recruit the perfect community of people whom we want to edit, then it’s no longer exactly the community, like “anyone can edit,” but it’s the “Let’s try to balance the contributors.” I don’t know.

Probably the first experience I had personally of the gender gap in this way was going to a meeting at Wikimania which was the women’s meeting. I’m not even really sure why I was there because I often get really uncomfortable in these spaces where we’re specifically trying to enact gender in some way. It often feels really unnatural to me.

What I hear in these–and other similar–responses is that our framing of the “gender gap” may need to be more careful, considerate, and nuanced–even if it takes more time and effort. Women have had negative experiences (e.g., sexual harassment, gender-based trolling, rape threats, and death threats) while editing Wikipedia. Some have actively avoided certain parts of the community, certain kinds of work, and specific editors so that they don’t have these kind of experiences. Yet, many women have had only positive experiences regardless of the kinds of work they do. Intersectionality, agency, and individual differences influence these experiences. Still, if Wikipedia values diversity and would like to see an increase in a wide range of all kinds of editors, there may need to be shifts in rhetoric, policies, and tools that make Wikipedia a more welcoming space for those who are not “born Wikipedian.”

How We Shape Technology and How It Shapes Us

A user interface that gives users only the options of “prefer not to say,” “she,” or “he” subtly pushes the binary and potentially alienates anyone who chooses not to participate in it. For example, if a user identifies as neither “she” nor “he” but doesn’t want to present as anonymous or secretive, “prefer not to say” can be read only as Other. This kind of UI limitation may also produce skewed data.

It’s true the English language proves problematic here; for a case study, review the Wikipedia article about Chelsea Manning and the associated Talk pages. However, the English language, like all languages, is fluid. Just as it shapes us, we shape it. We introduce new words, or neologisms, to reflect new technologies, new ideas, and new experiences. As Adrianne Wadewitz and Phoebe Ayers pointed out in their HASTAC blog post about the case of the Chelsea Manning article: “Wikipedia’s policies are constructed to try to ensure editorial consistency under the broad umbrella of a few guiding principles (neutrality, factualness) — but they are constructed over time, by editors, working through back-and-forth discussions and case by case on articles. And like all Wikipedia articles, these policies are a work in progress, shaped by the editors who come to the table”[14].

Facebook’s decision to introduce more than 50 gender identification options via a drop-down menu elicited both praise and criticism. Facebook Diversity reports the decision was made in collaboration with their “Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organizations” to support their goal for “you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self”[15]. Several news hosts[16] and some religious organizations[17][18] quickly denounced Facebook’s decision, while others questioned whether the change had been motivated by a desire to better target ads and why Facebook had decided on using a controlled vocabulary rather than a text field. Perhaps in response to these criticisms and continued research studies[19], Facebook has now made a “progressive”[20] move away from a controlled vocabulary to a free-form field.

Like Facebook, the open source community Diaspora enables users to gender-identify beyond the binary. Diaspora has also introduced a text field–though not without much controversy and criticism. Recently, the dating site OkCupid added gender and sexuality options[21]. Again, their decision has been both praised and criticized[22][23][24]. At the end of 2014, with very little media fanfare, Google+ introduced a custom gender field too, allowing users to enter “infinite” options [25][26].

Collecting and analyzing gender identification data is, as we see in the responses to Facebook, Diaspora, and OkCupid a nuanced and potentially political endeavor. When it comes to Wikipedia and efforts to address the “gender gap,” it’s not only important how the topic is framed, but it’s also important to understand the complexities of self-reported data and to remember social technologies are inherently social. One way Wikipedia communities may continue to address the “gender gap” is by re-thinking what is meant by “gender,” and by carefully developing a technology that reflects desired values–even if we’re not quite there yet. If gender becomes a text field, there may be irreverent comments in response and the data may not be standardized[27]. However, questioning the underlying values and assumptions implicit in our technologies and policies and contemplating new approaches signals an openness to diversity and, in fact, provides a much richer data set.

Amanda Menking, PhD student at the University of Washington’s Information School

This is the second post related to Amanda Menking’s Individual Engagement Grant from the Wikimedia Foundation: Women and Wikipedia. Views presented here are the author’s own; discussion is welcome in the comment section of this blog post.


  1. http://www.nytimes.com/video/multimedia/100000002711215/facebook-adds-dozens-of-new-gender-options.html
  2. https://www.facebook.com/facebookdiversity/posts/774221582674346
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Preferences
  4. http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/
  5. http://www.isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex
  6. http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eleanor-smeal/the-gender-gap-rules-2012_b_2060065.html
  8. http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.html
  9. http://www.nature.com/news/inequality-quantified-mind-the-gender-gap-1.12550
  10. http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2014/
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality
  12. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0065782#pone-0065782-t002
  13. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2038560
  14. http://www.hastac.org/blogs/wadewitz/2013/09/03/struggle-over-gender-wikipedia-case-chelsea-manning
  15. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=567587973337709
  16. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/14/fox-news-gender-facebook-options_n_4790243.html
  17. http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/facebooks-shift-on-gender-draws-catholic-criticism/
  18. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/13/facebook-roles-outnewgenderoptionsforusers.html
  19. http://oliverhaimson.com/PDFs/HaimsonDisclosureStressSupport.pdf
  20. http://fusion.net/story/55057/new-facebook-feature-gender-options/
  21. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/okcupid-new-gender-options_n_6172434.html
  22. http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/no-okcupid-expanded-gender-options/
  23. http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/how-okcupid-has-become-more-inclusive-on-gender-and-sexuality/?_r=0
  24. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-berg/these-queers-are-boycotti_b_5248971.html
  25. http://www.advocate.com/business/technology/2014/12/14/google-now-lets-you-define-your-gender
  26. http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/11/7375871/google-introduces-gender-options-for-its-social-network
  27. http://www.sarahmei.com/blog/2010/11/26/disalienation/

by Andrew Sherman at March 10, 2015 05:19 PM

Meet some of the women who contribute to Wikipedia

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to share some of the inspiring stories of women who contribute to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.

We shared their stories on the Wikimedia Blog in recent years. We are pleased to introduce them here again. Many of these are video interviews which you can watch right here on this page.

Zinaida Good

Zinaida Good
Photo by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Zinaida Good grew up in Russia, studied in Canada and started editing Wikipedia in 2008, as a college assignment. When she finished her report, her professor, a cancer geneticist, recommended that she post it as an article on Wikipedia. She views Wikipedia as a way to help anyone, anywhere, learn about anything — especially when they don’t have other educational resources available to them. Years later, she’s still editing articles on biology and cancer. Helping educate the world — and watching pageviews climb for articles she’s worked on — keeps her motivated to keep writing.

Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Poongothai Balasubramanian

File:The Impact of Wikipedia Poongothai Balasubramanian.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Poongothai Balasubramanian, an Indian teacher who retired in 2010 after 33 years in the classroom, started editing Wikipedia at the urging of her son. Thus began her “retirement career” as an active Wikipedian. She has expanded articles about mathematics, such as Parabola, Ellipse and Hyperbola. Balasubramanian remembers what it was like when knowledge was at a premium — as is still the case in many parts of the world. She sees editing Wikipedia as a way to change that dynamic, to deliver the sum of human knowledge for free.

Learn more in this 2012 blog profile.

Susan Hewitt

File:What's a Love Dart?.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Susan Hewitt believes that fostering a little wiki love, and a sense of camaraderie, can go a long way toward helping new editors feel at home. She thinks software tools are essential for improving the editing experience and she is grateful to the MediaWiki developers who work to make that happen, whether on a paid or volunteer basis. Hewitt has developed a system for welcoming new editors to projects and recommends that experienced editors act as mentors to invite them to collaborate on Wikipedia.

Learn more in this 2012 blog profile.

Ravan Jaafar Altaie

File:The Impact of Wikipedia Ravan Jaafar Altaie.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Ravan Jaafar Altaie was inspired to edit Wikipedia to learn more about the world around her. A native of Iraq, she also hoped to make a difference for Arabic speakers by expanding content on the Arabic Wikipedia. After reading Wikipedia for several years, Altaie tried her hand at editing in 2008, after hearing about the “Add to humanity, add to Wikipedia” initiative in Egypt. She was struck by Wikipedia’s collaborative spirit and by its wide reach. According to Altaie, editing an article allows a user to take time to research a specific topic or area of interest. As more and more users turn to Arabic Wikipedia, she hopes to keep increasing its content, either by translating existing pages from other languages, or by creating original articles.

Learn more in this 2012 blog profile.

Melisa Parisi

Melisa Parisi
Melisa Parisi by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

When Melisa Parisi began contributing to Wikimedia in 2007, she was only 15. A native Argentinean, she started translating articles about the long-running cartoon The Simpsons from English Wikipedia to Spanish Wikipedia. Her first article was deleted because it didn’t have the correct formatting. Undeterred, Parisi kept editing with the help of an even younger Wikipedian. As of 2012, she had written more than 800 articles — including 40 featured articles — and made more than 27,000 edits. Parisi hopes that more young people will also contribute to Wikipedia. She thinks all that’s required to contribute to Wikipedia is the desire to do so.

Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Mei Jiun Kwek

File:The Impact of Wikipedia - Mei Jiun Kwek.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Mei Jiun Kwek uploaded her first image to Wikimedia Commons while working as a scientific assistant at Crops for the Future, an international organization based in Malaysia. As a student, she spent a lot of time collecting plant specimens in the forest, developing a love of botany. Kwek thinks that agriculture researchers should take responsibility for sharing their findings with the general public. In her view, Wikipedia has untapped potential to improve our understanding of agricultural topics, especially for neglected and underutilized crops.

Learn more in this 2012 blog profile.

Emily Temple-Wood

Emily Temple-Wood
Photo by Andrew Lih, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Emily Temple-Wood was 12 years old when she got involved in Wikipedia. Having read an entire children’s encyclopedia from cover to cover at the age of five, she found it natural to switch from consuming knowledge to creating it. Despite her academic commitments, Temple-Wood has made it her mission to ensure that female scientists get their due recognition on Wikipedia. She says the scientific community has been keen to get more involved with Wikipedia, a trend that is not only positive but necessary. If Wikipedia didn’t exist, Temple-Wood says she would still find a way to volunteer to share free knowledge with the world.

Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Noopur Raval

File:The Impact of Wikipedia - Srikeit Tadepalli and Noopur Raval.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Contributing to Wikimedia is more than just editing for Indian resident Noopur Raval: it’s about giving back by spreading the word about the movement. Raval joined the Wikimedia movement through an outreach program organized by her friend Srikeit Tadepalli (pictured above), and started contributing in 2011. Raval’s favorite contribution to Wikipedia is an article on the Kanchipuram Sari, which turned out to be a personal journey for her.

Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Q Miceli

File:The Impact of Wikipedia - Q Miceli.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Q Miceli, who hails from New Jersey, started contributing to Wikipedia while researching a “tree of life” project for her 9th grade biology class. An avid cook, Miceli contributes to many Wikipedia articles on baking, which she hopes will be useful to others interested in the craft. “Writing about baking affects the greater good because everyone needs to eat and bread is the staff of life,” she explains. “I have found Wikipedia articles explaining the science behind baking better than many cookbooks! I’m also able to learn about the cultural aspect of what I’m eating with Wikipedia.” Miceli dreams of one day opening her own vegan, gluten-free bakery.

Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.


Chanitra Bishop

Chanitra Bishop
Photo by Karen Sayre, under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Chanitra Bishop always wanted to work in a library, because she enjoys helping people find information. She found a way to fulfill that dream with Wikipedia. A volunteer since 2010, Bishop joined the Wikipedia Education Program in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio as Regional Ambassador, working with both students and teachers. She believes that the more you contribute to Wikipedia, the more respect you earn from our community.

Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Iolanda Pensa

Iolanda Pensa
Photo by Niccolò Caranti, under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Iolanda Pensa was scientific director of WikiAfrica from 2007 to 2012, leading a major initiative to add more content from Africa to Wikipedia. With the support of 100 institutional partners, the Swiss-born community leader engaged African volunteers to make over 30,000 contributions to Wikimedia projects by the end of 2012. She believes that Wikipedia can work closely with primary school to give access to knowledge for everyone on the planet.

Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.
Many thanks to these women for their many contributions to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects! We are also grateful to everyone who helped create these profiles and videos over the years, so we could share these inspiring stories with our community.

Andrew Sherman, Digital Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Victor Grigas, Storyteller and Video Content Producer, Wikimedia Foundation
Fabrice Florin, Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at March 10, 2015 07:51 AM

March 08, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Join a Wikipedia edit-a-thon near you for International Women’s Day

Women contributors collaborate to edit Wikipedia in an Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon in New York City. Events like these help increase gender diversity on Wikimedia projects. Photo by Michael Mandiberg, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

To improve coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia, over 75 different edit-a-thons will be held around the world, on the weekend of International Women’s Day, March 7th and March 8th.

Art+Feminism Campaign

The Art+Feminism Campaign, based in New York, is organizing a global effort to host Wikipedia edit-a-thons this weekend, as we did last year.

The main event will take place at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Education and Research Building at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, on Saturday, March 7, 2015 for a day of communal updating of Wikipedia entries on subjects related to art and feminism. We will provide tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, reference materials, childcare, and refreshments. Bring your laptop, power cord and ideas for entries that need updating or creation. Even if you are averse to editing, we urge you to stop by to show your support.

A simultaneous event will be held at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum — and over 75 other edit-a-thons nodes around the world will also invite participants to contribute to Wikipedia during International Women’s Day weekend.

2015 International Edit-a-thons

Event nodes are being organized on March 7th and 8th throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Oceania, South America — and online.

United States




  • Halifax, NSCAD University, Nova Scotia, March 7, 2015
  • Montréal, Canadian Women Artists History Initiative (CWAHI), Concordia University, Canada & Eastern Bloc, Canada, March 7, 2015
  • Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Library and Archive, March 8, 2015
  • Vancouver, University of British Columbia, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory and Music, Art and Architecture, UBC Library, March 7–8, 2015 & Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Library, March 6-7, 2015
  • See full list


South America / Oceania



To guide participants, Art+Feminism provides a growing list of possible tasks for these edit-a-thons. For more information, see the Art+Feminism Campaign page.

Volunteers learn to edit Wikipedia in a tutorial held at the Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon at Eyebeam in New York City. Photo by Michael Mandiberg, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Volunteers learn to edit Wikipedia in a tutorial held at the Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon at Eyebeam in New York City. Photo by Michael Mandiberg, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

WikiWomen’s History Month

Even more events are being hosted as part of WikiWomen’s History Month, to generate more content about women and gender-related topics. WikiWomen’s History Month is a wiki-coordinated program of article writing, image/picture creating, international events and edit-a-thons focused on WikiProject Women’s History and related projects. It is celebrated each year in March in association with International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Check out upcoming events on their 2015 page.

File:Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, February 1, 2014.webm

Watch this video of the Art+Feminism 2014 Edit-a-thon in Chicago. You can also view it on YouTube. By Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Previous Events

In February 2014, an Art + Feminism edit-athon took place at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City. More than 30 event nodes were hosted in Australia, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The campaign attracted an estimated 600 participants, resulting in more than 100 new Wikipedia articles focused on women and the arts. Read more outcomes from that event.

Gender diversity

Wikipedia’s gender diversity issues are well documented. A 2010 survey conducted by the United Nations University found that only 13% of Wikipedia contributors identify as female. The reasons for the gender gap are up for debate: suggestions include leisure inequality, how gender socialization shapes public comportment, and the contentious nature of Wikipedia’s talk pages. The practical effect of this disparity, however, is not. Content is skewed by the lack of female participation. Many articles on notable women in history and art are absent on Wikipedia. This represents an alarming challenge for an increasingly important repository of shared knowledge.

To address theses issues, Art+Feminism and related projects invite you to join us this weekend — and help increase gender diversity on Wikimedia sites.

Siân Evans, Librarian and Implementation Manager, Artstor, Art Libraries Society of North America’s Women and Art Special Interest Group
Jacqueline Mabey, Independent Curator and Art Worker, failed projects
Michael Mandiberg, Associate Professor-CUNY Graduate Center and College of Staten Island/City University of New York, Education Program Teacher

by Andrew Sherman at March 08, 2015 09:24 PM

March 06, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Women and gender diversity on Wikimedia: Help find quality articles

Mathematician Ada Lovelace is often described as the world's first computer programmer. Public Domain.

Mathematician Ada Lovelace is often described as the world’s first computer programmer. Her article on Wikipedia was recommended as a high-quality biography about a notable woman. Public Domain.

Can you help find high-quality articles that celebrate women and gender diversity on Wikipedia and sister sites?

This month recognizes women around the world. In honor of International Women’s Day, the Wikimedia community’s own WikiWomen’s History Month, and the new Wikimedia Foundation Inspire Campaign, we’re highlighting notable women and themes related to gender diversity on the Wikimedia Blog.

What are your favorite, high-quality Wikipedia articles about notable women? What are your favorite, high-quality articles about gender diversity?

We’re looking for factual, well-written and insightful articles, from the wiki of your choice. Articles that do not meet these criteria will not be considered.

Please add your suggestions on this wiki page. Be sure to include a link to your favorite — and a sentence or two about why you picked it (e.g.: what did you learn from this article?).

We also invite you to add your +1’s for articles you think are most insightful, to help select our top picks for our report later this month.

Please post your recommendations here until March 15, 2015. We will then prepare a report about our favorites, and publish it on the Wikimedia blog the following week.

Thanks for helping surface quality content on this important topic!

Fabrice Florin
Movement Communications Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at March 06, 2015 10:15 PM

March 05, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Inspire Campaign to fund new gender diversity initiatives


Complex issues require collective action. Do you have an idea to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects? From now until March 31st, Wikimedia’s Inspire Campaign is looking for proposals to address gender issues on projects like Wikipedia.

Focus on gender diversity

A 2010 survey conducted by the United Nations University found that only 13% of Wikipedia contributors identified as female. The reasons for it have been much debated, and there are likely multiple contributing factors. What is clear, however, is that we’re still missing important perspectives in the Wikimedia movement, and that our content – the sum of all human knowledge that Wikimedians around the world aim to curate – has significant gaps as well. Many articles on notable women are still absent from Wikipedia, for example, and systemic bias remains an issue in the topics that do have coverage. Read more about the context and history.

Several initiatives have begun over the years to address different facets of Wikimedia’s gender diversity issues. Research and exploration is ongoing; some projects have created new spaces for cultural shifts; other initiatives like Art+Feminism and WikiWomen’s History Month are steadily generating more content to diversify coverage in important topics.

To truly increase diversity in our communities and content, we believe that the ecosystem needs an ever-increasing number of creative solutions. Partnerships, research, community organizing, socio-cultural and technical interventions should all be considered. To that end, we’ve launched the Inspire Campaign to proactively seek new ideas and project proposals aimed at increasing Wikimedia’s gender diversity.

Inspiring collective action

With the Inspire Campaign, our aim is to systematically encourage, connect, and support community efforts to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia projects. We would like to gather 100 new ideas and 500 participants during the campaign. To help turn ideas into action, we have set aside $250,000 in funding for grant proposals submitted during the month of March. Proposals will be selected with input from a committee of Wikimedia volunteers, and funded projects will be announced on April 30th, 2015.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Create an idea: Anyone can start an idea. Capturing and sharing your ideas is a useful first step to forward our collective knowledge. Others can help you improve it or carry it forward.
  • Give feedback on ideas: If you like an idea, use the “endorse” button. Improvement suggestions, concerns, or other feedback can also be posted on the discussion page.
  • Share your skills: Create a profile to tell others what sort of skills or experience you can offer as a collaborator on potential projects. You can also browse all ideas and use the “join” button to offer to collaborate on a project of interest to you.
  • Get people to help with your idea: If your idea needs participants, you can browse profiles in the IdeaLab and invite someone with relevant skills to join your project.
  • Get funding to support your idea: If funding from the Wikimedia Foundation would help turn your idea into action, after creating your idea you can expand it into a grant proposal. Staff and funding committee members will review your proposal, ask any necessary questions on the discussion page, and let you know when a decision has been made.
  • Spread the word: Share this campaign with others to increase our collective potential with more ideas and skills.

Anyone can submit a proposal for the Inspire Campaign – allies are an important and welcome part of this initiative! Also note that grant requests for time-sensitive projects that do not focus on the gender gap will still be considered during this period.

Are you inspired to help address Wikimedia’s gender gap? Do you have ideas or skills to share with others working on this issue? We invite you to join the campaign and help increase gender diversity in Wikimedia!

Siko Bouterse – Director of Community Resources, Wikimedia Foundation
Alex Wang – Project and Event Grants Program Officer, Wikimedia Foundation
María Cruz – Evaluation Community Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation

Image by Vpseudo, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

by fflorin2015 at March 05, 2015 10:18 PM

March 04, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

This month’s focus: Women in Wikimedia

Women gather for "WikiWomen Day" in Pune, India, to help each other contribute to Wikipedia and increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects. Photo by Abhishek Suryawanshi, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Women gather for “WikiWomen Day” in Pune, India, to help each other contribute to Wikipedia and increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects. Photo by Abhishek Suryawanshi, under CC-BY-SA-3.0.

This month, we will focus on women and gender diversity in the Wikimedia movement, to coincide with International Women’s Day, WikiWomen’s History Month — and the new Inspire Campaign that launches on March 4.

We plan to publish up to a dozen stories on this blog and on social media:
• profiles of WikiWomen that are making exceptional contributions to our cause
• reports about worldwide edit-a-thons on International Women’s Day
• community picks of great articles about women on Wikimedia sites
• overview of the best research studies about gender diversity on Wikipedia
• reports on programs that seem to be addressing these issues successfully
• best practices for increasing diverse contributions

Through these stories, we hope to surface answers to these key questions:
• How are women around the world contributing to Wikimedia today?
• How can we support gender diversity more effectively in our communities?
• What knowledge is still missing in Wikimedia content about women and gender? How can we fill those gaps?

If you would like to submit a story on this topic, please review these guidelines and post your draft or outline, then email us. We will review new submissions for this editorial theme until March 10th, 2015.

We look forward to working together to grow and diversify our movement!

Fabrice Florin (WMF)
Movement Communications Manager
Wikimedia Foundation


by fflorin2015 at March 04, 2015 09:56 PM

Taking a stand for free knowledge in the European Union

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Wikipedian Lukas Mezger (center), with free knowledge advocates Karl Sigfrid (left) and Dimitar Dimitrov, standing in front of the European commission in Brussels. Photo by Gnom, CC BY-SA 4.0.

On February 19, the European Commission held a “high-level roundtable meeting” on copyright reform in Brussels, Belgium. The hearing was presided by Commissioner Günther Oettinger and aimed at determining “how to facilitate access to knowledge and heritage through libraries, education and cultural heritage institutions, while at the same time making sure that copyright remains a driver for creativity and investment”. Wikipedian Lukas Mezger (User:Gnom) was invited to participate, representing the European Wikimedia chapters.

Copyright in Europe is largely shaped by European Union law. In 2014, the European Commission started a legislative effort to tackle 21st century problems in copyright law. This is why the EU Wikimedia Chapters have joined together to coordinate their political work, creating the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU. The group aims to achieve three common goals that lie at the heart of the Wikimedia movement: Freedom of panorama, public domain for public works, and free use of orphan works. Earlier, this blog discussed the European Parliament’s report regarding the planned reform.

For the hearing on February 19, we decided to present two key points to the Commissioner and his team. First, the European Wikimedia chapters support the idea of further harmonizing copyright law in Europe (as opposed to the so-called content industry, which sees the existing fragmented national rules as a competitive advantage). Second, we demand the creation of a mandatory freedom of panorama rule in the entire EU (this has so far been left to the member states to decide). (Freedom of panorama permits taking photos or videos of buildings in public places.)

Due to fragmented freedom of panorama rules in Europe, this is how the European Commission building in Brussels has to be displayed on Wikipedia. Photo by Stephane Mignon, CC BY 2.0.

Since the hearing focused on the interests of the civil society, participants represented various interest groups. Representatives from Europeana, the library associations EBLIDA and LIBER, the Association of European Film Archives, the European Consumer Organisation, and the European Writers’ Council shared ideas that are close to those of the Wikimedia movement. As a community comprised of creators such as authors, programmers, and photographers on the one hand, as well as users such as researchers and ordinary readers on the other, we have a special perspective on the copyright reform debate.

The hearing was an exciting event for the European Wikimedia chapters. We were able to present our key positions at the highest political level. Wikimedia being invited to the hearing shows that our movement is recognized as a partner for civil society dialog on the European Union’s political stage. The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU will make good use of this connection to push for a harmonization of freedom of panorama and public domain government works so we can better share the world’s knowledge and cultural heritage. We will continue to get involved during the creation of the European Commission’s draft bill, which is expected in the fall of this year.

Lukas Mezger, Deputy chair of the Supervisory board, Wikimedia Deutschland

Note: An earlier, German-language version of this draft with more photos can be found here.

by Andrew Sherman at March 04, 2015 06:54 PM

March 03, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

WikiCamps introduce young Armenians to Wikipedia

Wiki camp Armenia 2014 flash mob.png
Armenian students participating in WikiCamps divide their time between editing Wikipedia and physical activities. Here they use their bodies to spell out “Wiki Camp”. Photo by Beko, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

WikiCamps is a new educational project organized by Wikimedia Armenia to encourage young people aged 14-20 to edit Wikipedia. This program provides a healthy balance of work and fun, insures the safety of participants, and seems particularly effective for engaging teenagers. Making this possible wasn’t easy — and it took time and effort.

So far, four WikiCamps have been held in Armenia. Each one took several months to study and plan — and required quite a bit of work to implement. Two camps were held in the summer of 2014, one took place in the fall and another was held in the winter. The summer WikiCamps were attended by 135 students, who created 5,425 new articles and added more than 22 million bytes of content to the article namespace on the Armenian Wikipedia. The fall and winter WikiCamps had 73 participants, who created more than 997 Wikipedia articles, adding more than 3 million bytes as well as improving 576 articles on Wiktionary.

It is generally easier to organize training events for somewhat older users (e.g.: university students), rather than working with younger participants. Adults are better acquainted with research, which is the cornerstone of Wikipedia — and do not need as much attention to contribute quality content. This is consistent with worldwide editing patterns, which suggest that the majority of Wikipedia editors tend to be adults. However, this is not the case in Armenia, where extensive training sessions for teenagers were held with very promising results.

Press conference about WikiCamps in Wikimedia Armenia. Pictured from left to right are Lilit, Mher and Susanna. Photo by Beko, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

This project started with a budget of US $2,000, which was left over from a Wikimedia Foundation grant to Wikimedia Armenia. Susanna Mkrtchyan, President of the Armenian chapter, suggested using these funds to hold camps for school children aged 14-20, so they could learn to edit Wikipedia in a collaborative and safe atmosphere. “When I mentionned our experience with WikiCamps, everyone was excited,” says Susanna, “But we must be careful when working with children. I’m a grandmother and an educator, so people trust me with their children. Safety was our first priority during the camp. We kept an eye on everyone during the day and we closed the camp at 10 PM.”

Every day the WikiCamp started with warm up exercises and sports. Editing Wikipedia came next, but for only 4 hours a day. The rest of the day was spent practicing favorite hobbies. Mkrtchyan said, “They wanted to contribute more to be the best editors, but we didn’t let them. We wanted them to dance, do sports, play music. We wanted to always keep them active.” On the other hand, a competition for the highest contributor was held every day, to encourage campers to do their best during editing hours. It was extra work for the organizers to check all participants’ contributions daily, but it helped campers focus on editing during assigned hours, so they wouldn’t forget the main purpose of the camp: to actively contribute to Wikimedia projects.

Students edit Wikipedia in one of the summer WikiCamps (which are called Վիքիճամբար in Armenian). Photo by Beko, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

This well-divided timetable successfully encouraged students to add high-quality content to Wikimedia projects in a short time. It was also helpful to impart a love for Wikipedia and contributing to free knowledge. Mixing editing with fun activities and not letting them exceed the time limit increased the campers’ passion for editing Wikipedia. And every night, the campers also engaged in another competition: composing the best song about Wikipedia. They used known song melodies and wrote new lyrics about being in love with Wikipedia. Dduring each camp, students were also sent on two expeditions to discover new places. “They don’t just contribute to Wikipedia. Their character also changes, which is more important for them,” Susanna notes.

Project leaders helped newbies choose articles to edit, but everyone had the option to select a topic to research — or translate articles from other languages. Younger campers were invited to edit Wiktionary, since it is a simpler assignment — while the older campers edited Wikipedia (many of them had already participated in WMAM’s Education Program). This well-prepared division of work, combined with daily competitions, provided two important motivations for engaging participants. Camp fees were covered for those who made the highest contributions in previous camps (or on Wikimedia projects in general), while newbies paid their own fees. This seems like an effective reward system for participants.

Group photo in the winter WikiCamp. Photo by Beko, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

There was not much money to advertise the camps. Instead, Mkrtchyan wrote press releases and invited journalists to press conferences in which Wikimedia Armenia announced each of the WikiCamps. Social networks replaced usual advertising methods, as the project depended mainly on word of mouth, press coverage, and social media, rather than customary high-cost advertising campaigns. Some of these ideas may not be possible elsewhere, but this approach worked well in Armenia.

Wikimedia Armenia’s WikiCamp project was recognized as one of the “coolest Wikimedia Chapter projects” of the year at Wikimania 2014. Our chapter agrees and we are very excited to be sharing this story and experience with our community.

These Armenian WikiCamps exceeded all our expectations. This experience shows that thinking out of the box to empower users can be very productive, with the right amount of preparation. This pilot contributed a large amount of high-quality content, while keeping participants active and engaged as Wikipedia participants.

Samir Elsharbaty, Communications Intern, Wikipedia Education Program, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at March 03, 2015 06:03 PM

What is Wikipedia Zero? (VIDEO)

File:What is Wikipedia Zero?.webm

What is Wikipedia Zero? This short video explains the Wikipedia Zero program, in under two minutes. You can also view it on Vimeo.com here and YouTube.com here. Video by Victor Grigas (WMF), freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

Since early 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation has been creating partnerships with mobile carriers in selected regions of the world to waive data charges for accessing Wikipedia. To many people, the utility of such a program might be hard to understand. That’s why the Wikimedia Foundation works to create awareness of the Wikipedia Zero program, so that mobile carriers and mobile users can discover what free access to Wikipedia means for sharing knowledge across the globe.

The video above (which was narrated by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and animated by Sasha Fornari) is one way to create awareness of Wikipedia Zero; it explains how the program works by using symbols, narration, animation and music — to communicate a complex concept in an inclusive way. The script was written so that anyone with access to video editing software and a microphone could re-record the dialogue track in their own language, and then mix it with the music from the video (available here). Captions have been created in English and the open captions on Wikimedia Commons allow for the timecode to be copied and the script to be translated. Below is the script for the video, which runs at just under two minutes:

Together, we are creating the most comprehensive encyclopedia that has ever existed – Wikipedia. It’s also free; free to read, free to edit, free to share. It is available in hundreds of languages, and it’s accessible to anyone with access to the internet or a mobile phone. Roughly 6 out of every 7 people today have mobile access. Mobile technology is the future of knowledge sharing, it has the potential to bring Wikipedia to billions of people. However, despite Wikipedia’s free content, most people simply can’t afford the data charges to access Wikipedia. That’s why the non-profit that supports Wikipedia runs a program called Wikipedia Zero, which works with mobile carriers to waive the data charges for accessing Wikipedia. Removing the cost of accessing Wikipedia may sound trivial, but it’s one small change that makes a huge difference. Students will do their homework and research careers. Doctors will study treatments. Small businesses will find knowledge to innovate. People will better understand their own history, society, and culture. We invite mobile operators all over the world to make knowledge truly free. Wikipedia belongs to all of us. Imagine a world in which every single human being on the planet has equal access to the sum of all knowledge.

Thanks to Jimmy Wales for providing narration, to Sasha Fornari for his motion graphics, and to the Wikimedia Foundation’s communications team members who developed the script and gave feedback on all the iterations of the video — as well as to the people who contributed their designs to the noun project that Sasha remixed, and Andy R. Jordan for the music.

Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller and Video Content Producer

by Andrew Sherman at March 03, 2015 03:42 AM

March 01, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

New Education Toolkit helps program leaders develop more effective Wikimedia programs

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The new Education Toolkit provides a blueprint for implementing successful Wikimedia programs. Photo by María Cruz, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

About the Education Toolkit

The Learning & Evaluation and the Education teams at the Wikimedia Foundation, together with the Education Collaborative, have created the Education Toolkit, the first in a series of program toolkits — guides for implementing effective Wikimedia programs. The program toolkits aim to share best practices among the experiences of Wikimedia program leaders from all over the world, to create a blueprint for designing successful Wikimedia programs.

From beginning to end, the Education program toolkit walks users through different phases of an education program:

  • Best practices for planning new and growing programs and developing partnerships with educators and the Wikimedia community
  • Tips for finding resources and accessing tech support for running a program
  • Ideas for teaching and assignments
  • Strategies for evaluation
  • Ways to connect with other community members

The content is organized based on learning area and topic, using learning patterns, problem and solution pairings, to help complete the toolkit. Those newer to the education program can begin at the start and follow through each step while more experienced program leaders can easily jump to the section that is most relevant to their work at that time.

Efforts to better understand programmatic work at the Wikimedia Foundation started in 2013. Through a series of investigations, workshops, and community consultations, the Learning and Evaluation team began to map the most replicated information about Wikimedia programs. The Wikipedia Education Program has been very popular around the world and the way the program is carried out has changed. Through an analysis of shared goals, common struggles and successes, a number of key lessons were captured to create the Education Toolkit — the first toolkit from the Learning & Evaluation team this year.

An education program manager consulted about this project wrote about its benefits: “Education programs are mutually beneficial activities with a high potential for meaningful impact. While students may benefit in a number of ways, their contributions benefit Wikimedia projects and users around the world.”

What do we know about the Education Program?

Educators and school administrators find contributions to Wikimedia projects to be a low cost way of incorporating and teaching technology in the classroom. Students also learn important objectives such as research and writing skills, information and media literacy.

In 2014, the Wikipedia Education Program Team at the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) began mapping more than 70 educational programs in 66 countries — almost half of which are in the Global South. This mapping was shared in the team’s Quarterly Review. The mapping revealed that although 71% of assignments are on Wikipedia, many require students to translate rather than write or expand articles. The other 29% of student assignments contribute content to Wikimedia Commons and other sister projects. Further, unlike the US/Canada program – that focuses on university students who complete assignments for academic credit – education programs in other countries serve students of all ages, notably, 60% serve participants at universities, 20% secondary schools, and 13% through teacher training programs. We also learned that many students, in different parts of the world, are learning to contribute to Wikimedia projects for fun; only 30% of education programs are part of a formal course, 23% are part of structured extracurricular programs such as Wikicamps and Wikiclubs.

How was the toolkit created?

Education Collaborative meeting in Edinburgh. Photo by Samir Elsharbaty, under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

One key goal in creating the Education Toolkit was to curate a set of information and materials that reflect both the variety of programs as well as the global nature of the education programs.

In November 2014, Program Evaluation Analyst Kacie Harold traveled to Edinburgh with the WMF’s Education team to interview the members of the Wikipedia Education Collaborative — a group of program leaders that support other education programs and initiatives around the world.

Research for the interviews included reading reports, blog posts, newsletters and combing through threads on the Education-L mailing list. And we were blown away by the rich anecdotes, stories of successes, discoveries, hacks and strategies that Collab members shared in interviews.

Members of the Wikipedia Education Collaborative helped inform the development of the Education Toolkit. Photo by Samir Elsharbaty, under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Most interestingly, many program leaders began their stories by saying, “We are the only ones who are working on this kind of program.” In fact, the interviews uncovered several similarities across programs in different countries. By curating learning pattern experiences, and organizing them into a program toolkit, we hope to pave an easier way for program leaders to collaborate in identifying common experiences and effective strategies.

Watch this video!
We are launching the toolkit to the community, sharing its story and discussing its use on Thursday, Feb 26 at 9 am (PST).
Find the video of the presentation on Youtube

We believe that this type of resource will make it easier for program leaders throughout the world to develop more effective educational programs, without having to start from scratch. In addition to sharing lessons learned, the Education Toolkit will become a central place for people to start conversations about challenges they face running programs and share experiences that others can benefit from. Since learning patterns (like Wikipedia articles) can be created, and edited, by anyone, we hope that this toolkit will expand as more and more people use it, learn from its lessons, and share new lessons!

View the Education Toolkit

Please let us know which parts of this Education Toolkit work for you — and which parts don’t.

Make your program the next big success story on Wikimedia!

Kacie Harold, WMF Program Evaluation Analyst.
María Cruz, Learning & Evaluation Community Liaison.

by Andrew Sherman at March 01, 2015 09:24 PM

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, February 2015

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 5 • Issue: 2 • February 2015 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Gender bias, SOPA blackout, and a student assignment that backfired

With contributions by: Max Klein, Neil Kandalgaonkar, Tilman Bayer, Piotr Konieczny and Pine.

“First Women, Second Sex: Gender Bias in Wikipedia”

by Maximilianklein (talk)

“it is not women’s inferiority that has determined their historical insignificance; it is their historical insignificance that has doomed them to inferiority” ~ Beauvoir

The problem of the Gender Gap in Wikipedia can mean several things; a gap in editors, or a gap in the content, and of course the relationship between the two. An arXiv preprint titled “First Women, Second Sex: Gender Bias in Wikipedia” [1] addresses the gap on the content side, with justification by many Simone de Beauvoir quotes. The authors use an ensemble of three methods—DBPedia metadata, language modelling, and network theory—to show not just inequality in encyclopedia inclusion, but degrees of sexism in how biographies are included. For instance, how different genders meet notability is quantifiably different, as is the centrality of biographies in their link structure.

The initial metadata technique is an inspection of DBPedia data mashed up with a separate dataset from previous research based on pronoun counting techniques. This method is a bit shaky as it relies on the combination of two derived datasets, especially in an era when Wikidata can deliver data closer to the source. Nevertheless the researchers find that 15.5% of their final dataset are women biographies. Digging further, biographies are separated by subclass: athletes, politicians, military-personnel, and all others are more heavily male—only artists and royalty are female-biased. Other findings from this type of infobox scraping is that female biographies are much more likely to have the spouse parameter filled.

Moving into the natural language realm, the paper inspects bigrams of the biographies’ text. The top words associated with men are “played”, “football” and “league”; for women, the top are “actress”, “women’s” and “her husband”. This already starts to hint at the notion that men are notable for what they do, rather than only their static characteristics. To investigate further, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) and two measures—frequency and burstiness—are employed for semantic classification. The semantic category where male biographies score significantly higher is cognitive mechanics, which encompasses words like “became”, “known”, and “made”; meanwhile female biographies have significantly more sexual words like “love”, “passion”, and “sex”.

The last domain explored is network structure. Each biography links to and is linked from other biographies, forming a directed graph. The first interesting thing to note is that in chi-squared testing between 4 link types (female–female, female–male, male–male, male–female), only female-female occur more than expected. Next a PageRank ranking is made of the graph, which determines the importance or “centrality” of biographies. Any subsetting of biographies by removing the least PageRanked articles, it is found, reduces the female ratio of the subset below the total figure.

The authors wrap up their conclusions within the context of feminist theory. They argue the notion of gender roles is evident in Wikipedia in the way that metadata shows that men are more often known to be sportspeople, and women to be artists, royalty or spouses of someone else. Likewise the language of biographies is biased. That “her husband” and “first woman” are top terms in female articles indicates a failure in the Finkbeiner test. Furthermore the authors claim this exhibits “objectification” in light of the evidence that the “cognitive processes” of men were shown to be more significant than women, and that the “sexual” category is the only one in which women are more frequently described than men. Finally, as viewed from the network structure results, female biographies are less central to the encyclopedia. This is said to be because of historical philosophy and today’s notability guidelines, that “reason and objectivity are gendered male”—a feminist metaphysical view. The explanation of female articles tending to link to other female articles more than expected, the authors imagine, is due to women-led gender gap addressing efforts.

Overall this article provides a wide variety of methods to measure the gender gap, which proves a high-level point from many perspectives. It is situated in feminist thought, but multiple returns to Beauvoir make the final analysis seem superficial and generic. Additionally, the simplifying assumptions of English-only and derived datasets leave open the criticism that the larger points cannot be disentangled from a few extra biases introduced by language- and processing-inherited lenses. The authors admit as much in their limitations when they also acknowledge not questioning the gender binary either. What we have here though is an increment to a growing pile of methods and techniques proving the gender gap which, ideologically, does not need, but can always benefit from additional statistical legitimacy.

Wikipedia’s SOPA Strike considered as international political movement

Review by NeilK (talk)

A screenshot of the English Wikipedia landing page, symbolically its only page during the blackout on January 18, 2012.

A paper[2] in Current Sociology written by prolific Wikipedian (and contributor to this research newsletter) Piotr Konieczny revisits the SOPA Strike. This was a 24-hour blackout of the English Wikipedia in 2012 to protest against proposed American copyright legislation, accompanied by tools for citizens to contact their representatives on the issue. The author argues this event demonstrates a new political opportunity structure for international movements, such as the free culture movement, to influence national policies.

A chronology of the events leading up to the SOPA Strike on Wikipedia is presented. The author then analyzes Wikipedia’s forums debating whether and how to restrict access to the site for a day. Debate participants are classified by such characteristics as national origin, history of editing Wikipedia, and stated arguments for and against. Simple quantitative analyses of population percentages and relative contribution are performed. Konieczny then tests various hypotheses about the nature of the protest, to see which one fits the facts.

Konieczny shows that experienced Wikipedians were generally supportive of a protest but were more likely to express misgivings about losing neutrality. Americans also participated in a greater proportion than their prevalence on the English Wikipedia. However the process also allowed non-US citizens and free culture idealists to have significant leverage over the debate on Wikipedia, and thus on American national politics. Konieczny tries to show that Wikipedia is thus an international social movement in the broader free culture movement. Konieczny ends the paper with a speculation that the many pro-blackout single-purpose accounts may reflect a new political consciousness among the young and internet-savvy.

Konieczny’s analysis gives us a very detailed, fascinating picture of what arguments were made in public on Wikipedia forums during a crucial few weeks. However, this may omit some of the most influential discussions, by insiders, taking place person-to-person and in chat rooms. The paper also omits discussion of the influence of the Wikimedia Foundation, as an American institution responding to an American legal threat.

When Konieczny asserts the existence of a rising transnational “Net Generation”, he’s presented very little evidence. A skeptical or quietist Wikipedian might still conclude that the encyclopedia wasn’t acting as an organ of democracy, but was briefly overrun by a Twitter trending topic. If Konieczny is right, we may see other internet-based communities also being pressed into service, or more permanent institutions being developed to serve this new community.

Full disclosure: I (NeilK) was intimately involved with the SOPA Strike movement on Wikipedia, as a technologist on the WMF staff, and as a concerned Wikipedian who weighed in on the very forums analyzed in this paper, in favor of a blackout.

Assignment designed to convince students of Wikipedia’s “fundamental untrustworthiness” achieves the opposite

An article in Communications in Information Literacy[3] reports on the outcome of a senior-level course at Duquesne University where students “created or modified a Wikipedia entry and tracked the modifications made by others to the entry, while they also explored the concept of the ‘wisdom of crowds’ in contrast to the ‘wisdom of experts’ through the course readings and discussions”. The class also wrote a new article collectively (Paramount Film Exchange (Pittsburgh)), and engaged in various breaching experiments. E.g. “the instructor inserted a defamatory falsehood into the page of Luke Ravenstahl, the mayor of Pittsburgh at the time, and asked students to see how long it took the falsehood to disappear. Within five minutes, it was gone.” One student created an article that “seeks to promote a specific company, Accord Curtains, and it is purposefully manipulative.” Another student vandalized an article about an NFL player and “Not even 5 seconds later, I had a message from a Wikipedia policeman informing me about the repercussions of doing such a thing to a Wikipage… It really opened my eyes as to how incredible and powerful the internet is to society.”

Students subsequently wrote papers answering the question “What are Wikipedia pages good for?”. Two and a half years after the class, participants were asked what they had learned about Wikipedia from the assignment for their post-college life. Five of them responded (a rather small sample, a limitation admitted by the authors), largely sticking to the judgment they had expressed in their original papers, reporting that “they came into the class convinced that Wikipedia was an unreliable source but that learning about the creation and community editing of Wikipedia pages made the site more reliable to them.”

In the paper’s conclusion, the authors comment:

“The instructor came into the unit assuming that he would be ushering students into an epiphany: Wikipedia, a source they loved and relied upon and rarely questioned, was actually rife with junk information because anyone—even they—could change anything at will. … How this failed! The students took away the pragmatic lesson that Wikipedia was generally reliable, almost always useful, and that its self-policing mechanisms were mostly effective, particularly when it came to popular or especially controversial pages.”

Similar findings are reported in an unrelated case study, titled “Attitude Changes When Using Wikipedia in Higher Education”[4], which involved 23 students at Williams College, evaluating their “attitudes before and after participating in collaborative wiki assignments. Results from the study showed a statistically significant positive shift in attitudes [about Wikipedia and wikis in general] before and after using the wiki.”

Reasons for contributing: Ego vs. social norms in the US and South Korea

This study,[5] roughly, asks why people are uploading (contributing) content to Wikipedia, comparing respondents from two culturally different countries, namely collectivist South Korea and the individualistic United States. It uses the usual convenience sample of college students (reached through an online survey). In a 2012 survey involving only Korean students (previous coverage: “Do social norms influence participation in Wikipedia?“), the authors had found that users might be motivated by the fact that “uploading content on Wikipedia is a socially desirable act”.

In the present study, the authors test whether a number of factors are positively correlated with intent to upload content on Wikipedia, based on the psychological theories such as theory of planned behavior, situational theory of problem solving, and roles of ego involvement (which represents the self-concept of individuals), subjective norm (a person’s perception of the social pressure to perform or not to perform the behavior in question), and descriptive norm (beliefs about what is actually done by the majority of one’s social circles).

In total, the authors present nine hypotheses. Ego involvement is found to be highly significant, but not differentiating between two cultures, which the author interpret as an an indicator that globalization and the Internet are bridging the cultural gap, an interesting conclusion that deserves further discussion. The norms are found to be mostly irrelevant (only the descriptive norm is significant for the American sample group, and—contrary to the prior studies on Korean Internet users with regard to the subjective norm—neither is for the Korean one), as is the attitude on uploading behavior. Another possible explanation offered by the authors regarding the small difference between the two cultures concerns the individualistic values embedded in, or self-oriented nature of, Web 2.0 applications and social media, and the author repeat their proposition that it is likely due to globalizing factors (suggesting that the young Korean generation, despite living in a collectivist culture, is significantly affected by individualistic global media). Overall, the authors conclude that cultural differences play a relatively small role in explaining the differences in American and Korean attitudes towards uploading content to Wikipedia.

The study also reports on the interestingly low popularity of Wikipedia in South Korea: only about 50% of Korean students used Wikipedia, whereas almost 99% of American students did. The authors did propose some interesting explanations for this finding (such as a hypothesis that uploading content on Wikipedia might be regarded as a challenge to the established authority of traditional encyclopedias), but unfortunately they are not backed up with any significant evidence. Given South Korea’s popular image as one of the most advanced countries when it comes to Internet use, the issue of Wikipedia’s poor popularity there—as the authors note themselves—is one that is worth investigating in future studies.

Undergraduates confused by references in Wikipedia articles

It is no surprise that students like to use Wikipedia. A paper[6] in New Library World adds to the debate on the perceptions, motivations, and attitudes of students who use this site by asking the following research question: “How do undergraduates actually use Wikipedia and how does this resource influence their subsequent information-gathering?” The study used the usual convenience sample of 30 American undergraduates, who were given a topic (Internet privacy), directed to the corresponding page, and asked to draft a paper on that topic, using Wikipedia as their starting point. Of particular interest to us are the author’s comments on Wikipedia’s references. First, there’s the (unfortunately, short and unjustified) comment that “it is common for Wikipedia articles to have two or more “Notes” and “References” sections, which [is] confusing”. Second, that “following Wikipedia references were least preferred as next steps in the research process”, about as likely as “going to the library catalog”, and less so than “going to Google for more information,” “accessing the library’s databases”, or simply “returning to Wikipedia”. When asked which Wikipedia references they would follow if they were to do so, there was a significant preference for the references cited first, regardless of their quality. A number of respondents expressed an opinion that first references are somehow “better”, not realizing that Wikipedia footnotes are ordered simply by the order they appear in the article. Regarding their use of Wikipedia itself, “respondents overwhelmingly indicated that they used Wikipedia because it was easy to access” (similar to Google), thus displaying a marked preference for convenience, visibility and accessibility over authority and quality of the source or their bibliographies. The authors also note that while the students understand that, in theory, scholarly sources are the best (and better than Wikipedia), they are more interested in “reasonably good” than “accurate” information, either because of difficulties in accessing / interpreting the “most credible” sources, or perhaps because of their skepticism towards authority.

The author concludes that one of the best solutions is to involve students in the process of creation and editing of Wikipedia pages, through she sees that as a method to educate students about Wikipedia’s imperfections, rather than as a way to improve Wikipedia’s quality, a task she seems to regard as better suited for faculty and librarians. She also offers some worthwhile suggestions to “Wikipedia developers” regarding the goal of pursuing collaboration with academic libraries, by noting that “it may be worth for Wikipedia to develop a visualized ranking mechanism for its references”—an idea that is certainly worth discussing further.


ClueBot as a rebel among conquerors, followers and cowboys

There are four archetypes of Wikipedians on featured articles: Conqueror, Follower, Rebel, and Cowboy, according to the article “Measuring Creativity of Wikipedia Editors” [7]. The study investigated the quantity and rate of change of edits among editors over time, paying attention to their relative positions. The article describes the four personas of editors on the article Boston. A conqueror shows strong bursts of activity, sustains high volume over time, and is a first mover. A follower is a low volume, but still sustained, and positively correlated to a conqueror. A rebel—which hilariously they found ClueBot, the software, to be—is low volume, sustained, but negatively correlated to a conqueror. Lastly, a Cowboy is erratic with spikey contributions, and uncorrelated to other users.

Fauna Ribbon.png

This study is not very broad in terms of number or types of articles in question, only 79 articles were considered. And given the naming of their archetypes, clearly the authors aren’t aware that Wikipedians have already transcended into classifying themselves by an entire ecosystem of WikiFauna.

Using Wikipedia to correct public misconceptions about Africa

An article titled “Wikipedia for Africanists”,[8] coauthored by Hans Muller, a Wikipedian in Residence at the African Studies Centre in Leiden (Netherlands), describes the usefulness of Wikipedia for that academic discipline: “Using Wikipedia, Africanists can benefit in two ways: as readers they can quickly obtain a sourced but non-academic outline of topics of interest, and as outreach writers, they can inform the public worldwide about recent insights and attempt to solve (the many) misunderstandings on African topics with unprecedented efficiency.”

Geographic distribution of Wikimedia traffic

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Oliver Keyes published “a highly-aggregated dataset of readership data”[9] of Wikipedia (representing an additional effort to exclude non-human traffic compared to previous data). Work is ongoing to create data visualizations.

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.

  • “Ranking Wikipedia article’s data quality by learning dimension distributions”[10]; summary at kurzweilai.net: “Using Bayesian statistics to rank Wikipedia entries: Algorithm outperforms a human user by up to 23 percent in correctly classifying quality rank of articles, say researchers
  • “A visual editor for the Wiki Object Model”[11] (German bachelor thesis adapting Wikipedia’s VisualEditor to other wikis)
  • “Use and Perception of Wikipedia among Medical Students in a Nigerian University”[12] From the abstract: “[In a survey with 60 respondents,] 91.7% of the medical students have used Wikipedia;… 50.9% of the students use Wikipedia to complement lecture notes, 43.6% for research project as well as to complete class assignment, 14% of them use it to modify content of articles; … the challenges faced by the students are scantiness of information of some articles, unavailability of/inability to obtain articles on some topics from the site, and inaccuracy/unreliability of content of articles.”
  • “Where Non-Science Majors Get Information about Science and How They Rate that Information”[13] From the abstract: “We report on a study of 400 undergraduate non-majors students enrolled in introductory astronomy courses at the University of Arizona … Overall, students reported getting information from a variety of online sources when looking up a topic for their own knowledge, including internet searches (71%), Wikipedia (46%), and online science sites (e.g. NASA) (45%). When asked where they got information for course assignments, most reported from assigned readings (82%) but a large percentage still reported getting information from online sources such as internet searches (60%), Wikipedia (30%) and online science sites (e.g. NASA) (20%). Overall, students rated professors/teachers and textbooks at the most reliable sources of scientific information and rated social media sites, blogs and Wikipedia as the least reliable sources of scientific information.”
  • “Integration of multiple network views in Wikipedia”[14] From the abstract: “[We analyze] the networks of editors interacting on Wikipedia pages. We propose the prediction of article quality as a task that allows us to quantify the informativeness of alternative network views. We present three fundamentally different views on the data that attempt to capture structural and temporal aspects of the edit networks.”
  • “Experimental evaluation of learning performance for exploring the shortest paths in hyperlink network of Wikipedia”[15] From the abstract: “…in three separate learning sessions of 20 minutes students read series of 62 sentences built by using 22 unique hyperlinks that form the eleven shortest paths and answered pre-test and post-test multiple-choice questionnaires about recall of sentences … For experiment group (n=24) 62 sentences were chained in such an ordering that corresponds to traversing cumulatively a series of associative trails leading from concept Tourism in Malta to concept Euro coins of Malta along alternative parallel shortest paths in hyperlink network of Wikipedia category Malta. For control group (n=10) same sentences had randomized ordering. For both unique hyperlinks and consecutive pairs of hyperlinks experiment group reached higher degrees of recall than control group”. (See also Wikipedia:Wiki Game)
  • “Educational exploration based on conceptual networks generated by students and Wikipedia linkage”[16] (by the same author)
  • “Citations to Wikipedia in Canadian Law Journal and Law Review Articles”[17]
  • “Advances in Wikipedia-based Interaction with Robots”[18]
  • “Mining corpora of computer-mediated communication: Analysis of linguistic features in Wikipedia talk pages using machine learning methods”[19]
  • “Identifying Featured Articles in Spanish Wikipedia” [20] From the abstract: “…the first study to automatically assess information quality in Spanish Wikipedia, where Featured Articles identification is evaluated as a binary classification task. Two popular classification approaches like Naive Bayes and Support Vector Machine (SVM) are evaluated …”
  • “Predicting the Popularity of Trending Articles in the Arabic Wikipedia Using Data Mining Techniques”[21]
  • “Revision history: Translation trends in Wikipedia”[22] From the abstract: “This paper uses Mossop’s taxonomy of editing and revising procedures to explore a corpus of translated Wikipedia articles to determine how often transfer and language/style problems are present in these translations and assess how these problems are addressed.”


  1. Graells-Garrido, Eduardo (2015-02-08). “First Women, Second Sex: Gender Bias in Wikipedia“. 
  2. Konieczny, Piotr (2014-09-29). “The day Wikipedia stood still: Wikipedia’s editors’ participation in the 2012 anti-SOPA protests as a case study of online organization empowering international and national political opportunity structures“. Current Sociology I (23): 77-93. doi:10.1177/0011392114551649.  Closed access
  3. Barnhisel, Greg (2014-07-23). “Wikipedia and the Wisdom of Crowds: A Student Project“. Communications in Information Literacy 8 (1): 145-159. doi:10.7548/cil.v8i1.249. ISSN 1933-5954. 
  4. Josefsson, Pernilla; Olle Bälter, Katarina Bälter, Stephanie Bonn (2014). “Attitude Changes When Using Wikipedia in Higher Education”. 2014. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications. pp. 2024-2032. ISBN 978-1-939797-08-7. http://www.editlib.org/p/147751/.  Closed access (Google cache)
  5. Park, Namkee; Hyun Sook Oh, Naewon Kang (2015-03-01). “Effects of ego involvement and social norms on individuals’ uploading intention on Wikipedia: A comparative study between the United States and South Korea“. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. doi:10.1002/asi.23262. ISSN 2330-1643.  Closed access
  6. Lily Todorinova (2015-03-09). “Wikipedia and Undergraduate Research Trajectories“. New Library World. doi:10.1108/NLW-07-2014-0086. ISSN 0307-4803.  Closed access
  7. Launonen, Pentti (2015-02-18). “Measuring Creativity of Wikipedia Editors“. 
  8. (2014) “Wikipedia for Africanists”. African Research & Documentation (124): 3-9. 
  9. Keyes, Oliver (2015-02-25), Geographic distribution of Wikimedia traffic, doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1317408 
  10. Jingyu Han (2014). “Ranking Wikipedia article’s data quality by learning dimension distributions”. International Journal of Information Quality.  Closed access
  11. Michael Haase. A visual editor for the Wiki Object Model.
  12. Adomi, Esharenana E. (2014). “Use and Perception of Wikipedia among Medical Students in a Nigerian University“. International Journal of Digital Literacy and Digital Competence 5 (2): 1-11. doi:10.4018/ijdldc.2014040101. ISSN 1947-3494.  Closed access
  13. Buxner, Sanlyn; Chris Impey; Megan Nieberding; James Romine (2014-11-01). “Where Non-Science Majors Get Information about Science and How They Rate that Information”. 46. AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014DPS….4620209B.  Closed access
  14. Wu, Guangyu (2014-11-07). “Integration of multiple network views in Wikipedia“. Knowledge and Information Systems: 1-18. doi:10.1007/s10115-014-0802-7. ISSN 0219-1377.  Closed access
  15. Lahti, Lauri (2014-10-20). “Experimental evaluation of learning performance for exploring the shortest paths in hyperlink network of Wikipedia”. 2014. World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education. pp. 1069-1074. http://www.editlib.org/p/148865/.  Closed access
  16. Lahti, Lauri; Lauri Lahti (2014). “Educational exploration based on conceptual networks generated by students and Wikipedia linkage”. 2014. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications. pp. 964-974. ISBN 978-1-939797-08-7. http://www.editlib.org/p/147608/.  Closed access
  17. Shoyama, Rex (2014). “Citations to Wikipedia in Canadian Law Journal and Law Review Articles“. Canadian Law Library Review 39: 12.  Closed access
  18. Wilcock, Graham; Kristiina Jokinen (2014). “Advances in Wikipedia-based Interaction with Robots”. Proceedings of the 2014 Workshop on Multimodal, Multi-Party, Real-World Human-Robot Interaction. MMRWHRI ’14. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 13-18. DOI:10.1145/2666499.2666503. ISBN 978-1-4503-0551-8. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2666499.2666503.  Closed access
  19. Michael Beißwenger, Harald Lüngen, Eliza Margaretha, Christian Pölitz: Mining corpora of computer-mediated communication: Analysis of linguistic features in Wikipedia talk pages using machine learning methods PDF, GitHub
  20. Lian Pohn, Edgardo Ferretti, and Marcelo Errecalde: “Identifying Featured Articles in Spanish Wikipedia” PDF
  21. AL-Mutairi, Hanadi Muqbil; Muhammad Badruddin Khan (2014). “Predicting the Popularity of Trending Articles in the Arabic Wikipedia Using Data Mining Techniques”. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Management of Emergent Digital EcoSystems. MEDES ’14. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 204-205. DOI:10.1145/2668260.2668304. ISBN 978-1-4503-2767-1. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2668260.2668304.  Closed access
  22. McDonough Dolmaya, Julie. “Revision history: Translation trends in Wikipedia“. Translation Studies 0 (0): 1-19. doi:10.1080/14781700.2014.943279. ISSN 1478-1700.  Closed access

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 2 • February 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 Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at March 01, 2015 04:07 AM

Wikimedia Foundation Quarterly Report, October-December 2014

A few days ago, we published the Wikimedia Foundation’s report for the timespan from October to December 2014 (the second quarter of our fiscal year), which you can find in PDF form below. As of today, it is also available as a wiki page and (for easy online presentation) on Google Slides.

This is the first report in a new format. Since 2008, we have been publishing updates about the Foundation’s work on a monthly basis, also on this blog. As announced in November, we are now changing this to a quarterly rhythm; a main reason being to better align it with the quarterly planning and goalsetting process that has been extended to the entire organization since Lila Tretikov became Executive Director in 2014.

You can
– Browse through the report slide by slide
– Download the full PDF (8MB)
– Read the report as a wiki page or
– View it on Google Slides

The main objectives and design principles for this report were:

  • Accountability: Help our movement and our supporters understand how we spend our effort, and what we accomplish.
  • Learning together: Highlight important internal & external data, trends and lessons.
  • Presentable: Anyone, from volunteer to the executive director, should be able to present the work of the WMF using this report.
  • Reasonable effort: Pull as much as possible from existing sources, e.g., quarterly review slide decks & minutes.

Excerpt from status column of the “top objectives” table (slide 6)

The new format reflects this in various ways. For each of the highlighted key priorities, colors (red/yellow/green) indicate clearly whether the quarterly goal was met or not. Besides a slide with overall “Key insights and trends” (see below), there are also “what we learned” sections throughout the document which summarize what the corresponding team considers the most important takeaways informing future work in that area. The report has the form of a slide deck suitable for a 90 minute presentation, keeping the amount of detail limited and linking to corresponding quarterly review meeting documentation for further detail. The Foundation began holding these quarterly team meetings in December 2012 to ensure accountability and create opportunities for course corrections and resourcing adjustments. By now, this process involves almost every WMF team or department.

Please refer to the links above for the full report. But to offer an excerpt from the “Key insights and trends” section (slide 5):

  • Readership: Globally, pageviews are flat. Mobile is growing, desktop is shrinking. Given a growing global potential audience, this means we need to invest in the readership experience, with focus on mobile.
    We have learned that we can move at highest velocity on mobile apps due to their self-contained nature.
  • Beyond editing: Inviting readers to perform classification tasks on their smartphone is showing promise; response quality is exceeding expectations.
  • Performance: The implementation of HHVM across Wikimedia sites is an engineering success story and demonstrates that dedicated focus in the area of site performance can pay off relatively quickly.
  • Fundraising: Mobile matters — thanks to focused effort, we were able to increase the mobile revenue share from 1.7% to 16.1% (2013 vs. 2014 year-end campaign).

This being the first report in this new format, we will surely tweak format, content (including the choice of key metrics) and process for the subsequent issues. Comments continue to be welcome here or on Meta-wiki.

Tilman Bayer, Senior Analyst

by wikimediablog at March 01, 2015 03:41 AM

February 28, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

V Národní knihovně proběhl první wiki-workshop pro knihovníky

Kurz pro knihovníky v Národní knihovně

Kurz pro knihovníky v Národní knihovně

Ve spolupráci s Národní knihovnou České republiky uspořádal spolek Wikimedia ČR kurz Wikipedie pro knihovníky. Po vyhlášení termínu jsme nemuseli na ohlasy čekat příliš dlouho – kapacita učebny byla zaplněna během pouhé hodiny. Už v průběhu přednášky – která se týkala Wikipedie a zahrnovala i praktický kurz editování – jsme se rozhodli, že akci zopakujeme a zorganizujeme i pokročilý kurz pro zájemce z prvního kola.

Workshop se konal 26. února 2015 v počítačové učebně v komplexu budov Karolina v Národní knihovně. Začal úvodní přednáškou Michala Reitera, našeho bývalého předsedy rady, o principech Wikipedie a mechanismech, díky nimž tato encyklopedie funguje. Následovala přednáška Vojtěcha Dostála –  mj. koordinátora projektu Studenti píší Wikipedii. Vojtěch se zaměřil na úspěšné projekty spolupráce Wikipedie a knihoven, které se v minulosti odehrály ve světě i u nás. Došla řada i na český projekt Senioři píší Wikipedii, který běží v Městské knihovně v Praze a má velký zájem expandovat do regionů. Právě tento projekt byl důvodem, proč se mnoho z knihovníků rozhodlo kurzu zúčastnit – v regionech je velký zájem vytvářet zajímavou náplň činnosti pro místní seniory a podle knihoven by se Wikipedie mohla u seniorů ujmout. My si to také myslíme a dokonce se domníváme, že knihovníci by mohli tyto kurzy časem sami vést. Proto v třetí části dne probíhal praktický kurz editování, který vedl Vojtěch Veselý, koordinátor programu Senioři píší Wikipedii. Vojtěch je zkušeným lektorem Wikipedie, který ji už vysvětlil desítkám seniorů na jeho kurzech v Praze a ví, jak na to. Účastníci se tedy na Wikipedii pod jeho taktovkou zaregistrovali, naučili se diskutovat a vytvářet první články na svém „pískovišti“.

Kurz pro knihovníky v Národní knihovně

Kurz pro knihovníky v Národní knihovně

Mezi účastníky bylo široké spektrum různých typů knihoven: od všeobecných (Městská knihovna Strakonice, Sedlčany, Český Krumlov) po více specializované (Severočeská vědecká knihovna, Knihovna AV ČR, Knihovna geologie UK). Celkem jsme přednáškou dostali příležitost oslovit 15 institucí; prostřednictvím posluchačů doufáme, že se informace o Wikipedii budou šířit i mezi jejich kolegy. Čtrnáct účastníků se přihlásilo do našeho kurzového rozhraní; následně během kurzu přidali (zejména do svých pískovišť) celkem asi 11 000 bajtů textu. Každý účastník provedl průměrně 10 editací, což je dost na to, abychom je mohli považovat za poučené začátečníky na Wikipedii.

Ti, kteří se do kurzu z kapacitních důvodů nedostali, nemusí zoufat. Rádi bychom přednášku ještě dvakrát zopakovali v dalších měsících – intenzívně hledáme termíny. Z 45 takových účastníků následně 15 dostane možnost přijít na pokročilý kurz Wikipedie, který půjde více do hloubky. Doufáme, že se mezi těmito patnácti najdou tací, kteří následně budou Wikipedii editovat sami, bez naší pomoci, a navíc ji ve svých regionech i vyučovat.

by Vojtěch Dostál at February 28, 2015 08:50 AM