November 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Victory in Germany: court rules in favor of the Wikimedia Foundation


The Munich skyline, seen here in 2001. Image by Stefan Kühn, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

We are happy to announce that the court of Munich has ruled in favor of the Wikimedia Foundation in Dr. Evelyn Schels v. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. In May 2015, Dr. Schels filed a lawsuit in Munich requesting the removal of her date of birth from the German Wikipedia page about her. Since Dr. Schels is a famous person and her birthdate was taken from a publicly available source, the court held that the Wikimedia Foundation did not infringe on her rights.

Dr. Evelyn Schels is a well known screenwriter and a director in Germany. In her lawsuit, Dr. Schels argued  that her general right of personality and her data protection rights were infringed because she did not consent to the publication of her date of birth in the Wikipedia article about her. She also argued that the presence of her date of birth in her Wikipedia article could lead to disadvantages in her job.

The Wikimedia Foundation responded by explaining the Foundation’s role as a hosting provider, why the publication was protected free speech and why Dr. Evelyn Schels is a famous person in which the public has a legitimate interest, including in background biographical details about her.

On November 13, 2015, the court of Munich ruled in favor of the Wikimedia Foundation. The judgment (translated in English) confirmed that the publication of Dr. Schels’ date of birth on Wikipedia did not infringe upon her general right of personality or data protection rights. The court recognized that a birth year made accessible by the Claimant herself through publicly available sources such as a book “would not remain limited to a small circle of people … but be accessible to a circle of users unlimited in theory.”

According to the court, Dr. Schels “has to be considered a person in which the general public is interested”. Indeed, as a renowned producer of documentaries, it is of interest to the public to know what movies she produced at which age. Thus, there is a public interest in her birthdate. Furthermore, the court emphasized that Dr. Schels’ birthdate is not the most private data that has been released. For instance, some data is available regarding Schels’ education and production activities from which one could reasonably determine her age.

The opinion further acknowledged the neutrality and objectivity of Wikipedia, noting: “The Wikipedia entry represents general information for the formation of public opinion, not a publication for the purpose of advertising or marketing … It does not appear to the court that the publication in dispute significantly affects the Claimant in any way.”

Finally, the court declared the transmittal of data to be admissible and declared: “[Since] The birth year is from a publicly accessible source, which [Dr Schels] herself has published, there is no reason to assume that [Dr. Schels] has an interest warranting protection in preventing the data transmittal of her birth year. In fact, the balancing of the general right of personality . . . with the communication interest … favors the latter [i.e. publication].”

Publicly available sources are critical for the existence of Wikipedia. Those who publish information and make it available to the general public should expect a large number of people to be able to find it online, including on Wikipedia, some day. The Wikimedia Foundation will keep supporting you—the global community—in constructing the best and most comprehensive encyclopedia possible, and will fight against lawsuits that seek to prevent the dissemination of free knowledge.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Director
Jacob Rogers, Legal Counsel

* We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the attorneys at Schlüschen Müller in Germany, particularly Dr. Holger Müller, for their exemplary legal representation and dedication to the Wikimedia movement. Special thanks should also go to Gaetan Goldberg, WMF legal fellow, for his assistance on this blog post.

by Michelle Paulson and Jacob Rogers at November 24, 2015 10:48 PM

Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Deutschland urge Reiss Engelhorn Museum to reconsider suit over public domain works of art

Photo by jelm6, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

On October 28, the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany, served a lawsuit against the Wikimedia Foundation and later against Wikimedia Deutschland, the local German chapter of the global Wikimedia movement. The suit concerns copyright claims related to 17 images of the museum’s public domain works of art, which have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland are reviewing the suit, and will coordinate a reply by the current deadline in December.

The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland stand firmly in our commitment to making public works freely and openly available. Public institutions such as galleries and museums serve a similar mission, and have historically been our allies in making the world’s knowledge accessible to all. With this lawsuit, the Reiss Engelhorn Museum is limiting public access to culturally important works that most of the world would otherwise not be able to access.

The paintings, portraits, and other works of art at issue in this case are housed in the Reiss Engelhorn Museum, but exist freely in the public domain. However, German copyright law may apply to photographs of works in the public domain, depending on a number of different factors, including the artist who created the work, the amount of skill and effort that went into the photograph, creativity and originality in the photograph, and the actual art itself. The Reiss Engelhorn Museum asserts that copyright applies to these particular images because the museum hired the photographer who took some of them and it took him time, skill, and effort to take the photos. The Reiss Engelhorn Museum further asserts that because of their copyrights, the images of the artwork cannot be shared with the world through Wikimedia Commons.

The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland believe that the Reiss Engelhorn Museum’s views are mistaken. Copyright law should not be misused to attempt to control the dissemination of works of art that have long been in the public domain, such as the paintings housed in the Reiss Engelhorn Museum. The intent of copyright is to reward creativity and originality, not to create new rights limiting the online sharing of images of public domain works. Moreover, even if German copyright law is found to provide some rights over these images, we believe that using those rights to prevent sharing of public domain works runs counter to the mission of the Reiss Engelhorn Museum and the City of Mannheim and impoverishes the cultural heritage of people worldwide.

Many cultural institutions have made it their mission to make their collections more accessible to people around the world. In October, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, Germany made its collection available for free online. Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum has provided free online access to all of its paintings, including the ability to download and use the reproductions under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication license. In Denmark, SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst, The National Gallery of Denmark) has released its digital images and videos under the CC BY license. The British Library and the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records jointly released more than 200 Japanese and Chinese prints into the public domain.

These cultural institutions are upholding the values of the public domain and protecting the right to take part in our cultural heritage. The Reiss Engelhorn Museum’s attempt to create new copyright in public domain works goes against European principles on the public domain.

In a Communication on August 11, 2008, the European Commission wrote: “it is important to stress the importance of keeping public domain works accessible after a format shift. In other words, works in the public domain should stay there once digitised and be made accessible through the internet.” This was reinforced by the Europeana Charta of 2010 that reads: “No other intellectual property right must be used to reconstitute exclusivity over Public Domain material. The Public Domain is an integral element of the internal balance of the copyright system. This internal balance must not be manipulated by attempts to reconstitute or obtain exclusive control via regulations that are external to copyright”.

Over the years, the Wikimedia movement has enjoyed rich partnerships with museums and galleries around the world through the GLAM-Wiki initiative, which helps cultural institutions share their resources with the world through collaborative projects with experienced Wikipedia editors. The relationships have allowed millions of people from around the globe to access and enjoy institutional collections in places they may never have the chance to visit. Wikimedia Deutschland alone has worked with more than 30 museums in Germany to make their collections freely available to anyone, anywhere through the Wikimedia projects. These partnerships are part of a vital effort to allow cultural institutions and Wikimedia to serve their missions of free knowledge and shared culture.

People around the world use Wikipedia to discover and understand the world around them. Thanks to the Internet, many traditional barriers to knowledge and learning have disappeared. Denying online access to images in the public domain prevents people from exploring our shared global cultural heritage. We urge the Reiss Engelhorn Museum to reconsider its position and work with the Wikimedia community to make their public domain works more broadly available.

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

A German-language statement from Wikimedia Deutschland is available on their blog. A full list of the images affected is on the Wikimedia Commons.

by Michelle Paulson and Geoff Brigham at November 24, 2015 09:24 PM

Wikimedia’s Funds Dissemination Committee—how to fairly distribute money around the world

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

This week, the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) recommended the distribution of almost $3.8 million to 11 independent affiliate organisations around the world.

This, the first round of Annual Plan Grant (APG) deliberations for 2015–16, were conducted at a marathon four-day meeting, but come at the conclusion of months of work by the committee volunteers, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) supporting staff, and of course by the applicants themselves. This committee is composed of nine elected and appointed volunteers from countries around the world; each has been editing Wikimedia projects for over a decade. Now in its fourth year, the FDC meets twice annually to decide on funding levels for several Wikimedia affiliates. These deliberations are the first since the movement-wide 2015 Wikimedia elections.

While many Wikimedians are interested to see the amount of money that is being recommended, few are aware of the processes that the FDC uses to come to these decisions. Even fewer are aware of the level of conscientious thought that goes in to these deliberations—both before and during the meeting.


The number, variety, and length of input documents needed for these deliberation is very high. Also, nearly all of them are publicly available to ensure transparency. Context is key in making decisions about funding activities all over the world—what is considered value for money, achievable, or even legal, can vary greatly depending on the applicant’s local situation. This extensive documentation, then, is required not only to ensure financial transparency in our movement, but also to ensure that local context and narrative is understood.

Once the applications are published, as per the APG calendar, the Wikimedia community at large is invited to comment. As the time to meet in-person approaches, the regular phone-meetings with the WMF support staff increase in frequency. This allows the committee members to identify any confusion or concerns they see across several applications, so that the staff can seek clarification from all applicants. Feedback from the community, staff, committee and applicants also helps to refine the application process itself each year.

Meeting in-person, which the FDC does twice annually, is a rarity in the Wikimedia community’s various volunteer committees. However, given the significance of the decisions being made, there are great needs to ensure that all committee members are able to participate on an equal footing and consensus is obtained in all aspects of the review.


The “bubbles”. Example of initial allocations for a fictional returning applicant requesting an increased grant. The spread ranges from full funding to lower than the current amount. Image by Sati Houston, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Example of a second round of allocations, following discussion. Note how the minimum increased and therefore the “spread” decreased. Image by Sati Houston, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The first major tool that the FDC uses to come to agreement, after reading all the documentation, is to assemble initial suggested allocation amounts. By independently sending these numbers to the WMF support staff before the in-person deliberations, each committee member can make a “first attempt” at allocating amounts without being influenced by the others. When combined, these initial allocations are visualised on a scale from zero to the full request, colloquially called “the bubbles”.

Being able to see how far apart each of the committee members are in their initial allocation, “the spread”, gives an excellent starting point for discussions. Some applicants receive a very narrow spread of initial allocations, meaning that all committee members generally agree on result they want to see but not necessarily why, while other applicants receive a wide spread (either with a equal distribution or with individual outliers). A facilitated discussion of each applicant then follows, ensuring each has adequate time dedicated to it to highlight important positive areas or risks, and especially to identify important program areas. After all, if the committee is recommending to the WMF Board that it gives large amounts of money to a legally independent organisation, the Board needs to be able to justify it.

The second major tool used is the “Gradients of Agreement“. Once the committee has extensively discussed an application, and has submitted at least two rounds of allocations to see if the “spread” is decreasing, the Chair of the committee proposes a specific amount to discuss. This could be the highest amount suggested in the latest round of allocation, the average, or the lowest number. This process can be repeated many times using different increments. By gauging the degree of strong and weak support or opposition to specific amounts, it is possible to agree on an amount that has the highest aggregate support from the whole committee. If necessary, serious dissenting views can also be expressed in the recommendation document.

At least one representative of the WMF Board of Trustees is present at all times to confirm that the process is conducted fairly. Also, given that all FDC committee members are also Wikimedia community members, there can be real or perceived conflicts of interest. To address this, the process for “recusal” is extremely thorough. In this round of deliberations, four members of the committee did not participate in deliberations about three of the applicants. They did not have access to any non-public documents about that application, were not present while the application was discussed and funds allocated, and did not participate in drafting the recommendation.

The next steps

Now that the recommendations have been published, applicants may choose to appeal to the independent FDC ombudsman before the Board decides on whether to accept or modify the FDC’s recommendation. After the Board’s decision, successful applicants can  begin their projects! Six months from now these affiliates will begin again with a letter of intent to apply for the next round of APG funding. Meanwhile, the FDC process is already underway for the second group of APG applicants for 2015–16.

Liam Wyatt, Funds Dissemination Committee member

More information about these grants can be found in our mailing list announcement to the Wikimedia community.

by Liam Wyatt at November 24, 2015 12:26 AM

November 23, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Three state museums open the doors to Wikimedia Spain and host concerts for Wikipedia

Madrid - Trieditatón Glaming Madrid - 151017 123238.jpg
Triedit-a-thon at National Archaeological Museum. Photo by Barcex, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wikimedia Spain is working at three state museums in Madrid—the Museum of Romanticism, the Museo del Traje (Costume Museum) and the National Archaeological Museum—through its first Wikipedian in residence, Ruben Ojeda. Wikipedians in residence work within cultural institutions to enable them to initiate a productive relationship with Wikipedia and its community, both during the residency and after. The model was launched as part of the Wikimedia GLAM projects (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) which seek to encourage institutions and their professionals to contribute to the Wikimedia projects.

In this case, besides promoting the Wikimedia projects in these three institutions, various activities open to the public are being carried out with success. We have hosted two concerts of classical music, where learned quite a bit. For example, it is not beneficial to have an audience present—the recordings are degraded when there is outside noise from people’s cellphones or even just coughing. These problems unfortunately doomed the first recording. However, the seven recordings from the second concert with no audience were captured and donated under a free license to Wikimedia Commons, where it can be used on any of the Wikimedia projects. Furthermore, after the concert, an additional 20 recordings were donated by one of the musicians of Wasei Duo. We will host a third concert on November 24.

Wikimedia Spain has also held fourteen Wikipedia training sessions and one edit-a-thon that explain how Wikipedia works and generate content related to the museums and their collections, which focus on the nineteenth century in Spain, fashion and archaeology.

The Museum of Romanticism has cataloged more than 16,000 museum pieces and offers collections of paintings, miniatures, furniture, decorative arts, prints, drawings and photographs collections, which offer a broad panorama of arts during the Romantic era in Spain. The Museo del Traje has cataloged fashion, costumes and ethnography, with a collection of over 170,000 pieces and documents; these collections date from the Middle Ages to the contemporary fashion of Spain. The National Archaeological Museum is, since 1867, the leading Spanish institution in the preservation of historical pieces. Its permanent collection includes over 15,000 items from Prehistory, Early history, Roman Spain, Greece, Egypt and the Near East, Middle Ages and Modern Age.

The development of this initiative has been possible thanks to a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation, without which it would have been impossible to carry out because of the reduction of financial resources that have negatively affecting cultural institutions in Spain. It began on September 7, 2015 and will run until January 7, 2016. Similarly, following the contact with these three museums, Wikimedia Spain signed a memorandum of understanding with the General Department of National Museums, Ministry of Education, and Culture and Sports, which will allow similar initiatives related to the Wikimedia projects to develop in Spanish museums.

Rubén Ojeda
Wikimedia Spain

by Ruben Ojeda at November 23, 2015 05:48 PM

‘Semana i’ student editing in Mexico City improves the Spanish Wikipedia

File:Reto Wikimedia montage Student work.webm

Short montage of student work during Reto Wikimania. Video by Thelmadatter, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Semana i (in English, “i Week”) is a term that invokes curiosity among those of us here at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, as well as among people, organizations and institutions that are dedicated to academic, cultural, social service, technological, business and industrial matters. The goal of Semana i is to engage students with technology by replacing their normal classroom activities with intensive project-based work that has real-world applications for one week. These activities are called retos (in English, “challenges”). Almost 100 students chose to contribute content to Wikimedia projects as their challenge. From September 21 to 25, 2015, students and staff at two campuses in Mexico City worked for five days to improve coverage of areas of the south and west of the city both on Commons and on Spanish Wikipedia. Both campuses led Wikiexpeditions, building on the success of the school’s first Wikiexpedition to Tepoztlán in March 2015. Both campuses dedicated time to the creation of articles about these areas.

Mexico City campus

The Mexico City (South) campus focused its energies on the southern borough of Xochimilco and Tlalpan, which both have a mix of urban and rural areas. In particular, Xochimilco is known for its network of canals, what is left of an extensive lake system that covered the Valley of Mexico and is a World Heritage Site. While these canals were extensively photographed, one of the main objectives of this wiki expedition was to photograph lesser known sites, but still important, such as colonial era chapels and other historic monuments, as well as the borough’s archaeological museum and the Acuexcomatl Environmental Education Center. Students were also encouraged to take pictures of everyday life as they encountered it during their wanderings.

The approximately 75 students who participated were divided into small groups, each with a different area of Xochimilco and/or Tlalpan to cover. About twelve of these participants were foreign students, primarily from Europe, who were spread out among the groups so that these groups could experience their exploration from two points of view. Students had to decide how to cover their areas and divide their work. Most opted to stay in their entire group or pair off rather than explore individually. One of the objectives of the project was to write good descriptions of the places they photographed. While teachers and organizers were able to provide some documentation, much was not easily available and a number of groups took the initiative to visit borough offices for information and to ask caretakers. Some even received tours. The Acuexcomatl Center gave their group a tour and waived the admission fee, stating that they welcomed the effort the share what the center does online.

File:Clip of Sebastian Flores Farfán.webm

Video clip of Sebastián Flores Farfán speaking to students. Video by Thelmadatter, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

One of the participants was the granddaughter of the official chronicler of the Xochimilco borough, Sebastián Flores Farfán, who, when he heard of our efforts, asked to come to the closing of the event. Of course he was quite welcomed and had a chance to hear some of the student reports. These reports gave very valuable feedback on the event. Some students stated that they enjoyed the project as it gave them a chance to see aspects of their city they did not know existed, and they enjoyed using photography as a learning tool. One complaint was not being able to take photographs of some of the landmarks by authorities, who often wanted some kind of official permission in order to cooperate.

All participating students were required to upload 50 photographs to Commons (or video clips worth 3 photos each) and all then had the choice to upload another 50 or work on a short article. In total, the participants uploaded 5264 photographs, 8 videos and 36 articles (link here). Almost all of these articles were created or expanded in Spanish Wikipedia, but some articles such as Xochimilco and Niñopa were translated into French, Swedish and Danish.

Santa Fe campus

Like last semester, the Santa Fe campus again participated with Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia, but with a more concrete objective. This time, the focus was on the traditional Mexico City neighborhood of San Ángel, located in the southeast of Mexico City. It is an emblematic section of the city, an “obligatory” place to visit for those who live in the city as well as national and international tourists, along with other areas such as Coyoacán, Mixcoac and Xochimilco, as despite the march of urban sprawl, it has preserved many of its historic monuments, customs and traditions that define it.

When we organized the Wikipedia San Ángel challenge, we did not expect the interest from students that we received. At first we thought thirty places would be sufficient, but this was not the case. There was so much interest in the project that we had to raise this number to forty. This demonstrates in an optimal way the advantages that working with a site like Wikipedia offers. This is also clear from the references that students used to create articles, a mixture of electronic sources along with books and magazines.

Since contributing to Wikipedia should not be taken lightly, before the San Ángel visit, we chose several sites of interest, looking through the Wikipedia to see what was already covered. Students found that a number of sites had only incomplete articles, were mentioned only in the article on San Ángel… or neither. Foreign students found that articles were missing on the areas in languages such as German and Polish.

Students were first trained in research techniques, including what constitutes reliable sources by library staff then about Wikipedia with a visit by Leigh Thelmadatter of the Mexico City Campus, who offered her enthusiasm about the project as well as a solid understanding of the Wikipedia universe, motivating students.

Wednesday was dedicated to the “expedition” to San Ángel, arriving at the heart of the neighborhood, the Plaza San Jacinto. From there students wandered the area taking photographs of what caught their attention, such as monuments, typical buildings, various installations, people, animals and other aspects that make San Ángel unique. Each student was asked to upload fifteen photographs to Wikimedia Commons. In the end, sites that were covered photographically included the La Bombilla Park, the Risco House, the Library of Mexico’s Revolutions, the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Studio House Museum, the Marquesa de Selva Nevada House, the Casa Blanca of San Ángel, the Soumaya Museum (San Ángel), the Isidro Fabela Cultural Center, the Del Carmen Market, and others. There were difficulties such as students needing permission to take photographs, but often these were resolved by the students themselves and receiving help with references from the locals of San Ángel. In the end, this campus uploaded 543 photographs and ten articles to Spanish Wikipedia, as well as improved the existing article on San Ángel.

Thursday and Friday were dedicated to revising, categorizing and writing the descriptions of the photographs for Wikimedia Commons, along with working on articles to be created or expanded. For this aspect, we worked not in a classroom but in the library’s new learning commons, which allowed students to concentrate on their work such that many lost track of time.

Leigh Thelmadatter, Wiki Learning Tec de Monterrey
Alavaro Alvarez, Wiki Learning

by Leigh Thelmadatter and Alavaro Alvarez at November 23, 2015 05:47 PM

November 21, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Wikikonference 2015 otevřela celospolečenská témata a představila úspěšné projekty podporující českou Wikipedii

Plakát Wikikonference 2015

Plakát Wikikonference 2015 (autor: Dominik Matus, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Wikikonference je nejvýznamnější akce pořádaná každoročně spolkem Wikimedia ČR. Je to celodenní setkání zájemců o Wikipedii, a to jak z řad wikipedistů, tak i odborné a laické veřejnosti. Letos se Wikikonference vrátila do hlavního města, na půdu Přírodovědecké fakulty Univerzity Karlovy, jejíž děkan prof. Bohuslav Gaš opět vyslovil akci záštitu. Připomínala tak Wikikonferenci 2013 – hlavní program opět probíhal v historické Geologické posluchárně na pražském Albertově. Celkem se akce zúčastnilo 116 zaregistrovaných a blíže neurčený počet osob, které registračnímu stolku unikly. Celým dnem tradičně provázel moderátor České televize, wikipedista Miroslav Langer (Okino).

Předkonferenční setkání

Předkonferenční akce (autor: Aktron, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Předkonferenční akce (autor: Aktron, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Letos bylo novinkou sobotní předkonferenční setkání 14. 11. – klidná tříhodinová schůzka v prostorách albertovské kavárny v budově fakulty, kde se sešli zájemci o programy Senioři píší WikipediiStudenti píší Wikipedii. První projekt přilákal mnoho důchodců a starších lidí se zájmem zlepšit své znalosti Wikipedie a těm pokročilým z nich byly nabídnuty připravované kurzy v Městské knihovně v Praze. Diskutovalo se o vycestování projektu mimo území hlavního města – do Brna, ale i asi desítky dalších měst, které projevily zájem. Druhá ze schůzek – Studenti píší Wikipedii – byla pojata odborněji a diskutovalo se o spolupráci Wikipedie s vysokými školami. Dostavili se i někteří učitelé, kteří v rámci projektu Studenti píší Wikipedii působí, a popisovali mj. specifika svých projektů. Předkonferenční setkání bylo zakončeno „večírkem“ v nedaleké restauraci, kde se sešli wikipedisté, kteří se osobně vidí jen málokdy, a měli toho mnoho na srdci.

Hlavní program

Hlavní program 15. 11. se letos soustředil na celospolečenská témata. Prvním tematickým blokem byla cenzura internetu, v rámci níž byl promítnut krátký snímek natočený v říjnu 2015 s třemi významnými ruskými wikipedisty v čele s ředitelem Wikimedia Rusko. Ve filmu zodpovídali dotazy týkající se zákona regulujícího publikování různých informací, které ruský establishment považuje za citlivé. Pokud budou ruští kolegové souhlasit, bude video zveřejněno na YouTube – sledujte náš kanál. Události komentoval také Ondřej Soukup z Hospodářských novin.

Naši vážení přednášející v družném hovoru v zákulisí (autor: Pavel Hrdlička, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Naši vážení přednášející v družném hovoru v zákulisí (autor: Pavel Hrdlička, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Následoval blok o strojovém zpracování Wikipedie – projektech DBpedia a Wikidata. Strukturované informace v budoucnu umožní odpovídat automaticky na lidsky položené dotazy – vyzkoušejte prototyp takové aplikace, kterou vyvinul jeden z přednášejících, Petr Baudiš z hackerspace Brmlab. Po obědové pauze nás návštěvou poctil europoslanec a předseda právního výboru Evropského parlamentu Pavel Svoboda, který mluvil o vývoji v oblasti autorského zákona a v diskuzi se dotkl i kontroverzního tématu svobody panoramatu, jejíž omezení by nepříznivě zasáhlo českou Wikipedii a bylo nějakou dobu na stole v létě tohoto roku. Zajímavou přednášku v témže bloku přednesl i Matěj Myška z Ústavu práv a technologií Masarykovy univerzity (též specialista spřátelené pracovní skupiny Creative Commons ČR).

V následující programové části se diskutovalo o inovacích ve vzdělávání – hlavní přednášku přednesl Tomáš Feřtek ze společnosti EDUin, který mluvil o klesající síle formálního vzdělávání frontálním způsobem ve školách a vzestupu neformálního, digitálního vzdělávání. Byly představeny i aktuální iniciativy v oblasti vzdělávání – Aliance pro otevřené vzdělávání, vládní Strategie digitálního vzdělávání do roku 2020 a také pokrok na spřáteleném projektu „Wikiskripta„. Představené projekty – a význam Wikipedie obecně – reflektovali v následné diskuzi filozof prof. Jan Sokol a sociolog Jan Spousta. Celý program byl zakončen představením významných projektů na podporu české Wikipedie – projektů Masarykova univerzita, Senioři píší Wikipedii, Mediagrant a také spolupráce s městem Kadaň. První zmiňovaný projekt dokonce při této příležitosti slavnostně oznámil uzavření memoranda o spolupráci mezi Masarykovou univerzitou a spolkem Wikimedia ČR.

Videonahrávky z akce se brzy objeví na našem kanálu na Slideslive (kde mimochodem máme celkově již téměř 40 000 shlédnutí). Fotografie z akce i přednáškové slajdy z některých příspěvků najdete v příslušné kategorii na Wikimedia Commons. Mediální výstupy z konference najdete pohromadě na stránce letošní Wikikonference. A už nyní se můžeme těšit na Wikikonferenci 2016 – zatím bez podrobností, bez času a místa, ale s jistotou, že se konat bude.

by Vojtěch Dostál at November 21, 2015 09:46 AM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Become an international music phenomenon with Wikipedia


Going viral on Imgur today: creating your debut music album with Wikipedia. Have you tried it yet?

To craft your own debut album artwork, follow these steps:

  1. Hit “random article” on the English Wikipedia to find your “band name”
  2. Find a random Wikiquote page, and select three to five words from it to form your “album title”
  3. Use this randomising tool to find a piece of public domain artwork from Wikimedia Commons for your album art—you have three tries
  4. Edit it all together in the image editing software of your choice!

Here are a selection of albums we’ve made:




Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 10.30.52 AM

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 9.13.54 AM


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

Our thanks go to the rest of the Communications team for their album covers. All underlying images are in the public domain.

by Joe Sutherland and Ed Erhart at November 21, 2015 01:20 AM

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

Image by Faebot, freely licensed under OGL 1.0.

Google Summer of Code and Outreachy are two software development internship programs that Wikimedia participates in every year. For the last nine years, college students have applied to be a part of the coding summer, one of many outreach programs operated by the Wikimedia Foundation. After being accepted, they work on their project from May to August and are invited to a Mentor Summit in Google in November.

For the first time, all Wikimedia projects that passed the evaluation were immediately deployed in production or Wikimedia Labs. Take a look!

Reinventing Translation Search

Search translations.png

Search translations. Screenshot by Phoenix303, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

TranslateWiki is a popular translation platform used by many projects across Wikimedia and several times as many outside it. Developed single-handedly once by Niklas Laxström, the platform has expanded significantly since its launch in 2006. This project aims to add a Search feature to the Translate extension. Without a search feature, it is difficult for translators to find specific messages they want to translate. Traversing all the translations or strings of the project is inefficient. Also, translators often want to check how a specific term was translated in a certain language across the project. This is solved by the special page Special:SearchTranslations. By default, translators can find the messages containing certain terms in any language and filter by various criteria. After searching, they can switch the results to the translations of said messages, for instance to find the existing, missing or outdated translations of a certain term. You can check it out here. Dibya Singh was the project intern.

Crosswatch. Screenshot by Sitic, freely licensed under CC0 1.0.

Cross-wiki watchlist

Crosswatch is a cross-wiki watchlist for all Wikimedia wikis. The goal of the project is to help editors who are active in several wikis to monitor changes and generally to provide a better watchlist for all editors. Among other things, crosswatch includes cross-wiki notifications, dynamic filtering and the ability to show diffs for edits. As an external tool which uses OAuth to retrieve the watchlists on behalf of the user, it doesn’t have the same constraints as MediaWiki and can experiment with the design and functionality of a watchlist without breaking existing workflows or code. It’s design is much more similar to the mobile watchlist than classical MediaWiki watchlist layout, there is however an option to use the traditional layout. Crosswatch can show a unified watchlist for all wikis or a watchlist subdivided into wikis. One of the predominant features is the native support to show a diff for an edit. The project was completed by Jan Lebert.

Wikivoyage PageBanner extension

PageBanner extension Screenshot. Screenshot by Frédéric Bolduc and others, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wikivoyage is a wiki about travel and holds rich details related to visiting places. This wiki has a special preference for showing page wide banners at the top of each of their articles to enhance their aesthetic appeal. An example of such a banner can be seen here. These banners are traditionally shown using a template on the wiki. The banners shown through templates however had a few shortcomings such as not delivering an optimum size banner for each device, not rendering properly on mobile devices, too small banners on small mobile screens, not being able to show more than one level, or table of contents inside the banners. The project is all about addressing these issues and adding capabilities through a Mediawiki extension to take the banner experience to the next level. You can test it out here. Summit Asthana was the project intern.

Language Proofing Extension for VisualEditor

LanguageTool extension screenshot. Screenshot by Frédéric Bolduc and others, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

LanguageTool is an extension for VisualEditor that enables language proofing support in about twenty languages. This includes spelling and grammar checking. Before this tool, VisualEditor relied on the browser’s native spelling and grammar checking tools. LanguageTool itself is an open source spelling and grammar proofing software created and maintained by Daniel Naber. This extension is an integration of the tool into VisualEditor. You can test this feature here and learn more about it here. Ankita Kumari completed the project.

Newsletter Extension for MediaWiki

Newsletter extension for Mediawiki. Screenshot by Frédéric Bolduc and others, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Many Wikimedia projects and developers use newsletters to broadcast recent developments or relevant news to other Wikimedians. But having to find a newsletter main page and then subscribing to it by adding your username to a wiki page doesn’t really sound appealing.
The main motivation of this project is to offer a catalog with all the newsletters available in a wiki farm, and the possibility to subscribe/unsubscribe and receive notifications without having to visit or be an active editor of any wiki. You can see this project in action here and learn more about it here. Tina Johnson was the intern for this project.

Flow support in Pywikibot

Flow extension to Pywikibot. Screenshot by Frédéric Bolduc and others, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This was a project to add support for Flow, MediaWiki’s new discussion framework, to Pywikibot, a Python framework widely used for bots operating on Wikimedia wikis. To accomplish this task, a module was implemented in Pywikibot with classes mapping to Flow data constructs, like topics and posts. Code supporting Flow-related API calls was also added, and tests were included for loading and saving operations. As it stands, Pywikibot-driven bots can now load Flow content, create new topics, reply to topics and posts, and lock and unlock topics. Learn more about this task here. This project was completed by Alexander Jones.

OAuth Support in Pywikibot

OAuth extension to Pywikibot. Screenshot by Frédéric Bolduc and others, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

MediaWiki supports OAuth v1.0a as a method of authentication via OAuth extension. This project adds OAuth v1.0a support for Pywikibot. Pywikibot may be used as an OAuth application for MediaWiki sites with OAuth extension installed and configured properly. Developers may use Pywikibot to authenticate accounts and replace password with OAuth authentication as an alternative login method. This project also includes switching of HTTP library from httplib2 to requests and unit tests related to OAuth authentication and its integration with Pywikibot. All integration builds of Pywikibot now test OAuth on Travis CI (Ubuntu) and Appveyor (Win32). This enables ‘logged in’ tests to be performed on some wiki sites, including beta wiki, which is deployed on Beta Cluster and is an environment where password’s are not considered secure. Learn more about this project here. The project was completed by Jiarong Wei.

Extension to identify and remove spam

SmiteSpam extension. Screenshot by Frédéric Bolduc and others, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

SmiteSpam is a MediaWiki extension that helps wiki administrators identify and delete spam pages. Because wikis are openly editable, they make great targets for spammers. From product advertisements to absolute garbage, any kind of spam turns up on wikis. While accurate detection of a spam wiki page is an open problem in the field of computer science, this extension tries to detect possible spam using some simple checks: How frequently are external links occurring in the text? Are any of the external links repeating? How much wikitext is present on the page? The extension does a reasonably good job of finding particularly bad pages in a wiki and presents them to the administrators. They can see a list of pages, their creators, how confident SmiteSpam is of them being spam, the creation time of the page and options to delete the page and/or block the creator. They can also mark users as “trusted”. Pages created by trusted users are ignored by SmiteSpam and will hence reduce the number of false positives in the results. Vivek Ghaisas completed the project.

VisualEditor Graph module

VE graph extension. Screenshot by Frédéric Bolduc and others, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

ve-graph is a module within the Graph extension that aims to bring graph editing tools to VisualEditor in order to bridge the gap between editors and Vega, the visualization engine powering graphs in MediaWiki pages. Before, the only way for users to create and maintain graphs was to directly alter their specification in raw wikitext, which was not only hard to grasp for beginners but also very prone to errors. Those errors would simply render the graph unusable without offering any kind of feedback to the user as to what went wrong. With ve-graph, it is now possible to display graphs within VisualEditor and open up an interface to edit graph types, data and padding. The UI also offers a way to edit the raw JSON specification within VisualEditor without having to switch to the classic wikitext editor, in case more advanced users want to tweak settings not supported by the UI. This first step serves as a stepping stone for many possibilities with graph editing within VisualEditor, and there are a lot of ways in which ve-graph can be improved and expanded. This project is in live in action and you can see a demo here. Frédéric Bolduc completed the project.


Niharika Kohli, Wikimedia Foundation

by Niharika Kohli at November 21, 2015 01:19 AM

Community Digest—Marc Venot and the potential of a new pivot language for Europe; news in brief

Ido Kongreso en Desau 1922.jpg
An international Ido conference in Germany, 1922. Image from Alfred Neussner, public domain.

I switched to Ido Wikimedia because it’s a language that goes into several fundamentals of thinking, something that can be called “scientific”, and has the potential of becoming the pivot language for Europe.

Marc Venot may have only started editing Wikimedia projects in January 2015, but in those eleven months he has accumulated nearly 400,000 edits—over 359,000 of which have been made in the Ido langauge, a constructed language variant of the well-known Esperanto. We interviewed him to gather insight into his editing experience as well as to get know the culture of Ido language projects.

The Ido-language flag. Image by Lucas Larson, public domain.

Marc hails from Vancouver in Canada, a major city on the country’s west coast, where he owns several studio apartments that he rents out. Like many Wikimedia editors, Marc was familiar with Wikipedia and used its information often, but was only compelled to join after finding several errors. Although he started with editing the French Wikipedia and Wiktionary, as an ardent linguist his main passion quickly moved to editing Ido Wikimedia projects.

According to him, Ido is a language that hits several fundamentals of thinking and is something that can be called scientific. In fact, Marc believes that it can become the pivot language for Europe, although he’s open to another language like Lojban taking this role.

As one of only four sysops on Ido Wikipedia, Marc stresses that his role is to keep some coherence, notably in the categories and templates. He feels that Ido needs more advanced translation tools to help add more content easily to the different Ido projects. To keep the Ido Wikipedia and Wiktionary updated, Marc reads newspapers in the six languages on which Ido is based. He also looks for words that the Wiktionary currently does not include and how new entries can be added or existing ones can be modified.

Commenting on his Ido Wikimedia colleagues, Marc referred to his colleagues Artomo, hailing from Finland, and João Xavier of Brazil as pillars because of their immense contributions and supportive gestures.

Syed Muzammiluddin
Wikimedia community volunteer

In brief

Apollo 13 Flown Silver Robbins Medallion (SN-354).jpg
The medallion from the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. Image by Godot13, public domain.

WikiCup ends: The English Wikipedia’s WikiCup has ended with Godot13 taking the top prize on the strength of his 330 featured pictures, a significant percentage of which were high-quality scans of monetary currency. Of note are the scans of the medallions from the Project Gemini and Apollo space missions (above), the up to 100 trillion mark currency issued in the Weimar Republic in 1920–24, and the emergeny currency issued in French Oceania during the Second World War.
French tragedy: Wikimedians responded to the recent terror attack in Paris with articles in 77 languages; the French-language article has 257 references.
New books being uploaded to Wikisource: The monthly This Month in GLAM newsletter has reported on various GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) initiatives from around the world, including the uploading of the Mussolini Library to the Italian-language Wikisource. According to the author, the library is “one of the most relevant source[s] of information about [the] fascism period … in Italy, and the digitization of its materials is supposed to be very useful for historians all over the world.” In similar news, the CIS-A2K out of India reports that one thousand Marathi-language books have been put under free licenses and uploaded to the language’s Wikisource: “Right after our Prime Minister Narendra Modi recommended to read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin as it contains a lot of messages for [the] common man, a lady walked to us once and asked if she can read this [in] Marathi. Be it such autobiographies or a poetry book like Chetavali, such books that were published … should not be kept closed as … many readers are searching for such books.”
Community Wishlist Survey: The Wikimedia Foundation’s (WMF) Community Wishlist Survey has started. As laid out in the Signpost by the WMF’s Danny Horn, the survey “gives everybody the opportunity to propose fixes and solutions and determine which ideas have the most support. It’s an exciting (and slightly terrifying) prospect.”
Wikimania 2016 scholarship ambassadors needed: Applicants are needed to review and process the thousands of applications that will come in for the coming year’s Wikimania. More information is available on the Wikimania 2016 wiki.
Content translation: Content Translation, a tool that makes it easier to translate Wikipedia articles across languages, has now been used in the creation of 30,000 articles. You can join them in an online office hour on 25 November to give your feedback.

Welcome to your community digest! This is a weekly feature for the blog, and we would like to invite you to take part in putting it together. This digest of Wikimedia community news will pull together items from around the globe to provide a venue for your updates and a diverse roundup of events. It aims to emulate and supplement already-existing community news outlets.
If your Wikimedia community has a milestone, cool new project, or quirky occurrence, please leave a message on our tip line, send me an email, or drop a message at my talk page.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

by Syed Muzammiluddin and Ed Erhart at November 21, 2015 01:19 AM

November 16, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Nepal’s victorious monument photos include the birthplace of Buddha

Outside view
This blog post was written by a member of the Wikimedia community and not by an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation. The views expressed are the author’s alone and are not necessarily held by the Foundation or the community as a whole.

In September, Wiki Loves Monuments 2015—the largest photography competition in the world—was held. Globally, it attracted more than 6,200 competitors from 33 countries who together uploaded more than 230,000 photographs (see the blog’s previous coverage).

Nepal took part in the competition for the third time in 2015, and it proved to be a success with 107 participants submitting over 1,535 photographs that highlighted the beauty of the country. All have been released under free licenses.

The international winners will be announced in December 2015. Here are the top 10 pictures that will represent Nepal, as decided by our jury:

Ranipokhari during chhath festival.jpg
1st: Ranipokhari during Chhath by Enfeeyano, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Lumbini (Birth Place of Gautam Buddha).jpg
2nd: Maya Devi Temple the birth place of Gautama Buddha by Rajeshdulal, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

MG 7595Boudhanath Stupa.jpg
3rd: Boudhanath by Ronixdhungana, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Lord Bishnu-Shesh Narayan.JPG
4th: Vishnu sculpture in pond near Sheshnarayan Temple by Ksssshl, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

55 window palace, Bhupatindra Malla, 1754 AD.jpg
5th: 55 window palace in Bhaktapur by Uzzool, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Bhadrakali temple pokhara.JPG
6th: Bhadrakali Temple in Pokhara by Dhurba Gurung, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Patan Krishna Mandir, Mangal bazar.jpg
7th: Patan Krishna Mandir in Patan by Udhabkc, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Taleju Mandir.jpg
8th: Teleju Temple in Kathmandu by Snagina, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Bhaktapur-Bhairava Mandir am Taumadhi Tole-02-gje.jpg
9th: Bhaktapur Bhairav Mandir by Gerd Eichmann, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Nuwakot Palace (5).jpg
10th: Nuwakot Palace in Nuwakot by Bijay Shrestha, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Biplab AnandWikimedians of Nepal

by Biplab Anand at November 16, 2015 11:15 PM

Ukrainian Wikipedia reaches 600,000 articles

Outside view
This blog post was written by a member of the Wikimedia community and not by an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation. The views expressed are the author’s alone and are not necessarily held by the Foundation or the community as a whole.

Reflections in a flask of Methylene Blue
Methylene blue, one of many redox indicators. Photo by Amanda Slater, freely licensed under CC by-SA 2.0.

After twelve years, the Ukrainian-language Wikipedia has passed another milestone—600,000 articles.

The article reaching the milestone was Окисно-відновні індикатори (Redox indicators), substances that are used in chemistry to determine the equivalence point of an redox reaction.

As it says in the article, most often they are organic substances showing redox properties which are used as such indicators, as well as metal-organic compounds in which the oxidation number of the metal changes on reaching certain chemical potential. In both cases the structure changes are followed by changing the colour of the substance.

The articles for previous hundred-thousand milestones are Гойтосир (Goitosyros), Список країн за видобутком вугілля (List of countries by coal production), Шумейко-Роман Олена Олександрівна (Olena Shumeiko-Roman), Міяма (Miyama, Fukuoka), Електронний газ (Free electron model). The last five-hundredth one was created on May 12, 2014.

There are currently 2386 active editors of Ukrainian Wikipedia—users who have made at least one edit in the last 30 days. Wikimedia Ukraine, the local chapter in the country, works on involving new editors by organising wikiworkshops (currently Wikifest:Luhanshchyna: Wikipedia editing workshops series in Luhanshchyna), getting students to write articles as an educational activity, and answering questions).

Recently the English Wikipedia has also passed another milestone—5 million articles. We do believe that encyclopaedic articles about all important phenomena, events, personalities, and things must exist in the Ukrainian language as well; the better quality they have, the better it is for everyone.

We call on you to start editing Wikipedia—create your article today!

Vira Motorko, Wikimedia Ukraine

The post was originally published on the Wikimedia Ukraine blog.

by Vira Motorko at November 16, 2015 11:14 PM

“Community revitalization”—working together to strengthen the Hebrew Wiktionary

Outside view
This blog post was written by a member of the Wikimedia community and not by an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation. The views expressed are the author’s alone and are not necessarily held by the Foundation or the community as a whole.

The closing event of the first Hebrew Wiktionary course in Israel. The event was held at the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem. 07.jpg
The closing event of the first Hebrew Wiktionary course in Israel, held at the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem. Photo by Chen Davidi-Almog, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Hebrew Wiktionary statistics, 2014–2015. Infographic by Itzike, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

2015 has been a pivotal year for the Hebrew Wiktionary, thanks to the small community and Wikimedia Israel joining forces to strengthen the project together. By collaborating together and with the Academy of the Hebrew Language, we started an educational course and brought new editors into the project.


The Hebrew Wiktionary community can be described as independent, but limited in size. The level of activity in the project in 2014 was very low—428 edits in July and 154 in August, for instance—and leaned heavily on a small but stable group of writers. Their work was divided between creating entries and necessary regular maintenance of the project; very few new writers joined in. We felt that the project needed a “shot in the arm” and could use new blood to drive policy innovation and to integrate new writers into the activity.

We believe that the chapter, being an external entity that is nevertheless familiar with and committed to the Wikimedia communities, could play an important role in the process of revitalizing the community and promoting its becoming an independent and prosperous one. Four key elements enabled the revitalization of the community:

  1. Finding common ground
  2. Relationships in the community
  3. Mutual support
  4. Continuity

Finding common ground

It started with an initial inter-organizational thought process with the purpose of promoting a joint project. Last December we contacted the Academy of the Hebrew Language, Israel’s highest institution for the study of the Hebrew language whose decisions are officially binding.

Recruiting an institution of such prestige has created a sense of pride among the Hebrew Wiktionary’s volunteers and greatly helped in recruiting new volunteers. A shared vision between the Academy of the Hebrew Language and the Wiktionary community—to contribute to the Hebrew language and expand the Hebrew Wiktionary community—has created a natural and meaningful connection and serves as a golden opportunity for promoting the project. The academy, Wiktionary volunteers, and the chapter are now working hand in hand on the production of a tutorial that combines the teaching of practical editing and the fundamentals of professional lexicography. The tutorial was selected to be the first step in an outline for the establishment of an independent and growing community.

Relationships in the Community

It was necessary to cooperate with community members to create the new editor’s course. The first step was finding contacts. We tried locating them through user pages, the village pump, and editors on other projects, but in the end the most successful strategy was by going through the project’s only bureaucrat.

Integrating new people into the activity of an independent community requires us to help them adapt to the community’s spirit and courses of action. Fortunately, the three editors who offered to help us were willing to do so—a crucial step towards starting this project.

Mutual Support

We began with a meeting between the three contributors and the activity coordinator of Wikimedia Israel for initial introduction and to come up with an objective and vision for the Wiktionary course and Hebrew Wiktionary. The volunteers discussed ways to improve the project and created a list of tasks to be performed before the course begins. The course served as an excellent opportunity for the rejuvenation of the project, and it seems that most of the active editors took it upon themselves to make it a success. New help pages were written, lists of missing entries were created, etiquette was formulated for the project, new officials were appointed, the full guide for the Wiktionary reader was updated, and even the project’s logo was updated.

During the following few months, additional updates were presented regularly in the Wiktionary buffet regarding progress of the course and the volunteers also came to the help of new writers, initiating them and providing them with comments on the entries written during the course.

The second meeting included representatives from the Academy of the Hebrew Language and defined the work plan of the course. It was decided that the course would be jointly taught by volunteers and representatives of the Academy. The syllabus was created together in order to create a compatible course structure with lessons that complement each other in terms of the technical and content aspects of writing.

The behind-the-scenes work invested in production of the course was very intensive. Deciding on weekly sessions did enable an emphasis on continuity, individual effort, commitment, and perseverance on the part of course participants, yet the volunteers were called upon to work ‘round the clock’ dealing with monitoring, initiation, creating lesson plans and teaching, as well as examining learning assignments that the participants prepared at home. Their investment and commitment are undoubtedly the reasons for course success.


In order for a community, active in a specific content field, to survive and prosper, and to be motivated for further work and creativity, it is important to continuously maintain high levels of activity. We felt that keeping the volunteers active was significant, as well as recruiting the course graduates and maintaining a high degree of ongoing project liveliness.

The closing event of the first Hebrew Wiktionary course in Israel. The event was held at the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem. Photo by Chen Davidi-Almog, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

We therefore decided, after a few months in which the project editors continued to further improve and implement course deliverables, to start working on the next project. Volunteers expressed a desire to hold a missing entries writing marathon that would encourage course participants to stay in the project. Eventually, a decision was made to launch a first-of-its-kind prize competition for the writing of lexicographic entries. Additional important objectives of the contest were to advertise the project to the general public and the crowds of Hebrew language lovers, as well as expanding the community even further.

First, a message appeared in the Wiktionary Village Pump, inviting editors to participate in planning and producing the competition, with an invitation to participate in the first planning meeting, held at Wikimedia Israel’s offices. Later on, a Wiktionary volunteer created a list of 500 (!) entries missing from the dictionary. At the same time, a project page for the competition was created. Volunteers were assigned different functions such as Contest Secretaries, Referees, and people to monitor and provide assistance through the help counter. Both new and veteran volunteers joined in to participate in this project, primarily to assist and answer questions of participants in the contest, and also for the judgment and filtration of the entries. After discussions and consultations with Academy members, criteria for the right way to write an entry in Wiktionary were created and published for the first time ever, and the entries were judged based on these criteria.

Linguists and lexicographers who are members of the Academy of the Hebrew language joined the Judgment Committee, as well as language experts who are well-known in Israel.

To date, we are working on the production of a festive community gathering for Wiktionary editors. We now put a stress on encouraging and pushing forward for projects initiated by the community itself. While the Wikimedia Israel chapter would support and help, it would be strictly up to the volunteers to lead the projects. In addition, we hope to launch one more course in early 2016.

We hope that the movement, initiated during the recent year, will continue to develop towards the creation of an independent initiative community.

In conclusion, during 2015, close to 300 new entries were written and about 130 were extended. Some 50 contributors participated in the projects (of which 33 are new). Compared to last year, there was an increase of 750% in new editors’ activity and an increase of 480% in number of active editors in the project. Compared to the same months last year, an almost 1,600% increase is evident, in the number of edits.

Community is the fundamental basis for the existence of all Wikimedia projects. It is our job, as an organization in the Wikimedia movement, to help communities to prosper. In order for a community to thrive, tight work relations are required among the community members and between the community and the Chapter. Finding common ground is also necessary and in this case it was the commitment of the volunteers, the Hebrew Academy and the Chapter, to the efforts for expanding the project. Volunteer communities don’t always find in themselves the strength to promote younger generations, and this was the main role that we took upon ourselves when assisting in executing the various activities that would bring new editors. Providing support can be described as the major role of Wikimedia Israel.

Chen Davidi-Almog, Activity and Resources Coordinator
Wikimedia Israel

by Chen Davidi at November 16, 2015 09:02 PM

Internal security incident identified and resolved at the Wikimedia Foundation

Love padlocks
A security incident with the Wikimedia Foundation’s Mailman mailing list system was identified and addressed today. Photo by Petar Milošević, freely licensed under CC by-SA 4.0.

On November 12, the Wikimedia Operations team identified a security incident on the Wikimedia Foundation’s Mailman mailing list system that resulted in the breach of four staff email accounts. We immediately investigated the incident, addressed the underlying vulnerabilities, and took steps to remedy the situation.

To our knowledge, the affected accounts have now been secured, and the security incident has been resolved. As part of our commitment to transparency, we are sharing an overview of this incident and how we responded.

How did this happen?

An account with legitimate access to the server hosting our mailing list system obtained passwords from configuration files. A number of those passwords were then tested against staff email accounts and matched in four cases.

What has been done to fix it?

We immediately locked the four affected staff accounts, changed affected passwords, and applied additional security measures. We also locked the account believed to have been behind the breach and have terminated all future access from that account to internal systems. At this time, we have no evidence of other production services being impacted. Out of an abundance of caution, we are in the process of regenerating all passwords stored by our mailing list system. If you use your Mailman password for other accounts, we recommend that you change your password for those accounts.

The Wikimedia Foundation takes the privacy of staff and users very seriously. We will continue to monitor our systems and implement additional security measures to prevent this from happening again.

Mark Bergsma, Director of Technical Operations*
Michelle Paulson, Legal Director*
Wikimedia Foundation

*We would like to thank the various teams, including Ops, Performance, Communications, Legal, Office IT, and Community Advocacy, that worked together throughout the day to expeditiously investigate and resolve this issue.

by Mark Bergsma and Michelle Paulson at November 16, 2015 07:35 PM

Community Digest—help improve articles about Asia during November

The victor from India’s Wiki Loves Food contest: curd rice. Postcards sent to Indian “Wikipedia Asian Month” participants could use this imagery. Photo by Sudharshan Shanmugasundaram, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Wikipedia Asian Month is an initiative aiming to bring the Wikimedia Asian Communities together to improve articles about Asian countries and regions on every language edition of Wikipedia. Throughout this month, more than twenty Wikipedia communities will take part in an online edit-a-thon, encouraging Wikipedians to improve the quality of Asian topics, as well as helping the rest of the world understand more about Asia and its many cultural groups.

The online edit-a-thon will ask participants to write at least five articles related to Asia. Those who achieve this will receive a postcard from seven Wikimedian communities in Asia: Mainland China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Postcards from each country or region will be specially designed with a local feature. For example, Indian postcards will feature a photograph from the Wiki Loves Food initiative (first prize winner above).

Wikipedia’s Asian Community still has very high potential—of the top 25 language editions of Wikipedia, only nine are from Asia. In terms of readership, the global unique visitors of Wikimedia projects total about 374.82 million (in June 2015, not including mobile devices), but unique visitors from the Asia Pacific region total only 83.64 million, about 22.31 percent of all visitors. Considering that 32% of the world’s Internet users come from the Asia-Pacific region, Wikimedia’s communities in Asia have much room to grow.

That said, Wikimedia’s Asian communities are now starting to emerge. Since January 2013, thirteen new user groups in Asia have been recognized, and while some Asian-language versions of Wikipedia have relatively few articles, they have sizeable active communities. For example, the Azerbaijani and Thai Wikipedias both have fewer than 100,000 articles, and come in at 55th and 56th respectively on the list of Wikipedias by article count, but they rank 34th and 26th by active users.

Wikipedia Asian Month is here, and we welcome your participation. Check here if your home Wikipedia is participating in the Asian Month, or maybe become the event’s organizer on your home Wikipedia!

Addis Wang, Wikimedia User Group China

In brief

Superprotect removed: The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) announced today that the Superprotect user right will be removed from all Wikimedia sites. This move will be accompanied by a new product development process that will include much more community interaction and feedback. A short Q&A is available.

Persoonia terminalis ssp recurva, Australian National Botanic Garden, Canberra, ACT, 23-12-14 (16731755955)

The English Wikipedia’s five millionth article was Persoonia terminalis, an Australian shrub. Photo by Russell Cumming, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Five million articles: The English Wikipedia passed a symbolic yet important milestone this week! The five millionth article, as documented in our blog post, was Persoonia terminalis, a shrub native to Australia. It was written by Cas Liber, an Australian Wikipedian with almost 1,500 articles to his name. He noted that that “we still [have] loads to do,” but if this accomplishment inspires people to “edit and look at the world around them, then all the better.”
Passing on: Our condolences go to the friends and families of community members Khalid Mahmood and Piotr Domaradzki after their deaths this week. Khalid was the most prolific contributor to the Western Punjabi Wikipedia; Piotr, who edited under the username Belissarius (English), had over 100,000 edits on the Polish Wikipedia. Memorials are being left on their talk pages.
Gender gap: Following an article in the Atlantic, Wikipedian Sydney Poore (FloNight) has written a response detailing some of the community initiatives being taken to address Wikipedia’s gender gap.
Wikipedia can be used for more than writing: The Wiki Education Foundation’s blog has published a post from the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Zach McDowell, where he writes “Teaching with Wikipedia is good for everyone ­— students, teachers, and Wikipedia —­ and is getting better all the time.”
Foundation news
Team news: Updates from the Performance team, Community Tech team, Developer Relations, VisualEditor, and Reading Strategy are available.
C-level: Interim Chief Operating Officer Terry Gilbey is leaving the WMF; Vice President of Human Resources Boryana Dineva is joining the C-level team; the search for a Chief Financial Officer is still in progress. More information in available in Executive Director Lila Tretikov’s announcement.
Android app: The Wikipedia Android app is currently featured in Google Play’s “New and Updated Apps” section.
Of note: The Washington Post published “The most fascinating Wikipedia articles you haven’t read” on 5 November. It includes such luminaries as List of list of lists, demon cat, and the Communications team’s favorite, extreme ironing. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry—we didn’t either. A quote on its Wikipedia article defines it as “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”

Welcome to your community digest! This is a weekly feature for the blog, and we would like to invite you to take part in putting it together. This digest of Wikimedia community news will pull together items from around the globe to provide a venue for your updates and a diverse roundup of events. It aims to emulate and supplement already-existing community news outlets.

Contributions are welcome! If your Wikimedia community has a milestone, cool new project, or quirky occurrence, please leave a message on our tip line, send me an email, or drop a message at my talk page.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

by Addis Wang and Ed Erhart at November 16, 2015 01:22 AM

November 14, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Tisková zpráva: Masarykova univerzita začala spolupracovat s encyklopedií Wikipedie

Stánek Wikipedie v areálu Přírodovědecké fakulty Masarykovy univerzity během Noci vědců, 25. září 2015. Návštěvníci si testovali znalosti ve Wikikvízu, následně si mohli odpověď ověřit na Wikipedii. Ti zvídavější si mohli vyzkoušet editování ve formě jednoduché opravy gramatické chyby.

Stánek Wikipedie v areálu Přírodovědecké fakulty Masarykovy univerzity během Noci vědců, 25. září 2015. Návštěvníci si testovali znalosti ve Wikikvízu, následně si mohli odpověď ověřit na Wikipedii. Ti zvídavější si mohli vyzkoušet editování ve formě jednoduché opravy gramatické chyby.

Jako vůbec první česká vysoká škola podepsala Masarykova univerzita (MU) memorandum o spolupráci se spolkem Wikimedia Česká republika – českou pobočkou nadace Wikimedia, která provozuje a pomáhá rozvíjet nejrozšířenější internetovou encyklopedii Wikipedie. Obě strany se zavázaly společně na Wikipedii doplňovat a upravovat informace spojené s brněnskou univerzitou.

„Otevřený přístup k informacím patří k základním předpokladům moderního vzdělávání a je také jednou z hodnot, které Masarykova univerzita dlouhodobě zastává. Wikipedie má v této oblasti důležitou roli, a naše univerzita proto má zájem úzce spolupracovat,“ uvedl rektor Masarykovy univerzity Mikuláš Bek.

„S tím, jak roste počet článků na české Wikipedii, se do popředí začíná dostávat otázka kvality. Tu můžeme zvyšovat ve spolupráci s českými kulturními a vzdělávacími institucemi. Z tohoto hlediska je Masarykova univerzita jedním z našich nejdůležitějších partnerů,“ řekl Vojtěch Dostál, předseda spolku Wikimedia Česká republika.

Univerzita už od počátku roku 2015 úzce spolupracuje s brněnskými experty na Wikipedii, kteří sestavili tým, jenž systematicky pracuje na doplňování informací o Masarykově univerzitě do internetové encyklopedie. Zároveň začala první školení pro studenty a zaměstnance na editaci hesel na Wikipedii. V plánu je i zřízení speciálního kurzu zaměřeného na výchovu budoucích wikipedistů – tedy aktivních přispěvatelů do internetové encyklopedie.

Mimo to už v rámci projektu Studenti píší Wikipedii vysokoškoláci v celé řadě předmětů pracují na vytváření hesel ze svého oboru. Týká se to například kurzů Současné skandinávské drama, Překlad v prostředí internetu či dvoudílného předmětu Křesťanství.

„Wikipedie mimo jiné umožňuje předávání informací od expertů – například studentů, absolventů či zaměstnanců Masarykovy univerzity – čtenářům z řad veřejnosti. V tomto ohledu je logické, že spolu univerzitní svět a virtuální wikisvět spolupracují. Univerzity jsou totiž s Wikipedií na jedné lodi šiřitelů vzdělání,“ doplnil Vojtěch Dostál.

by Masarykova Univerzita at November 14, 2015 03:50 PM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Bengali Wikipedia: the largest Bengali content website on the Internet

Outside viewpoint
This blog post was written by members of the Wikimedia community and not by an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation. The views are the author’s alone and are not necessarily held by the Foundation or the community as a whole.

Photowalk 31 12 10 081.JPG
Bangla Wikipedians in a Photo-walk at Dhaka, Bangladesh (2010). Photograph by Bellayet, Wikimedia Commons, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Bangla Wikipedians celebrating Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary in Chittagong, Bangladesh (2011). Photograph by Banakusum Barua, Wikimedia Commons, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

Greetings! With about 250 million native and about 300 million total speakers worldwide, Bangla is the seventh most spoken language in the world by total number of native speakers and the eleventh most spoken language by total number of speakers. It is the only language in the world which is achieved by a language movement; people sacrificed their lives for the right to read, write, and speak the language Bangla. Building an encyclopedia in this language was unavoidable.

Bangla Wikipedia started its journey in January 2004. Back then, the people of Bangladesh had a little interest in Wikipedia. A few students and scholars used the English Wikipedia, but it was not accountable. Besides that, there were various difficulties contributing in Bangla. One of the pioneer of the Bangla Wikipedia, Dr. Ragib Hasan, said that “the biggest challenge was writing something on internet in Bangla. The Bangla Unicode was not supported on most operating systems, only few websites on the internet supported Bangla Unicode, and users had difficulties configuring it. Moreover, the idea of writing something with Bangla Unicode was new. … in the beginning, the idea of a Wikipedia in Bangla was not actually workable.”

Bangla Wikipedians at Dhaka, Bangladesh (2015). Photograph by Kanon Ahammad, Wikimedia Commons, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

The whole scenario has been changed in 2006. During that time, the Bangla blogging world was growing slowly, and many people became accustomed to Bangla computing—thanks in part to a free and open-source Bangla typing tool, Avro. On March 25, 2006, a Wiki team was created by the Bangladesh Open Source Network (BdOSN) to popularize Wikipedia through out the country. The aim was to represent the country to the world through Wikipedia and build a complete encyclopedia in Bangla. At that time, Bangla Wikipedia had only 500 articles. But the ‘BdOSN wiki team’ was not alone. They managed to spread the word through some newspapers and start a Bangla Wiki mailing list. Soon, many Bangla-peaking people from home and abroad joined them in this dynamic project. As a result, by theend of the October, Bangla Wikipedia got to 10,000 articles. Among the South Asian language Wikipedias, Bangla Wikipedia reached that milestone first, and many of these articles were illustrated with photos from the demonstrator of Bengali Language Movement Dr. Rafiqul Islam, who donated all his historical photographs taken during the language movement to Wikimedia Commons.

The community now began increasing the quality of their articles. Between 2009 and 2010, Bangla speakers from West Bengal, India also started to contribute to Bangla Wikipedia. In the meantime, the Wikimedia Foundation started their operations and in October 2011 a ‘local chapter was approved in Bangladesh by the Foundation to promote educational content in Bangla.

Now, Bangla Wikipedia has more than 38,000 articles on various topics with over 500 active editors per month. People from around the country now regularly arrange workshops and meet-up with active Wikipedians.

On February 26, 2015, Jimmy Wales—the founder of Wikipedia—visited Bangladesh for a celebration programme that was organized to mark the tenth year of Bangla Wikipedia, a great motivation for Bangla Wikipedia community. In his keynote, Jimmy said that according to the article depth, Bangla Wikipedia is rated quite well. It may also be noted that Bangla Wikipedians from Kolkata, India arranged a similar event, and both of the events were attended by Wikipedians from both sides.

Reach the community

Nahid Sultan & Nurunnaby Chowdhury (Hasive)
Administrators, Bangla Wikipedia

by Nahid Sultan and Nurunnaby Chowdhury at November 14, 2015 12:39 AM

November 13, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

How can you write an open access encyclopedia in a closed access world?

Outside view
This blog post was written by an individual who is not affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation. The views are the author’s alone and are not necessarily held by the Foundation or the Wikimedia community.

Open Access logo PLoS white.svg
Photo by PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, and JakobVoss, freely licensed under CC0 1.0.

I was glad to join a panel discussion organized by Pete Forsyth of Wiki Strategies last week at the Wikimedia Foundation, which was inspired by a debate between Michael Eisen, a founding member of the Open Access (OA) publishing movement and leading OA journal PLOS, and Jake Orlowitz, Head of The Wikipedia Library. Below is an elaboration of many of the points I was glad to insert into this conversation.

Collaborators not competitors

I have been delighted to see Jake and others find ways for the Wikimedia Foundation to provide the Wikimedia community access to otherwise restricted content. Back in 2010, Credo Reference was the first paywalled resource to provide Wikipedians with free access to our content (an online aggregation of subject encyclopedias). Our motivations were entirely to create good public relations. Our lead investor, Bela Hatvany (founder of two library companies, CLSI and Silverplatter) was fond of the expression, “A competitor is just someone you’ve not learned how to collaborate with yet.” In his view, one of the principle objectives of a company should be to add value to their customers’ world.

So, while Wikipedia, in some people’s eyes, would be seen as our competitor (and one which had by all measures ‘won the battle’ for the attention of users in need of online reference), I have always thought that they were an important player in the lives of our customers and their users, and that we should find ways to collaborate with them. We did not expect any quid pro quo regarding citations from Wikipedia to Credo Reference, though we did occasionally look at whether there was any growth in such references. It was also important, to my way of thinking, to realize that when you consider any group of Wikipedia editors, you don’t really know who they might be in their non-Wikipedian lives. The 400 prolific editors we provided access to were people that are passionate about creating good encyclopedia entries for the benefit of all. Having such people think well of Credo was valuable even if we never knew who they were.

Critical trade-offs

Michael Eisen raised a key point in the forum: whether or not primarily closed-access publisher Elsevier would gain more from their donation of access than Wikipedia would. I think Elsevier’s goals in this arrangement are entirely public-relations benefits. It allows them to assert their support for openness. They, too, want scientists to think well of them. They even have open access journals that they want to promote. I don’t think the bits of traffic they might get from this arrangement would have entered into their calculations at all. And certainly, as Eisen asserted, it does not represent any potential loss of revenue that might have come from those 45 Wikipedians.

For Wikipedia, content and links should be driven by what best serves their users. Anything that increases Wikipedians’ access to paywalled material is, in my opinion, a positive. Another Wikipedia Library program has been to encourage libraries to designate selected Wikipedians as “Visiting Scholars” who can thereby be given access to paywalled content within those libraries (including Elsevier’s ScienceDirect database). Having access to resources without a blind-spot hiding paywalled content from their view should improve Wikipedia entries: access to that literature can increase an editor’s understanding of a field even if they don’t cite that literature. Personally I think that there are certain paywalled sources which should be cited in a good encyclopedia entry so that the user is aware of them and can assess the reliability of claims in the Wikipedia article.

Michael Eisen also raised an interesting point about cases where reliable sources for a particular assertion in an article are “fungible” and could equally be supported by a comparable open resource. Jay Jordan, former CEO of OCLC, was fond of saying “Discovery Without Delivery is a Disservice to Users.” This is a good principle: unless there is a compelling reason to back up assertions by a paywalled source, an equally reliable open source should be used. Providing references to sources which all readers can access is simply a better user experience.

However, Michael’s suggestion that Elsevier will gain materially from links to sources in ScienceDirect is, in my opinion, not only wrong, but runs the risk of taking our eyes off what I think the battle for open access can best be served by at this point.

The bigger problem

The paywalled business model for scholarly communication was first made clear to me by Jan Velterop at a conference back in 1998 when he was managing director of Academic Press and I was president of SilverPlatter. He said, “Each and every scholarly article is its own little monopoly.” It has stuck with me ever since and is the core problem which both the Gold and Green paths to Open Access address (Gold meaning an OA journal; Green meaning an OA repository). Elsevier does not need traffic from Wikipedia to shore up their paywalled products. The paywalled business model succeeds by exploiting monopoly control of a sufficient portion of scholarly articles to allow the owners of such products to set whatever prices they want. The vast majority of their customers simply have to pay. The buyer has almost no market power or legitimate alternatives.

The Open Access world has made enormous strides in addressing this problem. I salute those achievements—they represent significant progress on the economics of academic publishing. But what is the current state of those economics? I was reminded of it, viscerally, just this week. I was having dinner with a Chief Librarian at a major research university. His university back in 2004 had an annual subscription budget of $8 million. This year the price for that same set of subscriptions—without any substantive increase in the number of journals—is $14.4 million. This is an average annual price increase of 5.5%, more than double the inflation rate in those years.

Gold OA publishers (now about 13% of all scholarly journals) are completely open upon publication. Publishers like PLOS provide a clear and successful “existence proof” that a non-monopoly publishing system for academic research can work. In fact most paywalled publishers, perhaps to hedge their bets or to compete with PLoS, are now offering their own Open Access journals.

But at the same time, there’s a real lag in adoption of the Green path by which scholars open up a version of an article so that it’s accessible to all even though it was published in a paywalled journal. 78% of scholarly publishers worldwide give some form of blanket permission for authors to archive a version of their articles in an accessible place, and even the 22% that don’t can be pressured to allow such archiving.

Both Green and Gold depend on the understanding that scholars have of the issues: Green so that they archive papers they’ve already written or continue to submit to paywalled journals, and Gold so they know that they have excellent choices of where to publish and can reasonably choose Gold OA publishers in the future.

Influencing and educating researchers, one at a time

It is said that there are three times you can capture the attention of an academic researcher:

  • When they are trying to get a paper published
  • When they are trying to show to others (e.g. tenure committees, colleagues, in-laws) that their work is influential
  • When someone important to them recognizes their work (e.g. cites or comments about it).

There is an opportunity here for both Gold Open Access publishers and Wikipedia. Reference sections in your articles are lists of important experts in their fields. Each of these citations are an opportunity to educate an expert about the opportunity for openness. So both Gold OA publishers and Wikipedia have an asset which they can deploy in an effort to educate scholars about Open Access.

For OA publishers, the cited sources of articles you are about to publish were written by experts in your field of publication. That’s why they’re being referenced. You have advanced news that they are about to be referenced. This is sufficiently newsworthy that a scholar is likely to open an email leading with this announcement (rather than all the spam they regularly get). You can use this message to make them aware of your new article’s author. If you know their referenced article is not yet open, you could advocate that they deposit it in a repository or an author’s website, even giving them guidance on whom to turn to for help. You can alert them to the benefits of opening up their article (more downloads, more citations). You can advocate that the next time they write an article they might consider your journal.

For Wikipedia, your references to authors are now gaining in importance to them. The Openness agenda could be well served if someone could mine Wikipedia for the most referenced sources which could be opened but are still closed. Imagine a “Leaderboard” which called out the scholars with the most references in Wikipedia which have not been made open.

Coming back to the question of links from Wikipedia to Elsevier sources: I point out that such links are, yes, links to Elsevier. But they are also a connection to scholars, many of whom are in need of education about Open Access. I say, bring on lots of those links (where the sources serve the content need of Wikipedia) and then organize an effort to make those sources open.

Another ally

Another ally in this use of referenced sources is a growing number of university presses. The librarian I spoke to this week is one of the 30% of head librarians who are also responsible for their university’s press. This means that these presses are right at the point-of-pain where the monopoly pricing practices of paywalled scholarly publishing hit the university. This year when my librarian friend went to get his budget increased to cover the $800K price increases from subscription journals, the president of the university said he’d have to present this increase request to the faculty senate so that the faculty would know (for the first time apparently) the costly impact of the scholarly publishing system on the budget of the university. The university press was included in that budget presentation to provide an educational piece on Open Access. These university presses, like the Gold OA publishers, have a decided self-interest in converting scholars one-by-one to the open access business model. Some are now running scholarly publishing offices that, among other things, work with researchers to assess their prior publications and find opportunities to open up articles they’ve authored.

If these three groups—Gold Open Access publishers, Wikipedians, and University Presses—can actively seek out ways to motivate individual scholars regarding archiving and publishing, then 10 years from now the librarian I met with this week will be able to go to the faculty senate and report on year-on-year savings rather than asking for huge budget increases due to monopoly-based price increases. Let’s find ways to assess accessibility of references, build tools that can automate the process of finding and pinging authors of important paywalled sources, and transform the economics of scholarly publishing to the benefit of science and scholarship.

John G. Dove, Consultant, Paloma & Associates

by John G. Dove at November 13, 2015 07:27 PM

Wikimedia Highlights, October 2015

Wikimedia Highlights, October 2015 lead image.jpg

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

Wikipedia’s global impact recognized with Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award ceremony

Princess of Asturias awards 2015 - Wikimedia España members, Wikipedia editors and representatives.jpg
Princess of Asturias prizes 2015 – Wikimedia España members, Wikipedia editors and representatives. Photo by Ruben Ortega, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

On Friday, October 23, Wikipedia was formally presented with the highly esteemed Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, honoring the Wikimedia movement vision of allowing everyone, everywhere to freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales accepted the award on behalf of Wikipedia at the Princess of Asturias Foundation ceremony in Oviedo, Spain, presided over by the King and Queen of Spain. Jimmy was joined by Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, Patricio Lorente, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikimedians Ravan Jaafar Altaie of Iraq, Lourdes Cardenal of Spain, and Jeevan Jose of India.

Creating change one step at a time: Miguel Zuñiga Gonzalez

Miguel Zúñiga González-2.jpg
Miguel Zuñiga Gonzalez first started as a Wikipedia volunteer in 2006. Today, Gonzalez combines this passion with his love of teaching, and works with university students on improving Wikipedia’s coverage of medicine. Photograph by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Miguel Zuñiga Gonzalez is an architect, a university teacher, and a Wikipedia volunteer. A native of Mexico City, Gonzalez sat down with us during the 2015 Wikimania conference held in the Mexican capital to briefly discuss his work with medical students on the Spanish-language Wikipedia, and share his views on Wikipedia’s current concerns and its future chances.

One concern Miguel has is the lack of involvement of the general population with the project. However, Gonzalez sees the possibility of change in the younger generations. “Young people are more inclined to share their knowledge with the world. Students, actually, get very motivated when they publish their work on Wikipedia as part of a paper. For them, it’s a challenge. Telling them that it will be for the whole world to review gives them even more of a reward.”

There are advantages to this approach. “When students do research for their articles, they find practical uses from what they’re learning at the moment, such as the ability to search scientific databases,” says Miguel. “When a reference is properly used, it also gives them a chance to expand their knowledge. When they improve things even a little bit, by adding five or six references to an article, they make a big contribution by ensuring everything is reviewed.”

Your October milestones include Wikidata’s 15 millionth item

Wikidata Birthday Cake First Cut.jpg
Wikidata hit 15 million items this month, not long before its third birthday celebrations in Berlin. Photo by Jason Krüger, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

While the English Wikipedia’s 5 million article milestone just missed the cut, several other Wikimedia projects celebrated milestones of their own in the month of October.

On October 27, Wikidata hit 15 million items—and two days later celebrated its third birthday, with celebrations in Berlin. It’s now the third most-active Wikimedia project behind the English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, with around 5,900 active users in June 2015.

Several language editions of Wikipedia crossed major article milestones—on October 12, the Georgian Wikipedia became the 54th project to reach 100,000 articles, and on the 29th, the Azerbaijani Wikipedia joined them in that club as the 55th.

Early in the month, the Catalan Wiktionary hit the 150,000 entry milestone, while the Hungarian Wiktionary reached 300,000 entries towards the end of October—only the 18th Wiktionary to reach this particular milestone.

Bots again played a role in growing some of the smaller Wikimedia projects this month, with the Min Nan Wikipedia growing by ten thousand articles in just eight days.

District court grants government’s motion to dismiss Wikimedia v. NSA, appeal expected

Stop surveillance poster.jpg
Spread the word about inappropriate surveillance. Art by Rich Black, CC BY 3.0.

On October 23, 2015, a federal district court granted the government’s motion to dismiss Wikimedia v. NSA, the Foundation’s lawsuit challenging the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) use of “Upstream” mass surveillance.

Unfortunately, the court did not actually rule on whether the NSA’s upstream surveillance is legal or illegal. Judge T.S. Ellis III, the presiding judge, dismissed the case on standing grounds. The court held that the Foundation’s complaint did not plausibly allege that the NSA was monitoring the Foundation or other plaintiffs’ communications. Additionally, the court referenced the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International, although, in the Foundations opinion, the facts before the court were dramatically different from the ones that were before the Supreme Court in Amnesty.

The Wikimedia Foundation respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision to dismiss. The Foundation believes that our claims have merit. In consultation with the Foundation’s lawyers at the ACLU, the foundation will review the decision and expect to appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Wikimedia Foundation would like to thank our skilled and dedicated pro bono counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Cooley, LLP for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the Wikimedia movement.

Making Chinese Wikipedia more ethnologically diverse

2010 07 14820 5420 Amis Folk Center Art of Taiwan Cobblestones Taiwan.JPG
Wikimedia Taiwan collaborated with National Cheng-Chi University to improve the Chinese Wikipedia’s coverage of ethnology. Photo by Lord Koxinga, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

Students in Taiwan are making the Chinese Wikipedia more ethnologically diverse though a collaborative program with Wikimedia Taiwan, an affiliate organization of the Wikimedia movement, and National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taipei.

The students learned how to edit through a lecture at the beginning of the course. Students edited the ethnological content in their own sandboxes and had oral presentations to outline their articles and share their progress. Students were allowed to use translated information from the English Wikipedia but had to improve it to meet academic standards.

In short, readers of the Chinese Wikipedia now have 40 new articles on ethnic minorities to learn from, ranging from the Flemish (en), Mongo (en), and Bemba (en) peoples.

You can read more about this project.

Andrew ShermanDigital Communications InternWikimedia Foundation

Photo Montage: “Wikidata Birthday Cake First Cut” by Jason Krüger, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.; “Miguel Zúñiga González-2” by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.; “Stop surveillance poster” by Rich Black, CC BY 3.0.; “Princess of Asturias awards 2015 – Wikimedia España members, Wikipedia editors and representatives” by Ruben Ortega, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.; “2010 07 14820 5420 Amis Folk Center Art of Taiwan Cobblestones Taiwan” by Lord Koxinga, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.; Collage by Andrew Sherman.

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

by Andrew Sherman at November 13, 2015 07:26 PM

Content Translation helped create 30,000 new Wikipedia articles this year

Content Translation helps volunteers translate articles between different-language Wikipedias. Screenshot from “Content Translation Screencast” video. Screencast by Pau Giner, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Weekly article creation, deletion and in-progress trends for Content Translation for the English Wikipedia. Photo by Runa, freely licensed under CC0 1.0.

The number of articles created with the Content Translation tool recently crossed the 30,000 mark.[1] This tool is being used by more than 7000 editors to translate Wikipedia articles into many languages.

As per our recent observations, on average more than 1000 new articles are created each week using Content Translation. The number of articles deleted, as part of the normal article review process, comes to around 7% per week. Compared to new articles created using usual editing tools, this figure is considerably low. As the tool is designed to create a good article by reusing existing content (in another language), this is an encouraging outcome and confirms the assumption that the initial translated version is significantly better in terms of content quality to merit retention.

Challenges about content syntax and improvement

Ever since the tool was first deployed as a beta feature in January 2015, the development team has made an active attempt to monitor the articles being created and examine how well do they fit into the respective wikis, primarily in terms of their internal structure and code—categories, links, templates, footnotes, general wiki syntax handling, and so on. Content Translation, by its inherent nature, is transforming text between diverse Wikipedia projects and this can lead to some issues caused by the differences between the projects in the use of templates, references and markup.

As the article creation and deletion statistics demonstrate, general observation is that the new articles appear to fit well. However, the wiki syntax’s cleanliness is a considerable challenge and new issues are being uncovered through regular use of the tool. Over the year we fixed numerous bugs in the handling of categories, templates and footnotes. While we have fixed many of these bugs already, we know that many still remain. We are thankful to the editors who report bugs in this area and help us understand and fix them.

Improvements to machine translation

Machine Translation improvements have been a recurring request from many users of Content Translation ever since the tool was made available. Until recently, Apertium was the only MT service that was available for Content Translation. Since 4 November 2015, however, Yandex machine translation service has been available for users of the Russian Wikipedia—where Content Translation is especially popular—and can be used when translating Wikipedia pages from English to Russian using Content Translation (see the announcement).

The translation service will be accessible via a freely available API, and the translated content returned by the service is freely licensed according to Wikipedia policy for use in Wikipedia articles. As the interaction between Content Translation and the translation service happens on the server side, no personal information from the user’s device is sent to Yandex. The translated content can be modified by users, just like usual content on wiki pages. The information about the modifications is also available publicly under a free license through the Content Translation API for anyone to develop and improve translation services (from University research groups, open source projects to commercial companies, anyone!). More information about this translation service is available on Mediawiki and in the Content Translation FAQ. For more details about the interactions between Content Translation and Yandex translation service, please see this image.

Enhancements have also been made to the Apertium machine translation service. As a result of recent changes, eight new language pairs are now covered by Apertium. These are, alongside the complete list:

  • Arabic – Maltese (both directions)
  • Breton – French
  • Catalan – Esperanto
  • French – Esperanto
  • Romanian – Spanish
  • Spanish – Esperanto
  • Spanish – Italian (both directions)
  • Swedish – Icelandic (both directions)

Upcoming plans and office hour

In our last update, we informed our readers about article suggestion that provides users a list of articles that can be translated for a certain language. Sometime soon, it will be possible for users to create collections that can be used for translathons or similar shared editing activity. If you have participated in such an event or organized one that involved article creation through translations, we would like to learn from you (via this form) more details about how Content Translation’s article lists can support this activity.

Please join us for the next online office hour on 25 November 2015 at 1300 GMT. We welcome your comments and feedback on the Content Translation project talk page and Phabricator.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Amir Aharoni, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by Runa Bhattacharjee and Amir E. Aharoni at November 13, 2015 07:26 PM

November 12, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikipedia Town and Wikipedia ARTS in Kyoto

Outside view
This blog post was written by a member of the Wikimedia community and not by an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation. The views expressed are the author’s alone and are not necessarily held by the Foundation or the community as a whole.

Kyoto’s Wikipedia Town program promotes editing Wikipedia articles on the local community. Photo by Kumiko Korezumi, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The concept of Wikipedia Towns is spreading across Japan—first in Yokohama in February 2013, then in Ina, Mori and Kyoto. The first Wikipedia Town was created in Monmouth, UK in 2012, but Japan’s towns have taken an approach different from the original one. In this post, I would like to share practices from Kyoto, where I’ve helped with organizing a series of events.

In Kyoto, Open Data Kyoto Practice Group (ODKP) was established after International Open Data Day Kyoto in February 2014. ODKP hosts Kyoto Town Trail Open Datathon approximately every two months. We organize a town trail, followed by two kinds of editathons—Wikipedia Town and OpenStreetMap mapping parties. OpenStreetMap, established in 2004 in the UK and sometimes explained as the map version of Wikipedia, is a free map that anyone can edit. Participants can choose to edit either Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap to share local information.

During the town trail, participants are given lectures by local volunteer guides. They learn the local history, discover interesting things that they would want to write about. However, you cannot just add to Wikipedia articles what you have learned and discovered—participants would therefore go to a library to find sources, and then edit articles and add references. Experienced Wikipedians are ready to explain Wikipedia’s relevant editing guidelines on-site.

Among the ODKP members organizing regular events are experienced Wikipedians and OpenStreetMap mappers, people involved in the promotion of open data, and those involved in local activities and IT experts. I participate the group as a librarian, preparing sources on topics worthy of articles, giving lectures on how to find local sources and serving as a reference librarian on-site. Public libraries collect reference works about the region and thus a best place for a Wikipedia Town. Kyoto Prefectural Library has hosted three editions of Kyoto Town Trail Open Datathon. As the first edition this year, it took place in Fujimori Jinja on September 13th, focusing onto Fushimi, a neighborhood in Kyoto. In that occasion, Kyoto City Library provided us with a lot of books about the local community.

Wikipedia Town helps people find local information and edit Wikipedia articles—and those are the people who used to be merely readers of Wikipedia. Many of them enjoy expressing ideas to the world. Every one of them enjoys working in their own roles: People enjoy working on the same articles as a team, helping each other. Some may not be good at using computers, but other participants can jump in to help uploading their photographs taken during the trail to Wikimedia Commons. Others discuss how to make the content better. It also helps promoting the region because the articles they produce will be new local and tourism assets.

In April, we hosted a new event called Wikipedia ARTS. During Parasophia 2015, or Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015, participants enjoyed modern arts exhibited at Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, and walked across the street to Kyoto Prefectural Library where they edited the Wikipedia articles on the artists they found in the exhibition. In this way, people can find their favorite artists while appreciating the exhibition, study about them at the library using the resources available there, and edit Wikipedia articles—I believe it is an accessible and insightful way to appreciate modern arts.

Wikipedia Town allows people from various backgrounds to get together, study regional topics and edit articles, through collaborative discussions. It also prompts people to meet each other, rediscover what they love about their towns, exchange ideas and create something new. With Wikipedia, people can produce things that can be used freely by people around the world—we would like to make the best use of this advantage and continue hosting attractive events.

Kumiko Korezumi, Librarian, Kyoto Prefectural Library

by Kumiko Korezumi at November 12, 2015 08:24 PM

November 10, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

News on Wikipedia: Editors document Kansas City Royals’ World Series win

The Royals celebrate after winning the 2015 #WorldSeries.
The World Series was first played in 1903; this year’s contest was the 111th time it has been played. Photo by Arturo Pardavila III, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0

Yesterday, the Kansas City Royals defeated the New York Mets in the 111th annual World Series, Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven championship series. It is the most prestigious competition on the baseball calendar in the United States, and attracted capacity crowds throughout all of its five games as the Royals emerged 4–1 victors—their first World Series title in thirty years.

The Royals qualified as the winners of the American League, while the Mets took their place thanks to winning the National League. The Mets beat the Chicago Cubs to win the right to play in the World Series—upsetting many fans of Back to the Future II, the 1989 film that predicted the Cubs would win the whole thing in 2015. It also disappointed Cubs fans that hoped their team would break through and appear in their first World Series since 1945 and win for the first time since 1908.

Wikipedia’s article on the 2015 World Series was viewed almost 44,000 times on the day of the final, and ultimately deciding, game at Citi Field in New York City. The Royals’ starting pitcher was Edinson Volquez, whose father had died days earlier. He gave up two runs to the Mets, but the Royals scored two runs of their own in the nominal final inning to tie the game. In extra innings, they scored a crucial five additional runs to cement their victory in the game and series.

They are the first team in over two decades to win a World Series after losing in the previous year’s World Series.

The Most Valuable Player, an award given to the best player from either side, went to the Royals’ catcher Salvador Pérez. Pérez is a three-time MLB All-Star who had a .364 batting average during the series—including two important hits in the final game—and directed the Royals’ pitching staff through all five games.

Edits made per hour to the “2015 World Series” article throughout the World Series itself. Photo by Joe Sutherland, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Among the four WikiProjects covering the article was WikiProject Baseball, a task force with more than 63,000 articles under its jurisdiction. 268 of these articles are classed as “featured”, the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an article by the community.

The article itself has been edited almost 1,200 times since its creation; as with those on most current sporting events, the vast majority of these were made during the event itself. 818 edits were made during the World Series (between October 27 and November 3, in UTC), almost three quarters of all the edits.

The community also had to contend with vandalism edited into articles related to the World Series finalists in their run in to the final. During the Mets’ win in the National League Championship against the LA Dodgers, New York’s Rubén Tejada had his leg accidentally broken by opposing baseman Chase Utley—an incident resulting in vandalism to Utley’s Wikipedia article from anonymous editors. These changes, however, lasted only minutes—they were swiftly reverted by various members of WikiProject Baseball, including EricEnfermero and Dodgers fan Spanneraol.

Other headlines


The aircraft, EI-ETJ, flown during Kogalymavia Flight 9268. Photo by Sergey Korovkin 84, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Kogalymavia Flight 9268, a chartered passenger flight from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt to Pulkovo Airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia, crashed in northern Sinai on October 31. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, with the airline, Metrojet, ruling out a technical fault and suggesting external factors are to blame. It is the deadliest air crash in the history of Russian aviation, killing all 224 on board.
  • The Justice and Development Party of Turkey (AKP), led by Ahmet Davutoğlu, regained its parliamentary majority following a snap general election in the country on November 1. Turnout was high at 85.2 percent, with AKP winning 317 of the 550 available seats; it also received almost half of the total public vote. It means the previous parliament is officially the shortest in the Grand National Assembly’s history at just five months.
  • On November 3, Michelle Payne of New Zealand became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. She and her horse, Prince of Penzance, beat out Max Dynamite—ridden by veteran jockey Frankie Dettori—to win the 155th edition of the annual horse race.
  • A nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, killed 32 people and injured a further 179 on October 30. The fire was thought to be caused by pyrotechnics set off by a heavy metal band playing in the club on the night.
  • On October 29, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was awarded the 2015 Sakharov Prize for his work in defense of freedom of thought and human rights. He is the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals, a forum discussing a number of issues related to religion in his home country. He is currently serving a sentence imposed by a Saudi high court in punishment for several crimes, including apostasy.

Joe Sutherland
Communications Intern
Wikimedia Foundaiton

by Joe Sutherland at November 10, 2015 07:00 PM

November 06, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Your October milestones include Wikidata’s 15 millionth item

Wikidata Birthday Cake First Cut.jpg
Wikidata hit 15 million items this month, not long before its third birthday celebrations in Berlin. Photo by Jason Krüger, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

While the English Wikipedia’s 5 million article milestone just missed the cut, several other Wikimedia projects celebrated milestones of their own in the month of October.

On October 27, Wikidata hit 15 million items—and two days later celebrated its third birthday, with celebrations in Berlin. It’s now the third most-active Wikimedia project behind the English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, with around 5,900 active users in June 2015.

Several language editions of Wikipedia crossed major article milestones—on October 12, the Georgian Wikipedia became the 54th project to reach 100,000 articles, and on the 29th, the Azerbaijani Wikipedia joined them in that club as the 55th.

Early in the month, the Catalan Wiktionary hit the 150,000 entry milestone, while the Hungarian Wiktionary reached 300,000 entries towards the end of October—only the 18th Wiktionary to reach this particular milestone.

Bots again played a role in growing some of the smaller Wikimedia projects this month, with the Min Nan Wikipedia growing by ten thousand articles in just eight days.

Other selected milestones

October 3
The Catalan Wiktionary has reached 150,000 entries.
The Serbian Wiktionary has reached 40,000 entries, as a bot has added over 5,000 entries in the last 24 hours.

The Maithili Wikipedia has reached 1,000 articles.

The Oriya Wikipedia has reached 10,000 articles.

The Tamil Wikipedia has reached 70,000 articles.
The Min Nan Wikipedia has reached 50,000 articles.[1]

The Hindi Wikibooks has reached 200 book modules.

The Alemannic Wikipedia has reached 20,000 articles.
The Georgian Wikipedia has reached 100,000 articles.

The Min Nan Wikipedia has reached 60,000 articles.[1]

The Asturian Wikipedia has reached 30,000 articles.
The Emilian-Romagnol Wikipedia has reached 5,000 articles.

The Japanese Wikisource has reached 5,000 text units.

The Sardinian Wikipedia has reached 5,000 articles.
The Croatian Wiktionary has reached 30,000 entries.

The Hungarian Wiktionary has reached 300,000 entries.
Wikidata has reached 15,000,000 items.

The Azerbaijani Wikipedia has reached 100,000 articles.

Joe Sutherland
Communications intern
Wikimedia Foundation


  1. a b This is primarily due to bot activity.

by Joe Sutherland at November 06, 2015 06:39 PM

November 05, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Doteli Wikipedia makes significant progress

Ramesh Singh Bohara.jpg
Ramesh Singh Bohara. Photo by Janak Bhatta, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Little over a year back, three Wikipedians from Nepal (Janak Bhatta, Ram Prasad Joshi and Ramesh Singh Bohara) resolved to start a Doteli Wikipedia for a language of about 800,000 speakers in the Far Western and Mid-western regions of Nepal. It is also spoken in northern part of the India, especially in Kumaon, with the Kumaoni language being very similar to Doteli.

A cursory analysis of the Doteli incubator project reveals that it now has over 1000 articles, thus meeting one of the perquisite threshold norms for starting any Wikipedia. There are eight active editors, and the project has more than 3600 revisions. The Request for Doteli Wikipedia Project has received wide support on Meta. Further, support for Doteli language was also added on Translatewiki. As the project steadily progresses from its testing stage to a maturing stage, we interviewed some of the active Doteli Wikipedians—including Bhatta and Joshi, along with Biplab Anand. Anand played a key role in creating the Maithili Wikipedia project from its start in the incubator.

According to Joshi, the Doteli Wikipedia has tremendous potential of attracting a growing community of users, as there is a large population of Doteli speakers in both Nepal and India. He particularly quoted some of the Doteli-speaking active users of the Hindi Wikipedia who could help in furthering the growth of Doteli Wikipedia. Bhatta is optimistic about getting the support from academic circles in Nepal as well as in Kumaon division of India.

From left – Janak Bhatta and Ram Prasad Joshi. Photo by by Janak Bhatta, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

They are planning to promote and popularize the new Wikipedia through FM radio, educational institutions, and newspapers like Chinari and Om Sri, in additional to websites and blogs. FM radio stations in particular are playing an active and important role in promoting the Doteli language, culture, heritage, and mass communication.

At the present time, the Doteli Wikipedia attracts mainly articles on areas such as geography, biographies, culture and history, although the users are aiming to include articles on many other topics as well. Many festivals specific to the Far-Western region have been effectively showcased in the incubator project, including Bisu praba, Olke sankranti, Budhi polne praba, Gaura praba and Maghesankranti. The project also gives a vivid account of some of places of tourist interest such as Mount Api, Shaipal, Khaptad, Badimalika, Ramaroshan lake, Ghodaghodi Lake, Patal bhumeshwor, and the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.

On the Doteli Wikipedia’s future plans, Bhatta emphasized that during the first year of this incubator project, the main focus was individual content contribution and evolving a small but dedicated group of editors. But as time progresses, he hopes to start different strategies of attracting more editors, like telephone conversations, online chatting, outreach events, informal meetings, education programmes, online blogging, and social media. The Doteli Wikipedia Facebook group is currently administered by Bohara, has a membership of more than 1100, and aims to promote Doteli Wikipedia along with various other facets of Doteli language and culture.

Joshi favours popularizing the “incubator project concept” so that users can easily find their native incubator Wikipedia and be part of the project, as is the current case with Doteli. On the other hand, Biplab favors a collaborative effort where users of one Wikimedia project could proactively work for another emerging project. Thus, the respondents are highly optimistic of getting the project out of incubator and ensuring its growth and development in the near future.

Syed Muzammiluddin

by Syed Muzammiluddin at November 05, 2015 12:19 AM

November 04, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, October 2015

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 5 • Issue: 10 • October 2015 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Student attitudes towards Wikipedia; Jesus, Napoleon and Obama top “Wikipedia social network”; featured article editing patterns in 12 languages

With contributions by: Jonathan Morgan, Morten Warncke-Wang, Piotr Konieczny, and Tilman Bayer

Students value Wikipedia both for quick answers and for detailed explorations

Reviewed by Jonathan Morgan

This paper[1] reports findings from a survey of Norwegian secondary school students about their use of Wikipedia in the context of their coursework. The survey of 168 students between the ages of 18 and 19 consisted of 33 Likert scale questions and two free response questions. The goal was to assess how Wikipedia figured into students’ literacy practices, a concept that encompasses students’ and teachers’ attitudes towards the resources they use to learn and the social context in which they engage with those resources, as well as the process by which they read, remember, and understand the information provided by each resource.

The main finding of the study is that students’ attitudes towards Wikipedia are overwhelmingly positive, but they find the information presented in Wikipedia less trustworthy than their official course materials. Although 90% of respondents rated their textbooks as more trustworthy, they cited the ease of finding factual information (such as dates, names, etc) as a key reason for preferring Wikipedia. They also reported that Wikipedia was better than their textbooks at explaining the “big picture” of a given topic, as well as facilitating more in-depth exploration. In the words of one survey respondent: “If you need to, you can read elaborations about a given topic, or you can just read the summary if that is what you need.”

These findings suggest that the primary advantage that Wikipedia offers to students is its flexibility: it allows students to find quick answers and more detailed accounts with equal ease. The findings also suggest that both students and teachers would benefit from a better understanding of how to critically evaluate the quality of information presented in Wikipedia and other open online information resources.

The study also confirmed findings from previous studies: that the vast majority of students use Wikipedia to supplement their official course resources (textbooks, etc), that most of them access Wikipedia via Google search, and that English-speaking students tend to seek information on the English-language Wikipedia first, regardless of their first language or national origin.

Jesus, Napoleon, and Obama top the “Wikipedia social network”

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny

A (conference?) paper titled “Beyond Friendships and Followers: The Wikipedia Social Network”[2] applies social network theory to the analysis of relationship between subjects of Wikipedia biographical articles. Using Wikidata and Wikipedia metadata, the authors produce a number of findings. Some of them will not be unexpected to readers, such as that “By far the largest occupational groups are politicians and football players”, or “The page with the most mentions of persons is Rosters of the top basketball teams in European club competitions” (with 4,694 mentions of 1,761 different persons). The most referenced persons are Jesus and Napoleon, followed by Barack Obama, Muhammad, Shakespeare, Adolf Hitler, and George W. Bush. Over four fifths of the links in Wikipedia are to male persons, which roughly reflects the gender distribution of Wikipedia biographies; a similar distribution confirms that most of the biographies focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. The authors, however, do not dwell on the social science implications of their findings, but merely suggest that their tool can be used to refine Wikipedia categories and disambiguation tools. The findings are interesting from the perspective of alternate approaches to categorization, as it may suggest possible new categories that haven’t yet been created by human editors, and perhaps provides a mathematical model of how Wikipedia categories can be created.

“Exploration of Online Culture Through Network Analysis of Wikipedia”

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny

This paper[3] also uses social network theory, as well as the Hofstede‘s cultural dimensions theory, Schwartz‘s Theory of Basic Human Values, and McCrae‘s Five factor model of personality to ask research questions about the concept of online culture; in particular whether it is universal or differs for various national cultures. It focused on 72 Featured Articles in 12 languages (unfortunately, the authors do not explain any reasons for choosing those particular 12 languages over the others); discounting bots, the authors analyzed more than 150,000 editors and 250,000 edits. The authors find that most Wikipedia edits are what they call self-loops, or individual editors making edits to the same articles they have edited before, without their editing being interrupted by edits by another editor. They fail to make any comment on what that really means for the vision of Wikipedia as a collaborative environment. The authors find significant differences in editing patterns between certain Wikipedia projects, though this reviewer finds the description of said differences (focusing on a case study of one Japanese and one Russian article) rather curt. Similarly, their discussion of how the results fit (or don’t) with the established theories of Hofstede and others is interesting, but rather short; that unsatisfying brevity may however be due to editorial requirements (the entire paper is only 3.5k words long, instead of the more common average of about 8k). The authors conclude that “new dimensions of online culture can be explored from directly observed online behavior”, something that one hopes they’ll revisit themselves, together with their dataset, in a longer paper that will do proper justice to it.


Vandalism detection research neglects smaller languages

Reviewed by Morten Warncke-Wang

A paper at the 19th International Conference on Circuits, Systems, Communications and Computers (CSCC)[4] provides an overview of research on vandalism detection in Wikipedia, with a focus on the usage of machine learning. One of the paper’s conclusions is that future research should aim for language-independency, as little progress has been made outside of the English, German, French, and Spanish Wikipedia editions.

Automatic quality assessment using the “collaboration network”

Reviewed by Morten Warncke-Wang

“Measuring Article Quality in Wikipedia Using the Collaboration Network”[5] is a paper that proposes an improved model of co-authorship to be used in predicting the quality of Wikipedia articles. Trained on a stratified sample of articles from the English Wikipedia, it is shown to outperform several baselines. Unfortunately, the dataset used for evaluation omits Start-class articles for no apparent reason, and used the latest revision of an article, which might differ considerably from when an article received its quality rating.

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.


Mean amount of content added per edit, per editor’s experience level (illustration from “607 Journalists”)

  • “607 Journalists: An evaluation of Wikipedia’s response to and coverage of breaking news and current events[6] See also blog post
  • “Wiki is not paper: Fixing and breaking the ‘news’ on Wikipedia”[7] From the abstract: “The case studies include the “Barack Obama” article, which is used to investigate the establishment and maintenance of the “fact” that Obama is described as an ‘African American,’ despite his mixed-race heritage. … The second case study uses the article on the 2008 war in the Georgian province of South Ossetia to investigate the transnational and transcultural pitfalls of ‘bias’ in the writing of a ‘neutral’ article. The final case examines the decision to publish controversial material by examining the article on the 2006 Muhammad cartoons controversy. This article was crucial on Wikipedia in establishing the protocol in publishing such images.”
  • “User interaction with community processes in online communities”[8] From the abstract: “We find that articles that are deleted from Wikipedia differ from those that are not in many significant ways. We also find, however, that most deleted articles are deleted extremely hastily, often before they have time to develop. We use our data to create a model that can predict with high precision whether or not an article will be deleted. … We propose to deploy a system utilizing this model on Wikipedia as a set of decision-support tools to help article creators evaluate and improve their articles before posting. … English Wikipedia’s Articles for Creation provides a protected space for drafting new articles, which are reviewed against minimum quality guidelines before they are published. We explore the possibility that this drafting process, which is intended to improve the success of newcomers, in fact decreases newcomer productivity in English Wikipedia, and offer recommendations for system designers.”
  • “Detecting Vandalism on Wikipedia across Multiple Languages”[9]
More recent publications
  • “Spillovers in Networks of User Generated Content: Pseudo-Experimental Evidence on Wikipedia”[10] From the abstract: “[On the German Wikipedia, the featuring of an article on the main page does] affect neighboring articles substantially: Their viewership increases by almost 70 percent. This, in turn, translates to increased editing activity. Attention is the driving mechanism behind views and short edits. Both outcomes are related to the order of links, while more substantial edits are not.” See also by the same author: “Spillovers in Networks of User Generated Content”
  • “Peer Effects in Collaborative Content Generation: The Evidence from German Wikipedia”[11] From the abstract: “editors who contribute to the same articles and exchange comments on articles’ talk pages work in collaborative manner sometimes discussing their work. They can, therefore, be considered as peers, who are likely to influence each other. In this article, I examine whether peer influence, measured by the average amount of peer contributions or by the number of peers, yields spillovers to the amount of individual contributions.”
  • “Wikipedia Page View Reflects Web Search Trend”[12] (see also datasets, slides) From the abstract: “We found frequently searched keywords to have remarkably high correlations with Wikipedia page views.”
  • “Wikipedia edition dynamics”[13] From the abstract: “It is argued that the probability to edit is proportional to the editor’s number of previous editions (preferential attachment), to the editor’s fitness and to an ageing factor.” See also by the same authors: “The dynamic nature of conflict in Wikipedia”
  • “Cultural Similarity, Understanding and Affinity on Wikipedia Cuisine Pages”[14] See also “Mining cross-cultural relations from Wikipedia – A study of 31 European food cultures”
  • “The influence of network structures of Wikipedia discussion pages on the efficiency of WikiProjects[15] From the abstract: “The evaluation suggests that an intermediate level of cohesion with a core of influential users dominating network flow improves effectiveness for a WikiProject, and that greater average membership tenure relates to project efficiency in a positive way.”
  • “Technological Nudges and Copyright on Social Media Sites”[16] From the abstract: “Using an adapted taxonomy, this article identifies the technological features on predominant social media sites—Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia—that encourage and constrain users from engaging in generative activities. Notwithstanding the conflicting narrative painted by recent litigation around copyright in relation to content on social media sites, I observe that some of the main technological features on social media sites are designed around copyright considerations.” (However, the paper never mentions that Wikipedia’s content is under a free license.) “In contrast to the other social media sites, I note that Wikipedia does not allow its users to comment on content; hence there is little room for this alternative form of modification.”
  • “The WikEd Error Corpus: A Corpus of Corrective Wikipedia Edits and Its Application to Grammatical Error Correction”[17]
  • “Students’ use of Wikipedia as an academic resource — Patterns of use and perceptions of usefulness”[18] (survey of 1658 undergraduate students) From the abstract: “87.5% of students report using Wikipedia for their academic work, with 24.0% of these considering it ‘very useful’. Use and perceived usefulness of Wikipedia differs by students’ gender; year of study; cultural background and subject studied. Wikipedia mainly plays an introductory and/or clarificatory role in students information gathering and research.”
  • “Snooping Wikipedia Vandals with MapReduce[19] From the abstract: “[Using] MapReduce … we are able to explore a very large dataset, consisting of over 5 millions articles [actually pages on enwiki, including non-articles] collaboratively edited by 14 millions authors, resulting in over 8 billion pairwise interactions. We represent Wikipedia as a signed network, where positive arcs imply constructive interaction between editors. We then isolate a set of high reputation editors (i.e., nodes having many positive incoming links) and classify the remaining ones based on their interactions with high reputation editors.”
  • “An agent-based model of edit wars in Wikipedia: How and when consensus is reached”[20] From the abstract: “We show that increasing the number of credible or trustworthy agents and agents with a neutral point of view decreases the time taken to reach consensus, whereas the duration is longest when agents with opposing views are in equal proportion.” See also last issue’s review of a different numerical model of edit wars: “More newbies mean more conflict, but extreme tolerance can still achieve eternal peace”


  1. Blikstad-Balas, Marte (2015). ““You get what you need” : A study of students’ attitudes towards using Wikipedia when doing school assignments”. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 3831 (October): 1–15. Closed access
  2. Johanna Geiß, Andreas Spitz, Michael Gertz: Beyond Friendships and Followers: The Wikipedia Social Network PDF
  3. Park Sung Joo, Kim Jong Woo, Lee Hong Joo, Park Hyunjung, Han Deugcheon, and Gloor Peter. Exploration of Online Culture Through Network Analysis of Wikipedia. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, ahead of print. DOI:10.1089/cyber.2014.0638 Closed access
  4. Hamiti, Mentor; Susuri, Arsim; Dika, Agni. “Machine Learning and the Detection of Anomalies in Wikipedia” (PDF). Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Circuits, Systems, Communications and Computers. 
  5. de La Robertie, Baptiste; Pitarch, Yoann; Teste, Olivier. “Measuring Article Quality in Wikipedia Using the Collaboration Network” (PDF). 
  6. Joseph R. B. Sutherland: 607 Journalists: An evaluation of Wikipedia’s response to and coverage of breaking news and current events. Dissertation, Aberdeen Business School – Robert Gordon University, April 2015 PDF
  7. Lyons, J. Michael: Wiki is not paper: Fixing and breaking the “news” on Wikipedia. Dissertation, Indiana University, 2015, 206 pages; [1] Closed access
  8. Gelley, Shoshana Bluma. User interaction with community processes in online communities. Dissertation, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, 2015 [2] Closed access
  9. Khoi-Nguyen Dao Tran: Detecting Vandalism on Wikipedia across Multiple Languages. Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, The Australian National University, May 2015 PDF
  10. Kummer, Michael E. (2014-12-29). Spillovers in Networks of User Generated Content: Pseudo-Experimental Evidence on Wikipedia. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. 
  11. Olga Slivko: Peer Effects in Collaborative Content Generation: The Evidence from German Wikipedia. Discussion Paper No. 14-128, Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW). December 22, 2014, updated March 3, 2015 PDF
  12. Mitsuo Yoshida, Yuki Arase, Takaaki Tsunoda, Mikio Yamamoto. Wikipedia Page View Reflects Web Search Trend. The 2015 ACM Web Science conference (WebSci15). Oxford, UK, June 28 – July 1, 2015. Authors’ copy
  13. Gandica, Y.; F. Sampaio dos Aidos, J. Carvalho (2014-12-30). “Wikipedia edition dynamics”. arXiv:1412.8657 [physics]. 
  14. Paul Laufer: Cultural Similarity, Understanding and Affinity on Wikipedia Cuisine Pages. Master Thesis, TU Graz, August 2014 PDF
  15. Xiangju Qin, Pádraig Cunningham, Michael Salter-Townshend: The influence of network structures of Wikipedia discussion pages on the efficiency of WikiProjects. Social Networks Volume 43, October 2015, Pages 1–15 DOI:10.1016/j.socnet.2015.04.002 Closed access
  16. Tan Ms, Corinne (2015). “Technological Nudges and Copyright on Social Media Sites”. Intellectual Property Quarterly (1): 62–78. 
  17. Grundkiewicz, Roman; Junczys-Dowmunt, Marcin (2014-09-17). “The WikEd Error Corpus: A Corpus of Corrective Wikipedia Edits and Its Application to Grammatical Error Correction”. In Adam Przepiórkowski, Maciej Ogrodniczuk (eds.). Advances in Natural Language Processing. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing. pp. 478–490. ISBN 978-3-319-10888-9.  Closed access
  18. Neil Selwyna, Stephen Gorardb: Students’ use of Wikipedia as an academic resource — Patterns of use and perceptions of usefulness. The Internet and Higher Education, Volume 28, January 2016, Pages 28–34 DOI:10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.08.004 Closed access
  19. Michele Spina, Dario Rossi, Mauro Sozio, Silviu Maniu, Bogdan Cautis: Snooping Wikipedia Vandals with MapReduce. 2015 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), DOI:10.1109/ICC.2015.7248477. PDF (authors’ copy)
  20. Arun Kalyanasundaram, Wei Wei, Kathleen M. Carley, James D. Herbsleb: An agent-based model of edit wars in Wikipedia: How and when consensus is reached. Proceedings of the 2015 Winter Simulation Conference, L. Yilmaz, W. K V. Chan, I. Moon, T. M. K. Roeder, C. Macal, and M. D. Rossetti, eds. PDF.

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 10 • October 2015
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by Tilman Bayer at November 04, 2015 07:59 AM

November 03, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

English Wikipedia surpasses five million articles

Servers holding Wikipedia and related projects. Photo by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

After almost fifteen years of providing the world with collaborative free knowledge, the English Wikipedia today surpassed five million articles.

The milestone was reached with an article on the persoonia terminalis, a shrub of the family Proteaceae native to eastern Australia. It was created by Cas Liber, an Australian editor who has created almost 1,500 articles on the English Wikipedia in his more than 140,000 edits.

Persoonia terminalis joins an exclusive club including Jordanhill railway station, El Hormiguero, Beate Eriksen, and Izbat al-Burj—all previous million-article milestones.

We asked Liber what makes Wikipedia special, and he told us that in a world overflowing with information, “Wikipedia provides an opportunity to make sense of chaos.” Moreover, it serves “a great bridge between information for laypeople and detailed scientific information for enthusiasts and professionals,” educating untold numbers of readers.

The English Wikipedia community has written a crowdsourced statement on the milestone, urging potential editors to help improve the many articles which still need improvement and expansion among the five million now available on the site. It contains a range of resources for new editors, including advice on where to get started, where to get advice from fellow editors, and links to tutorials and guides on how to make that all-important first step towards editing Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is the only website run by a non-profit organisation in the top 35 most popular websites. The total size of Wikipedia is massive, falling just short of 30 terabytes. It’s estimated that articles on Wikipedia use at minimum 18 million references, and comprise more than 2.5 billion words in total; it is the world’s go-to point of reference attracting more than half a billion pageviews every day.

Today, Wikipedia now covers more topics, more perspectives, and more voices than any other knowledge compendium on the planet. It is the longest encyclopedia in world history, surpassing even the 22,937-chapter, 40-cubic-meter Yongle Encyclopedia of 1408. The English Wikipedia alone is authored by millions of volunteers from all over the world—from more than eight million logged-in accounts and an untold number of anonymous editors—who write and share their knowledge on anything and everything, from the meaning of life and natural phenomena, to musicians and villages.

All of it is completely free for anyone in the world to consume, use, and remix.

Wikipedia has grown quickly after its launch on January 15, 2001, and by November of that year, the first iteration of its iconic main page was published. The English Wikipedia’s two-millionth article appeared in 2007, its three-millionth in 2009, and four-millionth in 2012. Our movement’s mission, to provide the world with the sum of all human knowledge, remains constantly in development.

Despite reaching this milestone, the English Wikipedia is still a work in progress, as its own community noted in its five million announcement. One volunteer estimates that the total number of articles needed to cover the entire sum of knowledge is at least over 100 million. At the present time, many of the English Wikipedia’s current articles are short, containing only basic information, and the topic selection is biased towards Western, particularly Anglophone, content. Liber told us that “we still [have] loads to do,” but if this accomplishment inspires people to “edit and look at the world around them, then all the better.”

The community is, however, undertaking initiatives to improve the project’s coverage of marginalized topic areas—such as the women’s scientist project and Wiki Loves Africa.

Here’s to the next five million!

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

As promised, this post has been updated with comments from Cas Liber.

by Ed Erhart and Joe Sutherland at November 03, 2015 07:02 PM

What I Learned: Wiki Photo School in Serbia

Student working on experiments. Photo by Milos Aleksandric, under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.

One of the things that Neda Subakov likes about attending Petnica Science Center (PSC) is the access to professional equipment and people who are engaged in photography, and the relaxed atmosphere during the work. “The photo lab is available 24 hours a day!” she stated.

Students working on shots. Photo by IvanaMadzarevic, under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.

PSC is an autonomous and independent organization engaged in the development of scientific culture, scientific literacy, education and culture. During the year, PSC organizes various workshops and trainings which attract large numbers of high-school students—so one of Wikimedia Serbia’s (WMRS) goals this year was to partner with them. The original idea was to have a first workshop in Petnica that would eventually develop into an ongoing program there.

With this in mind, we planned a Wiki Photo School, a three-day photo school with lectures and workshops organized in Petnica Science Center, for all participants who were interested in training to photograph chemical experiments.

Picture of the workshop in Petnica. Photo by IvanaMadzarevic, under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.

We aimed to generate high-quality multimedia content on Wikimedia Commons around a theme that was not well covered on the project. We would then include it in Wikipedia articles to animate our main target groups, and introduce them to Creative Commons licenses and Wiki projects. These target groups included not only students, but professors and collaborators who can be involved promoting Wikimedia’s mission.

Our rationale for the project started with the people who come to Petnica: they have a similar motivation to many contributors in the Wikimedia movement, in that students don’t get a reward for the classes (attendance is not mandatory, and they do not receive grades). They come simply to learn and improve their skills. We also assumed that educating these target groups on the use of Wikimedia Commons and CC licences was a first step towards further collaborations. We hoped this would bring us many motivated volunteers who could work on Wikipedia or Commons.

Shared lesson: when focusing on increasing content, find a balance between quality and coverage

Participants attended lectures and workshops on photography, WMRS projects, Wikimedia Commons, and CC licences for three days. The idea was for each person to successfully choose a license and upload at least one piece of content of good quality on Commons, and use that content in some other Wikimedia project.

When asked for her opinion on Wiki projects, Neda says she supports them as it can be useful for young people: “At first, I had problems uploading photos on Commons, but I quickly managed that problem with the help of a mentor”, she states. Workshops went great, atmosphere was excellent, participants were highly interested in learning from their lecturers. The most exciting thing for them was using their photo on an article on Wikipedia, not just in Serbian but in other languages as well.

We managed to produce high quality content, measured both by Commons’ “Good Photos” tool, and professional photographers through photo analysis at the photo school itself.

Photo by Kjovana, under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.

Even though we achieved our goal in terms of increasing free content on Wikimedia Commons, we didn’t get as many photos on Commons as we estimated.[1]

Participants were highly invested in quality photography and uploading imperfect photos was not an option for them. Even though an instructor showed them how to edit photos during the workshop and improve their quality, there was no time to edit every photo. We explained that good quality photos are a plus, however it is also true that standard quality photos are better than no photos at all. Despite this, they found that better option would be to upload photos after editing them, but after the workshop ended, follow-up with participants failed.

One of the things we learned is that we need to work on communication with participants via mailing list and social network groups: send them reminders, brochures with instructions on how to edit (in case they forgot the rules), call them to events (like exhibitions, photo-tours, edit-a-thons), organize some of the activities in their town, are few key messages that might be effective. At the workshop in Petnica, we realized a good motivating action would be to have participants choose best photos, print them and open a small exhibit to present the result of the project. When asked what he would change, Miloš Aleksandrić, a participant of the acitivity, mentioned he would change the advertisement of the activity, to involve more actors in education. He also thought Wiki Photo School could take several days, to have more time for all activities.

Where do we go from here?

In annual plan for 2016, we won’t continue Wiki Photo School in Petnica. Further cooperations are possible, but we should consider changing motivation factors, and think about different approaches. Generating photo and video materials are always the easiest ways to animate new volunteers; however still there are challenges regarding photo and video upload. We also want to consider conducting standard Wikipedia workshops without photo school. It would be more focused on editing rather than uploading content. For annual plan 2016, we have accepted two projects by two instructors at Wiki Photo School. In this sense, even though this activity did not have the outcomes we expected in terms of content quantity, we think this it has been a positive outreach event.

For 2016, the Wiki Photo School also had positive outcomes in terms of outreach efforts: Marija Gajić and Vladimir Pecikoza, two of the instructors and newly converted editors to Wikimedia projects, have each proposed an annual project to Wikimedia Serbia. Named Valjevo Mountains Through the Lens and Wiki Loves Dragonflies, both have been accepted.

When asked why they continue to work on Wiki projects, Gajić said, “it was the Wiki Photo School that inspired me and gave me the idea of how to take something that I do (insects) and get it closer to a large number of people, of different ages and interests.” Gajić has become a very active editor, taking part in Wiki Loves Earth, WikiCamp, and also recently starting the #100wikidays challenge. In this sense, even though this activity did not have the outcomes we expected in terms of content, we believe it has been a positive outreach event.

1. You can see the Global Metrics table for this program here.

You can find this and other shared lessons in Wikimedia Serbia’s progress report.

Ivana Madžarević, Project Manager and Community Support of Wikimedia Serbia.
María Cruz, Communications and Outreach Coordinator for Learning and Evaluation team, Wikimedia Foundation

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

by Ivana Madžarević and María Cruz at November 03, 2015 05:08 PM

Wikimedia Serbia completes a first round of professional development seminars for teachers

Seminar stručnog usavršavanja 3. gimnazija 2-16.JPG
Professional development training, Beograd. Photo by Dungodung, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Тhis September and October, the Academic Board and the Education Program Manager of Wikimedia Serbia have been extraordinarily busy. In addition to regular Education Program activities — which include supporting student editors at 11 secondary schools and 5 universities in 14 faculties on 2 Wikimedia projects — they have organized and facilitated 4 trainings for over 100 teachers in 3 different cities in Serbia.

This Month in Education icon. Logo by Samir Elsharbaty, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

These trainings have been developed for teachers to learn about the use of Wikipedia in the classroom. Since using wiki tools is now a legislated/required component of the national educational curriculum for the second year of secondary school, these seminars are a great opportunity for teachers to get support and knowledge about wiki technologies.

Teachers in Serbia are obligated to attend a certain number of professional development trainings each year. Our seminar is a recognized course option in the official teacher-development training catalogue since the school year 2014/2015, and it is accredited by the State Institute for Improvement of Education.

Professional development training, Ribare, Serbia. Photo by Dungodung, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Significant part of the training is practical. After a brief session of background information on Wikimedia Serbia (with an emphasis on our Education Program) and a session about Wikipedia policies and practices, teachers write new articles or improve last year’s students’ articles.

Participants were teachers from primary and secondary schools from all over Serbia, so training was designed to address their specific needs and experiences.

The atmosphere during the trainings was friendly and supportive and we all left the place with smiling faces. After the first training, we received a poem of thanks from one participant. Our satisfaction in realizing these trainings was even higher after reading participants’ evaluation feedback, in which we received top grades.

Following these successful seminars, the most important task is to support and engage participants to apply their new skills in their classrooms. In order to help them accomplish this and inspire and support each other, we’ve created a special wiki portal for them. We believe that these trainings will help in reaching out to quality partner institutions and teachers for our Education Program. The next planned trainings will take place in January and we are looking forward to them!

Milica Žarković, Education program manager, Wikimedia Serbia

by Milica Žarković at November 03, 2015 05:03 PM

November 01, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

The digest—Wiki Loves Africa roars into its second year; notes in brief

Kisra maker.jpeg
A Sudanese woman demonstrates how to make kisra, a traditional bread or porridge in Sudan and South Sudan. Photo by Mohamed Elfatih Hamadien, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

For many reasons, coverage of African topics on many Wikimedia sites, including the various Wikipedias, lags behind other continents. One project is aiming to change that by encouraging people on the African continent to donate their images, videos, and audio to Wikipedia.

Florence Devouard (Anthere) and Isla Haddow-Flood (Islahaddow) are the organizers of Wiki Loves Africa, a program that uses competitive and thematic aspects to entice individuals to donate to the Wikimedia Commons. “We needed a fun way to show how rich, different, and delicious Africa is beyond the depressing headlines,” they said. They mean “delicious” literally—last year’s theme was cuisine. They were able to obtain over 6000 images from 873 participants in 49 countries, including the stunning photo above of a Sudanese woman making the traditional and popular kisra bread.

Wiki Loves Africa’s theme changes every year to cover a universal, visually rich, and culturally specific topic like markets, rites of passage, festivals, public art, and urbanity. 2015’s iteration focuses on cultural fashions from across the African continent. Florence and Isla note that “entrants can submit media that represents fashion as defined by local cultural influences which can be determined by cloth, styles, ways of wrapping and hanging, etc. This theme also includes adornment like culturally-influenced jewelry, make-up, hairstyles, body markings, cloths and woven materials.”

The contest runs through the end of November, and the top prize is a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Entries are accepted from all over the world as long as they demonstrate some aspect of Africa’s diverse cultural fashions, and you can participate by:

Wiki Loves Africa is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, through a grant of US$22,760, and a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

Find out more

Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood, Wikipedians
Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

In brief:

Steinbock 14962940265.jpg
Third place: the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex), or Steinbock, in an Austrian national park in the Hohe Tauern mountain range. Photo by Bernd Thaller, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Wiki Loves
Earth: The winners of the 2015 Wiki Loves Earth contest have been announced. The third place winner can be seen above.
Monuments: The This Month in GLAM newsletter reports that Italy’s Wiki Loves Monuments was a rousing success: 947 participants who took 12,740 photographs of 5,149 monuments—a generic term used for places of cultural heritage that exist all over the world. These results were obtained in part through cooperating with hundreds of public institutions at the state and local levels. The winning photos from Germany and Pakistan have been published as well.
NSA case dismissed: The Wikimedia Foundation’s (WMF) legal case against the US National Security Agency has been dismissed. The WMF’s legal team wrote in a blog post that they “respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision to dismiss” and “expect to appeal” the decision.
Princess of Asturias: Wikipedia’s global reach was recognized this week by the prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, an honor Wikipedia now shares with luminaries like the World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Lila Tretikov, the WMF’s Executive Director, said that “On Wikipedia, knowledge knows no borders. An image of a butterfly one photographer takes in an Indian forest helps editors around the world write articles on the species in their language, so half a billion people from every corner of the globe will learn about a rare species. This award honors the people that make Wikipedia possible.”
WikiConference USA: The English Wikipedia’s Signpost reported on the major keynote speeches at this year’s annual gathering for US Wikimedians. The article was republished by the US National Archives and Record Administration’s blog.
Wikipedia in education: The German Wikipedia’s Kurier reports on an educational initiative between Wikimedians and the University of Vienna that features a 70/30 female-male ratio.
Wikimedia reports
Quarterly report: The WMF’s report for the first quarter of the 2015–16 fiscal year has been published.
Quarterly reviews: Last quarter’s quarterly reviews of WMF departments have been published. These reviews aim to “ensure accountability and create an opportunity for course corrections and resourcing adjustments in consultation with a team working on a specific Wikimedia Foundation initiative.”
Wiki Ed: The Wiki Education Foundation’s September report has been published. The foundation has 74 instructors this term, the most ever, with 133 courses and over 2000 students.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate, Wikimedia Foundation

Welcome to your new community digest! This is a new weekly feature for the blog, and we would like to invite you to take part. This digest of Wikimedian community news will pull together items from around the globe to provide a venue for your updates and a diverse roundup of events. It aims to emulate and supplement already-existing community news outlets. Contributions are welcome! If your Wikimedia community has a milestone, cool new project, or quirky occurrence, please send me an email or drop a message at my talk page.

by Florence Devouard, Isla Haddow-Flood and Ed Erhart at November 01, 2015 04:58 PM

Article suggestions—a new feature for Content Translation

Content Translation’s new “suggestions” page brings up ideas for articles to translate into your language. Try it out! Screenshot by Runa Bhattacharjee, CC0 1.0/public domain.

Content Translation started off last year as an ambitious experiment to create a convenient way to contribute content to Wikipedia. Translating well-written articles into other languages has been a long-standing practice among Wikipedia editors, but doing so has not always been user-friendly. With this in mind, and supported by studies on content overlap between Wikipedia’s languages, the first versions of the Content Translation tool were made available in phases to all 289 Wikipedias. The tool is still in active development; new features and improvements are being introduced regularly.


While designing Content Translation, we’ve put a major emphasis on making the tool a simple workboard through which users can translate articles. A key element is helping users identify suitable content/articles that can be translated. While multiple methods currently exist, the newest is a list of suggested articles that the user can choose from—see the images that accompany the post.

Presently, this list consists of Wikipedia’s featured articles that are missing in other languages. Suggestions are supported for many of the common language pairs that have been used for translating articles, and we are increasing this list every week. As a large number of articles across all languages have been translated from English—about 60%!—users can always find a list of featured articles from the English Wikipedia that are missing in other languages.

While viewing the suggested article list, users can:

  • select an article and start translating
  • choose to mark it for translation at a later time, or
  • dismiss uninteresting articles from the list displayed to them


Coming soon, you’ll be able to store articles in Content Translation for later. Screenshot by Runa Bhattacharjee, CC0 1.0/public domain.

Article lists and suggestions are the stepping stones for a larger set of features that will foster engagement between the Content Translation tool and its users. In the coming months, users will be able to build collections and lists of articles. We expect these customized lists to be of particular help for topic-based Wikipedia translation events or projects. If you have participated or organized a translation campaign/translathon (or any other event that involved article creation through translations), we would like to hear from you for our research! You can start participating by filling this form.

A few months ago, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Research team started a project to determine personalized suggestions of topics that may be of interest for our editors. While the scope of the project is much larger, Content Translation’s suggestion feature intersects with this project. In future, we expect the personalized article suggestions, as determined by the Research team’s ongoing work, to also be displayed in Content Translation’s article suggestion list.

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions through our project talk page and Phabricator. We are particularly interested to hear more about the article list feature—your experiences and ideas will help us make it better.

Runa Bhattacharjee
Language Engineering
Wikimedia Foundation

by Runa Bhattacharjee at November 01, 2015 04:58 PM

A Wikipedian’s perspective on gender imbalance, harassment, and the way forward

In this post, long-time Wikipedia editor Sydney Poore shares her perspective on the site’s gender imbalance and harassment, along with steps she and other Wikipedians are taking to address them. Photo by Michael Mandiberg, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

In recent years we’ve confronted some challenging issues on Wikipedia. Harassment of women editors, hostility toward addressing editor gender imbalance, and underrepresented groups feeling disconnected from the rest of the community have all been ongoing topics of discussion on Wikimedia projects and in the media.

As a longtime Wikipedia editor, I have experienced these firsthand. But I’ve also been involved in community initiatives to address these issues.

I started editing Wikipedia in 2005 as FloNight, after reading a biography of Florence Nightingale. I was inspired by her remarkable advancements in nursing care during the Crimean War that were directly related to her childhood education in mathematics and statistics. After learning about Wikipedia, I could “imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge,” and I recognized the power that would have in improving health.


Photo by London Student Feminists, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

When I began editing Wikipedia, I identified as a woman on my user page, not only to provide an introduction of myself, but as a proud statement that I was part of a movement that was making the world a better place for women.

During my first year, I realized that I was different from most other editors. I was a middle-aged woman, and most other editors were younger men. And I could see that Wikipedia was lacking content that would be written if the community were more diverse. The gender gap on Wikipedia in both content and number of women editors has since been well documented. Also during the first year, I attracted the unwelcome attention of a misogynistic individual who continued to contact me off of the Wikimedia projects for years.

Being geographically distanced from other editors compounded a feeling of being disconnected from other volunteers, despite becoming an administrator, a member of the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, and various WikiProjects.

Many of my fellow editors have similar stories. Some have even stopped editing. Yet many of us are still here, and take part in the growing number of projects addressing these issues. I believe we are changing Wikipedia for the better, and we need to recognize this progress.

Concerned members of the Wikimedia community around the world have organized around these issues. From WikiProject Women to the WikiWomen User Group, or the Facebook group WikiWomenCollaborative, the community is coming together to find solutions. We’re also making spaces for informed discussions. From WikiWomen’s Camp in Argentina (2012) to the Wikimedia Academy in Israel (2012), and the San Francisco Gender Gap strategy meeting (2013) to the Diversity Conference and Dialogue in Berlin (2014), people of diverse backgrounds recognize the gender gap and harassment as critical issues in our movement.  

Many affiliate organizations within the Wikimedia community are addressing the gender gap in their annual plans. Through these affiliate organizations, Wikipedians are forming partnerships with GLAM (Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) institutions and universities, and these initiatives are particularly effective in reaching women. The Wikipedia Education Program, run by the Wikimedia Foundation, and the Wiki Education Foundation see high levels of representation by women in courses.

In March 2015 the Wikimedia Foundation’s Inspire Campaign invited people to suggest ideas to end the gender gap found in both article content and the rate of participation of women. From the 266 ideas submitted came 42 grant proposals with ultimately 16 projects being approved for funding.

Many of the Inspire Campaign funded projects focus on organizing events with professional communities or creating partnerships with cultural and educational institutions in order to drawn in a different group of volunteer Wikipedia editors.

Inspire funded projects such as AfroCrowd and Art+Feminism are organizing in person events around the world to add more content related to women. And the West Virginia University Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity  is coordinating efforts on campus to create content about women from West Virginia and gender studies.

Because many Inspire Campaign ideas identified harassment as a significant barrier to addressing the gender gap, the Wikimedia Foundation Community Advocacy department and volunteers are exploring ways to create a less hostile editing environment such as a gender gap training programs for administrators  and the introduction of friendly space expectations  on wiki. Plans are under way for a community consultation, and an important survey on harassment is underway now.

Although there is still much more work to do, by joining WikiProject Women or WikiWomen User Group or the Facebook group WikiWomenCollaborative, I feel more connected to people who share my interests—and, we are making progress. I encourage anyone interested in these issues to get involved!

Sydney Poore (FloNight), Wikipedian in Residence
Cochrane Collaboration

by Sydney Poore at November 01, 2015 03:32 PM

October 31, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Community view: why the news media needs Wikipedians in residence

Newseum Atrium - 2008-04-25.jpg
Atrium of the Newseum. Photo by Fletcher6, freely licensed under CC-by-3.0.

Journalism and the online information community slide two.jpg

Number of stories mentioning Alexa top ten websites in the New York Times, January to September 2015. Slide by Robert Fernandez, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 4.0.

This introduction was accidentally left off this blog post when it was published: “Community view” is an ongoing series where Wikimedia community members express opinions on aspects of the Wikimedia movement.

In a panel session I put together for WikiConference USA 2015, held recently in Washington, DC, I put a heavy emphasis on how the poor news coverage of Wikipedia in the news media needs to be bolstered by community-generated journalism like the Signpost, a news journal about the English Wikipedia and the Wikimedia community.

Both qualitatively and quantitatively, news coverage is inadequate for a website and movement as large and influential as Wikipedia and Wikimedia. The news media has little understanding of the mechanics of Wikipedia, the role of the Foundation, non-Wikipedia Wikimedia projects, and other important issues involving the encyclopedia and the community. The coverage we usually see is neither in-depth, nor specialized, nor systematic.

Preparing for my presentation, I struggled to find metrics that would reflect this. Comparing the coverage of Wikipedia to other Alexa top-ten websites was a good way to measure Wikipedia against institutions of similar global reach and importance, or at least size. Using the ProQuest NewsStand database, I counted the number of mentions each of those websites received in the New York Times, the US newspaper of record. Looking at the results (see chart at right), the analogy seems obvious when you see that the numbers for Wikipedia are almost as low as that of Google India and the Chinese websites Baidu and QQ.

To the English-language news media, Wikipedia is a foreign country. They don’t speak the language, they don’t know how anything works, and they can’t even ask ¿Dónde está la biblioteca?

We already have a preexisting program that takes Wikipedia into not just la biblioteca but into a whole host of the world’s great cultural and scientific institutions, the Wikipedian in residence program. Wikipedians in residence serve as a sort of ambassador to the encyclopedia and related projects and encourage the institutions where they are embedded to embrace the site and open-access content. I met a number of these Wikimedians at the conference who are doing important outreach work at places like the National Archives and Records Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There’s no reason that similar work couldn’t be done at the New York Times or the Newseum. This is not a new idea, and while it’s been suggested before, given the current robustness of the WiR program and the GLAM initiative, and the fact that these programs receive greater news media coverage than most other Wikipedia-related projects, it’s time to push for this again.

This all struck me while I made a spontaneous visit to the Newseum, where the news media its own rich cultural history on display: from newsbooks dating from the early days of print to the journalists who died covering stories like the September 11 attacks.

There are plenty of stories here to be told, and a Wikipedian in residence could help tell them. In the process, they could help educate the media about how Wikipedia works and let them know that there are stories worth telling in the Wikimedian community too.

Robert Fernandez
English Wikipedia administrator

The views expressed in this blog post are not necessarily those of the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikipedia; responses and critical commentary are invited in the comments section below.

This post was originally published in the Signpost; it was adapted and edited for publication on the Wikimedia blog.

by Robert Fernandez at October 31, 2015 09:23 PM

October 30, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

News on Wikipedia: Wallabies and All Blacks set up all-Australasian Rugby World Cup final

File:New Zealand vs Namibia 2015 RWC lineout.jpg
New Zealand, pictured playing against Namibia, are through to their fourth final. Image by sebastian1906, freely licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This year’s Rugby World Cup, the eighth edition of the international rugby union championship, is in full force ahead of the final on October 31. This weekend saw the semifinalists—South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, and Australia—take to the field at Twickenham in London.

Matches 43 and 44 were played on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in front of crowds of more than 80,000. New Zealand’s All Blacks played out a tense 20–18 victory over the Springboks of South Africa, with Dan Carter scoring his first drop goal in over three years. The other semifinal was more one-sided; despite a late surge from the Pumas of Argentina, Australia held on to a 29–15 win.

It sets up a fully Australasian final next weekend—and each side became the first and second teams to make four World Cup finals.

Edits made per day to the “2015 Rugby World Cup” article on the English Wikipedia during the tournament. Image by Joe Sutherland, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Wikipedia’s entry on the 2015 edition of the championship has existed since March 2006, when New Zealand resident (but South Africa fan) Arguss wrote an initial blurb suggesting where the tournament might be held. At that time, the 2011 tournament had just been awarded to New Zealand, with the 2015 and 2019 hosts to be announced in 2009.

Arguss was a member of WikiProject Rugby Union, a project dedicated to articles related to the sport with around 170 members at the time of writing. It covers almost 15,000 articles, ten of which are “featured”—the highest level of acclaim an article can have on Wikipedia.

The initial development was, perhaps predictably, quite slow. It was not until England submitted their bid in May 2009 that work on the article sped up; there was a peak of editing in July of 2009, when the bid proved successful. Prawn3944, a user with just over a thousand edits to his name, played a key role in updating the article following the announcement from the International Rugby Board.

Since then, the vast majority of the 2,220 edits made to the article have been while the tournament has been on. Almost 900 edits have so far been made to the article since the competition began on September 18. It’s proven popular with readers, too. While the tournament has been ongoing, the article has received more than one million views in total.

The final, also to be played at Twickenham, naturally has an article of its own, documenting each team’s journey to the final from the group stage through knockouts. It will likely see a flurry of enthusiastic rugby fans descend upon it to announce the 2015 Rugby World Cup champions on October 31.

Other headlines

Hurricane -Patricia approaches -Mexico. It's massive. Be careful! -YearInSpace.jpg

Hurricane Patricia was far less devastating than initially feared. Image by Scott Kelly, in the public domain.

  • This week, the Pacific region experienced its most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the form of Hurricane Patricia. Originating in the Gulf of Tehuantepec in mid-October, Patricia developed relatively slowly. Eventually, it became the twenty-fourth named storm of the annual hurricane season. Despite fears it would cause substantial damage and casualties in Mexico, it caused a comparatively small $189 million worth of damage and eight direct fatalities.
  • In south Asia, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck in northern Afghanistan at 13:39 local time on October 26. It was felt as far away as New Delhi in India, and resulted in at least 367 deaths, injuring some 2,200 others, mostly in Pakistan. The toll is lower than that of the last major earthquake of similar magnitude in the Kashmir region, which killed more than 87,000 people in 2005.
  • In Formula One, British driver Lewis Hamilton won the World Drivers’ Championship, following his victory in a very wet and eventful United States Grand Prix. His team, Mercedes, took the Constructors’ Championship.
  • A masked assailant armed with a sword attacked a school in Trollhättan, a small town in western Sweden, on October 22. He killed a teaching assistant and a male student, and was eventually shot to death by police. The motive is thought to have been racism.
  • The European Union greenlit plans to abolish roaming charges within member states by 2017, with caps set to be implemented in April 2016.

Joe SutherlandCommunications Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at October 30, 2015 06:06 PM

October 28, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

District court grants government’s motion to dismiss Wikimedia v. NSA, appeal expected

Wikimedia v. NSA lawsuit challenged the U.S. National Security Agency’s use of “Upstream” mass surveillance. Photo by orangesparrow, freely licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Today, a federal district court granted the government’s motion to dismiss Wikimedia v. NSA, our lawsuit challenging the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) use of “Upstream” mass surveillance.

With the help of the ACLU, we filed this lawsuit along with eight other plaintiffs in order to safeguard the rights of the Wikimedia Foundation, our staff, and Wikimedia community members around the world. We continue to feel that the NSA’s mass surveillance poses a serious threat to privacy, freedom of expression, and freedom of association. These rights are essential. Wikimedia users cannot create, collaborate, and share information if they fear being watched.

Unfortunately, the court did not actually rule on whether the NSA’s upstream surveillance is legal or illegal. Judge T.S. Ellis III, the presiding judge, dismissed the case on standing grounds. The court held that our complaint did not plausibly allege that the NSA was monitoring our or other plaintiffs’ communications. Additionally, the court referenced the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International, although, in our opinion, the facts before the court were dramatically different from the ones that were before the Supreme Court in Amnesty.

Spread the word about inappropriate surveillance. Art by Rich Black, CC BY 3.0.
Spread the word about inappropriate surveillance. Art by Rich Black, CC BY 3.0.

We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision to dismiss. There is no question that Upstream surveillance captures the communications of both the user community and the Wikimedia Foundation itself. We believe that our claims have merit. In consultation with our lawyers at the ACLU, we will review the decision and expect to appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

We would like to thank our skilled and dedicated pro bono counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Cooley, LLP for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the Wikimedia movement. We look forward to the expected appeal, and to having the substance of our claims heard. More information is available from the ACLU, including today’s ruling.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Director*
Geoff Brigham, General Counsel

*Special thanks to all who supported us during and in preparation for this hearing, including Patrick Toomey (ACLU), Jameel Jaffer (ACLU), Alex Abdo (ACLU), Ashley Gorski (ACLU), Aarti Reddy (Cooley), and the Wikimedia Foundation’s Aeryn Palmer, Jim Buatti, Victoria Baranetsky, and Zhou Zhou.

by Michelle Paulson and Geoff Brigham at October 28, 2015 07:02 PM

Wikipedia’s global impact recognized with Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award ceremony

Wikipedia’s representatives – Jimmy Wales, Lila Tretikov, Patricio Lorente, Lourdes Cardenal, Ravan Jaafar Altaie, and Jeevan Jose (see below for more information) – receive the Princess of Asturias Award on Friday in Spain. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia España.

On Friday, October 23, Wikipedia was formally presented with the highly esteemed Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, honoring the Wikimedia movement vision of allowing everyone, everywhere to freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

Established in 1980, the Spanish Princess of Asturias Awards annually recognize eight individuals and organizations from around the world for their scientific, cultural and social achievements in the arts, communication and humanities, social sciences, literature, sports, technical and scientific research, concord, and international cooperation.

The Princess of Asturias Foundation’s award jury chose  Wikipedia as an “important example of international, democratic, open and participatory cooperation” and took note of the thousands of volunteers who “selflessly” contribute to the Wikimedia projects. They compared Wikipedia to France’s famous Encyclopédie, saying that Wikipedia “has managed to make universal knowledge available to everyone along similar lines to those achieved by the encyclopedic spirit of the 18th century.” Previous recipients of the international cooperation award include the World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales accepted the award on behalf of Wikipedia at the Princess of Asturias Foundation ceremony in Oviedo, Spain, presided over by the King and Queen of Spain. Jimmy was joined by Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, Patricio Lorente, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikimedians Ravan Jaafar Altaie of Iraq, Lourdes Cardenal of Spain, and Jeevan Jose of India.

“Cooperation is what Wikipedia is all about, and it is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Princess of Asturias Awards,” said Jimmy Wales. “I hope this inspires more people to become involved in the mission to share in the sum of all knowledge with the world.”

Wikimedians are volunteer contributors to Wikipedia and its sister projects. Ravan, Lourdes, and Jeevan represent a joyful dedication to knowledge and the global character of the Wikimedia community. Ravan is a engineer from Erbil, Iraq, and a passionate contributor to the Arabic Wikipedia. Lourdes is a representative of the Spanish Wikipedia community, serving as Spanish Wikipedia’s longest-running active editor and administrator. Jeevan, who prefers “Jee,” is a naturalist from a small village in southern India, where he contributes stunning nature photography to Wikimedia Commons.

“We are honored to be recognized in the category of international cooperation, which is at the heart of our mission,” said Lila Tretikov. “On Wikipedia, knowledge knows no borders. An image of a butterfly one photographer takes in an Indian forest helps editors around the world write articles on the species in their language, so half a billion people from every corner of the globe will learn about a rare species. This award honors the people that make Wikipedia possible.”

As a recipient, Wikipedia received a Joan Miró sculpture as a symbol of the award, a diploma, an insignia, and a prize of 50,000 euros.

Katherine MaherChief Communications Officer

(TOP) Wikipedia Representatives:
Jimmy Wales – Founder of Wikipedia
Lila Tretikov – Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
Patricio Lorente – Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
Ravan Jaafar Altaie – Wikimedian
Lourdes Cardenal – Wikimedian
Jeevan Jose – Wikimedian

by Katherine Maher at October 28, 2015 03:59 AM

October 23, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

News on Wikipedia: Liberals win in Canada, as told by Wikipedia

Voters took to the polls in Canada on Monday. Photo by Raysonho, in the public domain.

On Monday, Canada held its 42nd general election to determine the 338 Members of Parliament for 2015 to 2019. The election was won by the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau—son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau—with 184 seats won. The Conservative Party of Canada, which had been led by Stephen Harper, won 99 seats and became the official opposition after nine years in government.

The New Democratic Party, led by Tom Mulcair, came third with 44 seats, Bloc Québécois now have 10, and the Greens finished with one seat.

The Liberals’ 148-seat gain was the largest-ever numerical increase by a party in a Canadian election, and their total of 184 is the most seats won by a single party since Progressive Conservative‘s total of 211 in 1984. They were also the first federal party to win a general election without having been the Official Opposition following the previous election.

Turnout was recorded as 68.5 percent, the highest figure since 1993. Harper resigned as leader of the Conservative Party shortly after the result was confirmed.

Justin Trudeau, pictured in 2014, will take up office as Prime Minister of Canada at some point next month. Photo by Alex Guibord, freely licensed under CC-BY 2.0.

Despite being an event with a reasonably predictable title and layout, the article for this week’s election wasn’t initially drafted until 2011, around five months before that year’s election was scheduled to take place. Because of the way Canada’s election system works, the date was never certain—Harper may have called a snap election, as was his right as Prime Minister—so the first few days of the article’s development were spent determining how best to phrase the upcoming election. After all, it was not necessarily an election taking place in 2015.

Editors initially disagreed on whether an article on an election scheduled for more than four years in the future should exist at all. An earlier version of the article was nominated for deletion in March 2011, and editors decided that “there is not yet anything useful to say about this future election”.

The current article was, unsucessfully, nominated under its “2015” title in May, a discussion which resulted in a stalemate. Moving it back to the less precise “42nd Canadian federal election” title quelled some concerns here, though the dispute remained a key part of the article’s development until Harper “dropped the writ” in August. It was only then the page was finally and permanently moved to its current, date-including title.

Back at the article’s creation, the Liberal Party was actually led by Michael Ignatieff, who was replaced by Bob Rae a few weeks later. Trudeau, now Prime Minister-elect, didn’t take charge until 2013.

Graph showing hour edit patterns to Canadian federal election, 2015, Oct 17-21.png
Almost 300 edits to the article were made in the last five days. Image by Alex Guibord, freely licensed under CC BY-2.0.

Altogether, the article has recieved more than 2,000 edits since its initial drafting. Of those, more than 1,000 were made this year, and 423 were made just this month—almost a quarter of all edits.

It goes without saying that the majority of the edits related to the altering of statistics on the night. Indeed, there was a notable uptick in edits on election night, as results came in gradually from each riding.

Opinion Polling during the 2015 Canadian Federal Election.svg
Opinion polling throughout the campaign was thorough, and ultimately proven accurate. Image by Galneweinhaw, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Soon, the Liberals peeled ahead, and it seemed that opinion polls—also chronicled in the article—were proving correct in predicting a Liberal majority. Commons user Galneweinhaw, who has used R to make a number of opinion poll graphs in the past, created one here documenting polls stretching back to August 2015, showing the ebbs and flows of political support across the campaign.

Now, like the 41 other articles on Canadian federal elections, “2015 Canadian federal election” will remain a historic overview of an election that surprised many and set records in Canadian politics.

Joe Sutherland, Communications intern, Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at October 23, 2015 08:54 PM

This year’s victorious monument photos from Germany

Leuchtturm in Westerheversand.jpg
1st place: an aerial photograph of the Westerheversand Lighthouse. Photo by Phantom3Pix, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

For Wiki Loves Monuments 2015, an international photo competition, an incredible amount of pictures were uploaded—including about 39,000 images of protected monuments in Germany alone. They included shots of high documentary and some of outstanding aesthetic value.

To help the main jury, a preliminary jury was used this year for the first time, and more than 250,000 votes were submitted by Wikipedia users. The best photos were then selected by the main jury with the support of photographic experts Magrit Hankel Püntener and Harald Schmitt, and they appear here.

These were a total of 833 images that the preliminary jury rated with least an average of 3.2 stars. These were combined with images that the main jury particularly favored and then whittled down into a list of the 100 best pictures.

The following nine images, in addition to the one above, were forwarded to the international competition:

2nd place: the Second World War‘s U-995, now a museum ship in Laboe. Photo by Ralf Stöcker, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Schulmühle P4194501 2 3N-2.jpg
3rd place: school mill in Veilbronn,  Franconian Switzerland. Photo by Ermell, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Hackerbrücke Munich 2014 03.jpg
4th place: the Hackerbrücke in München. Photo by Julian Herzog, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

A22 2007-06 Einsteinturm Sonnenuhr p6070062.jpg
5th place: infrared image of the Einstein Tower in Potsdam. Photo by DrNRNowaczyk, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Adlerpult mit Fledermaus.jpg
6th place: the 1450 Eagle lectern in the choir hall of Aachen Cathedral, along with a bat poured in 1874 in Stolberg. The bat on the back of the eagle serves to stabilize the broken and destroyed lectern. Photo by ACBahn, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

OL Stadion.jpg
7th place: a rock concert in Berlin’s Olympiastadion. Photo by Stefan Staurland, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Neues Rathaus Hannover, Innenansicht.jpg
8th place: Hannover’s New Town Hall. Photo by Raycer, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Olympiastadion Berlin Innenansicht.jpg
9th place: View from the Olympiastadion’s Marathon Gate and the holder of the Olympic Flame during the 1936 Olympics. Photo by Jan Künzel, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

10th place: the former power plant of the Wilhelmshaven Imperial Shipyard—built in 1908 and demolished in August 2015. Photo by Aerotect, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The voting on the top images was controversial and exciting, and the result will surely lead to further discussion.

Germany Wiki Loves Monuments jury

This post originally appeared in the Kurier, an opinionated news journal about the German Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement. It was reformatted, translated into the English language, and modified for publication on the Wikimedia blog; it will eventually be moved off the main Kurier page to an archive.

by Wiegels at October 23, 2015 08:53 PM

October 22, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation Quarterly Report, July-September 2015

WMF 2015-16 Q1 successes and misses by team.svg
From page 4 of the report: Q1 successes and misses, by team. Image by Wikimedia Foundation, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s quarterly report for the first quarter of the 2015/16 fiscal year (July-September) has been published as a PDF on Wikimedia Commons and is now also available as a wiki page.

Wikimedia Foundation Quarterly Report, FY 2015-16 Q1 (July-September).pdf

The report is a comprehensive summary of how we did on the objectives defined earlier in our quarterly goal setting process. We are continuing to optimize the report’s format and the organization’s quarterly review process based on the feedback that we have received.

This issue includes some new pieces of information and a few format changes. Teams have been starting to highlight one key performance indicator (KPI) each – with ongoing efforts to identify the best possible metrics – and to estimate how much time fell into each of the three categories from the 2015 Call to Action (strengthen, focus and experiment). We have reorganized the content to present all the information that is related to a particular objective in one place (description of the goal, measures of success, how we did on achieving the objective, and what we learned from working on it), and changed these slides to a cleaner, more effective layout.

As before, we are including an overview slide summarizing successes and misses across all teams. In a mature 90-day goal setting process, the “sweet spot” is for about 75% of goals to be a success. Organizations that are meeting 100% of their goals are not typically setting aggressive goals.

The report’s format is still evolving (as is the quarterly goals review process), and we welcome feedback here in the comments or on Meta-wiki.

Terence Gilbey, Chief Operating Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Tilman Bayer, Senior Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

by Tilman Bayer and Terence Gilbey at October 22, 2015 09:48 PM

October 21, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

See the stunning winning photographs from Wiki Loves Earth 2015

"Shangrila Resorts" by Zaeemsiddiq, under CC-BY-SA-3.0Our 2015 winner comes from Lower Kachura Lake, a popular tourist destination in Central Karakoram National Park, Skardu, Pakistan. Image by Zaeemsiddiq, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

Wiki Loves Earth, a competition where participants take photographs of protected natural areas and upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons, was held internationally for the second time in 2015 with 26 countries. The contest is over, and we are now able to present the international winners.

The goal of Wiki Loves Earth is two-fold. First, we aim to photograph as many natural monuments and protected areas as possible and release the imagery under a free license. Second, we contribute to environmental protection by raising public awareness.

The idea of Wiki Loves Earth began in Ukraine in 2013. In 2014, Wiki Loves Earth was joined by 15 other countries from four different continents—Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

During 2015, over 100,000 pictures were submitted by nearly 9,000 participants.

Wiki Loves Earth was organised through numerous national contests, coordinated by local volunteers. The national juries then submitted up to 10 pictures to the international stage of the contest. With 26 participating countries, the international jury had to consider a total of 259 candidate pictures. The jury selected and ranked the photos in several stages by means of a dedicated web tool.

The international jury was composed of 9 photographers from different countries, all experienced in nature photography: Dmytro Balkhovitin (Ukraine), Matthew Buck (Great Britain), Dietmar Bartz (Germany), Walaa Abdel Manaem (Egypt), Alex Wang (USA), Katerina Zareva-Simeonova (Bulgaria), Zeynel Cebeci (Turkey), Susanne Plank (Austria), and Yathin Krishnappa (India).

After careful evaluation jury members have selected the following images, in addition to the winning image above.

"O Fanal, Ilha da Madeira, Portugal" by Jnvalves, under CC-BY-SA-3.0
Second place: a view of the Laurisilva (laurel forest) of Madeira, Portugal. Photo by Jnvalves, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Steinbock 14962940265" by Berndthaller, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-AT
Third place: the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex), or Steinbock, in an Austrian national park in the Hohe Tauern mountain range. Photo by Bernd Thaller, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Spinne Bratental Ps" by Suhaknoke, under CC-BY-SA-3.0
Fourth place: a spider (Misumena vatia) with a freshly killed bee in the Bratental nature reserve, near Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany. Photo by Suhaknoke, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Guepier d'europe au parc national Ichkeul" by Elgollimoh, under CC-BY-SA-3.0
Fifth place: a European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) in Ichkeul National Park, Tunisia. Photo by Elgollimoh, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Червоні карпатські гори" by Iifar, under CC-BY-SA-4.0
Sixth place: Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, Zakarpattia Oblast, Ukraine. Photo by Vian and retouched by Iifar, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 4.0.

"WolayerSee" by GeKo15, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-AT
Seventh place: Wolayer See and surrounding area, Carinthia, Austria. Photo by GeKo15, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Camargue Étang de Vaccarès" by Ddeveze, under CC-BY-SA-3.0
Eight place: cormorants at dusk on the pond of Vaccarès, France. Photo by Ddeveze, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Abismo Anhumas, Bonito, MS 2" by Caioribeirovilela, under CC-BY-SA-3.0
Ninth place: limestone stalagmites inside the Anhumas Abyss, Brasil. Photo by Caio Vilela, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Tatry i Spisz1" by Halavar, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-PL
Tenth place: High Tatras as seen from the Polish Spisz, Tatry Natura 2000 Special Area of Conservation, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland. Photo by Łukasz Śmigasiewicz, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0 (pl).

"Flamant rose Salines de Thyna" by Touzrimounir, under CC-BY-SA-3.0
Eleventh place: Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Salines de Thyna Ramsar site, Tunisia. Photo by Elgollimoh, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Klonglan waterfall 03" by Khunkay, under CC-BY-SA-3.0
Twelfth place: Khlong Lan Waterfall, Khlong Lan National Park, Kamphaeng Phet Province, Thailand. Photo by Khunkay, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Lena Delta B.Lyakhovsky Island 2010-09-28 Boris" by A.Savin, under CC-BY-SA-4.0
Thirteenth place: the Malakatyn River at Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island, part of the Lena Delta Wildlife Reserve, Sakha, Russia. Photo by Boris Solovyev, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"Roosa hommikuudu Tolkuse rabas" by MKose, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-EE
Fourteenth place: Morning in Tolkuse bog, Luitemaa Nature Conservation Area, Pärnu County, Estonia. Photo by Märt Kose, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

"SkiLines" by Ptahhotep, under CC-BY-SA-4.0
Fifteenth place: Lines left after skiing on the snowy slopes of Baba Mountain, Pelister National Park, Macedonia. Photo by Ptahhotep, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 4.0.

"Drone Reconnoitering" by Jonathan Wilkins, under CC-BY-SA-3.0
Special nomination: Apis Mellifera drone—moment at birth, Ribeirão Preto, Brasil. This image received a high rating from the jurors, but as it was not taken in a protected area, it was not eligible for an award. Photo by Jonathan Wilkins, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

The full report of the international jury, explaining the work of the jury, selection process and presenting the results together with comments of the jury, is available.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you for everyone who worked on organisation of the contest this year!

Vira Motorko
Wiki Loves Earth international team

by Vira Motorko at October 21, 2015 02:42 PM

This year’s victorious monument photos from Pakistan

Last month, the largest photography competition in the world, Wiki Loves Monuments 2015 was held in 33 countries. Globally, it attracted more than 6,200 competitors who together uploaded more than 220,000 photographs.

The 2015 contest was only the second edition of the photography competition to take place in Pakistan. Around 325 people submitted their photographs of landmarks and monuments in the country, making it the country with the sixth-highest number of participants globally. Of the 2,200 submissions, Pakistan’s jury selected their final ten winners this month, all of which are stunning and, of course, released by their authors under free licenses.

The global winners will be announced later this year.

Abbasi Mosque-Derawar Fort, photo by Usamashahid433 with modifications by Saqib, taken with a Nikon D3200, CC BY-SA 4.0.








Minar-e-Pakistan, photo by Muh.Ashar, camera unknown, CC BY-SA 4.0.




Wikimedia community member

This blog post was originally published in the Signpost, a news journal about the English Wikipedia and the Wikimedia community. It was adapted and expanded for publication on the Wikimedia blog.

by Pine at October 21, 2015 09:21 AM

October 20, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Librarian as public knowledge leader: ways to use Wikipedia

Wikipedia has become one of the most influential portals for internet-based research — providing readers with an initial overview of almost any topic and acting as a first stop for expert researchers. Moreover, the platform increasingly favours both scholarship and openness: a recent study showed that journals published as open access are used more frequently on Wikipedia, and Altmetrics has begun measuring Wikipedia citations to encourage public scholarly work. This research connection makes libraries an important part of Wikipedia’s ecosystem.

Expert participation

An Art+Feminism event in Madrid topically focused on African Women Artists by Carlos Delgado (CC-By-SA 4.0)

GLAM-Wiki partnerships offer a valuable tool for growing the diversity of the Wikimedia community because GLAM, humanities and arts experts are well trained in preserving a diversity of knowledge, and those expert provide a discerning and critical eye for filling in gaps on Wikipedia. Photo by Carlos Delgado, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The goal to create a “sum of all human knowledge“ necessarily requires a wide range of experts to increase quality and comprehensiveness. The Wikipedia community actively provides guidelines for experts to participate and curate the knowledge, and improve its public impact; for example, the Wikipedia Education Program provides a framework for professors to assign students to write Wikipedia articles that fill key public knowledge gaps and, in doing so, surface the best scholarly research to public audiences.

One of the most successful expert engagement strategies focuses on the cultural heritage sector and is called GLAM-Wiki. GLAM-Wiki focuses on supporting GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) in leveraging Wikipedia and its sister projects to improve public impact of collections. Typically these projects focus on embedded Wikipedians in cultural organizations called Wikipedians in Residence (WiRs), open licence donations of media, and editing events that leverage donated media and GLAM publications to improve Wikipedia articles. The relationship is simple: GLAMs bring expertise about the world’s cultural heritage, and Wikipedia brings global impact through its experienced editing community and the website’s massive audience.

GLAM-Wiki and Filling Diversity Gaps

Window stickers awarded to Catalan libraries that hold successful events that engage in the public in contributing to Wikimedia Projects. Improving Wikipedia has become part of the Catalan Public Library Network’s strategy for preserving local heritage and knowledge. By User:Davidpar (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Window stickers awarded to Catalan libraries that hold successful events that engage in the public in contributing to Wikimedia Projects. Improving Wikipedia has become part of the Catalan Public Library Network’s strategy for preserving local heritage and knowledge. Photo by Davidpar, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

No matter how you look at it, Wikipedia’s gender imbalance is extreme:only 10% to 20% of contributors are women. Moreover, Wikipedia has a deeply Western-focused systematic bias despite over 280 language editions of Wikipedia. These inequalities prevent Wikipedia from fully fulfilling its mission.

One of the most successful diversity-focused projects has been Art+Feminism, a collaboration between feminist art advocates and Wikipedia editors. Headquartered at MOMA, the one-day editathon, largely hosted at art galleries and libraries, involved 78 distinct global institutions, improved or created 900 articles about women artists, and engaged 1500 participants, many of them women (see more about the outcomes). Similarly, GLAM-Wiki projects can target missing diversity of knowledge around other topics, examples include Asian American focused editathons and African American editathons.

Diversifying GLAM-Wiki strategies can also improve the diversity of languages and knowledge which Wikipedia can represent. For example, the Catalan Public Libraries Network has created a program that engages over 150 libraries in strategies that range from teaching digital literacy through Wikipedia to creating new content on Wikipedia (see the case study). Imagine if every library community in the world curated Wikipedia’s knowledge about its own communities in their own language.

Going beyond GLAM-Wiki in the library: literacy and discovery

Wikipedia’s dominance in research discovery raises issues around basic literacy of how to use research and digital materials.  Many readers lack an understanding of Wikipedia as both an encyclopedia and an “anyone-can-edit” community of practice. The growing Wikipedia Library program is approaching the GLAM-Wiki strategies from a new direction: how do we educate editors and readers on the basic literacies needed for effective research? Important to libraries: the project gathers strategies for readers to learn how to critically consume and intelligently use Wikipedia (see our pilot “Research Help” portal). Moreover, The Wikipedia Library is advising cultural institutions (see our “Research libraries” portal), and cultural professionals (see our “cultural professionals guide”) on how to improve discoverability.

Wikipedia and libraries share a common mission: disseminating human knowledge and facilitating effective research. For The Wikipedia Library, the librarian offers the best hope for changing both Wikipedia and its readers for the better. There are a plethora of ways for enabling a better public understanding of Wikipedia and its potential for research alongside its weaknesses. I want to end the post by asking this: where can Wikipedia become a tool for your library? Which of the models or topics here best meet the needs of your community?

Alex Stinson, Project Manager
The Wikipedia Library
Wikimedia Foundation

This post was originally published by the International Librarians Network, a librarian peer mentoring network that provides discussion topics to further the sharing of best practices in the international libraries community. The Wikipedia Library team was approached by them to provide a discussion of libraries in Wikipedia, and we are happy to be able to repost it here in the public domain (CC-0).

by Alex Stinson at October 20, 2015 04:24 AM

When a journalist edits Wikipedia in a famous Argentine opera house

(Teatro Colón) Editatón - Salón Dorado (2).JPG
A busy, 150-person editathon hard at work in a famous opera house in Buenos Aires. Photo by Mauricio V. Genta, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 4.0.

Family arguments in my grandmother’s house ended the moment Wikipedia came into our lives. Any hint of controversy now begins and ends within a few seconds: “how long ago did the Homo sapiens appear on Earth?” “Look it up on Wikipedia.” “When was Frank Sinatra born?” “What does Wikipedia say?” “How many islands form the Maldives?” “Easy, search Wikipedia.”

Strangely, being able to find the correct solution at a moment’s notice is far less interesting than spending a whole afternoon guessing at hard-to-corroborate answers. Risking an answer on a hunch is now much more humiliating—like the time my cousin answers the Homo Sapiens questions with “sixty thousand years ago at the most.” The online answer proved him awfully, terribly wrong.

Of course, it cannot be denied that Wikipedia is a wonderful and miraculous tool. Otherwise, how would you explain that almost 150 people gathered on a sunny August morning at Teatro Colón—a great opera house in Buenos Aires and considered one of the best concert venues in the world—to donate their time to researching the building’s history, and uploading all this knowledge to the Spanish Wikipedia?

As Wikimedia Argentina’s Galileo Vidoni said in his welcoming speech, “Wikipedia is the largest collection of knowledge ever produced by man. The challenge today is to break with the misconception that only wikipedists can write an article. Anyone can do it and we are here today, experts and people who participate for the first time, to release the knowledge contained within this legendary theatre and pour it into a digital platform, through collective work, as a team.”

As the name implies, the editathon is a seven-hour marathon during which volunteers try to rewrite and edit the Wikipedia article about the theatre already existing on Wikipedia. Volunteers try to contribute additional and improved content. There’s no better way to do this than setting up our camp at the very place we’ll be writing about—able to explore its nooks and crannies, speak with specialists, and consult its bibliography. The “writing room” assigned to us couldn’t be any more idyllic: the famous Golden Room greets us with 15 tables occupying the room’s length and lit by magnificent chandeliers and sun rays that shine through the exquisite Gaudin stained glass windows.

Our first mission is to go on a traditional guided tour, during which we have the privilege of being the first people to see the preparations for an opera opening on Sunday—a scenery of Greek figures and green landscapes made of wood, cardboard, and paint that come to life thanks to the magic of the stage, curtains, and lights.

Back at the Golden Room, Galileo and another Wikipedians ask the volunteers which subjects they want to research—after having read the building’s Wikipedia article, we’ll be able to understand weaknesses in content or important omissions during our researching.

Next, the tables are organized according to different categories. Table six for instance, was in charge of looking into the theatre’s architecture and furniture, and table seven was in charge of starting a new section on the workshops and crafts that take place underground, in the building’s basement.

The process was rather chaotic. Photographers walked up and down, getting images of the building and important people in the theatre. Jean, a French student of engineering visiting on an exchange program with the University of Buenos Aires, was translating as much information as possible to improve the French Wikipedia. Experts came to share knowledge and anecdotes, like one about the amazing spins and turns in the air performed by dancers on the stage. They’re apparently affectionately called “tramoyas” (props) behind the scenes. I am particularly touched by the testimony of Amalia Pellizzari de Hermitte, granddaughter of the owner of the company that constructed the Teatro Colón in 1889–1908: “It hurts a little but I think I am ancient history by now,” she says half amused and half moved. She reveals that her father, who at the time of the construction of the theatre was not older than ten, played football on the initial outline of what would later be the foyer.

Shortly before five o’clock, I uploaded four extra paragraphs to the main article and re-read the article. What I saw now was entirely transformed by the extensive contributions of the 150 participants and fellow editors, but isn’t this what Wikimedia really is—a living organism in constant reproduction? It is now up to the more experienced editors to revise our work and decide what stays, what goes, and what is changed. Work was finished for today.

This editathon was organized by Wikimedia Argentina and the City Government’s Laboratory of the Ministry of Modernization, together with Teatro Colón.

Giselle Bordoy, Communication manager, Wikimedia Argentina
Delfina Krüsemann, La Nacion

by Giselle Bordoy and Delfina Krüsemann at October 20, 2015 03:52 AM

October 19, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Gathering memories from the trenches of the Great War

Photo from the State Library of New South Wales, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

The State Library of New South Wales has hundreds of diaries from Australian soldiers in World War I. Photo from the library, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0.

The State Library of New South Wales in Sydney was the first library in Australia and prides itself on a fantastic collection of manuscripts, paintings and photographs, oral histories, and printed works. This library has had a Wikipedia project since 2012, when three members of Wikimedia Australia visited to provide training sessions for interested staff. The group is now one of the most active GLAM-Wiki participants in Australia, and uses the library’s extensive collections to add well-cited information to Wikipedia and copyright-free images to Commons.

An example of an article created by the library’s Wikipedia group is List of Australian diarists of World War I. During the war, despite being forbidden by their superiors, many soldiers kept a personal diary small enough to hide in their top pocket. In 1919, the library instigated a drive to collect these documents from returned soldiers, chiefly through newspaper advertisements.

Some years later, the Australian War Memorial followed suit by writing personal letters to families of lost soldiers and requesting donations of diaries. In their letters, the memorial described the value of soldiers’ diaries as records of the “supreme effort and endurance in circumstances of which, unfortunately, there is in many cases nowadays practically no other existing record.” The result of these two great collecting drives is that many of these precious first-hand and uncensored accounts of war are housed in collecting institutions who can ensure their long term preservation and access.

Members of the public frequently ask for access to these diaries in the State Library collection and that demand inspired the library’s Wikipedia group to compile a list of known Australian diarists from World War I. The group was able to compile a list of approximately 1200 diarists, including those held in other GLAMs and private collections. Since the article has moved into Wikipedia’s mainspace, contributions of other editors have expanded the list to around 1330. The list is probably the most comprehensive list of these diaries available to researchers, and because each listing is backed up by a citation, the article currently sits at number 2 on Wikipedia’s list of articles with the most references—something these librarians are very proud of!

The list of Australian diarists holds enormous value to researchers and scholars in chronicling a unique set of material held across diverse collections. It also serves as a fantastic resource for the general public researching the lives of family members and offering them the opportunity to engage with primary sources from the First World War. Projects such as this highlight the ability of individual GLAM organisations to produce in-depth articles by starting with their own collection strengths and enhancing them by referencing other GLAMs and gaining the contributions of Wikipedia’s editors.

A hundred years on, these little diaries keep finding new pockets to hide in.

Michael Carney
Wikipedia Working Group
State Library of New South Wales

by Michael Carney at October 19, 2015 09:35 PM

October 17, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Studenti Fakulty architektury ČVUT píší Wikipedii – už tři roky

Fakulta architektury ĆVUT v Praze

Fakulta architektury ĆVUT v Praze

S počátkem nového semestru přináším drobné shrnutí dvou ročníků projektu „Studenti píší Wikipedii“ (SPW) na Fakultě architektury ČVUT. V minulém semestru se studenti prvního ročníku Fakulty architektury ČVUT opět zapojili v rámci semináře Dějiny architektury II do projektu SPW a vytvářeli svoje seminární práce – především o gotických stavbách – na Wikipedii. Projekt běžel již potřetí, celkem mělo možnost se zapojit již více než 130 studentů a bylo sepsáno 126 článků. V loňském ročníku, probíhajícím v akademickém roce 2013/14, vzniklo celkem 42 článků v češtině, slovenštině, angličtině, ruštině, španělštině a ukrajinštině; v právě uplynulém školním roce 2014/15 bylo rozšířeno či vytvořeno 67 článků nejen na české, ale i na slovenské, anglické, španělské, ruské či německé Wikipedii.

Samotný článek vzniká v několika fázích. Je třeba zmínit, že struktura vytvářeného článku je určena, stejně jako základní rozsah seminární práce. V článku by tedy neměl chybět stručný úvodní text, historie objektu, případně místa, architektonický popis exteriéru a interiéru stavby, půdorys, fotogalerie, bibliografie, „prolinkování“ v rámci Wikipedie, externí webové odkazy, případně zajímavosti a odkazy na související články na Wikipedii.

Pro studenta je zpravidla nejdůležitější výběr té správné stavby. Považuji vždy za přínosnější, když si student stavbu na zpracování seminární práce vybere sám, neboť je mu něčím blízká či se o ni zajímá, než když pouze „plní zadání“. Několikrát se díky tomu do vyhledávání materiálů či doplňování fotografické dokumentace zapojila celá rodina. Stalo se tak například u sporného místa kostela Nejsvětější Trojice v Raduni, kdy byl vytvářen půdorys dle vlastního zaměření, který se v jedné části odlišoval od studentkou již pořízené fotografické dokumentace. Vzhledem k probíhajícímu zkouškovému období a vzdálenosti Raduně od Prahy pořídil fotografie inkriminovaného místa člen rodiny, záhada byla vyřešena a půdorys byl poupraven. Stejně tak byla za přispění členů rodiny doplněna fotogalerie kostela svatého Petra z Alkantary v Okoličném.

Kvůli údajně menšímu množství odborných podkladů zatím nebyl vytvořen jeden článek, jednou studentka váhala s původně vybranou stavbou, ale nakonec vytvořila velmi pěkný článek o kostele ve svém městě, protože nakonec s podporou dědečka sehnala materiály také v němčině. Zároveň jsme zjistily, že autor existující podrobné mapy této oblasti, která je datovaná do období po roce 1500, buď nereflektoval poslední přestavbu kostela dokončenou před rokem 1500, anebo je mapa staršího data. To uvádím již jen jako zajímavost, neboť taková odborná spekulace už nepatří na stránky Wikipedie. Podobně nebyly podrobněji uvedeny všechny stavební fáze kostela svatého Ducha v Krnově, na něž poukazuje fotografická dokumentace. V loňském roce se ale podařil „objev na počkání“ – student, který psal seminární práci o kostele Nanebevzetí Panny Marie v Chrudimi, uváděl výzkumem nepodložené dohady o existenci staršího královského hradu a kaple na místě chrámu. A právě v den, kdy přišel na další konzultaci se svou prací s tím, že kromě jiného se tyto dohady raději do článku nezpracují, byla uveřejněna zpráva chrudimských archeologů o nalezení staršího objektu v inkriminované lokalitě.

Vlastní seminární práce obvykle nejprve vznikne v „protoverzi“, jež se dále upravuje, aby se zároveň jednalo o encyklopedický článek, který odpovídá standardům Wikipedie. Tuto protoverzi se se studenty snažíme vylepšovat a opravovat ještě před vložením na tzv. „pískoviště“ Wikipedie. Tato novinka letošního roku, kdy má odkaz pískoviště v pravém horním rohu k dispozici každý editor Wikipedie již po přihlášení ke svému účtu, je naprosto vynikající zejména u projektu SPW. Ohromnou výhodou je interakce, neboť po základních úpravách seminární práce v protoverzi bylo možno vložit text přímo na pískoviště a další opravy a úpravy se během konzultací již odehrávaly na Wikipedii, aniž by bylo nutné tisknout další a další verze seminární práce kvůli opravám. Zároveň jsme během konzultací kromě obsahu článku hned řešili na pískovišti i drobné technické problémy, například vkládání fotografií nebo zakládání a editování článku. Prý by bylo dobré udělat jasnější návod právě na vkládání fotografií jak k článku, tak na Wikimedia Commons.

Kristýna Kysilková při přednášce na Wikikonferenci 2013

Kristýna Kysilková při přednášce na Wikikonferenci 2013

V momentě, kdy byla seminární práce dokončena na pískovišti, došlo k tomu nejdůležitějšímu – přenosu článku přímo na Wikipedii. Pak už byli studentům nápomocni i další wikipedisté, kteří povětšinou měnili rozvržení textu či vytvářeli tzv. infoboxy, za což jim patří velké díky. Česká a slovenská Wikipedie má speciální šablonu pro projekt Studenti píší Wikipedii respektive „Wiki pre študentov-študenti pre Wiki“, která by měla ochránit tyto články studentů před možnými příliš ráznými zásahy ostatních editorů Wikipedie.

Od loňského ročníku (2013/14) mohli studenti zpracovávat rovněž překlady českých článků do několika jazyků, a tak se pro angličtinu používala šablona „under construction“. I na anglické Wikipedii náš projekt vzbudil pozitivní ohlasy, u některých článků byli nápomocni například editoři pravděpodobně z Dálného východu, což překvapilo i samotné tvůrce článku. Také mě kontaktovali i další wikipedisté anglické verze, že vložili sami šablonu k článku, který nejspíše vytvořil náš student, aby nedošlo k zásahům či smazání článku. A ano, byl to článek z našeho projektu, studentka psala v angličtině o kostele sv. Štěpána na Praze 2. Stejně tak ochotně opravoval a doplňoval články v ruštině wikipedista, který se specializuje na českou architekturu, a mluví zároveň velmi dobře česky.

Je třeba zmínit, že každá Wikipedie má i vlastní normy pro tvoření názvů článků o chrámech, což je třeba dodržovat u všech jazykových verzí, neboť na to důsledně dbají ostatní Wikipedisté a případně článek přejmenují. Drobnou kuriozitou může být odlišnost normy názvů článků o kostelích ve Velké Británii a v USA. My jsme se se studenty vesměs drželi britského vzoru, pouze u již založených článků v angličtině byl zachován původní název. Pokud se v odborné literatuře objevily rozdílné překlady pojmenování, byl zvolen anglický název používaný příslušným biskupstvím. Loni mě a naštěstí i studenta, jehož objektu se to týkalo, minul spor a následná diskuze wikipedistů o pojmenovávání českých článků týkajících se kostelů zasvěcených svatému Petrovi a Pavlovi. Dle názoru jednoho wikipedisty byl svatý i Pavel, nevyřčenou připomínkou zůstalo, jak k tomu ten svatý Pavel přijde… Spor o to, zda se článek o kostele s tímto zasvěcením má nazývat kostel svatých Petra a Pavla, byl vyřešen v několika dnech, kdy jsem kontrolovala či opravovala jiné články. Tak jsem jen následně zjistila, že byl v mezičase článek přejmenován, a zase mu byl vrácen původní název. To jen dokládá preciznost práce správců Wikipedie. Být ale student – začínající editor, který poprvé píše článek, tak bych se cítila poněkud zaskočena tímto přístupem a změnami. Naštěstí měl student vytvářející tento článek i jiné studijní povinnosti, a tak tyto změny nezaregistroval. Přesto bych doporučovala více ohleduplnosti a případně vložit upozornění, neboť studenti obvykle moc do historie článku, aby zjistili, co se stalo, nenakukují.

V ročníku 2013/14 jsme rovněž řešili podstatné rozšíření článku v meziobdobí, které uběhlo od výběru zadání článku v březnu do jeho vytvoření, kdy student vyhledával podklady pro svou seminární práci. Vzhledem k tomu, že tento student neměl potíže s angličtinou, tak jsme se dohodli na rozšíření stávajícího článku a následném překladu do angličtiny. Podobným způsobem jsme reagovali na vytvoření nových webových stránek o vybrané stavbě či výrazné rozšíření dosavadních informací na webových stránkách.

V letošním ročníku 2014/15 vznikaly některé články již také na základě stavebně-historických průzkumů, které autoři-odborníci ochotně zapůjčili; články jsou povětšinou zpracovávány podstatně podrobněji a důkladněji. Loni (2013/14) byl při zpracování použit jeden stavebně-historický průzkum. Studenti uplynulých ročníků vesměs pozitivně hodnotili nejen nápomocnost Wikipedistů, ale také přístup lidí, kteří jim umožnili vstup do objektů a zajímali se o jejich práci. Dalším zmiňovanými přínosy bylo nejen naučení se a ujasnění architektonické terminologie v českém a u překladů v cizím (případně v mateřském) jazyce, ale také možnost vytvářet tento typ seminární práce, která bude dál užitečná i přínosná a neskončí v šuplíku.

A pokud čtete na Wikipedii článek o české či slovenské gotické stavbě, je možné, že byl zpracován studenty Fakulty architektury ČVUT právě v projektu „Studenti píší Wikipedii“.

by Kristyna Kysilkova at October 17, 2015 11:27 AM

October 16, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Creating change one step at a time: Miguel Zuñiga Gonzalez

Miguel Zuñiga Gonzalez first started as a Wikipedia volunteer in 2006. Today, he combines this passion with his love of teaching, and works with university students on improving Wikipedia’s coverage of medicine. Photograph by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

For Miguel Zuñiga Gonzalez, working with university students on improving the Spanish-language Wikipedia is not just a job, but a passion and a way to give back to the world. “It’s a great chance to teach young people that it’s important to give something back for everything you get,” he says.

A native of Mexico City, Miguel is an architect and a Spanish as a Foreign Language teacher working with public universities in Mexico, as well as a Wikipedia contributor of nine years. During the 2015 Wikimania conference held in his hometown, he shared details of his everyday work with medical students on Wikipedia and discussed various ways in which the flagship project can be developed further.

As a self-professed unregistered editor, Miguel’s first suggestion relates to the value of anonymous Wikipedia contributors. “We need to work hard to tell people not to be afraid to edit,” he says. “Being able to edit without logging-in is a great opportunity for people to start to get involved. In certain areas of the Spanish Wikipedia, such as history and the humanities in general, it is often difficult to make changes if you are a logged-in user. Edits made by unregistered users are given more consideration and are not removed as often, and it creates less pressure on people,” he reports.

Asked to choose one issue that he would like to change about Wikipedia, Miguel decides on the somewhat popular perception of the project’s verifiability. “For many teachers nowadays, it is hard to believe that Wikipedia has accurate information. They don’t even give themselves a chance to explore it, treating it almost like the devil incarnate because there is no brick-and-mortar institution behind [it] to support it,” he points out.

As an editor of the Spanish-language Wikipedia, Miguel notices the differences between the encyclopedia’s various language editions, of which there are now more than 290. “When reading an article on the English Wikipedia, you can see many things that it puts the emphasis on which are not highlighted in the Spanish version, and vice versa. You wouldn’t believe we all have the same goal, because we try to reach it in so many different ways,” he says. “I don’t think I really understood what intercultural communication was before I started editing Wikipedia.”

Another concern Miguel has is the lack of involvement of the general population with the project. “In Mexico, we all use Wikipedia for a lot, but we don’t contribute to it. Even if we find an error, we don’t do anything about it,” he says. “For all Latin American people, the Spanish Wikipedia needs a lot of help.” True to his teaching soul, however, he sees the possibility of change in the younger generations. “Young people are more inclined to share their knowledge with the world. Students, actually, get very motivated when they publish their work on Wikipedia as part of a paper. For them, it’s a challenge. Telling them that it will be for the whole world to review gives them even more of a reward.”

There are other advantages to this approach, too. “When students do research for their articles, they find practical uses from what they’re learning at the moment, such as the ability to search scientific databases,” says Miguel. “When a reference is properly used, it also gives them a chance to expand their knowledge. When they improve things even a little bit, by adding five or six references to an article, they make a big contribution by ensuring everything is reviewed.”

“It’s important to convince young people that it’s easy, that you don’t need to be this girl or that guy to create change one step at a time.”

Interview by Caitlin Cogdill, Global Fundraising Email Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

Profile by Tomasz W. Kozlowski, Wikimedia community volunteer

by Tomasz Kozlowski at October 16, 2015 03:22 PM

Third Wikimedia Spain conference takes place in Madrid

III Jornadas de Wikimedia España - Inkscape.jpg
Free Graphic Workshop. Photo by Pedro J. Pacheco, freely licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.

On September 25, 26 and 27, Wikimedia Spain celebrated its third Wikimedia Conference at the Colegio Mayor Universitario Isabel de España in Madrid.

The conference began on the afternoon of Friday, September 25 with different personal experiences related to some of the Wikimedia projects, especially Wikipedia. The first presentation was made by the designers Myriam Cea and Beatriz Fernández (Gráfica Liebre), who told how they came to Wikimedia movement through the collaboration with WikiArS initiative in Madrid, organizating workshops and facilitating the presentation of the project at Libre Graphics Meeting 2014, held in Leipzig (Germany). The next presentation was Pepa Pacheco, responsible for online communication at Museo del Traje (Costume Museum); she told about the use of digital media to improve public participation in the museums, the project Europeana Fashion and the edit-a-thon in which the Museum participated last January, which helped increase the content about fashion and clothing in the encyclopedia digital.

Talk about intellectual property and free licenses. Photo by Pedro J. Pacheco, freely licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.

The third presentation was given by Professor Camila Paz and three of her students from San Saturio School, who presented the Clásicos sonados project, whose aim is to record classical texts in their original language and their inclusion in the Wikimedia projects. After a short break, we attended a presentation by Pilar Mareca and Vicente Alcober, professors of the School of Telecommunications (Technical University of Madrid); they spoke about the educational project carried out since 2010 with students editing articles about Physics in Wikipedia. The last of the presentations was given by Olga Berrios, ICT and NGOs specialist, who described the situation of the contents related to disability, poverty or human rights in Wikipedia and proposed to establish the connection between Wikipedia and NGOs to improve such content. To end the day there was a lively round table with the participation of all the speakers and the audience.

Assistants to visit the National Archaeological Museum. Photo by PePeEfe, freely licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.

Saturday, September 26 was full of events. Earlier in the morning there was a workshop on the Wikidata project, conducted by telecommunication engineer Diego de las Heras, who presented the possibilities, the actual content and how to edit it, plus tools like Autolist 2. It was followed by a workshop on free graphics, by Myriam Cea and Beatriz Fernández (Gráfica Liebre), who showed how to use and how to take full advantage of free tools such as Inkscape, to generate vector graphics. Then Jesús Tramullas, professor at the University of Zaragoza, spoke about sources and verifiability in Wikipedia, on the problems of selection and use of primary sources in articles and references. To end the morning, Sara Rodriguez, lawyer specializing in intellectual property, presented the different types of copyright under the existing Spanish Intellectual Property Law, the most important movements of open knowledge that exist and an analysis of the Creative Commons licenses.

After a break for lunch, in the afternoon Wikimedia Spain held its fifth general assembly, where a new board for the next three years was elected. Finally, on the morning of Sunday September 27, we enjoyed two guided visits to the Museum of Romanticism and the National Archaeological Museum. Progress of the Conference could be tracked through social media platforms by following the hashtag #WikiConnection and we published a Storify about it.

The Wikimedia Conference was organized with the graphic design studio Gráfica Liebre.

III Jornadas de Wikimedia España - Asamblea.jpg
Group photo of the participants in the V General Assembly of Wikimedia Spain. Photo by Pedro J. Pacheco, freely licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.

Rubén Ojeda
Wikimedia Spain

by Ruben Ojeda at October 16, 2015 02:14 AM

Writing a good bug report or feature request

Overview of bug creation. Photo by Samuel Tarling, freely licensed under CC BY 3.0.

A software bug is an error or flaw in a computer program that produces incorrect or unintended results. Developers try to produce software that works as intended, but mistakes are inevitable. Wikimedia uses a system called Phabricator to organize software development and manage these bugs and feature requests.


Pre-cropped closeup of bug creation. Click for a larger image. Photo by Samuel Tarling, freely licensed under CC BY 3.0.

When you find a bug and submit a report to Wikimedia, it is important to provide as much information as possible, including good steps to reproduce the bug. Offering information that might be relevant—like the complete address of the page on which the problem happens and the web browser or the MediaWiki skin that you are using—helps developers replicate and fix the problem quicker. When you come across an issue you would like to report, it is very welcome to confirm the issue is not an intermittent one and can be reproduced.

After you have confirmed that the problem can be reproduced and have made note of the steps you took, it is time to visit Phabricator.

Creating a bug report or feature request requires the use of an account. Click the icon in the upper right corner and use your MediaWiki account by clicking the sunflower at the bottom of the log-in screen.

Once you are logged in, click the little ‘+’ in the top right corner and choose ‘Create New Task’. Now you can enter information about your discovered bug or feature request in a so-called “task”.


Screen displayed after bug is successfully created. Click for a larger image. Photo by Samuel Tarling, freely licensed under CC BY 3.0.

The first step is choosing a descriptive yet concise title for your task. Titles such as “When clicking edit, my browser crashes” are much better than “cannot edit”. The next step will be selecting which project you have found the bug in. If you are unsure you can just enter ‘MediaWiki-General-or-Unknown’ in the ‘Projects’ field. Someone else who takes a look at your report might change the project to a more specific one so it becomes easier for the corresponding project developers to find your report.

In the description you are encouraged to give the following information:

  • The steps you took to reproduce the issue (e.g. Load https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Example, then click ‘edit’)
  • What you expected to happen (e.g. I would be able to edit the article)
  • What actually happened (e.g. My browser stopped responding and crashed. I was using Firefox 40.0.3 on Windows 7)
  • Any other information which you think will help the developers understand and reproduce the problem

Once all relevant information and detail you can think of is in the bug report’s description, click the “Create Task” button at the bottom of the page. That’s it! Your bug report has now been created and everybody can take a look at it. Do not worry: if more information is needed, someone else will ask for it.

Thank you for helping make Wikimedia websites and MediaWiki become better! More information on Phabricator can be found on its help page, as well as a more detailed guide to reporting bugs and feature requests.

Samuel TarlingTech Ambassador

by Samuel Tarling at October 16, 2015 12:56 AM

October 15, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Highlights, September 2015

Wikimedia Highlights September 2015 lead image.jpg

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


Drone photography of Versailles

File:Drone Photography of Versailles - Lionel Allorge.webm

“When you see the gardens from above… it truly reveals all the intricacy, all the details of that work.” Video by Victor Grigas and Reetta Kemppi, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Lionel Allorge, a photographer and programmer from France, was frustrated by the difficult process of getting permission to use photos he had found online. That’s why he began to release his own photography under free licenses to Wikimedia Commons. One of his favorite projects involved taking photographs of the Palace of Versailles from the air. Aerial photographs of the palace exist, but those photos were not free to use.

Wikimedia project milestones: Swedish Wikipedia hits 2 million

Antidorcas marsupialis, female (Etosha, 2012).jpg
The featured image when the Swedish Wikipedia hit two million articles—a springbok. Image by Yathin S Krishnappa, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia projects hitting major milestones in September include:

  • The Swedish Wikipedia reached 2,000,000 articles on September 5. The two millionth article of the Swedish Wikipedia was one of many bot-created articles. Jan Ainali, of Wikimedia Sverige, says that the community is aware of the role of bots in getting to this milestone, but that it is still to be celebrated.
  • The Urdu Wikipedia reached 80,000 articles on September 9.
  • The Armenian Wiktionary has reached 90,000 entries on September 19.
  • The Swahili Wikipedia reached 30,000 articles on September 22.

What I Learned: Wikipedia Education Program in Argentina

Editatón en el Museo del Bicentenario 3.jpg
Building bridges between digital, scholar and open culture: Educational editathon at the Museo del Bicentenario. Image by Giselle Bordoy, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Delia Vazquez, a teacher trainer and a high school teacher, always considered that she was lacking a theoretical foundation that allowed her to defend and argue for Wikipedia’s use in the classroom—something that would allow her to “move away from the prejudices that are common among my colleagues”. With this feedback in mind, and an idea of the audience we wanted to address, an education program was designed for Wikimedia Argentina. It aimed to change the perceptions of Wikipedia in educational contexts, and emphasize the key role open culture has in education.

Every month, we will share a new story for shared learning from a different community. If you want to feature a lesson you learned, reach out!.

In September, we love monuments

Chiesa dio padre misericordioso 02.jpg
Jubilee Church in Tor Tre Teste , Rome, the winning picture of the 2014 Wiki Loves Monuments contest in Italy. Photo by Federico Di Iorio, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

In September 2015, the sixth edition of Wiki Loves Monuments, the largest photography competition in the world, was held. Thousands of Wikipedia readers and contributors from more than 30 countries around the globe took part in the contest, hoping to document their local heritage, contribute to Wikipedia, and perhaps win a little prize.

Check out the winners for 2015 from all across the world!

Reimagining the Wikimedia Foundation’s grants

Reimagining WMF Grants - GrantsDiagram.png
Participation from over 200 community members in the Reimagining WMF grants consultation led to planned changes to WMF’s grants programs illustrated by the above graphic. Image by Chris Schilling, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

The Wikimedia Community Resources team recently completed a successful consultation to change the structure of WMF grants. Many important findings surfaced through the last month, such as a desire for small, accessible grants, a need to simplify grant types, and requests for additional support during grant application and reporting. The feedback provided by participants has produced many substantive improvements in the reimagined structure for WMF grant programs.

Wikipedia’s very active editor numbers have stabilized—delve into the data with us

Highly active editor graph.png
Very active editor numbers (>100 edits per month) since the English Wikipedia’s launch in 2001. The thick red line symbolises a five-month moving average. Graph by Joe Sutherland, in the public domain.

The English Wikipedia’s population of very active editors—registered contributors with more than 100 edits per month—appears to have stabilized after a period of decline. We’re seeing some of the same trends globally on other language Wikipedias.

We have released a new dataset (documentation) to invite community members and researchers to join us in analyzing this trend. Some potential directions of investigation include:

  • Existing editors could be editing more
  • Fewer editors could be leaving
  • More editors could be coming back
  • The community could be reaching its new carrying capacity
  • Faster editing as a result of December 2014’s performance improvements (“How we made editing Wikipedia twice as fast“) could be enabling more edits
  • A temporary resurgence

Should I pay for a Wikipedia article?

Community Noun project 26111.svg
There are specific rules for when you can edit the English Wikipedia for money. Image by Erik Zachte, freely licensed under CC-by-3.0.

This question and answer-style piece details what individuals can and should know about paid editing on Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Terms of Use, covering Wikipedia and all other projects supported by the Foundation, require that all paid editing be disclosed, and you should never hire an undisclosed paid editor. It may be tempting to want a Wikipedia article about you or your company, but Wikipedia is first and foremost an encyclopedia. Not every person or business in the world will or should appear in an encyclopedia.

These guidelines apply only to the English Wikipedia and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Andrew ShermanDigital Communications InternWikimedia Foundation

Photo Montage: “Drone_Photography_of_Versailles_-_Lionel_Allorge.webm” by Victor Grigas and Reetta Kemppi, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.; “Chiesa dio padre misericordioso 02.jpg” by Federico Di Iorio, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0; “Highly active editor graph.png” by Joe Sutherland, in the public domain.; “Antidorcas marsupialis, female (Etosha, 2012).jpg” by Yathin S Krishnappa, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0; “Editatón en el Museo del Bicentenario 3.jpg” by Giselle Bordoy WMAR, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.; Collage by Andrew Sherman.

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

by Andrew Sherman at October 15, 2015 08:38 PM

News on Wikipedia: Nobel Prize winners written into Wikipedia

Svetlana Alexievich won the literature prize “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”. Photo by Elke Wetzig, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This week saw the awarding of the six annual Nobel prizes in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, physiology or medicine, and economics. In total, ten people and one organisation received a Nobel Prize medal, diploma, and 8 million Swedish kronor (around $1.2 million).

The Nobel Prize awards are presented by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of academic, cultural and/or scientific advances, and barring the economics prize, were first awarded in 1901. In total, the prizes have been awarded to 835 individuals and 21 organisations.

The article “Nobel Prize” on the English Wikipedia has been assessed by the community as a “good article”, meaning that it meets several criteria to be classed as a high-quality article. Around 22,900 articles on the project have been awarded this classification, which is around one in every 218 articles. It was one of the articles reviewed by Nature in a 2005 article comparing Wikipedia’s quality to that of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine was split between three recipients: Irish-born American William C. Campbell, Japanese biochemist Satoshi Ōmura (both of whom had no English-language article at all until last week), and Chinese chemist Tu Youyou. Tu’s win makes her only the 47th woman to win the prize, and the first citizen of the People’s Republic of China to receive the Nobel Prize in natural sciences.

The 48th woman was announced only a few days later: Svetlana Alexievich, an investigative journalist and non-fiction writer from Belarus, won the literature prize “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”. She is the first recipient of this award from Belarus, as well as the first journalist.

Winning the Nobel Peace Prize were the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, a group of four organisations integral to attempts to build a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia following the Jasmine Revolution of 2011. Head of the Nobel Committee, Kaci Kullmann Five, said that the quartet “established an alternative peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war”.

The Quartet, in fact, did not have an article on the English Wikipedia until after their win was announced; a rather modest stub was created in the minutes following the announcement.

In the five days since their win (and subsequent article creation), 47 different editors from all over the globe edited the article 134 times.

The French and Arabic articles are rather more detailed—perhaps unsurprising, given that they are the official languages of Tunisia. Thanks to their award, the Quartet now appears in a total of 43 language editions.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was split between Canadian Arthur B. McDonald and Japanese Takaaki Kajita for the discovery of neutrino oscillations proving neutrinos have mass, while Swedish scientist Tomas Lindahl, American chemist Paul L. Modrich, and Turkish chemist Aziz Sancar all jointly won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for studies into DNA repair.

Pageview graphs showing the spikes around each Nobel win. Image by Joe Sutherland, freely licensed under CC-0.

Alexievich’s article experienced the largest pageview spike of all eleven Prize winners as readers took to Wikipedia to learn more about the winners and their achievements, with more than 73,000 people following her win. Sancar’s article followed in second place with around 62,000 views, and Tu Youyou’s article attracted just shy of 49,000 page views.

The economics award went to Scottish-born Angus Deaton for his analysis of “consumption, poverty, and welfare”. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, who selected Deaton as the laureate, explained that “by linking detailed individual choices and aggregate outcomes, his research has helped transform the fields of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and development economics”.

Joe Sutherland, Communications intern, Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at October 15, 2015 08:33 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

První český wikipedista rezident působí na Masarykově univerzitě

Význam Wikipedie coby stále důležitějšího nástroje vzdělávání, kultivování a informování české společnosti si uvědomuje brněnská Masarykova univerzita, která od února 2015 zaměstnává vůbec prvního českého wikipedistu rezidenta – zkušeného redaktora české Wikipedie, který univerzitě pomáhá propojovat akademický svět s největší světovou encyklopedií ku prospěchu všech zúčastněných stran.

Prezentace Wikipedie studentům Masarykovy univerzity (2009). Autor: Petr Novák, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Prezentace Wikipedie studentům Masarykovy univerzity (2009). Autor: Petr Novák, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Univerzita píše Wikipedii

Mnohaletou tradici má ostatně na Masarykově univerzitě program Studenti píší Wikipedii, v rámci něhož vyučující při výuce vedou své studenty k rozšiřování Wikipedie namísto toho, aby jejich seminární práce končily v pedagogově šuplíku. V průběhu semestru se přitom studenti seznámí vedle studovaného tématu i se základními pravidly fungování kolaborativně tvořené on-line encyklopedie a naučí se citovat a kriticky hodnotit použité zdroje. I díky tomuto úsilí desítky zapojených vyučujících, podporovaných dobrovolníky z řad brněnských wikipedistů, se tak na univerzitě postupně daří poopravovat image Wikipedie, doposud obzvláště na středních školách vnímané téměř výhradně negativně jakožto snadný zdroj plagiovaných referátů. A komu stručný úvod do Wikipedie poskytnutý v rámci hodin religionistiky, divadelní vědy či pedagogiky nestačí, má možnost přihlásit se do předmětu Kreativní práce s informacemi, ve kterém je specifikům světa wiki věnována celá jedna učební jednotka. V minulém semestru přispěli jeho účastníci do Wikipedie 169 novými hesly.

Pedagogové FF MU Jiří Rambousek a Karolína Stehlíková (vpravo). Autor: Ben Skála, Benfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Pedagogové FF MU Jiří Rambousek a Karolína Stehlíková (vpravo). Autor: Ben Skála, Benfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Aktivní role zaměstnanců

Unikátní na spolupráci Masarykovy univerzity s Wikipedií je však především to, že do tvorby encyklopedie zapojila i vlastní zaměstnance. Díky iniciativě tiskového odboru rektorátu tak základní informace o fungování Wikipedie získaly kontaktní osoby všech univerzitních pracovišť (devět fakult a další instituce jako je univerzitní nakladatelství či muzeum), pro které se navíc na konci října uskuteční i půldenní workshop, na němž si práci s Wikipedií přímo vyzkouší a naučí se jak postupovat třeba v případě, že chtějí v encyklopedii aktualizovat údaj o počtu studentů své fakulty. Někteří zaměstnanci univerzity jsou na Wikipedii aktivní už dnes – jako např. anglista Jiří Rambousek, který by rád na univerzitní půdě založil tradici neformálních setkávání studentů i vědců nad psaním Wikipedie, a to přímo u vhodného zdroje – v knihovně filozofické fakulty. Vzdělaní lidé z univerzity mohou svými příspěvky do Wikipedie nejen přispět ke zvýšení její kvality v mnoha odbornějších oblastech, které dosud pokrývá jen bídně, ale jejich motivace má často i ryze pragmatický charakter – zajistit, aby na Wikipedii správné informace našli jejich vlastní studenti, kteří ji pro získání základního přehledu při svém studiu stejně již využívají. Z takto vzniklého materiálu pak mají ve výsledku prospěch všichni včetně nestudentů a dobře zpracované základy oboru na Wikipedii ještě mohou k jeho studiu přivádět další zájemce. Např. pedagožka Karolína Stehlíková z filozofické fakulty MU buduje pro své studenty uvnitř české Wikipedie jakousi miniencyklopedii skandinávského dramatu a kinematografie.

Marek Blahuš, wikipedista rezident na Masarykově univerzitě. Autor: Ben Skála, Benfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Marek Blahuš, wikipedista rezident na Masarykově univerzitě. Autor: Ben Skála, Benfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Univerzitní časopis Muni věnoval již v roce 2011 celou stránku Wikipedii při příležitosti jejího 10. výročí. Autor: David Povolný, Muni.cz, březen 2011

Univerzitní časopis Muni věnoval již v roce 2011 celou stránku Wikipedii při příležitosti jejího 10. výročí. Autor: David Povolný, Muni.cz, březen 2011

Spolupráce s komunitou Wikipedie

Rozšiřování vybraných stěžejních encyklopedických článků se ale i tak univerzita rozhodla svěřit odborníkům – týmu zkušených redaktorů Wikipedie, kteří mají zajistit, že články o univerzitě a jejích nejvýznamnějších součástech se co do přesnosti, rozsáhlosti a kvality zpracování přiblíží necelé pětistovce z 333 tisíc článků české Wikipedie vyznamenaných redaktorskou komunitou jako „dobré články“. To vyžaduje nejenom kvalitně napsaný a dobře strukturovaný text pokrývající celé téma, ale také uvedení zdrojů ke všem zásadním tvrzením, dobré propojení odkazy na související články a doplnění textu obrázky či fotografiemi. Potřebné podklady získává tým wikipedistů fungujících pod hlavičkou WikiProjektu Masarykova univerzita jak vlastními aktivitami, kam spadá i vytvoření prohledávatelného elektronického korpusu textů univerzitních časopisů MuniUniversitas (užitečného i dalším pracovníkům tiskového odboru), tak i spoluprací s osobami z univerzity – rešeršování zdrojů a nedostatky článků mají wikipedisté v některých případech možnost konzultovat přímo s pracovníkem, který je s historií i současným fungováním příslušné univerzitní součásti dobře obeznámen (např. knihovnice, pracovnice muzea, ředitel kina, archivář).

Vzhledem k nutnosti sestavit a mobilizovat celou tuto strukturu spolupracovníků jde zatím rozšiřování článků o fakultách a dalších součástech univerzity spíše pomalu, a to i navzdory finančnímu ohodnocení, které Masarykova univerzita zapojeným wikipedistům nabízí. Wikipedie je totiž už od svého vzniku v roce 2001 nekomerční projekt, takže její přispěvatelé jsou v drtivé většině dobrovolníci – s vlastním časovým plánem i tematickou vyhraněností. Finanční odměna za práci, kterou dosud vykonávali dobrovolně, pro takové lidi obvykle není hlavní motivací, ačkoliv na jejich získání coby spolupracovníků a nasměrování na vybraná témata má jistě svůj vliv. Neméně důležité však je připomínat této nadšenecké komunitě význam tohoto projektu a postupně budovat struktury a metody, které napomohou jejich efektivnímu zapojení – a oficiální podpora od vedení MU, které se spolupracujícím wikipedistům v poslední době stále více dostává, mezi takovéto motivační faktory jistě patří. Současně se jeví jako rozumné vychovávat si i nové wikipedisty přímo na MU, protože stávající necelá stovka velmi aktivních redaktorů české Wikipedie bude vždy velkou měrou vytížena řízením a rozvojem encyklopedie jako celku – což je správné, protože tato činnost je pro základní fungování encyklopedie velmi důležitá. Wikipedické rezidenstvíplacené editování (se všemi pravidly pro zachování transparentnosti) jsou stále ještě poměrně mladé fenomény, tím spíše v české wikikomunitě, takže tento typ aktivity i se všemi předpoklady pro jeho fungování a důsledky, které z něho plynou, je nový vlastně pro všechny zúčastněné.

Stan týmu Wikipedie na MU v rámci Noci vědců 2015. Autor: Dominik Matus, CC BY-SA 4.0

Stan týmu Wikipedie na MU v rámci Noci vědců 2015. Autor: Dominik Matus, CC BY-SA 4.0

Výročí 10 let setkávání brněnské komunity redaktorů Wikipedie (září 2015). Autor: Ben Skála, Benfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Výročí 10 let setkávání brněnské komunity redaktorů Wikipedie (září 2015). Autor: Ben Skála, Benfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Jan Sokol přednášel 14. září 2015 o Wikipedii pedagogům FF MU. Autor: Ben Skála, Benfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Jan Sokol přednášel 14. září 2015 o Wikipedii pedagogům FF MU. Autor: Ben Skála, Benfoto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Další proběhlé aktivity

Dnes již slibně rozjetou spolupráci Wikipedie s Masarykovou univerzitou coby „první českou wikiuniverzitou“ inicioval v lednu 2013 Spolek absolventů a přátel Masarykovy univerzity, původně jako dobrovolnický projekt vyzývající k rozšiřování článků o významných absolventech a dalších osobnostech MU. Ke spolupráci přizval brněnského wikipedistu a absolventa MU Marka Blahuše, avšak práce na projektu zpočátku nabírala na intenzitě jen pomalu, paralelně s rozvojem aktivit brněnské komunity wikipedistů, která se dnes schází jedenkrát měsíčně v počtu přibližně deseti osob. V listopadu 2014 se poprvé z Prahy do Brna přesunula výroční Wikikonference (článek o ní zde), na které stav encyklopedických článků souvisejících s MU prezentoval předseda spolku absolventů Tomáš Mozga. Ten se také nejvíce zasloužil o průběžná vyjednávání s představiteli univerzity, která vyvrcholila na konci ledna 2015, kdy rektor MU Mikuláš Bek převzal záštitu nad aktivitami univerzitního týmu wikipedistů a několik dní na to byla zahájena příprava stávajícího WikiProjektu Masarykova univerzita, kterého se ujal David Povolný z tiskového odboru rektorátu. Ten již na jaře 2014 zadal vznik právního textu umožňujícího šíření vybraných článků a fotografií dokumentujících dění na univerzitě pod svobodnou licencí Creative Commons. Na vypracování tohoto předpisu, jakož i jeho v současnosti připravovaného zevšeobecnění, se coby zaměstnanec Centra pro transfer technologií MU podílel právník Matěj Myška, který současně působí i jako vedoucí pracovní skupiny Creative Commons Česká republika.

S deklarovanou podporou vedení už v průběhu roku 2015 Wikipedie prostřednictvím wikipedisty rezidenta Marka Blahuše navázala spolupráci s mnoha dalšími součástmi univerzity – namátkou zmiňme Informační systém Masarykovy univerzity, který poskytuje citace archivovaných závěrečných prací ve formátu ihned použitelném ke zdrojování informací na Wikipedii; Archiv Masarykovy univerzity, jehož ředitel doporučil zdroje pro psaní článků; tým tvůrců připravované elektronické publikace ke 100. výročí založení MU s názvem „Munipedie“; stánek Wikipedie v rámci účasti MU na akci Noc vědců. Nadstandardní spolupráce probíhá s Filozofickou fakultou Masarykovy univerzity, která dnes hostí většinu z předmětů na MU zařazených do programu Studenti píší Wikipedii. Její děkan Milan Pol v září 2015 převzal záštitu a bezplatně poskytl prostory pro uspořádání semináře pro pedagogy o používání Wikipedie ve výuce s názvem „Masarykova univerzita ujíždí na Wikipedii“, jehož hlavním hostem byl profesor filozofie Jan Sokol, který do Brna přijel pedagogy povzbudit a potvrdit svou dlouhodobou podporu Wikipedii, do které sám aktivně přispívá (videozáznam semináře zde).

Monitoring aktivit týkajících se Masarykovy univerzity a Wikipedie od ledna 2015 přináší elektronický měsíčník Wikizpravodaj MU, který je možné bezplatně odebírat e-mailem.

Pohled do budoucna

V posledních týdnech probíhají jednání o možném budoucím partnerství Masarykovy univerzity se spolkem Wikimedia Česká republika, který již dříve aktivitám univerzitního týmu Wikipedie vyjádřil podporu, a o konkrétnější podobě pokračování spolupráce v roce 2016. Zájem o sdílení zkušenosti a následování průkopnické role Masarykovy univerzity v oblasti celouniverzitní spolupráce s Wikipedií již začínají projevovat také další české univerzity.

by Marek Blahuš at October 15, 2015 11:26 AM

October 14, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Indian-language projects depend on each other: Ahmed Nisar

Ahmed Nisar-3.jpg
Ahmed Nisar spent more than twenty years in the field of education. Photo by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

I believe Hindi is incomplete without Urdu, and that Urdu is incomplete without Hindi. If you want to develop the Hindi Wikipedia, you must develop the Urdu Wikipedia and vice versa.

I am fortunate to have met Ahmed Nisar Syed on three important events over the last year—the WMF-India Community Consultation in Bangalore in October 2014, the Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meet at Delhi in February 2015, and most recently during Wikimania 2015 in Mexico this July. These only highlight his proactive approach to offwiki events and meetups besides being a versatile contributor to Wikipedia in four languages—Urdu, Telugu, Hindi and English—as well as on other Wikimedia projects. He edits on most wikis as Ahmed Nisar, and on the Urdu Wikipedia as Ahmadnisar.

Although currently based in Pune, India, Nisar was born in Madanapalle, a city in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. He spent almost 23 years in the field of education. During this time, his multilingual pursuits resulted in the completion of his master of philosophy dissertation, entitled The Impact of Urdu on Hindi Films. Nisar retired in 2006, and one of his major interests since 2007 has been editing Wikipedia in areas as diverse as religion, philosophy, geography, politics, languages, and science.

Nisar recalls that, during his initial period of editing, there were only two active Indian users on the Urdu Wikipedia—himself and Samarqandi. Today, he notes that there are at least fourteen currently active users in India, including Mohd Shuaib and Rehan Kausar, and more from Pakistan, such as Tahir Mahmood. Urdu is spoken by around 4.7 percent of the world’s population, and the Urdu Wikipedia currently contains more than 82,000 articles.

On the Telugu Wikipedia, Nisar notes Vyja Satya, Sujatha, Venkataramana, Arjuna Rao and Sultan Khader as excellent contributors, as well as many other active users. He also speaks about the good editing association he shared with Manoj Khurana and myself on the Hindi Wikipedia.

Nisar stresses that, because they are mutually intelligible languages, there is a tremendous scope of cooperation between projects in Hindi and Urdu. In his own words, “If you want to develop the Hindi Wikipedia, you must develop the Urdu Wikipedia and vice-versa.”

Nisar was the recipient of the 2014 “Komarraju Lakshmana Rao Wikimedia Puraskaram” (KLRWP) Award for his contributions to the Telugu Wikipedia, and has been part of outreach events for Wikipedia in both Telugu and Urdu languages. In line with his linguistic pursuits, he favours an integrated plan for the promotion of Persian script-based Indic Wikipedias, such as those in Urdu, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Punjabi (Shahmukhi script), as well as the Dakhni Urdu Wikipedia, which he hopes will be launched in the near future.

As an academic, Nisar has a keen eye on classical Urdu literature available in several libraries of high repute. He already had talks with some of the resource persons and intends to work towards their digitization either with the help of an Individual Engagement Grant or through other means. “Talks are going on with few institutions [about the] digitization of their library books on Unani medicine,” he says. “I strongly believe that these kinds of projects will definitely help to do some better work.”

Nisar is also exploring the possibility of holding new Urdu Wikipedia workshops in different locations across India as part of a team effort involving three Urdu Wikipedia sysops—himself, Mohd Shuaib, and I.

On a parting note, Nisar warns Indians against excessive preference to English over their native languages. He cites the example of large sections of the Telugu-speaking population opting for English media in Andhra Pradesh. “The government, private and corporate schools are also encouraging it,” he says. “It will one day lead [the language to become] extinct. Urdu is also sailing in the same boat.”

Similarly, he notes that Urdu language experts are seemingly unaware of current affairs and grammar. “It is a matter of fact and a point of jeopardy too, that the Urdu language experts, who have completed their postgraduate and doctoral studies, are not well versed with current knowledge,” he explains. “There are no Urdu experts, even, who are well versed in the modern sciences and technologies.”

He hopes that Wikipedia will serve as a bridge between the knowledge of traditional culture and modernity, provided Wikipedians contribute in their native language and thus preserve their heritage for future.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Wikimedian

by Syed Muzammiluddin at October 14, 2015 09:42 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Již posedmé představili dobrovolníci českou Wikipedii v Havlíčkově Brodě

Diskuze s návštěvníky podzimního knižního veletrhu v Havlíčkově Brodu (foto: Aktron, CC BY-SA 4.0).

Diskuze s návštěvníky podzimního knižního veletrhu v Havlíčkově Brodu (foto: Aktron, CC BY-SA 4.0).

Wikimedia Česká republika je na Podzimním knižním veletrhu, který se koná každý rok v Havlíčkově Brodě, již tradičním hostem. Během dvou dní, kdy se konal (9. a 10. října), se podařilo wikipedistům oslovit několik desítek lidí.

Tak jako v loňském roce si i letos mohli návštěvníci vyzkoušet opravování chyb na české Wikipedii. Na stánku, který byl označen logem největší online encyklopedie, byly připraveny dva počítače, na kterých dobrovolníci z komunity Wikipedie představili, jak takové chyby vypadají, a jak je lze opravit. Řada zájemců byla překvapena tím, že stránky na Wikipedii lze editovat mnohem snáze (několika kliknutími), než se dosud domnívali.

Opravit chybu bylo snadné, rozšířit článek už samozřejmě těžší. Ti z návštěvníků, kteří byli zvídavější, se pustili do mnohdy i dlouhých diskuzí a wikipedisté jim vysvětlili jak encyklopedie funguje, kdo za ní stojí a jak se postupně rozšiřuje. Došla i řeč na problematiku a význam svobodných licencí, díky kterým je obsah na Wikipedii svobodně dostupný komukoliv. Za úspěšné opravení chyb na české Wikipedii poté návštěvníci obdrželi malý dárek.

Mnozí se o tom, že mohou text na Wikipedii upravit tak jednoduše, jako v textovém editoru, dozvěděli vůbec poprvé. Zájem se ze strany návštěvníků ukázal být ze všech směrů; od botaniků přes studenty až po děti. A přišel dokonce i pan starosta z obce Kostelec u Jihlavy.

Překvapivě se ukázalo, že řada návštěvníků veletrhu používá v běžném životě Wikipedii nejen v češtině, ale i v dalších jazycích – kromě angličtiny i v němčině. A to také proto, že větší verze online encyklopedie mají nejen více článků, ale hlavně bohatší obsah.

Značný zájem vyvolal také i projekt fotografování chráněných území, který byl na wikipedistickém stánku představen. Jako vždy si lidé oblíbili pexesa s tématikou snímků přírodních památek. Rozhovory s jednotlivými návštěvníky se poté stočily velmi často k tématu fotografování. Překvapivě se ukázalo, že někteří návštěvníci rádi přírodní, ale i kulturní památky sami fotí, disponují rozsáhlými archivy a nemají problém s jejich uveřejněním pod licencí Creative Commons.

Atmosféra na podzimním knižním veletrhu byla obecně příznivá a lidé měli o Wikipedii zájem. Z celého setkání se sice nepodařilo udělat editační workshop a chyb bylo opraveno jen zhruba kolem desítky, nicméně i tak byl počet návštěvníků, které se podařilo oslovit, nemalý. Do příštího roku doufáme, že bude akce pokračovat stejně úspěšně a nebo ještě lépe!

by Jan Loužek at October 14, 2015 06:27 PM

October 13, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Supporting access to mass digitization collections

We feel that the Copyright Office’s conception of mass digitization is misguided. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, in the public domain.

The Wikimedia Foundation, in coordination with Creative Commons and the Internet Archive, urges the U.S. Copyright Office not to propose a pilot program that inhibits fair use or undermines freely accessible mass digitization projects. The program aims to make copyright policy less of a burden on institutions that make digital versions of their collections available. While this is an admirable goal, we feel that the Copyright Office’s pilot program is limited, and will unnecessarily restrict access to digitized collections.

We have submitted comments to the Copyright Office today criticizing the Office’s proposed mass digitization pilot program. Creative Commons and the Internet Archive also submitted their own comments today.

The Copyright Office’s program would allow institutions to licence their entire digital collections without having to secure an individual copyright license for each work in the collection. The program is based on a system of extended collective licensing (ECL), similar to existing ECL systems in Europe.

We feel that the Copyright Office’s conception of mass digitization is misguided. The program is based on the model of Google Books, where one institution does all of the digitizing. However, the framework does not allow for decentralized mass digitization projects like Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons that have individual contributors all over the world. The program also applies only to books (“literary works”) and photographs, excluding sound and video recordings. The Wikimedia projects are examples of the future of mass digitization, but the Copyright Office’s program is not designed to facilitate projects like them.

The Copyright Office is also considering additional limitations in the pilot program that would severely restrict access to digitized collections. In its request for comments, the Copyright Office indicated that access to the collections may be limited to users affiliated with the digitizing institutions, and possibly only to users using on-site terminals. For example, a user may only be able to view the content in the collection if they were using a computer at the digitizing institution, such as a library. In addition, the pilot program will likely require digital collections to have “security measures” (also known as digital rights management, or DRM) that would make it difficult or impossible for users to make authorized uses of works, including downloading and remixing content in the collections. Because the Wikimedia movement believes everyone should have unlimited access to the sum of all knowledge, we oppose all of these restrictions in our comments. We are particularly concerned with the possibility that these restrictions would apply to public domain or freely licensed works in digital collections, and not just non-free copyrighted works.

Though the program will not directly apply to the Wikimedia projects, we fear that it will have unintended consequences for projects that, like the Wikimedia projects, provide open access to their collections and have a decentralized group of contributors.

The submission of these comments is part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s ongoing public policy efforts. You can learn more about those efforts at Wikimedia’s public policy site, which we launched last month.

Charles M. Roslof, Intellectual Property & Internet Law Fellow
Yana Welinder, Legal Director

by Yana Welinder and Charles M. Roslof at October 13, 2015 06:50 PM

WikipediansSpeak: Telugu-language library catalog project helps Wikipedia grow

Viswanadh B.K. was the second Telugu Wikimedian to be given an Individual Engagement Grant. Photo by విశ్వనాధ్.బి.కె., freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

In 2013, the interview project “WikipediansSpeak” was launched in response to observations that many noteworthy Wikimedians were being underrepresented both locally and globally. Not just them personally—their work, and the communities they represent, were also unknown to the Wikimedia community and the outside world. The Wikimedia Foundation’s fundraising campaigns were the biggest inspiration for the project. From video-only interviews, this is an attempt at different ways of interviews, and is the first interview showcasing a Telugu Wikimedian: Viswanadh B.K., who was an Individual Engagement (IEG) Grantee last year and has continued to be active in outreach.

Recently, you attended a Telugu Wikipedia workshop for the Botany-major undergraduate students at Andhra Loyola College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Would you like to talk a little bit about your participation, how the program was designed, the activities there and the output? How are you planning to mentor the students in the future?

The staff and students are quite enthusiastic, and the students are dedicating considerable time to learning, and reflecting their learning, while editing the Telugu Wikipedia. However, they need more training on basics of Wikipedia, as well as on policies and guidelines. Without that, they might end up creating low quality articles that the community will face problems cleaning up. Centre for Internet and Society’s Access To Knowledge program (CIS-A2K), that has been organizing these sessions in the college, should seek out more support from the Telugu Wikimedia community so that the experienced editors could mentor these students. I feel it would be a good idea to award the students and faculty with certificates. These small little things often motivate many.

What part should the community and CIS-A2K be playing in the Wikimedia movement? What could and should we do for the Telugu community?

Many in our community do not know how programs like CIS-A2K work. Maybe there is a need to provide some kind of orientation for them which will help them to understand how they could approach CIS asking for support. This process could also help the community understand CIS’s activities and its programmatic implementation. More collaboration, and understanding of the program among the community, will improve involvement in CIS’s activities as well as CIS’s understanding of the community.

You were the second Telugu Wikipedian to be awarded with an Individual Engagement Grant (IEG). How did it go, and what did you achieve? Based on your own experience, how are you planning to groom this year’s applicants from Telugu and other Indian language Wikimedia communities?

This IEG was my dream come true! Back in 2009, I blogged about the potential of opening up library catalogs on the Internet for people to search for books. It took shape with my grant project: “Digitization of Important Libraries Book Catalog in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana”. I worked on an extensive project, digitizing the catalogs of five libraries—a total of 300,000 books—in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. I learned a lot, and documented part of my learning, which talks about the ways one should go about partnering with Indian institutions. I believe, my interaction with fellow Wikimedians must have helped them to better their grants applications this year. And I am hoping that I will continue to support more friend from my community and country in the future.

What drove you, over the years, to work on a project like this digitizing library catalogs? Were there any additional learning and benefits from this project?

In this digital age, people searching for books on the Internet might have developed the notion that if a book is not available online, it doesn’t exist. I have been experiencing this very issue while looking for evidence notability and citations on the Telugu Wikipedia. Many Wikipedia editors argue for citing at least the name of the book when the book is not available online. This pushed me to create a central catalog that will benefit Wikipedians, researchers, and readers. In the process of creating the catalog, I also managed to develop strong relations with several cultural organizations. These include Kathanilayam, a dedicated organization collecting every Telugu story; the Annamayya Library, which developed into a great cultural center in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh; and the Suryaraya Vidyananda Library, whose collection is enriched with rare manuscripts and important books. I touch based with them then, and they are slowly becoming household names for other Wikimedians for their library-related needs. We can see the potential of strong partnerships and synergy with these libraries.

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

by Subhashish Panigrahi at October 13, 2015 03:12 AM

October 09, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

#FREEBASSEL: Free culture advocate who built 3D renderings of Palmyra missing in Syria

Open-source advocate and Wikipedian Bassel Khartabil has been taken from a Syrian prison and brought to an unknown location. Photo by Christopher Lee Adams, public domain.

The ancient city of Palmyra in Syria has been targeted for destruction by the extremist group ISIL (or ISIS). Bassel Khartabil, an open-source advocate and Wikipedian who was determined to digitally preserve the city for future generations, has been detained by the Syrian government for three years. He was recently moved out of the prison where he was being held; his current location is unknown, and his friends and family fear for his safety.

Palmyra has been described as “one of the most renowned archaeological sites in the world,” and “home to some of the world’s most magnificent remnants of antiquity.” Recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1980, artifacts found at this desert oasis have been dated to as far back as the Neolithic period, about 9,500 years ago. As a crossroads along a main east-west trade route, the city played an outsized regional role for many years, dating to the third century BCE. Many of the city’s ruins remain unexcavated, but archaeological digs have been halted since the onset of the Syrian Civil War.

In May 2015, the ancient city was taken by ISIL, which is notable not only for its conquest of large swathes of Syria and Iraq but also for their destruction of cultural heritage. While the group initially stated it would spare much of the site, destroying only monuments that they found “polytheistic,” they have subsequently razed even ruins without religious significance. A Roman amphitheater has been used for executions, and an eminent Syrian archaeologist known as “Mr. Palmyra” was beheaded in August following a month of torture. On October 6, it was confirmed that ISIL had destroyed the Arch of Triumph—a triple arch constructed by the Romans in the second century CE to commemorate a victory over Persian forces.

Years before these events, Bassel was working to digitally capture Palmyra’s splendor and heritage, as part of his commitment to sharing freely with the world. In 2008, Bassel started a project that joined existing satellite photos and other resources into a single “world” file, rendering the city’s magnificent monuments and ruins in 3D. His efforts have gone unfinished since his incarceration: only sixteen photos from his efforts are available on the Internet Archive, though more data will be released into the public domain on newpalmyra.org on October 15 by Bassel’s friend and collaborator, Jon Phillips.

When Bassel was not busy sharing his country’s cultural treasures, he is a software developer known for being instrumental in the development of the open-source movement in the Arabic-speaking world. He was an early and frequent, if anonymous, contributor to Arabic Wikipedia. He built and led the Creative Commons (CC) Syria project, becoming an advocate for not just CC but for Ubuntu, Wikipedia, and the free web in general. The now-former CC chief Catherine Casserly wrote in 2013 that Bassel “worked tirelessly to build knowledge of digital literacy, educating people about online media and open-source tools.” At the launch of CC’s Arabic-language CC licenses, he was credited with playing a “pivotal role” in their adoption.

Bassel was also a major contributor to open-source initiatives such as Mozilla and Openclipart; Bassel’s Aiki Framework still powers the latter. He co-founded the web design company Fabricatorz with Jon Phillips, and  helped found Aiki Lab, a community technology and cultural space in Damascus that hosted thought leaders and luminaries from open culture, including Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman and CEO of Mozilla. Many young people in Damascus learned about sharing and open culture through Aiki Lab, and Bassel could often be found there at all hours of the day, as it had faster Internet than he had at home.

On March 15, 2012, Bassel disappeared while traveling to the Mazzeh district of Damascus. It was the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the country’s civil uprising and just weeks before he planned to marry his fiance, human rights lawyer Noura Ghazi. It is unclear how he was identified and what circumstances led to his detention.

For the past three years, Bassel has been held in the city’s Adra prison, accused of harming state security. The United Nations found (PDF, p. 75) that the many allegations of Bassel’s torture, ill-treatment, and lack of access to a lawyer amounted to a violation of his basic human rights. A recent opinion from the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also found that his “deprivation of liberty” had an “arbitrary character.” Although circumstances of his imprisonment had been difficult—Adra has been characterized as “infamous” by the Washington Post—it was at least located in Damascus, near Bassel’s friends and family. Bassel and Noura were married in January 2013, with the groom still behind bars.

According to Noura, Bassel was told on October 3rd by military police to pack his belongings for departure under a “sealed order from the field court.” Fearing his fate, he gave his wedding ring to a friend and fellow prisoner before leaving. His family has no further information about his current status or location.

Bassel’s close friend and former coordinator for Creative Commons in the Arab world, Donatella Della Ratta, says that she and Noura are very worried about Bassel. They fear that he is facing a summary trial with no legal representation. “We need to know where he is,” said Donatella, “and we call for his immediate release from detention.” On Facebook, Noura wondered, “how many times should I go back to feel the same terror, worry, and fear from the unknown?”

At the Wikimedia Foundation, we celebrate Bassel’s commitment to free knowledge and open culture. As a member of the global Wikimedia community, we are concerned about his safety and support efforts to see him free again soon.

More information is available on freebassel.org, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, FreeBasselSafadi on Facebook, and @freebassel on Twitter. Tweets can be tagged with #freebassel, and you can sign a solidarity petition to express your support on Change.org.

Katherine Maher, Chief Communications Officer
Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation


by Katherine Maher and Ed Erhart at October 09, 2015 10:14 PM

News on Wikipedia: FIFA president suspended, and more

Sepp Blatter has found himself under renewed calls to step down from his position. Photo by the International Students’ Committee, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

FIFA, the world’s organising body overseeing association football all over the world, has spent much of this year battling with corruption claims. Police in several countries have launched investigations into accusations that some of their highest-ranked officials may have been involved in bribery.

This month, FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter was urged by four major sponsors of the federation to immediately step down from his position. Today, Blatter was suspended for ninety days by the federation’s ethics committee.

He had previously won re-election just two days after police arrested fourteen people, including seven officials, on corruption charges in May.

An article on these arrests, “2015 FIFA corruption case”, was drafted hours after they were made. The original author was Gareth Kegg, who has been editing Wikipedia for more than ten years and has, at the time of writing, created 1,564 articles on the site. The first draft was fairly modest: based on one rolling news story from British newspaper The Guardian, it named nine of the highest-profile arrests as well as the background leading up to the leadership vote on May 28–29.

Since its creation, the article has grown from just a few paragraphs to an article documenting the history of the allegations—from even before the May arrests which brought the story to front pages worldwide—which now contains a total of 83 references, as well as a link to the court papers on the United States Department of Justice.

The article’s attracted 534 edits since its creation—an average of around four edits per day—by more than 200 users from all over the world. Arguably the world’s most popular sport, it’s not surprising that football is a popular topic on Wikipedia: WikiProject Football, one of many editor taskforces on Wikipedia, considers more than a quarter of a million articles to be under its scope, and has 400 editors signed up as members.

The article now covers international reaction to the indictments, FIFA’s suspension of the World Cup bidding process, and Blatter’s decision to step down ahead of an extraordinary FIFA Congress in 2016.

For the four sponsors, however—Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Visa, and Budweiser—Blatter’s decision is not enough. They this week called for him to immediately leave his post as President of FIFA, following reports last week that he had made “disloyal payments” to the head of the European confederation of FIFA in 2011. The four companies provide a large part of the estimated $1.62 billion FIFA takes in every four years in World Cup sponsorship. Blatter denies wrongdoing, and refuses to respond to the sponsors’ demands.

Today, members of the FIFA ethics committee suspended Blatter, as well as two other officials, for 90 days in relation to the suspect payments. This decision was reflected swiftly on Wikipedia.

South Carolina National Guard Prepares for Hurricane Joaquin.jpg
The South Carolina National Guard provided locals with sandbags in preparation for the storms. Photo by the South Carolina National Guard, in the public domain.

Also in the news this week was Hurricane Joaquin, which this week battered the Caribbean with winds peaking at 155 mph (250 km/h). It was the strongest Atlantic hurricane since 2010’s Hurricane Igor, and caused extensive damage to the Bahamas and Bermuda. It is thought to have caused the deaths of at least 50 people, the majority of them crew on missing cargo ship SS El Faro, presumed to have sunk following widespread searching.

Joaquin contributed to the October 2015 North American storm complex affecting the eastern United States, in particular the states of North and South Carolina. The storm, known locally as a “nor’easter”, has caused catastrophic flash flooding since September 29, ongoing in areas of South Carolina.

At least 18 deaths have been attributed to the storm, the majority of them in South Carolina. The flooding is thought to have caused billions of dollars worth of damage to homes in the regions worst hit. Parts of South Carolina have been declared disaster areas, and more than 1,300 National Guard soldiers have been mobilised.

In the early hours of October 3, the United States Air Force bombed a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing twenty-two people and injuring more than 30 more. The United States and NATO have launched investigations into the incident, condemned as a violation of international humanitarian law by MSF.

The hospital was the only active medical facility in the area, reported The Atlantic, and has been essentially shut down. Critical patients were referred to other providers and MSF staff were evacuated from Kunduz. US President Barack Obama gave his “deepest condolences” in a statement made following the attack, while the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, demanded an independent investigation.

Joe Sutherland, Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at October 09, 2015 09:07 PM

October 08, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Join us for #Wikinobel 2015

Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, outside.jpg
Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway. Photo by Astrid Carlsen, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

On October 9, 2014, the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway screened the announcement of the two winners of the annual Nobel Peace Prize made by the Nobel Committee. One, Malala Yousafzai, was and is well-known around the world for her activism in her native Pakistan for human rights and female education. The other, Kailash Satyarthi—an Indian children’s rights advocate—was far less known and had not been thought of as a favorite for the prize. To find out about Satyarthi, many people turned to Wikipedia, where an article was created within minutes of the announcement.

In part, this was thanks to a unique partnership between the Nobel Peace Center, Wikimedia Norge (Norway), and the Wikimedia community. Last year, the Peace Center invited several Wikipedia editors to their live video screening, and the success of that event has led to a second invitation this year.

“The Nobel Peace Center is the museum about the Nobel Peace Prize, the laureates and their work. By inviting Wikimedia to the Nobel Peace Center on the day the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 will be announced, we invite anyone interested, no matter where they are, to get immersed in a fascinating topic and participate in #wikinobel,” said Bente Erichsen, the director of the Center.

Our aim is to update as many Wikipedias as possible after the announcement of this year’s Peace Prize laureate(s) on October 9 by the Nobel Committee at 11:00 (UTC+1). The staff at the Nobel Peace Center will try to provide us with information and books about potential laureate(s), but they themselves won’t know who the laureate(s) are until the announcement. In other words, we will be nearly in the next room from where the announcement is screened at the Nobel Peace Center, updating relevant articles as fast as we can.

For this to be a truly global event, we invite anyone who’s interested to join us in the IRC channel #wikinobel on October 9, where we’ll be talking and coordinating the effort to update Wikipedias and other Wikimedia projects as the event unfolds. We’ll also try to live-tweet the event and take photos using the hashtag #wikinobel. Photos will of course also be uploaded to Commons in the category Nobel Peace Prize 2015, and we have been promised that the former and new directors of the Peace Center will stop by to see the impressive work we accomplish!

Please join in!

Astrid Carlsen
Wikimedia Norge

by Astrid Carlsen at October 08, 2015 04:26 AM

Wikipedia awareness programs drive Bangla Wikipedia usage

Students of Chittagong Agrabad Government Colony High School showing ‘W’ sign at the Program. Photo by Motiur Rahman Oni, Wikimedia Commons, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

As part of the legacy of the Bangla Wikipedia’s expansive ten-year anniversary celebrations, the Bengla (or Bengali) Wikimedia community and Wikimedia Bangladesh—a local chapter—has been hosting Wikipedia awareness programs in schools around the country.

Participants from Rajshahi collegiate school. Photo by Nahid Sultan, Wikimedia Commons, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Out of nine programs, three were held in Dhaka, four in Chittagong, one in Patgram Upazila, and one in Rajshahi. Local Wikipedians, school teachers, cultural clubs helped to organize the events, which were each attended by an average of seventy students from ninth to twelfth grade. The events received press coverage from around the country, including newspapers like Prothom Alo.[1]

Surveys conducted before each event confirmed previous anecdotes, showing that about half of the participants did not know what Wikipedia actually is, and a further fifth believed that it is a sister project to Google. A tenth thought it was sponsored by a government, and only one tenth knew that it was an encyclopedia, with the remainder taken up by non-responses and miscellaneous answers. Given these results, it should be unsurprising that only a bare minimum of the attendees knew that Wikipedia was publicly editable.

Participants in Patgram event. Photo by Nahid Sultan, Wikimedia Commons, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

With those in mind, we started each event with a brief introduction to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects, the importance of these sites relative to their studies, and how to use them to effectively get information—vital knowledge for the thousands of Bangladeshi students who are now getting wide access to the Internet through government-built computer labs in schools around the country. Furthermore, we emphasized that there was more than just the English Wikipedia—the Bangla Wikipedia is expanding every day in their own language.

Participants from Agrabad Government Colony High School (Girls’ Section). Photo by Motiur Rahman Oni, Wikimedia Commons, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

These school programs directly help increase readership among students—a major goal of Wikimedia Bangladesh, as we believe that to increase our total number of editors, we have to increase our readership. Most of the Bangla Wikipedia’s contributors come from students in school or university, but a majority of the current student population does not use Wikipdia.

We already have one tangible result: a Wikipedia club has already been formed at the Shaheed Police Smrity School. It is moderated by a teacher and is filled by interested students from all grades. Our hope is that these sorts of school programs will entice students to use Wikipedia for their benefit, and bring in teachers that can expand the program and sustain it over the next several years.

Nahid Sultan
Community Outreach Director
Wikimedia Bangladesh

  1. Events were held at the Shaheed Police Smrity School, Motijheel Government Boys’ High School, Agrabad Government Colony High School (Boys’ & Girls’ Section), Chittagong Collegiate School and College, Government Muslim High School, Government Science College Attached High School, and Rajshahi Collegiate School. Patgram’s event was held at the municipality community center in the Patgram upazila in Rangpur. Participants of this event were selected through a Wikipedia related quiz contest by Wikipedians from Patgram. A total of 120 students from six different institutes attended the final workshop. See also school program images on Commons.

by Nahid Sultan at October 08, 2015 01:02 AM

October 07, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, September 2015

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 5 • Issue: 9 • September 2015 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Wiktionary special; newbies, conflict and tolerance; Is Wikipedia’s search function inferior?

With contributions by: Federico Leva, Panda10, Piotr Konieczny, Trey Jones and Tilman Bayer

“Teaching Philosophy by Designing a Wikipedia Page”

Wikipedia research still is not often seen in the book form. Here’s one of the rare exceptions: a book chapter on “Teaching Philosophy by Designing a Wikipedia Page”.[1] It is an essay in which the author describes his experiences in teaching a class with a “write a Wikipedia article” assignment; specifically starting the Collective intentionality page. The students worked in teams, each tasked with improving a different part of the article (from separate parts of the literature review to ensuring that the article conforms to different elements of Wikipedia’s manual of style). The end result was quite successful: a well-written new Wikipedia entry (see here revision as of the time the article was last edited by the instructor in January 2013) and the students seemed to have expressed positive assessments, particularly with regards to having an impact on the real world (i.e. creating a publicly visible Wikipedia article). The author concludes that the students benefit both from contributing to public knowledge, and by learning how public knowledge is created.

Unfortunately, it appears that (as is still too often the case) the author (Graham Hubbs of the University of Idaho, presumably User:Phil(contribs)) was not aware of the Wikipedia:Education Program, as no entry for the course was created at the Wikipedia:School and university projects. It may therefore be wise for the editors associated with the Wiki Education Foundation (some of whom, I hope, are reading this) to pursue this and contact the author – as someone who was quite happy with his first experiment in teaching with Wikipedia, he may be happy to learn we offer extensive support for this (at least, as far the US goes). On a final note, I do observe, sadly, that neither the instructor, nor any of the students seem to have kept editing Wikipedia after the course was over (outside a single edit here), which seems to be a too-common case with educational assignments in general.

Wikipedia Search Isn’t Necessarily Third BESt

How tall is Claudia Schiffer? And how to find out on Wikipedia?

Review by Trey Jones (WMF Discovery department)

What’s the best way to use Wikipedia to answer questions like, “How tall is Claudia Schiffer?” or “Who has Tom Cruise been married to?”—and what tools can make this easier?

In their paper, “Expressivity and Accuracy of By-Example Structured Queries on Wikipedia,”[2] Atzori and Zaniolo seek to compare their query-answering system—“the ‘’By-Example Structured (BESt) Query’’ paradigm implemented on the SWiPE system through the Wikipedia interface”—against “Xser, a state-of-the-art Question Answering system”, and against “plain keyword search provided by the Wikipedia Search Engine.” Their results on a standard set of question answering tasks from QALD put SWiPE on top, with F-measure scores for SWiPE, Xser, and Wikipedia at 0.88, 0.72, and a dismal 0.18, respectively.

Their approach is based on transforming Wikipedia infoboxes into editable templates that serve as a front end for SPARQL queries run against RDF triples (subject–predicate–object expressions) stored in DBpedia. It is a novel approach that suggests a number of other avenues for improving search and discovery on Wikipedia and elsewhere. However, their methods and results are incommensurable both to Xser and to Wikipedia’s native keyword search.

In an earlier paper on SWiPE,[supp 1] the authors describe the need for custom (“page-dependent”) mappings from any given infobox element to the appropriate internal representations for mapping to SPARQL/RDF. These mappings appear to have all been created manually. Given these behind-the-scenes mappings from infoboxes to RDF elements, a user, working by analogy from an existing infobox, maps query concepts to the appropriate infobox element.

BESt/SWiPE thus pushes much of the language and conceptual processing—tasks at which humans excel—into the human user: the human chooses an existing Wikipedia entry on an appropriate analogous topic, pulls out relevant entities and relationships from the text of the query, and maps them to appropriate infobox components. These tasks can be non-trival. Answering a question like “Who has Tom Cruise been married to?”, for example, requires mapping “Tom Cruise” to the relevant category of, say, actor, finding another actor to use as a template, and mapping the “married to” relationship in the query to the “Spouse(s)” element of the infobox.

Contrast this with Xser,[3] which uses natural language processing to automatically parse a given query and convert it into a structured format, which is then automatically mapped to a structured query (e.g. SPARQL) against a knowledge base (e.g., DBpedia)—all independent of any human posing or reading a given query or mapping to KB elements. The comparison is thus more properly between BESt/SWiPE + a human and Xser, in which case it is less surprising that BESt/SWiPE comes out on top.

The comparison to the “plain keyword search provided by the Wikipedia Search Engine” is similarly disingenuous. The authors extracted search terms from the set of queries they investigated, apparently manually, but without the level of insight into natural language (or Wikipedia!) that is required in the BESt/SWiPE workflow, given the mappings of infobox elements to conceptual categories and the parsing of queries to map them to infobox elements.

The authors’ translation of questions into keywords for Wikipedia queries is sophisticated from a language processing point of view, but naive from a search point of view. “How tall is Claudia Schiffer?” became search terms (Claudia Schiffer, tall), though any sophisticated searcher should know that height is usually listed under “height”, not “tall”. (The query still works because it gets to the Claudia Schiffer wiki page, despite the distractor term “tall”.) They drop the word “produce” from a question about where beer is produced, but leave it in for a producer (but don’t use “producer”, which is the expected specific title to be found on that person’s wiki page).

More generally, when searching Wikipedia, the authors fail to note when a question is fundamentally about the basic properties of a given entity, and so any search terms other than the name of that entity is a distraction in that search. (E.g., “How tall is Claudia Schiffer?” is about Claudia Schiffer, “Which river does the Brooklyn Bridge cross?” is about the Brooklyn Bridge, “In which U.S. state is Mount McKinley located?” is about Mount McKinley.) No human user familiar with Wikipedia (or even a dead-tree encyclopedia) would search for “Claudia Schiffer, tall” when asked to find out how tall she is.

The authors also fail to take advantage of any knowledge about the typical structure and content of Wikipedia, and so don’t search for the obvious “list of X” articles that often answer the questions with sortable tables that any frequent user of Wikipedia (much less a editor and contributor) would be very familiar with. As an example, mapping the question “Which U.S. state has the highest population density?” to the search “list of U.S. states by population density” is natural—and it happens to be an exact match to a page I’d never seen before, but surmised was likely to exist).

The authors do afford considerable sophistication to their hypothetical BESt/SWiPE user, who knows, for example, to model the query to answer “Which books by Kerouac were published by Viking Press?” on a book, rather than on an author. It makes sense in retrospect, considering the information available in a book infobox, but my first inclination was that this was a question about an author, and an author infobox is insufficient for this question.

Again, the results attained by Wikipedia + naively extracted queries and BESt/SWiPE + a sophisticated human are incommensurate. A sophisticated Wikipedian + Wikipedia would fair much better than the poor 18% F-measure reported by Atzori & Zaniolo. And, it seems likely that a relatively sophisticated Wikipedian is easier to come by than someone who can map queries to example entities and their infobox components after having mapped infobox components to RDF entities and relationships.

To be fair, keyword searches on Wikipedia can’t readily answer questions that do not appear on a single page in Wikipedia. Some answers would be very tedious indeed to determine, such as “Give me all people that were born in Vienna and died in Berlin”, because they require collating information across many pages. But that’s exactly the kind of information about relationships between entities—and even chains of relationships among different kinds of entities—that one expects to be extracted via SPARQL from RDF triples in a data store such as DBpedia or Wikidata.

Finding ways for users to productively access such structured information—be it through natural language processing as with Xser, through structured by-example queries as with BESt/SWiPE, or other approaches—is a worthy goal; but it is only fair to compare approaches that operate in the same general realm in terms of available automation and necessary user sophistication.

More newbies mean more conflict, but extreme tolerance can still achieve eternal peace

An article titled “Modeling social dynamics in a collaborative environment”,[4] published last year in the Data Science section of the European Physical Journal, describes a simplified numerical model for how Wikipedia’s coverage of contentious topics may develop over time. It presents evidence that this model matches some aspects of real-life edit wars and debates.

The opinions of editors on a particular issue are modeled as a one-dimensional variable: “In the Liancourt Rocks territorial dispute between South Korea and Japan|, for example, the values x=0,1 represent the extreme position of favoring sovereignty of the islets for a particular country”. Somewhat contrary to Wikipedia’s neutral point of view (NPOV) policy, which is never mentioned in the paper, the authors assert that an article’s coverage of such a topic always expresses a particular opinion too, likewise modeled as a point on this scale.

The paper first considers pairwise encounters between editors (“agents”) where “people with very different opinions simply do not pay attention to each other, but similar agents debate and converge their views” by a certain amount that is governed by a parameter describing how “stubborn” opinions are. This is a well-studied model of opinion dynamics, known as “bounded confidence” (for the “confidence” or “tolerance” parameter that describes the limit until which agents are similar enough to still influence each other). It also matches the description of inelastic collisions of two particles in certain kinds of gases in statistical physics.

To describe the interaction of an editor (“agent”) with an article (“medium”), a second kind of dynamic is introduced in the model. Here, the equations state that editors will change an article if it differs too much from their own opinion (as defined by a second tolerance parameter), but will change their opinion towards the article’s if they already have a similar opinion.

Temporal evolution of the opinions of editors (green) and the article (red) for different values of the tolerance and stubbornness parameters, assuming a fixed community of editors

The numerical simulation of an article’s history consists of discrete steps combining both dynamics: interactions between editors (for example on talk pages) and an edit made by an editor to the article.

For a “fixed agent pool” where no editors join or leave, it can be shown that “the dynamics always reaches a peaceful state where all agents’ opinions lie within the tolerance of the medium”. The authors note that this “contrasts drastically with the behavior of the bounded confidence mechanism alone, where consensus is never attained” (unless the tolerance parameter is large). In other words, the interaction on the article as the shared medium sets Wikipedia apart from systems that only support discussion (Usenet flamewars come to mind).

However, depending on the values of the tolerance and stubbornness parameters, this eventual “peaceful state” can take a long time to reach, with various possible dynamics – see the figure from the authors’ simulations on the right. They note that “Quite surprisingly, the final consensual opinion [does not need to lie in the middle, or match] that of the initial mainstream group, but [can sometimes be] some intermediate value closer to the extremist groups at the boundaries.”

More newbies mean more conflict (right hand side), but eternal peace can still be achieved if editors tolerance for leaving differing opinions in the article is high enough (top).

Going beyond the simplified “fixed agent pool” assumption, the authors note that “in real WP articles the pool of editors tends to change frequently … Such feature of agent renewal during the process or writing an article may destroy consensus and lead to a steady state of alternating conflict and consensus phases, which we take into account by introducing thermal noise in the model.” Whether permanent consensus is still eventually reached, or how long it lasts before it is interrupted by periods of conflict, depends on the parameters, including the rate at which newbies enter the community.

Distribution of the length of “peace periods” in the history of three articles (square dots) and in the paper’s theoretical simulations (lines)

In the last part of the paper, the authors compare their theoretical model with actual revision histories of articles on the English Wikipedia. They use a numerical measure of an article’s “controversiality”, introduced by some of the group in an earlier paper (see review: “Dynamics of edit wars“). It basically counts reverts, but weighs reverts between experienced editors higher. The development of this number over time describes periods of conflict and peace in the article. The authors state that using this metric, almost all controversial articles can be classified by three scenarios:

(i) Single war to consensus: In most cases controversial articles can be included in this category. A single edit war emerges and reaches consensus after a while, stabilizing quickly. If the topic of the article is not particularly dynamic, the reached consensus holds for a long period of time [… Example: Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy]
(ii) Multiple war-peace cycles: In cases where the topic of the article is dynamic but the rate of new events (or production of new information) is not higher than the pace to reach consensus, multiple cycles of war and peace may appear [… Example: Iran].
(iii) Never-ending wars: Finally, when the topic of the article is greatly contested in the real world and there is a constant stream of new events associated with the subject, the article tends not to reach a consensus [… Example: Barack Obama]

For their theoretical agent/medium model, the authors define an equivalent of this controversiality measure, and find that it “closely reproduce[s its] qualitative behavior […] for different war scenarios” in numerical simulations.

A preprint letter with the same title involving the same authors, announcing some of the paper’s results, was covered in our July 2012 issue.

Predicting Wikimedia pageviews with 2% accuracy

A graph of Wikimedia pageviews since April 2015 (mobile vs. all, using the new page view definition data that was not yet available to the authors)

A 2014 conference paper[5], recently republished as part of a dissertation in computer science, analyzed more than five years of hourly traffic data published by the Wikimedia Foundation, as part of an effort to develop methods for better predicting workloads of web servers. The authors call it “the longest server workload study we are aware of”. From the abstract:

“With descriptive statistics, time-series analysis, and polynomial splines, we study the trend and seasonality of [Wikimedia traffic], its evolution over the years, and also investigate patterns in page popularity.
Our results indicate that the workload is highly predictable with a strong seasonality. Our short term prediction algorithm [one week ahead] is able to predict the workload with a Mean Absolute Percentage Error of around 2%.”

The study decomposed the time series of pageview numbers into several components:

  • a seasonality component with daily and weekly periods (without yearly parts in the presented example, as it covered only a little over a month), estimated by fitting cubic splines
  • a trend line approximated with a piecewise linear function
  • and a remainder modeled with an ARIMA (Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average) model using the R forecast software package.

(Readers might also be interested in a recently announced online traffic forecast application by the WMF Research and Data team, which likewise uses an ARIMA model, and allows predicting traffic for individual projects, but is based on coarser monthly time series.)

The study acknowledges that both the website’s content and its server setup changed a lot over the examined timespan (May 2008 – October 2013), with the number of Wikipedia articles roughly tripling, and e.g. the main hosting site moving from Florida to Virginia and a separate server site in Korea closing. The authors also observe that traffic “dynamics changed tremendously during the period studied with visible steps, e.g., at the end of 2012 and early 2013” (where their diagram – Figure 2(a) on p III.4 – shows large upwards spikes), which “suggests a change in the underlying process of the workload. In this case trying to build a single global model can be deceiving and inaccurate. Instead of building a single global model, we modeled smaller periods of the workload where there was no significant step.” This makes the work somewhat less interesting for those who are interested in longer-term strategic predictions rather than short-term allocation of server resources. On the other hand, such deviations from a prediction model could potentially be used in reverse to identify such “a change in the underlying process” (e.g. software changes affecting reader experience or a web censorship effort), or provide evidence for its impact on traffic. The authors’ own use case requires such detection for the case of short-term upward outliers (those that increase server load), enabling a quick change of the prediction model.

The paper discusses two examples of such unexpected spikes, the 2009 death of Michael Jackson that overloaded WMF servers, and the Super Bowl XLV in 2010.

Another chapter concerns the list of the 500 most popular pages. The authors found that it is highly volatile, with “41.58% of the top 500 pages joining and leaving the top 500 list every hour, 87.7% of them staying in the top 500 list for 24 hours or less and 95.24% of the top-pages staying in the top 500 list for a week or less.”

The freely available traffic data from the Wikimedia Foundation also features prominently in a draft publication included in the same dissertation as “Paper VI”[6] which examines the performance of algorithms that automatically scale server resources to changing traffic, “using 796 distinct real workload traces from projects hosted on the Wikimedia foundations’ servers”. Having found in that paper that “it is not possible to design an autoscaler with good performance for all workloads and all scenarios”, another draft publication (included as “Paper VII” in the dissertation)[7] “proposes WAC, a Workload Analysis and Classification tool for automatic selection of a number of implemented cloud auto-scaling methods.” Using machine learning methods, this classifier is trained on several datasets including again “798 workloads to different Wikimedia foundation projects” (mentioning the French “Wikitionary” [sic] as one example). The authors remarks that “we have performed a correlation analysis on the selected [Wikimedia] workloads, and we found that they are practically not correlated”.

The dissertation was defended this week at Umeå University in Sweden. A startup has been founded based on the research results, which has also patented some of them.

Wiktionary special

Wiktionary logo
Wiktionary logo

While most of the research featured in this newsletter examines Wikipedia, other Wikimedia Foundation projects have attracted researcher attention too. Below we present a roundup of recent research about Wiktionary, plus one older paper. See also our earlier coverage of Wiktionary-related research.

“Online dictionaries in Web 2.0 platform – Wikiszótár and Wiktionary”

This Hungarian-language paper[8] (with an English abstract) was published in December 2010 in the “Review” section of the Journal of Hungarian Terminology. Its aim is to provide an introduction to online collaborative dictionaries, Web 2.0, and the wiki platform using the Hungarian and English Wiktionary as an example. In the section that discusses dictionary criticism, the author notes that a systematic, generally agreed upon set of criteria for evaluating online dictionaries has yet to be developed, so he conducts the evaluation based on methods originally designed for printed dictionaries. The article describes the elements of Wiktionary’s structure and content in detail, and compares the two Wiktionaries to each other and to printed dictionaries. This can be useful information for someone who is not familiar with online collaborative dictionaries and specifically with Wiktionary. Some of the menu items have changed in the past five years, and a huge amount of content was added, but the overall structure – while more refined – is still the same.

The detailed analysis include: the megastructure (the navigation menu items, each listed and briefly explained); the macrostructure (the arrangement of words, finding an entry by search or by browsing categories or by clicking hyperlinks); the microstructure (the composition of a lemma entry, the sections within the entry, the quality and content of each section); the mesostructure (the system of hyperlinks, internal and external references, as perhaps the most important advantages of an online dictionary). Two screen shots are provided: one for the Hungarian word “ablak” (“window”) from the Hungarian Wiktionary, and one for the English word “window” from the English Wiktionary. The examples chosen are similar in their level of detail to make the comparison valid.

The paper states that the biggest challenge of online collaborative dictionaries is the reliability of information. The content of printed dictionaries is created and reviewed by professionals. Online collaborative dictionaries can be edited by anyone. It is added, however, that even printed dictionaries contain inaccuracies, not to mention that the addition of new terminology can take years.

The conclusion is that the innovative nature of online dictionaries compared to traditional dictionaries is epoch-making, and their practical value is indisputable. Not necessarily in content (although the quantity of processed information is enormous), but more in the hyperlinks (including audio files and images), ease of use, wide availability, and free access. Compared to printed dictionaries, they are dynamic. Their content can be increased theoretically without limit and the information can be updated any time.

“GLAWI, a free XML-encoded Machine-Readable Dictionary built from the French Wiktionary”

The paper[9] recaps some previous publications of the same authors and reports on the publication of yet another dataset extracted from Wiktionary, but one of unusual size. The authors, across six years, mapped six thousand templates of the French Wiktionary (Wiktionnaire) and implemented various mechanisms to standardize its content, which, together with some manual correction, allowed them to produce a machine-readable dictionary of over 1.3 million entries under free license.

According to the authors, the dataset can be used to easily produce specialised lexicons and thesauri superior not only to the rather neglected French WordNet but even to a monstre sacré like the digital Trésor de la langue française. In fact, they report that Wiktionnaire contains only sixty-five entries with contradictory irreconcilable information. According to the authors, Wiktionary editors may want to adopt some of their standardizations and corrections, but need not be pushed to do so, because Wiktionary serves its purpose well by having little constraints and maximising participation, while standardization can be performed downstream.

Sadly, it’s hard to assess the added value provided by this effort, as the paper features no comparison to other efforts and proposals, such as DBpedia Wiktionary or Wikidata’s own proposal for a Wiktionary data mapping. However, it’s useful as confirmation of (the French) Wiktionary’s quality and as promotion/redistribution of its content.

“IWNLP: Inverse Wiktionary for Natural Language Processing”

This conference paper[10] reports on the more engineering-oriented IWNLP free software project. It is an XML dump parser which is in earlier stages of development than GLAWI, and specifically focused on the German Wiktionary (unlike a predecessor, the “Java Wiktionary Library” known as JWKTL). From 400k entries of the 2015-04 dump, 74k words and 281k word forms were extracted, reaching higher accuracy than previous resources for the lemmatization of nouns but low accuracy for adjectives and verbs; a thesaurus was not created yet. Interestingly, the authors made 200 edits to German Wiktionary entries in the process.

“knoWitiary: A Machine Readable Incarnation of Wiktionary”

This paper (pre-print?)[11] presents another attempt at producing an XML dump parser for Wiktionary superior to JWKTL. This effort focuses on a 2014 dump of the English Wiktionary, from which about 530k words and 550k meanings are extracted for Italian, about 580k and 700k respectively for English. However, there is no mention of code or dataset release, nor of whether the parser was an improvement on previous ones; DBpedia Wiktionary is not mentioned at all. The English WordNet is shown to cover only half of said terms, with lower comprehensiveness and small overlap. Wiktionary offers some unique strengths which allow novel applications: in particular information on etymology, compounding and word derivation.

In short, unclear reusability but one more point in the long list of papers showing that Wiktionary is a mature or superior competitor for most expert-built dictionaries, lexicons, thesauri etc.

“Zmorge: A German Morphological Lexicon Extracted from Wiktionary”

This conference paper[12] again features an extraction from the German Wiktionary. This time the objective is a German lexicon/finite state morphology analyser to replace Morphisto, an unfree German resource built on SMOR. Building upon an existing module (SLES), a fully automated extraction produces a SMOR grammar lexicon with about 70 thousands entries; quality is higher than in past work, which was based on raw text, because Wiktionary features information like part-of-speech, stem, gender or case. The lexicon’s results are assessed against a manually annotated resource and succeed in overcoming the Morphisto lexicon, while the Stuttgart lexicon is still better by a few percentage points.

The precision achieved is 1.3 percentage points higher than it would be with a dump 15 months older and most errors are simply caused by the lack of a certain word in the German Wiktionary; this suggests such a Wiktionary-based approach will soon overcome its unfree competitors in yet another field of linguistic resources. Datasets and code are published.

“Dbnary: Wiktionary as Linked Data for 12 Language Editions with Enhanced Translation Relations”

This conference paper[13] presents a free software (LGPL) tool[supp 2] to extract a lexical ontology from Wiktionary.[note 1] (See also our 2012 coverage of an earlier paper about the project: “Generating a lexical network from Wiktionary”)

Non-inflected terms in twelve languages are extracted from the respective Wiktionaries and linked by their relation (being a translation one of the other, being a synonym etc.). The authors claim their parsing is general enough to work in those twelve languages and resist to changes in markup, but it’s not clearly explained how and quality was not assessed at all.[note 2] The work can be considered a conversion from wikitext format to RDF of the most basic linguistic information in Wiktionary, interesting insofar extensible to all languages, but the resulting dataset is not usable as is without further research.

“Observing Online Dictionary Users: Studies Using Wiktionary Log Files”

This paper[14] is based on the familiar pageviews data used by stats.grok.se (see FAQ) for the German Wiktionary, possibly the only general-purpose dictionary for which such data is publicly available. Out of 350k entries, of which 200k were classified as German words, authors work on a set of 56k which satisfy several criteria: being lemmas of the German corpus DeReKo, having more than 11 monthly visits and a sufficient definition. The excluded entries were checked and found to be mostly inflected forms, geographic and proper names and terminological nouns. High frequency in the corpus is confirmed to be associated to high pageviews/look-ups; a set of entries selected by corpus frequency is found to have more pageviews than a set of random entries (quite a weak finding).

This method tells us little about Wiktionary, as we’re not even told what portion of pageviews is covered by the set of entries in question. However, it’s useful to confirm some assumptions used in compiling traditional dictionaries. Conversely, Wiktionary covers nearly all the words a traditional dictionary would. The only useful finding for Wiktionary is that dozens of words of the basic German vocabulary (as compiled by the Goethe-Institut for B1[supp 3]) are still missing from this Wiktionary set. The list of red links should be placed on wiki.

The authors then attempt to prove that entries with more than one definition (“polysemic“) are more visited that entries with a single definition (“monosemic”), by noting that in groups of words with similar corpus frequency the “polysemic” entries are on average more visited than the “monosemic” entries. This reviewer‘s statistical knowledge is insufficient to determine whether normalizing pageviews by corpus frequency would have been more reliable than this “parallelization strategy”. However, it’s natural for entries to grow in size and number of definitions proportionally to their number of visits, whatever the merit of such a growth, so this “result” is dubious.

Finally, authors unsurprisingly show that some entries have bursts of visits far beyond their trend, linked to events and news.

In brief

“Multilingual Open Relation Extraction Using Cross-lingual Projection”

Short paper[15] on the extraction of semantic statements à la Wikidata (like “Ottawa”, “is capital of”, “Canada”) from free text, or open domain relation extraction. Text is translated from the source language to English, then existing English parsers for the purpose are used; Wikipedia in French, Hindi and Russian was used as example source and the results manually annotated to verify accuracy: 82, 64 and 64 % respectively. It’s not reported how wikitext was transformed into plain text. A dataset of samples in 60 languages was released under free license, but accuracy is still far from Wikidata’s AI ingester, Kian (arguably a closed domain extractor hence “easier”).

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.

  • “Methods in collaborative dictionaries”[16] Based on an examination of English and German Wiktionary. From the abstract: “We are particularly interested in the question to what extent they differ from the methods of expert lexicographers and how editorial dictionaries can leverage the user-generated data. …. For collaborative dictionaries, it is […] essential to encourage discussion, define transparent decision workflows, and continually motivate the authors. The large user communities provide a high coverage of language varieties, translations, neologisms, as well as personal and spoken language, which often lack corpus evidence. […] we see great potential in the cooperation between expert lexicographers and collaborative user communities.”
  • “How news media trigger searches and edits in Wikipedia”[17]
  • “Adding High-Precision Links to Wikipedia”[18] From the abstract: “… we study how to augment Wikipedia with additional high-precision links. We present 3W, a system that identifies concept mentions in Wikipedia text, and links each mention to its referent page. … Our experiments demonstrate that 3W can add an average of seven new links to each Wikipedia article, at a precision of 0.98.”
  • “Editorial Bias in Crowd-Sourced Political Information”[19] From the abstract: “By randomly assigning factually true but either positive or negative and cited or uncited information to the Wikipedia pages of U.S. senators, we uncover substantial evidence of an editorial bias toward positivity on Wikipedia: Negative facts are 36% more likely to be removed by Wikipedia editors than positive facts within 12 hours and 29% more likely within 3 days. Although citations substantially increase an edit’s survival time, the editorial bias toward positivity is not eliminated by inclusion of a citation. We replicate this study on the Wikipedia pages of deceased as well as recently retired but living senators and find no evidence of an editorial bias in either. Our results demonstrate that crowd-sourced information is subject to an editorial bias that favors the politically active.” (See also comments on the Wiki-research-l mailing list)


  1. Graham Hubbs: “Teaching Philosophy by Designing a Wikipedia Page” book chapter of Experiential Learning in Philosophy, edited by Julinna Oxley, Ramona Ile, Routledge 2015, ISBN 9781138927391, 222-227
  2. Maurizio Atzori and Carlo Zaniolo (2015). “Expressivity and Accuracy of By-Example Structured Queries on Wikipedia“. Enabling Technologies: Infrastructure for Collaborative Enterprises (WETICE), 2015 IEEE 24th International Conference on: 239-244. 
  3. Kun Xu, Yansong Feng, and Dongyan Zhao (2014). “Xser@QALD-4: Answering Natural Language Questions via Phrasal Semantic Parsing“. CLEF2014 Working Notes: 1260-1274. 
  4. Iñiguez, Gerardo; János Török, Taha Yasseri, Kimmo Kaski, János Kertész (2014-09-24). “Modeling social dynamics in a collaborative environment“. EPJ Data Science 3 (1): 1-20. doi:10.1140/epjds/s13688-014-0007-z. ISSN 2193-1127.  Open access
  5. A. Ali-Eldin, A. Rezaie, A. Mehta, S. Razroevy, S. Sj ̈ostedt-de Luna, O. Seleznjev, J. Tordsson, and E. Elmroth. How will your workload look like in 6 years? analyzing wikimedia’s workload. In: Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Cloud Engineering (IC2E), pages 349-354, IEEE Computer Society, 2014. Reproduced in: Ahmed Ali-Eldin Hassan. Workload Characterization, Controller Design and Performance Evaluation for Cloud Capacity Autoscaling. PhD thesis, 2015, Department of Computing Science, Umea University. PDF, p.77
  6. A. Papadopoulos, A. Ali-Eldin, J. Tordsson, K.E. Arźen, and E.Elmroth. PEAS: A Performance Evaluation framework for Auto-Scaling strategies in cloud applications. “Submitted for Journal Publication.” Reproduced in: Ahmed Ali-Eldin Hassan. Workload Characterization, Controller Design and Performance Evaluation for Cloud Capacity Autoscaling. PhD thesis, 2015, Department of Computing Science Umea University PDF
  7. A. Ali-Eldin, J. Tordsson, E. Elmroth, and M. Kihl. WAC: A Workload analysis and classification tool for automatic selection of cloud auto-scaling methods. “To be submitted”. Reproduced in: Ahmed Ali-Eldin Hassan. Workload Characterization, Controller Design and Performance Evaluation for Cloud Capacity Autoscaling. PhD thesis, 2015, Department of Computing Science Umea University PDF
  8. Gaál, Péter (2010-12-21). “Online szótárak a Web 2.0 platformon – A Wikiszótár és a Wiktionary”. Magyar Terminológia (Journal of Hungarian Terminology) 3 (2): 251–268. doi:10.1556/MaTerm.3.2010.2.7. ISSN 2060-2774. 
  9. Franck Sajous and Nabil Hathout: GLAWI, a free XML-encoded Machine-Readable Dictionary built from the French Wiktionary https://elex.link/elex2015/proceedings/eLex_2015_27_Sajous+Hathout.pdf http://redac.univ-tlse2.fr/lexicons/glawi.html
  10. Matthias Liebeck and Stefan Conrad: IWNLP: Inverse Wiktionary for Natural Language Processing. Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 7th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Short Papers), pages 414–418, Beijing, China, July 26-31, 2015. PDF
  11. Vivi Nastase and Carlo Strapparava. “knoWitiary: A Machine Readable Incarnation of Wiktionary“. FBK-irst, Trento, Italy. 
  12. Rico Sennrich, Beat Kunz. “Zmorge: A German Morphological Lexicon Extracted from Wiktionary“.  dataset and code
  13. Gilles Serasset, Andon Tchechmedjiev. Dbnary: Wiktionary as Linked Data for 12 Language Editions with Enhanced Translation Relations. 3rd Workshop on Linked Data in Linguistics: Multilingual Knowledge Resources and Natural Language Processing, May 2014, Reyjkjavik, Iceland. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00990876/document
  14. Müller-Spitzer, Carolin; Sascha Wolfer, Alexander Koplenig (2015-02-10). “Observing Online Dictionary Users: Studies Using Wiktionary Log Files“. International Journal of Lexicography: 029. doi:10.1093/ijl/ecu029. ISSN 0950-3846. 
  15. Manaal Faruqui and Shankar Kumar (2015). “Multilingual Open Relation Extraction Using Cross-lingual Projection“. Proceedings of NAACL. , also blog.
  16. Meyer, Christian M.; Iryna Gurevych (2014). “Methoden bei kollaborativen Wörterbüchern [Methods in collaborative dictionaries / Méthodes dans le domaine des dictionnaires collaboratifs]”. Lexicographica 30 (1): 187-212. doi:10.1515/lexi-2014-0007. ISSN 1865-9403.  Closed access (in German, with English abstract)
  17. Stefan Geiß, Melanie Leidecker, and Thomas Roessing: The interplay between media-for-monitoring and media-for-searching: How news media trigger searches and edits in Wikipedia. New Media & Society 1461444815600281, first published on August 21, 2015 DOI:10.1177/1461444815600281 Closed access
  18. Thanapon Noraset, Chandra Bhagavatula, Doug Downey: Adding High-Precision Links to Wikipedia. Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), pages 651–656, October 25-29, 2014, Doha, Qatar. PDF
  19. Kalla JL, Aronow PM (2015) Editorial Bias in Crowd-Sourced Political Information. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0136327.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0136327
Supplementary references and notes:
  1. Maurizio Atzori and Carlo Zaniolo (2012). “SWiPE: Searching Wikipedia by Example“. Proceedings of the 21st World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2012, Lyon, France, April 16-20, 2012 (Companion Volume): 309–312. 
  2. https://forge.imag.fr/projects/dbnary
  3. http://www.goethe.de/lhr/pro/daz/dfz/dtz_Wortliste.pdf
Remarks and annotations:
  1. The wikitext in the XML dumps is accessed with the Bliki engine and parsed by dbnary to produce a LMF structure stored in RDF.
  2. Wiktionary interwikis, used by the authors, don’t give any information on words: they merely link entries with identical titles i.e. homographs.

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 9 • September 2015
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by Tilman Bayer at October 07, 2015 06:56 AM

October 05, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Boryana Dineva as Vice President of Human Resources

Boryana joins the Wikimedia Foundation from Tesla Motors, where she led the Human Resources Analytics, Information Systems, and Operation groups. Photo by Myleen Hollero, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation is pleased to announce that Boryana Dineva has joined the organization as Vice President of Human Resources. In this role, Boryana will lead development, recruiting, and support for Wikimedia Foundation staff in support of the Wikimedia mission.

As of 2015, the Wikimedia Foundation has grown to around 200 employees, supporting a community of around 80,000 active Wikipedia and Wikimedia contributors and a global readership of nearly 500 million people per month. Every Foundation employee currently supports nearly 2.5 million Wikimedia users, and with a mission to engage every single human on the planet in the sum of all knowledge we have billions more people to reach. Human Resources is a critical partner in building a team of talented, passionate people to support this ambitious mission.

Boryana joins the Wikimedia Foundation from Tesla Motors, where she led the Human Resources Analytics, Information Systems, and Operation groups. At Tesla, Boryana worked in close partnership with staff and management to design and develop programs to advance strategy and achieve organizational goals. She was instrumental in building the company’s people analytics capacity and developing a data-driven organizational design to support growth.

Boryana believes that a strong and purposeful culture is essential for an organization to be truly transformative, particularly for mission-driven organizations such as the Wikimedia Foundation. “Culture is the sum of the actions of each individual,” Boryana said. “Each employee can be a partner in creating a fulfilling and inspiring work environment. I’m thrilled to be joining the Wikimedia Foundation for the opportunity to advance an organizational culture rooted in the Wikimedia values of transparency, stewardship, and openness.”

As Vice President of Human Resources, Boryana will oversee the Wikimedia Foundation’s talent and culture function, including talent acquisition, organizational training and development, and talent management and people analytics. She will design and drive initiatives around workplace culture and well-being, including diversity, respect, and implement new processes and tools to support Foundation staff and stewardship. Boryana will report to Wikimedia Foundation Chief Operating Officer Terence Gilbey.

“Boryana has the right combination of experience and sensibility to help the organization do what we do best: support the Wikimedia free knowledge mission,” said Gilbey. “I look forward to working with her as she gets to know the Wikimedia world and starts to build creative, mission-aligned strategies to help us achieve our goals.”

Boryana has a degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Outside of work, she has been described as a global nomad. She was born and lived in Bulgaria, and has lived and studied in Russia, Austria, Germany, and the United States. She is a student of people and cultures, an area she relies on when defining organizational strategy.

Terence GilbeyChief Operations Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

by Terence Gilbey at October 05, 2015 07:11 PM

October 02, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

What I Learned: Wikipedia Education Program in Argentina

Editatón en el Museo del Bicentenario 3.jpg

Building bridges between digital, scholar and open culture: Educational editathon at the Museo del Bicentenario. Photo by Giselle Bordoy WMAR, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Delia Vazquez, a teacher trainer and a high school teacher, always considered that she was lacking a theoretical foundation that allowed her to defend and argue for Wikipedia’s use in the classroom—something that would allow her to “move away from the prejudices that are common among my colleagues.” With this feedback in mind, and a formed idea of the audience we wanted to address, we designed an education program for Wikimedia Argentina, which has aimed to change the perceptions of Wikipedia in educational contexts, and emphasize the key role open culture has in education.

As digital culture is already a topic in the education agenda—Argentina mandates the inclusion of technology in the classroom—our first strategy was to articulate skills and values related to collaborative production and open licenses. To this end, we designed teacher training workshops (online and in-person). Mario Cwi, a high school teacher and a coordinator of education technology area in his school, defied his own preconceptions about Wikipedia when he took part our training. By exploring the matrix and understanding Wikipedia from behind the scenes, such as looking at article edit histories and reading discussion pages, he and his colleagues dared to publish their own content and open them for discussion with other editors. “This is how we discovered something wonderful that we missed: Wikipedia is much, much more than a giant online encyclopedia. Wikipedia is a space that promotes the development of collective intelligence and participatory culture,” Mario told us.

We also interacted with students through edit-a-thons and WikiWorkshops, getting them to edit and participate in editing several Wikimedia projects—not just Wikipedia.

We focused our efforts on creating a unified approach among the digital and scholarly cultures, related to the free culture, as we found a gap in knowledge around what free licenses mean—a gap that was also linked to a general ignorance about Wikipedia as a platform that goes far beyond the collaborative construction of knowledge. This is a point that even today has not found traction in educational contexts.

Shared lesson: Build a common foundation to collaborate

Educational editathon at Colegio Nacional Rafael Hernández. Photo by Giselle Bordoy WMAR, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

We began with favorable circumstances, as Argentina’s technology in education policy meant that each student was issued a netbook. However, digital access does not always equate with real access—we found gaps in actual knowledge, competencies, and practices.

Unfortunately, having a pro-digital political climate does not necessarily mean that the distributed laptops will be connected to the Internet, will be used for critical or creative purposes, or used in any sort of educational sense. Argentina’s policy had, in practice, been altered to mere material access to technological tools. Moreover, we faced strong misconceptions and negative opinions about the use of technology in general, and specifically about Wikipedia. This made it hard to forge a unified foundation of digital experiences from which to build on with our education program.

Where do we go from here?

In-person teacher training course on free culture. Photo by Giselle Bordoy WMAR, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

This context made us reconsider the activities we wanted to bring to the classroom. After the first experience, we focused on listening to what other involved actors had to say about their discourses and experiences.

We took a step back and started on a more elementary stage, including (among other things) considering that many times there is no Internet connection. In a scene like this, it is difficult to talk about digital practices, like editing Wikipedia; we were often forced to use cellphones and alternative ways to connect. At the same time, we had to deconstruct negative discourses by using the mainstream media and addressing problematical situations as users, like getting edits reverted with no further explanation of why.

Given these difficulties, the program took far longer to complete than when we first envisioned the program. Still, once we implemented the new strategies, the ownership, reflections, and interests of participants became genuine, and the teachers we worked with became motivating agents, or as we like to call them: Wiki Ambassadors.

Melina Masnatta, Education Coordinator, Wikimedia Argentina
María Cruz, Learning & Evaluation Communications Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation

Find this and other shared lessons on Wikimedia Argentina’s progress report.

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

by Melina Masnatta and María Cruz at October 02, 2015 08:34 PM