February 27, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

New Education Toolkit helps program leaders develop more effective Wikimedia programs

Presentación de Wikipedia en Escuela Media Nº 2, La Plata 12.JPG

The new Education Toolkit provides a blueprint for implementing successful Wikimedia programs. Photo by María Cruz, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

About the Education Toolkit

The Learning & Evaluation and the Education teams at the Wikimedia Foundation, together with the Education Collaborative, have created the Education Toolkit, the first in a series of program toolkits — guides for implementing effective Wikimedia programs. The program toolkits aim to share best practices among the experiences of Wikimedia program leaders from all over the world, to create a blueprint for designing successful Wikimedia programs.

From beginning to end, the Education program toolkit walks users through different phases of an education program:

  • Best practices for planning new and growing programs and developing partnerships with educators and the Wikimedia community
  • Tips for finding resources and accessing tech support for running a program
  • Ideas for teaching and assignments
  • Strategies for evaluation
  • Ways to connect with other community members

The content is organized based on learning area and topic, using learning patterns, problem and solution pairings, to help complete the toolkit. Those newer to the education program can begin at the start and follow through each step while more experienced program leaders can easily jump to the section that is most relevant to their work at that time.

Efforts to better understand programmatic work at the Wikimedia Foundation started in 2013. Through a series of investigations, workshops, and community consultations, the Learning and Evaluation team began to map the most replicated information about Wikimedia programs. The Wikipedia Education Program has been very popular around the world and the way the program is carried out has changed. Through an analysis of shared goals, common struggles and successes, a number of key lessons were captured to create the Education Toolkit — the first toolkit from the Learning & Evaluation team this year.

An education program manager consulted about this project wrote about its benefits: “Education programs are mutually beneficial activities with a high potential for meaningful impact. While students may benefit in a number of ways, their contributions benefit Wikimedia projects and users around the world.”

What do we know about the Education Program?

Educators and school administrators find contributions to Wikimedia projects to be a low cost way of incorporating and teaching technology in the classroom. Students also learn important objectives such as research and writing skills, information and media literacy.

In 2014, the Wikipedia Education Program Team at the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) began mapping more than 70 educational programs in 66 countries — almost half of which are in the Global South. This mapping was shared in the team’s Quarterly Review. The mapping revealed that although 71% of assignments are on Wikipedia, many require students to translate rather than write or expand articles. The other 29% of student assignments contribute content to Wikimedia Commons and other sister projects. Further, unlike the US/Canada program – that focuses on university students who complete assignments for academic credit – education programs in other countries serve students of all ages, notably, 60% serve participants at universities, 20% secondary schools, and 13% through teacher training programs. We also learned that many students, in different parts of the world, are learning to contribute to Wikimedia projects for fun; only 30% of education programs are part of a formal course, 23% are part of structured extracurricular programs such as Wikicamps and Wikiclubs.

How was the toolkit created?

Education Collaborative meeting in Edinburgh. Photo by Samir Elsharbaty, under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

One key goal in creating the Education Toolkit was to curate a set of information and materials that reflect both the variety of programs as well as the global nature of the education programs.

In November 2014, Program Evaluation Analyst Kacie Harold traveled to Edinburgh with the WMF’s Education team to interview the members of the Wikipedia Education Collaborative — a group of program leaders that support other education programs and initiatives around the world.

Research for the interviews included reading reports, blog posts, newsletters and combing through threads on the Education-L mailing list. And we were blown away by the rich anecdotes, stories of successes, discoveries, hacks and strategies that Collab members shared in interviews.

Members of the Wikipedia Education Collaborative helped inform the development of the Education Toolkit. Photo by Samir Elsharbaty, under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Most interestingly, many program leaders began their stories by saying, “We are the only ones who are working on this kind of program.” In fact, the interviews uncovered several similarities across programs in different countries. By curating learning pattern experiences, and organizing them into a program toolkit, we hope to pave an easier way for program leaders to collaborate in identifying common experiences and effective strategies.

Watch this video!
We are launching the toolkit to the community, sharing its story and discussing its use on Thursday, Feb 26 at 9 am (PST).
Find the video of the presentation on Youtube

We believe that this type of resource will make it easier for program leaders throughout the world to develop more effective educational programs, without having to start from scratch. In addition to sharing lessons learned, the Education Toolkit will become a central place for people to start conversations about challenges they face running programs and share experiences that others can benefit from. Since learning patterns (like Wikipedia articles) can be created, and edited, by anyone, we hope that this toolkit will expand as more and more people use it, learn from its lessons, and share new lessons!

View the Education Toolkit

Please let us know which parts of this Education Toolkit work for you — and which parts don’t.

Make your program the next big success story on Wikimedia!

Kacie Harold, WMF Program Evaluation Analyst.
María Cruz, Learning & Evaluation Community Liaison.

by Andrew Sherman at February 27, 2015 02:46 AM

Join the Wikimedia strategy consultation

The Wikimedia movement works because it brings together many different perspectives to solve complex problems. Join the community consultation to plan our strategy together. Group photo of Wikimania 2014 participants by Ralf Roletschek, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation has a rich tradition of stopping to take stock of where we are and where we’d like to go as a movement. Over the years, this has taken different forms — from “Board-only” processes to our massive, community co-created strategic plan five years ago.

This year, to support the Foundation’s strategic planning efforts, we’d like to try something different, by kicking-off a two-week community consultation about the future of Wikimedia. The themes that emerge from the consultation will be used to inform the development of the direction and priorities for the Wikimedia Foundation.

Instead of launching a comprehensive (and expensive!) process and creating a formal document, like the last strategic planning initiative, we see this as the first step. We are interested in an iterative, discursive strategic process — one that continues to reflect changes in knowledge creation, user behavior, and the internet as a whole, while remaining agile and responsive to our mutual thoughts and needs.

The Wikimedia Foundation needs to hear your ideas about the emerging trends we should be paying attention to as a community, about what the Foundation could (or should) do to adapt to emerging challenges and opportunities, and how our movement (including the Foundation) should respond to these changes. We hope the conversation will highlight the huge changes that have occurred since our last strategic conversations, as well as emerging trends that will have significant impact on the projects.

We all know that since Wikipedia began fourteen years ago, the world — including the internet — has changed dramatically. More people are coming online, in more places, and they are accessing knowledge in new and changing ways. One change we’re watching is the dramatic growth in mobile devices. It’s clear that the world is “going mobile.” Trends show that mobile access and devices are becoming the primary (and often only!) method of access to the internet for people around the world. What does this mean for our projects?

Similarly, we’ve seen Wikipedia’s reach grow and change. Wikipedia, which started in North America and quickly spread to Europe, is now growing fastest in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Another billion internet users are expected to come online in coming years — many from these growing regions. These users may not know about Wikimedia projects, and will likely have new and different motivations for participation and collaboration. How do we prepare to include and engage these new users and contributors?

The next few years will be characterized by rapid change: technology will change; devices will change; people will change. At the Wikimedia Foundation, we believe one thing will not change: the need to share and access free knowledge with the world. Our mission is as relevant now as ever before. Our movement’s challenge is to be ready to adapt when necessary to continue to make a difference. That’s what this consultation is about.

I hope you will participate in the consultation to share your ideas of the future and help lay the groundwork for defining the Foundation’s strategic direction.

Join our online discussion here, starting today, February 23, at 12:00 noon PST (20:00 GMT).

Your vision matters.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Philippe Beaudette
Director, Community Advocacy
Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at February 27, 2015 02:44 AM

February 26, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

What is Wikipedia Zero? (VIDEO)

File:What is Wikipedia Zero?.webm

What is Wikipedia Zero? This short video explains the Wikipedia Zero program, in under two minutes. You can also view it on Vimeo.com here and YouTube.com here. Video by Victor Grigas (WMF), freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

Since early 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation has been creating partnerships with mobile carriers in selected regions of the world to waive data charges for accessing Wikipedia. To many people, the utility of such a program might be hard to understand. That’s why the Wikimedia Foundation works to create awareness of the Wikipedia Zero program, so that mobile carriers and mobile users can discover what free access to Wikipedia means for sharing knowledge across the globe.

The video above (which was narrated by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and animated by Sasha Fornari) is one way to create awareness of Wikipedia Zero; it explains how the program works by using symbols, narration, animation and music — to communicate a complex concept in an inclusive way. The script was written so that anyone with access to video editing software and a microphone could re-record the dialogue track in their own language, and then mix it with the music from the video (available here). Captions have been created in English and the open captions on Wikimedia Commons allow for the timecode to be copied and the script to be translated. Below is the script for the video, which runs at just under two minutes:

Together, we are creating the most comprehensive encyclopedia that has ever existed – Wikipedia. It’s also free; free to read, free to edit, free to share. It is available in hundreds of languages, and it’s accessible to anyone with access to the internet or a mobile phone. Roughly 6 out of every 7 people today have mobile access. Mobile technology is the future of knowledge sharing, it has the potential to bring Wikipedia to billions of people. However, despite Wikipedia’s free content, most people simply can’t afford the data charges to access Wikipedia. That’s why the non-profit that supports Wikipedia runs a program called Wikipedia Zero, which works with mobile carriers to waive the data charges for accessing Wikipedia. Removing the cost of accessing Wikipedia may sound trivial, but it’s one small change that makes a huge difference. Students will do their homework and research careers. Doctors will study treatments. Small businesses will find knowledge to innovate. People will better understand their own history, society, and culture. We invite mobile operators all over the world to make knowledge truly free. Wikipedia belongs to all of us. Imagine a world in which every single human being on the planet has equal access to the sum of all knowledge.

Thanks to Jimmy Wales for providing narration, to Sasha Fornari for his motion graphics, and to the Wikimedia Foundation’s communications team members who developed the script and gave feedback on all the iterations of the video — as well as to the people who contributed their designs to the noun project that Sasha remixed, and Andy R. Jordan for the music.

Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller and Video Content Producer

by Andrew Sherman at February 26, 2015 09:33 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Wiki miluje památky v roce 2014 – o třetinu více fotek

Na podzim 2014 pořádal spolek Wikimedia již třetí ročník fotografické soutěže Wiki miluje památky v ČR. Jaký byl její průběh a jak to celé dopadlo? Úspěchem ještě před započetím soutěže bylo získání finanční podpory ve výší 50 000 od Nadačního Fondu AVAST, jež nám umožnila rozšířit rámec projektu mimo samotné zářijové období soutěže.

I díky tomu jsme pro Wikipedii získali výtečné fotografy se skvělými snímky – například fotografie pana Jiřího Straška z Klatov se umístily mezi deseti prvními snímky čtyřikrát. Přečtěte si rozhovor s autorem vítězných snímků.

Trocha statistik: soutěž probíhala od 1. do 30. září; během této doby nahráli účastníci v českém kole celkem 8589 fotografií, což je 33% nárůst oproti roku 2013. Z globálního hlediska představuje český příspěvek 2,88 %. Do soutěže se zapojilo celkem 249 účastníků (z toho většina v tomto ročníku poprvé), což je také výrazné zlepšení oproti roku 2013 se 167 účastníky.

Po skončení soutěže bylo na Wikimedia Commons nafoceno 59 % všech českých památek, což nedosahuje námi očekávaných 65 %; nárůst z 51% od začátku projektu je přesto velmi cenný. Vysvětlením je, že fotografové se více soustředili na přefocení již vyfotografovaných objektů ve vyšší kvalitě, což se potvrdilo i u vítězných fotografií (hrady Švihov, Kašperk, Frýdštejn, …). Vítězné snímky z českého kola si můžete prohlédnout zde.

Vítězná fotografie: podzimní hrad Kašperk. Autor Jiří Strašek, CC-BY-SA 4.0


Oceněno bylo 5 nejlepších snímků v hlavní kategorii a 10 snímků postoupilo do mezinárodního kola soutěže. Specialitou letošního roku byla zvláštní kategorie snímků lázeňských památek u příležitosti Roku lázeňské architektury. Do této kategorie bylo přihlášeno celkem 257 fotografií a autoři tří vítězných snímků obdrželi věcné ceny věnované partnery kategorie. Další ocenění dále získala nejlepší fotografie ze Slezského regionu. Vyhlášení vítězů soutěže se konalo na brněnské Wikikonferenci v listopadu 2014.

Jak už ale bylo řečeno, soutěž nebyla jen o posílání snímků. Tentokráte jsme se zaměřili více na propagaci a pomoc začínajícím přispěvatelům; 7. září  jsme v sídle Wikimedia ČR uspořádali workshop pro začínající a mírně pokročilé fotografy – potenciální účastníky soutěže. Okolí kanceláře spolku na Praze 10 poskytlo příhodné prostory a budovy pro výuku architektonické fotografie. Školení bylo zaměřeno jak na samotný proces pořizovaní fotografií, tak na jejich následné zpracování. Celkem se workshopu zúčastnilo 12 fotografů + 3 lektoři. Tito účastníci posléze přispěli do soutěže 448 fotografiemi. Bonusem je, že tito nyní vyškolení fotografové budou i nadále přispívat do našich dalších programů, kde je správné zachycení architektonických objektů velmi důležité, například “Fotografie českých obcí”.

Dalším krokem k propagaci soutěže a Wikimedia se stalo vytvoření výstavy vítězných fotografií z českých i zahraničních kol soutěže. Výstava obsahuje celkem 20 fotografií s popiském, který je vybaven QR kódem, jež odkazuje na článek o vyfoceném objektu na Wikipedii. K výstavě dále patří 3 panely informující o soutěži, principu Wikimedia Commons, psaní článků na Wikipedii a o spolku Wikimedia ČR. Výstava je k dispozici k zapůjčení – máte Vy, či Vaše instituce vhodné prostory k jejímu umístění? Ozvěte se nám!


Putovní výstava fotografií ze soutěže. Autor snímku: Honza Groh, CC-BY-SA 4.0

Soutěž se konala pod záštitou Národního památkového ústavu a Slezského zemského muzea. Partnery soutěže byli Nadační fond AVAST, nakladatelství Foibos BOOKS, firmy AARON a FotoŠkoda a mediálním partnerem portál ProPamátky. Všem partnerům a zúčastněným institucím děkujeme za podporu.

V neposlední řadě děkujeme editorům Wikipedie za pomoc při běhu soutěže a všem účastníkům soutěže za krásné fotografie. Doufáme, že zachováte Wikipedii přízeň i nadále!

by Milada Moudrá at February 26, 2015 03:10 PM

February 25, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

Black History Month

Black History Month is celebrated annually in the United States in February, to commemorate the history of the African diaspora. For this occasion, Wikipedians worked together to honor black history and to address Wikipedia’s multicultural gaps in the encyclopedia, hosting Wikipedia edit-a-thons throughout the United States, from February 1 to 28, 2015.

Black WikiHistory Month edit-a-thons include:


Maira Liriano, one of the key institutional organizers of the #BlackLives Matter Edit-a-thon in New York, summarized the goals of this project to reporters, as reported on Innovation Trail: “There is a bias and a lack of people of color involved in creating Wikipedia and many subjects are also missing from Wikipedia. So events like today are in part to make people aware of that and then to empower them and give them the information they need to correct that bias.”

To kick off this project, the New York #BlackLivesMatter Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was held on Saturday February 7th at the New York Public Library‘s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York (this event took place in the Aaron Douglas Reading Room of the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division of the library). Satellite #BlackLivesMatter Edit-a-thons were held on February 7th at the SUNY Purchase College Library and the Nashville Public Library, and the AfroCROWD initiative kickoff event was held on February 7th and 8th at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch. Wikimedia D.C. also co-organized three events including: the First STEM Heroes Edit-a-thon at the White House and the NPR Black History Month Edit-a-thon on February 24th, as well as the Black History Month Edit-a-thon at Howard University on February 19th.

Libraries proved to be ideal places for these edit-a-thons. At the Aaron Douglas Reading Room, librarians located reference texts and provided suggestions for further research. A list of Wikipedia articles to edit and create was prepared for the Schomburg Center Edit-a-thon and used by many of the satellite events.

These events received wide press coverage from diverse news sources, including:



Schomburg Center, New York City

Group editing Wikipedia at the Schomburg Center in New York City. Photo by Terrence Jennings, free license under CC BY-SA 4.0

The #BlackLivesMatter Edit-a-thon at the Schomburg Center was organized in collaboration with NYPL, the Metropolitan New York Library Council, Wikimedia NYC, Wireless Harlem, and the West Harlem Art Fund for the Black WikiHistory Month outreach campaign.

Over 50 experienced and beginning Wikipedians attended throughout the day, and almost every seat was filled.

The New York Edit-a-thon was an overwhelming success, which led to the creation of 19 new Wikipedia articles, including:

  • Leonard Harper, producer/stager/choreographer in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Judy Dearing, American costume designer, dancer, and choreographer.
  • Mildred Blount, American milliner, costume designer, and clothier.
  • National Black Theatre, a non-profit cultural and educational corporation, and community-based theatre company.
  • Ruth Jean Baskerville Bowen, first black female booking agent and the president of Queen Booking Corporation
  • Harlem Book Fair, the United State’s largest African-American book fair.
  • Maritcha Remond Lyons, educator, civic leader, feminist, and writer from Brooklyn, NY; first African American to graduate from Providence High School in Rhode Island in 1869.


AfroCROWD, Brooklyn

AfroCROWD Kickoff at the Brooklyn Public Library 2/8. Photo by Alicaba, free license under CC BY-SA 4.0

On February 7th and 8th in Brooklyn, kickoff events took place for a new initiative, the Afro Free Culture Crowdsourcing Wikimedia (AfroCROWD), which seeks to increase the number of people of African descent who actively partake in the Wikimedia and free knowledge, culture and software movements. The workshops were open to all Afrodescendants, including but not limited to individuals who self-identify as African, African-American, Afro-Latino, Biracial, Black, Black-American, Caribbean, Garifuna, Haitian or West Indian.

Events were held at the Brooklyn Public Library. Wikipedia trainings and overviews were given in some of the many languages spoken by our target population: French, Garifuna, Haitian Kreyòl, Igbo, Yoruba, Spanish and Twi. Affiliate project pages such as WikiProject Haiti were also introduced — and organizers announced the new Garifuna language Wikipedia incubator, the fruit of a collaboration between AfroCROWD and Wikimedia NYC.

Afrocrowd’s next 3 events will be HaitiCROWD on 3/14, AfricaCROWD on 4/4 and AfrolatinoCROWD on 4/12. HaitiCROWD will focus on resources in the Haitian Kreyòl, French and English Wikipedias, as well as growing the Haitian Wikipedia, which is now available free of charge to many Haitians in Haiti through the Digicel/Wikimedia Foundation Wikipedia Zero initiative. The workshop series will culminate in an edit-a-thon on June 20th at the Brooklyn Public Library.

Here is a visual recap of the AfroCROWD kickoff event.

Events in Washington D.C.

Three Black History Month events were held in Washington D.C.; one at Howard University on February 19th, as well as the STEM Heroes Edit-a-thon at the White House (learn more) and another one the National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters on Tuesday, February 24th.

The Howard University event led to the following additions to Wikipedia:

Nashville Public Library

Participants editing at the Nashville Public Library Our Story Matter Editathon. Photo by Amwilliams15, free license under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Nashville Public Library held “Our Story Matters Wikipedia Edit-a-thon” on Saturday February 7th. This was the first Editathon at Nashville Public Library and 11 enthusiastic editors attended, including 8 new users. Participants worked on these articles; African Americans in Tennessee and Callie House. Several articles were in the draft stage when the program ended, but will hopefully be completed soon.

SUNY Purchase

A #BlackLivesMatter Edit-a-thon was also held at SUNY Purchase, Westchester County, NY on Saturday February 7th.

We wish to thank all participants who made these edit-a-thons possible! It’s really exciting to see so many new editors join forces to help fill the multicultural gaps in Wikipedia — and to honor black history together.

Dorothy Howard, Wikipedian-in-Residence, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Aliceba

This blog post was updated on Feb. 25 to include information about the First STEM Leaders Edit-a-thon at the White House, as well as update photos.

by Andrew Sherman at February 25, 2015 05:35 PM

Wiki Loves Africa photo contest announces winning pictures

Egyptian food Koshary.jpg

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

The Wiki Loves Africa organizing team is proud to announce the winners of this year’s photo contest — and invites you to vote for the Community Prize.

Wiki Loves Africa Cuisine

Wiki Loves Africa (WLAf) is an annual contest that invites people from across Africa (and beyond) to contribute media (photographs, video and audio) on a specific theme. All photos are posted to Wikimedia Commons, where they can be freely used on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.

This year’s theme for the Wiki Loves Africa contest was Cuisine!

The 2014 contest invited entries that document diverse types of cuisines from across the African continent. Participants could submit media on a variety of topics: “foods”, “dishes”, “crops”, “husbandry”, “culinary art”, “cooking methods”, “utensils”, “food markets”, “festivals”, “culinary events”, “famine food” — and any other issues related to food in Africa. The contest aimed to feature the pride we feel about the food we eat, how it is prepared, what it looks like, how it differs from other types of food, which types of rituals may be observed, and how that cuisine reflects the many and diverse cultures of Africa.

The contest ran for two months, from October 1 until November 30, 2014. It took place across all of Africa. The project was facilitated by WikiAfrica at the Africa Centre and funded by Orange Foundation and the Wikimedia Foundation.


Wiki Loves Africa Cuisine engaged community members in a variety of ways, such as this cooking contest at the Rotary Club in Tema, Ghana. Photo by Dromo Tetteh, CC BY-SA 4.0


Wiki Loves Africa had several positive outcomes for the Wikimedia movement: it helped increase the amount of free content on Commons; and it also increased the visibility of Wikimedia projects in Africa. To make this possible, local teams were formed on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa, Tunisia, Algeria or Uganda. These country teams, made up of existing or new groups of volunteers, hosted specific events as part of the contest. In the end, 27 different local events were organized over the two months, to foster and support participation. Three cooking sessions were organized, which resulted in more images (and were apparently lots of fun). Other local teams organized photo hunts (in a market place, for example), followed by uploading sessions. Three press conferences were organized locally and resulted in media exposure, which not only drove participation but also cast a much needed light on Wikimedia projects in those countries.

Overall, this project added 6,116 images to Wikimedia Commons, from 873 unique contributors in 49 countries. Countries with the largest number of contributions included: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tunisia, Uganda, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa (which by and large maps the countries where local teams were involved). But we also noted unexpected enthusiasm and high participation from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania that did not have local teams.

The tastiest entries

The Wiki Loves Africa entries were judged by a panel of experts made up of Wikipedians, photographers and food professionals. The judges came from across Africa and beyond, including: Carianne Wilkinson (South Africa), Paul Sika (Cote d’Ivoire), Africa Melane (South Africa), Pierre-Selim Huard (France), Pierre Beaudoin (France), Habib M’henni (Tunisia), and Mike Peel (United Kingdom).

After several weeks of evaluation, they chose the following images:

First prize by Terrence Coombes, under CC BY-SA 4.0
This photo of a freshly opened nutmeg won this year’s first prize. By Terrence Coombes, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Photo by Dina Said, under CC BY-SA 4.0
This photo of Egyptian grains won second prize. By Dina Said, CC BY-SA 4.0. See her Facebook page.

Photo by Natnael Tadele, under CC BY-SA 4.0
This photo of young girls in an Ethiopian market won third prize. By Natnael Tadele, CC BY-SA 4.0

Here are the prizes the winners will receive:

  • 1st Prize: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 + “Star Fish: Top 10 Sustainable Fish” by Daisy Jones and Lazy Days by Phillipa Cheifitz (a book donated and published by Quivertree) + a Wiki Loves Africa T-shirt + the print of the winning picture
  • 2nd Prize: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact + “The Karoo Kitchen: Heritage recipes and true stories from the heart of South Africa”, by Sydda Essop and The Bo-Kaap Kitchen (a book donated and published by Quivertree) + Wiki Loves Africa T-shirt + print of the 2nd prize picture
  • 3rd Prize: US $200 Amazon gift voucher + “The Bo-Kaap Kitchen and Lazy Days” by Phillipa Cheifitz (a book donated and published by Quivertree) + “Wiki Loves Africa” T-shirt + print of the 3rd prize picture
  • The Community Prize: US $200 Amazon gift voucher + Wiki Loves Africa T-shirt + print of the Community Prize

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who helped organize the contest this year!

Check out some of the best images on the contest page!

Help pick the Community Prize

The Community Prize is yet to be decided. Wikimedia community members are invited to pick their favorite photos in the next 7 days. Community members from Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and social media related to Wikimedia projects are welcome to choose their favorite image from these top 20 images (also shown below). You can vote on this Community Prize until 24:00 (UTC+1) on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

Community members can vote:

Here are the twenty photos you can choose from:

Egyptian food Koshary Photo by Dina Said, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Cola nuts in Lagos, Nigeria Photo by Antoshananarivo, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Young boy selling lemon Photo by Natnael Tadele, under CC BY-SA 4.0
La leçon de cuisine au Mali Photo by BluesyPete, under CC BY-SA 3.0
Sweet moroccan honey biscuits in the Souks of Marrakesh Photo by La Chimère, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Tajines in a pottery shop in Morocco Photo by Jafri Ali, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Food eaten during fasting season in Ethiopia Photo by Dawityirga, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Egyptian olives Photo by Dina Said, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Condiments au carrefour de Lakota (Côte d’ivoire) Photo by Cyriac Gbogou, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Sudanese woman making the traditional baking called “Kisra ” Photo by Mohamed Elfatih Hamadien, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Ghana snails alive Photo by Antoshananarivo, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Anchovies being transferred into a bowl with the hand Photo by DromoTetteh, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Spicy Dreams Photo by HalwaStudio, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Okro of Liberia Photo by Antoshananarivo, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Fresh nutmeg in Zanzibar (Tanzania) in a spice farm Photo by Baptiste Vauchelle, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Pottery wares at Sidi Bousaid Photo by Emna Mizouni, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Palm nuts in Nigeria Photo by Joel Akwevagbe, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Pumpkins in storage Photo by Terrence Coombes, under CC BY-SA 4.0
The most popular food in Egypt, Koshary Photo by Dina Said, under CC BY-SA 4.0
Fruits on the market, Kigali, Rwanda Photo by Antoshananarivo, under CC BY-SA 4.0

Thanks and next steps

We would like to specifically thank:

  • Romaine for his technical support to set up banners and the upload wizard.
  • Erik Zachte for the statistics and moral support :)
  • All of our jury members: Pierre-Selim, Pyb, Mike, Habib, Carianne Wilkinson, Africa Melane, and Paul Sika.
  • As well as ALL the WiC, WiR and volunteers who helped during local events: Samuel Guébo, Cyriac Gbogou, Donatien Kangah, Eben-Ezer Guebo Dja, Mélèdje, Emmanuel Dabo, Raphael Berchie, Stephen Tetteh, Okpoti Felix Nartey, Katerega Geoffrey, Erina Mukuta, Steve Bukulu, Felix Nartey, Bobby Shabangu, Clement Khanye, Linda Shusha, Michael Mwangi, Millicent Mudzusi, Sipho Mampe, Joel Phologo Thembelihle, Mohamed Ouda, Ahmed Mohie, Eldeen Samir Elsharbaty, Nathan Kalungi, Douglas Ssebagala, Michael Phoya, Blessings Phumisa Upile Rina Malenga, Constance Thyangathyanga, Peter Lungile Chidothe, Sam Banda Jr, Mounir Touzr, Yassin Tounsi, Okpoti Edmond Laryea Sabra Asante, Felix Tetteh, Prince Akpah, Gervasio Ngumbira, Steve Kamanga, Laetitia k., Guilian Zouzouko, Abel Asrat, (my deep apologies if we forgot anyone here).


We hope that the Wiki Loves Africa 2014 contest will foster more content creation in the coming year: this could range from the new article creation, to documenting what the pictures are about, or adding recipes in Wikibooks (see Cuisine ivoirienne). We hope these photos will make their way to illustrate many articles on various food-related subjects.

The local teams are eager to participate in the next Wiki Loves Africa! The 2015 theme is still to be decided. Proposals received by the organizers from local teams are diverse and exciting: Fauna, Modern Art, Wildlife, Clothing, Architecture, Markets, Rites and Rituals are just some of the ideas they have suggested.

Florence Devouard, former chair, Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation
Isla Haddow-Flood, Project Manager, WikiAfrica

Related links

by Andrew Sherman at February 25, 2015 09:50 AM

February 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation Quarterly Report, October-December 2014

A few days ago, we published the Wikimedia Foundation’s report for the timespan from October to December 2014 (the second quarter of our fiscal year), which you can find in PDF form below. As of today, it is also available as a wiki page and (for easy online presentation) on Google Slides.

This is the first report in a new format. Since 2008, we have been publishing updates about the Foundation’s work on a monthly basis, also on this blog. As announced in November, we are now changing this to a quarterly rhythm; a main reason being to better align it with the quarterly planning and goalsetting process that has been extended to the entire organization since Lila Tretikov became Executive Director in 2014.

You can
– Browse through the report slide by slide
– Download the full PDF (8MB)
– Read the report as a wiki page or
– View it on Google Slides

The main objectives and design principles for this report were:

  • Accountability: Help our movement and our supporters understand how we spend our effort, and what we accomplish.
  • Learning together: Highlight important internal & external data, trends and lessons.
  • Presentable: Anyone, from volunteer to the executive director, should be able to present the work of the WMF using this report.
  • Reasonable effort: Pull as much as possible from existing sources, e.g., quarterly review slide decks & minutes.

Excerpt from status column of the “top objectives” table (slide 6)

The new format reflects this in various ways. For each of the highlighted key priorities, colors (red/yellow/green) indicate clearly whether the quarterly goal was met or not. Besides a slide with overall “Key insights and trends” (see below), there are also “what we learned” sections throughout the document which summarize what the corresponding team considers the most important takeaways informing future work in that area. The report has the form of a slide deck suitable for a 90 minute presentation, keeping the amount of detail limited and linking to corresponding quarterly review meeting documentation for further detail. The Foundation began holding these quarterly team meetings in December 2012 to ensure accountability and create opportunities for course corrections and resourcing adjustments. By now, this process involves almost every WMF team or department.

Please refer to the links above for the full report. But to offer an excerpt from the “Key insights and trends” section (slide 5):

  • Readership: Globally, pageviews are flat. Mobile is growing, desktop is shrinking. Given a growing global potential audience, this means we need to invest in the readership experience, with focus on mobile.
    We have learned that we can move at highest velocity on mobile apps due to their self-contained nature.
  • Beyond editing: Inviting readers to perform classification tasks on their smartphone is showing promise; response quality is exceeding expectations.
  • Performance: The implementation of HHVM across Wikimedia sites is an engineering success story and demonstrates that dedicated focus in the area of site performance can pay off relatively quickly.
  • Fundraising: Mobile matters — thanks to focused effort, we were able to increase the mobile revenue share from 1.7% to 16.1% (2013 vs. 2014 year-end campaign).

This being the first report in this new format, we will surely tweak format, content (including the choice of key metrics) and process for the subsequent issues. Comments continue to be welcome here or on Meta-wiki.

Tilman Bayer, Senior Analyst

by wikimediablog at February 24, 2015 01:57 AM

Working to bring diversity on Wikimedia projects? Share what you learned

Share the love, share the flyer! Help us spread the word on this campaign.

Help close the gaps: share what you learned about bringing diversity to Wikimedia projects.
Image by María Cruz, free license under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

For many years, the Wikimedia movement has acknowledged that language, culture and gender diversity are vital for its goal to share the sum of all human knowledge. But we are still facing some challenges in supporting diversity across Wikimedia projects. For example, the Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic Wikipedias have very small percentages of editors, when compared to the total population of people who know those languages; only about a quarter of the world’s sovereign states participated in Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 on Wikimedia Commons; and only a minority of Wikipedia contributors are women. To address these gaps, several initiatives have been set to foster a better understanding of this problem, and also to increasing diversity in participation and content coverage, some of them being Writing Diversity back in Wikipedia toolkit and Charting diversity, to name only two. The Learning and Evaluation team now wants to capture the learnings that stem from these initiatives.

Diversity Campaign

How much do we know about diversity-oriented programs and projects? If you visit the Learning Pattern Library, you’ll see that little information is available about diversity practices and outcomes for Wikimedia programs or projects.

For example, few of these questions are answered in that library:

  • Have you preserved your cultural history through Wikimedia photo contests and editing events?
  • Have you worked to enrich a particular language or cultural group on Wikimedia?
  • Have you studied diversity issues in online communities?
  • What have you learned about encouraging diversity on Wikimedia?


Starting in March 2015, the WMF Grantmaking team will engage our communities in a new initiative: the 2015 Inspire Grants Campaign. This three-month event will sharpen the focus of Individual Engagement Grants and Project and Event Grants to support potential projects that can help close the gender gap. You can support this campaign in a variety of ways — even if you don’t need to apply for a grant. Share your questions and answers about diversity on Wikimedia projects, and help expand our knowledge of this topic.

Get involved

Win a barnstar for ideas shared on the campaign page!

… and another one for sharing Learning Patterns!

Share your experience and ideas by creating new learning patterns, to support diversity through Wikimedia projects and activities!

Is there anything you would like to know about gender diversity that has not yet been posted? Would you like to share something you learned from your own experience? Post your questions and answers in ‘Inspire Learning Patterns.’ There are multiple ways to participate:

  1. Describe a problem: share your challenges and the changes you would like to see.
  2. Offer a solution: there may be different ways to solve the same problem. Do you see a challenge you can relate to? What is your proposed solution?
  3. Describe a problem and offer a solution: show others how you tried to solve a specific challenge.
  4. Endorse other people’s contributions: if you think a problem and a solution are relevant, even if they are not linked, endorse them by signing below the edits.
  5. Create a Learning Pattern based on a Problem and Solution set: take a problem and solution set and create a learning pattern based on it.


You can contribute in any of these ways directly on the Diversity Learning Patterns campaign page!

If you have new information to share, feel free to start a Learning Pattern! You can do that on the Learning Pattern Library. Remember to add [[Category:Diversity learning patterns]] and help us to spread our knowledge. These will appear automatically on Diversity Learning Patterns campaign page.

Learning Patterns: now easier to link on grant proposals!
If you would like to submit a proposal for Inspire Grants, use new templates to link relevant Learning Patterns in your proposals and reports!


Together with the Inspire Grants campaign, this joint effort can help develop new ideas for bridging our diversity gaps. We can all contribute something to make Wikimedia projects more diverse — whether it’s questions, answers, or ideas for projects, events and programs.

How would you like to contribute to this campaign?

María Cruz, WMF Evaluation Community Coordinator
Brett Gibbs, WMF Learning and Evaluation Intern
All photos in this article by María Cruz, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

by Andrew Sherman at February 24, 2015 01:20 AM

Report finds the Wikimedia Foundation to be the largest known Participatory Grantmaking Fund


Participatory grantmaking works because of committees such as this one. These community members review proposals for funding and help decide what to fund. Photo by Adam Novak, CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Because of Wikipedia’s unique structure, the grantmaking conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) must be infused with the same spirit of collaboration, transparency, and participation that underpins the entire Wikimedia project. A new report published by The Lafayette Practice, and commissioned by WMF, provides the first in-depth insight into the Foundation’s grantmaking practices and reveals some interesting findings about our particular model.

As authors of “Who Decides?: How Participatory Grantmaking Benefits Donors, Communities and Movements,” The Lafayette Practice (TLP)  found that Participatory Grantmaking (1) is a powerful movement-building strategy that leads to efficient transfer of money, knowledge and the promotion of self-determination. The idea behind this practice is to include representatives from the population that the funding will serve in the grantmaking process and in decisions about how funds are allocated.

The report found that the Wikimedia Foundation is the largest known Participatory Grantmaking Fund, through grants that support our communities and the movement more broadly. WMF’s total grants exceed all of the other funds documented in The Lafayette Practice’s original “Who Decides” report. In that study, the highest documented grantmaker budget was $2.37 million in 2012. WMF’s grantmaking budget for 2014-15 is over $7 million.

Slides for “Funding Free Knowledge the Wiki Way: Wikimedia Foundation’s Participatory Grantmaking.” Report by Matthew Hart and Ezra Berkley Nepon, The Lafayette Practice, licensed freely under CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Central to the findings of this study is that our grantmaking processes and practices reflect the core ethos, mission, and model of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. In the same way that Wikipedia articles are born and grown on a public platform through the collaboration of a global community, so too are our grant proposals workshopped and reviewed on public wikis, as well as improved by volunteer editors.

Our four grantmaking programs have differing degrees of participation, where decisions are made in cooperation with volunteer committee members, Board members, WMF staff — and with input from the larger community.  The committees behind these grantmaking programs — the Grant Advisory Committee, the Funds Dissemination Committee, and the Individual Engagement Grants Committee — are an incredible and diverse group of community members who engage in the tough work of reviewing proposals for funding and helping to make decisions about what to fund with limited resources available. It’s certainly no easy task.

The report also found that the Foundation’s grantmaking program has the largest peer-review participation of any funder of this kind, with many diverse community members from around the world involved in the decision-making committees. And in the same way that anyone can become a Wikipedia editor, anyone who edits Wikipedia can submit a proposal to the Wikimedia Foundation.

We agree with the Lafayette Practice’s assessment that our grantmaking is “innovative and groundbreaking” and we believe passionately in the participatory nature of our work.

Ultimately, the Wikimedia movement’s deeply ingrained values of collaboration, transparency and expanding access to information are reflected not only on the projects, but are also central to the way funds are allocated — and the way we support our community in sharing free knowledge with the world.

By Katy Love, Senior Program Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

This blog has been updated with a new title, replacing “Research” with “Report.” This update reflects that this report was commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation, as is clear from the first paragraph. We have also added a footnote about the Wikipedia article on Participatory Grantmaking.

(1) The Wikipedia article on Participatory Grantmaking was written primarily by Wikimedia Foundation staff in their capacity as Wikimedia volunteer editors. This was done on their own time, using their personal editor accounts, with the intent to share information with the larger philanthropic sector about a practice that is very much aligned with wikiculture. The article, which meets Wikipedia policies and guidelines, was developed based largely (but not exclusively) on the original report by the Lafayette Practice about participatory grantmaking, which was not funded by WMF. The study cited in the article did not include the Wikimedia Foundation. The subsequent report about the WMF’s participatory grantmaking approach was commissioned by Foundation in the months following the original report and is not referenced in any version of the Wikipedia article.

by fflorin2015 at February 24, 2015 12:04 AM

Wikimedia Foundation supports Twitter’s fight for transparency

The Wikimedia Foundation joined Twitter and others to file this amicus brief against the Department of Justice regarding national security requests. Public domain.

The Wikimedia Foundation and others filed this amicus brief in support of Twitter’s case against the Department of Justice regarding national security requests. Public domain.

On Tuesday, the Wikimedia Foundation, along with Automattic, Medium, CloudFlare, Sonic, and Wickr, filed, and the court has accepted, an amicus (or “friend of the court”) brief in support of Twitter’s pending lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding national security requests. We invite you to read the full brief.

In October 2014, Twitter filed suit in federal court against the DOJ to establish its right to publish more detailed information about the national security requests the company receives from the government. The DOJ had denied them permission to report the number of national security requests within any useful ranges. The government is insisting on a reporting practice that, in our opinion, is misleading and non-transparent, especially for smaller organizations.

Current permissible reporting standards require organizations to report the number of national security requests in ranges or “bands”. For example, companies can report the number of national security letters (NSLs) received in bands of 1000, such as 0-999, meaning that an organization that received zero NSLs must report in the same band as one that received 999 NSLs. Twitter seeks confirmation that it can report that it received zero national security requests, when applicable.

The Wikimedia Foundation joined this amicus brief because we believe transparency is vital to the Wikimedia movement and that true transparency cannot be achieved without accuracy and completeness. We support any effort that permits more transparency on these kinds of demands, given the significant policy issues of these practices. As the brief underscores:

“This case is about an Internet company’s desire to be open and honest about its role—or lack thereof—in national security investigations in the post-Edward Snowden era. . . . Amici believe that to truly have a government for the people, by the people, we must have an informed citizenry.”

We, along with the co-signers of this brief, hope that the court will hear the case on its merits and provide much-needed clarity on these sensitive topics — and enable all organizations to inform their users on the practices of the government within reasonable ranges of accuracy.

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

by Andrew Sherman at February 24, 2015 12:03 AM

Survey: What do Pakistani readers think of Wikipedia?

Karachi Walkers (cropped).jpg

Some Wikipedia readers in Pakistan have become active contributors, as featured in this group portrait from the 2013 Karachi Photo Walk. Karachi Walkers by Azlan Khan, CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in Pakistan, with millions of Pakistani Internet users accessing the site every month. But despite the site’s popularity, topics related to Pakistan seem to be seriously under­-represented in the encyclopedia and few Pakistanis are contributing to their encyclopedia. To better understand Pakistani readers and their relationship with Wikipedia — and to learn why they do not contribute back to it, I conducted an online survey of Wikipedia readers for the very first time in Pakistan, in consultation with the Wikimedia Foundation’s Learning and Evaluation team.

The purpose of this online survey was to gather demographic data about our Wikipedia readers, to get their opinions about the site, to learn about their editing behavior and to understand their device ecology. The exploratory survey was conducted for Urdu and English Wikipedia and was enabled for anyone reading a Wikipedia page on a desktop computer in Pakistan. It was available for about 48 hours between November 9 and November 11 in 2014. From the 7,000 individuals who opened the survey, 5,376 respondents completed at least 70% of the survey. The numbers we present below are only a summary of the responses for each question, and each question should be read as a standalone question.

Survey results suggest that 56% (3,460 out of 6,192) Wikipedia readers from Pakistan visit the site at least once a day. (It’s worth noting that Pakistan only represents about 0.3% of worldwide traffic to Wikipedia — or an average of 28 million page views from Pakistan — compared to about 18 billion page views per month worldwide, from nearly 500 million monthly unique visitors.) And yet, about two thirds of respondents realize that Wikipedia is a non-profit project (only 32% responded “No” when asked if they knew Wikipedia is non-profit).

About 87% of survey respondents from Pakistan identified themselves as male, while only 11% identified as female (6,698 responded to the question). This seems to correspond to a recent global south analysis, which identified a large gender gap in Wikipedia, whose readers and editors tend to be predominantly male.

In Pakistan, Wikipedia seems to attract younger readers than in western countries, based on 6,723 age-related responses:
• 37% (2,490) reported being between 21 and 25 years old;
• 21% (1,427) between 16 and 20 years old;
• 17% (1,149) between 26 and 30 years old.

About 6,650 respondents answered the question about employment:
• 47% (3,131) reported that they are students;
• 27% (1,799) are employed for wages;
• 12% (785) are self-employed;
• 7% (446) are either out of work or looking for work.

About 6,636 people responded about their level of education:
• 33% (2,202) reported having a Bachelors degree;
• 20% (1,347) said they have a masters degree;
• 14% (939) said they completed a secondary education.
(For this question, respondents could only select one option.)

When asked about their main reasons for using or reading Wikipedia, about 6,182 who answered that question:
• 69% (4,257) selected “for information and knowledge”;
• 67% (4,178) selected “for study and research”;
• 52% (3,226) selected “for personal curiosity and interest”;
• 22% (1,348) selected “for fun or hobby”;
• 22% (1,340) selected “for work.”

According to the survey, 97% of respondents (5,976 out of 6,156) find Wikipedia mostly useful or somewhat useful. Out of 6,099 respondents, 77% (4,694) rated the overall quality of Pakistani topics on English Wikipedia as good or very good. (In my own observations, coverage of Pakistani topics seems to be low-quality — and this might be related to low number of editors from Pakistan.) Only 4% (254) rated the quality of Pakistani topics on English Wikipedia as poor or very poor, while the remaining 19% (1,151) rated it as of fair quality.

Wikipedia readership survey Pakistan 1.png

Responses on how they feel about using Wikipedia as a resource included:
• 63% (3,894) selected ‘Wikipedia is a popular source of information';
• 43% (2,650) picked ‘Wikipedia has good quality content';
• 41% (2,541) responded that they ‘always find what they are looking for';
• 40% (2,463) thought that ‘Wikipedia is user friendly';
• 37% (2,295) said that they ‘trust Wikipedia';
• 30% (1,828) chose ‘Wikipedia articles are most up-to-date’.
(Respondents were able to select more than one option.)

Wikipedia is multilingual and available in 285+ languages, including in Pakistani languages such as Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi and Pashto. But a large majority of Wikipedia readers from Pakistan read and edit the English edition of Wikipedia. When asked whether they are aware of the existence of Wikipedia in Pakistani languages, about 6,071 respondents responded: 38% (2,320) said they unaware of these language editions, while 47% (2,835) said they’re aware of them but they only use English edition. About 849 responded to a question about whether they use non-English Pakistani language editions: 92% (784) said they use Urdu Wikipedia and 17% (144) use Punjabi Wikipedia. When asked how often they use non-English Wikipedia editions, 38% (320 out of 845) said they use Wikipedia in a non-English Pakistani language less than once per month. But at the same time, 49% of respondents (2907 out of 5,904) said it is “important” or “very important” to have Wikipedia articles available in Pakistani languages.

When asked what other media they used, about 6,137 responded:
• 22% (2,017) said they read at least once per day;
• 26% (1,598) said they read Pakistani newspapers online less than once a month.

Of the more than 2.9 million monthly total edits to the English language edition of Wikipedia from across the globe, only about 7,000 – or roughly 0.5% – are from Pakistan. The survey found that about 18% of respondents didn’t know that anyone can make an edit (1,073 of 5,895), whereas 61% (3,580) said they’re aware of it, but they never edit. Only 6% (364) said that they edited Wikipedia recently, and 15% (877) said they have previously edited Wikipedia, but not recently.

Wikipedia readership survey Pakistan 2.png

About 4,084 respondents who answered to the multiple choice question about why they don’t contribute to Wikipedia:
• 38% (1,566 of 4,084) feel happy simply reading the articles;
• 38% (1,545 of 4,084) don’t have enough information to contribute to Wikipedia;
• 32% (1,313) are afraid they will make a mistake while editing;
• 29% (1,190) don’t have time;
• 23% (945) spend more time on online social networks such Facebook or Twitter;
• 21% (850) see no need to edit to Wikipedia because others are already doing it;
• 18% (740) don’t want to edit other people’s work;
• 17% (705) don’t know how to edit.
(Respondents were able to select more than one option. )

Wikipedia readership survey Pakistan 3.png

About 1,184 respondents answered a question about their reasons for currently editing or editing in the past:
• 63% (735) said that they like the idea of sharing knowledge;
• 55% (654) said that they saw an error and wanted to fix it;
• 37% (432) said they believe that information should be freely available to everyone in the world;
• 21% (249) said they like the Wikipedia’s philosophy of openness and collaboration.

From the 4,737 who said they have mobile phones, 55% (2,593) said they never or rarely found data charges to be an obstacle for them to access the site, while the other 45% (2,144) found data charges to be an obstacle at least some of the time. When asked if they would change their use of Wikipedia if access to Wikipedia were free, 68% (3,260 out of 4,792) reported this would increase or greatly increase their use of Wikipedia.

While these numbers are very preliminary, they offer some useful information about who is reading and using Wikipedia in Pakistan and how they are gaining access to Wikipedia. We hope you find these findings helpful.

Saqib Qayyum, Wikimedia Pakistan

Graphs by Saqib Qayyum, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

by Andrew Sherman at February 24, 2015 12:02 AM

February 20, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Česká Wikipedie se zapojí do mezinárodní soutěže CEE Spring

logo soutěže

Logo soutěže. Autor: Aktron, licence: CC BY-SA 3.0

Řada Wikipedií v jazycích středoevropského a východoevropského regionu uspořádala v minulých týdnech a měsících různé společné aktivity. Byl to třeba týden ukrajinsko-estonské spolupráce, kdy vzniklo na obou verzích největší světové encyklopedie spoustu článků. V souvislosti s tím přišli Wikipedisté a aktivisté hnutí Wikimedia na mezinárodní konferenciKyjevě v prosinci 2014 k zajímavé myšlence: Zorganizujme soutěž. A to v celém regionu od německých hranic až po ostrov Sachalin.

Značně ambiciozní nápad, který plánuje ve skutečnosti hrstka dobrovolníků. Soutěž, která má trvat tři měsíce, bude značně decentralizovaná a v každé zemi bude mít vlastní tým a pravidla. Ta česká se momentálně připravují. Včetně cen. Na mezinárodní úrovni bude připraveno setkání vítězů národních kol soutěže se zajímavým a bohatým programem.

O co vlastně v soutěži půjde? Inu, záběr je díky vybrané oblasti široký. Zemí, které spadají do regionu CEE není zrovna málo; Česká republika, Polsko, Slovensko, Maďarsko, Rakousko, Slovinsko, Chorvatsko, Bosna a Hercegovina, Srbsko, Albánie, Černá Hora, Makedonie, Řecko, Bulharsko, Rumunsko, Moldavsko, Ukrajina, Rusko, Kazachstán, Bělorusko, Litva, Lotyšsko a Estonsko… A zájem mají také i kolegové z kavkazských zemí. Cílem soutěže bude psát články na téma vybraných zemí. Každá editace bude mít svůj význam a dopad a na závěr období běhu soutěže proběhne vyhodnocení. Poté budou oceněni vítězi. Kvalifikuje se spousta témat: například tradiční ruské kláštery, polská kuchyně, ukrajinské hrady a zámky, maďarské lázně, řecké ostrovy. Je toho opravdu tolik, že by se to sem vlastně ani nevešlo…

Zvláštní kategorií naší soutěže je Polsko v druhé světové válce, která vzniká za spolupráce s Polským institutem. Pro ní je sestavován výběr soutěžních článků, který sestavili odborníci na polské moderní dějiny.  A i v této kategorii půjde vyhrát hodnotné ceny.  Stačí jen na každé z těch témat napsat odpovídající článek.

Počkejte si ale ještě na další podrobnosti. Startujeme v průběhu měsíce března…

by Jan Loužek at February 20, 2015 07:34 PM

Studenti psali Wikipedii i v roce 2014, opět o něco více

Bajty přidané v minulých semestrech

Studenti píší Wikipedii je jeden z našich klíčových projektů, platforma pro všechny vyučující, kteří chtějí pro své studenty něco užitečnějšího a zábavnějšího než pětistránkovou seminárku, která po odevzdání skončí v učitelově archivu. V letním semestru 2013/2014 a zimním semestru 2014/2015 přidali celkově neuvěřitelných 1934143 bajtů, tedy téměř 2 megabajty textu.

Pro představu, toto množství představuje asi 650 stránek typické knihy. Každý z 352 studentů, kteří se loni zúčastnili našeho projektu, tedy napsal necelé dvě strany této knihy. Ač to představuje poměrně malou část obrovské „knihy vědomostí“, kterou je dnes se svými 315 000 články česká Wikipedie, neměli bychom přínos studentů bagatelizovat. Nové články přidávají většinou právě „nováčci“ a jednorázoví editoři – Wikipedie proto novou krev nutně potřebuje. Padesát nejaktivnějších editorů napsalo na české Wikipedii jen asi čtvrtinu všech článků. Studenti vytvořili také 119 úplně nových encyklopedických hesel – mezi nimi třeba sociální inženýrství, pedagogika volného času, Hawthornský experiment nebo Völkerkarte von Europa.

Poděkování patří především učitelům a potažmo institucím, které se v loňském roce zapojily. Patří k nim: Evangelická teologická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy, Vysoké učení technické v Brně, Přírodovědecká fakulta Univerzity Karlovy, Fakulta sociálních věd Univerzity Karlovy, Filozofická fakulta Masarykovy univerzity, Fakulta humanitních studií Univerzity Karlovy, Vysoká škola ekonomická v Praze, ale i Střední škola knižní kultury.

Studenti píší Wikipedii byli financováníi z grantového programu „Presentation and Outreach II„.

by Vojtěch Dostál at February 20, 2015 09:07 AM

February 19, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Highlights, January 2015

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


Wikipedia turns 14, receives prestigious Erasmus Prize 2015
Civility, Wikipedia, and the conversation on Gamergate
How student Jack Andraka used Wikipedia to research a new test for cancer
Wellcome Library donates 100,000 medical images to Wikimedia Commons
Senior citizens learn to edit Wikipedia in the Czech Republic
Content Translation: A quick way to create new articles from other languages
Weekly edit-a-thons help create new articles about women in Sweden

Wikipedia turns 14, receives prestigious Erasmus Prize

Desiderius Erasmus was a renowned humanist, scholar and theologian. Erasmus portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, from Le Musée du Louvre. Public Domain.
Erasmus portrait by Hans Holbein, from Le Musée du Louvre. Public Domain.

Wikipedia turned fourteen years old on January 15, 2015. On that same day, the Wikipedia and the Wikimedia community were honored with the prestigious Erasmus Prize — one of Europe’s most distinguished recognitions. We are very grateful to the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation for this award.

Civility, Wikipedia, and the conversation on Gamergate

US Navy 040623-N-8977L-010 Sailors assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) position a frame of a wall while helping the non-profit group Habitat for Humanity build homes.jpg
Building an encyclopedia requires working together, even when topics are difficult. US Navy Photo by Johansen Laurel. Public domain.

The debates on Wikipedia about the Gamergate controversy have been heated. At times, contributors on various sides of the debate have violated Wikipedia’s standards of civility. The Wikimedia Foundation believes inclusion and diversity are essential to achieving the mission of free knowledge, and that civil discourse is key to making that happen.

How high school student Jack Andraka used Wikipedia to research a new test for cancer

File:Jack Andraka - Cancer Researcher.webm

High school student Jack Andraka talks about how Wikipedia enabled his research to find a test for pancreatic cancer. You can also view this video on YouTube.com and Vimeo.com — or watch his full speech from Wikimania 2014 in London here.

After a family member died from pancreatic cancer, high school student Jack Andraka set out to find a cure for the disease, using Wikipedia as a primary reference for this research. His fast, inexpensive test may someday be used to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer.

Wellcome Library donates 100,000 medical images to Wikimedia Commons

A blow fly (Chrysomya chloropyga). Coloured drawing by A.J.E Wellcome V0022553.jpg
This image of a female blow fly (Chrysomya chloropyga) is part of the Wellcome Library’s medical image collection, now available on Wikimedia Commons. Drawing by Amedeo John Engel Terzi. From Wellcome Library, licensed under CC-BY-4.0.

Wellcome Images provide free public access to their digital collection online, covering topics from medical and social history to current healthcare and biomedical science. The high resolution photographs and scans they just donated are used to illustrate a wide range of Wikipedia articles such as disease, art history, cartoons, sexuality and biographies. This collection can be browsed here on Wikimedia Commons.

Senior citizens learn to edit Wikipedia in the Czech Republic

Overview of class of Senior Citizens write Wikipedia in MLP, 2014-11-04.JPG
Senior citizens learn to edit Wikipedia in special classes held in Prague’s Municipal Library “Senior citizens class photo” by Pavla Pelikánová, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

A new training program in the Czech Republic shows senior citizens how to edit Wikipedia. Here are some of the lessons learned from three separate weekly classes held in Prague last year. After learning how Wikipedia works and how to edit it, participants edited a wide range of articles — and about half of the registered senior citizens continued to edit after the program ended.

Try Content Translation: A quick way to create new articles from other languages

File:Content Translation Screencast (English).webm

Video: How to translate a Wikipedia article in 3 minutes with Content Translation. This video can also be viewed on YouTube (4:10). Screencast by Pau Giner, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Engineering team announced the first version of Content Translation on Wikipedia. This new tool makes it easy to translate articles from one language to another. It is now available as a beta feature in 8 different languages.

Weekly edit-a-thons help create new articles about women and literature in Sweden

Skrivstuga Litteraturhuset 2014-06-03.jpg
A happy group of Wikipedians gather for a weekly edit-a-thon in Gothenburg. “Edit-a-thon photo” by Lennart Guldbrandsson, licensed under CC-Zero

During 2014, Wikimedia Sverige organized a new series of regular edit-a-thons and workshops focused on the Gender gap issue. Altogether, 35 weekly edit-a-thons were held in Gothenburg, the second largest city of Sweden. About 15 different Wikipedians edited over 100 different articles about women and literature.

For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report — you are welcome to add your own translation there!

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

by Andrew Sherman at February 19, 2015 08:04 PM

A WikiLove story

Elef Milim at Mount Eitan.png
Avner and Darya fell in love while touring Israel with other Wikipedians. Here they are at Mount Eitan. Photo by Deror Avi, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

On Wikipedia’s 14th birthday, Avner proposed to me. It seemed very natural, as we both feel that Wikipedia’s community is family.

Avner and Darya first met at a Wikimedia Israel Meetup.

I remember meeting Avner for the first time at a Wikimedia Meetup with volunteers, hosted at the Wikimedia Israel office by Jan-Bart de Vreede, chair of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Wiki-Academy had just successfully completed its 6th conference and everyone was in good spirits. Avner came in late. He knew everyone in the room, except for a girl in a red who caught his eye.

Avner asked around and learned that I was the Wikipedian in Residence at the National Library of Israel. So naturally, the next time he saw me at the library, he started a conversation. The first thing we talked about was a recent complaint the Library’s Reference Desk in Wikipedia had received. He was unaware that I was in charge of the Reference Desk and that I wasn’t very happy being criticized. So we kept our distance during the Hebrew Wikipedia birthday that summer.

Avner and Darya at the Hebrew Wikipedia’s 11th Birthday.

Not ready to give up hope, Avner wrote to me and we started corresponding. Soon after, we went out and in no time we realized this was the real thing! As we are both Wikipedians, we got involved together in many of the chapters’ activities, including Elef Millim, a ‘thousand words’ tour of Israeli landmarks (see photo above).

Finally, Avner decided it was time. He thought it over very carefully, I didn’t realize a thing. On Wikipedia’s 14th birthday, organized by Wikimedia Israel, Avner was to give a lecture titled “How to find love in Wikipedia and what do Wikipedians do when they are in love.” It was supposed to be a theoretical lecture on couples in Wikipedia. He even invited my brother to the lecture: I still didn’t figure out that something was up.

The lecture started, Avner spoke about how he begun writing in Wikipedia and how we met. Not exactly a theoretical lecture. :) Then, his last piece of advice for finding love was to dedicate an article for your beloved. He dedicated an entry of a well-known poem by Natan Alterman called ‘Eternal Meeting’. He then read a verse from that poem, looking straight at me, his voice trembling a bit:

You stormed in to me
I’ll forever play your tune
(Avner’s addition) Will you give me your hand in marriage …
‘Eternal Meeting’ by - Natan Alterman

Avner and Darya kiss after his proposal.

Then Avner took out a ring. We embraced. I put the ring on my finger and we kissed, while the audience applauded. We were greeted with so much love from the Wikipedia community! We are incredibly happy to be able to share this moment with everyone. It was perfect!

Wikipedia is our passion. Naturally, we will be celebrating our honeymoon at Wikimania 2015!

Darya, Hebrew Wikipedian and volunteer for Wikimedia Israel

All photos in this article by Deror Avi, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

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

Love on the Wikis

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

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

What do we know about love? What can we learn from Wikipedia and its sister sites?

For Valentine’s Day, we asked Wikimedians to share their favorite articles or images about love, from Wikipedia and sister projects.

Together, we collected a wide range of insightful articles, images, videos, sounds, quotes and websites on the many different ways this topic is represented in our wikis: from platonic to fraternal, divine or romantic love.

Here are some of our favorites, based on over 77 community recommendations, shared via email, social media and on Wikimedia sites this week.


LoveArchetypal lovers Romeo and Juliet portrayed by Frank Dicksee
Good introduction to the many types of love, and how they vary between cultures and viewpoints. This article is well-written, factual, and nuanced, with helpful context. Did you know that a core concept of Confucianism is Ren (“benevolent love”, 仁), which focuses on duty, action and attitude in a relationship, rather than love itself?
Suggested by Karam Wajeeh Abutabaq (Facebook). Romeo and Juliet painting by Frank Dicksee, public domain.

Valentine’s DayAntique Valentine's Day card
A well-researched overview of Valentine’s Day, how this holiday came about, and how it is celebrated in many world regions. Did you know that Saint Valentine marks the beginning of spring in some cultures? that some Islamic countries ban the sale of Valentine’s Day items?
Suggested by Fabrice Florin (WMF). Antique Valentine’s Day card is public domain.

Golden RuleGolden rule image by Bernard d'Agesci, public domain.
This article describes the ethic of reciprocity behind by this maxim: “Treat others as one would like them to treat you.” Community member Lotje chose it because “you can pick in any language or religion,” and supporter Anika adds it can be practiced both “on-wiki and off-wiki.”
Suggested by Lotje. Golden rule image by Bernard d’Agesci, public domain.

ParvatiPicture of Shiva and Parvati is public domain
Pārvatī is the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion. She represents the gentle and nurturing aspect of Hindu goddess Shakti. Community member Wyatt Brown adds: “Lord Shiva and his Parvati companion have been doing some pretty epic stuff together, for a very long time.  :)”
Suggested by Wyatt Brown (Google+). Picture of Shiva and Parvati is public domain.

Love testerA vintage Love Tester machine at w:Musée Mécanique
Love tester machines like this vintage model rate the subject’s sex appeal, love abilities or romantic feelings. A quirky, but popular recommendation.
Suggested by Secretlondon. Photo by Piotrus, from Musée Mécanique, CC BY-SA 3.0.

For more articles about love, visit ‘Love on the Wikis’.


Love’s Messenger

Loves Messenger Stillman DAM.jpg

Smallbones writes: “‘Love’s Messenger‘ is a wonderful painting I found and uploaded three years ago in February while working with a previously unknown colleague on a series of articles on Pre-Raphaelite paintings. She was absolutely wonderful in helping me work through the series. (…) Finding a colleague like this is the greatest pleasure that I have working on Wikipedia. (…) Even though we still haven’t met, and there is no romantic love between us, this is my “love letter” to P., and to all my great colleagues on Wikipedia.”
Suggested by Smallbones. Painting by Marie Spartali Stillman, public domain.

Mother and child

Mother-Child face to face.jpg

A mother and child look at each other.
Suggested by Pine (see his ‘Feel the love‘ gallery). Photo by Robert Whitehead, via Flickr, licensed under  CC-BY-2.0.

Lovers with doves

Entre palomas (8972089122).jpg

Lovers with doves kiss in Kiev, Ukraine.
Suggested by Pine. Photo by Juanedc, via Flickr, licensed under  CC-BY-2.0.

Sappho and Erinna

Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene.jpg

Sappho and Erinna in a garden at Mytilene, Greece.
Suggested by Pine. Painting by Simeon Solomon, public domain.

IKEA Gets Queered with Russian Kiss-In

Fucking IKEA.jpeg

Two men kiss in IKEA, during a protest against Russian censorship of an IKEA catalog that included a lesbian couple.
Suggested by . Photo by Sasha Kargaltsev, via Flickr, licensed under  CC-BY-2.0.


"Tenderness" (1972). (5973001763).jpg

Love amongst the Moldovan peasantry, from a 1972 documentary from Grigoriopol, Malaiesti, Romania.
Suggested by Secretlondon. Photo by Ion Chibzii, via Flickr, licensed under  CC-BY-2.0.

Kissing prairie dogs

Kissing Prairie dog edit 3.jpg

Two black-tailed prairie dogs appear to be kissing. “Birds do it, bees do it … why not prairie dogs?”, says the person who recommended this image.
Recommended by: Photo by Brocken Inaglory, CC-BY-SA-3.0

For more images about love, visit ‘Love on the Wikis’.


What’s a Love Dart?

File:What's a Love Dart?.webm

Created as a ‘Valentine from Wikipedia’, this video documents the creation of an article about the ‘Love Dart’ — along with candid reactions from people on the street. Did you know that some snails and slugs make a little arrow (or ‘love dart’) inside their bodies before mating? Wikipedia editor Susan Hewitt thinks this may have been the origin of Cupid’s arrow.
Suggested by Michael Guss. Video by Victor Grigas (WMF), licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0. View it on YouTube.

Why Change Your Wife?

<video class="wp-video-shortcode" controls="controls" height="360" id="video-36994-1" preload="metadata" width="640"><source src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/Why_Change_Your_Wife_%3F_%281920%29.webm?_=1" type="video/webm">https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/Why_Change_Your_Wife_%3F_%281920%29.webm</video>

American silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille (1920). As described on Wikipedia, this 90-minute romantic comedy tells the story of Robert and Beth Gordon, who are married but share little. He runs into a young woman at a cabaret — and the Gordons are soon divorced. Over time, they are drawn back to each other — and they fall in love again. The end title claims that “a man would rather have his wife as a sweetheart than any other woman”: it invites women to always look their best and “learn when to forget that you’re his wife.”
Suggested by Geni. Film by Cecil B. DeMille is public domain. (Note this file may not play well on some browsers.)

Let’s Do It

<audio class="wp-audio-shortcode" controls="controls" id="audio-36994-1" preload="none" style="width: 100%; visibility: hidden;"><source src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Let%27s_Do_It.ogg?_=1" type="audio/ogg">https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Let%27s_Do_It.ogg</audio>

Audio recording of Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It”, performed by Linda November and Artie Schroeck.
Suggested by Audio by Linda November and Artie Schroeck, ARTLIN Enterprises, CC-BY-SA-3.0. (Note this file may not play well on some browsers.

For more multimedia files about love, visit ‘Love on the Wikis’.


Wikilove – The Encyclopedia of Love
WikiLove logo
Wikilove is a project dedicated to emotional bonds and love rituals. Founder Alexis de Maud’huy says the main idea of Wikilove is to “educate about emotional intelligence.” Did you know that he first created this project as a wedding gift to his wife? It has now grown to nearly a million pages and has become a valuable resource about emotional issues.
Suggested by Keegan (WMF) and Jessica Robell.

Feel the Love
Al - Chinese symbol of love
A wonderful gallery of love images on the Signpost, created in response to our call for wiki content on this topic. Its creator, Pine, writes: “If anyone felt that there was too little love in Wikimedia, I hope that this gallery will change their minds!” Thanks, Pine, we feel the love, and it is much appreciated. :)
Suggested by Fabrice Florin (WMF).

Love Wikiquotes
Wikiquote logo
A rich collection of quotable statements about love. You can pick quotes in any language, on a wide variety of emotional states related to love.
Suggested by Nemo.

Speaking of quotes, we end this roundup with Shakespeare’s own inspiring sonnet about Valentines day, from Hamlet:

To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,
And dupp’d the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.

—William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5

For more community recommendations about love, visit ‘Love on the Wikis’.

Thanks for sharing the love!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this great community-created love collection!

We are particularly grateful to Pine, Nemo, Fae and Geni, some of our most active participants, for their helpful contributions. Many thanks as well to all the folks who shared their suggestions on Facebook, Twitter and Google +.

Your collective suggestions broadened our perspectives about love, in all of its forms. Together, we found some really well-written, factual and nuanced articles, as well as many humorous, dramatic or beautiful images, which gave us a better understanding about love and why it matters.

What do you think about this curation experiment? Did you learn anything new? Should we do it again? If so, what themes should we focus on next? Please chime in the comments below with your ideas and suggestions. We hope that collaborations like these can help us discover new ways to share useful information, combining the wikis, our blog and social media.

Thanks again for sharing the love — and happy Valentine’s Day to all Wikimedians!

Fabrice Florin – Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation
in collaboration with many gracious community volunteers, as well as:
Victor Grigas – Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation
Michael Guss – Research Analyst and Social Media Maven, Wikimedia Foundation
and the Wikimedia Foundation’s Communications team.

by fflorin2015 at February 19, 2015 04:21 PM

February 13, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia in Google Code-in 2014

GCI2013 Group Photo - Android Building 44.jpg
For this year’s Google Code-in software development contest, Wikimedia developers mentored young students to contribute to our free codebase. Here are last year’s winners. Group Photo by M4tx, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

The Wikimedia Foundation was proud to participate for a second time in Google Code-in, an annual software development contest for 13 to 17 year old students. In this program, young students are introduced to free and open source software (FOSS) projects and invited to make practical contributions.

Weekly summary of tasks

Wikimedia results from Google Code-in. Weekly summary of tasks by Andre Klapper, under CC-BY-SA 4.0

Between December 2014 and January 2015, 48 students successfully completed 226 Wikimedia tasks, supported by 30 mentors from our community. The foundation was one of the twelve mentoring organizations selected by Google. Students who completed their tasks will receive a certificate and t-shirt from Google. And finalists will be invited with their parents to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Google Code-in tasks include not only code development, but also documentation, research, and testing — leading to a wide range of achievements:

We welcome more contributions to help improve our free and open software. Check out how you can contribute and the list of easy software bugs to start with.

Thank you and congratulations to all the students who joined Wikimedia and supported its mission to freely share knowledge! Special kudos to Wikimedia’s two Grand Prize Winners: Danny Wu and Mateusz Maćkowski — and to our finalists Evan McIntire, Geoffrey Mon and Pranav Kumar! The full list of winners across all organizations can be found here.

“It’s been satisfying (and a little addictive too) to see your changes merged into a project used by millions”, said Unicodesnowman, one of the participating students.

We also wish to thank all our mentors for their generous commitment: we are especially grateful for the time they spent on weekends, coming up with task ideas, working with students and quickly reviewing their contributions.

And last but not least, thank you to Google for organizing and running this contest, creating awareness of and interest in Free and Open Software projects.

Andre Klapper, Bugwrangler, Engineer Community Team, Wikimedia Foundation

by Andrew Sherman at February 13, 2015 08:53 PM

An easier way to share knowledge through learning patterns

Austria - Schloss Leopoldskron Library - 2741.jpg
Sharing knowledge is a beautiful thing: a growing library of ‘learning patterns’ helps Wikimedians share what they learn about organizing activities like edit-a-thons. Max Reinhardt Library in Schloss Leopoldskron, by Jorge Royan, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia movement is increasingly using learning patterns to share what we learn when working on a Wikimedia program (such as an edit-a-thon) or what we learn on an organizational level. These simple documents, that describe solutions to a problem, have become harder to find, as the collection of learning patterns has grown in the past year.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Learning and Evaluation team recently made its Learning Pattern Library easier to navigate. This special library is a shared resource for Wikimedia program leaders and organizations across the world, created to help them find learning patterns that are relevant to them.

How does the new system work?

A new categorization system will help people find related patterns by topic of interest. Let’s say the University of Washington is hosting a hackathon and local organizers want to learn more about how to host their event. They can now see which learning patterns are related to hackathons. There are currently 17 patterns in the hackathon category, including “Accommodations at meetups”, “Birds of a feather”, “Connectivity issues”, “Five tips for preparing a great conference”, and “Set up a GitHub profile for your hack-a-thons”.

Patterns are easier to search…

… and find!

Photo by María Cruz, CC-BY-SA 4.0

Get involved!
You can visit the library anytime to:

  • Search for learning patterns relevant to your work;
  • Share your experiences with Wikimedia activities and programs.

Suppose that a community member wants to use the learning pattern “Let the community know”. By looking at the bottom of the learning pattern page, they can see that this learning pattern belongs to many categories including: Event patterns, Programs learning patterns, Project management learning patterns, Organizational design patterns, Communications learning patterns… and more! When you click on the category links, you can see related learning patterns that provide additional information. With this new system, we are trying to make learning patterns more accessible. A great idea could lead to the next and a challenge can open the door to a range of possible solutions.

Moreover, this added reference supports more complex pattern search strategies. This lets you examine intersections across learning patterns. Check out the category intersection search tool, as outlined in Grants:Learning patterns/Searching the Learning Patterns Library. You can see the full list of Learning Patterns categories. Tables showing how subcategories are organized can be found here.

Help close the diversity gap

Let’s invite more diversity on Wikipedia! «Harmony Day», by DIAC Images, under a CC-BY 2.0 Generic license.

A good way to start contributing to the Learning Pattern Library is by joining the Diversity campaign! If you learned anything from past experiences, you can share what you know through a learning pattern, including: under-represented topics or voices in Wikimedia projects, programs or events. Your questions are welcome too!

The Learning and Evaluation team encourages you to help us:

  1. Generate a list of knowledge needs related to the gender and diversity.
  2. Help to rank the list of potential needed patterns by endorsing other’s suggestions.
  3. Help to create, expand, and apply learning patterns relevant to diversity in support of creative solutions in the upcoming Inspire campaign.

Happy editing,

Brett Gibbs, WMF Learning and Evaluation Intern
María Cruz, WMF Evaluation Community Coordinator

by Andrew Sherman at February 13, 2015 08:52 PM

Wikimedia at FOSDEM 2015

Brussels-FOSDEM 2015 (12).jpg
The Wikimedia Foundation hosted a booth at FOSDEM 2015, the annual Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting. Photo by Romaine, licensed under CC0 1.0.

FOSDEM 2015, the annual Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting, took place in Brussels, Belgium, from January 31 to February 1, 2015. The Wikimedia Foundation hosted a booth throughout that conference, in collaboration with Wikimedia Belgium, the Wikimedia Shop and Wikimedia Deutschland.

We are happy to say that our Wikimedia booth received a lot of attention at FOSDEM. We experienced a remarkable turnout by women editors, despite our gender gap issues. As a result, we learned more about how our female editors like to engage when creating content on Wikipedia: it appears that in-person collaborations and social settings appeal to female contributors and keep them coming back.

Based on these and other conversations, it seems these best practices could increase gender diversity:

  • host more face-to-face workshops or edit-a-thons, where participants are encouraged to interact with each other in person.
  • develop social software that makes it easy for users to form groups, so they are not feeling alone and can work with others in their group.
  • provide groups with a central discussion page, recent changes showing the activity of other group members, as well as a way to create tasks, and host a wish list.

Our FOSDEM booth was originally focused on providing information about Wikimedia and Wikipedia, but we had many questions about Wikidata and MediaWiki. Our software developers were able to answer most of these questions, but next year we plan to have more materials to cover these topics, due to this high level of interest. We also gave free Wikimedia T-shirts, water bottles or hoodies to participants who tweeted about the shop — or who demonstrated that they had edited Wikipedia or Wikimedia projects.

Quim Gil and Andre Klapper made a presentation about our Phabricator collaboration software: “Wikimedia adopts Phabricator, deprecates seven infrastructure tools – First hand experience from big free software project on a complex migration”. Read more about their presentation and check out their slides.

FOSDEM 2015 was a very productive conference, and we hope that next year will be even better. Thanks again to Quim and Andre for presenting. And thanks to everyone who showed up at the booth to ask questions and share their insights. We appreciate all your support and interest in our cause.

Romaine, board member of Wikimedia Belgium

by Andrew Sherman at February 13, 2015 08:51 PM

Help find great wiki articles about love

Antique Valentine’s Day card, dated 1909. Posted by Chordboard. Public Domain

What is your favorite wiki article (or image) about love?

As millions of people prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day around the world, we thought it would be a good time find out how the topic of love is covered on Wikipedia and its sister projects.

We’re looking for illuminating pages (or media files) from any wiki, on any topic related to love — whether it is platonic, fraternal, divine or romantic love.

Please add your suggestions in the comments below — or on this wiki page: Love on the wikis.

Be sure to include a link to your favorite — and a sentence or two about why you picked it!

We welcome your suggestions until Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 at midnight PST. On Thursday, we will prepare a report about your favorites, and publish the best ones here on the Wikimedia blog and on social media, next Friday, Feb. 13 — just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Thanks for sharing the love! :)

The Communications team at the Wikimedia Foundation

P.S.: You can also post your favorites on these social networks, if you like:
Google +

by fflorin2015 at February 13, 2015 08:51 PM

February 12, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Ukrainian Wikipedia celebrates its 11th anniversary


The Ukrainian version of Wikipedia has grown significantly since it started 11 years ago: it now features over 548,000 articles. Ukraine Wikipedia Logo 2.0 by Wikimedia Foundation, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. See below for Wikipedia logo credits.

Yuri Perohanych, Wikimedia Ukraine founder, has edited over 2,500 articles in the Ukrainian Wikipedia.
Yuri Perohanych by Yuri Perohanych, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This interview was conducted by Taras Holovko and was originally published on January 30, 2015, in The Day newspaper, Issue: №5, (2015).

Nowadays, it is hard to get by without using Wikipedia, which has become a powerful information resource for nearly half a billion users around the world. For the 11th anniversary of the Ukrainian Wikipedia on January 30, 2015, we interviewed Yuri Perohanych, Yuri Perohanych, founder of the Wikimedia Ukraine nonprofit organization, to get his thoughts about this project. Yuri is now the managing director of the Association of IT Companies of Ukraine — and is one of a few thousand enthusiasts who regularly fill the Ukrainian Wikipedia with articles on a wide range of topics.

Taras: It has been over five years since you first edited the Internet page of the Ukrainian version of Free Encyclopedia, which is now popular all over the world. Could you tell us about the founders of this unique Internet project, which was later renamed Wikipedia?

“Wikipedia would not have happened without the joint efforts of Larry Sanger, a scholar, and Jimmy Wales, an entrepreneur. These two Americans first started Nupedia, a free peer-reviewed encyclopedia, whose articles were supposed to be created only by volunteer scholars. Ten months after the project was launched, in January 2001, Wikipedia was created as a subsidiary to Nupedia. However, Wikipedia articles could be edited by anyone who wished to do so. Over the first year of Nupedia, only 21 articles appeared on its website — while Wikipedia had 200 only in the first month of its existence, and 18,000 in its first year. At the start of Wikipedia, Sanger was mostly responsible for its development, while Wales was busy financing the project. Since Sanger had the status of employee from the very launch of the project, Wales considers himself the only founder of Wikipedia. Sanger does not accept this and is fighting for the right to be referred to as the co-founder of the Free Encyclopedia.”

Today the English version of Wikipedia has some 500 million page views per month. Do you have any statistics on how many users visit the Ukrainian version of Wikipedia?

“According to my estimates, the Ukrainian language Wikipedia has approximately 11 million visitors per month. However, Wikipedia is best measured by page views, not by number of users. For example, the Ukrainian Wikipedia received 919 million page views in 2014 (compared with 591 million in 2012, and 895 million in 2013).

The increase in traffic in 2013, compared with 2012, was 51 percent, whereas in 2014 the traffic only grew by 3 percent, compared to the previous year. This is a very worrying sign, which I associate not only with the war and the slowdown of Internet penetration rate in Ukraine, but also with the government’s shortsighted language policy — in particular, the effects of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law on languages. However, even under those circumstances, the popularity of Ukrainian Wikipedia is striking. In December 2014, it had 89 million page views, or an average of 33 pages per second in a 24 hour period.”

You personally started and published some 2,500 articles in Ukrainian Wikipedia. How would you describe these articles?

“The Ukrainian-language version of Wikipedia has now some 548,000 articles. This amount grows by approximately 200 articles daily. Thus, in December 2014 there was a new edit every 18 seconds, and a new article was created every 8 minutes. Wikipedia is a universal encyclopedia, which is why it contains articles on a wide variety of themes. You can get a general idea about the classification of the articles from the home page of the site.

When I began editing Wikipedia in 2009, it contained only some 120,000 articles, scattered ‘islets’ of knowledge. Sometime around 2013, it still had blank spots. But now, with more than half a million articles, it is getting increasingly harder to find material for a new article. However, English Wikipedia has almost nine times as many articles, and the versions in German and French approximately three times as many.”

How are you organizing the work to keep the Ukrainian Wikipedia updated with new information? We hear that the English version is edited by some 130,000 volunteers every month. How many editors are there in Ukraine?

“The Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization in the US, provides the technical platform, while the provision and control of editorial content is in the hands of volunteer editors. These volunteers contribute as they wish, without any financial remuneration, but they have to follow certain rules. The articles must be encyclopedic, concise and comprehensible by average users, they must contain links to sources, and must be written from a neutral perspective, while respecting the rights of authors.

I would like to mention that the colossal work of filling Ukrainian Wikipedia is conducted by a relatively small body. Last month, only about 2,300 users made at least one edit. Out of every five thousand users who browse Wikipedia, only one suggests a change. This is utterly disproportional. Too many chiefs and not enough indians.”

Have you ever seen unsanctioned edits to the articles, which would deliberately distort their content? Especially in articles about certain historic events and their participants?

“This happens every day, but usually such edits are promptly corrected by other editors. The vandals get a warning, and if they do not pay attention to the advice, they are blocked quickly and effectively. However, there were some funny cases. On April 1, 2014, an anonymous editor intentionally added wrong information about a once famous female politician, stating that she died on that day. The error was noticed and the woman was ‘resurrected’ only on 9 days later!”

How reliable is the information in Wikipedia?

“Any information of great importance should be verified with several different sources. Check which source a certain passage in Wikipedia refers to. If this source is not listed or you cannot get hold of it, or if it is unreliable in your opinion, think and make a decision about whether you can trust this information.”

And how do you settle copyright issues, since each publication in fact is an intellectual product of its creators?

“Everyone who submits information for publication on Wikipedia agrees that they are the author of this information, that they authorize its distribution for any purpose, including commercial — and that they do not object to edits or removals. Short quotes are allowed (that are usually no bigger than several sentences), but it is better to present information in someone’s own words, while providing a reference to the original source.”

Google’s search engine has a lot of tricks to let you find necessary files efficiently. Could you provide some practical advice for people who use Ukrainian Wikipedia?

“Start by setting up the search engine that you use, for example, Google, so that it would show results in Ukrainian first. Of course, write search requests in Ukrainian too. It is often useful to see what a certain article looked like on a specific date, let’s say, a year ago. This is what the ‘View history’ tab is for (you can find it in the top right corner of article pages). For more information on the subject, you can read the same article in other languages, if you understand them. Also, use categories to search for content on a specific topic. Lists of categories can be found at the bottom of each article page. Other tools support more complex search queries: for example, select all Parliament Members (MPs) who come from one oblast, but this requires advanced skill.”

You participated in international conferences and symposia in Hong Kong, Poland, Israel, called Wikimania by the online community. What were your conclusions after learning about the work of other colleagues who implement the global encyclopedia project in various countries, just like you do?

“Regular editing of Wikipedia is usually done by either students — or people who can be considered part of the middle class. Students can learn a subject better while creating new articles or editing existing ones; people who have free time can fulfill their intellectual and spiritual needs by working on Wikipedia: for example, they can uncover information about the blank spots in history or the heroes of our nation — information that was unavailable during the Soviet era.”

What are the prospects for integrating the Ukrainian Wikipedia into the educational process, particularly for secondary and higher education?

“First, school and university students must be taught how to use Wikipedia correctly. This can start in middle school. Second, high school and university students can be assigned to improve existing Wikipedia articles or write new ones; or they can be assigned to translate articles to or from other languages. The skills that they acquire by editing Wikipedia articles can help them evaluate various sources more critically, tell facts apart from opinions, and present the information in a more concise and well-structured way.”

By Taras Holovko, The Day newspaper, Kiev, Ukraine

The Wikipedia logo, with contributions by User:Paul Stansifer, User:Nohat, Philip Metschan, as well as the Wikimedia Foundation logo, are licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0. The Wikipedia and Wikimedia Foundation logos are trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation and are used with the permission of the Wikimedia Foundation. We are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation.

by Andrew Sherman at February 12, 2015 01:41 AM

First Wikimarathon on Spanish scientists

Volunteer editors participated in a Wikimarathon on Spanish scientists, held at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Millars, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

Volunteer editors participated in a Wikimarathon on Spanish scientists at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Millars, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

Portrait of Leonardo Torres Quevedo, one of over a hundred portraits uploaded by volunteers at the National Museum of Science and Technology. Work by Eulogia Merle, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

The first ‘wikimarathon’ about Spanish scientists and inventors took place on December 13 and 14, 2014. This special edit-a-thon was organized by Wikimedia Spain, in collaboration with the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología). These events were hosted simultaneously by six science museums in Spain: the National Museum of Science and Technology (in its two locations, Alcobendas and A Coruña), the Valladolid Science Museum, the House of Sciences of Logroño, the National Museum of Natural Sciences, and the House of Science of Sevilla.

The wikimarathon included a short talk about Wikipedia and Wikimedia, as well as an editing workshop where participants learned to edit Wikipedia. Progress was tracked through social networks, using this hashtag: #WikimaratónCiencia. About 96 participants registered through a website created by Wikimedia Spain: approximately 35% of them were women, and 17 of them participated online. To guide participants, 18 experienced wikipedians travelled to the museums from different parts of Spain, on a volunteer basis. To help attendees edit content appropriately, the museums offered access to literature in different formats — and food and beverages were also served. Each museum set up a different timetable, adapted for their opening hours. Beyond those two-day events, online participation was opened for three more weeks, for those who wished to continue editing from home.

Volunteers edit Wikipedia articles about Spanish scientists at the National Museum of Natural Sciences, in Madrid.
Photo by Millars, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

A wide range of participants joined this program. In Alcobendas, a group of 7 to 12 year-old children attended the workshops with their tablets: they seemed to enjoy the talk and learned how to use the new Visual Editor tool. In Logroño, a family attended with two children: the youngest, aged 11, was particularly interested in contributing to Wikipedia articles about abyssal creatures, not scientists. During the talk, he found several errors in an article about a fish, and remembered that he had read a book on abyssal creatures in the library of the museum. He went to the library and returned a few minutes later with the book. After creating his account in Wikipedia, he corrected those errors in an accurate way. And in Madrid, a volunteer’s family came to the museum to hear his talk, including his brothers, sisters and their children; the museum provided original works from the scientists that people were writing about, as bibliography.

The event was a success and its main results can be summarized as follows:

Rubén Ojeda, member of Wikimedia España

by fflorin2015 at February 12, 2015 01:40 AM

February 07, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

The Twilight of Copyright, or, How to reform with a hammer

Nietzsche Archives in Weimar.JPG
Wikimedia sites can only show this picture of Weimar’s Nietzsche Archive because German’s ‘Freedom of Panorama’ law authorizes it. If the building was located in Belgium or France, this would be a copyright infringement. House by David Wen Riccardi-Zhuneed, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Since July 2013, Dimitar Dimitrov has worked as a Wikimedian in Brussels. In previous blog posts, he has written about his experience with the European Union’s impact on the free knowledge movement. This post is about the EU’s copyright reform proposal. All views are the author’s own; discussion is welcome in the comment section of this blog post.

What happened

The new European Commission is working on a copyright reform proposal this year. In the European Union context, this would most likely mean revamping the 2001 Copyright in the Information Society Directive (InfoSoc Directive). The InfoSoc Directive was produced to make copyright rules work for the internet, and it already grants a number of exceptions (including ‘Freedom of Panorama’). However, these exceptions are optional — and implementing them across member states has led to a legal patchwork, rather than clearing rules that are easily applicable online.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away from the Commission, the European Parliament is working on its own initiative report on the implementation of the InfoSoc Directive. Since the European Parliament can’t propose legislation itself and needs to wait for the Commission to act, that’s how it deals with upcoming issues. The report will recommend legal changes that the Parliament would like to see (and is likely to vote for). The Legal Affairs Committee is responsible for preparing the document and the assigned rapporteur, Julia Reda (Pirate Party, Greens/EFA Group, DE), presented her first draft in January.

The first draft calls for the European Commission to harmonize current exceptions, as well as to introduce new ones. It also tries to strengthen authors’ position vis-à-vis other stakeholders, such as collecting societies or content licensing companies. It calls on public authorities to help foster and safeguard the public domain. Other concrete proposals include: shortening copyright terms to what is the permissible minimum under the Berne Convention (i.e. life plus 50 years, instead of the currently valid minimum of ‘lifelong plus 70 years’); extending the quotation right to cover audiovisual works; introducing an open norm in Europe to mimic the US fair use practice; enshrining the legality of hyperlinking and text & data mining; wider exceptions for education and research; and allowing libraries to lend e-books.


Reactions in Brussels have ranged from “Hell yeah!” to “Hell no!” (the rapporteur herself has assembled a number of comments). There are groups that think that this will never pass because it asks too much, groups that believe they will be unemployed if this passes, groups that think that it doesn’t go far enough — and pretty much anything in between.

Still, we’ve observed a healthy amount of panic about this topic. While the extreme reactions cited above are scary at times, criticism from all sides seems to give this first draft a shot at being seen as reasonable. A strong reaction also has the benefit of generating attention. Attention that topics like copyright don’t always get. And this is the chance to have an in-depth conversation. The digital and content crowds in Brussels have turned into beehives. Everyone is buzzing around, trying to pick up new information and generate traction for one’s own arguments.

What lies ahead

Next, the Committee will examine the draft and gather amendment proposals until 3 March. These will then be reviewed and voted on during committee meetings, before agreed-upon text in its entirety proceeds to a plenary vote. The European Parliament’s own initiative report has mainly two functions. For one, it tries to get the European Parliament to agree on what it wants ahead of the actual proposal by the Commission, thereby strengthening its negotiating position. At the same time, it acts as a bellwether that shows what would be feasible.

The overall expectation is still that the initial proposal will change substantially. All the stakeholder groups will try to knock passages out, propose own wordings or stall the entire process. So it is important that the Wikimedia movement put its weight behind the initiative as such — and support it, focusing on the points we can demonstrate with credibility.

The current version of the report asks the Commission to propose “exempting works produced by the public sector – within the political, legal and administrative process – from copyright protection” (point 5). This corresponds to our demand for free use and re-use of government created works (PDGov). The report draft also proposes “that the use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in public places are permitted” (point 16), which is perfectly in line with our Freedom of Panorama recommendation (FoP).

How you can help

As changes to the current version are unavoidable, we must make sure to defend our position throughout the discussions in the Committee and in the European Parliament at large. The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU is currently contacting members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to explain why the changes we’re talking about are not extreme but necessary. We’re trying to make sure that European Chapters as well as individual volunteers are involved and equipped with the most relevant arguments and most effective answers.

If you would like to help, please contact us to:

  • Reach out to relevant MEPs from your country/region [1]
  • Help us with the mailing campaign to address the EP at-large
  • Participate in upcoming events in Brussels (“Freedom of Panorama Workshop” and “Meet the Authors”, both still in planning with dates TBC)
  • We’re looking for several people who would be willing to spend 2-4 weeks in Brussels in 2015 as a “Visiting Weasel” to help with local activities (scholarship possible) [2]

We’ve been given a chance to change European copyright law. Let’s give it all we have!

Dimitar Dimitrov, Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU

[1] As things are very dynamic, please make sure to get in touch with us before you contact a MEP so we can give you the latest news and coordinate our efforts in the most effective way.
[2]Details like funding and timing not clear yet. Please share your interest in participating.

Also note that the title of this post is inspired by ‘Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer’ by Friedrich Nietzsche

by Andrew Sherman at February 07, 2015 07:55 PM

February 06, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Thanking Wikipedia editors for covering local politics in Togo: Rena Takiguchi

Rena Takiguchi learned about local politics in Togo on Wikipedia. She’s pictured here in the courtyard of the Shitennō-ji temple in Osaka, Japan.
“Shitennoji Temple Photo” by Amivi1, under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Rena Takiguchi, a native of Japan, says that she would have been consumed with worry for her friends in Togo, if it were not for the Wikipedia article about the Togolese presidential election in 2010.

Takiguchi worked in Togo as a volunteer for an international student organization that matches students with internships in companies all over the world. Since she was interested in working in Africa, she was offered an opportunity in Togo, to hone her development skills in international corporations. Takiguchi worked for six months with a local NGO that dealt with HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness in Togo — where she stayed until January of 2009. She returned to visit Togo in August 2009 and was able to maintain ties with the friends she had made by using email and social networks.

She became aware of the Togolese election soon after she left — and was concerned, even though her friends did not say much about the election. Then she came across a troubling news article that suggested the possibility of a riot. “I was worried, so I started to search for more articles, but I couldn’t find any deep information about it on the internet.” says Takiguchi. “And one day I came down to this Wikipedia article. It was really, really surprising. I had no idea who in the world had this information – collected it and shared it – it was amazing.”

Takiguchi said she couldn’t believe how difficult it was to find reliable information about the Togo elections outside of Wikipedia. After thinking how much that article helped put her mind at ease, Takiguchi says it inspired her to make a donation and write a message. Like many other Japanese Wikipedia users, she also relies on Wikipedia for many things such as writing college papers and researching topics in general.

Along with her financial donation to the Wikimedia Foundation, she wrote this message:

“I used to volunteer for an NGO in Togo for several months. Once after I came back home there was a presidential election in Togo in 2010. The competition was harsh between the incumbent president and the opposition leader and I had heard some bad news about it that there was a controversy and even riots. I knew Togo had undergone a terrible riot during the previous election and many people had been killed. I was afraid the same thing would happen at that time. I tried to follow as many news outlets as possible to understand what was really going on but was surprised about how little was available on major news websites. After many searches I came down to this one Wikipedia article “Togolese presidential election 2010”. The article was very comprehensive, precise and up to date: it provided more information than any other news site did.”

Takiguchi, who now resides in Tokyo and works for a company that manufactures equipment for the visually impaired, is still deeply grateful to Wikipedia and the Wikipedians responsible for updating the article.

“A big thank you to Wikipedia for helping me in so many ways, in my studies, my everyday life and this particular situation, thank you!”

Profile by Yoona Ha, Wikimedia Foundation Communications Intern

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

by yoonahawikimedia at February 06, 2015 08:30 PM

Help fill in the gaps: Contribute to the story of Wikimedia programs

Data collection round 2 PROGRAMS.png
Examples of Wikimedia programs under evaluation this year. Can you help collect more data?
Slide by María Cruz, CC-BY-SA 4.0. Photo by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, public domain

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Learning and Evaluation team invites you to help collect data about Wikimedia programs, so we can evaluate their impact. Here’s an overview about this initiative and how you can contribute. This will help us understand how these programs support the goals of our movement.

Evaluating Wikimedia programs

In November 2012, the Wikimedia Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) proposed that we discuss “impact, outcomes and innovation, including how to measure, evaluate and learn” across the Wikimedia movement.

This request raised some important questions, such as:
• What will lead to a significant improvement in our overall community health?
• How can we better learn from each other and adapt our programs?

Like field surveys, program evaluations require extensive data collection.
Survey photo by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, public domain

To address these questions and help measure the impact of our programs, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Program Evaluation and Design initiative started in April 2013, with a small team and a community call to discuss program evaluation. In the first few months, the team worked to identify the most popular Wikimedia programs and collaborated with a first set of program leaders to map the goals for these programs and potential metrics. After this first step, the team invited a broader community of program leaders to share feedback about their capacity for evaluation through an online survey. We wanted to explore what programs were out there, what was important for program leaders and what they were measuring.

Survey results indicated that many program leaders were tracking quite a bit of data about their programs. By August 2013, informed by these survey results, we launched the first Round of Data Collection in September 2013 and completed our first Evaluation Report. This high-level analysis started to answer many of the questions raised by movement leaders about key programs and their impact. The report was well received by our communities and generated many discussions about the focus of these programs, their diversity and the data they collected. But it still left room for improvement. Some of the feedback was that the foundation collect more of the publicly available data from grants reports, event pages, and program registries.

The first reports included findings from 119 implementations of 7 different types of programs, as reported by 23 program leaders from over 30 countries. To learn about these implementations, we relied extensively on data submitted to us by community members.

Last year, based on community requests, we focused more on looking for data that was already reported. To make the best use of staff and volunteer time, we first searched for programs and program data posted on project pages between September 2013 and September 2014, gathering as much relevant information as possible. Then we began reaching out to the community, to help us fill in the gaps in this data. Some key information was hard to find, especially on ‘program inputs’, such as staff or volunteer hours, budgets and non-monetary donations. This input data, along with data on outputs and outcomes, can help us to compare and contrast program implementations more accurately, to see what strategies might work best to achieve their goals.

This year’s programs

For this year’s round, we have identified 733 program implementations, and data was reported directly for 110 of them. We also identified at least 98 different program leaders, and are still working to contact more leaders of programs reported by grantees. Global distribution of these programs is deeper and broader this year, spanning 59 countries — 74% in countries where English is not the first language, and 21% in the Global South.

Check out the list of programs under review!


Highlights of Wikimedia Data Collection Round 2.
Graphic by María Cruz, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

To save time for program leaders, we now accept many different forms of documentation, and we are happy to find and pull the relevant data as needed. Data contributions are being examined more closely, including running additional analyses to assess impacts on content quality and participation. This data will be used to identify the most successful programs so that, together, we can use a powerful lens to investigate programs and share the best strategies, as well as potential pitfalls, across our many Wikimedia communities. All data will be shared back with the community in the 2014 Program Evaluation Reports, to help understand how programs develop, change and contribute to larger movement goals.

Get involved!

We welcome your participation, as we continue to reach out to program leaders. If you coordinated a program listed above, your help would be much appreciated: there are still many gaps in the data! If you would like to report on a program that is not listed above, please send us an email at ‘eval @ wikimedia.org’.

This new data will be included in our second round of evaluation reports, enabling program leaders to compare, contrast, and connect to one another across different locations, languages and cultures.

These reports will:
• help guide choices of programs that impact shared movement goals
• help find and share stories across different Wikimedia communities
• help the WMF Grantmaking team identify promising practices, and develop program toolkits and learning patterns
• inform communities about promising practices and potential new partnerships

Together, we can tell the stories of our Wikimedia movement programs in a more meaningful, informed and motivating way!

María Cruz, Community coordinator, Learning and Evaluation team

by fflorin2015 at February 06, 2015 01:10 AM

February 05, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Modernizing MediaWiki with libraries

Breaking up the MediaWiki codebase into separate PHP libraries can benefit many developers across the open software movement.  Wikimedia Zürich 2014 Hackathon photo by Christian Meixner, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Breaking up the MediaWiki codebase into separate PHP libraries can benefit many developers across the open software movement. Wikimedia Zürich 2014 Hackathon photo by Christian Meixner, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

MediaWiki is the free open source wiki software used to power Wikipedia and thousands of other wikis. It is written in the PHP programming language, because it is widely available and offers a low barrier to code contributions. Over the last 12 years, MediaWiki has grown from a small collection of PHP scripts to almost 1,800 PHP scripts in the core application alone. The contributions of hundreds of individual developers have helped make it a feature-rich, secure and scalable platform capable of powering some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world.

Unfortunately, MediaWiki has grown to a level of complexity that makes it difficult to understand the code base and reason about the consequences of change. As a result, contributing to MediaWiki is harder than it could be, compared to PHP. A significant portion of the PHP code used in MediaWiki is only incidentally related to the notion of a wiki.

To address this problem, the Wikimedia Foundation has begun breaking MediaWiki into smaller, reusable libraries which can be developed more easily and integrated into any PHP application. We hope that other applications can benefit from MediaWiki’s robust platform which supports sites that scale up to 20 billion page views a month.

Breaking up the codebase

The first two libraries to come out of MediaWiki’s legacy codebase were CSSJanus and CDB. CSSJanus is a PHP port of the original Python library that is used by MediaWiki to convert CSS stylesheets between left-to-right and right-to-left orientations. The PHP port has been used in MediaWiki’s ResourceLoader since 2010 and has been tested extensively for correctness and performance. Both the PHP port and a JavaScript version are now being managed as an independent FOSS project that can benefit not only MediaWiki but also a much wider audience of software developers.

CDB, short for “constant database”, is a fast and reliable file-based key-value store. MediaWiki uses CDB files to cache localized interface messages. Wikimedia’s MediaWiki cluster serves content and chrome in 287 languages, so access to localized strings has to be fast and reliable. We have found CDB to be an excellent solution, and are excited to finally share our PHP CDB library in reusable form. The library provides a wrapper for PHP’s native dba_* functions as well as a pure-PHP implementation for environments like HHVM that do not have access to the native functions.

Using Composer to import libraries

Having extracted these libraries, we needed to reintroduce their use in the core application and maintain the ability to track the version of the library in use with each MediaWiki version deployed. Managing external dependencies has historically been a roadblock to decomposing the larger application without adding too much complexity to the deployment process. Luckily, Composer has largely solved this problem in the modern PHP stack.

Composer logo by WizardCat, released under the MIT license.

Composer logo by WizardCat, released under the MIT license.

Composer is a project-local package manager for PHP in the vein of npm, Bundler and virtualenv. By including a composer.json configuration file, we are now able to specify our dependencies programmatically and let Composer do the hard work of downloading and making the classes available to a MediaWiki install. Adding Composer support to the core product has also given us an easy avenue for including additional third-party dependencies in the future. This gives the MediaWiki developer community an opportunity to examine several of the components we have built ourselves, to determine if they could be replaced by  external projects that are better supported or that offer more compelling features.

Removing barriers to library extraction

A major roadblock to separating and publishing more libraries was that logging and profiling calls specific to MediaWiki were included everywhere in the code. We looked at the current practices of the larger PHP community and found that our homegrown code could be largely replaced with the PSR-3 logging standard and the XHProf profiling library.

The choice of PSR-3 as a logging interface was easy. The standardization efforts of PHP Framework Interop Group are being adopted by a growing number of PHP applications and libraries, so by following the standard it will be easier to decouple code from MediaWiki and still retain valuable runtime debugging capabilities. As an added bonus, it will make integrating externally-developed software with MediaWiki easier as well and opens the possibility of replacing our home-grown logging solution with another PSR-3 compliant logging implementation. The Wikimedia Foundation is currently experimenting with using the Monolog library instead of the PSR-3 port of our legacy logging system.

XHProf is a FOSS project originally developed by Facebook which is available for both PHP5 and HHVM. We chose XHProf as the backbone for our updated profiling pipeline because the measurements it collects happen at the interpreter level rather than relying on explicit invocations of start/stop methods. This systemic approach allows code to be profiled without tight coupling to the profiling system and as an added benefit is less impactful to the system being profiled which should produce slightly better measurements.

Next steps

Completing the logging and profiling changes puts MediaWiki in a good place for continued modernization. The developer community is in the process of turning the lessons learned from the initial library extractions into guidelines for how to manage new FOSS projects. We have a Composer-based infrastructure to manage re-introducing the code we extract back to the project, in a clean and well-versioned manner. Most importantly, we now have built momentum and are excited to keep moving forward.

Our next steps are to get current (and future) MediaWiki developers excited about using these tools to continue the process. We have started a list of potential projects that could be extracted with varying degrees of difficulty. Some of these might be good candidates for GSoC projects; others will take a fairly deep understanding of the current MediaWiki code base. We have also opened up new avenues for MediaWiki development. Historically sharing code between two extensions required one to depend on the other or the creation of a third extension just to hold the common code. This creates issues with the runtime load order of the extensions and may require enabling unwanted features on the wiki.  Today we can instead promote the use of semantically versioned libraries. We are already seeing development along these lines with OOjs UI being included in MediaWiki as a library and work to replace the Mantle extension with a third party template library.

Our long-term vision is for MediaWiki to become an application that is composed of many small purpose built libraries with interfaces that allow individual libraries to be exchanged for others. This will make MediaWiki as a whole easier to understand by reducing the entanglement between components. It will also make it much easier to introduce code from third parties. This “Librarization” project is a small but important way to remove technical and social hurdles for a long-term shift in development practices by the MediaWiki community.

Bryan Davis, Software Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation
Chad Horohoe, Software Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation
Kunal Mehta, Software Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at February 05, 2015 07:21 AM

February 04, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Who links to Wikipedia?

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

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

Key findings

  • The most popular Wikipedia according to the number of links that it receives from external websites is the English Wikipedia. After that, the Spanish, the Indonesian, and the German Wikipedias are the most popular.
  • Websites under blogspot.com contribute many links to Wikipedia. For the Spanish, Indonesian, and Portuguese Wikipedias they contribute more than all the other .com websites.
  • The main top-level domains that link to the English Wikipedia are: .com, .org, .blogspot.com, .net, .edu, and .co.uk.
  • Out of the 36 million links to Wikipedia, 18 million links are from .com domains to the English Wikipedia.
  • Most links to the German and French Wikipedias come from .de and .fr domains respectively.



In early 2015 the website WikiReverse.org published raw data about all the 36 million hyperlinks from any external website to any Wikipedia page. Such data was extracted from CommonCrawl (read more about the extraction process on the WikiReverse website): a large crawl of the Web run by the Common Crawl Foundation in July 2014.

We have analyzed the WikiReverse dataset to understand the linking structure from the external Web to Wikipedia. We have aggregated and visualized this data according to the top-level domain (e.g., .com, .net.) of the websites linking to Wikipedia. The list of top-level domains we aggregated the raw data against has been manually curated. We then visualized the aggregated data using Tree Maps to show the proportion of the link volume between domains and Wikipedia languages.

The result for all Wikipedia languages and all data is shown in the graph above. The first line of text in each box indicates the Wikipedia language. The second line indicates the top-level domain. The size of each box is proportional to the number of links from websites having a certain top-level domain to a certain Wikipedia language. Here you can find the interactive plot with the link volume for all Wikipedias

As the English Wikipedia dominates the visualization, this is the resulting visualization for all non-English Wikipedia languages:

Here are the top ‘non-english’ external sites that link to Wikipedia, excluding link volume for English-language top-level domains. Graph by Gianluca Demartini, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Here you can find the interactive plot with the link volume for non-English Wikipedias

The code used to process the raw data from WikiReverse can be found in this iPython notebook.


The original data used for this analysis and observation is the Common Crawl which is an incomplete crawl of the Web. This means that all observation are valid only based on the data within Common Crawl and may not be representative of the entire Web.

Gianluca Demartini, Lecturer in Data Science at the University of Sheffield. gianlucademartini.net

by fflorin2015 at February 04, 2015 12:58 AM

February 02, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, January 2015

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 5 • Issue: 1 • January 2015 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Bot writes about theatre plays; “Renaissance editors” create better content

With contributions by: Kim Osman, Federico Leva, Tilman Bayer and Maximilian Klein.

Bot detects theatre play scripts on the web and writes Wikipedia articles about them

US playwright Alice Gerstenberg. A bot-generated article about her 1920 comedy Fourteen was accepted with minimal changes.

A paper[1] presented at the International Conference on Pattern Recognition last year (earlier poster) presents an automated method to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of theatre plays (“only about 10% of the plays in our dataset have corresponding Wikipedia pages”). It searches for playscripts and related documents on the web, extracts key information from them (including the play’s main characters, relevant sentences from online synopses of the play, and mentions in Google Books and the Google News archive in an attempt to ensure that the play satisfies Wikipedia’s notability criteria). It then compiles this information into an automatically generated Wikipedia article. Two of the 15 articles submitted as result of this method were accepted by Wikipedia editors. For the first, Chitra by Rabindranath Tagore, the initial bot-created submission underwent significant changes by other editors (“the final page reflects some of the improvements we can incorporate in our bot”). The second one, Fourteen by Alice Gerstenberg, “was moved into Wikipedia mainspace with minimal changes. All the references, quotes and paragraphs were retained”.

“Renaissance Editors” create better Wikipedia content

A study of the German Wikipedia[2], about the diversity of editor contributions among the 8 “main categories”, shows a relationship between editor diversity and quality. The authors start by defining an “interest profile” of an editor – the proportion of bytes contributed across all categories. Then an entropy measure is proposed which rewards an interest profile for being more distributed across more categories – having a polymath style.

Leonardo Da Vinci is a famous example of a “Renaissance man” or “polymath

There is a correlation shown between the average diversity of contributors and what types of article quality they’ve contributed to. Article quality is determined based on whether the article is a “Good Article“, “Featured Article“, or neither. It is also shown that total productivity, measured by bytes contributed, is linked to diversity, only marginally insignificantly. Finally, a logistic regression shows that diversity more than productivity significantly determines article quality.

Despite too many simplifications (e.g. single language, naive article quality ratings, too broad categories), the methods used by the researchers are well-defined, clear, and convincing in a limited scope, and place a finger on the notion that our most lauded editors tend to run all over Wikipedia.


In-depth examination of the history of three featured articles on the Swedish Wikipedia, and their main editors

This paper[3] looks at collaboration on the Swedish Wikipedia via a qualitative analysis of three Featured Articles. Information is pulled into the articles from a variety of sources including other language Wikipedias and curated by editors. The qualitative study found the articles’ growth followed a similar trajectory and were contributed to by both content and process oriented editors, in what the author calls a process of ‘intercreation.’

“Contropedia” tool identifies controversial issues within articles

This paper [4] discusses the formation of a new method for identifying and examining controversial issues within Wikipedia articles. The paper outlines the development of an algorithm used to identify the most contested topics via an analysis of the edits surrounding wikilinks. The resulting Contropedia tool (already presented at WikiSym 2014[5]) provides an excellent visual presentation of hot button issues in a given article. The authors note that the tool has the potential to be of use to researchers interested in studying the evolution of controversial issues over time in an article, as well as affording Wikipedians insight into potential sites of controversy.

“Building Multilingual Language Resources in Web Localisation: A Crowdsourcing Approach”

This volume on natural-language processing was semi-recently published, several chapters of which are about wikis, confirming their value for NLP research. Some results are still of some use.

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.

  • “The dynamic nature of conflict in Wikipedia”[10] From the abstract: “With a small number of simple ingredients, our model mimics several interesting features of real human behaviour, namely in the context of edit wars. We show that the level of conflict is determined by a tolerance parameter, which measures the editors’ capability to accept different opinions and to change their own opinion.”
  • “Comprehensive Wikipedia Monitoring for Global and Realtime Natural Disaster Detection”[11] (slides)
  • “Digital doorway: Gaining library users through Wikipedia”[12] (about Template:Library resources box)
  • “Hedera: Scalable Indexing and Exploring Entities in Wikipedia Revision History”[13] From the abstract: “Hedera exploits Map-Reduce paradigm to achieve rapid extraction, it is able to handle one entire Wikipedia articles’ revision history within a day in a medium-scale cluster, and supports flexible data structures for various kinds of semantic web study.”
  • “Learning to Identify Historical Figures for Timeline Creation from Wikipedia Articles”[14]
  • “WiiCluster: A Platform for Wikipedia Infobox Generation”[15]
  • “Proceed With Extreme Caution: Citation to Wikipedia in Light of Contributor Demographics and Content Policies”[16]
  • “Wikipedia: helping to promote the art and science of civil engineering”[17]


  1. Banerjee, Siddhartha; Cornelia Caragea, Prasenjit Mitra (2014). “Playscript Classification and Automatic Wikipedia Play Articles Generation”. 2014 22nd International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR). pp. 3630–3635. DOI:10.1109/ICPR.2014.624.  Closed access, preprint, dataset
  2. Does a “Renaissance Man” Create Good Wikipedia Articles?“. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval (KDIR-2014). doi:10.5220/0005155804250430. Retrieved on 28 January 2015. 
  3. Mattus, Maria. “The Anyone-Can-Edit Syndrome – Intercreation Stories of Three Featured Articles on Wikipedia“. Nordicom Review (35) 2014: pp. 189–203. Retrieved on 28 January 2015. 
  4. Borra, Erik et al.. “Societal Controversies in Wikipedia Articles“. Proceedings of CHI 15, April 18–23, 2015, Seoul, Republic of Korea. ACM. doi:10.1145/2702123.2702436. Retrieved on 28 January 2015. 
  5. Erik Borra, Esther Weltevrede, Paolo Ciuccarelli, Andreas Kaltenbrunner, David Laniado, Giovanni Magni, Michele Mauri, Richard Rogers, Tommaso Venturini: Contropedia – the analysis and visualization of controversies in Wikipedia articles PDF
  6. Wasala, Asanka; Schäler, Reinhard; Buckley, Jim; Weerasinghe, Ruvan (21 Feb 2013). Building Multilingual Language Resources in Web Localisation: A Crowdsourcing Approach. Theory and Applications of Natural Language Processing. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 69–99. ISBN 978-3-642-35085-6. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-35085-6_3. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  7. Alegria, Iñaki; Cabezon, Unai; Betoño, Unai Fernandez de; Labaka, Gorka (21 Feb 2013). Reciprocal Enrichment Between Basque Wikipedia and Machine Translation. Theory and Applications of Natural Language Processing. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 101–118. ISBN 978-3-642-35085-6. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-35085-6_4. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  8. Ferschke, Oliver; Daxenberger, Johannes; Gurevych, Iryna (21 Feb 2013). A Survey of NLP Methods and Resources for Analyzing the Collaborative Writing Process in Wikipedia. Theory and Applications of Natural Language Processing. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 121–160. ISBN 978-3-642-35085-6. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-35085-6_5. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  9. Oltramari, Alessandro; Vetere, Guido; Chiari, Isabella; Jezek, Elisabetta (2013). Senso Comune: A Collaborative Knowledge Resource for Italian. Theory and Applications of Natural Language Processing. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 45–67. ISBN 978-3-642-35085-6. http://art.torvergata.it/handle/2108/98513. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  10. Gandica, Y.; F. Sampaio dos Aidos, J. Carvalho (2014-08-19). “The dynamic nature of conflict in Wikipedia“. arXiv:1408.4362 [physics]. 
  11. Thomas Steiner: Comprehensive Wikipedia Monitoring for Global and Realtime Natural Disaster Detection. ISWC 2014 Developers Workshop PDF
  12. A Spencer, B Krige, S Nair: Digital doorway: Gaining library users through Wikipedia PDF
  13. Tuan Tran and Tu Ngoc Nguyen: Hedera: Scalable Indexing and Exploring Entities in Wikipedia Revision History PDF
  14. Sandro Bauer, Stephen Clark , Thore Graepel: Learning to Identify Historical Figures for Timeline Creation from Wikipedia Articles. PDF
  15. Zhang, Kezun; Yanghua Xiao, Hanghang Tong, Haixun Wang, Wei Wang (2014). “WiiCluster: A Platform for Wikipedia Infobox Generation”. CIKM ’14. Proceedings of the 23rd ACM International Conference on Conference on Information and Knowledge Management. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 2033–2035. DOI:10.1145/2661829.2661840. ISBN 978-1-4503-2598-1. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2661829.2661840.  Closed access
  16. Wilson, Jodi L. (2014). “Proceed With Extreme Caution: Citation to Wikipedia in Light of Contributor Demographics and Content Policies”. JETLaw: Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law 16 (4): 857. 
  17. Armstrong, Richard (2014-08-01). “Wikipedia: helping to promote the art and science of civil engineering“. Proceedings of the ICE – Civil Engineering 167 (3): 101–101. doi:10.1680/cien.2014.167.3.101. ISSN 0965-089X.  Closed access

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 1 • January 2015
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email @WikiResearch on Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at February 02, 2015 05:09 PM

Wikimedia Foundation Report, September 2014

Information You are more than welcome to edit the wiki version of this report for the purposes of usefulness, presentation, etc., and to add translations of the “Highlights” excerpts.


Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for August:

418 million (+1.3% compared with July; -15.8% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release September data later in October)

Page requests for September:

23.129 billion (+9.4% compared with August; +28.5% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for August 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

78,645 (+3.4% compared with July / +2.4% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):




Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of August 31, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of August 31, 2014

(Financial information is only available through August 2014 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date August 31, 2014.

Revenue 6,852,023
 Engineering Group 3,311,321
 Fundraising Group 480,442
 Grantmaking Group 465,676
 Grants 226,245
 Communications Group 193,662
 Governance Group 171,443
 Legal/Community Advocacy Group 547,370
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 1,836,578
Total Expenses 7,232,737
Total deficit (-380,714)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of August is $3.87MM versus plan of $2.00MM, approximately $1.87MM or 93% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $6.85MM versus plan of $4.01MM, approximately $2.84MM or 71% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of August is $4.25MM versus plan of $5.26MM, approximately $1.01MM or 19% under plan, primarily due to lower capital expenditures, internet hosting expenses, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses offset by higher accounting and legal fees.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $7.23MM versus plan of $9.12MM, approximately $1.89MM or 21% under plan, primarily due to lower legal fees, capital expenditures, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses.
  • Cash and Investments – $46.84MM as of August 31, 2014.


Beta test of HHVM

After several months of preparation by WMF engineers, editors were invited to beta-test Wikimedia servers running on HHVM, the alternative runtime environment for PHP that speeds up MediaWiki. It decreases the loading time for any page viewed while the user is logged in, and for saving pages, whether the user is logged in or not. To make it easier to find bugs in advance of deployment to all servers, edits made via HHVM were tagged with a “HHVM” label in the edit history.

Greek Wikipedia user wins key hearing in court case

Supported by the Foundation’s Legal Fees Assistance Program, Greek Wikipedia user Diu won a key hearing in a lawsuit brought by Greek politician and academic Theodore Katsanevas. The dispute involves what was written in the first will of the late Andreas Papandreou, former father-in-law of Mr. Katsanevas and former Prime Minister of Greece. The court declared that the content appearing in the Wikipedia article did not differ from the content of the will and that the formulation of the article did not indicate an intent to disparage the reputation or honor of Mr. Katsanevas.

Community consultation in Brazil

The Foundation’s Grantmaking department participated in a community consultation on the future of Wikimedia work in Brazil, where the Foundation had been funding a one-year project with local partner Ação Educativa since 2013.

Damon Sicore joins WMF as Vice President of Engineering

At the end of September, Damon Sicore joined the Foundation in the newly created role of Vice President of Engineering, reporting to Executive Director Lila Tretikov. Simultaneously, the Foundation’s technical department was split into separate Product and Engineering departments.


A detailed report of the Tech Department’s activities for September 2014 can be found at:

Department Highlights

Major news in September includes:

  • a call for candidates for the Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women;
  • a roundtable discussion between the Language engineering team and editors from the Catalan language Wikipedia, focusing on the Content Translation tool.

Mobile Apps

In September, the Mobile Apps Team released a new version of the iOS app containing the Nearby feature which shows you articles about things that are near your location, and a references panel that pops up whenever you tap a reference. The team also released an iOS 8 compatibility build to market, and spent time performing code quality improvements and refactoring on both the iOS and Android apps.

Mobile Web

This month the Mobile Web team focused on the first prototype of WikiGrok, a new contribution feature that asks users who are reading Wikipedia articles to help add Wikidata content that is missing about the article subject. Over the course of the month, we built and user-tested the first experimental interface for allowing users to input Wikidata: a simple binary question mode that provides the user with a suggested occupation on biographies that are missing this information in Wikidata but contain a possible occupation in the Wikipedia article. In this early test phase, we are storing the replies in a separate database, not pushing to Wikidata. We plan to add suggestions for more Wikidata fields and test this version against a slightly more complex tagging interface in beta in October.


In September, the Flow team enabled new test pages on the French and Hebrew Wikipedia. The French test is for the Forum des Nouveaux, a help space for new contributors (similar to the Teahouse on the English Wikipedia). The Forum des Nouveaux hosts reached out to the Flow team after Wikimania, excited to try out the new discussions system. The Hebrew Wikipedia test is helping the team diagnose problems for Right-to-Left languages, and general internationalization issues.

The team also refined the new Echo notifications functionality, with lots of feedback from contributors on mediawiki.org and the English Wikipedia. New topic notifications are now bundled in Echo, and we fixed several bugs related to the behavior of the Alerts and Messages tabs, and getting excess mention notifications.


The team working on VisualEditor expanded browser support, improved some features, and fixed nearly 60 bugs and tickets.

Users of Internet Explorer 10, who we were previously preventing from using VisualEditor due to some major bugs, will now be able to use VisualEditor; this follows on from Internet Explorer 11 support last month. When editing a template with a required field, VisualEditor now warns you to avoid leaving it blank, and you can now create auto-numbered links using VisualEditor.

Improvements and updates were made to a number of interface messages as part of our work with translators to improve the software for all users, based on feedback from users and user testing. We made progress on table structure editing and auto-filled citations, both of which will be coming soon. The deployed version of the code was updated five times in the regular release cycle.

SUL finalization

In September, the team wrapped up the feature development for SUL finalisation. The steward end of the rename request form is outstanding and will be finished in October. In October, the team is planning to proceed into deployment and testing of the features.

Phabricator migration

phabricator.wikimedia.org was set up with tickets imported from the previous Labs instance (public registration will be enabled once all remaining tasks have been sorted out). Restricting access to Phabricator tasks based on project membership was implemented. Inbound email was configured so Phabricator can let you interact with external (non-Phabricator) users via email. Furthermore, we improved the Phabricator documentation and help and showed the very basics of Phabricator in a video. A new Phabricator test instance was also set up at https://phab-01.wmflabs.org/.

Metrics and dashboards standardization

We completed the definitions, documentation and requirements for a new set of metrics to be implemented in Vital Signs. We completed a first draft of a page view definition, which is currently being discussed. We supported the mobile team with baseline traffic reports for Apps and Mobile Web.

Content API

September saw a lot of activity on the RESTBase storage and API service. A new ‘pagecontent’ composite bucket type using revisioned blob buckets was introduced. This uses the by-now fairly rich table storage backend to provide functionality similar to MediaWiki’s revision table, and supports any number of revisioned types of content (like HTML, wikitext, JSON metadata) associated with each revision. Work on secondary index updates continued at full steam, and is now close to being merged.


Department highlights

The collective fundraising team raised $11 million in Q1.

Major Gifts and Foundations

  • MGF team held a successful fundraising event at the main branch of New York Public Library in New York City.
  • We received a $5 million, 5 year general support grant from an anonymous donor.

Online Fundraising

  • The online fundraising team ran full-scale campaigns in the Netherlands and Austria. We ran an email campaign in Italy and prepared for an Italian banner campaign. Low-level banner tests continued world-wide throughout September. Approximately $3.5 million USD was raised in September through these campaigns (preliminary numbers as donations are still settling).
  • The team prepared translations of fundraising messages into multiple languages for upcoming international banner campaigns. If you would like to help with the translation process, please get involved.


Department highlights
  • Community consultation on Future of Wikimedia work in Brazil.
  • A Gender Gap Strategy page has been created on Meta, listing initiatives prioritized at the Wikimania strategy session, and inviting signups for the teams being formed to work on each initiative.
  • Over 40 proposal drafts were submitted to IEG during September’s open call. Everyone is invited to share feedback on proposals during the community comments period, October 1-20.
  • Project and Event Grant proposal and report forms have been revamped.
  • 12 organizations are confirmed eligible to submit Annual Plan Grant proposals by the 1 October proposal deadline.
  • The Evaluation portal on Meta has new resources for program and project leaders in the Wikimedia movement. In a context where Global Metrics are now in effect for any ongoing grant, these new tools will help in report writing and bringing the stories forward. Everyone can now consult Measures for Evaluation and Quantitative vs Qualitative.

Annual Plan Grants program

  • Eligibility confirmed and announced on 15 September: 12 organizations are eligible (WMAT, WMAR, WMCH, WMCAT, WMDE, WMEE, WMIL, WMNL, WMRS, WMSE, WMUA, WMUK) and 3 are not eligible at this time (WMIN, WMHU, WMHK).
  • New version of the Staff Proposal Assessments Form is finalized, developed in consultation with the FDC.
  • A pilot program for multiyear grants is being launched, and included with the new version of the proposal form.
  • 2012-2013 Round 2 impact reports were submitted on 28 September: WMNO, WMFR. Reports will be reviewed in the coming months.

Project and Event Grants

Logo Iberoconf Buenos Aires 2014.svg

Wikipedia Schools in Athens

  • 6 new requests were funded in September 2014.
  • PEG proposal and report forms have been revamped. A new Probox has been implemented to better handle structured data, some less-useful proposal sections have been removed to save proposers’ time, and Global Metrics have been included. See these proposal and report templates for the new formats.

Grants funded in September 2014

  • Iberoconf 2014: To support the organization of Iberoconf 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina with over 13 Iberocoop countries participating.
  • Egyptian WikiWomen Prize: To support an online writing competition in Egypt focused on increasing female participation and creating content about women.
  • Athens Wikipedia School: To support four “Wikipedia Schools” in Athens, Greece, training students and adults how to edit Wikipedia.
  • Project Québec: To support Wikisource outreach activities in Québec, Canada.
  • WLM Spain 2014: To support the organization of Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 in Spain.
  • WLM BeLux 2014: To support the organization of Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Individual Engagement Grants

  • The round 2 2014 Open Call for proposals ended September 30th. Over 40 proposal drafts were submitted. Eligibility checks begin October 1, and the community comments period on eligible proposals will run from October 1-20. Everyone is invited to share feedback on proposals before the committee begins its formal review on October 21.
  • We’ve published key take-aways from the past round of IEG proposal submission and review. Overall, the process seems to be working well, and we’ve identified a few areas for future improvements. Motivations of community commenters are included in this report for the first time.
  • A new proposal scoring tool is under development to replace the use of Google Forms for scoring IEG proposals. The open-source tool is based on the Wikimania Scholarships scoring application, and will be beta-tested by the round 2 2014 IEG review committee.
  • In other Individual Grants news, the Arabic microgrants book pilot is coming to a close and a report is in development for publication in early October. Shipping books across countries in the Arabic-speaking world has proved to be quite difficult, and further consultation with the community is needed to determine future directions for the Arabic Wikipedia Library.

Travel & Participation Support

  • 4 new requests were funded and 2 reports were accepted in September 2014.

Requests awarded in September 2014

Reports accepted in September 2014

Wikimania Scholarships

  • Through the Learning & Evaluation team, we have begun analyzing the effort and resulting impact from the 2014 Wikimania scholarships. This analysis will be based on the survey of applicants that was conducted in September, interviews with staff and committee members involved in the process, and the 2014 reports from Wikimania scholars. Results and recommendations will be published for further discussion in late October, paving the way for improvements to the 2015 scholarships process.

Wikipedia Education Program

Global Education Team

Floor Koudijs was confirmed as Senior Manager and team leader of the Wikipedia Education Program at the Wikimedia Foundation. Floor was named interim Senior Manager for the Education Program in July 2014.

Wikipedia Education Collaborative

The Wikipedia Education Collaborative welcomed 1 new member. Fernando de la Rosa Morena will represent Uruguay, and will join us in Edinburgh in early November for the Collaborative’s next in-person meeting.

Arab world programs

  • Summer editing in Egypt came to an end this month, with 155 students contributing over 11 million bytes of new content to the Arabic Wikipedia for the period from March through September 2014. Wikipedia editing was extended through the summer because of a shortened semester in Egypt in the Spring due to unexpected changes in the academic calendar.
  • The committee that is being formed to run the Wikipedia Education Program in Jordan had a second organizational meeting, bringing together professors, student volunteers and local Wikipedians to guide the upcoming activities for the academic year.
  • Local volunteers organized a two-day workshop in Amman, Jordan, to train teachers and professors about Wikipedia and get them involved in the education program at the high school and university level.

The Wikipedia Library

  • After running as an Individual Engagement Grant for the past year, The Wikipedia Library has come on board with WMF under a 6-month contract starting this September. The contract will fund Jake Orlowitz (Ocaasi) full-time, and Alex Stinson (Sadads) half-time, to continue their work expanding the number and global reach of partnerships that give active editors free access to reliable sources through donations from publishers, journals, and research databases.
  • TWL received a pilot donation from leading academic publisher Elsevier to distribute 30 college-edition accounts in the areas of physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities (signups coming soon).
  • TWL received a very broad donation from top German publisher De Gruyter which will give 1000 qualifying editors access to all of its online resources, with more available upon demand (signups coming soon).
  • To help process these and other partnerships, we brought on 3 new volunteer coordinators to manage account signups and distribution: Philg88, HazelAB, and Gamaliel. They are being on boarded by TWL’s new Head of Volunteer Coordination, Nikkimaria.


The September issue of the education newsletter, This Month In Education, featured an update about The Wikipedia Education Collaborative along with articles from education programs in Sweden, Czech Republic, Mexico, and Germany. Also included in this issue was media coverage of education initiatives in the Philippines, Argentina, and Brazil.

Learning & Evaluation

  • Published results of IEG round 1 2014 post-decision survey.
  • Started working on a ‘dashboard for grantmaking and evaluation metrics.
  • Activated Google OAuth on Fluxx, and fixed a few remaining issues and bugs.
  • Closed the Wikimania scholarship survey and started working on its results analysis.
  • Initiated a research study on content gap around global regions (Global North vs. Global South) and gender gap.
  • Moved the Global South user survey questions to meta, and launching the translation phase.
  • Started working on the Global South strategy by performing internal interview and data collection.
  • Concluded a study on using Dedoose as a qualitative data analysis tool to analyze reports from Wiki loves monuments grant reports.
  • Sati Houston has joined the Learning & Evaluation team to work on Wikimania Scholarships revamp and the Global South research mapping.

Program Evaluation & Design

  • Launched Global Metrics, along with hangouts and IRC chats. After two years of promoting self evaluation, the Grantmaking department has worked intensely on Global Metrics, a set of core metrics that emerged as the most commonly used.
  • Launched the Round II of Data Collection. As we did during fall last year, we reach out to program and project leaders and evaluators across the movement to share the data about their programs, and help us build a bird’s eye view of Wikimedia programs. Anyone interested in sharing their information can also submit reports in other formats. Reach out to eval@wikimedia.org to learn more about this.
  • Blog posts. During the past month, we focused our stories around new evaluation resources. Global Metrics for Grants: One way of doing, reporting and learning together (657 page views) focuses on the newly released set of metrics for all grant holders around the movement. We also developed learning patterns to help understand how to calculate these metrics, available on the Evaluation portal. Quantitative vs Qualitative: More friends than enemies (901 page views) addresses the differences between the two types of measures and evaluation, and gives substantial advice on how to evaluate on a mixed methods world. These two resources are particularly relevant in the new reporting the grants team is asking from the community.
  • Social Media. Twitter: 80 tweets that made 18,673 impressions, 162 engagements (37 retweets, 4 replies, 25 favorites, 43 URL click; 53 other kind of user engagement) and 26 new followers (171 total followers); Facebook: 16 posts, seen by 576 users, with 36 likes and 13 comments; Google+: 675 post views, 48 profile views, 21 engagement actions, 9 new followers (92 total followers); Youtube: 94 views, 8 subscribers.
  • Measures for Evaluation. This new resource on the Evaluation portal aims to help a program leader find the most appropriate evaluation journey to best capture the achieved results and the stories involved.
  • Quantitative vs Qualitative. This new resource on the Evaluation portal helps program and project leaders understand the importance of both types of data and evaluation methods.
  • Virtual meet-ups. During September, our team hosted Wikimetrics Overview and Setting Goals and Targets in your FDC proposal: A SMART Annual Plan Approach, now available online. The first virtual event went over Wikimetrics, the tool that allows program leaders measure the online impact their activities have on the Wikimedia projects. The second virtual event aimed at helping aiding program leaders and coordinators make an annual plan following the SMART criteria. More resources on this are available online, in the Plan section of the Evaluation portal.
  • Portal Space Metrics: In September, 351 edits were made by 11 non-WMF users to the portal main space and portal talk page, and 97 edits by 10 non-WMF editors to Grants:Learning_patterns with 9 endorsements. For page views, there were 1965 total views of the portal’s main pages Portal landing page (943), News (268), Connect (263), and Grants:Learning_patterns (491).

Human Resources

Presentation slides

We’ve hired a new Vice President of Engineering! Many thanks to all the staff, especially Erik Moeller, for their efforts in finding us this critical leadership role. Part of that is heavy hiring and onboarding. We finished the second cohort of our WikiLeads leadership development program, and we also conducted two strategy meetings to support the organization in thinking through our process and key issues in preparation for wider engagement. We are also undergoing our first 401k (retirement planning) audit, and also we began the data migration from Jobvite to Greenhouse as our applicant tracking system for jobs, in the hope that it will significantly help us streamline our recruiting process. We also filed our Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data with the United States government and publicizing our demographics data shortly.

September Staff Changes

New Requisitions Filled
  • Ellery Wulczyn
  • Marti Johnson
  • Damon Sicore
  • Bartosz Dziewonski
  • Bahodir Mansurov
  • Jeff Hobson
Conversions (Contractor to Requisition)
  • Anne Gomez
  • Rachel Stallman
  • Joel Krauska
Requisition Departures
  • Steven Walling
  • Juliusz Gonera
  • Jessie Sneller (leave of absence)
  • Sumana Harihareswara
  • Benny Situ
New Interns
  • Hilary Richardson
  • Blayne Kercher
  • Camille Desai
  • Lene Gillis
  • Walter Segura
  • Oluwaseyi Olukoya
  • Mustafa Elmas
  • Athena Palijo
  • Ambrosia Lobo
New Contractors
  • Paul Campbell
  • Sati Houston
  • Shaila Nathu
  • Jake Orlowitz
  • Alex Stinson
Contracts Ended
  • Carlos Monterrey

September Statistics

Total Requisitions Filled
August Actual: 194
August Total Plan: 217
August Filled: 9, Month Attrition: 5
FYTD Filled: 18, FYTD Attrition: 6
FY positions planned: 243 (correction)

Finance and Administration

  • A group of fellows will be working with the CFA on preparing a financial report on the Wikimedia movement as of December 31, 2013.
  • US Trust was selected to be the ‘investment advisor for the Wikimedia Foundation. They were selected from 22 responses to the RFP based on price, services, team and reporting.

Legal and Community Advocacy

  • WMF together with Wikimedia Chile obtained a clarification from the Chilean telecommunications regulator that its Circular No. 40 did not prohibit Wikipedia Zero, as previously reported in media.
  • WMF continued support for a Greek user who won a key hearing in his defense.

Contract metrics

  • submitted: 36
  • completed: 32

Trademark metrics

  • submitted: 17
  • approved: 4
  • pending: 5

Domains obtained

wikimania.org, wikimania.com

Coming & going

  • LCA welcomes new legal interns: Hilary Richardson, Camille Desai, Blayne Kercher, and Natalie Kim.

Other activities

  • Yana Welinder spoke about Wikipedia Zero and its Operating Principles at a panel the Internet Governance Forum.
  • Legal team worked with the Wikipedia Zero team to enable three new partnerships in the Philippines and Myanmar.
  • Yana Welinder and Stephen LaPorte wrote a guest blog for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Many thanks to Joseph Jung, former Wikimedia Legal Intern, for his help in preparing this post.
  • Yana Welinder taught two continuing legal education classes with our outside counsel Carrie L Kiedrowski at Jones Day on Brand Protection in the Digital Age.
  • WMF amended the Political and Policy Advocacy Guidelines for limited position letters.
  • Yana Welinder and Stephen LaPorte presented about trademark challenges for collaborative communities at the 2nd Thematic Conference on the Knowledge Commons at NYU Law School.
  • Legal interns prepared two new Wikilegal posts:
  • Maggie Dennis wrote a blog post about the Wikimedia Foundation’s emergency response system.
  • The Legal and Community Advocacy teams hosted a San Francisco meeting for the community administrators of the Volunteer Response Team (OTRS) and 6 of the 9 admins attended from 4 different countries. The admins were able to meet, in person, much of the staff they work with remotely on a regular basis and strategize about the help needed for important goals such as technical upgrades and agent training. The admins also got to work with each other and the CA team on ways to grow the team of agents and help the entire team work more efficently to provide the best quality service.


After an IP from the U.S. Congress was blocked again, proving that vandalism isn’t just the stuff of summer interns, Wikmedia DC invited Congress to edit as long as it abides by policies and guidelines. DC-based media covered the exchanges with glee. A report by the UK’s Oxford Internet Institute on geographic distributions of articles underscored the unequal nature of the encyclopedia’s composition. Wikipedia Zero launched in the Philippines, bringing free Wikipedia to a 70 million person market. Traffic spikes: Wiki Loves Africa and Wiki Loves Monuments kicked off, people dumped buckets of ice over their heads and flocked to the ALS article, and WikiProjectMed translated the ENWP article on Ebola into many of the indigenous African languages of the affected regions. A debate over the fidelity of Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes led to accusations of liberal bias among the community, and Wikipedia’s most prolific editor, Justin Knapp, defended the health of the project. The team launched a weekly editor and reader profile series on the blog and attended the Clinton Global Initiative in support of the Executive Director.

Major announcements

Major Storylines through September

U.S. Congressional editing

Wikimedia DC reminds Congress anyone can edit, as long as they respect policy
The Hill (02 September, 2014) “Wikipedia tries to mend fences with Congress”
Nextgov (02 September, 2014) “OK, Feds: Go Ahead and Edit Wikipedia”

Unequal geographic article distribution

Oxford Internet Institute uses geotagging to assess unequal Wikipedia article distribution
The Conversation (08 September, 2014) “Why Global Contributions to Wikipedia are so Unequal
Vox.com (14 September, 2014) “Wikipedia’s geography problem: There are more articles about Antarctica than Egypt

Wikipedia Zero launches in the Philippines

Mobile network operator Smart begins offering Wikipedia Zero
InterAksyon (04 September 2014) “Smart offers free access to Wikipedia until February next year
Inquirer.net (05 September, 2014) “Smart subscribers may soon access Wiki for free

Wiki Loves Africa

Wiki Loves Africa launches with focus on African cuisine
Ghana Web (15 September, 2014) “Ghana To Take Part in Wiki Loves Africa 2014

Wiki Loves Monuments

Wiki Loves Monuments launches around the globe for 2014
htxt.africa (01 September 2014) “Help Wikimedia South Africa with photos and win prizes
WWWhat’s New? (04 September, 2014) “Wikimedia España organiza el concurso fotográfico ‘Wiki Loves Monuments’
Amateur Photographer (05 September, 2014) “Wikipedia’s ‘Wiki Loves Monuments’ competition calls for photos of UK landmarks

Wikipedia Ebola article translation

WikiProjectMed supports the translation of English Wikipedia’s Ebola article into affected indigenous African languages
Health 24 (10 September, 2014) “Translations of Ebola health info on Wikipedia
IT Web Africa (16 September 2014) “Wikipedia’s Ebola information translated into SA languages

Neil deGrasse Tyson & The Federalist

The Federalist magazine highlights controversy over NDG quote
The Federalist (18 September, 2014) “Why Is Wikipedia Deleting All References To Neil Tyson’s Fabrication?
Daily Kos (18 September 2014) “The Federalist vs. Wikipedia
Yahoo! (29 September 2014) “Conservative Website ‘The Federalist’ Targeted for Wikipedia Deletion After Criticizing Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Justin Knapp defends the health of English Wikipedia

Business Insider (19 September 2014) “Wikipedia’s Most Prolific Editor Explains Why The Site Is Stronger Than People Realize

Other worthwhile reads

Scottish referendum

NPR (September 21, 2014) “A Forgotten Referendum On The Union Of Scots And English

Wikipedia ‘hivemind’ study

VICE Motherboard (02 September, 2014) “An Ethnographic Study of the Wikipedia Hive Mind

Weird Wikipedia Facebook club

Betabeat (04 September, 2014) “‘Cool Freaks’ Wikipedia Club’ Is the Only Facebook Group You Need

This month in Congressional vandalism

New York Magazine (22 September, 2014) “Someone in Congress edited Mitch McConnell’s Wikipedia to say he’s a turtle

Wikimedia blog posts

Blog.wikimedia.org published 22 posts in September 2014. Two posts were multilingual, with translations in Greek and Spanish.

Some highlights from the blog include::

Damon Sicore joins WMF as Vice President of Engineering (September 29, 2014)
Chilean regulator welcomes Wikipedia Zero (September 22, 2014)
Emmanuel Engelhart, Inventor of Kiwix: the Offline Wikipedia Browser (September 12, 2014)
Will you join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wikimedia Commons? (September 5, 2014)
Sixty ways to help new editors (September 4, 2014)

Coming & Going

The Communications team said goodbye to Carlos Monterrey, who left us for the sunnier climes of Los Angeles.

Media Contact

Media contact through September 2014: wmf:Press room/Media Contact#September 2014

Wikipedia Signpost

For detailed coverage and news summaries, see the community-edited newsletter “Wikipedia Signpost” for September 2014:

Communications Design

We started work with Fundraising and UX on a plan to refresh the Wikimedia shop and merchandise. A design meeting was held where some great new ideas were discussed to develop the identity and purpose of the store and our products. We also gave brand support to Fundraising’s big donor events, where some exciting new gifts are in the works.

Editorial note

From October 2014 on, the Wikimedia Foundation is switching from a monthly to a quarterly reporting schedule, with the first quarterly report (for Q2 FY2014-15, i.e. October to December 2014) scheduled to be published in February 2015.

by wikimediablog at February 02, 2015 03:08 AM

Wikimedia Highlights, September 2014

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for September 2014, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Beta test of HHVM

After several months of preparation by WMF engineers, editors were invited to beta-test Wikimedia servers running on HHVM, the alternative runtime environment for PHP that speeds up MediaWiki. It decreases the loading time for any page viewed while the user is logged in, and for saving pages, whether the user is logged in or not. To make it easier to find bugs in advance of deployment to all servers, edits made via HHVM were tagged with a “HHVM” label in the edit history.

Greek Wikipedia user wins key hearing in court case

Supported by the Foundation’s Legal Fees Assistance Program, Greek Wikipedia user Diu won a key hearing in a lawsuit brought by Greek politician and academic Theodore Katsanevas. The dispute involves what was written in the first will of the late Andreas Papandreou, former father-in-law of Mr. Katsanevas and former Prime Minister of Greece. The court declared that the content appearing in the Wikipedia article did not differ from the content of the will and that the formulation of the article did not indicate an intent to disparage the reputation or honor of Mr. Katsanevas.

Community consultation in Brazil

The Foundation’s Grantmaking department participated in a community consultation on the future of Wikimedia work in Brazil, where the Foundation had been funding a one-year project with local partner Ação Educativa since 2013.

Damon Sicore joins WMF as Vice President of Engineering

At the end of September, Damon Sicore joined the Foundation in the newly created role of Vice President of Engineering, reporting to Executive Director Lila Tretikov. Simultaneously, the Foundation’s technical department was split into separate Product and Engineering department.

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for August:

418 million (+1.3% compared with July; -15.8% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release September data later in October)

Page requests for September:

23.129 billion (+9.4% compared with August; +28.5% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for August 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

78,645 (+3.4% compared with July / +2.4% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):




Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of August 31, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of August 31, 2014

(Financial information is only available through August 2014 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date August 31, 2014.

Revenue 6,852,023
 Engineering Group 3,311,321
 Fundraising Group 480,442
 Grantmaking Group 465,676
 Grants 226,245
 Communications Group 193,662
 Governance Group 171,443
 Legal/Community Advocacy Group 547,370
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 1,836,578
Total Expenses 7,232,737
Total deficit (-380,714)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of August is $3.87MM versus plan of $2.00MM, approximately $1.87MM or 93% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $6.85MM versus plan of $4.01MM, approximately $2.84MM or 71% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of August is $4.25MM versus plan of $5.26MM, approximately $1.01MM or 19% under plan, primarily due to lower capital expenditures, internet hosting expenses, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses offset by higher accounting and legal fees.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $7.23MM versus plan of $9.12MM, approximately $1.89MM or 21% under plan, primarily due to lower legal fees, capital expenditures, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses.
  • Cash and Investments – $46.84MM as of August 31, 2014.

Other highlights from the Wikimedia movement

Biplab Anand, a versatile contributor on Maithili and Nepali Wikipedia and also the admin of the Facebook page on Maithili Wikipedia.
Biplab” by बिप्लब आनन्द, under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Preparations for the launch of the newest Wikipedia

Despite being spoken by tens of millions of people in both Nepal and India, the Maithili language had no Wikipedia version until 2014. A blog post described the work by volunteers to establish this youngest Wikipedia. It involved preparing content in the incubator to demonstrate sufficient community activity, discussions with a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Committee, coverage by local media, outreach on Facebook and recruiting Maithili-speaking editors in Wikipedias of related languages, such as the Hindi Wikipedia. (The Maithili Wikipedia subsequently launched successfully at https://mai.wikipedia.org/ as the 288th language version of Wikipedia.)

Wiki Loves Monuments 2014

Wiki Loves Monuments, the world’s largest photography competition, took place for the fifth consecutive year in September. More than 9,000 photographers uploaded over 321,000 freely-licensed photographs of historic buildings, monuments and cultural heritage sites in 41 countries.

Winning photo of Wiki Loves Monuments 2014: Holy Mountains Monastery,. Sviatohirsk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.
Svjatogorsk, Lavra 3” by Konstantin Brizhnichenko., under CC BY-SA 4.0

by wikimediablog at February 02, 2015 03:07 AM

February 01, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Highlights, November 2014

Highlights from the Wikimedia blog for November 2014, covering a selection of activities of the Wikimedia Foundation and other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Icebreaker ship “Bore”, working both on and off wiki as an icebreaker (among the winning photos from Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in Sweden).
“Isbrytaren Bore” by Kristianwhedberg, under CC BY-SA 3.0

How Wiki Loves Monuments brings more than just photos

In Sweden, the annual Wiki Loves Monuments competition has not just brought many free photos of heritage sites, but also helped the local Wikimedia chapter to begin and maintain successful cooperations with cultural institutions (GLAMs). Among these are Sweden’s National Heritage Board, which deals with old buildings and ancient monuments, and the National Maritime Museums, who welcomed the many new photos of their historical ships. In a blog post, John Andersson and Axel Petterson from Wikimedia Sweden give advice on how to best use those GLAM collaboration opportunities presented by Wiki Loves Monuments.

Education collaborative members meet in Edinburgh

The Education/Wikipedia Education Collaborative is an international group of Wikipedia Education Program leaders who promote the use of Wikipedia as a teaching tool in educational institutions. The Collaborative first met in Prague in March 2014, and came back together on November 1 in Edinburgh. The group’s plan for the next six months includes a pilot project for mentoring, and a documentation of best practices on the Education portal.

Screenshot of the Content translation tool, displaying a warning that the machine translated text hasn’t been edited yet

Content Translation tool expands language support and prepares for beta launch

The Content Translation tool (CX) is a new software feature that is currently being developed to support the translation of articles between different language versions of Wikipedia. In collaboration with the open source project Apertium, it suggests machine translations that the tool’s users can improve manually before they publish the translated version. In November, the tool expanded support to three languages (Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese), and added new features, such as the automatic adaptation of categories. The Content Translation tool is currently available for testing on a separate server, and is planned to be integrated directly into several Wikipedias as a beta feature in early 2015.

A project workboard in Phabricator, listing tasks in various process stages

Phabricator: New project collaboration platform replaces Bugzilla

In November, Phabricator (https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/ ) replaced Bugzilla, the bug management tool that served Wikimedia projects for a decade, importing 73,681 reports. Besides bug reporting, Phabricator is already being used for project management and design of new features. It is also planned to replace Gerrit as the platform for code review of new changes to the MediaWiki software, and RT, the tool used by the WMF Technical Operations team to handle user requests. Phabricator can also be used as a project management tool for non-technical projects.

India Community Consultation 2014

Indian Wikimedians from 15 different language communities gathered in Bangalore for the India Community Consultation 2014, the first such consultation at this scale, convened by the Wikimedia Foundation. The participants discussed a proposed roadmap that includes the following themes:

  • National WikiConferences for geographically disparate communities (e.g. Hindi Wikipedia)
  • Promoting the sister projects such as Wikisource or Wiktionary in languages where Wikipedia has a vibrant community with good organic growth.
  • Improve support for readers and editor with low-bandwith Internet connections.

“Chapters Dialogue” summarizes 94 interviews with movement representatives

In 2013, Wikimedia Germany started the Chapters Dialogue project to better understad the roles, relationships and responsibilities of Wikimedia organisations. After interviewing 94 movement representatives – volunteers and staff of the Wikimedia Chapters, the Wikimedia Foundation as well as the Funds Dissemination Committee and the Affiliations Committee – the project concluded with six “tough questions” about the Wikimedia movement.

by wikimediablog at February 01, 2015 09:00 AM

January 31, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Highlights, December 2014

Highlights from the Wikimedia blog for December 2014, covering a selection of activities of the Wikimedia Foundation and other important events from the Wikimedia movement. For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report, or add your own translation there!


How we made editing Wikipedia twice as fast
Top 10 most edited pages on English Wikipedia in 2014
Wiki Loves Earth 2014 winners announced
Wikipedia’s first-ever annual video
A culture of kindness
Global impact: The Wikipedia Library and Persian Wikipedia
Tapping into the knowledge of indigenous communities

MediaWiki flame graph screenshot 2014-12-15 22.png
HHVM provides this “flame graph“. It visualizes which parts of the code consume most CPU time, making it easier to further improve MediaWiki’s performance in the future.

How we made editing Wikipedia twice as fast

Over the last six months, the Wikimedia Foundation deployed a new technology that speeds up MediaWiki, Wikipedia’s underlying PHP-based code. HipHop Virtual Machine, or HHVM, reduces the median page-saving time for editors from about 7.5 seconds to 2.5 seconds, and the mean page-saving time from about 6 to 3 seconds. Here’s our technical report on how it was developed.

2014 Pacific typhoon season summary.png
The Pacific typhoon season was one of the most edited articles on the English Wikipedia in 2014. By Keith Edkins. Data from NASA/Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Public domain.

Top 10 most edited pages on English Wikipedia in 2014

In 2014, volunteer editors created more than three million pages and made more than 100 million article edits on Wikipedias across all languages. Here are some of the top 10 most edited pages on English-language Wikipedia in 2014. Topics include Deaths in 2014, the Malaysia Airline disasters and the Israel-Gaza Conflict.

Карпатский 05.jpg
This image from Carpathian National Park in Ukraine won first prize at Wiki Loves Earth 2014.
Photo by Dmytro Balkhovitin, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wiki Loves Earth 2014 winners announced

Wiki Loves Earth, a photo contest of natural monuments, became international for the first time in 2014 and was held in 16 countries. After a careful evaluation, the international jury announced the winners. Prizes were awarded to photos ranging from Carpathian National Park (Ukraine) to God‘s Finger Rock (Brazil) and Mukri Nature Park (Estonia). For this contest, over 70,000 pictures were submitted by more than 3,000 participants from 15 countries. Take a look at some of the winning images here.

File:Wikipedia Edit 2014.webm

Wikipedia: #Edit2014 tells the story of what you read and edited in 2014. You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wikipedia’s first-ever annual video

The Wikimedia Foundation’s first-ever year-in-review video chronicles the celebration, pain, fear, resilience, and discovery that came to characterize 2014. While watching the video, you embark on a journey through the world and Wikipedia, revisiting what you read and edited this year. From the FIFA World Cup to the Indian general elections, and the Ice Bucket Challenge to Ebola in West Africa, we follow threads of discovery through Wikipedia in various languages, finding opportunities to contribute along the way. Watch the video, which takes you from Sochi to outer space in less than three minutes.

How to Make Wikipedia Better - Wikimania 2013 - 59.jpg
Many community members think that ‘being nice to each other’ can help improve Wikipedia.
‘How can we improve Wikipedia?’ photo by Fabrice Florin, CC BY-SA 3.0.

A culture of kindness

Can we improve Wikipedia by being nicer to each other? In this personal view, Fabrice Florin shares ideas for growing a “culture of kindness” on Wikipedia. Over the past few years, he collected hundreds of community suggestions for improving Wikipedia — inviting contributors to write down their idea on a notepad, and get their photo taken. Some of the most frequent responses invite contributors to be more civil: “Be nice,” “Be kind,” “Be friendly.” Participants often observe that participating on Wikipedia can be a frustrating experience for new and experienced users alike, because many of our members lack civility. Ideas for building more trust in our communities include: help newbies, train editors, reward kindness, build more social tools, use friendlier channels and give everyone a voice. Read more and watch the video here.

Global impact: The Wikipedia Library and Persian Wikipedia

Last fall, the Wikipedia Library announced another round of digital resource access partnerships. These partnerships allow experienced editors from all around the globe to access research materials behind a paywall, to advance our goal of creating and sharing a summary of all human knowledge. One of the longest lasting and most useful donation partnerships has been with journal archive JSTOR. It saw significant participation from non-English editors, speaking languages like German, Spanish, French — and Persian, which came as a pleasant surprise. To learn more, we asked one of our most active Persian editors with a JSTOR account, User:4nn1l2, why he finds the Wikipedia Library important to his work.

Tapping into the knowledge of indigenous communities

Wikipedia has made huge progress towards its mission to provide free access to the sum of human knowledge. But indigenous knowledge is largely excluded because the majority of it is not available in writing. To address this issue, community volunteer Peter Gallert designed a workshop for the 2014 Participatory Design conference in Namibia, to produce and document examples of relevant oral citations. Last October, a small group of Wikipedians traveled to the Namibian village of Otjinene to interview elders about traditions, culture and development of the local Herero community. The aim of the interview was to directly convert narratives into Wikipedia content with oral citations.

This selection includes the top 5 stories published on the Wikimedia Blog in December 2014 (based on total page views up to Jan. 30, 2015) — as well as other noteworthy stories contributed by community members that month.

File:WMF Monthly Metrics Meeting January 15, 2015.webm

Video of the monthly Wikimedia Foundation metrics and activities meeting on January 15, 2015, focusing on the topic of quality (slides)

Fabrice Florin (WMF), Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

Tilman Bayer (WMF), Senior Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at January 31, 2015 10:24 PM

January 30, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

New badges recognize Swedish students and teachers who contribute to Wikipedia

This digital badge acknowledges the skills and contributions of students and teachers using Wikipedia, in a new educational program led by Wikimedia Sverige. Pilot badge logo by Sara Mörtsell, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. See below for Wikipedia and Wikimedia logo license and trademark credits.

This new badge acknowledges the skills and contributions of students and teachers using Wikipedia, in a new education program led by Wikimedia Sverige. Pilot badge logo by Sara Mörtsell, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. See below for Wikipedia and Wikimedia logo license and trademark credits.

In October 2014, Wikimedia Sverige (WMSE) started issuing Open Badges to evaluate their effectiveness for recognizing contributions from the Wikipedia Education Program in Sweden. The Wikipediapedagog 2014 pilot badge was created to motivate students who edit Wikipedia as part of their coursework and acknowledge their skills and contributions — as well as reward the educators who make this work part of their curriculum.

In the Wikipedia Education Program in Sweden, we often talk to educators about the benefits of editing Wikipedia with their students. We show them how they can acquire key skills like critical thinking, media and information literacy. We also tell them that Wikipedia provides both a participatory and networked context for learning, which is one of the unique features of Wikipedia and is crucial for an effective education system. We believe that editing Wikipedia is a learning process, and this means that the learning experience has value and should be recognized.

These digital badges include metadata about the issuing organization and the badge qualification criteria, along with links to the each badge holder’s achievements. The system makes use of Mozilla’s Open Badge Infrastructure, where badges become portable credentials, allowing their holders to manage and display them on sites and in contexts that matter to them, with all of the original information intact.

Badges for educators

Badges used to visualize pedagogical tasks for educators. By Sara Mörtsell, under CC BY-SA 3.0.

There are several benefits for Wikimedia Sverige to issue badges to educators involved with Wikipedia in education.

Badges are a promising way of accrediting educators, acknowledging their skills and achievements, and breaking down a fairly extensive pedagogical process into manageable milestones and specific tasks. They also give educators the freedom to design assignments and assessments according to their syllabi and students. The educator has the pedagogical knowledge to bring their curriculum and Wikipedia together, and that is key to successfully integrating education with Wikipedia editing.

Visual representations of key tasks will help teachers better understand what designing Wikipedia assignments for students is all about. This is an important aspect of using badges, since presenting educators with very dense information about how they can implement learning with Wikipedia, however accurate, can be a barrier to success. Displaying the individual badges in a systematic design like this one can offer a comprehensive overview of the process.

The graphic created for educators shows how the three badges each correlate to a task: syllabus design, topic inventory, and peer feedback. The overall objective of these three key tasks is to encourage educators to really engage with Wikipedia content, as well as with open culture, and to understand its usefulness as a pedagogical tool. In our experience, teachers who engage with content are more successful with their assignments and in supporting their students. In our efforts to communicate and scale, badges are a best practice.

We have found it useful to convert identified tasks like these three into criteria for earning each badge. The educator earns the badge by presenting the issuer, in this case WMSE, with a piece of evidence, preferably a URL linking to specific contributions or course pages, for each criteria. That process would look like this:

  • The Wikipedia assignment is designed within an established syllabus, including a plan for instruction.
  • A topic inventory of Wikipedia content relevant to the course topic is carried out, either individually by the educator or together with the students as a joint in-class activity.
  • Wikipedia is used as a tool for discussion and feedback, either in educator-student interactions or peer-to-peer reviewing.

Combined together, these criteria make up the steps taken towards completing the process of assigning students to edit Wikipedia, and their completion qualifies the educator for the main badge of “Wikipediapedagog 2014”, a merit with the following description:

“The earner of this badge has the skills required to use Wikipedia as a pedagogical tool, and has demonstrated this by joining pedagogical skills and subject matter knowledge with media and information literacy.”

Badges for students

Student badges for different skills involved in editing Wikipedia. By Sara Mörtsell, under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The badge graphic for students resembles the one used for educators above. However, instead of representing tasks, these three badges visualize the skills and knowledge needed when composing and editing a Wikipedia article. Badges are awarded as recognition of students’ mastery of these skills. Connecting the skills to the criteria would look like this:

  • The student communicates their knowledge in a neutral point of view and in accordance with the encyclopedic genre.
  • The student uses reliable sources to reference their work with appropriate forms of citation.
  • The student demonstrates media and information literacy by producing media content and promoting free knowledge.

These three skills and criteria are subcomponents of the Wikipedia student badge, a merit that is still in need of a catchy name and described as follows:

“The earner of this badge has actively participated in creating and sharing free knowledge, by successfully contributing to Wikipedia as part of a classroom assignment.”

Next steps

Apart from the pedagogical and motivational aspects of Open Badges mentioned above, there are also some essential technical issues to consider. Since issuing badges is not currently supported in MediaWiki, we searched for an appropriate third-party platform to start issuing badges for the pilot project. The best option we found was learningbadges.eu, which worked fine initially, but the site went down, preventing us from issuing all the badges we had planned. Anyone interested in the technical development can join the conversation about OpenBadges on MediaWiki.

Another aspect to consider is how to find and identify candidates. Since our launch in October, six educators have been awarded the Wikipediapedagog 2014 badge, and we have issued seven corresponding badges for teachers working on Swedish Wikimini. For 2015, we will introduce educators to the “MyCourse” feature in the Wikipedia Education Program Extension and hopefully we will be able to use it to elicit evidence for both educator and student badges. Additionally, we will look into setting up a feature on our website for educators and students to claim their badges by submitting relevant pieces of evidence, which we anticipate will open up for a diverse engagement beyond our activities and current networks.

Sara Mörtsell
Wikimedia Sverige

The Wikipedia logo, with contributions by User:Paul Stansifer, User:Nohat, Philip Metschan, as well as the Wikimedia Foundation logo, are licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0. The Wikipedia and Wikimedia Foundation logos are trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation and are used with the permission of the Wikimedia Foundation. We are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation.

by fflorin2015 at January 30, 2015 08:16 PM

Putting forgotten coal towns back on the map: Mark Combs

A US postmark from Whitby, Virginia confirms that this forgotten coal town once existed. Postmark is public domain.

A US postmark from Whitby, Virginia confirms that this forgotten coal town once existed.
Postmark is public domain.

Bartley, West Virginia Miners Memorial

The city of War, West Virginia

Coal Scrip from Hot Coal West Virginia. When it was issued, coal scrip was used as a substitute for currency and could only be traded at company stores in the coal town of the company named on the scrip.

Many small towns scattered around the United States are virtually unknown to outsiders. To preserve their history, Mark Combs, also known by his Wikipedia handle Coal town guy, has started to document them on Wikipedia.

“My mom grew up in a really teeny, tiny small coal town in Raleigh County, West Virginia … You know most people when they go to a coal town, it’s by accident. So I wanted to start documenting them in a Wikipedia fashion you know, where is it a real place, what county is it in, where its geospatial coordinates is and et cetera. And I do it for the community, that’s a hobby.” says Combs.

For Combs, it was troublesome that these towns were being forgotten, even though they brought up fond memories for many people like him.

“In 2009 and 2010, a lot of the local landmarks were just sort of disappearing and it wasn’t by intent, it was really just the apathy in the area, the lack of — lack of jobs. And it really struck me that I kind of have, either I go out with my camera and take lots and lots of pictures – and not that somebody looks at them – or I have to start documenting things in an encyclopedic fashion.” Combs says. “And no one was really taking a uniform approach and worse yet, no one was really approaching these places with I guess not the respect it deserved, but rather the history that should be associated with them.”

“There are people I know from that place who were totally jazzed that you know their [town is on] Wikipedia. They felt a sense of recognition,” Combs says. “They’re just happy to know that somebody knows their town as a real place and that these are real people.”

Combs says he encountered townspeople who thought he was ridiculing them, but after several years they “loosened up” because they understood he was there to document the town from a historical perspective.

The idea of preserving small towns virtually came to him in 2002 (which Combs describes as “the dark ages of the Internet”), after working with some geospatial data that he had access to. “You could buy a GPS but it was not necessarily reliable and they were really expensive” says Combs. He tested the data that he collected, to see if he could identify small towns like the one his mother grew up in.

“I used my moms’ coal town name. It’s called Whitby. And I spelled it just like Whitby Lancashire in England. And everybody was telling me there’s no such place and that kind of peeved me off, because you know I was a kid, I played there. I used to go fossil hunting there and like it’s real, I know it was real.” says Combs. At the time, it took Combs two weeks to find his mother’s hometown.

Shortly after that experience, Combs drove to Whitby and starting taking photographs and interviewing people, and fell in love with researching and documenting small towns.

“Most people when they look at my preservation work, have no idea why I do it.” Combs says. “I take vacation time from work to drive to a coal town that hasn’t been inhabited for 25 or 30 years.”

In April 2010, Combs started a Facebook group called ‘I miss West Virginia Coal Towns‘. The group started with four members and today it boasts over nine thousand. And with more people in that group, Combs says they all learned more from each other. For instance, Combs would ask for help to identify a fact or a photograph and many people would join the conversation to weigh in on his question. They would then get even more photographs to identify from other users, and the knowledge pool would grow.

“We literally have thousands of photographs. Photographs I would think would’ve never existed, started showing up. Because some woman in Ohio went into her trunk and pulled out a picture of her aunt who stood in front of this building that hasn’t existed in 30 years. And suddenly a lot of people began contributing to knowledge in a way that I never thought possible. But the hard part was going through this pile of data and trying to find out what was real. What could be verified? And for Wikipedia it would almost be insurmountable. I mean you need five or six rows of supercomputers to say is this real or is this not real. But on the other hand if you don’t do that, it can’t grow.”

So far, Combs has created over 2,700 articles on Wikipedia. Many of them, including his mothers’ hometown of Whitby, can show their town’s history with images such as US postmarks on old postcards or coal scrip.

When asked if his work will have a legacy, Combs replied:

“I do not know if mine will. I really do not know. I think the only thing I want is for a few generations of people to be recognized as being just a place, that there was someone there – that people lived there, died there, worked there.”

Combs told us, “If you provide a place where only knowledge is acquired, verifiable, not hate speech, not opinions, but knowledge is acquired – then anybody can benefit.”

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

Interview by Dan McSwain, Wikimedia Foundation contractor

by fflorin2015 at January 30, 2015 07:11 PM

Civility, Wikipedia, and the conversation on Gamergate

Building an encyclopedia requires working together, even when topics are difficult. US Navy Photo by Johansen Laurel. Public domain.

Building an encyclopedia requires working together, even when topics are difficult.
US Navy Photo by Johansen Laurel. Public domain.

This past week, we have seen significant coverage of Wikipedia and Gamergate in the press. Because Wikipedia is such a unique resource for the world, and because Gamergate has been the subject of controversy, this issue has been of interest to many people, some of whom may not be familiar with how Wikipedia works. As such, we wanted to share what we know about the issue, and how it has played out on Wikipedia.

The debates on Wikipedia about the Gamergate controversy article have been very heated, drawing participants from many different perspectives, and have gone on for many weeks now. At times, contributors on various sides of the debate have violated Wikipedia’s standards of civility. Civility is an important concept for Wikipedia: it is what allows people to collaborate and disagree constructively even on difficult topics. It ensures people are able to focus their energy on what really matters: building a collaborative free encyclopedia for the world.

A group of trusted, long-term volunteer English Wikipedia editors (known as the Arbitration Committee) is now reviewing the conduct of the editors who participated on the Gamergate controversy article discussions. Their mandate is to review editor conduct, and address disruptions so that Wikipedia can remain a civil, productive place for all editors. They may do so through issuing warnings, bans, or other means. The Committee does not consider the identity or beliefs of contributors, nor do they make editorial decisions on the content or quality of Wikipedia articles.

Several press stories have mistakenly claimed that Wikipedia has targeted and banned feminist or female editors. This is inaccurate. Although the Arbitration Committee may recommend that some editors be prevented from further contribution to this particular topic, they have not banned anyone from Wikipedia. The sanctions they are considering are broad, and affect many people. As of now, the Arbitration Committee is considering issuing some type of warning or sanction to around 150 people, from a range of perspectives, based on their participation and conduct. This is not about a small group of people being targeted unfairly. It is about a very large group of people using Wikipedia as a battleground.

At the Wikimedia Foundation, we are guided by our core mission to make the sum of all human knowledge freely available. Although the Wikimedia Foundation does not set editorial policy for Wikipedia, we believe that we can only achieve our mission through the inclusion and respect of diverse voices. We offer resources for programs and outreach with our partners across the global Wikimedia movement and engage people that have been underrepresented in traditional encyclopedias. These include women, people of color, people from the Global South, immigrant communities, and members of the LGBTQ community. They are invaluable contributors to our community and partners in our mission.

Let me close by reiterating what the Arbitration Committee’s decision is not. It is not a statement on who is right or wrong regarding the Gamergate controversy article. It is not a referendum on whether Wikipedia supports or rejects feminists. The Committee’s mandate is to uphold a civil, constructive atmosphere that furthers Wikipedia’s mission. At the Wikimedia Foundation, we support that objective and are taking active steps to create and maintain a civil atmosphere for editors of all backgrounds. We ask all our editors to do the same.

Philippe Beaudette
Director, Community Advocacy
Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at January 30, 2015 02:17 AM

January 29, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Ze setkání Education Collaborative v Edinburghu

Education Collaborative 2014 v plné kráse

Education Collaborative 2014 v plné kráse

Jelikož je víkend, rozhodl jsem se koncipovat oficiální zprávu ze setkání Education Collaborative ve skotském Edinburghu poměrně neoficiálně a neformálně. Spíše než cokoliv jiného, berte to prosím jako zamyšlení nad Global Education programem nadace Wikimedia Foundation a jejím vztahem k našemu projektu Studenti píší Wikipedii. Je to také zpráva o části světa, kde nadace Wikimedia bez vážnějších problémů spolupracuje s pobočkami z celého světa (a pobočky spolupracují i mezi sebou navzájem).

Education Cooperative byla ustavena na začátku roku 2014 z iniciativy Wikimedia Foundation jako seskupení klíčových projektů z celého světa, které navazují spolupráci mezi vysokými školami a Wikipedií. První setkání se odehrálo v Praze za účasti zástupců projektů z Nepálu, Spojených států, Ukrajiny, Česka, Velké Británie, Srbska, Kanady, Izraele, Egypta, Jordánska i Mexika. Od té doby se toho poměrně mnoho změnilo. Vyjma drobné změny v názvu (nyní „Education Collaborative“) se  členové tohoto uskupení mezi sebou dobře znají a rozumí specifikům jednotlivých projektů. A to i přesto, že se někteří členové vyměnili – Rod Dunican, který šéfoval nadačnímu Education programu, odešel za jinými profesními výzvami a na jeho postu ho vystřídala Floor Koudijs. Část původního Rodova týmu navíc z nadace Wikimedia odešla a založila vlastní skupinu – Wiki Education Foundation, jejímž cílem je výhradně podpora amerických a kanadských programů. Floor Koudijs tak na jednu stranu musí budovat nový tým, na stranu druhou má uvolněné ruce a může se soustředit výhradně na globální iniciativu.

Pro mě osobně bylo setkání ve skotském Edinburghu pikantní i tím, že jsem opět na „meeting“ Education Collaborative nemusel cestovat. Na počátku roku jsem se zúčastnil pražského setkání a nyní, když jsem na soukromém studijním pobytu ve Velké Británii, jsem to měl opět do Edinburghu jen hodinu vlakem. Jsem tak pravděpodobně nejlevnějším členem Education Collaborative vůbec :-).

Setkání se odehrálo na pozadí EduWiki konference, jedné z prvních velkých událostí pořádaných Wikimedia UK ve Skotsku. Tak jako v Česku, i ve Velké Británii je velké téma přenášet iniciativy „z hlavního města“ do vzdálenějších měst státu – možná tím spíše, že Skotsko nedávno rozhodlo o své nesamostatnosti a pro Wikimedia UK se otevřela motivace něco se zapojením Skotska do hnutí Wikimedia udělat. Na EduWiki se prezentovaly aktivity britské pobočky v oblasti vzdělávání – mimo jiné spolupráce s profesními organizacemi, ale i waleský „Wikipedian in Residence“.

A co jsme na setkání probírali? Od minulého setkání se podařilo výrazně vylepšit web věnovaný celosvětovému hnutí Education  a dobrým odrazovým můstkem je zejména graficky pojatý seznam zemí zapojujících Wikipedii do výuky. To umožní pracovat členům Education Collaborative v jednotlivých oblastech zájmu. Já se třeba společně se srbským a uruguayským protějškem budu zabývat tím, jak pomáhat (mentorovat) ostatním education programům ve světě. Těch je několik desítek, ale mnohdy by jim pomohla rada či dvě, jak své projekty organizovat či jak například získat grantové finanční prostředky.

Doufejme, že se nám to alespoň trochu podaří a mapa education programů se bude stále více modrat.

by Vojtěch Dostál at January 29, 2015 07:32 PM

Tisková zpráva: Na hvězdárně vystoupí tvůrci Wikipedie

Na Wikipedii hledá informace téměř každý, ale málokdo se už zajímá, odkud pocházejí. I proto mají studenti mnoha škol používání Wikipedie zakázáno, zatímco jiní ji pod dozorem svých vyučujících pomáhají vytvářet. Na brněnské hvězdárně se 29. listopadu sejdou tvůrci české Wikipedie, kteří do ní napsali již přes 300.000 článků, aby více než 150 přihlášeným návštěvníkům umožnili nahlédnout „pod pokličku“ této největší internetové encyklopedie. Připraveno je 15 přednášek, příležitost popovídat si osobně s některým z „wikipedistů“ a pro zástupce brněnských kulturních a vzdělávacích institucí i odborný seminář o možnostech spolupráce s Wikipedií.

„Kdo chce zlepšit české školství, měl by podpořit rozvoj české Wikipedie,“ potvrzuje Jiří Dušek, ředitel Hvězdárny a planetária Brno, která šestý ročník české Wikikonference v Brně hostí. Pořadatelem akce je Wikimedia Česká republika, nezisková organizace zastupující v České republice americkou nadaci Wikimedia Foundation, která Wikipedii provozuje. S půlmiliardou návštěvníků měsíčně je Wikipedie šestou nejnavštěvovanější webovou stránkou na světě a první z nekomerčních – na její chod přispívají sami čtenáři v dobrovolných sbírkách, finančně ji podporují také některé internetové vyhledávače. Encyklopedická hesla píší dobrovolníci z celého světa a úpravy v ní může dělat každý. „Když jsem zjistil, že mí studenti používají Wikipedii, přišlo mi marné jim to zakazovat. Namísto toho jsem do ní začal sám psát, aby tam našli kvalitní obsah,“ vysvětlil svůj postoj profesor Jan Sokol, který přispívá do Wikipedie od roku 2007. Jeho spolupracovník Vojtěch Veselý bude na letošní Wikikonferenci prezentovat nový projekt, ve kterém se snaží zapojit do tvorby Wikipedie seniory.

Na fungování české Wikipedie mají svou zásluhu i Brňané: Na počátku české verze stál brněnský esperantista Miroslav Malovec, který v roce 2002 přeložil úvodní stránku Wikipedie z esperanta do češtiny a vytvořil tak prostor dalším nadšencům, kteří přišli po něm. Dnes má česká Wikipedie sice jen několik stovek aktivních redaktorů, ale různou měrou do ní za celou dobu jejího fungování přispělo 13 tisíc uživatelů. Práci všech autorů lze volně kombinovat díky licenci Creative Commons, jíž se vzdávají části svých autorských práv. Tu představí Lucie Straková z Ústavu práva a technologií Právnické fakulty Masarykovy univerzity. A právě na Masarykově univerzitě je v současnosti v přípravě směrnice, která má zjednodušit přebírání tam vznikajících prezentačních článků a fotografií do Wikipedie. O možnostech propojení akademického světa s Wikipedií promluví Tomáš Mozga, předseda Spolku absolventů a přátel Masarykovy univerzity, který Wikikonferenci spolupořádá.

Wikikonferenci, která letos do Brna zavítá poprvé, lze navštívit bezplatně. Zájemcům je však doporučováno se předem registrovat na www.wikikonference.cz, kde také najdou podrobný program akce. „Na rozdíl od minulých ročníků, které byly více zaměřeny na již aktivní redaktory, je tentokrát program orientován více na zvídavou veřejnost,“ vysvětlil Marek Blahuš z týmu brněnských wikipedistů.

Kontakt: Vojtěch Dostál, tiskový mluvčí spolku Wikimedia ČR, press@wikimedia.cz

Celý text této tiskové zprávy je uvolněn jako volné dílo (public domain). To platí po celém světě. V právních řádech, kde takové uvolnění není ze zákona možné, poskytují autoři komukoliv práva použít toto dílo jakýmkoliv způsobem bez dalších podmínek, ledaže by takové podmínky vyžadoval zákon.

by Marek Blahuš at January 29, 2015 07:31 PM

Wikipedie, nejlepší přítel učitele

Studentky v Káhiře plní svůj školní úkol, píší na Wikipedii

Studentky v Káhiře plní svůj školní úkol, píší na Wikipedii

Se svolením autora přeložil z originálu Vojtěch Dostál.

Michael Gorman, bývalý prezident Americké asociace knihoven, před několika lety napsal, že „učitel, který podporuje užívání Wikipedie, je intelektuální obdobou dietologa, který vám doporučuje stravu založenou na Big Macích s hranolkami“. Jestli je to pravda, pak jsem zřejmě intelektuálním prodejcem rychlého občerstvení.

Jako učitel nejenže podporuji studenty, aby Wikipedii používali, ale také je nabádám, aby ji upravovali a vylepšovali. V akademické obci jsem nicméně v menšině. Mnoho mých kolegů se dívá na Wikipedii s podezřením a despektem, ba často s otevřenou nenávistí. Některé z těchto názorů mých kolegů se dají vysvětlit konzervativností, která v akademických kruzích panuje, nebo jejich nepochopením, jak Wikipedie funguje. Na druhou stranu, některé z jejich pochybností jsou oprávněné. Ačkoliv už v roce 2005 bylo publikováno, že Wikipedie neobsahuje signifikantně více chyb než Encyclopaedia Britannica, a od té doby Wikipedie ještě rostla a zlepšovala se, stále se jednou za čas objeví studie ukazující, že má k dokonalosti daleko.

Nicméně pravé důvody, proč akademici Wikipedii obecně nemají rádi, jsou zakořeněny hlouběji. Zaprvé: akademici mívali v minulosti na tvorbu a šíření vědomostí monopol. Teď znalosti šíří banda digitálních maoistů bez nároku na finanční ohodnocení nebo uznání své práce. Určitě existuje jistá podprahová averze k projektu, jenž tak efektivně poskytuje zadarmo to, za co jsou akademici placeni. Zadruhé, na Wikipedii se žárlí také proto, že je jednou z nejnavštěvovanějších internetových stránek vůbec a o její čtenářské obci si mohou akademici nechat jen zdát. A zatřetí, jak víme, studenti bez skrupulí Wikipedii opisují. Ačkoliv ta samotná plagiátorství nepodporuje, mnoho profesorů ji shledá vinnou pouhou silou asociace.

Přesto by akademici neměli být k Wikipedii tak zatvrzelí. Namísto toho by se měli na její existenci podílet více – jako autoři, editoři a koordinátoři práce svých studentů. Pro všeobecné blaho. Naštěstí se objevují první zářné příklady spolupráce mezi akademickou obcí a Wikipedií. V současné době startují projekty Americké asociace sociologů a Americké psychologické asociace, které své pracovníky i studenty přesvědčují, aby Wikipedii pomáhali rozvíjet.

Ale to nestačí – je celá řádka důvodů, proč by se měla Wikipedie prosazovat na vysokých školách. Takové psaní článku na Wikipedii je vlastně perfektní akademické zadání: vyžaduje syntézu informací, učí, jak správně používat zdroje třetích stran, a je odolná k jakémukoliv plagiátorství (jak mnozí studenti ke svému překvapení zjistili). Wikipedisté jsou k plagiarismu pozornější než mnozí novináři – a navíc bez jakéhokoliv smilování mažou veškeré informace, které nemohou být ověřeny z věrohodného zdroje.

Vyhledání tématu, které ještě není na Wikipedii zpracováno, je také užitečnou lekcí – učí, jak zpracovávat prameny informací a hledat mezery v lidském poznání. Navíc takové zadání, místo aby skončilo po oznámkování ve skartovačce, zústává navždy online a je cenným zdrojem informací pro všechny ostatní. Třeba jen proto, že se z krátkého studentského článku jednou vyvine článek perfektní, se vším všudy. Studenti tak berou zadání s dopadem do reálného světa mnohem vážněji. Navíc jim jejich práci často pohotově zkontrolují wikipedisté, což snižuje práci, kterou musí vykonat vyučující.

A je třeba vzít v úvahu ještě jednu věc. Věřím, že je morální povinností všech těch privilegovaných, kteří mohli studovat vysokou školu, aby pomáhali Wikipedii v jejím růstu a rozvoji. Sdílet znalosti s těmi, kteří ke vzdělání neměli tak snadný přístup, je to nejmenší, co můžeme udělat. Z tohoto etického hlediska je tlak na učitele ještě větší, než na studenty: přeci právě učitelé rozhodují o tom, jak se do psaní Wikipedie zapojí jejich studenti.

Učitelé mají totiž k dispozici obrovský zdroj – stovky hodin intelektuální práce svých studentů, které by byly jinak promarněny na společensky neproduktivní práci, jež se po oznámkování stává irelevantní. Buďme odvážní a udělejme z vylepšování Wikipedie standardní způsob vysokoškolského zadání. Ulehčí nám to život, studentům to dá zajímavou výzvu, a vznikne něco s praktickým dopadem na společnost.

Dariusz Jemielniak je profesorem managementu na Kozminskiho univerzitě v Polsku, aktivní Wikimedián a autor knihy Common Knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia (2014, Stanford University Press).

by Dariusz Jemielniak at January 29, 2015 07:30 PM

Češi jako kulturní národ? Bez svobodných licencí to nepůjde.

Česko jako národ internetového porna? - licence obrázku: CC0 1.0.

Česko jako národ internetového porna? – licence obrázku: CC0 1.0.

V roce 2005 si Ministerstvo zahraničí Česká republiky zadalo průzkum, aby zjistilo, jaký obraz mají cizinci o Češích a o České republice. Výsledky byly tristní: mnoho Evropanů ani nevědělo, kde náš stát leží, a nejvíce si ho skrze reklamní fotografie se slunečnicovými poli asociují s výrobou oleje. Co se dá udělat, abychom byli národem Dvořáka, Havla a Formana? A je vůbec čemu se za současné situace divit?

Není. Podíváme-li se na „vývoz“ české kultury do zahraničí, největším kulturním artiklem porevolučního Česka je pravděpodobně česká pornografická scéna. Jelikož je na internetu a dostupná všem, je také tím, s čím si náš stát budou lidé spojovat.

Ve stejném roce, kdy si ministerstvo zadalo onen průzkum, měla česká Wikipedie teprve 20 000 článků. Od té doby pokročila nejen ona (dnes jich má přes 300 000), ale i celá společnost. Ať se nám to líbí nebo ne, kulturní obraz se dnes vytváří především na internetu a šíří se sociálními sítěmi. Tedy: každý zná street-artového umělce Banksyho, protože si jeho díla lidé fotí a sdílí na Facebooku. Hudba mezi posluchače proráží tak, že je sdílena na sociálních sítích a vlna zájmu o nové umělce je vytvářena stovkami bloggerů, kteří na internetu působí. A informace o historii a architektuře? Na přednášku nebo do knihovny se pro ně nechodí, vše je přeci na Wikipedii.

Zamysleli jste se někdy, jak obtížné pro cizince je dostat se k české kultuře? Je to až neuvěřitelné. Největším Čechem byl zvolen Jára Cimrman, ale jsou na internetu otitulkované záznamy představení Divadla Járy Cimrmana? Nejsou – ze serveru YouTube byla smazána, protože za současné situace bylo jejich zveřejněnění nelegální. Najdeme alespoň na internetu slavné české filmy z přelomu 60. a 70. let, zlaté éry českého filmu? Na YouTube zatím mnohé jsou (nelegálně), ale snaha dodat k nim třeba titulky a anglický popis je samozřejmě nulová. Podobně beznadějná je situace i s českými výtvarnými díly nebo s významnými historickými listinami a muzejními exponázy z české historie. Chcete vidět třeba slavná díla českých kubistů? Tak se na ně musíte přijet podívat do galerie.

Existuje přitom geniálně jednoduché řešení. Místo drahých kampaní by lépe zaúčinkovalo zaměstnat člověka, který bude uvolňovat českou kulturu na internet. A to pod svobodnou licencí, aby ji mohl kdokoliv sdílet a používat. Výhodou takového přístupu je, že o šíření se postará internet samotný – k tomu není potřeba platit billboardy nebo reklamní časy v televizi. Česká Wikipedie v tom může hrát zásadní roli – má zavedenou infrastrukturu dobrovolníků (kteří třeba přeloží titulky) a navíc přední místa ve vyhledávači Google. Jednoduše řečeno – uvolněte českou kulturu pod svobodnou licencí a o zbytek se postará internet 2.0.

Spousta skvělých děl české kultury byla vytvořena z veřejných prostředků, má skvělý potenciál na světovém internetu, ale téměř nulový potenciál komerční. Pojďme se oprostit od zažraných představ, že se s autory či majiteli autorských práv nedá dohodnout, a vyzkoušejme to. Možná zjistíme, že to tak nemožné není.

by Vojtěch Dostál at January 29, 2015 07:28 PM

Wikikonference 2014 nadchla brněnské publikum

Plakát Wikikonference 2014 (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Dominik Matus)

Plakát Wikikonference 2014

Již šestá česká Wikikonference proběhla 29. listopadu 2014 poprvé mimo Prahu, v budově Hvězdárny a planetária v Brně, se kterou spolek Wikimedia ČR navázal spolupráci. Celodenním formátem pokračovala konference v tradici předchozích ročníků, její program byl však vzhledem k novému umístění zaměřen především na seznámení s jednotlivými projekty Wikimedia.

Náplň konferenčního dne tvořil hlavní program v „digitáriu“ rozdělený do tématických bloků, odborný program a program pro veřejnost v malém planetáriu, kde se promítala videa z produkce spolku Wikimedia ČR. Dveře hvězdárny se otevřely v 9 hodin a registrovaní návštěvníci po příchodu obdrželi visačky se jmény a obědové stravenky. Hlavní program moderovaný Miroslavem Langerem zahájil přivítáním účastníků Jiří Dušek, ředitel hvězdárny, která kvůli konferenci přerušila na den běžný program. Úvodní slovo pak pronesli i Tomáš Mozga, předseda spolupořádajícího Spolku absolventů a přátel Masarykovy univerzity, a Jan Loužek, předseda spolku Wikimedia ČR. V programu pak následoval rozhovor o vzniku české Wikipedie s jejím zakladatelem, brněnským esperantistou Miroslavem Malovcem. Poté se Jaroslav Zastoupil spolu s diváky ohlédl za loňským rokem z pohledu světa wikiprojektů. Po něm se ke slovu vrátil Jiří Dušek, aby představil svou strategii v popularizaci vědy, čímž zároveň uzavřel úvodní blok. Zástupci brněnských kulturních a vzdělávacích institucí se po něm přesunuli do přednáškové místnosti, kde je Jaroslav Zastoupil seznamoval s možnostmi spolupráce s projekty Wikimedia.

Hlavní program v digitáriu (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň)

Hlavní program v digitáriu

Druhý blok s tématem svobodného sdílení znalostí započal po 11. hodině přednáškou o licencích Creative Commons, na kterých je postavena Wikipedie. Právnička Lucie Straková vysvětlovala jejich principy a změny v nové verzi. Následovalo představení principů a možností projektů Wikizdroje ústy Martina Myšičky a Wikizprávy ústy Václava Zouzalíka. Představen byl také univerzitní projekt WikiSofia, který má za cíl vytvořit skripta pro studenty humanitních věd. Blok ukončila přednáška o tvorbě a využívání populární Encyklopedie dějin města Brna. Následovala obědová přestávka, během níž byl registrovaným poskytnut formou cateringu oběd včetně vegetariánské verze. Vzhledem ke kapacitám prostor byli návštěvníci rozděleni do tří skupin – zatímco jedna skupina obědvala, ostatní mohli sledovat promítání filmu na kopuli digitária nebo zhlédnout interaktivní astronomickou výstavu v suterénu.

Po hodinové pauze následoval blok o aktivitách na wiki, na jehož začátku Tomáš Mozga ukazoval, jak se díky studentům a absolventům z týmu Wikipedie na Masarykově univerzitě možná podaří vytvořit nejpopsanější univerzitu na Wikipedii. Na pódiu ho pak vystřídal Vojtěch Dostál, který pro změnu popisoval týmovou práci wikipedistů v novém projektuWikiMěsto, jehož první workshop se odehrál v Přibyslavi a měl za cíl popsat toto město a s ním spojená témata na Wikipedii. Poté Vojtěch Veselý představil nový a úspěšný projekt Senioři píší Wikipedii, který se inspiroval podobným projektem se studenty.

Skupinová fotografie (CC-BY-SA 3.0, Gampe)

Skupinová fotografie

Před začátkem předposledního bloku byla z jeviště pořízena skupinová fotografie všech přítomných návštěvníků. Fotograf měl problémy s nastavením a šířkou záběru, což vyvolalo příznivou náladu a smích.

Následující blok ve veselém duchu pokračoval. Marek Blahuš představil stinné stránky Wikipedie, snahy o cenzuru, názorové pře, vandalismy a úsměvné editace. Sám sebe pak následoval coby moderátor zábavného Wikikvízu podobného známé televizní hře Riskuj. Třem dobrovolníkům z řad ne-wikipedistů postupně kladl otázky na různá témata, z nichž si hráči mohli volit. I přes to, že soutěžící převážně hádali, všichni byli nakonec oceněni.

V závěrečném bloku krátce představil Jan Loužek spolek Wikimedia ČR, kterému předsedá, jeho projekty a aktivity. Na závěr dne byly vyhlášeny výsledky soutěže Wiki miluje památky. Jan Groh představoval vítězné fotografie a Jan Loužek spolu s Antonínem Šimčíkem ze Slezského zemského muzea a Simonou Juračkovou z Národního památkového ústavu předávali ceny přítomným výhercům. Bohužel mnoho z nich nedorazilo.

Návštěvníci měli rovněž možnost zhlédnout ve foyer vystavené výherní fotografie ze soutěže Wiki miluje památky a vizualizace editací na obrazovkách. Prohlédnout si pod vedením ředitele mohli i zázemí hvězdárny a výpočetní místnost.

Budova hvězdárny (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň) Sál digitária před začátkem programu (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň) Prezenční stůl a návštěvníci (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň) Vstupní hala (CC-BY-SA 3.0, Pavel Hrdlička) Výstava výherních fotek Wiki miluje památky (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň) Debaty u jídla během obědové přestávky (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň) Odborný program (CC-BY-SA 3.0, Pavel Hrdlička) Předávání materiálů zástupcům institucí (CC-BY-SA 3.0, Pavel Hrdlička) Nabídka otázek wikikvízu (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň) Předávání cen Wiki miluje památky (CC-BY-SA 3.0, Pavel Hrdlička) Prohlídka zázemí digitária (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň) Tomáš Mozga prezentující spolupráci s MU (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Martin Strachoň)

Organizace a propagace

Finanční rozpočet konference, celkem 32 220 Kč (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Dominik Matus)

Finanční rozpočet konference, celkem 32 220 Kč

Idea Wikikonference v Brně mohla být realizována především díky podpoře Jiřího Duška a Tomáše Mozgy, kteří si uvědomují úlohu, kterou při šíření vzdělání a budování občanské společnosti sehrává Wikipedie, nejčastěji navštěvovaný zdroj na internetu. Organizační práce se ujali brněnští členové Wikimedia ČR a komunity wikipedistů. Konferenci oficiálně pořádal spolek Wikimedia ČR společně se Spolkem absolventů a přátel Masarykovy univerzity (SAPMU). Finančně její uskutečnění podpořila i Asociace konferenčních tlumočníků (ASKOT). První přípravná schůzka proběhla v březnu, po prázdninách se pak uskutečnila asi desítka dalších setkání a organizačních porad.

K Wikikonferenci tradičně vznikla informační stránka na Wikipedii. V průběhu měsíce listopadu byl na všech českých mutacích projektů Wikimedia zobrazován banner zvoucí k návštěvě Wikikonference. Událost byla také cíleně propagována pomocí sociálních sítí. Své místo si našla i v rádiu a tisku, převážně v brněnských periodikách. Avšak většina návštěvníků přišla díky každoročním e-mailovým pozvánkám, ke kterým tentokrát přibylo pozvání zástupců většiny kulturních, vzdělávacích a státních institucí v Brně. Těmto institucím byl nabídnut odborný program vysvětlující možnou spolupráci s projekty Wikimedia.

K této největší české wikiakci byl vytvořen tištěný program, visačky a propagační plakát, který byl šířen převážně po brněnských školách a knihovnách. Celý průběh konference byl fotografován anahráván. Jednotlivé přednášky jsou nyní dostupné na internetu.

Názory návštěvníků a trocha statistiky

Návštěvnost českých Wikikonferencí (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Vojtěch Dostál)

Návštěvnost českých Wikikonferencí

Šestého ročníku konference se zúčastnilo přes 128 lidí ze 190 registrovaných, čímž byla překonána předešlá konference v Praze s přibližně 107 účastníky. Organizátoři to připisují změně místa konání a stále se zvyšujícímu povědomí a zájmu o Wikipedii mezi veřejností. Po skončení konference byli návštěvníci dálkově požádáni o její zhodnocení; 67 z nich dotazník vyplnilo. Mezi těmito návštěvníky převažovala skupina ve věku 21-30 let, avšak 25 % bylo starších 50 let, 60 % prostě využívajících wikiprojekty, 30 % aktivně je editujících. Až 70 % všech respondentů uvedlo, že se nezúčastnili žádné z předešlých Wikikonferencí. Třem čtvrtinám respondentů se program líbil a z grafu vyplývá, že nejúspěšnější byly Stinné stránky Wikipedie, Encyklopedie dějin města Brna a vyprávění O vzniku české Wikipedie.

Věkové a typové kategorie návštěvníků – (A) prostí uživatelé, (B) aktivní editoři, (C) aktivisté hnutí Wikimedia a (D) občasní editoři (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Dominik Matus)

Věkové a typové kategorie návštěvníků – (A) prostí uživatelé, (B) aktivní editoři, (C) aktivisté hnutí Wikimedia a (D) občasní editoři

Jako největší klady odpovídající uvedli zázemí hvězdárny a planetária, otevřenost a ohleduplnost, možnost setkat se s wikipedisty, motivaci k editování a podpoře projektů, dodržování a strukturu programu, dobrou organizaci, práci moderátora, aktuálnost a různorodost témat, možnost oběda a také nové informace o dění na projektech Wikimedia. Abychom nezmiňovali jen klady, jako negativa uvedli dotazovaní nedostatek prostoru pro diskusi, přílišnou různorodost témat, poněkud zdlouhavé předávání cen Wiki miluje památky, zábavný avšak nepříliš zajímavý wikikvíz, obecně dlouhý program, konání konference na odlehlém místě, nemožnost si na místě zkusit editování, málo akcí mimo hlavní program, nedostatečně prezentované drobné občerstvení, nekvalitní projev některých přednášejících, horší pohled v předních řadách na plátno, chudý program pro zkušené editory a přílišnou pozornost náletům na Brno během přednášky o encyklopedii dějin Brna.

I přes tato negativa by ovšem 70 % respondentů navštívilo další Wikikonferenci. Proto se budeme snažit ji pro ně příště udělat ještě lepší.


Hodnocení programu + které části programu nejvíce motivovaly k návštěvě (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Dominik Matus)

Hodnocení programu + které části programu nejvíce motivovaly k návštěvě

Zdroje návštěvnosti (CC-BY-SA 4.0, Dominik Matus)

Zdroje návštěvnosti

by Dominik Matus at January 29, 2015 07:15 PM

Díla následujících autorů vstupují do Public Domain. Od 1. ledna.

Pohled na Zemi z Měsíce (Autor: Petr Ginz, licence: volné dílo)

Pohled na Zemi z Měsíce. Kresba Petra Ginze, od 1. ledna 2015 volné dílo.

Se začátkem Nového roku často mnozí z nás bilancují, co se povedlo, co nikoliv, čeho bylo málo a čeho bylo naopak možná až příliš. Objevují se různá shrnutí, ohlédnutí a vize do budoucna, naděje k nadcházejícímu roku. Na jednu věc se ale zapomíná, možná pro většinu z nás není asi tolik podstatná. Je však důležitá pro šíření svobodného a otevřeného vzdělání. Mnohá díla se od nového roku stávají osvobozenými od majetkové autorskoprávní ochrany.

Přestože autorské právo v Evropské unii ještě není zcela sjednoceno, něco již platí na (téměř) celém kontinentu stejně: A to ochrana děl autorů po dobu jejich života a navíc 70 let po jejich smrti. U řady hudebníků, spisovatelů, fotografů a jiných tvůrců je tak nezbytné ještě čekat, chceme-li jejich práci užívat svobodně. U určitého počtu však někdy v průběhu každého roku uplyne ona sedmdesátiletá hranice. A od 1. ledna roku následujícího, v našem případě od 1. 1. 2015, jsou tyto práce již prosty ochrany, stávají se dílem volným, neboli v angličtině – Public Domain. Jedná se o všechny tvůrce, kteří zemřeli v roce 1944.

Na počest této skutečnosti se slaví 1. leden každého roku jako tzv. Public Domain Day. Připomeňme si tedy, čí práce jsou nyní volným dílem. Jedná se o autory světového formátu, jako například Rachel Carlson, Ian Fleming, Flannery O’Connor, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Romain Rolland, Wassily Kandinsky, nebo Edvard Munch. A pak samozřejmě ještě o další desítky dalších.

A v České republice? I zde se volnými díly stávající práce řady spisovatelů, fotografů, malířů a jiných autorů. Jmenovitě: Greta Bauer-Schwind, Otto Brod, Stanislav Brunclík, Pavel Friedmann, Petr Ginz, Siegfried Goldschmidt, Antonín Hartl, Milena Jesenská, Alois Musil, Lubor Niederle, Vojtěch Priessig, Karel Weis, nebo Heinz Otto Ziegler.

Podívejte se na některé z nově uvolněných děl na Wikimedia Commons, kde komunita dobrovolníků začala s jejich shromažďováním.

by Jan Loužek at January 29, 2015 04:40 PM

Mediagrant ukazuje své výsledky: Přes 20 tisíc fotografií za 1 rok.

Červené obce nám ještě zbývají nafotit. Třeba to jednou dáme. A zbytek, dvě třetiny území republiky už na Wikipedii máme.

Červené obce nám ještě zbývají nafotit. Třeba to jednou dáme. A zbytek, dvě třetiny území republiky už na Wikipedii máme. (Autor: Jagro, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Je to už téměř pět let, kdy jsme začali pro Wikipedii systematicky fotografovat. V červenci 2009 byl vyhlášen projekt Foto českých obcí. Později se přidala celá řada dalších jiných akcí – fotografování chráněných území, židovských památek, lidové tvořivosti, vodních ploch, zoologických zahrad… V neposlední řadě jsme tu měli i soutěž Wiki miluje památky, pro kterou během třech ročníků nafotili dobrovolníci přes třicet tisíc snímků. A také si odnesli právoplatné a hodnotné ceny.

Fotografie nahráváme na server Wikimedia Commons a uživatelé je zveřejňují pod licencí Creative Commons.

Nicméně, v roce 2011 získala Wikimedia Česká republika tzv. Mediagrant, který mohl tento úspěch do jisté míry umožnit. Ano, my našim fotografům náklady cest proplácíme. Máme k tomu efektivní software – tracker, který sleduje, zda-li jsou výpravy podle pravidel a zda-li jsou náklady účelně vynakládány. Výsledky jsou nicméně samozřejmě velmi dobré: Do fotografování se zapojily již desítky lidí a my jsme v průběhu let získali neuvěřitelná množství snímků. Uskutečněno bylo jen za poslední rok 184 cest. Nafoceno bylo 1516 obcí a pořízeno okolo dvaceti tisíc fotografií.

Obecní úřad ve vesnici Oseček. Fotografování venkova probíhá na dobrovolném principu; spolek Wikimedia Česká republika však účastníkům fotografických výprav proplácí náklady, a to podle vlastních pravidel. (Foto: Osecek A. ObecniUrad, Autor: Stribrohorak)

Obecní úřad ve vesnici Oseček. Fotografování venkova probíhá na dobrovolném principu; spolek Wikimedia Česká republika však účastníkům fotografických výprav proplácí náklady, a to podle vlastních pravidel. (Foto: Osecek A. ObecniUrad, Autor: Stribrohorak, CC BY-SA 3.0)

I v dalších oblastech letos naši dobrovolníci fotografovali. Lidová tvořivost byla obohacena jako téma o 1012 fotografií. V různých chráněných územích fotografové pořídili 1583 snímků. Jednalo se například o Kočičí skálu u Pálavy, rezervaci Brouskův mlýn, nebo Bílý Kříž.

Za celých pět let jsme pořídili 43 270 fotografií českého venkova. Podařilo se nám nafotit už téměř 2/3 území České republiky. Řada fotografů z české komunity dokonce fotí v zahraničí (ať už prostřednictvím výjezdů, organizovaných různými pobočkami hnutím Wikimedia, nebo za hranicemi dlouhodobě žijí). Současným tempem bude celá republika zdokumentována pro Wikipedii do dvou let. A vlastně i pro všechny, kteří budou chtít naše snímky pro jakýkoliv účel používat. Neboť u fotografií pod licencí Creative Commons platí většinou jediné pravidlo: Uveďte autora – Zachovejte licenci.

by Jan Loužek at January 29, 2015 04:39 PM

Wikipedisté v pohybu: I v zimních mrazech jsme aktivní!

Účastníci výpravy na vyhlídce Kozí Hřbety. I přes sedmistupňový mráz jsme prošli přes celou vyhlídku. (Foto: Gampe, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Účastníci výpravy na vyhlídce Kozí Hřbety. I přes sedmistupňový mráz jsme prošli přes celou vyhlídku. (Foto: Věra Bartáková, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Často se tvrdí, že Wikipedie je zábavou pro ty, kteří rádi sedí u počítače a tráví u něj dlouhé hodiny. Nicméně, není tomu tak. Existují různé projekty naší komunity, které dokazují pravý opak. Jeden z nich nese například název Wikipedisté v pohybu. Na 28. prosince svolali malou zimní procházku do oblasti severního okraje Prahy.

Původně uvažovaná cyklistická varianta byla vzhledem k povětrnostnímu vývoji odvolána. Mezi svátky totiž teploty klesly hluboko pod bod mrazu, nálada účastníků však byla i přesto velmi vřelá. Vzhledem k tomu, že akce byla naplánována a vyhlášena v rozmezí jen několika dnů mile překvapila účast okolo šesti lidí.

V mrazivém dopoledni jsme vyrazili ze Suchdola na Kozí hřbety. Přelezli jsme postupně všechny vyhlídky jižní části tohoto hřebene a zamávali přes údolí výletníkům na severní části. Pak jsme se spustili do údolí Únětického potoka.

Nejprve jsme zamířili do útulné hospůdky u Lasíků. Dobré pivo a skvělé sladké i slané koláče (to jsme konec konců prověřili již při cyklistickém tréninku 4. července 2014) a nyní navíc rozpálená kamna. Po příjemném posezení jsme pokračovali Tichým údolím do Roztok a vlakem zpět do Prahy.

Celkem jsme ušli 6,5 km a shodli se, že by to nemusela být wikivycházka poslední. Podívejte se na naší stránku; rádi uvítáme další účastníky, kteří by se případně zapojili do nějaké další obdobné výpravy.

by Jan Loužek at January 29, 2015 04:39 PM

Fluorescenční noc – mladí vědci nahrávají své mikrofotografie na Wikimedia Commons

Příčný řez kořenem Juncus articulatus

Příčný řez kořenem Juncus articulatus, autor: Honzaprazak, licence: CC BY SA 4.0

V sobotu 24. ledna 2015 se členové Wikimedia Česká republika zúčastnili Fluorescenční noci – pravidelného workshopu pro středoškolské zájemce o biologii, kteří rádi mikroskopují. Název „Fluorescenční noc“ je odvozen od nejoblíbenějšího přístroje, s nímž tito mladí vědci pracují – fluorescenčního mikroskopu. Ten je schopen vytvářet barevné obrazy biologických objektů, které mají vysokou vědeckou, vzdělávací i uměleckou kvalitu.

Jedenáct studentů si během dlouhého večera a noci vytvořilo účet a nahrálo své první fotografie na digitální úložiště Wikipedie, tzv. Wikimedia Commons. Celkem nahráli 40 nádherných fotografií – a co je důležitější, získali novou dovednost, díky níž budou schopní své fotografie nahrávat na Wikimedia Commons i samostatně. Jsme zvědaví, kolik účastníků se o to v následujících týdnech a měsících skutečně pokusí – budeme je monitorovat :-).

Někteří ze studentů se navíc hned pustili do přidávání svých obrázků do Wikipedie, což je vlastně ultimátní cíl našich snah – fotografie se fotí převážně právě proto, aby mohly ilustrovat patřičné články na Wikipedii.

Workshopy tohoto typu plánujeme pořádat i v budoucnu – využíváme při tom existujících komunit a nabízíme jim zajímavé zpestření programu, které má dopad na rozvoj vzdělanosti po celém světě.

Akce byla podpořena z grantu Mediagrant II nadace Wikimedia Foundation. Děkuji Janu Grohovi a Pavlu Hrdličkovi za pomoc s přípravou a účast na akci.

by Vojtěch Dostál at January 29, 2015 04:38 PM

January 28, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

The grand adventure of the Annual Report

Wikipedia editor and high school student Ntsika Kellem on graduation day, near Cape Town, South Africa.
See related video. Photo by Sydellewillowsmith, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Today, we launched our 7th Annual Report. Rather than this becoming a standard exercise, we thought it was time to take a step back and reconsider the goals of the report. The result was a complete overhaul. This year’s Annual Report has a whole new format and caters to a much larger audience: everyone who reads Wikipedia.

What has historically been a print and wiki based document sent to donors has now been revamped with a new design and concept meant to have far greater reach — just like Wikipedia itself.

The report shares the vision of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation: the quest to freely share in the sum of all human knowledge. It shares recent stories of community members creating content, improving education, participating in change across the globe, and expanding local language projects all over the world. It includes an edit counter that tracks live changes to Wikipedia and allows readers to Listen to Wikipedia as it is edited in real-time.

While the Annual Report details the financial realities of a top ten website, its focus is the daily human impact of Wikipedia’s free knowledge, from sparking the passion of a retired photographer to nurturing the curiosity of a budding cancer researcher.

The making of the 2013-2014 Annual Report

In October, the Foundation’s Communications team sat down with our counterparts in Fundraising and Finance to explore the purpose of the Annual Report — who it’s for, and what it should do. We realized the old, printed format wasn’t telling a clear story of who we are. So we reflected on what we want to accomplish.

We want to help contributors connect to our mission. We want people to understand what it takes to run the world’s largest free-knowledge resource. We’d like to share the value of our impact with various partners and organizations. But most of all, we want to share our identity and our passion, and inspire people.

Concept development
An Annual Report has some practical requirements like donor lists, financial statements, and charity ratings. But it is also an opportunity to tell important stories, and an open door for creativity.

We decided to frame this year’s report around a central defining theme: “knowledge is a foundation.” Our Executive Director, Lila, planted the seed of “foundation” as a multi-faceted word and concept that means a lot to who we are — after all, we are literally the Wikimedia Foundation (pun intended).

But plays on words aside, the concept of foundation allows us to explore aspects of support, collaboration, and empowerment. Importantly, it signals there is more to build.

As the world’s go-to resource for understanding the world, knowledge is absolutely our foundation. That is what drives our community and everyone at the the Wikimedia Foundation. We all devote incredible time and energy to the same mission — to share the sum of human knowledge with the whole world. We do this because we believe in it.

Final product

This Annual Report is a brief, intentionally basic introduction to the ecosystem of Wikimedia, centered around the basic agreement that knowledge is a foundation.

Wikipedia is a foundation for knowledge. With 34 million articles spanning 288 languages, Wikipedia receives 500 million unique visitors every month. Because Wikipedia is written entirely by volunteers — ordinary people — people are the foundation of Wikipedia. And every year, the financial contributions of more than 2.5 million people are the foundation of support and sharing of free knowledge — they are how we keep the Wikimedia projects online and independent.

Our job at the Wikimedia Foundation is to be a foundation for this work. We are here to support the projects and communities. The Annual Report explores each of these elements and illustrates how we have been establishing the foundation for the future of Wikimedia, Wikipedia, and free knowledge.

The Annual Report recounts:

  • 250 billion page views.
  • 4.5 million new articles.
  • 2.5 million financial contributors.
  • 77 thousand active editors.
  • As well as the work of chapters, groups, developers, countless individual community members, and more.

Thank you for an amazing year of creating, sharing, working, and giving.

Heather Walls, Communications Design Manager

View the Annual Report on this special site — or on this wiki, where you can help translate it.

by fflorin2015 at January 28, 2015 12:41 AM

When free speech conflicts with public health objectives: Yale ISP Conference

The Public Health and First Amendment Conference took place at Yale University. Harkness Tower photo by Hilary Richardson, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Public Health and First Amendment Conference took place at Yale University.
Photo by Hilary Richardson, CC-BY-SA-4.0

First Amendment jurisprudence frequently pits societal ideals against free speech. A recent conference at Yale Law School showed that this is no less the case when commercial free speech protections conflict with public health regulatory objectives.

The conference, Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment, was co-sponsored by the Information Society Project, the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership, and the Yale Health Law and Policy Society on October 17 and 18, 2014. The event brought together public health advocates, medical professionals and First Amendment scholars to discuss the implications of recent controversial First Amendment case law. The panels highlighted several areas where courts have protected commercial speech in spite of unpopular consequences for public health policy. Hilary Richardson attended the conference on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation legal team, given its interest in free speech law.

This conference was especially relevant to Wikipedia’s coverage of medical or health related topics. Since the content for pages on Wikipedia is entirely user-generated by thousands of volunteer editors, critics may argue that imperfection is inherent in the medical content pages. It is up to our community of editors to strike a balance between maximizing the total sum of freely available knowledge and removing information that could be misleading. If you think this sounds like an impossible task, here is some food for thought: in October alone, the New York Times wrote about how Wikipedia became one of the most trusted sources on the Internet for learning about Ebola, and four Wikipedians published a scholarly article on Dengue fever in a peer-reviewed journal based on a collaboratively edited Wikipedia article. In addition to meticulously curating the Ebola page on Wikipedia, Dr. James Heilman started WikiProject Medicine in order to improve medical and health content on Wikipedia and “benefit the world by giving the general public and health care professionals a text they can all read, appreciate, and respect, free of charge.” Medical schools like UCSF have forged partnerships with WikiProject Medicine so that top medical students can identify gaps in information and update entries using their own knowledge and credible resources.

At the conference, experts on all sides of the debate focused on the regulation of commercial speech, in the wake of United States v. Caronia.[1] In Caronia, a federal appeals court held that the First Amendment protected a pharmaceutical salesman’s promotion of a prescription drug for a use that was “off label” (not previously approved by the Food and Drug Administration). Prior to Caronia, although doctors were permitted to prescribe pharmaceuticals for off-label uses, pharmaceutical manufacturers and their agents were unable to promote drugs for any use that was not approved by the FDA. This restriction existed to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to adequately test drugs to FDA standards prior to entering the market.

Several public health panelists argued that the consequences of Caronia are catastrophic. To regulators focused on protecting consumers’ health, Caronia opens the floodgates to marketing misinformation that could have dire consequences on consumer choices. Some argued that the severity of the harms resulting from “misleading”[2] pharmaceutical promotion necessitates an understanding of the First Amendment that would not protect such harmful commercial speech.

On the other hand, as the First Amendment panelist Frederick Schauer noted, “the First Amendment does not protect speech because it is harmless. Rather, it protects it despite the harm it may cause.” In response to the health professionals’ concerns, he and several other the First Amendment scholars argued that the American free speech tradition protects commercial speech that is not false even if it is unpopular.

In addition to Frederick Schauer, the conference featured First Amendment scholars Jane Bambauer, Robert C. Post, and Eugene Volokh. Professor Bambauer argued that courts should actually reserve some power to intervene if an agency’s definition of “misleading” commercial speech goes too far, as regulatory restrictions on pharmaceutical marketing may have done prior to Caronia. Bambauer further contended that the FDA and FTC’s standards for pharmaceutical speech may reject too much information, and that for consumers making decisions some information based on imperfect science is better than no information at all. In Bambauer’s view, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals took a step in the right direction of clarifying the First Amendment’s commercial speech doctrine by requiring the definition of “misleading” to hew more closely to “false.” As she wrote in her paper Is Data Speech?, Bambauer noted that one of the core functions of free speech law is to liberate minds, and so the government should not take on the role of circumventing the free exchange of ideas and information.

Professor Post provided insight into how we theorize the First Amendment and why we understand it to protect commercial speech at all. According to Post, the primary distinction between speech that is covered by the First Amendment and speech that is not comes down to our democratic value of self-governance: speech triggers First Amendment coverage when it participates in the formation of public opinion because we want the government to be responsive to public opinion. Generally, this creates a First Amendment right which is speaker-oriented. However, this changed when the Supreme Court invented the commercial speech doctrine. In Virginia Pharmacy,[3] the Court gave two rationales: we need efficient distribution of information in order to have efficient markets, and we protect commercial speech because it distributes information which is necessary for citizens to participate in public opinion formation. Post argued that in this sense, Virginia Pharmacy created a First Amendment right of the receiver to hear information rather than speak it. In the context of commercial speech, the Supreme Court conceives of the public as people capable of processing information. This suggests that it is up to the people to decide what information they need.

Professor Volokh echoed Post and Bambauer in his agreement that First Amendment protections are about protecting a free market, so that it is better for people to have more information when making decisions. Volokh stressed that the logic behind the commercial speech doctrine is that even though we may think that patients and doctors may make bad decisions, it is possible that government regulators might as well: “the First Amendment directs us to be especially skeptical of regulations that seek to keep people in the dark for what the government perceives to be their own good.”

Hilary Richardson, Former Legal Intern, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at January 28, 2015 12:41 AM

January 26, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Try Content Translation: A quick way to create new articles from other languages

File:Content Translation Screencast (English).webm

Video: How to translate a Wikipedia article in 3 minutes with Content Translation. This video can also be viewed on YouTube (4:10). Screencast by Pau Giner, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Engineering team is happy to announce the first version of Content Translation on Wikipedia for 8 languages: Catalan, Danish, Esperanto, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian (Bokmål), Portuguese and Spanish. Content Translation, available as a beta feature, provides a quick way to create new articles by translating from an existing article into another language. It is also well suited for new editors looking to familiarize themselves with the editing workflow. Our aim is to build a tool that leverages the power of our multicultural global community to further Wikimedia’s mission of creating a world where every single human being can share in the sum of all knowledge.


During early 2014, when the design ideas for Content Translation were being conceptualized, we came across an interesting study by Scott A.Hale of University of Oxford, on the influences and editing patterns of multilingual editors on Wikipedia. Combined with feedback from editors we interacted with, the data presented in the study guided our initial choices, both in terms of features and languages. We were fortunate to have met the researcher in person at Wikimania 2014, so we could learn more about his findings and references.

The tool was designed for multilingual editors as our main target users. Several important patterns emerged from a month-long user study, including:

  • Multilingual editors are relatively more active in Wikipedias of smaller size. Often the editors from smaller sized Wikipedias would also edit on a relatively large sized Wikipedia like English or German;
  • Multilingual editors often edited the same articles in their primary and non-primary languages.

These and other factors listed in the study impact the transfer of content between different language versions of Wikipedia; they increase content parity between versions — and decrease ‘self-focus’ bias in individual editions.


When selecting languages for the tool’s introduction, we were guided by several factors, including signs of relatively high multilingualism amongst the primary editors. The availability of high quality machine-translated content was an additional consideration, to fully explore the usability of the core editing workflow designed for the tool. Based on these considerations, Catalan Wikipedia, a very actively edited project of medium size was a logical choice. Subsequent language selections were made by studying possible overlap trends between language users — and the probability of editors benefiting from those overlaps when creating new articles. Availability of machine translation to speed up the process and community requests were important considerations.

How it works

The article Abel Martín in the Spanish Wikipedia doesn’t have a version in Portuguese, so a red link to Portuguese is shown.
Content Translation red interlanguage link screenshot by Amire80 , licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Content Translation combines a rich text translation interface with tools targeted for editing — and machine translation support for most language pairs. It integrates different tools to automate repetitive steps during translation: it provides an initial automatic translation while keeping the original text format, links, references, and categories. To do so, the tool relies on the inter-language connections from Wikidata, html-to-wikitext conversion from Parsoid, and machine translation support from Apertium. This saves time for editors and allows them to focus on creating quality content.

Although basic text formatting is supported, the purpose of the tool is to create an initial version of the content that each community can keep improving with their usual editing tools. Content Translation is not intended to keep the information in sync across multiple language versions, but to provide a quick way to reuse the effort already made by the community when creating an article from scratch in a different language.

The tool can be accessed in different ways. There is a persistent access point at your contributions page, but access to the tool is also provided in situations where you may want to translate the content you are just reading. For instance, a red link in the interlanguage link area (see image).

Next steps

Next steps for the tool’s future development include adding support for more – eventually all – languages, managing lists of articles to translate, and adding features for more streamlined translation.

In coming weeks, we will closely monitor feedback from users and interact with them to guide our future development. Please read the release announcement for more details about the features and instructions on using the tool. Thank you!

Amir Aharoni, Pau Giner, Runa Bhattacharjee, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at January 26, 2015 07:09 PM

January 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wellcome Library donates 100,000 medical images to Wikimedia Commons

A blow fly (Chrysomya chloropyga). Coloured drawing by A.J.E Wellcome V0022553.jpg
This image of a female blow fly (Chrysomya chloropyga) is part of the Wellcome Library’s medical image collection, now available on Wikimedia Commons.
Drawing by Amedeo John Engel Terzi. From Wellcome Library, licensed under CC-BY-4.0

The Wellcome Library has donated over 100,000 images on medical history, which have now been uploaded on Wikimedia Commons. The high resolution photographs and scans are used to illustrate a wide range of Wikipedia articles such as disease, art history, cartoons, sexuality and biographies.

Wellcome Images provide free public access to their digital collection online, covering topics from medical and social history to current healthcare and biomedical science. Wellcome Images is part of the Wellcome Collection, with an extensive range of manuscripts, archives, paintings, prints and drawings. See http://wellcomeimages.org.

The Wellcome Library are thrilled with the mass upload of the historical Wellcome Images to Wiki commons, and would like to thank Wikimedia UK for its support, and Fae, as an independent Wikimedia Commons volunteer, who has worked on the uploads over the past few months. We are delighted that 100k images from our extraordinarily diverse collection are now visible through the most consulted information resource on the planet.

Robert Kiley, Acting Head of Wellcome Library.

As a longtime Wikimedia Commons supporter, I contacted Wellcome Images with a proposal to upload the entire collection, which Wellcome Images supplied on a hard disk (the collection took 300 gigabytes). The images have proven highly popular, with nearly 500 fellow Wikimedia Commons volunteers helping to categorize and reuse the images in Wikipedia articles, along with significant interest for related projects with Wiki Project Med and Wikimedia LGBT+. The images were released on the Wellcome Library’s website in 2014 with a non-commercial restriction. Following discussion and a workshop with Wikimedia volunteers, they were changed over to a CC-BY license, to ensure that the public can easily reuse the collection for any purpose.

Sample images

Here are some of the 100,000 images from Wellcome Library, now freely licensed under CC-BY-4.0 on Wikimedia Commons:

A corpulent man, his pain from gout shown by a demon.
Lithograph by George Cruikshank.

A baby’s teething charm, Roman Empire, 1st to 6th century AD. Battle at Ta-ping gate in 1911, Nankin, China.
Lithograph by T. Miyano.

The collection can be browsed at Category:Files from Wellcome Images on Wikimedia Commons. The mass upload project page with discussion and on-going live reports can be found at Commons:Batch uploading/Wellcome Images.

– Ashley Van Haeften (, twitter: @Faewik)

by fflorin2015 at January 24, 2015 08:10 PM

January 21, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

How high school student Jack Andraka used Wikipedia to research a new test for cancer

File:Jack Andraka - Cancer Researcher.webm

High school student Jack Andraka talks about how Wikipedia enabled his research to find a test for pancreatic cancer. You can also view this video on YouTube.com and Vimeo.com — or watch his full speech from Wikimania 2014 in London here.
Video by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

When a close family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer, a 14-year-old American from Crownsville, Maryland named Jack Andraka wanted to find a better way of detecting the disease. Using the Internet and Wikipedia articles as a starting point for his research, the now 18-year-old high school senior became a cancer researcher who invented a fast, inexpensive test that may eventually be used to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer.

Andraka’s interest in science began when he was very young. His parents would show him experiments involving Diet Coke and Mentos, and how much weight egg shells could hold. As a sixth-grader, he says he started to consider Wikipedia as a research tool after a science fair in middle school.

“That’s really how I started to realize the breadth of science and just how cool it was that you could go anywhere in science and answer some question and help change the world. (…) And that to me was the coolest thing.”

After a family member died from pancreatic cancer, Andraka set out to find a cure to the disease.

“Once I discovered through Wikipedia articles that 85 percent of all pancreatic cancers are diagnosed late, when someone has less than a 2 percent chance of survival, and the current test is this 60-year-old technique that’s incredibly outdated, but also incredibly expensive ($800 per test), missing 30 percent of all cancers, I knew had to do something.” Andraka says.

Armed with a high school level biology education and what he calls “a crash course in molecular biology, material science and a couple of other fields” he set out to improve the current options for pancreatic cancer testing. “I essentially just used the Internet (especially Wikipedia) to get this crash course in all of these fields.”

Jack’s cancer research started online, and continued on for more than two years. He applied to about 200 laboratories and was summarily rejected from every lab — except one. After a lengthy interview process, Jack Andraka was accepted into working in a laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.

“I go in for this big interview clad in sweatpants and hoodie and they’re all dressed in suits of course and I’m feeling really awkward and out of place,” Andraka says. “And then they just throw all these questions at me trying to sink my procedure; I got through that.”

Seven months later, Jack created a small paper sensor that he claims “costs three cents and takes five minutes” to detect various cancer forms.

“The process for making these is pretty much akin to making chocolate chip cookies, which I personally love. (…) All you do is take some water, pour some nanotubes in, add some, like, antibodies, mix it up, take some paper, dip it, dry it, and you can detect cancer.”

Andraka likens the process to “something out of a Betty Crocker recipe,” and claims that the easy-to-make detector is extremely effective. According to Andraka, the sensor is 168 times faster, about 26 thousand times cheaper, and 400 times more sensitive than the standard detectors of pancreatic cancer. He claims that his test can detect some forms of cancer in their earliest stages when chances of a patient’s survival are close to 100 percent, and boasts a 90 percent accuracy rate in detection.

“So in the next two to five years, this sensor could lift the survival rates from 5.5 percent to close to a 100 percent for pancreatic cancer and would do similar for ovarian and lung cancers,” Andraka postulates.

“I set out on this wild adventure trying to find a new way to detect pancreatic cancer and that blossomed into me becoming a cancer researcher” Andraka says.

Often, research found in academic and scientific journals can only be accessed after the reader pays a fee. Such fees range from tens of dollars for a single article to several thousand dollars for a subscription. Andraka calls these paywalls “a tax on the curiosity and creativity of youth and the general public.”

“Because of this, a lot of young scientists simply can’t get access to articles they need to do science” Andraka says. He found himself relying on Wikipedia’s free content for his research, because there was no cost associated with access. “To read an article [on Wikipedia], you don’t have to pay a cent and there is no advertising or anything like that. So that’s why Wikipedia is such a crucial part of a young scientist’s career or even an established scientist’s career.”

At last year’s annual Wikimania convention, in London, England (where Andraka was a featured speaker), he opined, “Great ideas don’t only lend themselves to people who can afford articles, they lend themselves to everyone. Seven billion people now – not like a few million people who have PhDs. (…) Everyone can innovate and that’s what we should do with our dissemination of scientific knowledge.”

“For me, Wikipedia is one of the main reasons I was able to do this project because without that open access to information I would have never been able to get the background I needed to understand a lot of these scientific articles,” says Andraka.

(Read more about open access and Wikimedia here.)

Some have questioned Andraka’s research and his claims. His research has yet to be peer-reviewed, and it may take some time and many trials before the results of his research are fully understood and there is an approved test for pancreatic cancer based on Andraka’s work. Nevertheless, Jack Andraka has received a great deal of attention and celebration for his work. He became a 2012 recipient of the Gordon E. Moore award, the grand prize of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Youth Award. He frequently gives speeches about his research, including at the Clinton Global Initiative and TED. He has also been featured by several news sources such as BBC and 60 Minutes and he’s been the subject of short documentaries including “You Don’t Know Jack” and “Just Jack.

The high school senior says his classmates were stunned by his research.

“They’re like, ‘What, the Jack Andraka, the kid who sat in the back of class reading physics textbooks, did all this stuff?’ (…) And it is kind of like a double life almost — I have a school life and my science career and speaking life.”

He says open access knowledge platforms like Wikipedia have inspired a lot of youth to discover and disseminate knowledge on their own.

“It’s really exciting to see all of these young people being interested in science and being pioneering through this open access. (…) Because without open access and Wikipedia, we certainly wouldn’t be able to do our research.”

Eventually the 18-year-old says he wants to help find the cure for cancer, and wants more scientific knowledge to be accessible to most people.

“People should definitely care about Wikipedia because it allows for almost a democratization of innovation. It allows anyone – regardless of where they are from, who they are, what they look like, it doesn’t matter – they can access that information and come up with a great idea”.

Profile by Yoona Ha, Communications Intern

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

by fflorin2015 at January 21, 2015 06:14 PM

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, December 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 4 • Issue: 12 • December 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Wikipedia in higher education; gender-driven talk page conflicts; disease forecasting

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

Use of Wikipedia in higher education influenced by peer opinions and perception of Wikipedia’s quality

A paper titled “Factors that influence the teaching use of Wikipedia in Higher Education”[1] uses the technology acceptance model to shed light on faculty’s (of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) views of Wikipedia as a teaching tool. The main factors are shown to be the perception of colleagues’ opinion about Wikipedia and the perceived quality of the information on Wikipedia. As the authors note, while prior studies also pointed to the quality concerns, this study suggests a causal link between colleagues’ views and one’s perception of Wikipedia quality. The authors conclude that the strong peer culture within academia makes the importance of role models very significant, which in turn has implications for the segment of the Wikimedia movement that desires greater ties with the academic world. The authors also note that “despite the lack of institutional support and acknowledgement, a growing number of academics think it is very useful and desirable to publish research results or even intermediate data in open repositories”, an attitude that also correlates positively with positive views of Wikipedia. To quote the authors’ very valid recommendation: “For those faculty members already using Wikipedia as a learning tool, we think it would have greater impact if they publicly acknowledged their practices more, especially to their close colleagues, and explain their own teaching experiences as well as the effects it has had on the students’ academic performance.” The team behind the paper is also partnering in the Wikidata for research project featured in News and notes.

Analysis of two gender-driven talk page conflicts on the German-language Wikipedia

Reviewed by Maximilianklein (talk)

“Gender differences within the German-language Wikipedia”[2] is a pair of close readings of two gender-driven talk page conflicts on the German Wikipedia from 2006 and 2013, “show[ing] exemplarily that a) the feministic gender discourse in Wikipedia is not appreciated – primarily by male Wikipedians – […] and b) that discussions behind the scenes of Wikipedia can feature an unpleasant and rude nature, that is not very appealing and motivating for female contributors”. The analysis aims to focus on the communication styles of the gendered personalities as viewed under the critical rubrics of Margarete Jäger and Nina Schuppener. In the degenerating arguments around whether or not the welcome message on the German Wikipedia’s main page (2006 thread) and German Wikipedia articles in general (2013/14 straw poll talk page) should use generic male pronouns and nouns, or newer more neutral alternatives, like using parentheses in “Mitarbeiter(in)”, it is highlighted that the male-appearing participants use instruction and discrediting statements; and the female-appearing tend to question intellectual capabilities and give advice. Finally the authors conclude that “the most crucial point is the fact that the female author gave up [first],” stopping responding less than 24 hours into the discussion, and that the change advocated for was not enacted. These deconstructed examples add to an evidence of a hypothesis that minority voices are crowded out in Open Culture, as purported by the “Free as in Sexist” theory.


“Original map by John Snow showing the clusters of cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854” as seen in the English Wikipedia article Epidemiology.

History of the Spanish Wikipedia’s ArbCom

A short recounting by Sefidari and Ortega (pre-print) summarised the history of the Spanish Wikipedia Comité de resolucíon de conflictos (arbitration committee), which existed from 2007 to 2008. It was composed of admins, received complaints which in 80 % of cases involved admins, dismissed nearly all cases presented, ruled against the claimant in a large majority of accepted cases, and was finally dissolved in 2009.[3]

Two new papers on disease forecasting using Wikipedia

Yet another study (pre-print), considering 5 articles, showed that English Wikipedia page views trends can forecast the peak in influenza-like illnesses in the USA. Essentially, by visiting the articles in question, users are self-reporting their (suspect) disease, some weeks in advance of the data collected centrally by a government agency based on medical practitioners’ reports of the same.[4] Another study, again focused on some English Wikipedia articles, reached the same conclusion with slightly different (and, notably, fully open source) methods, for 14 diseases, while producing a useful list of some dozens past studies on the matter.[5]

Wikipedia as a source of health information during salmonella outbreak

A statistically significant survey in the Netherlands assessed with what efficacy the population was informed about Salmonella infection during an outbreak in the country. Nearly all information was received passively (mainly from TV, radio and newspapers, but also social media); of the minuscule minority who actively sought information, most turned to their newspaper website, or ended up (with highest satisfaction among all sources) on official websites or Wikipedia.[6]

Most MoodBar users became longer-term contributors

A study on one dataset produced by the (mostly discontinued) MoodBar tool showed that the newcomers who gave feedback via the MoodBar were significantly more likely to become longer-term contributors. After six months, 3.6% of editors who were able to use the MoodBar were still editing, compared to 3.3% of those who did not have the option.[7]

New R libraries for Wikipedia research

A new R programming language library “wikipediatrend”[8] that facilitates longitudinal page-view analyses has been created. The package is a wrapper on top of long-time service stats.grok.se|Wikipedia:Stats.grok.se|stats.grok.se. This marks an uptick in the popularity of the R language for Wikipedia analysis as WikipediR was also recently released which itself wraps many common mediawiki API calls.

Use of Wikinews to teach journalism students

This paper[9] discusses an educational project that used Wikinews in an undergraduate journalism course at the Australian University of Wollongong. While the use of Wikipedia in education has dominated the relevant discussions, Wikinews seems like a valuable, yet underused tool for journalists-in-training. Though this essay-like paper seems to describe the experience in a positive fashion, it does not contain any specific conclusions, nor a list of articles edited by the students that would allow for a more-in depth commentary in the context of the Wikimedia learning experience.

“Linking Today’s Wikipedia and News from the Past”

This workshop paper[10] presents a method to automatically identify articles in the New York Times archive matching a particular event mentioned on Wikipedia (dataset).

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.

  • “An Empirical Study of Motivations for Content Contribution and Community Participation in Wikipedia”[11] From the abstract: “The research findings show that content contribution is more driven by extrinsically oriented motivations, including reciprocity and the need for self-development, while community participation is more driven by intrinsically oriented motivations, including altruism and a sense of belonging to the community.”
  • “Wikipedia as a Time Machine”[12] (presented at WWW 2014)
  • “Hacking Trademark Law for Collaborative Communities”[13] (related website: http://collabmark.org/ )
  • “The political economy of wilkiality: a South African inquiry into knowledge and power on wikipedia”[14] (PhD Thesis)
  • “Predicting Low-Quality Wikipedia Articles Using User’s Judgements”[15] From the abstract: “In this paper, we utilize article ratings from Wikipedia users for the first time to assess article quality. We define ‘low-quality’ based on those ratings and design automatic methods to identify potential low-quality articles.”
  • “Infoboxer: Using Statistical and Semantic Knowledge to Help Create Wikipedia Infoboxes”[16]
  • “On the Use of Reliable-Negatives Selection. Strategies in the PU Learning Approach for Quality Flaws Prediction in Wikipedia.[17]


  1. Meseguer Artola, Antoni (2014-12-11). Factors that influence the teaching use of Wikipedia in Higher Education (Article).
  2. Sichler, Almut (2014-12-22). “Gender differences within the German-language Wikipedia“. ESSACHESS – Journal for Communication Studies 7 (2(14)): 77-93. ISSN 1775-352X. 
  3. Sefidari, Maria (2014-12-10). “Evaluating arbitration and conflict resolution mechanisms in the Spanish Wikipedia“. arXiv:1412.3695 [cs]. 
  4. Hickmann, Kyle S. (2014-10-22). “Forecasting the 2013–2014 Influenza Season using Wikipedia“. arXiv:1410.7716 [q-bio, stat]. 
  5. Generous, Nicholas (2014-11-13). “Global Disease Monitoring and Forecasting with Wikipedia“. PLoS Comput Biol 10 (11). doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003892. 
  6. Velsen, Lex van (2014-01-31). “Public knowledge and preventive behavior during a large-scale Salmonella outbreak: results from an online survey in the Netherlands“. BMC Public Health 14 (1): 100. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-100. ISSN 1471-2458. PMID 24479614. 
  7. Ciampaglia, Giovanni Luca (2014-09-04). “MoodBar: Increasing new user retention in Wikipedia through lightweight socialization“. arXiv:1409.1496 [physics]. 
  8. Introduction to Public Attention Analytics with Wikipediatrend. Retrieved on 31 December 2014.
  9. Blackall, David (2014). Learning skills in journalistic skepticism while recognising whistleblowers (PDF). The European Conference on Education 2014 Brighton, United Kingdom Official Conference Proceedings. Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Japan: The International Academic Forum (IAFOR).
  10. Mishra, Arunav (2014). “Linking Today’s Wikipedia and News from the Past”. PIKM ’14. Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Ph.D Students. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1-8. DOI:10.1145/2663714.2668048. ISBN 978-1-4503-1481-7. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2663714.2668048.  Closed access / preprint PDF
  11. Xu, Bo. “An Empirical Study of Motivations for Content Contribution and Community Participation in Wikipedia“. Information & Management. doi:10.1016/j.im.2014.12.003. ISSN 0378-7206.  Closed access
  12. Stewart Whiting, Joemon M. Jose, Omar Alonso: Wikipedia as a Time Machine. WWW’14 Companion, April 7–11, 2014, Seoul, Korea. PD
  13. Welinder, Yana; Stephen LaPorte (2014-08-05). “Hacking Trademark Law for Collaborative Communities”. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2476779. 
  14. Ovesen, Håvard (2014). “The political economy of wilkiality: a South African inquiry into knowledge and power on wikipedia“. 
  15. Zhang, Ning; Lingyun Ruan; Luo Si (2015-01-01). “Predicting Low-Quality Wikipedia Articles Using User’s Judgements”. In Elisa Bertino, Sorin Adam Matei (eds.). Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets. Computational Social Sciences. Springer International Publishing. pp. 91-99. ISBN 978-3-319-05467-4. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-05467-4_6.  Closed access
  16. Roberto Yus, Varish Mulwad, Tim Finin, and Eduardo Mena: “Infoboxer: Using Statistical and Semantic Knowledge to Help Create Wikipedia Infoboxes” PDF
  17. Edgardo Ferretti, Marcelo Errecalde, Maik Anderka, Benno Stein: On the Use of Reliable-Negatives Selection. Strategies in the PU Learning Approach for Quality Flaws Prediction in Wikipedia. In: Proceedings of the 25th International Workshop on Database and Expert Systems Applications (DEXA’14): 11th International Workshop on Text-based Information Retrieval (TIR’14), Munich, Germany, 2014. IEEE. PDF

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 12 • December 2014
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email @WikiResearch on Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at January 21, 2015 05:33 AM

January 19, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Keeping his language alive on the Kyrgyz Wikipedia: Chorobek Saadanbekov

Chorobek Saadanbekov

Wikipedia editor Chorobek Saadanbekov wants to resuscitate Kyrgyz, a language in decline.
Chorobek Saadanbekov photo” by Karen Sayre, under CC BY-SA 3.0

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kyrgyzstan has grappled with the declining in use of its state language, Kyrgyz. Many reasons have been cited for its declining usage among nationals, including its limited vocabulary for recent state issues and the fact that Russian is widely spoken in Kyrgyzstan. To fight this decline, Chorobek Saadanbekov has been spreading knowledge in Kyrgyz by putting it on Wikipedia.

Saadanbekov has been an active Wikipedian since 2011. With many Kyrgyzstan nationals speaking both Russian and Kyrgyz, Saadanbekov believes that the lack of educational resources in Kyrgyz hinders learning opportunities for those who only read Kyrgyz. Kyrgyzstan’s population is around 5.5 million people, and the Kyrgyz are the nation’s largest ethnic group.

“We need [to] develop free, accessible knowledge for the majority of our country,” says Saadanbekov.

His first open knowledge project involved creating an electronic library of Kyrgyz language books. Saadanbekov and others digitized about 200 books and put them online for free access. But during his first project he realized that putting those articles on Wikipedia would boost the chances that they would actually be read.

Initially, Saadanbekov was unfamiliar with the process of creating articles on Wikipedia. So in 2011, he attended a WikiWeek session by the Soros Kyrgyzstan Foundation where experienced editors trained those who were curious about editing Wikipedia. Since then, Saadanbekov has written more than 600 articles on the Kyrgyz language Wikipedia.

Saadanbekov grew up in the countryside of Kyrgyzstan and attended a Kyrgyz language school in his youth. He then went on to become a historian and archivist after graduating from the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow. An avid reader of Kyrgyz culture and history, Saadanbekov has also written numerous articles about the Epic of Manas. Manas tells the story of the Kyrgyz people and is an important part of Kyrgyzstan’s oral tradition, consisting of hundreds of thousands of lines of text. “It’s [the] history of our nation, in epic [form].” says Saadanbekov.

“If I [create a] very good article in Kyrgyz language about Manas, I can translate it into English and place it in English Wikipedia,” says Saadanbekov. “So we can connect our knowledges [in] a good way.”

Despite the rich history of the Kyrgyz people, educational resources in Kyrgyz are in short supply, impacting the quality of education among Kyrgyz students. Saadanbekov says he hopes that Wikipedia can be a good alternative for paper books that are already scarce in many schools.

“Coming of information technologies gives us [a] very good chance of increasing [our] educational quality and quantity,” he says.

Today the Kyrgyz Wikipedia is comprised of 27,471 articles and has come a long way since its start in 2011.

Yoona Ha, Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Interview by Jonathan Curiel, Wikimedia Foundation

by yoonahawikimedia at January 19, 2015 11:19 PM

January 18, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

A more immersive mobile experience on Android devices

The Mobile Apps Team is excited to release a new mobile experience for the official Wikipedia app. The update, released today on Android with iOS to follow, helps create a more immersive experience that pulls the reader in and makes it even simpler to find relevant information on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia app shows the article about Strasbourg on an Android device. New features like make it easier to access knowledge on the go. Photo by Jonathan Mart, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Wikipedia app shows an article with lead image on an Android device.
Photo by Jonathan Mart, CC-BY-SA-3.0

This release features a more image-centric design, improved search functionality, and suggestions for further reading. It is designed to more effectively engage the user in the reading process, starting with a prominently displayed and contextually-relevant “lead image.”

With more than 33.5 million articles in 287 languages on Wikipedia, readers have a vast amount of information at their fingertips via the Wikipedia app. With that in mind, the Wikimedia Foundation strives to ensure that surfacing knowledge on Wikipedia through mobile devices is as accessible as possible.

New features include:

  • A prominent, contextually-relevant image at the top of each article (with parallax-scrolling) to engage readers in the topic
  • “Read More” feature at the end of each article that includes links to up to three related pages to encourage readers to explore further
  • Improved search functionality, including more defined and higher contrast search bar and a list of recently searched topics
  • Image viewer that allows users to view a larger version of any image via a pop-up panel (image appears unobscured if tapped on) and swipe left or right to view the previous or next image

These new mobile features were developed by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Mobile Apps Team, in support of the WMF’s mission to deliver free access to the sum of all human knowledge for every single human being.

With half a billion monthly readers and more than 20 billion monthly page views, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and the largest free knowledge resource. As more and more people around the world access Wikipedia via mobile devices, delivering knowledge in an accessible, easy-to-use way on mobile will continue to be a major priority.

And, if you’ve got experience with Java and the Android SDK, then come work with us! We’re hiring more Android engineers to help make our app even better.

Dan Garry, Associate Product Manager, Mobile Apps Team, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at January 18, 2015 10:50 PM

Odia Wikisource digitizes classic books to create large Unicode text library

Group photo-KISS Bhubaneswar-2014December3

Group photo of the faculty and students of KISS Bhubaneswar who took part in the campus program to digitize books.
Group Photo by Subhashish Panigrahi, under CC BY-SA 4.0

In January 2013, some of the active Wikimedians from the Odia Wikipedia community submitted a request for the approval of the Odia Wikisource. The Odia language is one of the six Indian classical languages, and it is spoken by more than 40 million people worldwide. After two long years of persistent effort by the community, the project finally went live on October 20, 2014. This online library project aims to archive text from early literature and old books now out of print, with a license that allows reproduction, even for commercial use. Odia Wikisource surpassed other conventional archives with its features: lightweight, completely text based and searchable — but accessible on computer and mobile devices. Texts from books are re-typed to make sure that they appear in search engines. With thousands of books printed so far in this language, Odia Wikisource opens up a whole new world to readers and book lovers.

The incubation

Like other new Wikimedia projects, “Odia Wikisource” was first created as an incubator project. No community existed to digitize books for it. Existing Odia Wikipedians doubled their time spent on the wiki to keep the project growing. For someone like Mrutyunjaya Kar, a veteran editor on many Wikimedia projects in four languages, it was never an easy job to devote so much of time balancing life and work.

Our language and literature are rich, and I think the Internet is the best place to open them to the entire world. Those who are in need of Odia books often don’t get to accesss the books of their choice. The Odia Wikisource could be a platform for making the valuable texts available to people of all age groups.

— Mrutyunjaya Kar

Open Access To Oriya Books (OAOB), a book digitization project launched by Odisha based non-profit Srujanika in collaboration with National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, and literary organization Pragati Utkal Sangha, became even more valuable after Odia Wikisource took off. Currently, OAOB houses more than 200 books, a majority of which are in the Public Domain. A few of these books that were old and far from being put through OCR (Optical Character Recognition, a technique used to create text from images of typed or written text) were retyped in Unicode on Odia Wikisource.

The author has been privileged to be part of this great journey, which took a new shape with the beginning of relicensing copyrighted books under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license initiated by the Centre for Internet and Society’s Access To Knowledge program (CIS-A2K). To begin with, thirteen books from three authors in the first phase were relicensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0. This required permission from 67 more books from seven different authors. Needless to say, Mrutyunjaya played a significant role in acquiring permission from two of these authors. This has been the highest number of resources ever relicensed under a Creative Commons license to gear the open access movement in the Odia language.

File:Odia-Silalekharu mobile (Documentary).webm

An “Odia Wikisource Handbook” for new contributors that gives brief idea about enabling typing in Odia, input methods and digitizing books on Odia Wikisource.
© Subhashish Panigrahi, freely licensed under CC-by-SA 4.0.

Digitizing the classic Odia book Bhagabata

Odia Bhagabata is one of the early writings that has reached millions of readers over the centuries with the beginning of Bhagabata Tungi culture in Odisha. Authored by Jagannatha Dasa in the 14th century, this twelve volume work has never before been available in Unicode on the Internet. Bhagabata has gone beyond being just a book, people even read the text to the ears of a dying person. A version typed in several legacy fonts was available on portal Odia.org, which came in handy while looking for a digital version. Many followed the digitization work for the book with an emotional call. Encoding converters were built and old converters were modified to cater to the needs of this voluminous work. After converting encoding, proofreading and formatting by at least eight new Wikisourcers, the classic work was digitized.

Odia Wikisource@campus, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

To engage with the students of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), an institution in the Indian state of Odisha’s capital city, Bhubaneswar, and to enrich Wikimedia projects in South Asian languages, CIS-A2K signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January, 2014. This materialized when a 3 months long campus program was initiated in September 9.

Contributing to Odia Wikisource was really helpful for us. This will also help us to document more about our own communities. Stories of our linguistic and cultural heritage has never been told to the world.

— Susanta Majhi, student and Wikisourcer, KISS

Faculty under a coordinator were trained about digitizing books on Odia Wikisource. Faculty then formed nine teams with four to five students from undergraduate and masters classes. Most of the students and some of the faculty had never typed in Odia before taking part in the program. Despite holidays and examinations, these nine teams digitized about four books by Odia author Dr Jagannath Mohanty. It is important to note that all the students speak in various aboriginal languages as their native tongues, and Odia is a link language for them, but as it is the official language of the state, they also learn Odia and are educated in Odia. Learning to type in Odia should be beneficial for them for job opportunities in, for instance, state government offices.

Public gathering “Odia Wikisource Sabha 2014″

Odia Wikimedians with invited guests during “Odia Wikisource Sabha 201
“Odio Wikimedians with guests, Odia Wikisource Sabha 2014 ©” by Saroj Kumar Behera”>ସରୋଜ କୁମାର ବେହେରା Subhashish Panigrahi, under CC-by-SA 4.0

To educate more people about the Odia Wikisource project, the Odia Wikimedia community from Odisha organized a public gathering, “Odia Wikisource Sabha 2014″, on November 28, 2014. Speaking during the event, poet and thinker Haraprasad Das suggested being selective in accepting books for relicensing and digitization rather than blanket move for accepting all the books. Das also emphasized creating a team of language experts for helping to curate, and having computers in every literary center to teach Odia typing and Wikipedia/Wikisource editing. “Being part of this historical moment of seeing so many aboriginals contributing to Odia language is my good luck,” Das said. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, founder and editor of Odia daily The Sambad, who joined as the chief speaker, announced a collaborative project for a competition among school students where they will be awarded based on their Odia Wikipedia article writing skills starting this new year. “Language should never be a barrier for anyone. Odia Wikisource is a democratic library — unlike the conventional libraries set up by the government,” Patnaik told the audience.

Subhashish Panigrahi, Wikimedian, and Programme Officer, Access To Knowledge.

by fflorin2015 at January 18, 2015 10:48 PM

Wikimedians from Central and Eastern Europe meet in Ukraine to plan next steps

Wikimedians from Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Kyiv, Ukraine for their third annual meeting. "Closing ceremony photo" by Ilya, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Wikimedians from Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Kyiv, Ukraine for their third annual meeting.
“Closing ceremony photo” by Ilya, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

​​​​On December 19-21, the Wikimedia Central and Eastern European Meeting 2014 took place in Kyiv, Ukraine. This was the third annual meeting of Wikimedians from all over the region, this year organized by Wikimedia Ukraine. Around 70 participants from more than 20 countries took part in the conference.

Many countries of Central and Eastern Europe are not only related by their geographical proximity, but also share many traditional and historical issues. The region covers an area that previously experienced a wide cooperation among the different groups of people living there. That’s important because through cooperation, all Central and Eastern European wikis can grow more effectively.

This meeting was a follow-up to meetings held in previous years: 2012 edition in Belgrade, Serbia, and 2013 edition in Modra, Slovakia.

The main goal of this meeting was to bolster interstate and international collaboration between various Wikimedia chapters, thematic organizations, user groups, and other communities in Central and East Europe and its regions.

Many different topics were discussed in the parallel sessions of the conference. Some of these included:

  • Wikipedia Education Program, which uses Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects as a teaching tool. This session was moderated by Anna Koval, manager of the Wikipedia Education Program, and was devoted to various education collaborations in CEE countries.
  • WikiCamp projects. For example, Susanna Mkrtchyan shared Wikimedia Armenia‘s experience in organizing WikiCamps for school children where they learn to write articles.
  • Freedom of Panorama, i.e. having right to take photos of buildings and monuments without permission. Making FoP legal is vital for Ukraine in particular, where its absence interferes with e.g. Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest.
  • Gender gap, imbalance of male and female editors in wiki projects. As women contribute less to Wikipedia, different topics particularly connected with them are still covered insufficiently: pregnancy, childhood diseases, women’s vocations and hobbies etc. Meeting participants, Hanna Baradzina from Belarus and Greta Doçi from Albania among them, agreed that the stereotype about Wikipedia being harder for women is only a myth. The number of women participating in CEE Meeting itself did much to dispel this myth.
  • GLAM, article contests, making small Wikipedias grow and many other topics besides.


Of course, failures and problems received just as much coverage as successful projects. Chapters and volunteers often face lack of understanding from the side of state institutions, difficulties with lobbying amendments to the laws (eg. introducing CC licenses), or lack of volunteers ready to donate their time and efforts. Asaf Bartov from Wikimedia Foundation moderated a separate session on recruiting new volunteers and avoiding delegation trap leading to burnout.

Participants collaborated via Etherpad to document each conference track together. You can read the notes at http://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/ceem14. Also, a number of delegates met Wikimedian peers from outside their own community for the first time, and this was the very first time some entire communities were represented at a Wikimedia working conference (e.g. Latvia, Albania, Georgia). One of the results of the conference was the idea of Wikimedia CEE Spring 2015, which is already being prepared by Kaarel Vaidla and Wikimedia Eesti.

Organizers from Wikimedia Ukraine are particularly thankful to Wikimedia Foundation for funding the event, Wikimedia Polska for their invaluable help, Kyiv National Linguistic University for providing the venue, National Cultural-Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal” for the guided tour and Kyivstar company for offering Internet connection on the sessions for free. We also thank all the volunteers whose work made this event possible.

The main hall at the Wikimedia Central and Eastern European Meeting 2014 in Kyiv, Ukraine."Main Hall Panorama" by Taras r, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The main hall at the Wikimedia Central and Eastern European Meeting 2014 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
“Main Hall Panorama” by Taras r, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

More photos are available in this Commons category: Wikimedia CEE 2014 photos.

On behalf of the WMCEE 2014 organizing team:


Vira Motorko, Wikimedia Ukraine

by fflorin2015 at January 18, 2015 10:47 PM

January 17, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Senior citizens learn to edit Wikipedia in the Czech Republic

"Senior citizens learn to edit Wikipedia in special classes held in Prague's Municipal Library" photo by Pavla Pelikánová, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Senior citizens learn to edit Wikipedia in special classes held in Prague’s Municipal Library
“Senior citizens class photo” by Pavla Pelikánová, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Logo for the “Senior Citizens Write Wikipedia” program
Logo by Dominik Matus, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

When we announced that we were starting a Wikipedia outreach program aimed at senior citizens, the response was mixed. “Do they even know how to work with computers?” our colleagues asked. Indeed, while more than 10,000 students have participated in Wikipedia education programs worldwide in the last four years, there have only been a few small-scale senior citizen education programs.

This low Wikimedia outreach towards senior citizens is bewildering. Many of them are retired and thus have more free time than their younger student counterparts. Moreover, they are often well-educated and can contribute articles on a range of topics. Most importantly, senior citizens in developed countries are increasingly computer literate. The aim of this blog post is to shed light on what may be the next big thing in the Wikimedia education movement.


Although we had extensive know-how from our university education program, we realized that the senior education program could not just copy what we learned from students. First, senior citizens do not regularly visit classrooms every day, as university students do. We needed to establish partnerships with institutions that could replace the schools – municipal libraries, senior citizen learning centers and third-age universities proved to be the most valuable.

Facebook ads targeted people aged 55 or older; women that were between 55 and 65 years old interacted most with these ads.
Facebook graph by Vojtěch Dostál, under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Moreover, we needed to find a way to tell senior citizens about our project, so that they could take part in it. We came up with several promotional strategies: some were successful and some not-so-good. Leaflets distributed and e-mails sent out in large quantities were among the least efficient. Featuring our project in the library and senior center newsletters were key to our success. In addition, promotional talks and introductory lectures on Wikipedia to an audience of senior citizens were quite effective: crucially, these were given by professor Jan Sokol (also a Czech Wikipedian), a prominent figure who was able to attract large crowds. Age-targeted ads on Facebook were also a promising way of reaching out to senior citizens who use the Internet, and especially engaged women aged 55 to 65.

Finally, we knew we needed to establish well-organized, regular courses and be as patient and helpful as possible. By designing a course curriculum with approximately 10-12 hours divided into several weekly lessons, we ensured that our participants had enough time to first understand Wikipedia, then learn to discuss and work in a sandbox — and finally edit and write articles. Inevitably, this was time-consuming for the instructor (and program leader) but it led to superior results, as described in the next section.


Three separate weekly classes were held for the senior citizens of Prague, each in a different part of the city. A total of 37 participants registered to the course extension on Czech Wikipedia (although some of them did not finish the courses). A brief visit to their user pages reveals how valuable these participants are as Wikipedians – most of them have a college education, speak various languages, and some of them are former researchers.

Weekly edits by participants to articles (orange), compared to all other pages (blue).
Edit graph by Vojtěch Dostál, under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Not only did they learn how Wikipedia works and how to edit it, but they already started working on it. Of 201,912 bytes added by the participants in total, 84,828 bytes were made on pages in the main namespace. Some of the participants even created their first articles – a total of 18 new articles were written. About half of the registered senior citizens still continue to edit (i.e. edited in December 2014 after their course ended at the end of October). This retention rate is superior to that of most university education programs, where success rate of new editor recruitment has been estimated as 3% for the US/Canada Education program.

Future directions

As a pilot, the program exceeded our expectations. We demonstrated that it is perfectly possible to run a senior citizen education program and had good results with retention. Promotion to our target group was the biggest challenge – this may get easier once word spreads to more senior citizens, as they talk to each other about this successful program.

We would like to continue with these efforts and scale up the project, if we can get more funding. Our participants often want to keep meeting in real life to improve their grasp of Wikipedia. They want to practice writing articles and gradually become independent editors. Among other things, we try to help them by creating lists of articles which they can easily start or edit. By organizing similar courses in cities other than Prague, the number of participants is likely to increase. We already have interested libraries in regional towns and cities of Moravia who wish to hold lessons for their senior citizens.

The “Senior Citizens Write Wikipedia” project is funded by an IEG grant and runs under the patronage of Wikimedia Czech Republic. The program leader is Vojtěch Veselý, who can be contacted on a Wikipedia discussion page or by e-mail.

Vojtěch Dostál, Wikimedia Czech Republic

by fflorin2015 at January 17, 2015 07:19 PM

Wikipedia turns 14, receives prestigious Erasmus Prize 2015

Today, Wikipedia turns fourteen years old. On this day in 2001, a simple idea changed the world: the idea that anyone, no matter who they are or where they lived, had something to contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. It was a simple idea, but intensely powerful, and it resonated with hundreds of thousands of people. Together, your contributions have made Wikipedia the most comprehensive repository of free information in the history of humanity.

Desiderius Erasmus was a renowned humanist, scholar and theologian. Erasmus portrait by Hans Holbein, from Le Musée du Louvre and The Yorck Project. Public Domain.

Desiderius Erasmus was a renowned humanist, scholar and theologian.
Erasmus portrait by Hans Holbein, from Le Musée du Louvre and The Yorck Project. Public Domain.

Erasmus Prize 2015
I’m proud today to be able to share a remarkable recognition of your work. The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation (Dutch, English) in the Netherlands has announced that it will award the Erasmus Prize 2015 to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia community. The Erasmus Prize is one of Europe’s most distinguished recognitions, awarded annually to “a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to culture, society or social science.”

On behalf of the Wikimedia community, I thank the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation for this recognition.

This is the first time that this prestigious honor has been awarded to a group of individuals for their collective achievement. In the words of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation:

“Wikipedia receives the prize because it has promoted the dissemination of knowledge through a comprehensive and universally accessible encyclopaedia. To achieve that, the initiators of Wikipedia have designed a new and effective democratic platform. The prize specifically recognises Wikipedia as a community — a shared project that involves tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.”

This honor is accompanied by an award of €150,000. In keeping with the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation’s intent to recognize the contributions of the Wikimedia community, we are redirecting these funds towards the community in the form of individual grants and other support for editors and contributors.

Millions of reasons to celebrate
As Wikipedia turns fourteen today, we have millions of reasons to celebrate. The world’s free encyclopedia now includes more than 34 million articles across 288 languages, including Maithili Wikipedia. Maithili Wikipedia is the newest Wikipedia, representing an Indo-Aryan language spoken by more than 34 million people in Nepal and India. It is a testament to the global reach of a project that receives half a billion visitors every month, from nearly every country in the world.

In 2014, we saw other major milestones for the Wikimedia projects. Wikimedia Commons, the world’s largest resource of freely licensed educational media, celebrated its 10th anniversary and more than 22 million freely licensed images. Wikidata, the Wikimedia structured data project, was awarded Open Data Publisher of the year by the Open Data Institute for its high publishing standards and use of challenging data — and was recognized as a finalist for the Open Data Innovation award, for its use of open data as a tool for innovation.

All this is possible because of you: the more than 75,000 editors who edit more than five times a month, and the countless individuals who stop by to fix a sentence or update a fact. Every person who visits Wikipedia helps sustain and grow our mission and vision in their own way. As many as 6.5 million people have logged in and contributed to English Wikipedia alone over these past 14 years, with many millions more people contributing anonymously. We thank all of you.

If you have never made an edit before, today is a great day to begin! Contributing to the world’s largest free knowledge resource is a powerful recognition of all of the millions of people before you who shared their time and knowledge to build this amazing well of knowledge we use every day.

Lila Tretikov, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at January 17, 2015 07:17 PM

January 15, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Weekly edit-a-thons help create new articles about women and literature in Sweden

A happy group of Wikipedians gather for a weekly edit-a-thon in Gothenburg. Edit-a-thon photo by Lennart Guldbrandsson, licensed under CC-Zero

A happy group of Wikipedians gather for a weekly edit-a-thon in Gothenburg.
“Edit-a-thon photo” by Lennart Guldbrandsson, licensed under CC-Zero

During 2014, Wikimedia Sverige organized a new series of regular edit-a-thons and workshops focused on the Gender gap issue. This is what we learned from one of these projects.

In March, we started to hold weekly edit-a-thons in Gothenburg, the second largest city of Sweden. The topic was formally “main female characters” (“kvinnliga huvudpersoner”), but we essentially let people write about what they wanted, while trying to gently steer them towards literature and/or women. For example, we tried to steer them toward topics like female authors, or seminal works in women’s literature such as “The Mad Woman in the Attic.” Men and women were all welcome.

Altogether we ran 35 edit-a-thons, each running on a Tuesday from 13.00 onwards. About 15 different Wikipedians edited over 100 different articles. The result was 11 articles reaching “recommended status” (ranking just below Good articles) with more on their way. (We of course want to improve on this for next year.) A full list of articles they worked on, sorted by how far they have come, can be found on our project page.

This initiative was one of the most publicized Wikipedia/Wikimedia events in Sweden during 2014, with two national radio interviews, two podcast interviews and several news articles. We promoted this on flyers and on the large Book Fair in Gothenburg, and have started to gather a very good reputation. We hope to see the same type of regular edit-a-thons get off the ground in other cities in Sweden during 2015.

Edit-a-thon photo by Lennart Guldbrandsson, under CC-Zero

Another week, another edit-a-thon.
“Edit-a-thon photo” by Lennart Guldbrandsson, licensed under CC-Zero

So, what have we learned?

  • We could not have done this without a small group of dedicated people who showed up nearly every time. We were four persons (two women, two men). Being a group of “all volunteers” led to very little bureaucracy during the edit-a-thons themselves and sometimes led to edit-a-thons running over by several hours. Making sure that the edit-a-thons didn’t depend on any one person was an early priority.
  • We had access to a free space with wifi and a kitchen. Each time, Wikimedia Sverige sponsored coffee/tea, sandwiches and fruit – and gingersnaps and other seasonal treats. Don’t underestimate the power of “fika” — the Swedish word for “coffee and cake”. All in all, the cost of all 35 edit-a-thons was around 240-250 USD.
  • We have two lines of communication: both the project page, and our Facebook group, where we could remind people to come and get them to invite others who aren’t on Wikipedia yet. Personal invitations work much better in the long run – getting people to come back week after week.
  • The topic was very well chosen. Many people are interested in literature and the topic is underdeveloped on Wikipedia, so it was easy to explain the need to outsiders. But it has also been good to allow some leeway and not adhere strictly to any predetermined list of articles to edit. Sometimes interesting topics crop up in conversation or a bad article was discovered during fact checking and then we encouraged people to edit that article.
  • Some people wished the edit-a-thons were held on other days or at other times. This may have contributed to the sometimes very low attendance rates. We have tried to take that into account, and are thinking about how to manage regular weekend edit-a-thons. We are also considering ways to get the people who are most interested in going to those edit-a-thons to also run them (empowering them, in effect).
  • There are always going to be a few people who only come one time, just to see what we’re about. Especially after we put in small weekly ads (for free).
  • We took turns doing the introduction and making sure the newcomers made a few edits, so that as many Wikipedians as possible had done the introduction, and also to make sure that the Wikipedians themselves could have time to edit. That’s also what we tried to do with the radio and podcast interviews, in order to prevent any one person becoming “the representative Wikipedian.”
  • You also shouldn’t underestimate how helpful this is for stressed Wikipedians with normally very little time to edit Wikipedia to set aside time to do so.

During the winter holiday, when the editathons took a few weeks off, demand for more meetings was so high that we organized a Hangout remote edit-a-thon session, just to relieve our feelings of abstinence. We already look forward to our first edit-a-thon of 2015.

Lennart Guldbrandsson, volunteer on Swedish Wikipedia

by wikimediablog at January 15, 2015 06:57 PM

January 14, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Content Translation is coming soon as a beta feature

"Cx-new-languages" by Runabhattacharjee, under CC-Zero

The new Content Translation tool’s language selector will make it easier to translate Wikipedia articles.
Content Translation tool screenshot by Runabhattacharjee, licensed under CC-0

In early December 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Engineering team announced the release of the third version of our Content Translation tool, which aims to make it easier to translate Wikipedia articles. Since then, our focus has been to take the tool to the next step and make it more widely available. Encouraged by the feedback we have received in the last 6 months, we are now happy to announce that the tool will soon be available in 8 Wikipedias as a beta feature. Users of Catalan, Danish, Esperanto, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian (Bokmål), Portuguese, and Spanish Wikipedias will be able to use Content Translation from mid-January 2015. The tool will also be enabled on the Norwegian (Nynorsk) and Swedish Wikipedias, but only to facilitate their use as sources for Norwegian (Bokmål) and Danish respectively.

Users of Catalan, Spanish and Portuguese wikis have already previewed the tool on the Wikimedia beta servers and it was a natural choice to add these three languages in our first set for deployment. The remaining five languages were chosen based on user survey results and community requests. These languages are also available on the Wikimedia beta servers where Content Translation has been hosted since July 2014.

Currently, the Language Engineering team is completing the final phases for enabling Content Translation as a beta feature. After deployment, users will be able to translate Wikipedia articles into the language of their choice (restricted to the above mentioned eight languages) from appropriate source languages available for that language. For most of these languages, machine translation between the source and target language pairs will be made available through Apertium. English will be enabled as a source language for all languages, but without machine translation support except for English to Esperanto, where machine translations from English have been found to be satisfactory.

We will make further announcements as we close in on the deployment date. It’s possible that the beta feature may become available on the wikis for testing, before the announcements are out. Prior to that, the Language Engineering team will also host an IRC ‘office hours’ discussion on January 14th at 1600 UTC on #wikimedia-office.

Meanwhile, we welcome users to try out Content Translation and to bring to our attention any issues or suggestions. You can also help us prepare Content Translation to support more languages by filling in the language evaluation survey.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at January 14, 2015 07:46 PM

January 13, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Thank you for keeping knowledge free and accessible

"Tamme-Lauri oak tree photo" by Abrget47j, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wikimedia supporters donated generously this holiday season to keep knowledge free and accessible. Thanks for helping grow our collective tree of knowledge!
“Tamme-Lauri oak tree” photo by Abrget47j, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

A month ago, the Wikimedia Foundation kicked off its year-end contribution campaign on English Wikipedia. Thanks to the generosity of everyday readers from around the world, we’re very happy to share that we’ve surpassed our goal of $20 million. Your support for this critical campaign helps cover operating expenses of the Wikimedia sites and global outreach programs in order to keep the largest free knowledge resource accessible to the world.

In just four weeks, more than 2.5 million people around the world made a gift to Wikipedia and its sister projects. This incredible demonstration of support, along with the continued contributions to Wikimedia content from tens of thousands of editors around the world, is critical to ensuring Wikipedia remains a living, trusted resource that anyone can use to understand, learn, and grow.

We deeply appreciate the generosity of Wikipedia readers. It is this generosity that allows us to maintain our independence while working toward our vision: to make the sum of all human knowledge freely available to everyone in the world.

Wikipedia, together with its sister free knowledge projects like Wikimedia Commons, is one of the most popular websites in the world. It attracts nearly half a billion unique visitors and more than 20 billion monthly page views each month. Volunteer editors collectively create, improve, and maintain its more than 33.5 million articles in 287 languages. In 2014 alone, these editors created more than three million pages and made more than 100 million edits on Wikipedias across all languages. During this time, Wikipedia content was viewed around 250 billion times worldwide.

Unlike other top websites, however, Wikimedia sites survive largely on donations from readers. As the non-profit that supports Wikipedia, its sister projects and a community of volunteers, the Wikimedia Foundation uses reader contributions to cover the costs of operating Wikipedia, including servers, and staff. These contributions also allow us to invest in improvements to the technology behind Wikipedia, ensuring that free knowledge is easily accessible to as many people around the world as possible. We receive contributions of all sizes, but every gift is meaningful: the average donation is just $15.

We are deeply grateful to all our contributors for their support — and to our volunteers who help make these campaigns a widely localized and internationalized effort. We hear from many of our donors throughout the year about why they decided to give. Here are just a few of our favorite quotes from this most recent campaign that show the value of Wikipedia:

“Wikipedia is too valuable to be taken for granted. Donating is for me an act of fairness, responsibility, and gratitude.”

“Going to Wikipedia has become second nature to me. It is synonymous with knowledge – there’s nothing more profound. I support it with the small donations I can afford in the hope of setting an example, and so that others may have the same opportunities I’ve had.”

“Keep doing what you are doing. I love Wikipedia. My most visited site by a mile. Any time I watch a new documentary, nature show, or read a book about a topic I find fascinating, I always Wikipedia the information. Irreplaceable!”

Thank you again to all Wikimedia supporters for your commitment to keeping knowledge free and accessible for the world.

Lisa Gruwell, Chief Revenue Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at January 13, 2015 06:03 PM

January 12, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Top 10 Most Edited Pages on Wikipedia in 2014

2014 Pacific typhoon season summaryThe 2014 Pacific typhoon season was one of the most edited articles on the English Wikipedia in 2014. By Keith Edkins, data from NASA/Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Public domain.

Wikipedia is the world’s largest free knowledge resource, but what makes it so unique is its dynamism — it is a living, breathing knowledge network that changes all the time, thanks to hundreds of thousands of editors around the world who keep it growing and current.

In 2014, volunteer editors created more than three million pages and made more than 100 million edits on Wikipedias across all languages. During this time, Wikipedia content was viewed around 250 billion times by nearly half a billion visitors worldwide. With its vast community of readers and contributors, Wikipedia content is a reflection of what much of the world experiences and considers significant.

File:Wikipedia Edit 2014.webm

The “#Edit2014″ ‘year in review’ video showcased many Wikipedia articles that were highly edited in 2014. ou can also view the video on YouTube and on Vimeo. By Victor Grigas, Katherine Maher and others, CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Last month, the Wikimedia Foundation released its first-ever ‘year in review’ video showcasing some of these important moments: Wikipedia: #Edit2014. The video lets us revisit what the world read and edited last year, from the FIFA World Cup to the Indian general elections, and the Ice Bucket Challenge to Ebola in West Africa.

While the video presents a bird’s-eye view of the most popular topics on Wikipedia in 2014, you might wonder: how do these topics rank against each other? Researchers at the Wikimedia Foundation and in the broader Wikimedia movement have approached this question from a number of angles. Aaron Halfaker of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Analytics team recently identified the top 10 most edited pages on English-language Wikipedia in 2014. Many of the topics are to be expected, like Deaths in 2014 or the Israel-Gaza Conflict. Perhaps less expected are the Japanese dissidence during the Shōwa period or List of works by Eugène Guillaume. Both Malaysia Airline disasters are also reflected in the top ten.

Some of the pages on this list were created in 2014, while many had been created earlier but received a spike in edits in 2014. For example, the page on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was started in January 2007. Between that time and 2013, however, only 595 edits were made as opposed to the 7,520 edits that were made to the page in 2014 alone. For more edit data on these and any other Wikipedia pages, click “View History” on any page and explore the External Tools including Revision History Statistics, Revision History Search, Edits by User, Number of Watchers, and Page View Statistics.

Top 10 Most Edited Pages on English-language Wikipedia in 2014
1. Deaths in 2014 (19,789 edits)
2. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (10,217)
3. Japanese dissidence during the Shōwa period (8,212)
4. Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa (7,794)
5. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (7,520)
6. 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict (6,497)
7. Shooting of Michael Brown (5,835)
8. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (5,185)
9. 2014 Pacific typhoon season (5,012)
10. List of works by Eugène Guillaume (4,311)

Similarly, Brian Keegan (User:Madcoverboy), computational social scientist and research associate at the Harvard Business School, recently published a year in review post on his site that offers an in-depth view of Wikipedia usage across 19 different languages (English, Russian, Spanish, German, Japanese, French, Chinese, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Dutch, Turkish, Arabic, Swedish, Indonesian, Korean, Czech, Farsi, and Ukrainian). Brian presents the top three most edited pages for each language using zeitgeist rankings that track unique editor counts across language versions of Wikipedia from January through October 2014.

Brian identifies what he calls a “fascinating variance” around topics that attracted the most edits across the languages. In Brian’s words:

“the Arabic Wikipedia appears consumed with Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid rather than current events while Russian Wikipedia is focused on the events in the Ukraine. There are likewise local topics that ‘Ilbe Storehouse’ 4chan-like website in Korean or the ‘Sunflower Student Movement’ in Chinese that will likely be omitted from most Anglophone year in review lists.”

"Widest language coverage for 2014 breaking news articles" by Madcoverboy, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Widest coverage for 2014 breaking news articles.
By Brian Keegan, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Also in this post, Brian examines how many times a topic appeared in other languages. He uses this analysis to build a ranking of “widest language coverage for breaking news articles” in 2014. At the top of this list is the 2014 FIFA World Cup followed by Robin Williams and the two Malaysian Airline disasters: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Brian explores a number of other relationships: the complete findings can be found in his year in review post.

As the year draws to a close and we look back at the contributions of the Wikimedia community, we have all volunteer editors to thank for their commitment to making free knowledge available around the world. To see more of what the world edited in 2014, check out our first-ever annual video — Wikipedia: #Edit2014.

Juliet Barbara, Senior Communications Manager Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at January 12, 2015 06:56 PM