cs.planet.wikimedia

May 26, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Wikimedia ČR uzavřela memorandum o spolupráci s Národním památkovým ústavem a přednášela v Národní knihovně

Podpis Rámcové smlouvy o spolupráci mezi NPÚ a WMCZ (autor: Gampe, CC BY SA 3.0)

Podpis Rámcové smlouvy o spolupráci mezi NPÚ a WMCZ (autor: Gampe, CC BY SA 3.0)

26. května 2015 – vyjímečně plodný den z hlediska spolupráce světa Wiki s českými kulturně vzdělávacími institucemi. V 9:00 jsme podepisovali Rámcovou smlouvu o spolupráci s Národním památkovým ústavem, načež jsme krátce poté přednášeli v Národní knihovně ředitelům sekce vzdělávání krajských knihoven.

Národní památkový ústav

Národní památkový ústav

Podpis memoranda o spolupráci s Národním památkovým ústavem (NPÚ) je vlastně vyvrcholením dlouhodobé neformální spolupráce, kterou spolu Wikimedia Česká republika a NPÚ již léta na různých úrovních udržovaly. Jen v loňském roce například zasedli zástupci Wikimedia ČR a NPÚ u kulatého stolu na téma „Spolupráce Spolkového památkového úřadu a Wikipedie / pobočky Wikimedia Rakousko“ v Salzburgu; NPÚ také v roce 2014 zaštítil naši soutěž „Wiki miluje památky“, která oceňuje nejlepší fotografy českých památek. Jelikož je památek jen v Česku 40000, práce stovek našich wikipedistů – dobrovolníků je nejefektivnějším způsobem, jak se alespoň přibližit jejich fotografickému zdokumentování. Rámcová smlouva o spolupráci, podepsaná generální ředitelkou NPÚ ing. arch. Naděždou Goryczkovou a předsedou Wikimedia Česká republika Vojtěchem Dostálem, zmiňuje několik cest, jimiž se budoucí spolupráce může ubírat: důležité je předávání odborných znalostí v oblasti památkové péče a hlavně propagace památek v ČR a realizace společných projektů týkajících se této problematiky. Text memoranda bude k dispozici online.

Jako by jeden úspěch nestačil, podařilo se nám dnes pokročit také ve spolupráci s knihovnami. V Klementinu Národní knihovny jsme dostali prostor na setkání ředitelů sekcí vzdělávání krajských knihoven. Jsou to lidé, kteří v krajských knihovnách koordinují přípravu kurzů pro veřejnost, přednášek a dalších akcí a zajímalo je např. to, jak mohou na svých domovských institucích spustit kurzy Senioři píší Wikipedii. Probrali jsme organizační záležitosti, zodpověděli dotazy a vyjádřili víru, že v září či říjnu tohoto roku spustíme první kurzy v mimopražských městech. Díky této schůzce i díky předcházejícím kurzům pro knihovníky v Národní knihovně jsme tak v posledních měsících významně rozšířili povědomí knihoven o Wikipedii a o naší činnosti.

 

by Vojtěch Dostál at May 26, 2015 11:03 PM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Editing the Uzbek Wikipedia: Kamarniso Vrandečić

Kamarniso Vrandečić.jpg
Chemistry student Kamarniso Vrandečić started editing Wikipedia with some simple tasks, such as translating articles from Russian to Uzbek. Since 2007, she has made over 7,000 edits to the Uzbek Wikipedia, becoming a major contributor to this growing project. Photo by Karen Sayre, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Kamarniso’s Wikipedia editing adventures began when she discovered the Uzbek Wikipedia in 2007. Realizing the vast potential of what was a small project at the time, she tried her hand at creating and editing articles with no specific interest in mind. “General science and music, history, everything,” Kamarniso says. She took inspiration from the impact she could provide across a wide range of topics. “It just became a part of my life, my daily routine.”

Raised in Uzbekistan, Kamarniso completed her master’s degree in Applied Measurement Science in Chemistry in Estonia. As part of her studies, she worked with chemical compounds, measuring precise quantities — or as she likes to call it, “calculating uncertainties.”

Kamarniso started to edit Wikipedia with some simple tasks. She began by translating articles from Russian Wikipedia to the Uzbek Wikipedia, and making minor edits to existing pages. Soon after, she began translating articles from English Wikipedia as well, improving her Russian and English language skills in the process. Now, Kamarniso has made an estimated 7,000 edits on Uzbek Wikipedia. With these edits, Kamarniso has made a substantial contribution to a growing project, while also learning more about subjects that fascinate her. As she edited articles, she often became more intrigued by their subjects.

Besides editing Wikipedia, Kamarniso expanded her participation offline as well. She has attended several Wikimedia conferences, which put her in contact with many other contributors from around the world. Along with other Wikipedians, she was profiled by the BBC at Wikimania 2012 in Washington D.C. “It’s a really nice experience to meet people all over the world, sharing your ideas. It’s really great,” said Kamarniso. She even met her husband, also a Wikipedian, at Wikimania 2011 in Haifa, Israel.

Kamarniso and her husband moved to Northern California in 2013 and had their first child, Leyla, in 2014. Their “Wiki-family” of three plans to attend Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City. Kamarniso looks forward to reconnecting with community members and discussing solutions to global problems affecting Wikipedia, particularly those involving languages and scripts. She thinks her time and effort are best spent making the Uzbek Wikipedia as rich as English or Russian Wikipedia. There are now over 127,000 articles on Uzbek Wikipedia, many of which Kamarniso helped to create and improve. While she enjoys travel, music and being with Leyla, she says that editing Wikipedia is still her favorite hobby.

Shaila Nathuformer legal internWikimedia Foundation

by Wikimedia Blog at May 26, 2015 10:30 PM

Scuba diving on Wikipedia: Doug Taylor

Doug Taylor
Scuba diver Doug Taylor took a plunge to fix an error on a Wikipedia article in 2008, and is now an active contributor to the free knowledge movement. Photo by Helpameout, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Taylor uploaded this image to illustrate the Wikipedia article on oxygen toxicity. Photo by RexxS, public domain

A flowchart of diver certification grades in the United Kingdom. Chart by RexxS, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Expert scuba diver Doug Taylor has been diving into all sorts of bodies of water for decades. He has taught recreational diving for more than 20 years as a national instructor for the Sub-Aqua Association in the United Kingdom. He even swam beneath floating ice in freezing water, an experience he describes as peaceful and absolutely breathtaking. When he is on shore, Taylor spends his time editing and writing Wikipedia articles about scuba diving.

Doug’s 24-year experience as a teacher in secondary education led him to catch a mistake on Wikipedia and making his first edit in January 2008. “The reason I got involved with Wikipedia was because I was a scuba diver and I read an article on nitrogen narcosis and spotted an error and said ‘Oh no, that’s not right’”.

So he created an account to fix that mistake, and went on to create over 20 articles, mostly about scuba diving — on topics like oxygen toxicity and other conditions related to deep diving. For his Wikipedia endeavors, Taylor goes by the name Rex Schneider, which has been his virtual alter ego since the days of Usenet.

In 2012, he was elected to be a trustee of Wikimedia UK and dedicated himself full time to developing and improving issues that the organization faced that year. Taylor tells us that he continues to go to Wikipedia meetups in the UK. “Oh sure, I’m definitely stuck into [Wikipedia] … I even have to force myself to take breaks once in a while.” He adds, “I’ve been known to work through the night — and the last thing that kept me awake all night was sorting out a module that imports Wikidata into info boxes in Wikimedia.”

After his article on oxygen toxicity became a featured article, and his list on signs and symptoms of diving became the first featured list in Wikipedia, he decided to join WikiProject Medicine, to share more knowledge about the medical conditions related to diving.

The Wikiproject Med Foundation aims to educate and inform others through providing accurate and reliable knowledge on medical conditions that go beyond illnesses related to scuba diving. “Over the years, we decided that it would be great to have an organization that has a life of its own; so we created an organization, a non profit charity in the United States,” Taylor says.

Thanks to his positive experience as a contributor, he has now become an active promoter of Wikipedia and the free knowledge movement: “We want to create something with it after all, it’s the biggest encyclopedia — and it only works because of all the people put their time into it.”

Profile by Yoona Ha, Assistant Storyteller Intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Interview by Jan Novak, Wikimedia volunteer

by yoonahawikimedia at May 26, 2015 10:22 PM

May 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

WikiTowns use barcodes to share local information on smartphones

Toodyaypedia plates stg 1 gnangarra fs-1.jpg
Visitors to the small town of Toodyay in Western Australia can learn about historic landmarks by scanning QR codes that bring up related Wikipedia pages on their smartphones. Here are some of the Toodyaypedia plates they created to share local knowledge on mobile phones. Photo by Gnangarra, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 au.

The WikiTowns project lets you learn more about local landmarks by scanning barcodes to bring up related Wikipedia pages on your smartphone. This initiative started in Britain’s historic town of Monmouth in 2011, using QRpedia project, a mobile Web-based system which uses QR codes to deliver Wikipedia articles to users.

When I saw this project at Wikimania in 2012, I immediately thought it was a great new way to share knowledge! After I returned home to Perth, I contacted the City of Fremantle about this idea, and from there the first WikiTown project in Australia took hold: Freopedia. In March 2013, my efforts in developing this and other Wikimedia projects resulted in my nomination for the Western Australian State Heritage Awards. While I didn’t end up winning the award, it gave me and another Wikipedian an opportunity to attend the awards, where we talked with a number of people about new ways to use Wikipedia and the free knowledge movement. The President of the Toodyay Historical Society invited me to join an expedition to visit two very significant historical sites in the Avon Valley National Park in Western Australia. It was during this hike that I met the Shire President and we first discussed the idea of applying the WikiTown concept to their area. From this initial conversation, the Toodyaypedia project was born.

Wikimedia Australia booth at the 160th Toodyay show. Photo by Gnangarra, CC BY-SA 2.5 au.

Over the next six months, we started planning Toodyaypedia, to share knowledge about historic landmarks in the Shire of Toodyay. Our first public event was an information booth at the 160th Toodyay Agricultural Show in October, 2013 (see photo). This was followed by some general editing workshops. Then in January 2014, we partnered with a Shire tourist publication, so that we could use it as a resource for some of the project’s articles. Our first contribution related to Toodyay was a “Did You Know” (DYK) entry about an Michael Cavanagh, the architect who designed the Victoria Hotel. The editor who started the article had previously been working on buildings related to Fremantle and noticed that hotel was one of the last works created by that architect. Two days later, another DYK entry was filed for a residential building used as Toodyays first bank. The editing bug had bitten a new editor, who has since created many more articles. In September 2014, we documented many unique elements that were initially set in place 100 years before, resulting in a DYK that also coincided with the re-publication of The Bugle Call by William Henry Strahan in the newspaper that first published it.

The local community in Toodyay has embraced this project and truly made it their own. They’ve placed QR codes on historical buildings, as well as throughout its two museums. The next step of the project is already underway: a walkthrough of the town, focusing on its residents. The Toodyaypedia project was recently featured in WA Weekender, a lifestyle TV program that showcases “the Best of Western Australia”: watch the segment online, to see how Toodyaypedia works and how others view the project.

WikiTown projects like this one have many benefits:

  • they provide valuable information to town visitors
  • they help diversify and improve content on Wikipedia
  • they give participants a way to engage with new people
  • they give tangible purpose to volunteer efforts

WikiTown projects also create new opportunities for partner organizations to help younger generations in the community gain an understanding of their own history. In the long term, they can help participants enjoy the journey of discovery, now and further into the future.

Wikimedia Australia is ready to help anyone who would like to replicate the success we are having with WikiTowns in Western Australia: maybe your town could be next!

GnangarraVice President Wikimedia AustraliaFounder of Toodyaypedia & Freopedia

by Wikimedia Blog at May 24, 2015 03:55 PM

May 20, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation Quarterly Report, January-March 2015

WMF 2014-15 Q3 successes and misses by team.svg
The Wikimedia Foundation’s report for last quarter gives an overview of how we fared on 130 goals by 32 different teams, alongside some key overall metrics.
Download the PDF version (1 MB) or read it as a wiki page.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s quarterly report for the third quarter of the 2014/15 fiscal year (January-March) has been published as a PDF on Wikimedia Commmons and is now also as a wiki page.

Wikimedia Foundation Quarterly Report, FY 2014-15 Q3 (January-March).pdf

This is the second report since we switched from a monthly cycle, to align with our quarterly goal setting process. The report’s purpose is to help our movement and supporters understand how we spend our time, and what we accomplish; in this version, we made several changes that focus more on results and achievements.

One major difference is that goals are counted as either a success (green) or a miss (red, even if they were only missed narrowly – no “yellow”). Also, this report is now a comprehensive overview of all our Q3 objectives, rather than a subset of the quarter’s goals, as delivered in the Q2 report. In a mature 90-day goal-setting process, the “sweet spot” is for about 75% of goals to be a success. Organizations that are meeting 100% of their goals are not typically setting aggressive goals. To reduce the amount of time and effort that goes into producing this report, we are re-using information from the Quarterly Review Meeting documentation.

In this report, you will also find a couple of new pieces of data. The overview slide shows the status of all 130 goals from Q3 on a single page, broken down by department. Additionally we have been able to include site speed metrics as part of our overall report card, and improve the design of the report a bit.

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

Terence Gilbey, Chief Operating Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Tilman Bayer, Senior Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at May 20, 2015 05:59 PM

A Wikipedian-in-Residence and the US government join forces to share knowledge on occupational safety and health

The sun sets behind a pump jack in Texas. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is involved in researching safety for oil rig workers, who carry out risky jobs in dangerous environments. Photo by NIOSH, public domain
The sun sets behind a pump jack in Texas. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is involved in researching safety for oil rig workers, who carry out risky jobs in dangerous environments. Photo by NIOSH, public domain

For the past 4 months, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)  has been doing something new and exciting for a government agency: they have been employing a Wikipedian-in-Residence. This collaboration with Wikipedia makes NIOSH only the second federal agency, and the first federal scientific agency, to engage with the encyclopedia project in this fashion; it is a collaboration that has the potential to spark many more. As part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NIOSH  is considered a premier research agency, and enjoys a particularly low conflict of interest in this area, due to its status as a research-only agency that does not engage in regulatory enforcement. Having the support of such a high-caliber research group is a boon for increasing Wikipedia’s accuracy and reliability.

As Wikipedian-in-Residence, my main focus is to improve Wikimedia content directly, using the vast resources available at NIOSH. NIOSH has a wide body of research and experts available to it, and the organization regularly produces review-quality content of the type that is ideal for improving underdeveloped areas of Wikipedia. Some of the NIOSH resources I’ve been able to use during my time here include: Cochrane reviews conducted by NIOSH researchers, a variety of review papers, and epidemiological research and chemical data, just to name a few. Right now, we are in the process of updating the English Wikipedia with United States-based chemical safety data, including recommended and permissible exposure limits — but don’t worry: we will soon be expanding our collaboration to use data from OSH agencies around the world! We also intend to incorporate this information into Wikidata, once its software becomes capable of handling chemical data.

Images from NIOSH’s collection, covering a wide variety of occupational safety and health topics, are already available at here on Wikimedia Commons. More images are being uploaded regularly, so keep an eye out for files that you can use in your language’s Wikipedia!

In addition to expanding current English Wikipedia articles, I have also been creating new articles in my time with NIOSH. My first two creations, covering the newly-discovered occupational lung diseases indium lung and flock worker’s lung, appeared on the “Did You Know” section of the project’s Main Page. NIOSH was deeply involved in discovering and characterizing both of these diseases, and their resources were instrumental to help me write encyclopedia articles about them.

Resources like NIOSH’s make a real difference in our ability to cover these topics; although articles on occupational safety and health are quite heavily viewed by the English Wikipedia’s readers, there are nevertheless no articles that have earned a Featured Article (FA) or Good Article (GA) status in this topic area, as far as I know. When a recent paper specifically mentioned Wikipedia’s article on occupational lung disease as needing serious work, I was able to use my access to high-quality NIOSH resources to fill that need. Though still very much a work in progress (collaborators welcome!), it is now a fairly comprehensive overview of occupational lung diseases and pathogenic agents.

Dr. John Howard, director of NIOSH, said “The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is pleased to partner with Wikipedia to extend our reach in communicating our research findings and recommendations to the vast audience of Wiki readers.  It is incumbent upon us, as the agency designated by law to lead national research for preventing work-related injury, illness, and death, to share our rich information with as many people as we can so they can make informed opinions about their workplace health and safety.  Wikipedia  provides a trusted, popular resource to do so in today’s national, indeed global, virtual community.”

NIOSH is committed to sharing excellent occupational health information with the world and has a mission very much aligned with Wikipedia. I am excited to be participating in a collaboration that lets me work simultaneously on two things I love: building Wikipedia’s articles and improving the public’s access to reliable medical information!

Emily Temple-WoodWikipedian in ResidenceNIOSH

Note: This story was also posted here on the NIOSH blog.

by Wikimedia Blog at May 20, 2015 04:59 PM

May 19, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

First ever WikiArabia conference gathers Wikipedians in Tunisia to connect and share experiences

Contributors to the Arabic Wikipedia met for the first ever WikiArabia conference in Monastir, Tunisia. This report summarizes three days of discussions about their community's challenges and opportunities. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Contributors to the Arabic Wikipedia met for the first ever WikiArabia conference in Monastir, Tunisia. This report summarizes three days of discussions about their community’s challenges and opportunities. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.

WikiArabia conference logo. Graphic by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Nearly forty Wikipedians from around the Arab region and beyond gathered last April in Monastir, Tunisia for WikiArabia 2015, the first Arabic Wikipedia community conference. The event also welcomed around thirty additional attendees from outside of the local Wikipedia community. Meeting in person during the three days to discuss their ideas, successes, and challenges helped the Wikipedians better understand their community and plan for future development of the Wikimedia movement in the Arab World.

“It feels like a dream. Arab Wikipedians are gathered for the first time, here, in my country and my town!” said Habib M’henni, co-founder of Wikimedia TN user group, the main organizer of WikiArabia 2015, smiling with tears in his eyes. Gathering Arabic Wikipedia community members to work together on the ground was a dream shared by all of the attendees in Monastir. This was an opportunity for people who edit the Arabic Wikipedia to meet in person to exchange ideas and experiences, in a conference that was many years in the making.

The Wikimedia movement in Tunisia has grown actively over the past few years. In 2012, the WMF Global Development Team staff and community members visited schools and libraries in Tunisia. Their aim in making the trip was to raise awareness of opportunities to edit Wikipedia, especially for students. Prior to that visit, the community in Tunisia was engaged with the movement on different occasions, both online and offline. Active members of the movement started to plan for a local affiliation in 2006, ultimately gaining their user group recognition in 2014.

For several years, active members of the Arabic Wikipedia community planned regional, cross-border projects among the Arabic-speaking countries. Coming to an agreement on clear plans for collaboration proved to be a challenge, but active volunteers met whenever possible at face-to-face events, including the annual Wikimania conference and other movement-related events. The most prominent examples of these community meetings were Wikimania 2013 in Hong Kong, where 9 Wikipedians discussed the possibility of establishing a Wikimedia chapter for the Arab World, and Wikimania 2014 in London, where nearly 20 Wikipedians held a meetup to discuss organizing a regional conference. Finally, the Tunisian user group offered to host the first round of this conference in 2015, an offer that the community welcomed.

Lila Tretikov asks and answers questions from WikiArabia attendees. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The three-day conference was a huge success, having included practical sessions prepared by community members, a session on the Wikipedia Education Program, and a Q&A opportunity with Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Q&A provided an opportunity for the Arabic community to talk to Lila directly about their concerns for Arabic Wikipedia, and it was also an opportunity for her to learn more about an important, growing community. The community asked her about many issues including editing for students, educators’ concerns with using Wikipedia in research, and involving children in the movement. Lila also posed questions of her own to the community, to hear their suggestions on how to better raise awareness of Wikipedia in the Arab World.

Bilal A-Dweik presents his survey findings. Photo by Habib M’henni, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Active community members also shared their personal experiences with Wikipedia, as well as some of the offline projects and case studies they led from around the world. Bilal Al-Dweik, an administrator on Arabic Wikipedia from Jordan, spent months running a survey about Wikipedia in Arabic and other languages. The survey asked Internet users how much they trust Wikipedia in different fields. It also tracked the reasons behind the perceived lack of trust in Wikipedia, and how to be seen as a more trustworthy source. 210 people from more than 16 Arab countries and different age groups took Bilal’s survey, which he discussed in his WikiArabia presentation. This survey and other studies found that the lack of trust in Wikipedia has many different causes, including: writers with limited qualifications; inadequate citations in some articles; biased coverage of some topics (especially those about politics and religion); poorly formatted articles or outdated information.

The Q&A discussion, as well as sessions led by community members, started an important dialog around future collaboration and planning for the Arabic Wikipedia.

Lila Tretikov talked to students about the future of free knowledge. Photo by Samir Elsharbaty, CC BY-SA 4.0.

After the conference, Lila paid a visit to the Higher Institute of Technological Studies, where she met a large group of Tunisian students. It was a great opportunity for Lila to improve her understanding of how Tunisian students think about and use Wikipedia. At the same time, students were also able to learn more about the Wikimedia movement. Lila asked students about the importance of free knowledge and how they could contribute to it. The students voiced their support of free and open knowledge, many stating that contributing to Wikipedia provided an avenue for self-expression. This wasn’t the institute’s first introduction to Wikimedia projects. Since the spring of 2013, Habib M’henni has participated in Tunisia’s education program, and his engineering students have been contributing to Wikipedia. However, the meeting provided a new way to exchange opinions, hopes, and plans for Arabic Wikipedia among some of its most frequent contributors.

A survey by the organizers of the conference found that most of the community members who attended were satisfied with the first WikiArabia. Mervat Salman from Jordan believes that “meeting people in person helps them solve the problems they face online.” Ravan Jaafer from Iraq suggests that seeing the achievements of colleagues presented at events like WikiArabia encourages others to follow their lead. Reem Alkashif from Egypt found value in a regional conference in the native language, “I enjoyed communicating with people in Arabic for the first time at a Wikimedia conference.”

While no consensus was reached about whether to host another WikiArabia conference next year, there was widespread agreement about the value of this face-to-face regional event and an infectious excitement for the potential of this growing segment of the Wikimedia community.

More photos of WikiArabia are available here on Wikimedia Commons.

Samir ElsharbatyCommunications InternWikipedia Education Program

by Wikimedia Blog at May 19, 2015 05:18 PM

May 16, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Children in Mali can now read Wikipedia offline, thanks to MALebooks e-readers

Sakina découvre «Le Petit Prince».JPG
MALebooks e-readers provide an offline library to children in Mali, including the French Wikipedia and thousands of educational books. Sakina, a student in Bamako, reads “Le Petit Prince” on a Cybook e-reader from Bookeen. Photo by Renaud Gaudin, licensed under CC0 1.0.

The educational system in Mali is plagued by a lack of schools in rural areas, as well as shortages of teachers and materials. This has resulted in low rates for school enrollment, graduation and literacy — to the point that neighboring countries are reluctant to recognize diplomas from Mali. One of the main causes for this problem is the lack of books for children: only 0.4% of Mali’s children have books at home, according to the UNICEF.

To address this issue, the MALebooks project has been donating e-readers to schools in Mali since September 2014. The devices include the French version of Wikipedia and a collection of over 4,000 educational books. This experimental project is an initiative of Human’ESDES, a nonprofit association of French students in Lyon.

Many nonprofit organizations have donated books for educational purposes, but the costs, logistics and efforts required to collect and ship books to Mali are significant. Digital technology provides a far cheaper way to distribute content, and also offers several benefits: searchable content, integrated dictionary, font size customization, and the ability to store thousands of books on a single device.

The MALebooks e-readers include four types of content, all in French:

  • Wikipedia (all articles with pictures)
  • A selection of public domain books (3,587)
  • A selection of free books (139)
  • A selection of novels and short stories from amateur writers, who are willing to include their work on the e-readers (329)

Wikipedia offline on a Bookeen Cybook e-reader (with Kiwix). Photo by Renaud Gaudin, freely licensed under CC0 1.0.

From a technical perspective, this project was made possible with the help of Wikimedia Switzerland and the Kiwix developers team. Kiwix is known for making the whole Wikipedia available on computers or mobile phones without Internet access. Now, MALebooks can also be browsed on Cybooks e-readers, thanks to a collaboration with manufacturer Bookeen. People involved in the Kiwix project also helped create the software tools necessary to create the public domain offline library, based on their work to create an offline version of the Gutenberg project.

Deployments started in September 2014 and the first stage of the project has now been successfully completed. MALebooks organized the following events to present their e-books, in collaboration with the French embassy in Bamako, the Institut Français as well as Jokkolabs:

  • September 2014: 6 e-readers were given to secondary school laureates in Bamako
  • March 7th: 12 e-readers were given to the population of Gao via the civic action group Cri de Cœur and the local library
  • March 4th: 12 e-readers were distributed to two secondary schools in the region of Segou
  • March 11th: 12 e-readers were distributed to university students in Bamako via the Campus numérique francophone (CNF)

The MALebooks project will be evaluated after six months, to measure the interest shown in the distributed e-readers. The first reactions have been positive so far. After a set of e-readers were delivered at the University of Bamako, Bakary Casimir Coulibaly, the secretary of the Commission Nationale des Cultures Africaines et de la Francophonie (CNCAF), stated that the e-readers were useful, precious — and, moreover, could make up for the insufficient libraries in schools and universities. Preliminary findings show that every single recipient said they learned something new with the devices — such as learning about history or other cultures.

Several nonprofit organizations have expressed interest in the MALebooks project in general, and in the offline use of Wikipedia on e-readers in particular. Most of them are waiting for the results of the six-month pilot; the USAID has already replicated the project (with minor adjustments) with about 550 devices in the Timbuktu region, through its Office of Transition Initiative. Furthermore, Wikimedia Switzerland is also considering a proposal for e-readers with offline educational content (e.g. Wikipedia, Wikiversity, Gutenberg library) through an online shop.

Renaud Gaudin, Kiwix, MALebooks
Emmanuel Engelhart, Kiwix, Wikimedia Switzerland
Julia Lipps, Wikimedia Switzerland

by Wikimedia Blog at May 16, 2015 07:55 AM

Fundraising made in Germany: lessons learned by Wikimedia Deutschland

What makes a good banner? How can we cultivate donors to ensure long term commitment to our cause? Wikimedia Deutschland has released a Fundraising Report that assess the development of campaigns from the last few years. This figure shows the revenue of the fundraising campaigns from 2010-2014 and each increase rate to the previous year. Graph by Till Mletzko, CC-BY-SA 4.0

What makes a good banner? How can we cultivate donors to ensure long term commitment to our cause? Wikimedia Deutschland has released a Fundraising Report that assess the development of campaigns from the last few years. This figure shows the revenue of the fundraising campaigns from 2010-2014 and each increase rate to the previous year. Graph by Till Mletzko, CC-BY-SA 4.0

In less than five years, Wikimedia Deutschland’s yearly fundraising efforts grew from € 700,000 to € 8,200,000. That is an astonishing development. But fundraising is not just about money.

Fundraising at Wikimedia Deutschland, and across the entire Wikimedia movement, not only helps us achieve financial goals, it also helps raise awareness for our mission. We reach several million people each day during our fundraising campaign in Germany, making ours the most successful online campaign in the country. With the help of a systematic strategy and comprehensive A/B tests, we have managed to increase our annual fundraising campaign revenue by more than ten times in just five years. This success is the result of a data-driven approach that focuses primarily on donors and their behavior.

Wikimedia Deutschland has been running professional fundraising campaigns since 2010. In previous years, all fundraising was undertaken by volunteers. With the creation of the non-profit Wikimedia Fördergesellschaft in 2011, we now have the institutional requirements in place to forward donations received in Germany to the Wikimedia Foundation.

This Fundraising Report reviews the findings gathered from our latest campaign and assesses how our work has developed over recent years. Thanks to extensive A/B tests and the technical infrastructure that we have built up over the years, we are constantly and systematically collecting data and insights. This allows us to analyze the behavior and payment methods of donors, which in turn helps us to plan and continually improve our campaigns. We have identified five main factors that contribute towards fundraising success at Wikimedia Deutschland, and this report discusses them in detail.

Five factors of successful banners

1. Relevance: No association, no donation. Our results show that a personal appeal in banners, the use of key words, and particularly references to current events make our appeals more relevant and therefore more persuasive to potential donors.

2. Visibility is something one has to fight hard for. The time span we have in which to draw attention to our message is very short. This Fundraising Report presents findings relating to when is the best time for the banner to appear and analyzes various design decisions, including color scheme.

3. Closer to the reader: If there is one thing that the entire donation process should be–from reading the appeal through to completing a donation–it’s straightforward. The fewer clicks required, the better. This fact is nothing new, and it certainly does not only apply to us, but this report will explain the concrete application of this knowledge in the creation of successful banners.

Bank transfers as a payment method are getting more important each year. Graph by Till Mletzko, CC-BY-SA 4.0

4. Donation obstacles should be kept to a minimum. Two findings in particular have emerged from our previous years’ work: Firstly, including suggested donation amounts on the banner has proven to provide effective guidance for donors. The lower the sum, the higher the number of people who donate–and the overall success of a campaign is greater when more donors give smaller amounts. Secondly, the option to donate anonymously is very important to many donors.

5. Raising the campaign profile: It pays to communicate fundraising goals and show the progress of donations. In 2014 in particular we saw how effective the creation of dramatic moments within a campaign can be. This report also touches on a surprising topic: the principle of “social proof” demonstrates how the behavior of a group can motivate others to act in the same way, yet Wikimedia Deutschland’s fundraising campaign made good use of the reverse of this effect.

Looking back, the five factors all played a crucial role in the success of our campaigns; and looking ahead, their importance for the international movement stretches far beyond monetary matters. We should all see fundraising as the start of a relationship – one that requires continuous care and attention.

Fundraising is not about banners only

Our goal for the future is to persuade donors to become long-term supporters of free knowledge and the Wikimedia movement. This report provides a glimpse into our strategy on how to maintain and consolidate our donor relationships, which are built on three main pillars: regular contact, targeted appeals, and personal dialogue–all things that are not possible through communication via banners alone. This report discusses the enormous benefits that stand to be gained from attracting long-term support for the Wikimedia mission.

Using the example of donation certificates, this report will show how we benefit from taking the wishes and expectations of donors seriously. Our postal and electronic mailings are proof of how target-group-specific content and communication strategies can ensure long-term success. The fundamental importance of a well-functioning customer service team should also not be overlooked. During the last fundraising campaign in Germany, for example, we received hundreds of calls and answered well in excess of 5,000 e-mails. Contact is therefore not merely an additional service; it is the very basis of future relationships.

Year Total No. of
multiple donors
Total No. of
one time donors
Sum of all Ratio of
multiple donors
2012 53.260 189.985 243.245 21,90%
2013 95.802 237.452 333.254 28,75%
2014 135.228 254.153 389.381 34,73%

 

Looking ahead to future challenges, the report ends with a call to intensify donor relationships, to focus on donors’ needs, and to further diversify fundraising communications.

Read the whole Fundraising Report on Meta.

Till Mletzko, Wikimedia Deutschland

Tobias Schumann, Wikimedia Deutschland

by Wikimedia Blog at May 16, 2015 05:26 AM

Wikimedia Highlights, April 2015

"Is Wikipedia a dance?" video by Michael Epaka, CC BY-SA 4.0. Roger Moore photo by Allan warren, CC BY-SA 3.0. Freedom of Panorama map by Quibik, CC BY-SA 3.0. "Wiki Loves Earth" photo by Mikipons, CC BY-SA 3.0. Mexican Edit-a-thon photo by Thelmadatter, CC BY-SA 4.0. Collage by Andrew Sherman, CC BY-SA 4.0.

“Is Wikipedia a dance?” video by Michael Epaka. Roger Moore photo by Allan Warren. Map by Quibik. “Wiki Loves Earth” photo by Mikipons, Mexican Edit-a-thon photo by Thelmadatter. Collage by Andrew Sherman. 
Images freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. or CC BY-SA 4.0.

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

 

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

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

You can now share a fact from Wikipedia with friends on social networks, as shown here. Video by Victor Grigas also on YouTube and Vimeo, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The updated Wikipedia iOS app lets you easily share facts with friends from your iPhone or iPad. Other new features include large images at the top of every article, improved search, and suggestions for further discovery. Download it today!Read More

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

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

In March 2015, Tec de Monterrey’s Education Program (Wiki Learning) held a three-day edit-a-thon on three campuses in Mexico City. Nearly 300 students participated, creating or editing over 200 articles on Spanish Wikipedia. They also uploaded hundreds of photos, as well as 27 informative radio programs.Read More

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

File:Video Wikipedia CKoi Dance.webm

Watch this fun TV spot: “Wikipedia? Isn’t that a new dance?” Video by Michael Epaka also on YouTube, CC BY-SA 4.0

The first television spots for Wikipedia in Cameroon were created as part of a campaign designed to raise awareness of Wikipedia in this western African country, where the use and awareness of Wikipedia has been historically low. Iolanda Pensa, researcher at University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) and former scientific director for WikiAfrica, produced this awareness campaign, along with Mike Epacka and others at doual’art, a non profit cultural organization based in Douala, Cameroon.Read More

Celebrity photographer Allan Warren shares the big shots on Wikipedia

Sir Roger Moore Crop.jpg
British photographer Allan Warren’s portrait of Roger Moore (above). Crop by Andrew Sherman, “Sir Roger Moore 3.jpg” by Allan warren, CC BY-SA 3.0.

British photographer Allan Warren has taken portraits of many popular artists and politicians, ranging from Roger Moore to Sophia Loren and Prince Charles. For the past few years, he has uploaded many of his images to Wikimedia Commons. His portraits caught our attention, so we reached out to him for an interview.Read More

Introducing the new Wikipedia store

Jerry Kim
“Free Knowledge t-shirt”. Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The brand new Wikipedia store now features many new items, such as pencils that can be planted and will grow into sage, marigold, or basil. New t-shirt designs and other amazing offerings have also been added to the store. All sales support the Wikipedia community.Read More

A Wikimedian asks European Parliament members for copyright reform

Freedom of Panorama in Europe.svg

A map of the European Continent. Map by Quibik, CC BY-SA 3.0.

European copyright laws are very complex, as shown in this map: only countries highlighted in green allow taking pictures of buildings in public places — a law known as “freedom of panorama.” Free knowledge advocates are asking that all European Union countries adopt this law. To address this issue, a longtime Wikimedia contributor traveled to Brussels to meet members of the European Parliament and explain why copyright reform is needed.Read More

Join Wiki Loves Earth 2015: help capture our natural heritage

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

Wiki Loves Earth 2015 started on May 1st, and invites you to contribute photos about the world’s natural heritage. This international photo contest is organized by the Wikimedia community, with the help of its Ukrainian and Polish chapters. We hope you will participate!Read More

Andrew ShermanDigital Communications InternWikimedia Foundation

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

by Wikimedia Blog at May 16, 2015 05:24 AM

May 15, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimania and the differences between online and offline cultures

Wikimedia Hackathon 2013 - Flickr - Sebastiaan ter Burg (30).jpg
Wikimedians sometimes interact both online and offline — and these experiences are very different from each other, says anthropologist Lionel Scheepmans. Hackathon photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0.

For me, it is a real pleasure to meet people face to face, without having to use a computer to express myself. Because of my dyslexia, I have to concentrate a lot when I write — though I can now use the keyboard without looking at the keys. Despite a deep concentration and good keyboard control, l still make many spelling or grammar mistakes. These mistakes can sometimes discredit me with the people I communicate with.

Besides, words are clearer when they are accompanied with a facial expression. A sad, proud, shy or upset face gives more meaning to our words, so others can understand us better. When we speak face to face, there is no need of a smiley. A real smile or a puzzled look instantly add emotions to our words. All this makes communication easier, more spontaneous, more enjoyable.

Wikipedians in real life

When I visited the Wikimania 2014 conference in London, it was a real pleasure to meet Wikimedia projects members face to face; and I was suddenly surprised to meet people that seemed nicer and more civil than during my Internet exchanges. Was it just a personal feeling? Were they the same people online and offline? It is hard to tell. I don’t think that any of the people I have interacted with online were present at Wikimania. But how can I be sure? Our pseudonym culture does not allow people to easily recognize each other offline. On Wikipedia, real user names are rare. Profile photos are also rare, unlike on social networks like Facebook. And wikis do not let you identify people by looking at friends you have in common.

Does anonymity cause this difference between online and offline behavior? I’m not sure about that either. I have had a number of altercations with people who identify themselves “openly” on Facebook, using their real names. On the Internet, people can be rude to others, even when they are not under the cover of anonymity. Though there is a difference between Wikipedia and Facebook: it is easy for me to cut all contact with unpleasant people on Facebook; but this is not possible in a wiki environment. The simplest solution is to leave and stop all community interactions; but that’s also the most harmful choice for our encyclopedia. Sometimes it’s possible for a community to ban a user from contributing; but this solution usually applies only to serious acts of vandalism or repeated abuse, and can only be applied after a collective decision, and only by a site administrator.

From this perspective, the Wikipedia environment can be seen as promoting a lack of courtesy, in the sense that it’s not so risky to be uncivil. In fact, there is no real way to mute or ignore a Wikipedian contributor who is “merely” unpleasant — as long as he/she remains polite. Blocking accounts or IP addresses only occurs in cases when there is proven long-term antisocial behavior. This type of exclusion is very rare, in proportion to the number of contributors.

These reflections lead me to believe that the behavior of Wikipedians is influenced by whether they are online or offline. In the same way that we behave differently during a meeting at work or a conversation in the street. But that’s just a personal belief, more social research is needed to know what is really going on.

I know several new users who have stopped contributing to Wikimedia projects, because of unpleasant interactions with other users. This phenomenon also occurs with experienced contributors from one project, when they try to join other Wikimedia projects. Personally, I quickly gave up contributing in Wikinews, after a heated discussion on their Village Pump. Same kind of experience on Wikivoyage, after an administrator deleted one of my sub user pages.

Even recently, I had an exchange with a researcher in sociology from Quebec, who was quickly discouraged to participate in fr.wikiversity. I am therefore not the only one to have experienced this abrasive behavior. Of course, I have no statistics on hand to back up these observations; but discussions like ‘A Culture of Kindness, a Wikimania session focused on the lack of courtesy in the Wikimedia community, make me believe that the problem is real and that solutions have still not been found (see blog post) .

Working in the shadow of the Internet

I first discovered the French Wikipedia community on February 26, 2011, while I was researching my master thesis in social and cultural anthropology. During this study, I observed the organization of the French contributor community for almost six months.

After taking a “Wikibreak” until 2012, I discovered a number of offline activities related to the Wikimedia Foundation, including: a one-day visit to the offices of Wikimedia France in Paris; meetings to start a Belgian chapter; discussions during the French contribution month of 2013; my attendance at the FOSDEM 2013 booth; and finally Wikimania 2014 in London. This last event gave me the opportunity to experience the magnitude of the Wikimedia movement. I was very impressed by this large network of Wikimedia national associations from around the world, and the existence of a significant number employees and administrators in these associations like in the foundation it self.

After meeting the employees of newly recruited Wikimedia France, I thought it must be hard for them to navigate this vast organizational field. It is even harder to understand when the organization, structures, and behaviors are so different between online (within projects) and offline (in the volunteer and staff networks).

Wikipedia principles and values

Wikipedia’s principles are the pillars that hold this global movement together. Lincoln Memorial by azucaro, LGPL.

Before comparing Wikipedia and Wikimania, I will try to summarize my understanding of the Wikipedia community’s organization and characteristics.

As a community project, Wikipedia operates in a more or less closed environment, in which user actions are recorded and accessible to the rest of the community. In this environment, all users have virtually the same editing rights. Only a few maintenance tools are reserved for certain user groups, which are statutorily elected by the community. To put it in a more systematic way, the Wikipedia user community is organized around a general ethic, based on the following principles and values:

  • A respect for privacy and anonymity.
  • An organization without a contractual relationship or monetary exchange.
  • A freedom of expression and participation based on mutual respect.
  • No statutory hierarchy for editorial and political decisions by all users who have reached a certain number of contributions.
  • A commitment to the principles and ethics of the free software movement, with the adoption of free licenses and open software.
  • A total transparency for everyone’s actions, except when they conflict with external laws in each juridiction.
  • A willingness to pursue an altruistic project to produce knowledge accessible to every human being.

Using this partial set of principles, let us now review the differences between Wikipedia and Wikimania, in terms of organization and ethics.

Incompatible with a desire for anonymity

It is evident that physical presence at an event like Wikimania makes anonymity impossible, because of obligations related to the registration. Also, unlike Wikipedia, Wikimania does not take place in a closed universe where everything can be organized and controlled by the whole community. At Wikimania, you have to worry about travel, food, accommodation, host structures, paperwork, etc. All this inevitably requires the exchange of money and contractual relationships between organizers, vendors and participants. For example, renting a bike to get from my hotel to the Barbican Center required me to make a monetary exchange to lease it from the Barcley firm.

Less freedom of expression and participation

A workshop at Wikimania 2014 in London. Photo by Katie Chan, CC BY-SA 4.0.

In the Wikimania temple, you’d better understand the language of Shakespeare to understand what is going on. Unlike the Wikipedia projects, where communities can use their own native language, Wikimania London was organized mainly in English. I think it was the only language used for meetings published in the program. Of course, I also had the opportunity to communicate in my native language, around a table dedicated to Francophone participants — or even in Portuguese during side discussions. But why should the entire program be organized in English?

The use of other languages could make it easier for non-English speakers to connect more easily. This would give them the opportunity to express themselves more freely in their native language and thus make their Wikimania experience more enjoyable. In 2015, the Wikimania event will take place in Mexico, in a non-English speaking country. I imagine that some activities will be scheduled in Spanish, but why not in other languages?

To attend Wikimania, you must also be able to go there, either by funding your own expenses — or by getting financial support, as was my case. In terms of freedom of participation, Wikimania is therefore not comparable to Wikipedia.

Moreover, I noticed that the freedom of expression and participation can be very different depending on whether you are just a visitor — or have a statutory position in the organization. During the Hackathon, roundtable discussions could be started by any member, as on Wikipedia. But during the Wikimania conference itself, everything was programmed in advance. A selection was made by a program committee, presumably influenced by community interest on the submission pages. Subsequently, participation in the actual meetings varies, depending on whether they take place in a small meeting room or a large auditorium. Though meeting rooms are well suited for discussions, a large auditorium often limits public participation to only question and answer sessions.

Here is an example: during the virtual community roundtable, I was not able to speak — even though this is a subject that interests me and that I know well. This roundtable was held in the largest amphitheater, and its panelists included four employees of the Wikimedia Foundation and three external guests specializing on this topic. The discussion took place between them through microphones. Towards the end of the allotted time for the meeting, the audience was invited to submit questions for one of the panelists to answer. Before he had a chance to speak, time was up and we had to leave the premises.

This experience was even more frustrating when I detected several errors and deficiencies in the panel discussion. For example, I wanted to emphasize that the term “virtual” was not ideal as the session title. The word “virtual” can be interpreted as “latent” or “imaginary”, which is not a good description for the Wikimedia community. It would have been more accurate to use the term “online”. This would avoid creating some confusion — just as the use of the term “democracy” to describe the oligarchy found in the western states can make political debate difficult. When a word is used incorrectly, it becomes difficult to use it well. On the other hand, the word “environment” was never mentioned during the meeting, when it could have made for a much more interesting debate.

Finally, in terms of freedom of expression and participation, what I observed during the five days ranged from one extreme to the other. One day, I had a productive dialog with a student in anthropology who had posted a handwritten sign on one of the tables, that simply said “Digital anthropology.” But the next day, I found myself watching a roundtable discussion on a topic to which I could made useful contributions, but where it was impossible for me to speak.

A clear hierarchy

A panel discussion with the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. Photo by Ziko, GFDL.

Unlike in Wikipedia, a clear hierarchy is present in the context of a conference like Wikimania. First, the Wikimedia Foundation itself follows a classic relatively organizational chart, with Directors, Vice-Presidents, Heads, Managers, etc. And we also see a more discrete hierarchy in local chapters such as Wikimedia Switzerland or Wikimedia France.

In terms of hierarchy, this Wikimedia world is very different than the Wikipedia world, in which a real-world authority like a university professor is not given any special on-wiki authority due to their academic title. But in the offline world of Wikimania, hierarchy clearly influences one’s ability to be heard — and therefore to influence the community. Some sessions are structured based on a presenter’s hierarchical status, without providing an opportunity for the audience to respond to their presentation. In cases like these, the Wikimedia organization opens the door to potential abuses of power, as well as risks that a personality cult and dogmatism could grow around a charismatic leader. Fortunately, I didn’t experience any of these issues at Wikimania, but I think it might be good to address this challenge before a problem arises. Why don’t the Wikimedia Foundation and its affiliates take inspiration from the distributed and non-hierarchical structure of online Wikipedia communities they serve? For example, they might consider adopting some of the principles of Wikinomics, which could be an interesting approach for offline Wikimedia organizations.

Cognitive dissonance with free culture values

In an event hosted by an organization that supports the free sharing of knowledge, I was very surprised to attend presentations where a real debate was not always possible. It was even more amazing to me that an organization that encourages the use of open formats and free software would allow the sale of copyrighted books in its conference.

If the purpose of the Wikimedia Foundation is to enable people to freely share human knowledge, why does it let authors promote and sell copyrighted books within its biggest annual event? If only open formats and free software are permitted on the Wikimedia projects, why make an exception at Wikimania? I can understand that speakers would be allowed to use a proprietary Macbook for their presentation, but I have trouble with authors coming to sell copyrighted books to project members who provided that information for free.

During Wikimania conferences, I believe that authors should share their knowledge in compliance with the rules and ethics of Wikimedia movement: if these rules are violated, this impacts the credibility of the entire movement. And I question the legality of producing a copyrighted work using Wikipedia content, considering that its CC BY SA license requires derivative works to use similar ‘share-alike’ terms.

Transparency differences

The transparency offered by the MediaWiki software is of course impossible when organizing an event such as Wikimania. In Wikimedia projects where all activities lead to the writing of a code, user actions can be easily recorded and made accessible to all. As the saying goes, spoken words fly away, but written words remain; and this is valid for the computer code when it is recorded. That said, we must not forget that nowadays, if the words fly away, they can also be captured.

I came to Wikimania with a video camera, but only used it the first few days, because my hotel was far away and other attendees were much better equipped than me. I thought it was not worth the trouble to carry all my gear, thinking that a lot of footage would be available on Wikimedia Commons to edit a movie if I wanted. Moreover, many of the activities in which I participated were filmed by volunteers or by participants. Unfortunately, to date there are only five videos on Commons within the categories ‘Wikimania 2014 presentations’ ‘and 13 in that of’ ‘Wikimania 2014 videos’. Where is the rest of the footage filmed by all these people? On other sites?

I imagine that many people would like to see the Wikimania meetings which they were unable to attend. It would be so nice to have all these videos on Commons, indexed the Wikimania site and on the cover page for each session or activity. This idea was implemented in the case of some presentations, but why not all? This requires more coordination in the production and distribute of videos, but this should be possible. An idea to consider for next year.

Altruism across projects

Altruism is the opposite of egocentricism, but doesn’t preclude individualism. The difference between egocentrism and individualism is subtle but important seems to understand the Wikipedia culture as a whole. In fact, the Wikipedia project is unique in that each article in the encyclopedia is created by a set of actions that are both individualistic and altruistic. This probably explains that there are few visible conflicts of interest on Wikipedia, but lots of conflicts of opinion. What we call an “edit war” is usually caused by a difficulty for some contributors to abandon their individual viewpoints in favor of a collective viewpoint. And it’s worth noting that throughout my Wikimania experience, I did not witness any conflict of interest or viewpoint.

Quite the opposite: the people I met or heard at Wikimania appeared to overflow with altruism, and didn’t seem very egotistical, only barely individualistic. So much so, that altruism appears to be a central value for all Wikimedia projects — and is perhaps even the foundation that bonds the community, a tool for conflict resolution and for bringing people together.

Disparity in the Wikimedia projects

Group photo of participants at Wikimania 2014. Photo by Adam Novak, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Throughout this report, I observed many disparities between the ethics, values and organizational structures of online Wikipedia projects and offline conferences like Wikimania. This diversity seems normal and even quite healthy in an international movement as large as Wikimedia. It makes it possible for members to adapt to the different environments to which they are exposed. However, these variations in values, ethics and organizations could also pose some risks.

One of those risks would be the possibility of misunderstandings between users that operate in different environments, even if they are part of the same movement. To avoid this pitfall, I think international conferences such as Wikimania are essential to bring together people from different environments within the Wikimedia movement. I also think that this annual conference is insufficient and that more regular meetings should be organized at the regional level, if they aren’t already. During these meetings, it is important that foundation or chapter employees meet contributors to share information about their work environments; and online meetings between employee and contributors should also take place, ideally within different projects. I believe this balance between online and offline interactions can strengthen the movement’s internal cohesion and ensure its sustainability.

Lionel ScheepmansAnthropologistWikipedian

All views in this blog post are the author’s own and do not represent the views of the Wikimedia Foundation or its affiliates. An earlier version of this post included a statement that singled out an individual community member to describe a movement-wide issue. This error has now been corrected and the individual’s name has been removed.

by Wikimedia Blog at May 15, 2015 02:11 AM

May 13, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

The #100wikidays challenge

Photo
You are invited to join the #100wikidays challenge, and create a new Wikipedia article every day for 100 days. This new challenge was started by Wikipedian Vassia Atanassova. Photo by Vassia Atanassova, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Do you think you can commit to doing something, anything, for 100 days? Wikipedian Vassia Atanassova would like you to take the #100wikidays challenge, and commit to creating a new Wikipedia article every day for 100 days.

An active editor on the Bulgarian Wikipedia, Atanassova started this challenge earlier this year, to engage more people to contribute on Wikimedia projects. She came up with this idea after coming across a viral movement known as the #100happydays challenge, in which people commit to being happy for a 100 days straight (which she tried, but failed to achieve, like the 71% of participants in this challenge).

She recalls the time when she discussed the decline in editor participation rates with other Wikipedians, towards the end of 2014:

“It occurred to me that while I had often taken part in discussions about the measures that need to be taken for improving the user experience and atmosphere, I had gradually become one of the victims of [declining editor participation],” she told us.

So she came up with the #100wikidays challenge for herself, with a goal of creating one new article every day in Bulgarian Wikipedia for the next 100 days.

“I felt that I was in debt to my Wiki community, to Wikipedia, which has given me much more than I can ever give to it,” said Atanassova. “I remembered the #100happydays challenge, and it occurred to me that the right challenge for me was something like #100wikidays.”

Atanassova first began editing Wikipedia articles around 2006, about mathematical curves, biographies of mathematicians,and other notable people – painters, opera singers, poets, Nobel prize winners. Later she moved onto writing articles and uploading photos she took, about the historical places and museums she’d been in Bulgaria and abroad.

Atanassova’s involvement with the Bulgarian Wikipedia runs deep. She has been contributing to Wikipedia constantly, both virtually and in real life.

She published several research reports and presentations on the use of Wikipedia — and even lectured a course at the university that she attended, in a course called “Wikipedia and WikiTechnologies,” where Wikipedia was the core subject of study. In addition, she worked with other volunteers to become a part of many GLAM projects with several Bulgarian institutions (GLAM stands for “galleries, libraries, archives, and museums” and is a popular Wikipedia initiative that helps cultural institutions share their resources with the world.)

Atanassova has now completed her personal #100wikidays challenge, which went from January 16, to April 25, 2015, improving and diversifying content on Bulgarian Wikipedia.

And a small movement is apparently growing around this idea, as nearly 42 people have signed up for the challenge, in about 20 other language versions of Wikipedia.

“#100wikidays is not a competition between editors, it is something between you and [yourself],” she points out.

The rules are fairly strict: the participating individual should create one article per day for 100 consecutive days, without cheating or making excuses for missing days.

“I have been asked several times why these rules have to be so strict,” she said. “The answer is simple: if you decide to call it ‘a challenge’, it needs to be something hard to do, a difficult task or problem, provoking you to reach your limits, and make [difficult] choices.”

She likens it to climbing a mountain. You don’t compete with the mountain by climbing it, you compete with yourself and your own limitations.

“Some people are probably afraid that missing a day would mean that they have shamefully failed the challenge,” she added. “No, I wouldn’t advise anyone to feel like that. I have told many times so far: starting #100wikidays is a completely personal decision, and it is likewise a completely personal decision whether you have failed it.”

So why is it important for her to commit to the #100wikidays challenge even after she has written more than 1,000 articles? The answer for this Wikipedian is rather simple: she loves making her individual contribution to our ever-growing global encyclopedia. And she gets excited when she sees a stub she started turn into a thoroughly developed article — or when she receives a comment from a user who benefited from her contributions.

For Atanassova,“Wikipedia has turned into a really significant source of happiness.”

Join the challenge!

Profiled by Yoona Ha, Assistant Storyteller intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Interview by Victor Grigas, Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation


Interview transcript

Here is a transcript of our email interview with Vassia Atanassova:

  • Can you tell us a bit about who you are and where you come from?

I am Vassia Atanassova, User:Spiritia, Bulgarian, editor in Bulgarian Wikipedia and some of the sister projects since mid 2006.

  • How did you get involved with Wikipedia / Wikimedia?

For about two years, 2004–2006, I was mainly a reader (erh, consumer :) ) of the English Wikipedia before I discovered the Edit button, and worked out Wikipedia was not created by – as I presumed by then – academicians and professors, but people like me, and back then I had just completed my bachelor degree. I invested some time reading rules, help pages, old discussions, before I finally decided that this is my place: I am in, and I am in forever.

Since then, I have been constantly contributing to Wikimedia in many different ways: patrolling, administrating, translating and adapting local help pages, translating and localizing the MediaWiki software, organizing wiki meetings, outreach activities in various IT conferences, in traditional and online media. I have exploited my personal academic contacts, and initiated and mentored many university wiki projects. Alone and in co-authorship, I have published several research publications and conference presentations on the use of Wikipedia and wiki technologies in education. During my PhD studies, I was even allowed to lecture my own university elective course titled “Wikipedia and Wiki Technologies” for students in IT specialities, where Wikipedia was the core object of study. Together with fellow volunteers, I’ve been in the organization of most of the GLAM collaborations with institutions like the Bulgarian State Archives, the Sofia Zoo, and recently with the Balkani Wildlife Society and the Philippopolis Numismatic Society.

If you think this is too much dedication for a single person, you must be aware of one thing. In relatively small communities like our Bulgarian Wikipedia, we have all the problems of big wikis for solving, too. And we also are willing to start locally all the interesting projects which are otherwise well maintained in global wikis. But since we are fewer people, we need to be much more versatile and engage in a variety of projects at a time.

  • What kinds of things do you typically like to write about or do with Wikipedia / Wikimedia?

Years ago, I started with articles about mathematical curves, biographies of mathematicians and other notable people – painters, opera singers, poets, Nobel prize winners. I also love writing articles about the places where I have been – in Bulgaria and abroad – historical places, natural phenomena, museums, and I often accompany these articles with personal free photography.

  • Are there any particular things you have edited in the past that you are particularly proud of?

I have written more than 1000 articles but I can’t really outline particular articles that I’m proud of. Instead of proud, I prefer being happy.

I’m happy whenever a stub, which I have started, has been further developed and updated by other editors. I’m happy whenever I can illustrate an existing article with my photography, or with content, digitized within the collaboration with the Bulgarian Archives. I’m happy when I hear someone commenting that they have learned something useful from Wikipedia, and especially when this thing happens to be written by me. I’m happy when a media uses my photos, and makes appropriate attribution to the source “Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons”. In this way, for me, Wikipedia has turned into a really significant source of happiness.

  • Can you tell us about 100 wikidays? What is it? How did it get started? What’s your involvement and how can people get involved?

You probably know about the #100happydays challenge. You might have seen some of your friends in Facebook or Tumblr, who have challenged themselves to find reasons to find happiness in life for 100 days in a row. I attempted this challenge, starting in May 2014. Following the rules of the challenge, I was posting in my blog and in Facebook pictures about things that made me happy. After the 10th day, however, I missed a day, I tried to catch-up two days later, but the magic was over, and I announced it a fail.

Happiness however is difficult to define. For me, enriching my native web space with accessible and reliable information, freely sharing my knowledge with virtually every person on the planet, changing the world for the better… I’m so happy I have been part of all this for more than 8 years. But 8 years is long time. And during these years, I have suffered all possible forms of wiki burnout. I had times in 2013, when I even *enjoyed* the time spent on completing my PhD studies and research, and preparing my thesis: i couldn’t think of a better and more valid reason to stay offwiki. :-)

In one moment, in the end of December 2014, when I was taking stock of the passing year, it occurred to me that while I had often taken part in discussions about the lowering levels of editors’ retention and the measures that needed to be taken for improving the user experience and atmosphere, I have gradually become one of the victims of this disease. I felt that I was in debt to my wiki community, to Wikipedia, which has given me much more than I can ever give to it. I remembered about the failed challenge #100happydays, and it occurred to me that the right challenge for me was something like #100wikidays.

100wikidays is mainly a challenge to myself to create in Bulgarian Wikipedia at least one new article daily, one hundred days in a row. It has also become challenge to almost 42 other people in about 20 other language versions of Wikipedia. And to anyone else who feels challenged. #100wikidays is not a competition between editors, it is something between you and … you.

I decided for myself that creating new articles should not become excuse for not doing the rest of the maintenance like recent changes patrolling, deleting vandalisms, editing existing articles, uploading free photos to Commons, outreach of Wikimedia projects in traditional and social media, GLAM collaborations, and all possible sorts of wiki things that I have started or I am about to start. Of course, these articles should be in line with all rules for verifiability against reliable sources, neutral point of view, encyclopaedic phrasing, and technical things like appropriate links, templates, categories and interwikis.

More notably, the trick of the challenge are the rules, stating no missed days, and no catch-ups. One article every day, no excuses accepted. I have been asked several times, why these rules have to be so strict. And the answer is simple. You can call #100wikidays ‘a project’, you can call it ‘an initiative’, you can give it any name you like. But if you decide to call it ‘a challenge’, it needs to be something hard to do, a difficult task or problem, provoking you to reach your limits, and make choices.

It’s like climbing a mountain: you don’t compete with the mountain, you compete with yourself. But if you happen to stumble and fall, you just stand up and carry on walking.

Some people are probably afraid that missing a day would mean that they have shamefully failed the challenge. No, I wouldn’t advise anyone to feel like that. I have told many times so far: don’t forget to enjoy it. Keep calm and carry on. Starting #100wikidays is a completely personal decision, and it is likewise a completely personal decision whether you have failed it. If you decide that you failed it after one missed day, you fail it; if you decide that you don’t fail it, you don’t. It’s so simple. And this is why, the last rule, added later by another challengee, which I completely agree with: use your common sense, and ignore all the rules if they prevent you from enriching Wikipedia and enjoying the #100wikidays.

For those of you, who decide to take the challenge, I’d encourage you to list your name and daily contributions in the Meta page https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/100wikidays It can be really disciplining to know that others may follow your progress, and really rewarding to see that you are not alone. One more reason behind this common page is that it can give you ideas about what to write today, if you haven’t made up your mind. I have seen other #100wikidays editors write certain articles in the Ukrainian, Latvian or Hebrew Wikipedia, and I have thought, ‘Wow, what an interesting topic, we don’t have that article in Bulgarian, I’ll be the one to create it!’ And when someone else gets inspired from an article from your list, it’s even more rewarding. :-)

About the other people in the challenge

Of all the people in challenge, 42 right now, I personally know 12. All the rest joined as a result of the viral nature of liking, commenting and sharing in Facebook, in the dedicated FB group and the Meta page (both created one month after the beginning of the challenge when there were already 5 contributors — in Bulgarian, Hebrew and Ukrainian Wikipedia). In the beginning I only announced my challenge and the daily articles on my Facebook wall, willing to make more people from my friends circle form a positive association with Wikipedia, and read (well developed) content from Wikipedia, as well as potentially attract some new editors. For me, #100wikidays proved to be a good example that social networks are not only distractors of attention, but can tip us of some good new ideas (100happydays –> 100wikidays) and can be roped into serving a good and inspiring Wikimedian cause.

In the first about 20 days, I was alone, but getting more and more attention and support from friends. Then the first follower appeared, VladislavNedelev, a student of mine from the “Wikipedia and Wiki Technologies” course, who became a devoted Wikimedian and real life friend. He, like other followers afterwards, made an adaptation of the rules: he made in advance the proviso that he’s only writing his 100wikidays’ articles when he is in his town of residence, skipping the days when he’s travelling. Later, other similar adaptations appeared like #10wikidays of my friend and fellow wiki-educator Justine, and #10wikiweeks of Anna. I’m happy to say that Justine, Anna and me are not the only women in the challenge: two of the earliest followers were Ata and Antanana from Ukrainian Wikipedia, who were among the core organizers of the wonderful Central and Eastern Europe Wikimedia Meeting in December 2014. It was thanks to them that the first blog publication about the challenge appeared. I think there are at least two more girls from the followers whom I don’t personally know. :)

Probably, the most important moment for the progress of the challenge, was when Asaf succumbed to it. He was the reason that #100wikidays became so viral and so global. In the Hebrew Wikipedia, he is writing only biography articles about notable women, who often didn’t timely receive the recognition they deserved. Another editor, who contributes with such articles is Petar in Bulgarian Wikipedia, who formulated it nicely as: “If she were a man, this article wouldn’t be missing”. :-)

Since we’re discussing and sharing in Facebook, and reporting the progress of our articles in the Meta page, we often inspire each other to create the same articles in different languages. Such cross-wiki creation of articles proved to be quite common, for instance, Bulgarian / Hebrew, Hebrew / Ukrainian, Ukrainian / Bulgarian, Bulgarian / Latvian, Latvian / Ukrainian, Ukrainian / Arabic, Hindi / Punjabi, Bulgarian / Esperanto. There are even article topics that got translated into three languages at a time, like “Diana Abgar” in Bulgarian / Ukrainian / Hebrew, or “Luigi Ademollo” in Bulgarian / Ukrainian / Arabic , or “Manolis Glezos” in Esperanto / Arabic / Punjabi, or “Penelope Delta” in Hebrew / Esperanto / Punjabi.

What’s next…

Different people in the challenge have suggested different things for doing after the end of the challenge. There was the advise to start improving and extending what we created as new articles during these 100 days. I personally thought about focusing on either the help and policy pages, which in BG WP also need attention and dedication, or on uploading some personal photography to Wikimedia Commons, sort of a #100commonsdays. Right now, I’m still working on fixing my sleeping pattern, which got well deranged during the last three months :-) But since it is such a joyful and rewarding experience, I guess that I will again repeat it by the end of the year, and have already started making the list of the articles which didn’t make it in the first round of 100 days, but will probably make it in the second. :-)

by yoonahawikimedia at May 13, 2015 11:21 PM

May 08, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

It’s time for some #tastydata

Wikidata tastydata.svg
Take part in the Menu Challenge between May 8 and 27! Image by Offnfopt, CC0 1.0.
Sometime when you travel you end up ordering food that is, well, not what you expected. I myself ended up ordering a big plate of cow stomach with fries in Rome a few years ago, mistaking the sign language from the waiter and believing that I would get me some ribs. For me, this was mostly a fun experience, but for people wanting food that is vegetarian, vegan, halal or kosher, or that simply are a bit picky with what they eat, ordering food during travels can be tricky. It’s time to take our menus to the 21st century and learn some new glossaries and better pronunciation on the way!

Wikimedia Sverige is now organizing the first ever (we think so at least) contest focusing on enriching Wikidata. This time we are aiming at a list of vegetables, meat, fruits and other ingredients and cooking related terms that 30 restaurants will be serving at a food festival in Stockholm, Sweden in June. Wikimedia Sverige will be there to highlight how open data and crowdsourcing can benefit nearly every aspect of society. We will be using the great made-up restaurant menu that was developed by User:Denny a little more than a year ago.

When we were thinking about how to show off what Wikidata can do, we stumbled upon this menu and thought: why not put this to the test and try the menu out in the real world? With real restaurants and real menus used by real customers. But what would be needed for the digital menu to be useful for people? What added benefit could it create? We figured that the menus would be very interesting if we could add more languages and the possibility to include images and pronunciation recordings. The Menu Challenge is designed to create that added value!

The Menu Challenge will be based around translations of the Wikidata labels, adding images and pronunciation audio to the items of the ingredients. The Challenge will take place between May 8 and 27.

Please help us prepare the menu by translating all the ingredients and the dishes to your language and by photographing and recording as much as possible. With this menu, we can show how Wikidata could be used in a hands-on way by people who never before thought about open data. Let’s get some #tastydata!

John Andersson, Project Manager, Wikimedia Sverige

by Wikimedia Blog at May 08, 2015 07:55 PM

How many women edit Wikipedia?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General user surveys

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

2012 Editor Survey

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

December 2011 Editor Survey

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

April 2011 Editor Survey

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

UNU-MERIT/WMF survey (2008)

  • Population: Site visitors who described themselves as “Occasional Contributor” or “Regular Contributor”
  • Method: Banners shown to both logged-in and logged-out users, in multiple languages
  • 13% female (n=53,888)

Other surveys

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

Global South User Survey (WMF, 2014)

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

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

Gender micro-survey (WMF, 2013)

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

JASIS paper on anonymity (2012)

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

Grassroots Survey” (Wikimedia Nederland, 2012)

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

Wikibooks survey (2009/2010)

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

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

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

“What motivates Wikipedians?” (ca. 2006)

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

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

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

Trend analysis: How the gender gap changed during 2012

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

2012 editor survey Dec 2011 editor survey Change Significant change?
Country %female n % female n (Dec’11 to Oct/Nov’12) (2-tailed z-test, p = 0.05)
US
17.0%
1368
13.6%
847
+3.4%
significant
Germany
8.6%
1017
8.3%
866
+0.2%
not significant
France
9.3%
707
11.5%
407
-2.2%
not significant
Russia
11.1%
559
7.4%
651
+3.7%
significant
India
3.1%
255
3.3%
121
-0.2%
not significant
UK
9.2%
425
8.6%
278
+0.5%
not significant
Italy
11.6%
398
20.2%
431
-8.6%
significant
Japan
6.8%
351
6.1%
231
+0.8%
not significant
China
4.2%
167
Canada
12.0%
242
7.2%
139
+4.8%
not significant
Poland
7.8%
206
5.3%
263
+2.4%
not significant
Ukraine
9.5%
201
Australia
13.0%
177
Spain
8.6%
186
4.0%
177
+4.6%
significant
Netherlands
7.4%
136
Brasil
3.8%
105
7.1%
140
-3.3%
not significant
Israel
15.0%
127
8.9%
123
+6.0%
not significant
Sweden
13.5%
111
Argentina
13.7%
102

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

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

Other data sources about the size of the gender gap

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

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

Other research about the gender gap

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

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

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

Tilman Bayer, Senior Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

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

2015-05-08: Edited to add the sample size for the 2008 UNU-MERIT/WMF survey

by wikimediablog at May 08, 2015 07:57 AM

May 07, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl Sigfrid European Union Policy Manager Wikimedia Sweden

by Wikimedia Blog at May 07, 2015 04:02 PM

Editing Wikipedia as community service in Mexico

Group photo
A Mexican student shares her experience editing Wikipedia as part of her community service, working with other students and the Wiki Learning team at Tec de Monterrey university (Maria is standing fourth from the left). Photo by Thelmadatter, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Most university students around the world share many of the same goals: they must attend classes, learn as much as possible, get support through a scholarship or a student loan — and, finally, graduate. But in Mexican universities, students must also take community service (“servicio social”), which is a legal requirement before they can graduate. Students can apply what they’ve learned in their courses to help communities through a number of different theoretical and practical activities.

The idea of servicio social emerged in the thirties in Mexico’s institutions of higher learning, as a direct response to the need to reconstruct the country after the the Mexican Revolution. In 1945, Mexican president Manuel Ávila Camacho passed a law to make community service mandatory for all undergraduate students. Servicio social helps students develop as true citizens who are conscious of their country’s current political, economic, social, and cultural circumstances — and who can take action to resolve some of the issues associated with these fields.

Editing Wikipedia has been one of the options for students at Tec de Monterrey since 2014, through “Wiki Learning” — a popular program for many students. I personally chose this program for my servicio social, and it has been a valuable experience of continuous learning and enrichment, both personally and culturally. By editing Wikipedia, I’ve been able to positively impact the Spanish-speaking community, as well as my fellow students and professors.

Maria works in the laboratory at Tec del Monterrey. Photo by MaríaJosé, CC BY-SA 4.0.

There are several reasons why I chose to edit Wikipedia for my servicio social requirement. First of all, I share the ideals of the free and open knowledge movement, as I consider education a public utility that should be accessible to everyone. Thanks to technology, knowledge has been integrated into more marginalized areas of the world: little-by-little, it has been transforming and improving the quality of life in communities that are now gaining access to Wikipedia’s shared knowledge base.

Closer to home, in Mexico, where a quality education is scarce and one of the few tools we have to grow as a country, it is imperative that knowledge reaches all of the population. From my point of view, Wikipedia has been a community service of impressive magnitude, and I am excited to be a part of it. Being a “knowledge gathering project,” this service goes beyond being a mere hoop to jump through in order to graduate: it helps students become ambassadors — not only on a national level but on a global level as well.

However, Wikipedia has faced a great deal of criticism precisely because of its public nature. I understand why some professors condemn the use of this information portal, as anyone can contribute to Wikipedia with any type of information, true or false. As a frequent user of Wikipedia, what attracted me was the opportunity to break down this prejudice about the movement’s lack of accuracy. When I chose my option for servicio social, Wikipedia was one of the few choices which I considered — not only to meet a requirement, but also as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Now, after almost a year of working on this project, my expectations have proven correct.

Those who contribute to Wikipedia generally do one of three activities: editing, translation, or research. During my time, I have translated various articles relating directly to my major, biotechnology, such as “Social history of viruses“, “History of aspirin” and “Genetic expression profile” — as well as others that interested me, such as “Major depressive disorder“, and “Renewable energy in Scotland“. Translating articles from English to Spanish helps make this information more accessible to Spanish-speaking countries. The ability to work with both languages on such an intensive level allows me to also improve my writing skills, vocabulary, and spelling — as much in English as in Spanish. By translating these articles, I not only contribute to the number of articles in Spanish Wikipedia, but I also improve my own skills in each language.

Day of the Dead altar in Tepoztlán from Fall 2014. Photo contributed by MaríaJosé, CC BY-SA 4.0.

I have also contributed a number of images to Wikimedia as part of my assignment (see example). As a lover of photography and a beginner in this type of work, volunteering for Wikipedia pushed me to look around my country at festivals, traditions, and unique moments in Mexico that are worth sharing with the world. To date, I have contributed fifty photographs to Commons in the ‘Day of the Dead in Tepoztlán’ category — and another 29 related to an exhibition of Spanish exiles in Mexico in “El Exiliio Español en la Ciudad de México: Legado Cultural.”

Servicio social with Wikipedia is ideal for students who want to be their own boss. I can decide when and where I want to work, since I only need a user account, a computer, and Internet access. However, I don’t always work alone: there are meetings about two times a month with other participants to peer review our work, such as the recent Experiencias Retadoras event. I am also constantly in touch with our coordinator, who supports and guides us, to make sure our work has the most impact possible and meets the requirements of the Spanish Wikipedia community. In my opinion, Wiki Learning’s cordial and collaborative atmosphere is a very important reason for the success of this program.

The Spanish Wikipedia grows every day with the participation of people from all over the world: they work hard to constantly improve and enrich the encyclopedia, making sure it reaches as many people as possible. The objective of servicio social is to create a link between students and their social environments, which today is as much global as local: so working with people around the world makes this possible at the global level. And at the local level, the Mexican community benefited directly from the work of our university and its students. I believe, as a student of this institution, that Tec de Monterrey is meeting this goal by linking servicio social with Wikipedia.

María José Felgueres Planells Wiki Learning Tec de Monterrey

by Wikimedia Blog at May 07, 2015 04:01 PM

May 05, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Meet the Inspire grantees working to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia

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

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

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

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

The Inspire grantees are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Wikimedia Blog at May 05, 2015 06:11 PM

May 03, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, April 2015

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

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

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

Popularity does not breed quality (and vice versa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Context

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Findings

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

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

The calculation is done in three passages.

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

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

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

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

Methodological nitpicks

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

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

Briefly

“Automatic Text Summarization of Wikipedia Articles”

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

Relationship between Google searches and Wikipedia edits

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

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

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

Perceptions of bot services

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

Other recent publications

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

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

References

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

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 4 • April 2015
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at May 03, 2015 07:44 AM

May 01, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

What we learned from the blog survey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommendations

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

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

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

Methodology

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

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

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

To learn more, read the full survey report.

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

Onward!

Fabrice Florin, Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

by Wikimedia Blog at May 01, 2015 08:18 PM

Sharing images of the earthquake in Nepal: Krish Dulal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victor Grigas, Storyteller, Wikimedia Foundation


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

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

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

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

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

John_Ball_with_rescue_dog_Darcy_in_Chautara,_Nepal_(17127450669)
John Ball and his dog Darcy from the UK’s International Search and Rescue team. Photo by DFID – UK Department for International Development, CC BY-SA 2.0.

More photos are welcome in this category.

by Wikimedia Blog 2 at May 01, 2015 04:28 PM

April 30, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Join Wiki Loves Earth 2015: help capture our natural heritage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ievgen Voropai, Project coordinator, Wiki Loves Earth 2015



Wiki Loves Earth 2014/Top 10 Winners

img1
1 green.svg View of Carpathian National Park from Hoverla. Carpathian National Park, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. Вид з Говерли на Карпатський національний парк. Карпатський національний природний парк, Івано-Франківська область.
Photo by Balkhovitin, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“1 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img2
2 green.svg Serra e pico Dedo de Deus no Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos.
Горная цепь и пик Деду-де-Деус в Национальном парке Серра-дус-Органус.
Photo by Carlos Perez Couto, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“2 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img3
3 green.svg Mukri bog in the october morning mist. Mukri maastikukaitseala. Hommik rabas.
Photo by Amadvr, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. ee.
“3 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img4
4 green.svg Mount Shaan-Kaya in Clouds. Yalta Natural Reserve, Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Шаан-Кая у хмарах. Ялтинський гірсько-лісовий природний заповідник, АР Крим.
Photo by Александр Черных, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“4 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img5
5 green.svg Peak Krcin, part of the Mavrovo National Park. Високо на Крчин, дел од Националниот парк «Маврово».
Photo by MartinDimitrievski, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“5 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img6
6 green.svg Sheep in Drents-Friese Wold National Park, Netherlands.
Schapen op het Aekingerzand.
Photo by Uberprutser, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. nl.
“6 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img7
7 green.svg Peninsula. Novyi Svit Sanctuary, coastal aquatic system between Novyi Svit and Sudak, Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Заказник «Новий Світ», Крим.
Photo by Vian, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“7 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img8
8 green.svgMorning Palette. Zuivskyi Regional Landscape Park, Donetsk Oblast.
«Ранкова палітра». Регіональний ландшафтний парк «Зуївський», Донецька область.
Photo by Vian, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“8 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img9
9 green.svg Barrage bechloul Haïzer à Bouira.
Photo by Chettouh Nabil, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“9 green.svg” by Amakuha, CC0 1.0.

Img10
MRT Singapore Destination 10.png Cascade de Aïn Legradj à Bordj Bou Arreredj.
Photo by Chettouh Nabil, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
“Destination 10.png” by Seloloving, Public Domain

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

April 28, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

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

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

Our approach to evaluation

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

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

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

Wikimedia Programs Evaluation Reports 2015

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

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

The goals of these reports are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the conversation!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 27, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

A Wikimedian asks European Parliament members for copyright reform

Freedom of Panorama in Europe.svg

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

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

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

What I told the European Parliament

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

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

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

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

How we got here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federico Leva, Wikimedia Italia
with Dimitar Dimitrov, Wikimedian

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

by fflorin2015 at April 27, 2015 09:23 PM

April 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Celebrity photographer Allan Warren shares the big shots on Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Can you tell me about Peter Sellers?

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

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

Q: Can you tell me about Sophia Loren?

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

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

Q: Tell me about Prince Charles.

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

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

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

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

Q: Tell me about Rod Stewart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 22, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Fighting corruption with Wikipedia: Johnson Oludeinde

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing the new Wikipedia store

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

Welcome to your brand new Wikipedia store!

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

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

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

Take a look at our new, inspiring items:

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Victoria Shchepakina, Wikimedia Foundation
Michael Guss, Wikimedia Foundation

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

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

April 21, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Improving the security of our users on Wikimedia sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why are we doing this?

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

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

What did we learn?

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

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

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

Thanks

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

Chris Steipp
Security Engineer
Wikimedia Foundation

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

April 20, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

File:Video Wikipedia CKoi Dance.webm

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

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

File:Video Wikipedia CKoi Maladie - Sickeness.webm

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

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

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

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

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

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

The premise for the spots was simple:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The campaign and grant report was finalized in October 2014.

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

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

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

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


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

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

Wikimedia Highlights, March 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women and gender diversity on Wikimedia

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

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

Growing free knowledge through open data

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

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

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

Wikimedia Foundation adopts Open Access Policy to support free knowledge

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

Wikimedia Foundation welcomes new executives

Guy

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

Terry

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

Kourosh

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

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

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

April 19, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Wikipedisté a jejich hosté navštívili vilu Karla Čapka

Pracovní stůl Karla Čapka

Pracovní stůl Karla Čapka

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

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

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

April 17, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

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

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

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

Quick look-up and deep learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share a fact with friends

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

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

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

Download it and share your feedback

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

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

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

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

April 15, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Single-User Login provides access to all wikis

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

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

Problem

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

History

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

Implementation

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

Final stages

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

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

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

Keegan Peterzell
Community Liaison
Wikimedia Foundation

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

April 10, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation releases latest transparency report

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

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

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

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

The recently released report focuses on three key areas: :

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


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

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


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

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

April 09, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Share a fact with friends on the Wikipedia Android app

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

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

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

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

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

Quick guide

Step one: Choose and highlight text.

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

Step two: Click share.

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

Step three: And the card is created!

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Garry, Product Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

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

The new Content Translation tool is now used on 22 Wikipedias

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

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

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

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

Translators

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

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

Articles

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

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

Challenges

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

New features

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

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

Runa Bhattacharjee, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

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

15 women who made a difference

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ada Lovelace

Image by Alfred Edward Chalon, public domain.

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

Anita Sarkeesian

Image by Anita Sarkeesian, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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

Anne Frank

Image by Getty, Fair use.

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

Barbara McClintock

Image by Smithsonian Institution.

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

Corazon Aquino

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

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

Emma Goldman

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

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

Hedy Lamarr

Suggested by Katherine Maher. Image by author, license.

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

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

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

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

Malala Yousafzai

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

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

Navi Pillay

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

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

Patricia Locke (Tawacin WasteWin)

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

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

Rosalind Franklin

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

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

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

Juana Inés de la Cruz

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Women_and_gender_diversity_on_Wikimedia#/media/File:Retrato_de_Sor_Juana_In%C3%A9s_de_la_Cruz_(Miguel_Cabrera).jpg

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

Susan Sontag

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

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

More articles

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

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

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

Thanks

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

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

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

 

Fabrice Florin – Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

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

April 07, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

How content translation improved my wiki edits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Hinojo, Amical Wikimedia community member

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

Women and gender diversity on Wikimedia: our top stories

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

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

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

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

Meet some of the women who contribute to Wikipedia

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

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

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

Art+Feminism Events on International Women’s Day

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

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

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

15 women who made a difference

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

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

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

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

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

Andrógino by Ismael Nery. Public Domain.

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

Inspire Campaign to fund new gender diversity initiatives

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

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

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

Serbian women edit Wikipedia together in new FemWiki project

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

Photo by BoyaBoBoya, CC BY-SA 4.0.

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

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

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

Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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

Thanks to our contributors

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

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

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

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

Fabrice Florin
Movement Communications Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at April 07, 2015 07:02 PM

April 03, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

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

A wealth of ideas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s next?

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

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

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

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

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

New Wikimedia Foundation report on activities in 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by fflorin2015 at April 03, 2015 02:25 AM

April 02, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

The Editatona: Helping women edit Wikipedia in Mexico

File:Editatona.webm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partners

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

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

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

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

Outcomes

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

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

Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons learned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by fflorin2015 at April 02, 2015 05:21 PM

April 01, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Art+Feminism Events on International Women’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons Learned

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

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

Goals

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

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

History

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

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

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

Related Links

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

Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Kourosh Karimkhany as VP of Strategic Partnerships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa Gruwell, Chief Advancement Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

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

March 31, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Discovering a community through cryptology: Elonka Dunin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 30, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, March 2015

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

Most important people; respiratory reliability; academic attitudes

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

Most important people of all times, according to four Wikipedias

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

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

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

See also our earlier coverage of similar studies:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wikipedia assignments at Finnish secondary schools

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

Briefly

Detecting the location of an editing controversy within a page

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

7.8% of Germans use Wikipedia on any given day

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

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

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

New Wikimedia open access policy

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

Other recent publications

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

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

References

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

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 5 • Issue: 3 • March 2015
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email @WikiResearch on Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at March 30, 2015 02:39 PM

March 26, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Guy Kawasaki as board member

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by fflorin2015 at March 26, 2015 12:42 AM

March 24, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Highlights, February 2015

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

Contents

Love on the Wikis

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

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

A WikiLove story

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

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

Who links to Wikipedia?

Lead image

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

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

What is Wikipedia Zero? (VIDEO)

File:What is Wikipedia Zero?.webm

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

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

Join the Wikimedia strategy consultation

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

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

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

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

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

Wiki Loves Africa photo contest announces winning pictures

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

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

Andrew Sherman, Digital Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation

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

March 23, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

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

Logo soutěže

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

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

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

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

Igo Sym

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

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

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

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

 

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

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

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

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

Introducing a Chief Operating Officer

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

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

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

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

Saying goodbyes

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

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

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

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

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

Lila Tretikov
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

by fflorin2015 at March 23, 2015 06:00 PM

March 19, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation adopts Open Access Policy to support free knowledge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Related Links:
Wikimedia Open Access Policy
Frequently Asked Questions

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

by fflorin2015 at March 19, 2015 07:13 PM

March 18, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

Wikipedia Library owl.svg

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

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

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

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

Improving quality on Wikipedia

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Striking up a conversation

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

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


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

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

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

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

Solving a critical problem

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

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


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

Join us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janet Chapman, Communications Manager, Tanzania Development Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by yoonahawikimedia at March 18, 2015 12:06 AM

March 17, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Growing free knowledge through open data

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Data Sets

Scholarly citations in Wikipedia
A data set of citations to scholarly articles in the English Wikipedia. Includes all citations with DOIs and PubMed identifiers added to Wikipedia articles as of the most recent content dump.
Halfaker, A., Taraborelli, D. (2015). Scholarly article citations in Wikipedia. figshare.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1299540

Wikipedia clickstream
This data set shows how people get to a Wikipedia article and what links they click on next. The most recent release captures 22 million pairs (referer, resource), extracted from a total of 3.2 billion requests to the English Wikipedia. We wrote a step-by-step tutorial and IPython notebook to get you started with this data.
Wulczyn, E., Taraborelli, D. (2015). Wikipedia Clickstream. figshare.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1305770

Browser choices of Wikimedia users
This data set provides statistics on the top browsers and platforms used by readers and editors on Wikimedia projects, obtained from the Wikimedia HTTP request logs during a 90-day window. You can also explore this data online via this application.
Keyes, O. (2015). Browser Choices of Wikimedia Readers and Editors. figshare.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1326739

Where in the world is Wikipedia?
This data set includes the proportion of traffic to Wikimedia projects originating from a specific country, computed from all HTTP requests collected over the course of 2014. You can also explore this data online via this application.
Keyes, O. (2015). Geographic Distribution of Wikimedia Traffic. figshare.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1317408

Wikipedia Article Feedback corpus
The Article Feedback experiment invited readers to participate on Wikipedia by leaving comments on articles, to help editors improve them. This data set includes over 1.5 million messages posted to the English, French and German Wikipedia during the pilot.
Florin, F., Mullie, M., Taraborelli, D. (2014). Wikipedia Article Feedback corpus. figshare.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1277784

by fflorin2015 at March 17, 2015 05:40 PM

March 16, 2015

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outcomes

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

Prof. Deborah Youngs noted that:

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

Three other direct outcomes include:

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

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

Robin Owain, Manager of Wales, Wikimedia UK

Links

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

March 13, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Serbian women edit Wikipedia together in new FemWiki project

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

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

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

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

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

Is Wikipedia a “male” encyclopedia?

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

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

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

Workshops

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contest about women’s issues

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

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

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

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

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

Dictionary of Gender Equality

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

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

Statistics

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

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

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

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

Methodology

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

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

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

What we’ve learned during the workshops is that it is important to announce the theme of every gathering in advance (e.g.: Women and Science, Women and Art, etc.) — and to motivate women to prepare documentation for their chosen articles before the workshop begins. In that way, we are not spending our meeting time researching a topic online or just translating English Wikipedia. And the content that our participants have prepared is evaluated more carefully, with discussions of why it is good or bad and Wikipedia editing guidelines (e.g. licenses, neutral point of view, etc).

FemWiki 2015

In 2015, FemWiki will expand to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender topics ( LGBT). With this expansion, we want to make Wikipedia more relevant and more accessible to all discriminated groups in society. We are fighting for the recognition of all communities that are not already visible or valued enough in the public space and on Wikipedia.

Besides the usual FemWiki workshops, we will be organizing a few thematic edit-a-thons (International Women’s Day, Women in Art, Women in Science and Technology, LGBTQ edit-a-thon during Pride Week, etc.). We will also organize workshops for high-school girls on editing Wikipedia.

At the start of the spring, we will organize the first regional WikiWomen Camp, together with female Wikipedians from the regions of Albania and Kosovo! More details about that will be coming soon.

Sanja Pavlovic
FemWiki project leader
Former board member, Wikimedia Serbia

by Andrew Sherman at March 13, 2015 05:12 PM

March 12, 2015

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

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

Photo of Lady Justice by  Roland Meinecke,  licensed under Free Art license.

Justice presides with her scale and sword at Frankfurt am Main.
Photo by Roland Meinecke, licensed under a Free Art license.

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation is filing suit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States [1]. The lawsuit challenges the NSA’s mass surveillance program, and specifically its large-scale search and seizure of internet communications — frequently referred to as “upstream” surveillance. Our aim in filing this suit is to end this mass surveillance program in order to protect the rights of our users around the world. We are joined by eight other organizations [2] and represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The full complaint can be found here.

“We’re filing suit today on behalf of our readers and editors everywhere,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. “Surveillance erodes the original promise of the internet: an open space for collaboration and experimentation, and a place free from fear.”

Privacy is the bedrock of individual freedom. It is a universal right that sustains the freedoms of expression and association. These principles enable inquiry, dialogue, and creation and are central to Wikimedia’s vision of empowering everyone to share in the sum of all human knowledge. When they are endangered, our mission is threatened. If people look over their shoulders before searching, pause before contributing to controversial articles, or refrain from sharing verifiable but unpopular information, Wikimedia and the world are poorer for it.

When the 2013 public disclosures about the NSA’s activities revealed the vast scope of their  programs, the Wikimedia community was rightfully alarmed. In 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation began conversations with the ACLU about the possibility of filing suit against the NSA and other defendants on behalf of the Foundation, its staff, and its users.

Our case today challenges the NSA’s use of upstream surveillance conducted under the authority of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA). Upstream surveillance taps the internet’s “backbone” to capture communications with “non-U.S. persons.” The FAA authorizes the collection of these communications if they fall into the broad category of “foreign intelligence information” that includes nearly any information that could be construed as relating to national security or foreign affairs. The program casts a vast net, and as a result, captures communications that are not connected to any “target,” or may be entirely domestic. This includes communications by our users and staff.

“By tapping the backbone of the internet, the NSA is straining the backbone of democracy,” said Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Wikipedia is founded on the freedoms of expression, inquiry, and information. By violating our users’ privacy, the NSA is threatening the intellectual freedom that is central to people’s ability to create and understand knowledge.”

The NSA has interpreted the FAA as offering free rein to define threats, identify targets, and monitor people, platforms, and infrastructure with little regard for probable cause or proportionality. We believe that the NSA’s current practices far exceed the already broad authority granted by the U.S. Congress through the FAA. Furthermore, we believe that these practices violate the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech and association, and the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

Additionally, we believe that the NSA’s practices and limited judicial review of those practices violate Article III of the U.S. Constitution. A specialized court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), hears issues related to foreign intelligence requests, including surveillance. Under U.S. law, the role of the courts is to resolve “cases” or “controversies” — not to issue advisory opinions or interpret theoretical situations. In the context of upstream surveillance, FISC proceedings are not “cases.” There are no opposing parties and no actual “controversy” at stake. FISC merely reviews the legality of the government’s proposed procedures — the kind of advisory opinion that Article III was intended to restrict.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a previous challenge to the FAA, Amnesty v. Clapper, because the parties in that case were found to lack “standing.” Standing is an important legal concept that requires a party to show that they’ve suffered some kind of harm in order to file a lawsuit. The 2013 mass surveillance disclosures included a slide from a classified NSA presentation that made explicit reference to Wikipedia, using our global trademark. Because these disclosures revealed that the government specifically targeted Wikipedia and its users, we believe we have more than sufficient evidence to establish standing.

Wikipedia is the largest collaborative free knowledge resource in human history. It represents what we can achieve when we are open to possibility and unburdened by fear. Over the past fourteen years, Wikimedians have written more than 34 million articles in 288 different languages. Every month, this knowledge is accessed by nearly half a billion people from almost every country on earth. This dedicated global community of users is united by their passion for knowledge, their commitment to inquiry, and their dedication to the privacy and expression that makes Wikipedia possible. We file today on their behalf.

For more information, please see our op-ed, Stop Spying on Wikipedia Users, by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov, in the March 10 edition of The New York Times. [3]

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

* The Wikimedia Foundation and its co-plaintiffs are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in this suit. We would like to thank them, in particular Patrick Toomey, Ashley Gorski, and Daniel Kahn Gillmor for their work and dedication throughout this process.

 

References

  1. Other defendants include: Michael Rogers, in his official capacity as Director of the National Security Agency and Chief of the Central Security Service; Office of the Director of National Intelligence; James Clapper, in his official capacity as Director of National Intelligence; and Eric Holder, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the United States.
  2. Today, we’re proud to bring this lawsuit alongside a coalition of organizations from across the ideological spectrum, including The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, Pen American Center, Global Fund for Women, The Nation Magazine, The Rutherford Institute, and Washington Office on Latin America. We believe the wide variety of perspectives represented in this lawsuit demonstrates that the defense of privacy and freedom of expression and association is not defined by partisanship or ideology.
  3. To read more about our opposition to mass government surveillance, please see our previous blog posts on PRISM, opposing mass surveillance on the internet, and transparency in the use of surveillance.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What does this lawsuit challenge?
A: Our lawsuit challenges the NSA’s unfounded, large-scale search and seizure of internet communications, frequently referred to as “upstream” surveillance. Using upstream surveillance, the NSA intercepts virtually all internet communications flowing across the network of high-capacity cables, switches, and routers that make up the internet’s “backbone.” This backbone connects the Wikimedia global community of readers and contributors to Wikipedia and the other the Wikimedia projects.

Q: What is the U.S. government’s legal justification for this program?
A: The U.S. government has used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) (see 50 U.S.C. § 1881a) to justify broad, “upstream” mass surveillance. Under the FAA, “the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence may authorize jointly, for a period of up to one year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of [non-US] persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” The statute only requires “reasonable belief” that a non-US person is located outside the United States. There is no need to show that target is a foreign agent, much less a terrorist. The purpose of the statute is to acquire “foreign intelligence information”– a very general concept. We believe the broad interpretation of this statute that allows for upstream surveillance is unconstitutional.

Q: How does surveillance or the fear of surveillance affect readers and editors of Wikipedia and its sister projects?
A: Mass surveillance is a threat to intellectual freedom and a spirit of inquiry, two of the driving forces behind Wikimedia. Wikipedia is written by people from around the world who often tackle difficult subjects. Very frequently they choose to remain anonymous, or pseudonymous. This allows them to freely create, contribute, and discover, without fear of reprisal. Surveillance might be used to reveal sensitive information, create a chilling effect to deter participation, or in extreme instances, identify individual users. Pervasive surveillance undermines the freedoms upon which Wikipedia and its communities are founded.

Q: How does surveillance affect Wikipedia as a knowledge resource?
A: Wikipedia is a living resource for knowledge. It is written by volunteers around the globe, in hundreds of languages. It reflects the world around us and changes to embodies current events, notable individuals, evolving theories, emerging art, and more. Wikipedia relies on the contributions of editors and the support of readers to evolve and grow. If readers and editors are deterred from participating in Wikipedia because of concerns about surveillance, the health of Wikipedia as a resource to the world is jeopardized.

Q: What kind of Wikimedia communications could the NSA be intercepting?
A: Wikipedia and its sister projects is created entirely by volunteer editors. More than 75,000 editors each month edit Wikipedia, amounting to more than 33 million articles. These editors not only contribute content, but also discuss and share information on discussion pages and elsewhere within the project. Privacy and free expression are core values of the Wikimedia community. When volunteer editors contribute to Wikipedia, they expect it to be a safe, open space in which creativity and knowledge can thrive.

Q: Why is it important that the Wikimedia Foundation ensures privacy and anonymity for its users?
A: Privacy is a core value of the Wikimedia movement. From the beginning, Wikipedia has allowed for users to maintain private identities through the use of anonymous or pseudonymous editing. This has been reinforced by the Wikimedia Foundation’s firm commitment to protecting the privacy and data of its users through legal and technical means.

Privacy makes freedom of expression possible, sustains freedom of inquiry, and allows for freedom of information and association. Knowledge flourishes where privacy is protected.

Q: Why is the NSA interested in the communications of innocent Wikimedia users?
A: You would have to ask them. One could guess, however, that they are trying to amass as much information as possible into their databases, and, as with other websites, they may believe there is value in the data, conversations, and personal information on Wikipedia and in the Wikimedia community.

Q: How do you know Wikimedia has been singled out for surveillance by the NSA?
A: One of the NSA documents revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden specifically identifies Wikipedia for surveillance alongside several other major websites like CNN.com, Gmail, and Facebook. The previously secret slide declares that monitoring these sites can allow NSA analysts to learn “nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet.”

Q: Has the Wikimedia Foundation taken any measures to protect its users’ privacy?
A: The Wikimedia Foundation takes privacy very seriously, which is why we find the NSA’s upstream mass surveillance so troubling. You do not need to create an account or login to read or edit Wikipedia or the other Wikimedia sites. If you do decide to create an account, you can choose any username you like — we don’t require real names, email addresses, or any other personally identifying information, and we never sell your data.

Q: Why did Wikimedia join this lawsuit against the NSA?
A: Our role at the Wikimedia Foundation is to protect Wikipedia, its sister projects, and the Wikimedia community of users. This means providing our users with the right conditions to facilitate their work, and protecting them when necessary. Defending the privacy of our editors, readers, and community is paramount to us. We believe privacy is essential to facilitating and advancing free knowledge.

You can also find this FAQ here on Wikimedia.org.

by fflorin2015 at March 12, 2015 08:06 PM

Hindi Wiki Sammelan: Bringing together dispersed Wikipedians

Translated versions: English | Hindi

Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meetup Group Photo
Hindi Wikipedians met to discuss a conference (‘sammelan’) in Delhi, to bring together editors dispersed across India. Photo by Muzammiluddin, free licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.
In July 2012, a group of five Hindi Wikipedians started a discussion on the Hindi Wikipedia Village Pump to explore the possibility of holding a Sammelan (conference) for Hindi Wikipedia, against the backdrop of Wikimania 2012 and Malayalam Wiki Sammelan. The idea was to bring together the geographically dispersed Hindi community and to drive a coordinated approach for the growth of the Hindi Wikipedia. During the last few years, this need had been felt by Hindi Wikipedians on a number of occasions. In March 2014, when I was working as Programme Officer of the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, I tried to elicit the opinions of Hindi Wikipedians on the village pump about the possibility of holding this Hindi Wiki Sammelan. The idea was welcomed by all Hindi Wikipedians and most of them favored Delhi as the location for the event.

Unlike other Indian regional language Wikipedias, the Hindi Wikipedia has a very special set of characteristics. Its contributors are geographically dispersed across the country, with practically no face-to-face interaction. There have only been a handful of workshops for Hindi Wikipedia. And a disturbing trend for the Hindi Wikipedia is, except for a few dedicated contributors, the editors keep changing frequently. However, the number of editors, articles and overall edits on Hindi Wiki has exceeded all other Indian language Wikipedias. Therefore, as a precursor to the Hindi Sammelan, efforts were initiated to hold a Hindi Sammelan Meetup with a few dedicated editors as well as individuals concerned about the growth of the Hindi Wikipedia. At the Wikimedia Foundation, Asaf Bartov supported this initiative and said on the Hindi Wiki Sammelan Project Page: “We at the Wikimedia Foundation are eager to provide the resources to make this event possible.”

Hindi Wikipedia admins Ashish Bhatnagar and Aniruddha Kumar. Photo by Muzammiluddin, free licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

In line with this objective, a Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meetup was organized in Delhi on February 14-15, 2015. The event was attended by 15 people, including three administrators of the Hindi Wikipedia: Ashish Bhatnagar, Aniruddha Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar. Also present were two reviewers: Piyush Maurya and myself. The event was supported by the Centre for Internet and Society and was coordinated by Abhishek Suryawanshi.

During our discussions, we decided that before planning a pan-India Hindi Wiki Sammelan, we would work on a Wiki Sammelan in Delhi this year. Participants also reviewed the idea of holding outreach programs in a number of colleges and universities. Here are some of the suggestions which were endorsed:

  • Design a special promotional brochure for Hindi Wikipedia.
  • Explore outreach programs in educational and research-oriented organizations.
  • Plan for “Wikipedian-in-residence” positions for the growth of Hindi Wikipedia in collaboration with various organizations.
  • Use “Hindi Fortnight” programme in Central Government organizations for the growth of Hindi Wikipedia.
  • Aim for a syndicated weekly Wikipedia editing tutorial column for Hindi newspapers in the north.
  • Plan Wikipedia programmes for radio and television.
  • Make effective use of social media.
  • Plan a better integration with different regional languages — since many of the languages in India such as Marathi, Konkani, Bhojpuri, etc use Devanagari script, Hindi Wikipedia outreach in these regions (Maharashtra, Goa, Bihar,etc) could be planned in harmony.
  • Distribute the workload: During the meeting, many participants agreed to oversee outreach activities, especially in Delhi, Lucknow and Punjab.

If this initial meetup is successful in focusing our efforts to promote the Hindi Wikipedia, we hope that the proposed Wiki Sammelan events (both at the local level in Delhi and at the national level with as well as the actual Hindi Wiki Sammelan) can support the future growth and development of Hindi Wikipedia. We also hope these events can serve as a model for building a coordinated approach between other wiki communities that are geographically dispersed.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Hindi Wikipedian

by Andrew Sherman at March 12, 2015 08:03 PM