Interwiki report

Report from the German Wikipedia

The jury members at their meeting in the new office of Wikimedia Germany.

Userboxes, edit wars, and user bans - these are normally the top debates in Wikipedia. Last week in the German Wikipedia, however, a single article caused all the controversy. Topic number one was Methodischer Kulturalismus (Methodical culturalism), an article about contemporary philosophical theory which won the fifth German Wikipedia writing contest. While members of German WikiProject Philosophy celebrated the jury decision and proposed it as a candidate for Exzellente Artikel (Featured articles), a storm of protests broke out. Many Wikipedians complained the article was obscure and incomprehensible, and the topic irrelevant. The debate became even more emotional when one of the jury members of the contest deserted his colleagues and joined the protesters. He even went so far as to propose the article for deletion, leading to an edit-war and the protection of the article - without the deletion notice. The featured article nomination was cancelled prematurely when the vote count reached 18 for, 30 against, and the article was moved into the review section. In sum: Wikipedia theater at its best - or worst?

Meanwhile, the sections for nominating "featured" and "good" article candidates were flooded with the other contestants from the writing contest, starting with the uncontroversial and widely admired second place finisher, the "Winter King" Friedrich V. (Frederick V), whose politics led to the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War. The article was especially applauded for its abundant citations of historical sources, which the author had thoroughly digitized and annotated in Wikisource alongside the article (example).

A more peaceful award ceremony took place on Wednesday in Munich, when the German Wikipedia won the OnlineStar, an award sponsored by a German publisher and selected by a vote among online users. The team who organized the Wikipedia booth at the Munich computer fair Systems went to the ceremony to receive the solid trophy alongside representatives from Google, Amazon and other companies which had won in different categories.

Conny Nutschan at a public "Wikispot" in Dresden.

Wikipedia events took place all over Germany during the last months. On 17 September, Wikimedia Germany organized the first Wiki Research Symposium in Berlin after the Wizards of OS conference where former Wikipedia pioneer and Nupedia editor-in-chief Larry Sanger made headlines with his Citizendium announcement. Ten research teams had the opportunity to present and discuss their projects.

The Wikipedians from Dresden organized the Wikipedia Day Dresden from 2 October to 6 October. At the university, they held workshops and guided tours through the Wikipedia exhibition. In cooperation with the Dresden public transport company, the Wikipedians manned several Internet terminals - "Wikispots" - in the city center and explained Wikipedia to passers-by. The public transport company continued to offer free Wikipedia access at their terminals even after the event.

On 22 September, Frank Schulenburg, Finanzer and Markus Mueller organized a Wikipedia day at the Gymnasium Andreanum, an over 800-year-old high school in Hildesheim, and seventeen-year-old Manecke was the one-man team to represent Wikipedia at the "Hobby & Electronic" fair last week in Stuttgart.


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