News and notes

News and notes

Wikimania 2008 bidding: Conference will be hosted in Alexandria

A decision on the location of Wikimania 2008, the fourth-annual international Wikimedia conference, was announced on Tuesday. Alexandria's bid was declared the winning bid by Cary Bass on behalf of the Wikimania 2008 bid jury via an email to the foundation-l mailing list. Alexandria's bid was chosen from three cities making bids, the other two being Atlanta and Cape Town.

In his announcement, Bass pointed out that Alexandria "was found to be particularly strong in the areas of reflecting the Wikimedia Foundation's roots in geo-diversity and multi-lingualism, of the very exciting nature of the proposed venue and its local facilities, and of the particularly advanced nature of the financial planning." At the same time, he extolled the Atlanta bid for its community outreach and in-facility accommodation, as well as Cape Town's cultural diversity. Bass also pointed out that Cape Town's bid is the first very strong Wikimania bid originating from the Southern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, no new information on Wikimania 2009 has been announced; as reported last week, official bidding will begin sometime this month, with a final decision expected sometime around December 15, 2007. So far, three unofficial bids have been worked on extensively: Buenos Aires, Singapore, and Perth. An expected bid from Toronto, following the withdrawal of their 2008 bid, has not yet been developed, and other cities have discussed hosting, with no major development of their potential bids. A list of all unofficial bids is also in development.

Free image searching tool developed

Magnus Manske created a tool called WatchFlickr, which runs on the toolserver. It runs through a category, finds articles without images, and searches for relevant free, Creative Commons-licensed images on Flickr. The tool can help with replacing non-free/fair use images, by allowing users to easily find free replacements on many related articles at once.

Bug 9213 fixed

We reported on bug 9213 two months ago (see archived story). The bug caused problems with the 'you have new messages' bar for anonymous users; sometimes it wouldn't come up even though their talk page had been edited, and sometimes it wouldn't disappear even if they visited their talk page, bypassed their cache, or deleted their cookies; one of the implications of this was that when an anon received a warning message, they might not see it even if they had a static IP, and some anons complained about the constant new-messages bar that they had. The onwiki discussion page about the bug is Wikipedia:Administrator intervention against vandalism/Bug ID 9213.

This week, User:Tim Starling wrote a code correction (r26357) designed to fix this problem (among others); this was the first real indication that the cause of the problem had been found ("Bug 9213: Fixed the plainly broken user_newtalk updating and caching scheme."). The problem appears to have been with the way that data about users' new-message status was cached by the servers.

It was not clear immediately whether this correction had worked; the correction carried warnings (WARNING! NEEDS CAREFUL DEPLOYMENT and I tried to keep my changes roughly performance-neutral, but the update on Wikimedia should be watched carefully for performance problems.), the relevant bug tracker comment was more mildly worded than normal (Hopefully fixed in r26357.), and the bug was not closed at the same time (as is usual when a fix for a problem is 'committed' so that it will be applied on Wikimedia and other MediaWiki wikis). However, the change was applied at 18:00 UTC on 3 October (brion: scapped update including r26357 which tim warns may introduce performance problems. keep an eye out). In ais523's tests, the anon new-message bar now appears to be working, and the bug tracker entry is now marked "RESOLVED FIXED", indicating that the developers do not believe the bug poses a problem anymore. If the issues caused by this bug continue, they should be reported on bugzilla.

Finnish Arbitration Committee elected

This week, the Finnish Arbitration Committee was elected; five users were elected to a two-year term, while five more were elected to one-year terms. Interestingly, in an election where the winners were determined by the number of support votes, all five of the users elected to one year terms were tied for 6th place, with 50 votes; an 11th user finished just short, with 49 votes. Full results of the election are available.


Also this week:
  • From the editor
  • Vandalism study
  • Myanmar to Burma
  • WikiWorld
  • News and notes
  • In the news
  • WikiProject report
  • Features and admins
  • Technology report
  • Arbitration report

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