News and notes

News and notes

Wikimania security FAQ posted

Wikimedia general counsel Mike Godwin posted a revised FAQ regarding the security of Wikimania 2008. Godwin, who was tasked with coordinating a security assessment, said that the FAQ was "an interim progress report" for the Board and community to discuss, with a full assessment to come later.

Wikimania 2008, which will be held in Alexandria, Egypt, has been the subject of questions about the safety of Wikimedians, particularly LGBT and Jewish Wikimedians. The FAQ attempted to answer these concerns; some of the more pertinent questions include:

5) How will security needs be addressed?

Our advice from the consulate was that, so long as an event has a local sponsor (as we have with the Library), the sponsor and local police will coordinate security needs. So it remains important to work closely with the Library to inform them if special arrangements need to be made (if, for example, there's an event with a large number of VIPs attending).

6) What kind of security arrangements will be made with regard to transportation to and from Wikimania events?

In cases where transportation is required, the local partner will normally arrange with local police to have a police car accompanying moving shuttles with tourists. If told in advance, police will provide this for any buses at any time.

7) Are there kinds of public behavior, otherwise acceptable in many other cultures, that ought to be avoided in Alexandria?

The short answer from the local team is this: "Kissing in public, regardless of sex, is the only taboo around here."

8) Is there any need for attendees to travel in groups?

No, says the local team.

9) Are there religious issues or expressions that should be avoided?

One report from the local team: "wearing [a yarmulke] or a large [Star of David], considering the current circumstances, will make Jews stand out, which may not be very good. This said, Jews have been moving safely and freely around Egypt. However, considering the current escalation of the situation in Israel/Palestine, flaunting such religious symbols may result (at worst) in harassment, I don't know if this situation will continue till the conference or not."

10) Are there any issues with how members of religious minorities, sexual-orientation minorities (e.g., lesbians, gays, bisexuals), or racial minorities present themselves? Should female attendees be alert to any issues of self-presentation that might disturb Egyptians?

From the local team: "For Females, Just to not be overly liberal in dress code, shorts are ok, bikinis are not." Note from Mike: We got essentially the same advice from the consulate. Typical Western clothing is understood to be acceptable for women, just so long as it is not overly revealing or provocative. The INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS HANDBOOK has lots of photos of students, men and women, in western dress. There is also advice about what to pack (travel light or you'll be spending time in the customs office).

German Wikipedia to be offered as one-volume paper encyclopedia

Parts of the German Wikipedia will be offered in a one-volume paper encyclopedia to be published by Bertelsmann. The first edition will contain the introductions to 50,000 articles, and will retail for 19.95. It will be available in stores, and for each copy sold, Wikimedia will receive one euro. The project has been spearheaded by Wikimedia Deutschland, the German Wikimedia chapter.

Wikipedia Takes Manhattan

Photographers on scavenger hunt for Wikipedia Takes Manhattan.

Wikipedia Takes Manhattan, a 12-hour photo scavenger hunt aimed at fulfilling photo requests of various Manhattan and other New York City places and landmarks, was held on April 4, and this week, the group finished uploading all photos and adding them to their respective articles. The hunt was organized by Pharos and other Wikipedia volunteers, Free Culture @ Columbia and Free Culture @ NYU, and Wikimedia New York City. In all, 92 separate sites were photographed, from a list of 188 total sites.

A full gallery of all photos is on Wikimedia Commons at commons:Commons:Wikipedia Takes Manhattan/Gallery.

The event is the first of the Wikipedia Takes The City model; future hunts are tentatively planned for Nashville, Tennessee, Belgium or the Netherlands, and another Manhattan event in Fall 2008.

Three job openings

The Wikimedia Foundation announced three new fundraising job openings this week, open until May 15:

All three positions require at least a bachelor's degree, with an advanced degree preferred; other requirements, including required and preferred job experience, vary by position.


Also this week:
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  • School threat
  • Global features
  • WikiWorld
  • News and notes
  • In the news
  • Dispatches
  • WikiProject report
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  • Technology report
  • Arbitration report

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