Elections for Stewards are currently ongoing on Meta. Stewards are elected every year from across the projects, and are confirmed by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Voting will run from February 1-22 here. Confirmation of current stewards is also occurring. Stewards may come from any Wikimedia project, and typically perform administrative tasks on small Wikimedia projects that do not yet have their own administrators or bureaucrats, as well as cross-project vandalism monitoring and related tasks. Stewards do not typically work on their "home wiki."
Elections for CheckUser and Oversight positions are also ongoing; votes and comments are being accepted from February 6 through February 15 here. There are currently six CheckUser candidates running for three CheckUser positions, and seven Oversight candidates running for four available positions, with two withdrawn candidates. The current list of users with Oversight and CheckUser permissions can be found on the respective policy pages, Wikipedia:CheckUser and Wikipedia:Oversight; they include current and former Arbitrators and a handful of users previously appointed by the Arbitration Committee. The positions have to do with handling sensitive information about deleted articles (Oversight) or user IP addresses (CheckUser); to quote the elections page, "Both positions require great trust, integrity, and reliability." This is the first election on the English Wikipedia for these positions. As the Arbitration Committee had proposed, the vote only provided for approval voting. However, significant opposition to this rose on the talk page, and the Committee amended the policy to allow both support and oppose votes.
As previously reported in The Signpost, the Wikimedia Foundation is considering transitioning to dual-licensing all project content that is currently licensed under the GFDL to also be licensed under the Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA 3.0. More information can be found on Meta.
The original project-wide vote was scheduled for February 9-March 9; however, as announced on Foundation-l, the vote has been postponed in order to gather further input and consensus. With extensive discussion on Foundation-l, the main divisive issue so far has been the area of attribution, and how reusers should be required to attribute content from Wikipedia or other projects in offline materials, such as printed books. The GFDL and CC-BY-SA licenses differ in their requirements in this area. Erik Moeller, deputy director of the Foundation, stated that he was developing a survey to help gather consensus on this matter before the vote.
Frieda Brioschi of Wikimedia Italia reported that the Italian Wikipedia won the Premiolino, the most prestigious journalism award in Italy. The Premiolino was founded in 1960; the other six winners this year are all individual reporters.
A newly published study, performed on Wikipedia circa November 2006, correlates the word count of Wikipedia coverage in several areas with factors such as recentness (for our year articles, Academy-Award winning films, Time people of the year, and artists with #1 songs), population (for country articles), revenue (for companies), and coverage in Britannica (for selected random entries found there). The article, by C. Royal and D. Kapila, is called "What's on Wikipedia, and What's Not?" and was published in the February 2009 Social Science Computer Review. Positive correlations were found for everything but Time people of the year, which seemed to follow a a fairly random distribution in terms of coverage vs. year. The conclusion drawn by the authors is that "Wikipedia is more a socially produced document than a value-free information source", and demonstrates bias towards more coverage of recent events, big countries, big companies, and the coverage agenda of Britannica.
Here is a selection of ongoing discussions this week: