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Tech news, strategic planning, BLP task force, and more

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By Phoebe, Sage Ross and Avjoska

Technical news

Brion Vibber announced plans to split his CTO role into two positions, Senior Software Architect and Chief Technical Officer. Plans are in the works to hire another person to fulfill the CTO role, which will include managing staff and budgeting.

Also according to the Wikimedia Technical Blog, "A testing configuration for Flagged Revisions on English Wikipedia will be deployed on a test site soon." The extension is currently being tested on the help and manual pages of the MediaWiki wiki.

In usability news, the Usability Project's Vector skin is being made available to all Wikimedia users by means of the "try Beta" link in the upper-right-hand corner. Clicking on the link switches the user to the new "Vector" skin (whether one is logged in or not); the editing window also features a simplified editing toolbar. After the skin is switched, you can go back to Monobook by clicking a "leave Beta" link that appears in the upper-right hand corner; clicking this link leads to a small survey about the skin that users can fill out.

Strategic planning update

The Call for Proposals on the Strategy Wiki is open. There are 22 proposals so far, and more are being added every day; all community members (as well as interested outside parties) are invited to submit a proposal about areas or projects the Wikimedia Foundation should focus on in the future. The strategic planning team is also continuing to hold IRC office hours; the hours this week are Wednesday from 04:00–05:00 UTC on the Freenode #Wikimedia channel.

BLP taskforce being formed

Cary Bass (User:Bastique), the Volunteer Coordinator of the Wikimedia Foundation, is forming a taskforce to deal with biographies of living persons. He described the motivation for and purpose of the task force in a message to the WikiEN-l mailing list:

Given the recent Board Resolution on BLPs, I'm in the process of

structuring a Biographies of Living Persons task force, to work together to come up with some firm recommendations and guidelines for dealing with the issue, to be made to the Wikipedia community, Foundation board and staff.

In that respect, I'd like to solicit members of the community to take part in this project. If you are interested, please send me a brief email summarizing what your involvement in BLPs in the past has been and your own opinion as to why BLPs are such a problematic area. You can email me direct at cary at Initially, this task force should focus on the English Wikipedia, but its recommendations may also be applicable for other projects; so anyone with an interest may be appropriate.

I'm putting this out there now, because my availability over the coming weeks before Wikimania will be somewhat limited, so forgive me if you respond with interest immediately and I don't get back to you right away. I expect development of this task force to go into high

gear in September.

Translation Sprint

The project to translate the MediaWiki software and extensions is holding a translation rally with prizes. According to the site,

Among all users contributing 500 or more new translations for MediaWiki (or its extensions) and eligible for a cut, we will divide 1,000 Euro (approximately 1,400 US Dollar). The money comes from a 2,000 Euro grant by Wikimedia Nederland, the Dutch Wikimedia Chapter as a part of their spendings on International Projects, to Stichting Open Progress based on a grant proposal to boost MediaWiki localisation through for which we are very grateful.

The contest runs between 9 August and 18 August 2009.

Estonian meetup

Editors of the Estonian language version of Wikipedia (Vikipeedia in Estonian) met at the Mihkli Farm Museum, Viki village. The place was chosen because of its name. The meeting was held on 6 and 7 August. Eight Wikipedians attended: Adeliine, Andres, Avjoska, Epp, Iffcool, Jaan513, Mmh, Taivo.

The event also garnered media attention. Iffcool gave interviews for two radio stations on 6 August, and on 8 August there was an article in Saare county newspaper Oma Saar: "Eesti vikipedistid kohtusid Vikil", Raul Vinni, 8 August 2009


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