The Signpost

News and notes

Three million articles, Chen, Walsh and Klein win board election, and more

Contribute  —  
Share this
By Phoebe, John Broughton, Tilman Bayer, Sage Ross and PrimeHunter

Three million articles

In the early morning of 17 August, an article on the Norwegian actress Beate Eriksen was created, the three millionth article on the English Wikipedia. The article was created by Lampman, who wrote five new articles for the milestone effort. The precise three millionth article was determined by a bot run by X! that monitored the live IRC feed of article creations and deletions. A snapshot of the results lists the articles created immediately before and after Beate Eriksen.

As with previous million article milestones, many Wikipedians saved articles to submit for the occasion; articles are typically created at a rate of about 50–70 per hour, but within minutes the article count rose from 2,999,970 to nearly 3,000,100. Of the 6 milestone winners (being 0.5M: user:Altenmann, 1M: user:Nach0king, 1.5M: user:Quarma, 2M: user:Zzxc, and 2.5M: user:Wizardman) only Nach0king and Wizardman participated in this "wikirat race".

Wikimedians have highlighted other recent and upcoming content milestones. Wikimedia Commons recently reached 100,000 Ogg files and is projected to pass five million total files during Wikimania (which takes place in Buenos Aires from 26 to 28 August). The total number of articles across all Wikipedias is nearing fourteen million. And Wikia co-founder Angela Beesley Starling (User:Angela) noted that Wikia in aggregate will soon pass English Wikipedia for total articles.

The milestone was reported in The Daily Telegraph, blogs of The Guardian and the Christian Science Monitor, and other mainstream media.

New Trustees

Samuel Klein, Kat Walsh and Ting Chen were all elected to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees last week. Both Walsh and Chen are incumbents, while Klein is new to the Board. In total, 2940 valid ballots were cast.

Klein, Walsh and Chen will fill the three "community representative" Board seats. Their terms of office are two years.

Wikipedia research: Slowing growth, high levels of reverting

The Augmented Social Cognition group at PARC published two blog posts this week about their research on Wikipedia which caused a stir. The first post was called PART 1: The slowing growth of Wikipedia: some data, models, and explanations.

In "PART 2: More details of changing editor resistance in Wikipedia", the researchers conclude that there is "evidence of growing resistance from the Wikipedia community to new content, especially when the edits come from occasional editors". In total, 5.8 percent of all edits in 2008 were reverted for reasons other than vandalism, or by a bot, double the percentage in 2005 (2.8 percent). As for occasional editors: By the end of 2008, this revert rate (again, non-vandalism) was close to 25% for editors making only a single edit during a given month, and was more than 15% for editors making 2 to 9 edits in a given month.

The posts got picked up by many news outlets.

Alphascript Publishing sells free articles as expensive books

An book search on 9 June 2009 gives 1009 (6 August, gives 1,859) "books" from Alphascript Publishing.[nan 1] 1003 of the books are described as "by John McBrewster, Frederic P. Miller, and Agnes F. Vandome". They are called editors in the book listings. It seems the only content of the many books is free Wikipedia articles with no sign that these three people have contributed to them.

The articles are often poorly printed with features such as missing characters from foreign languages, and numerous images of arrows where Wikipedia had links. It appears much better to read the original articles for free at the Wikipedia website than paying a lot of money for what has been described as a scam or hoax. Advertising for the books at Amazon and elsewhere does not reveal the free source of all the content. It is only revealed inside the books which may satisfy the license requirements for republishing of Wikipedia articles.

As an example of the "care" given to the books, the book "History of Georgia (country)" is about the European country Georgia but has a cover image of Atlanta in the American state Georgia.[nan 2] The Wikipedia article History of Georgia (country) does not make such a comical blunder.

PrimeHunter has compiled a list of the 1009 titles identified in June.


Foundation secures typosquatting domains

After filing a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) in June, the Wikimedia Foundation was granted the domain names "" and "", which had been registered by a Californian online marketing company. The 7 August decision by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center found that both domains were "confusingly similar" to the Foundation's "Wikipedia" trademark, calling the second one "a classic example of typosquatting". Earlier this year, the Wikimedia Foundation had already obtained the domain "" under the UDRP.[1]

Wikimedia UK charity status

Two weeks ago the Signpost reported that the local UK chapter of Wikimedia had been denied charity tax status. Wikimedia UK is documenting the process of drafting a revised application for charity status. According to their website, while the initial decision found that "production of an encyclopaedia is not the charitable advancement of education", they expect a different outcome from their subsequent application directly to the UK's Charity Commission, which will address more specifically the educational goals of the chapter. The initial application was made to HM Revenue and Customs Charities Unit, because with annual income below £5,000 at the time, Wikimedia UK was ineligible to apply to the Charity Commission; since then, the chapter has been approved for a £5,000 grant from the Wikimedia Foundation.

New projects

The following new projects were opened this week:



+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.

what is happening in nepal ? why political leaders of nepal is playing with nepalese people ?

it is one of the small country but among the most beautiful country of the world . it can do better with its natural resources and its potentiallity. but the corrupted leaders made the situation worse and worse.

next time we should do some miracles to down these self centered corrupted so called 'netaas"

Sadly, I think this is beyond the capabilities of the Signpost writers to figure out. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 17:24, 16 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

PARC research

It is amusing to observe the amount of naivety coming from various "wikipedia scholars". Not mentioning past "breakthroughs" and "unresolved mysteries" of wikipedia", the slowdown of growth and high revert rate are easily explained by any serious wikipedia insider. The factors are:

  • all "low-hanging fruits" are gone
  • wikipedia policies, lax and indetermined in the beginning, had reasonably matured. Most notably the basic concepts of notability and verifiability set a much higher "entry barrier"
  • New tools like AWB and IRC feeds have made patrolling newpages and reverting garbage on the spot much easier.
If these guys, instead of playing wise asses and statistic gurus, consulted some seasoned wikipedians, they could have asked correct questions, drawn relevant data from appropriate corners, and reached meaningful conclusions. Everybody knows quite a few jokes about unreliability of statistics when it is based on false or poor presuppositions, starting with "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" up to How to Lie with Statistics. Laudak (talk) 17:25, 20 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0