From the editors
250th issue of the Signpost
Volume 5, Issue 49 marks the 250th issue of The Wikipedia Signpost. It's been an incredible honor to work with the talented group of Signpost editors this year, and I think that the enduring interest of readers and editors is powerful testimony (even without Erik Zachte's recent statistical demonstration) that the Wikipedia community remains strong. I offer my sincerest thanks to everyone—readers, writers, commenters, suggesters—who has participated in the Signpost over the past five years.
- - Sage Ross
It seems incredible that it's been 250 issues. I started publishing the Signpost for Issue 32 in August 2005, after editor and founder Michael Snow took a brief break. Over the three-plus years that I was editor, I worked with a number of incredible Wikipedians. I want to thank a few of them (and this is by no means an exhaustive list, nor does it cover the many people who have helped since I left last December):
- Flcelloguy wrote many articles throughout 2005 and 2006, including "Features and admins" and special reports on the 2005 Arbitration Committee elections and the 2006 Board elections. He helped me out immensely at a time when I didn't really know what I was doing. He was elected to the Arbitration Committee in December 2006, and left Wikipedia shortly therafter; wherever you are, I hope you're doing well.
- Catherine Munro handled "In the news", and acted as the "mom" who kept us in check.
- David Mestel wrote the Arbitration Report. I was a bit reluctant to give up writing the column myself, but David did a brilliant job, and improved the format of the column by explaining more about each case.
- RoyBoy wrote "Features and admins", and was the first candidate I nominated for adminship. (As an aside, he passed with just 18 support votes - an interesting note for those who are concerned about the size of the Wikimedia community.)
- Ian Manka wrote "Features and admins" and the "Interwiki report", a great feature where we allowed users from other language Wikipedias, and from other projects such as Wiktionary, to talk about their particular project.
- Trödel wrote "In the news", and was a joy to work with. He also helped mentor a few users who were interested in helping out with the Signpost.
- Arknascar44 wrote many of our WikiProject reports, which were among my favorite columns.
- OhanaUnited wrote "Features and admins", and continues to contribute to the Signpost occasionally.
- The Placebo Effect wrote "Features and admins", and helped with the short-lived Wikipedia tutorial series.
- Simetrical helped with the Technology Report. I started the feature about a year into my tenure, but my lack of experience with MediaWiki made me a poor candidate for writing it permanently. Simetrical explained many of the new features and bug fixes that were introduced weekly.
- ais523 also helped with the Technology Report regularly.
- Enoch Lau wrote "In the news" for about a year, and also helped with the tutorial series.
- Phoebe helped report on Wikimania, a subject which we had not covered very well prior to her assistance.
- Greg Williams had a brilliant idea - to circulate a comic strip about the more unusual Wikipedia articles. Unfortunately, the strip never caught on outside Wikipedia, but his work was definitely appreciated by readers.
- Michael Snow, who worked with me for a few years before he left for a bit more prestigious position as a member (and now Chair) of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. In addition to his great writing (which I missed greatly when he left), he was a frequent source of wisdom. As editor, I frequently had to decide how we should cover particularly delicate situations, and Michael always gave me great advice.
- And, of course, Sage Ross, who is a great writer, and has served as an excellent editor over the last year. When in doubt, I turned to Sage just as I turned to Michael before him, and Sage always gave me – well, sage advice. I consider them both among my greatest friends.
Throughout my time within the Wikimedia community, I've seen numerous editors come and go. Just looking at a list of Signpost contributors first published in our 200th issue, I see so many names of friends and colleagues who no longer contribute regularly to Wikipedia. And my name is among them; I rarely edit the encyclopedia anymore (although I do moderate the foundation-l mailing list). But this doesn't mean that Wikipedia is dying. Like every other community, Wikipedia editors come and go regularly. Sure, some move on because they are disillusioned, or have a grievance with another community member. But the vast majority of those who leave are simply moving on to other things - something that is only natural in an environment like Wikipedia's.
While I miss working with you, my friends, who continue to edit, and I missed working with the colleagues who left before me, Wikipedia continues to move forward. The encyclopedia is stronger than it has ever been, and the Signpost is as well. I look forward to seeing the 500th issue in 2014. In the five years to come, know that whether you continue to edit Wikipedia, or whether you move on to bigger and better things, that your work is appreciated, and hopefully you've made a few friends along the way.
Thanks for reading the Signpost.
- - Ral315