In the news
Robson revisions, Rumble in the Knesset, and more
Australian television presenter Naomi Robson's manager Max Markson sparked a small edit war and press interest this week when he polished her article in anticipation of the launch of her online dating show. On 1 February, Mumbrella.com first connected several deletions in late January and February to User:Maxmarkson. Claiming that much content was "totally false and libelous", he removed copious unfavorable information, including the entire "Controversy" section and two-thirds of the article's citations (diff). User:Marksonsparks displayed similar behavior (diff) but was not named in the press. Markson expressed no remorse when Mumbrella contacted him for a follow-up article, saying "I'm doing my job", and clarifying elsewhere that that involves "being the good spin doctor and manager that I am". The article was temporarily protected for this and other unrelated IP vandalism.
Rumble in the Knesset
Several academics and Wikipedia contributors were invited to the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) on 2 February to mark the Hebrew Wikipedia's 100,000th article. Representatives of the Hebrew Wikipedia presented their achievements to the Science Committee of the Knesset. At the meeting there were also representatives of Creative Commons Israel, the Ministry of Education, and Israeli academics who use Wikipedia as an educational tool and improve its contents.
Committee chairman Meir Sheetrit was impressed by the possibilities of the Free Culture model and promised to draft a proposal to loosen the copyright restrictions on images, legal texts and educational materials produced by the Israeli government for the benefit of the public. A press release from the Israeli chapter of Wikimedia reported several supportive quotes from Sheetrit:
- "This is an absurd! The fact that pictures taken by governmental organizations are not available for general use is horrifying."
- "My dream was to seek that an encyclopedia in Hebrew shall be given to every child for free. In my days as the minister of education I worked to upload all books needed for school to the Internet. You are are fulfilling my dream, making information accessible for every child."
- "I greatly appreciate your work and support your cause of continuing expanding Wikipedia and the freedom of knowledge."
The Jerusalem Post documented that the group received both praise and criticism, and lobbied for the Israeli government to release more images.
- McGill University attendees have formed "Students Supporting Wikipedia", a club dedicated to editing and fundraising with projects such as poker tournaments, bake sales, and donation boxes. According to an interview with Wikimedia spokesman Jay Walsh, it is likely to be the first Wikipedia campus club.
- The Economic Times reported on 2 February that Wikipedia.in may open soon to increase penetration of the English Wikipedia in the large market of India.
- Jimbo Wales was interviewed by Goldcoast.com.au on 6 February.
- An excerpt of Jaron Lanier's book You Are Not a Gadget that focuses on Wikipedia, entitled "The Serfdom of Crowds" (requires subscription), appears in this month's issue of Harper's Magazine.
- In an interview titled "Why Wikipedia beats Wikinews as a collaborative journalism project", Andrew Lih (User:Fuzheado, a journalism professor and author of "The Wikipedia Revolution") offered explanations for the fact that Wikinews "hasn’t grown as quickly" and has "very much a lower profile than Wikipedia".
- Wikipedia was featured for a little over a second during Google's Super Bowl ad, which featured a French love story. Google's ad played during the third quarter, showing how a bi-continental love affair might play out with the help of Google searches. At one point, the search was for François Truffaut and yielded Wikipedia's article as No. 1 result. (At $3 million for a 30-second ad, this equates to $100,000 in free publicity for Wikipedia.)