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Pending changes goes live, first state-funded Wikipedia project concludes, brief news

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By Phoebe, Tilman Bayer and Jarry1250

Please note that:

  1. This is only a trial and will need community consensus to be continued after that.
  2. Edits by autoconfirmed users are automatically approved except in some rare cases.
  3. The ability to review other users' edits is going to be granted liberally using automatically generated database reports.
  4. The editing process has not changed. An edit cannot be "rejected", besides being reverted as usual.
  5. Pending changes may be applied only in the same circumstances as usual protection, as determined by the protection policy, and will be limited to 2000 articles for the trial.

Pending changes goes live

The trial of the new pending changes system (see last week's Signpost coverage) will go live at 11pm UTC on June 15 (accompanying notes illustrated); the technical infrastructure was put in place on June 14 and will be switched on to start the trial. Details about the trial are available here.

A new help page, still in the process of being perfected, is here. Some diagrams explaining the terminology are here. Policy related to the new feature is described at Wikipedia:Pending changes.

The announcement on the Foundation's blog tried to dispel possible assumptions that the feature represented a move towards tighter editorial control on Wikipedia, emphasizing its potential to replace existing page protection instead:

Over the next few days, English language Wikipedia users may notice a small change on some articles: a little magnifying glass where a lock once was. The icon, on the upper right corner of the article, represents an important step that Wikipedia volunteers have taken to open up articles that were previously protected from editing.

See also the Signpost's backgrounder on the history of the extension (An extended look at how we got to flagged protection and patrolled revisions, August 2009) and other Signpost coverage dating back to 2006. This week's In the news notes some early media coverage published hours before the projected start of the trial. For a technical perspective on the upgrades, see this week's technology report.

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More articles

First state-funded Wikipedia project concludes after three years

Rapeseed field (illustration from the German Wikipedia's article on renewable resources)
Wood-plastic composite (illustration from one of the Nawaro project's articles)

The very first publicly funded project to improve Wikipedia articles concluded recently on the German Wikipedia. It had been started three years ago with the goals of improving coverage of renewable resources (in German: "nachwachsende Rohstoffe", abbreviated "Nawaro") and recruiting external experts to contribute to Wikipedia. Due to its pioneering character, it received a fair amount of attention by international media at the time (see also 2007 Signpost coverage).

The project was funded by the Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR), a government agency concerned with renewable resources, with means from the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV). It was directed by the private-sector Nova-Institut. The German Wikimedia Chapter was a partner in the project.

Two longtime Wikipedians who had been employed in connection with the project, Achim Raschka and Denis Barthel, recently published a wrap-up in the Kurier (the Signpost's sister publication in the German Wikipedia). They concluded that the goal to improve content had been fully met – all in all, 557 articles were edited over the course of the project, 434 of which were started or substantially expanded by it. They expressed some disappointment regarding the goal of recruiting external experts as Wikipedia contributors: Although there had been considerable interest and much effort had been made to support such experts, few sustained contributions resulted. (To compensate, in 2009 members of Nova-Institut's own team became involved more directly in editing.) On the other hand, the project was very successful in motivating the German Wikipedia community: Two "Nawaro-Marathon" article drives were well attended, and the "WikiProjekt" founded at the start of the initiative is expected to remain active.

The FNR's total budget for the project seems not to have been published, but Wikimedia Deutschland, which employed a Wikipedian (Barthel) during the time – tasked with interfacing between the experts and the community and with assisting new authors – recorded 35,248.80 Euro in expenditure with respect to Nawaro in its 2007–2009 annual reports, in essence covered by project funds[1]. At Nova-Institut, several employees were involved in the project, including Raschka.


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  • I should point out that as of this moment, the "Pending changes" people are "still trying to finalize our go/no-go decision for launching on, which depends on how broken things are on the other wikis (like". A delay may be called for. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 20:59, 15 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
23:26 AaronSchulz: enabled Pending Changes on enwiki
Regards, HaeB (talk) 23:51, 15 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
And the very first action in the log is
23:25, 15 June 2010 MuZemike (talk | contribs) configured pending changes settings for RuneScape [Accept: require "autoconfirmed" permission] ‎ (Pending changes trial) (hist)
...apparently some clocks are not exactly synchronous (or rounded differently).
Regards, HaeB (talk) 00:01, 16 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • We thought only a few pages would be protected. We currently have nearly 500 on indefinite semi alone (and the couple of dozen I reviewed today were mostly historical problems). Let us hoper that "Pending changes" replaces most of the semi and full protection, rather than adds lvels of complexity and barriers to editing to what is already a falling editorship, we are told. Rich Farmbrough, 23:21, 15 June 2010 (UTC).[reply]


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