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By Resident Mario and Tilman Bayer

Straw poll begins after end of "pending changes" trial

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More articles

The two-month trial of pending changes is now over. (See also earlier Signpost coverage: "Pending changes" trial to start on June 14, Pending changes goes live) Pending changes makes use of the FlaggedRevs extension to add a new kind of protection to articles, allowing them to be edited as usual but displaying to readers only the most recent version edited or confirmed by a trusted user. Flagged revisions was praised by some users as a way to guard against vandalism on high-profile articles, and criticized by others as a contradiction of Wikipedia's "open editing" model.

A straw poll is ongoing to decide whether the feature should be disabled, retained in its current form (in which 1409 pages have received protection), gradually added to a limit of 10k articles in the mainspace, or expanded to include all Biographies of living people (BLP) articles, an area notorious for the impact vandalism has beyond Wikipedia. As of 15:56 (UTC), 24 August 2010, there are 197 votes to keep and 111 votes to close, approximately a 65/35 ratio. Because the three support groups have been put under one section, consensus is not entirely clear; Sceptre has suggested that the poll be restarted, and that a preferential voting system be used instead. In addition, Us441 has suggested at the village pump that all Featured articles be placed on Pending changes.

A detailed preliminary analysis of the trial's impact can be found here. One of the stated goals of Pending changes is to open up semi-protected pages to editing by anons, but data indicates 84% of the articles under pending changes received an average of less than one anon edit daily. On the other hand, the most heavily edited pages under Pending changes have had over 50% of their anon edits reverted; the highest article by revert rate, Alvin Greene, stands at 88%. In addition a working summary of the pros and cons of the system can be found on the closure page.

Group picture of the first generation of Campus Ambassadors

Public policy initiative announces participating classes

The Wikimedia Foundation's Public Policy Initiative has announced the names of the universities participating in its pilot program to bring Wikipedia editing into public policy classes. The initiative is a project aiming to include Wikipedia editing in the college classroom environment (see earlier Signpost article: Introducing the Public Policy Initiative). Five US universities are included in the trial:

The "Wikipedia Ambassador" logo

As part of the program, Campus Ambassadors have been selected to facilitate the courses (see earlier Signpost coverage). The initiative is still recruiting more Online Ambassadors, which are being coordinated by Sage Ross.

In related news, students at the University of Michigan have formed the first Wikipedia student club in the US (as mentioned in last week's Signpost). Started by Cheryl Moy, a chemistry major, the club has already reached 25 members, according to a post on the Foundation's blog. Although it is the first Wikipedia club in the US, it is not the first Wikipedia club ever created; a McGill University club was formed last year in Canada, and students at James Madison University in Virginia are in the process of forming their own group as well. Several free culture groups already exist in various universities.

German Wikipedia debates payment schemes

Has earned its photographer 2.50 euros ($3.20) in Flattr donations so far: Close-up of an elephant's eye

The German Wikipedia recently discussed ideas for using the "social payment" system Flattr to enable readers to donate to Wikipedia authors, or to Wikimedia.

Flattr is a start-up co-founded earlier this year by Peter Sunde (known for his involvement with filesharing site The Pirate Bay). Web surfers can open an account and load it with a fixed monthly amount, which is distributed at the end of each month among those of the participating sites where the surfer has chosen to reward pages by clicking on the embedded Flattr buttons. So far, it is most widespread in Germany, where it is used by many high-profile blogs and on the web sites of two daily newspapers – one of them, die tageszeitung, earned €1420 via Flattr in July. Since this month, Flattr is also being used by Wikileaks. Similar micro-donation systems include Kachingle.

In April, a simple MediaWiki extension was written that allows the embedding of Flattr buttons on sites running MediaWiki. It does not appear to be in use on any Wikimedia Foundation wiki. However, instead of the one-click donation via the embedded button, it is also possible to donate on a corresponding page on the Flattr site, which can be linked using a normal weblink.

On Wikimedia Commons, such Flattr links have already appeared on image description pages, inviting a donation to the photographer of the image. Two of them were added in June [1][2] by AlexanderKlink (after he had asked on the Village pump whether the community would find this acceptable and had received no objections). He told The Signpost that the more popular of the two photos had received 9 Flattr clicks in June, corresponding to €2 in earnings, and 3 clicks in July resulting in €0.50. However, he noted that a large proportion of the clicks appeared to have come from the Flattr site itself (which displays a list of flattr-able web pages), rather than from the Flattr link on Commons.

On August 1, Mathias Schindler (a project manager at Wikimedia Deutschland) published some "unsorted observations" (in German) on his private blog, musing the idea of having a Flattr button in every Wikipedia article. He listed several issues that would arise, among them:

A straw poll started on the German Wikipedia on August 16 to evaluate support for two proposals, both of which tried to avoid the "collaboration" issue:

  1. Enabling Flattr buttons on user pages, such that surfers could decide to reward a particular author
  2. Enabling Flattr buttons in articles, for donations to the WMF

After one week, a large majority has voted against both proposals.

In 2008 and 2009, the German Wikipedia saw prolonged debates about the possible use of a different system for a financial remuneration of authors. In 2007, the German collecting society VG Wort had set up a system called "METIS" to pay royalties to authors of web pages. The money – an estimated €15 million in 2008 – comes from fees imposed on the sale of CD and DVD burners in Germany. The rationale for including web pages is that, according to consumer surveys, around half of the copyrighted texts that are copied using these devices have been downloaded from the Internet. To be eligible, the web page has to be registered with METIS and usually needs to carry a web bug from their server (the payments are based on page impressions). METIS had indicated that the system might include the German Wikipedia, too; its free license notwithstanding (apparently it is assumed that enough copies would not satisfy the terms of the GFDL/CC-BY-SA 3.0. The latter's "legal code" contains clauses about "non-waivable" and "waivable" compulsory license schemes). The German Wikimedia chapter was in contact with METIS, but stated that some legal issues required evaluation and a commmunity decision would be needed after that. Several German Wikipedians advocated using METIS, but others objected, often on the grounds that a fair distribution between authors and non-authors – such as those doing administrative work or software development – would be difficult.


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Pending changes

Out of curiosity, I checked what "data indicates 84% of the articles under pending changes recieved an average of less than one anon edit daily." means. Assuming 1 anon edit daily (so an upper limit), with 1,393 articles under pending changes this gives ~500,000 edits a year by anonymous editors. Even halving that number (average of 0.5 edits per day), hence a quarter of a million, that's still an awful lot of edits... Mike Peel (talk) 19:57, 24 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Thats a very good point actually. However, articles included under the program are constantly monitered by vandal hunters, since they are the most visible articles, and less then one anon edit daily, sometimes not even vandalism, isn't much. ResMar 21:22, 24 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I think the pending changes would perhaps free up the vandal patrollers to clear other backlogs. Stifle (talk) 08:07, 25 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]
No, it wouldn't. All it would do is shift it off to other vandal patrollers. —Jeremy (v^_^v Dittobori) 22:37, 28 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

How exactly does pending changes interact with transcluded content? If pcp was applied to a template, would subsequent edits to that template have to be approved before they would be visible in transclusions? ダイノガイ千?!? · Talk⇒Dinoguy1000 20:56, 24 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Alternatively, if PCP was applied to a template, would it make the parser hallucinate? =) ダイノガイ千?!? · Talk⇒Dinoguy1000 00:11, 25 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

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