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ArbCom tally pending; Pediapress renderer; fundraiser update; unreferenced BLP drive

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By Tony1, Headbomb, Tilman Bayer, WereSpielChequers , Aude and Saqib Qayyum

Scrutineers at work in ArbCom election

Voting in the annual election of members of the Arbitration Committee has closed. The voting period saw the withdrawal of two candidates, Balloonman and FT2, and the community ban of another candidate, Loosmark. They will be included in the tally, but are ineligible for positions on ArbCom. Thus, 18 candidates are competing for a possible 12 seats.

The four independent scrutineers, all stewards based on WMF projects other than the English Wikipedia, have begun the task of enforcing and ruling on the validity of individual votes, and certifying the results of the election. The role of the scrutineers is outlined here. Their work is expected to take up to a week, after which they will post the tally on the election page. Jimbo Wales is expected to formally announce the appointments a few days after this.

A feedback page has been established for community comments on all aspects of the election process.

Access to the PediaPress renderer

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PDF, hardcovers, softcovers, color, black and white, books are now available in all combinations of options. As of publication, roughly 1450 Wikipedia books exist.

PediaPress, the print-on-demand partner of the Wikimedia Foundation, is now giving access to its PDF rendering servers for Wikipedia books. This would enable the community to review books for rendering errors and licensing issues, as well as layout problems. In the past, Wikipedians only had access to the "Download PDF" function, which used the PDF renderer from the Wikipedia servers.

There are two main differences between the renderers. On Wikipedia, PDFs are downloaded several tens of thousands of times per day for at-home printing. Because of these constraints, these PDFs are optimized for A4 paper size and for rendering speed. However, the PediaPress renderer has a much lower workload, as it is only used for printed books. It is also optimized for A5 paper and rendering quality.

To get access to the PediaPress render, see Help:Books/PediaPress PDF rendering for details. As usual, any rendering errors or feature requests can be reported at Help:Books/Feedback, or on the PediaPress ticket tracker. For more information on Wikipedia books, see Help:Books or Wikipedia:Books. Users interested in creating and maintaining Wikipedia Books can join Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedia-Books.

Fundraiser moves from founder to editor appeals

Banner featuring Jimbo Wales, frequently used in recent weeks
Portraits of Lilaroja, 22Kartika and Joan, as used in the fundraising banners
Banner featuring Lilaroja
Banner by User:Ragesoss

See also The Signpost's full background report on the annual fundraiser: "November 15 launch, emphasis on banner optimization and community involvement"

The annual Wikimedia fundraiser reached slightly more than $6.5 million in donations to the Foundation on December 5, according to the official Fundraiser Statistics page – corresponding to about one million donated during the third week after the fundraiser's official launch on November 15, considerably less than in earlier weeks. As indicated by Philippe Beaudette, the head of the Foundation's fundraising team, such a slowdown had been expected from the beginning and the campaign was moving into different phases. While the graphic banners featuring Jimmy Wales' personal appeal (which had generated numerous parodies across the Internet - see last week's "In the news" - and a kind of "Jimmy fatigue") were still displayed to Wikipedia users in most of the world last week, in the United States of America readers were seeing more and more banners featuring personal appeals from various different Wikimedians instead.

Beaudette explained that the following phase of the fundraiser would see "a campaign update, probably from Sue, with the introduction of a graphical thermometer treatment" (a graphic displaying the amount of donations so far as a portion of the $16 million fundraiser goal, similar to those used in previous fundraisers).

Most of the editors banners featured participants of this year's Wikimania in Gdansk, where the Foundation had invited volunteers to participate in video testimonials. The first personal appeal to be tested was that of 22Kartika, an Indonesian Wikipedian who had attended the conference as the winner of the Indonesian chapter's "Free Your Knowledge 2010" writing contest (see also brief news). One version of her letter featured the tagline "If you have knowledge, you must share it". (However, elsewhere the Indonesian chapter quoted her with critical remarks about Wikipedia, stating she was "not interested to [become] involved socially in Wikipedia, since she thinks 'there are many weird people'.")

She was followed by Joan Gomà, from Barcelona, Catalonia (example letter), Lilaroja, likewise from Spain (example letter), and later others ([1][2][3][4][5][6]).

Media coverage and Internet humor

The changed banners received some positive media coverage - one writer asked himself "why was Joan so much more successful in getting my money that Jimmy was?" Seth Godin interpreted them as a message of "You own Wikipedia".

Parodies and critical coverage of the Jimmy Wales banners continued in the meantime. Know Your Meme is currently evaluating the status of Please Read: A Personal Appeal From X Founder Y as an Internet meme. (Example with X=WikiLeaks, Y=Julian Assange; see last week's coverage for several earlier examples.) Tim Hwang (himself a founder of ROFLcon) decorated his apartment with a version of one of the fundraising banners [7][8]. Business Insider asked "What's With The Huge Jimmy Wales Ads On Wikipedia? Wouldn't BMW Ads Be Better?"

An infographic titled "the science behind Wikipedia's Jimmy appeal" on the "Information Is Beautiful" blog by David McCandless, purporting to demonstrate the banner testing results that had shown the effectiveness of the graphical banners featuring Jimmy Wales, was widely circulated in recent weeks. However, in a posting on his website ("Another beautiful infographic with glaring errors goes viral"), Gert K. Nielsen compared it against its source data from Wikimedia and found several serious errors in the visualization, concluding: "The story is correct. The Jimmy-appeal is a lot more effective than the text-based ads. But the visualization is not showing why and how." - Some months ago, an earlier Wikipedia-themed infographic by McCandless had likewise been shown (by User:WWB) to contain serious errors, see Signpost coverage.


In countries where there are Wikimedia chapters that can accept donations on their own behalf, these chapters control the content of the landing pages. Beaudette voiced some frustration on the lack of different language versions of these pages in some countries, likely causing a loss of donations there from readers of projects that are not in the country's main language.

The German chapter had collected more than one million Euros in donation as of December 6. In related news, the controversy in the German chapter about the process by which a new nonprofit corporation had been created to meet the demands of the fundraising agreement (Signpost coverage) has recently led to 66 members expressing their distrust in the chapter's board's handling of the issue, reaching the necessary quorum to request an out-of-schedule member convention, to possibly displace the current leadership.

Olympics and Africa star in uBLP drive

New figures have been published showing the success or otherwise of over 600 Wikiprojects at reducing their unreferenced Biographies of Living People in the five weeks to 4 December.

The net decrease was of 2,853 articles or 12.5% in just five weeks; obviously the total number of articles dealt with was far greater, as more are found or created all the time.

The biggest success amongst the WikiProjects for this five weeks was Olympics which reduced its backlog from 496 to 77, but honourable mention must be made of reggae with a 65% reduction, and Africa with nearly 60%.

WikiProjects which still have over 100 unreferenced BLPS are as diverse as Philosophy, Boxing, Israel and Beauty Pageants. Even MILHIST has a gross.

Disclaimer. Figures can go up as well as down, and major drops or increases can relate to random factors such as which categories are being trawled for uBLPS and whether an inordinate number of your uBLPs were created in the months most recently cleared by the Wikipedia:Unreferenced BLP Rescue team.

For the full set of figures and to check how your WikiProject is doing, go to Wikipedia:WikiProject Unreferenced Biographies of Living Persons/WikiProjects. Thanks to User:The-Pope for compiling the figures.


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I actually LIKE the ad banners that we've put out, even the ones with Jimbo. The only problem is in the Jimbo banner above, where he looks like John Travolta. Smallbones (talk) 16:02, 7 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Why do only US folks get the new banners? Bawolff (talk) 18:12, 7 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

A friend of mine pointed out that, on the banners, editors are called "authors", a term avoided on Wikipedia since the beginning. He felt that this was "ironic". My question has been, for some time, why do we need so much money? Why should the staff increase so much? I'd rather that Wikipedia stay lean and mean and not depend on such massive fundraising, but maybe I'm naive. -- Ssilvers (talk) 18:17, 7 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

The software and hardware needs to be faster. We need a data center somewhere other than Florida especially with rising sea leaves. We need pending changes to work. Money needs to be put aside for a rainy day. $16 million is not that much to run a 50 person corporation. Expecially one based in San Francisco. If Wikimedia is able to raise this all the power too them. It will be good for the project aswell. A million does not go as far as it used too. Expecially with the falling value of the American dollar. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:39, 9 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

A bigger issue may be whether 'wikipedia author' is the best description for someone who's edits are so few (note this doesn't mean the person contributions aren't valued). Nil Einne (talk) 02:08, 10 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]


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