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Faulty story urges for advertising on Wikipedia; brief news

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By Guoguo12, Shoy, Tilman Bayer, Sage Ross

Jimmy Wales responds to urge for advertising on Wikipedia

A December 15 article by Digital Trends contributor Molly McHugh entitled Analysts advise Wikipedia to stop asking for donations aroused an email reply from Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales after the article urged Wikipedia to switch to advertising for funding, rather than rely on donations. According to the article, the currently ongoing fundraiser "is approximately $7 million short" of its goal. Alex Konanykhin stepped in offering a solution:

"We believe that boycotting fundraising efforts of Wikipedia might compel it to raise billions via advertising and develop content of significantly better quality. Qualified contributors may and shall be compensated for their time."

Konanykhin is the founder of WikiExperts, a business centered around creating Wikipedia articles for companies, which represents a classic example of a conflict of interest. WikiExperts also offers a "24/7 monitoring and repair service", claiming, "Your Wikipedia presence is completely safe, if you entrust it to us". His quoted statement was made in a press release by WikiExperts. The presence of the site has been discussed on Foundation-l and on the Administrators' noticeboard recently, but discussion has been inconclusive. "Why are we helping to promote this service by advertising here?", asked Jehochman. "Just apply WP:DENY for best results."

Wales' reply pointed out a few mistakes in the calculations in the Digital Trends article regarding 2009 fundraising statistics. Wales strongly denied the allegations, reported by McHugh, that Wales had offered to accept funds in return for Wikipedia page edits in 2008 (see Signpost coverage). "Even when I travel for Wikimedia Foundation board meetings, I pay for my own accommodations and travel", declared Wales. "That claim is absolutely and completely false from top to bottom."


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  • [Posting as requested.] I removed the spans that transformed external links into what appeared to be internal links. Since that has been reverted, and I've been asked to comment on my changes, here goes: (1) Although I obviously may have missed this in prior Signpost articles, my impression is that this is something new; (2) the distinction between internal and external links is an important one. Removing the indication that a link is external does "clean up" the link slightly (by one character), but is misleading - for example, at the moment, clicking on what appears to be the link to a Wikipedia article about WikiExperts instead takes the reader to the WikiExperts website; (3) We're showing people that it's easy to disguise external links as internal ones, a bad precedent for articles. In short, I don't see what the advantages of this sort of spanning is, and I think there are clear disadvantages (including consistency with Signpost articles written by different people, and just the additional work). -- John Broughton (♫♫) 21:34, 21 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • With regard to the reverting of the changes I made to verb tenses (to make the article consistent), I believe the norm (see WP:REV, for example) is that "if only part of an edit is problematic then consider modifying only that part instead of reverting the whole edit". If there is in fact a problem with those changes, I'd like to know what they are; otherwise, I'd like them put back. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 21:34, 21 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]
(1) The fact that something is new is no argument for not doing it. (2) They are different colours. (3) Who said anyone is trying to "disguise" external links as internal? (4) The advantage is that the text is not strewn with disruptive arrow icons. External links are discouraged in the main text of normal WP articles (and the disruptiveness of the large arrows is per se a good enough reason for that discouragement); these icons are not an issue there because they almost entirely occur in a list at the bottom of an article, not several per line in the flow of the main text. Signpost articles need to link to many external sites in the body of their text. It is ugly and intrusive in that context. Where is the inconsistency in this usage? Tony (talk) 00:56, 22 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]
At first I couldn't figure out where the link to the Independent interview was because the external link looked like an internal one. Usability is much more important than prettiness. -- Jeandré, 2010-12-22t12:43z
Not so much making the text "pretty" as removing ugly streams of those thick arrow icons from the flow of the text. It's a matter of readability (and accessibility) when, in the unusual circumstances of Signpost stories, the main text itself contains external links. These arrow icons are fine in lists of external links at the bottom of WP articles, but were not designed for large-scale inclusion in the main text (which is necessary in In the news). Where else would the link to the interview be but in the first two words—"An interview"—which are in the usual much lighter blue than the internal links. "An interview" would not normally be internally linked. Tony (talk) 13:34, 22 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]
The external link text was "The Independent" before I changed it to "An interview". I was reading it on a mobile phone, and the EL arrow icons make it much easier to figure out ELs, even when poorly placed. I would much prefer ELs to have the arrow icons. Also, on laptops the slight difference in colors aren't always easy to distinguish. -- Jeandré, 2010-12-23t11:29z
To John Broughton concerning the present tense: the writer had already used the present tense for reporting what Wales said, which is common in journalism: "discusses", "identifies", "restates". It would be a jolt for the readers to write "revealed". To use the past tense for the last mental verb, "intends", would mean that he no longer intends to move to London, but did at the time of the interview. Do you not agree? Tony (talk) 13:39, 22 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Tony - the corrections I made included a number that weren't related to verb tense; again, by reverting everything, you ignored these: (a) in the "French user study" item, adding a comma after the first link [fixing a run-on sentence]; (b) in "Quality not quantity", adding a verb to the first sentence so that it actually was a complete sentence and not just a noun clause; (c) in that same item, I changed "fixation" (used by the newspaper journalist, but not in quotation marks in this Wikipedia article, so it appears to be what you thought) to "interest". Regarding tenses, I fail to see how my wording, Wales also said he intended to settle in London in the future, could possibly be read as as Wales no longer intending to move. And as far as journalism norms go, I'll repeat that the changes I made are consistent with the rest of the article, which included (limiting myself to just a few items immediately preceeding that pertaining to Wales) "described", "found", "mused", "reviewed", "asked", "observed", and "asked". Obviously journalism norms also allow such verbs, in the past tense, and I see no reason to switch tenses, back and forth, on the same page. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:48, 22 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]
John, I looked through quickly and saw things I didn't like (the "which ... which", the misplaced apostrophe in "Wale's". I've redone some of your suggestions, including a change to past tense in the section at issue. Sorry I missed these. Tony (talk) 03:11, 23 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]


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