Guardian: "Wikipedia wants more contributions from academics"
The Guardian published an article by Zoe Corbyn on the relationship between Wikipedia and academics. It featured an interview with User:Mike Peel, a postdoctoral researcher at Jodrell Bank Observatory and secretary of the Wikimedia UK chapter, as well as Dario Taraborelli (who last week was announced as the Wikimedia Foundation's "Senior Research Analyst, Strategy", having served as a contractor since December), Mark Graham from the Oxford Internet Institute, Paul Goldberg from the University of Liverpool, Suzie Sheehy from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Daniel Mietchen, the managing editor of Citizendium.
The story highlights the Expert participation in Wikipedia survey being conducted by Wikimedia Foundation Research Committee members Mietchen, Taraborelli and Dr Panagiota Alevizou. It was featured in a Slashdot story that has generated 384 comments as of April 4.
Jimmy Wales weighs in on Meredith Kercher article
An ongoing debate regarding the neutrality of the article Murder of Meredith Kercher came to a head recently with the intervention of Jimmy Wales, causing attention from outside the project from passionate advocates on both sides of what some believe to be a miscarriage of justice in a murder trial.
Kercher, a British university student, was killed in Perugia in Italy in 2007, and in 2009 two of her flatmates, Raffaele Sollecito and US citizen Amanda Knox, as well as a third person (Rudy Guede), were convicted of the murder. A movement of sorts has emerged who believe that Knox and Sollecito are innocent. They have been campaigning online through various blogs and other outlets and editing the Wikipedia article. On the other side, a campaign has started that argues that the convictions are sound (originating in part from the True Justice for Meredith Kercher website – also known as 'TJMK').
The controversy has gotten so heated on the talk page that the page is now semi-protected and has twenty-nine pages of archived discussion. Adding fuel to the fire is the perception that the split between the innocence and guilt advocates falls along national boundaries between the U.S. and Europe.
Joseph W Bishop, an advocate on the 'innocent' side, posted an Open Letter to Wikipedia Founder Jimbo Wales concerning the Murder of Meredith Kercher Article on the blog "Injustice in Perugia". The post alleged that the article
|for the most part relies on obsolete and inaccurate British tabloid reports for its information. The omission from the article of the criticism of the numerous important experts who have stated in no uncertain terms that Knox and Sollecito did not receive a fair trial calls into question the article’s neutrality. Other flaws in the article include false statements about luminol evidence, the de-emphasis of Rudy Guede and Giuliano Mignini’s criminal acts prior to the crime, and the characterization of the support for Ms. Knox as a PR campaign. Until recently, the article contained a fabricated claim that the Rudy Guede’s apartment had been purchased for him by a wealthy Perugian family.
Wales answered this with a long comment posted on the talk page on March 24 which attempted to show how the article could be made more neutral by carefully replacing the use of the word "testified"—which has the implication of being sworn testimony as in a courtroom—with words like "claimed", "maintained" and "said".
Wales also argued that the selection and placement of sources biases the article towards Knox and Sollecito's guilt by making it seem that the comments of Timothy Egan, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, have the same weight as the comments of the businessman and Apprentice host Donald Trump. Wales' other contributions include supporting a call for a review by uninvolved editors as part of the Good Articles review process, as well as weighing in on the notability of Amanda Knox and whether she should have an article created on her. Replying to allegations of hostility "to any potential editor who has a potential skepticism regarding the guilt of the accused", Wales questioned the block of an article contributor in September 2010 for block evasion: "I just now personally ran checkuser and found nothing". In response, it was pointed out that this observation was meaningless as the Checkuser data from the time of the block would have already expired.
Advocates of Knox and Sollecito's innocence have welcomed the intervention of Wales with Candance Dempsey, author of a book on the case and a blogger on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website, posting an article discussing Wales' intervention. Advocates of Knox and Sollecito's guilt have been less than happy with Wales' intervention. A Wikipedia editor posting on the True Justice for Meredith Kercher website said:
|Wales entered the Murder of Meredith Kercher article rather like an elephant in a china shop, essentially accusing established editors who had laboured for years to try and maintain the article of having conspired to suppress and censor other points of view.
|On the walls of his office were framed copies of Google search results and Wikipedia entries of clients: a reality television star, a movie actress and a chief executive officer. Mr. Tom calls it his “wall of fame.”
- Does Wikipedia's gender gap mean the end of feminism?: In the Washington Post's Opinion section, Alexandra Petri includes the lack of female editors at Wikipedia as one data point in arguing that "feminism is over", although it was posted on April Fool's.
- Wiki principles applied to management: Steve Denning in Forbes interviews Rod Collins, author of a book called Leadership in a Wiki World, about applying the principles of wikis and the Internet to management. Wikipedia is namechecked a few times: "hierarchical bureaucracies like the Encyclopedia Britannica can’t keep pace with collaborative communities like Wikipedia".
- April 1st: Network World included Wikipedia in their listing of April Fools Day tomfoolery this year. As did Syracuse.com. (See also this week's "News and notes": "Main page continues April non-fool tradition")
- High density of geotagged entries in Montana: A posting on Floatingsheep.org (a group blog by geography researchers) compared the density of Google Maps placemarks and geotagged Wikipedia articles per capita in all 48 continental US states, using cartograms. The researchers found various differences in coverage, most notably a very high density of geotagged Wikipedia entries in Montana, and solicited possible explanations: "We suspect it has to do with someone (or perhaps some automated bots) who were/are extremely dedicated to documenting EVERYTHING in Montana". User:Mike Cline from the Wikipedia:WikiProject Montana commented: "Gratifyingly, I suspect User:Mongo and myself are the culprits here. Our lists of places in Montana (rivers, lakes, mountains, mountain ranges, cemeterys, tunnels, waterfalls, rapids, etc.) are loaded with geolocations. I suspect 1000s if all the entries were tallied up. Additionally, many of the Montana expedition related articles have geolocations associated with many points along the route of the expedition. From my point of view, Montana is setting the example in WP."
- German Wikipedia and Wikipedians visualized: Deutsche Welle published various visualizations of the German Wikipedia's development during the past decade, also including daily activity curves (click "Tagesaktivität") for the most active German Wikipedians (diagrams that are discouraged on the Wikimedia Toolserver for privacy reasons). An English-language Q&A gives some background to the graphics, e.g. the choice of spiral (polar coordinate) plots to show seasonal variation in some parameters such as the number of new articles per day. Deutsche Welle also covered the recent Wikimedia Conference in Berlin (cf. last week's "News and notes"), focusing on Wikipedia's gender gap: "Few female editors on Wikipedia, study finds".
- Self-improvement by reading Featured articles: Lifehacker Australia recommended its readers to make it a daily habit to "Read Wikipedia’s Featured Articles To Increase Your Knowledge".
- Indian minister confuses Wikipedia and Wikileaks: The Indian newspaper The Financial Express reported that Veerappa Moily, the Minister of Law and Justice in India, criticised Wikileaks. Or Wikipedia. Or both. Either way, for the record, Wikipedia categorically denies being Wikileaks.
- More lessons from WMF's strategy process: On the blog of his consulting firm "Blue Oxen", Eugene Eric Kim (User:eekim) posted a detailed description of insights gained during the Wikimedia Foundation strategic planning process which he facilitated in 2009-10 (in reply to questions from participants in a webinar titled "Strategic Planning for Networks").
- Secretly controlling the internet: Former Wikimedia Chair Florence Devouard (User:Anthere) was described as one of "10 women who secretly control the Internet" by Themarysue.com (a website describing itself as "a guide to girl geek culture"), citing her involvement in the internationalization of Wikipedia and her putting together the structure of the Wikimedia Foundation (a topic she had reflected on in a French-language interview in February).