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Wikipedians' surfing habits explored, Sloan Foundation renews $3M grant; brief news

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By Tom Morris, Jarry1250 and Saqib Qayyum

Wikipedians' surfing habits explored

On the Wikimedia Foundation's blog, results from the Editor Survey that ran in April 2011 were published this week. They show that Facebook is the most popular online activity of Wikimedians with the social networking sites beating other activities such as watching online videos, using instant messaging and tweeting. Indeed, 68% of Wikipedia editors use Facebook compared to only 30% who use Twitter, while only 18% of Wikipedia editors play online multi-player games including World of Warcraft and uptake of online games such as Farmville and Cityville is limited to the same percentage. 29% of editors blog, whilst only a slightly lower percentage (22%) say that they actively contribute to the development of open-source software (including, but not limited to, MediaWiki itself).

Sloan Foundation renews grant

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic funding institution, announced this week that it will award a grant of $3 million to the Wikimedia Foundation. This is the second grant of this amount awarded to the Wikimedia Foundation from the Sloan Foundation's Universal Access to Knowledge component of its Digital Information Technology program. The Sloan Foundation's first grant of $3 million, awarded in 2008 and with effect through to 2010, represents the largest single grant ever received by the Wikimedia Foundation. In announcing its renewal, the WMF described the previous grant as having enabled the Foundation to "grow its core operations to support and sustain Wikipedia as a high-quality free knowledge resource". The Wikimedia Foundation is "delighted to have received this vote of continued confidence in its work".

Speaking for the Sloan Foundation, Doron Weber said that "Wikipedia embodies the ideal values of the world wide web and we are proud to be part of this bold endeavor to use the wisdom and the altruism of the crowd to create the biggest, most up-to-date and most open global encyclopedia in human history", whilst the WMF are confident that the funds will help with "increasing Wikipedia's quality, increasing the number and demographic diversity of its editors, and reaching more readers, particularly in the global south".

Brief news

The English Wikipedia may have a declining number of active editors (blue) but the number of those involved in vandal fighting (red) is declining faster (logarithmic scale).


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==The grant==

This is not very clear: "a grant of million". It is US$1 million per year? For example, "a grant of US$1 million per year for the next three years". --Mortense (talk) 00:40, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Looks like Pretzel's script accidentally got rid of the "$3". I and others have restored it. (As I recall, it is $1 million/year for three years, but I couldn't source that when writing the article so left it out.) - Jarry1250 [Weasel? Discuss.] 09:27, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Wiki Loves Monuments

I am very sorry to see that a remark by Charles Matthews was included, while no chance was offered to the actual organizers to Respond. I did so now on the mailing list - this information was definitely available. effeietsanders 11:01, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Unfortunately it is very difficult to allow everyone to respond to every point made when running to a tight deadline (N&N does not have a regular writer, so things tend to be last minute). We tried to give a hint of balance, and, while he may not have been right, the In Brief note should be taken to show that he did not know that the information was available, not strictly speaking, that it wasn't available. I'm confident Signpost readers understand that, but even so, I have changed the wording slightly. Apologies for any confusion. - Jarry1250 [Weasel? Discuss.] 11:13, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I can imagine that this is the case, but when you choose to pick a quote from a non-participant it would be good to go through this extra effort. It might be helpful to actually link to the concept page on Wikimedia Commons that gives this clear description? Because of course it is possible to actually not be able to find information (there is so much out there and so little time to spend reading it), but if others would like to read this, they would be helped by finding it more easily. Thanks for your effort in changing it so far! effeietsanders 11:19, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
It would have been nice, I agree. Pretty sure I was going to come back to it (but then forgot to). Mea culpa.
I have added the concept link as general background. - Jarry1250 [Weasel? Discuss.] 11:41, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you. I have fixed the link btw. effeietsanders 11:50, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
As Charles was replying to my note, I think I should add some context here. A few months ago we had an upload of 80,000 UK images from the geograph project, and we still have over 48,000 images in the category commons:Category:Images_from_the_Geograph_British_Isles_project_needing_categories_by_grid_square So our priorities in the UK may be slightly different to those of our neighbours in Europe. Whatever the monument there is a good chance that we already have an image, but it may not have been categorised or considered for addition to articles in Wikipedia. So while we are delighted to have more pictures of monuments, at the moment it is probably more important that we digest that donation. ϢereSpielChequers 22:06, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Interesting, but congratulations on the geograph gift, which I didn't know about and which sounds fantastic! For clarity, I added UK and Italy to the list of participating countries as "notable exceptions" on WP:WLM. Jane (talk) 08:08, 22 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]


For the proper use of "less" and "fewer" - one of my (many) pet peeves. – ukexpat (talk) 15:17, 12 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Article Feedback

I think this is good, however I worry about how it might be abused. When looking at it on an article I was working on, Architecture of the Song Dynasty, I noticed that it had one rating, which was 1/1/1/1. The article is at nearly GA level. It has subsequently gotten a second rating, which mathmatically would have to have been a 5/5/5/5, since the average is now 3/3/3/3. At the very least, the 1/1/1/1 is not constructive. The 5/5/5/5 is probably also not constructive. If a few jerks go around giving everything 1/1/1/1 ratings, it'll skew any useful data that would have otherwise have come from the tool. Thoughts? Sven Manguard Wha? 02:36, 13 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Of course when there are more ratings, numbers will tend to average out. But there are mitigation measures for problematical ratings such as these: (a) don't display ratings until a certain minimal number (say, 5) have been done; (b) show a chart, not just a number, as Amazon and TripAdvisor do, so that outliers are visible; or, my preference, (c) discard the highest 10% and lowest 10% of ratings.
I also wonder if older ratings will be weighted less over time; it makes little sense, for example, to use older ratings if an article has doubled or tripled in length since such ratings were made, or - for that matter just been extensively edited and footnoted.-- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:39, 13 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

RfA information

I just added information about a successful candidate for adminship (this happened on July 6th). Ideally the "Brief News" part of News and Notes will have an item on RfAs every week, noting successful candidates and any RfAs in progress, or - if neither of these is the case - noting that there were no successful RfAs in the past week and that none were in progress at press time.

The larger issue is that there are no more and more weeks with no successful RfAs, and that fact may be less obvious than it should be if there is no mention whatsoever, in the Signpost, of what has or is happening with admins. (It would be even better if the number of active admins, and the change in that number, were noted each week, as the seeming inexorable shrinking of our community continues.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 18:25, 13 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]


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