In March 2009, a new extension was enabled on the English Wikipedia: the abuse filter (see previous Signpost coverage). However, at least on the English Wikipedia it was soon renamed as the Edit filter to avoid implicitly labelling edits that are merely incorrect as "abuse". The form of the filter has remained largely unchanged. The broad power it offered to deal conclusively with whole patterns of vandalism at once was very appealing to administrators on a number of projects: since March 2009, another 65 wikis have asked for the extension to be enabled for their community. Now the service is to be enabled by default for Wikimedia wikis, the Foundation has announced, extending it to all 843 wikis under the Foundation's guidance (WMF blog).
The move is primarily designed to free up the time of developers, who have otherwise had to process the dozens of access requests separately, and the time of local admins, who no longer have to wait for it to be deployed (foundation-l mailing list). Reaction to the announcement has been mixed: several users (MZMcBride, Nemo, wjhonson) expressed concern that, in its present state, the extension may allow rouge admins on smaller wikis to quietly silence alternative points of view to their own in content disputes. The issue of terminology was also raised; MZMcBride favoured a global rename of the extension's language along the lines of that already used on the English Wikipedia to avoid stigmatising users. There has also been support for the Foundation's decision, however. Commenting on the news, User:NawlinWiki said that the edit filter was a success story, helping to "stop certain types of pattern vandalism that were previously very difficult to deal with". With regard to the learning curve faced by operators on other wikis, he pointed to the ability to copy filters between wikis, allowing other communities to benefit from the experiences of major wikis such as the English Wikipedia.
Since the extension comes with no filters by default, there will be no immediate noticeable difference. In addition to the filtering of edits, the extension is also responsible for tagging edits.
Wikimedia Foundation report for July published
The Wikimedia Foundation's report for July has been published on meta-wiki. It reports that visitor numbers are down compared to earlier in the year, but still exceed figures from the same period last year, whilst both income and expenditure were higher than expected for various reasons, including the rescheduling of grant payments. The report also confirms that the Foundation has been struggling to hire new employees at the rate it had intended to; the Foundation's human resources department put this down to its focus on quality, and said that it would "need to stay focused and engaged to make [its] target of 40 more hires".
The report also draws together the activity of the Foundation's many other sub-departments, much of which was reported during July by The Signpost (which is itself linked in the report), such as the month's Engineering Report and Wikimedia's defence of its trademark in a recent WIPO case, described in the report as a "strong [decision], useful in future challenges". Also mentioned is a new, Foundation-sponsored "student clubs" project, which the report describes as a success: there has "already [been] much uptake in clubs forming virally throughout the world". The Foundation is now working on drawing up a model agreement on trademark usage and template materials for potential student groups.
Only 8% of respondents were women and women contributors generally had a lower number of edits, but the number of women editors is growing and the number of women reporting issues with stalking and other negative behavior is only 5% of the total number of women editors. There is plenty of good news: editors that get positive feedback tend to edit more, and editors report getting more positive than negative feedback. Interestingly, over half of contributors edit Wikipedias in more than one language and 72% of contributors read Wikipedia in more than one language.
The report touches on the growing importance of mobile access to Wikipedia with high numbers of people reporting having a mobile phone (84%), but significantly, only 38% have a smartphone.
Steward elections seek candidates: Nominations remain open in the second steward elections of 2011 but will close by September 8. Because of the departure of Cary Bass as Volunteer Coordinator, stewards will have to organize the whole election themselves, with input from the Foundation's Head of Reader Relations, Philippe Beaudette. The Board of Trustees decided that this time they will abstain from confirming the result of the new elections. As a result, stewards decided to create an Election Committee consisting of volunteers for closing the second steward election in 2011, certifying the outcome of the elections, after all votes cast in all candidatures were verified for eligibility; and appointing the elected candidates.
Wikimedia District of Columbia: The WMF Chapters committee has signalled its approval of the request of The Wiki Society of Washington, DC Inc. to become Wikimedia's latest chapter. The committee's motion, passed on 22 August with 8 votes in support and 2 in opposition, officially refers the request for interim use of Wikimedia trademarks, including the name Wikimedia District of Columbia, to the WMF Board of Trustees for final approval.
A number of other wikis also reached milestone user number totals. For example, the Swahili Wikipedia has reached 10,000 registered users, double the number reported by The New York Times in January of last year in a report on the Google-assisted efforts at developing the project. Also passing milestones were the Burmese Wikipedia, the Waray-Waray Wikipedia, and the Kazakh Wikipedia, who all also surpassed 10,000 registered users this month.