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Arabic Wikipedia gets video intros, Smithsonian gifts images, and WikiProject Conservatism scrutinized

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By Jorgenev, Ciphers, Skomorokh and SMasters

Introductory videos to encourage Arabic Wikipedia contributions

The national program for digital content in Saudia Arabia, which was initiated by KACST, a Saudi scientific institution, produced three short videos covering an introduction to Arabic Wikipedia, how to edit an article, and how to create a new article, at lengths of 2:58, 5:03, and 3:36 minutes, respectively.

The videos, directed by Alaa Maktoum and Fuad Al-Hatlan, were produced with attractive graphics effects along with narration in Arabic, with the aim of encouraging more contributions to the Arabic Wikipedia. Arabic has hundreds of millions of native speakers and spans more than a dozen countries, underscoring the importance of this Wikimedia Foundation project.

The videos have been advertised on the top banner of the Arabic Wikipedia for the past two weeks, and have attracted more than 60,000 viewers on YouTube. The three videos were also uploaded on Commons, and are planned to be included within the welcome message for new registered users.

Smithsonian Institution's first donation to Commons

The Smithsonian Castle doorway at the Institution's headquarters. The Smithsonian is a leading American cultural organisation, established by Congress in 1846 as an independent body.

In a press release, the Smithsonian Institution announced that the Archives of American Art has contributed 285 digitized photographs from the Federal Art Project’s Photographic Division collection to Wikimedia Commons. Most of the pictures are from 1935 to 1942, the active years of the Federal Art Project.

While the Archives have been previously made available on its website, the release notes that: "this is the first time that high-resolution scans have been made available for unrestricted use by the public". Liza Kirwin, acting director of the Archives said, "By placing these images in the Wikimedia Commons we hope to foster online learning and discovery and to promote an open exchange of ideas about the history of American art. We are delighted to be the Smithsonian’s first contributor to Wikimedia."

The donation comes in the wake of a residence at the Archives during the summer of 2011 by Wikipedian Sarah Stierch (see Signpost coverage), who expressed her hope that this will be "the first of many from the Smithsonian.”

WikiProject Conservatism comes under fire

In the first MfD of its kind, an active WikiProject was nominated for deletion last week. The debate, the largest in bytes since the deletion of a user's cache of evidence against others two months ago, has just been closed as "keep".

The nomination cited problems of scope as the justification for deletion, arguing that 'the terms "conservative" and "conservatism" have been used to describe people and concepts which have flip-flopped over time between liberal and conservative'; however, concerns over bias soon surfaced and appear to be at the root of the deletion request. The WikiProject publishes a newsletter by the name of "The Right Stuff", and some of the project's members indicated a desire to counter liberal bias in Wikipedia. One editor wrote on the signup page that he was joining for the purpose of "enlightening conservative people & topics in a world darkening with liberalism".

WikiProject Conservatism is one of a number of WikiProjects covering specific ideologies, where most of the people interested enough to join will be of that persuasion; one member of WikiProject Socialism signed up because they were "interested in spreading awareness", WikiProject Feminism is listed as a step forward for feminism on the Internet by the Geek Feminism Wiki and one of the official userboxes of WikiProject Atheism features the Invisible Pink Unicorn, a satire of theist beliefs.

In the end, the project was overwhelmingly kept, with most of the keep votes addressing the first reason for deletion. It was pointed out other WikiProjects with similarly broad scopes are functioning, such as WikiProject Medicine. The issue of bias was mostly sidestepped with the critics of the WikiProject being directed to dispute resolution processes. Some had already tried such avenues, though; a request for arbitration had been submitted the day before the MfD but was declined by a significant margin; arbitrator Newyorkbrad declared "obvious decline, as there's no evidence of any attempt at prior dispute resolution of any nature. In fact, there's no evidence of a specific dispute, defined as one user telling another that he or she disagrees with something, even existing."

It is unclear whether the dispute is over, but Lionelt, the project's founder, will continue to stand in its adamant defense, offering on the project's talkpage a toast to its members for their perseverance, prefaced by a public address:

I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to the Community for their support of this amazing and special group of editors. The attempt to delete the project has been soundly and decisively defeated. The consensus is that the members have accorded themselves with honor and integrity according to Wikipedia policies. The consensus is that charges of activism, advocacy, and vote-stacking are baseless and without merit. The future of this project is secure. It has been said that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. This assault on the project will indeed strengthen us. I urge every member to rededicate themselves to collaboratively working together to improve conservatism-related articles.

Strident discussion of the meaning of the MfD and the future direction of the project continues on the talkpage.

In brief

Portrait of Ada Lovelace donated by the Ada Initiative for use by WikiProject Women's History in recognising contributions in the area of technology.
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Arabic WP vids

I can give you a general idea. The video starts with the importance of Wikipedia (Wikipedia appears in the top results of most web searches). Then explains the general idea behind Wikipedia and that YOU can contribute. Then compare the Arabic version with other versions in terms of the number of article to the number of language speakers. On the positive side mentions the Arabic version exceeds other large versions in the percentage of growth. Then mention different ways you can contribute (writing an article, translating one, correcting a mistake or even fixing a typo). (talk) 15:39, 18 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for that. Tony (talk) 10:01, 29 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Wikiproject Conservatism MfD

  • It's too bad I didn't hear about the Wikiproject MfD, I would have definitely voted Delete. There's a reason why Wikipedia:WikiProject Liberalism redirects to a task force in Wikiproject Political Culture. And I think even that is too much. We shouldn't have Wikiprojects based about political ideology. Having Wikiprojects for articles about political parties would be, potentially, fine, as they would be dealing specifically with well-defined articles that are about the political party. But using ideological terms like conservatism and liberalism that, by their very definition, are vague and can mean different things from one day to the next is useless and doesn't benefit theproject at all.
The only thing that Wikiproject Conservatism shows and which was pointed out slightly in this Signpost is that it exists to push that Conservatist ideology on Wikipedia and that is completely inappropriate. SilverserenC 15:18, 18 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • Users have the right to assemble, to organize themselves, and to collaborate with each other. Wikipedia is a collaborative project, and WikiProjects facilitate collaboration. The MfD process shouldn't be used to disorganize users. The project has produced and maintain 23 FA's and 38 GA's. Why should such a productive project be disbanded? The Right Stuff's first and only issue only talks about the WikiProject, its users, and the work they've done. In its current format, The Right Stuff doesn't even include anything resembling political advocacy. There isn't anything wrong with keeping its project members informed with a newsletter. Even if individual members seek to push a particular ideology, I don't see any evidence that the WikiProject as an organized group is doing the pushing. Wikipedia is about making information accessible, and if the project is expanding and improving Wikipedia's documentation of conservatism, then it's working in line with Wikipedia's goals. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 17:19, 18 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • Even if it's not doing it as a group, it also shouldn't allow such activism by the members that join and it's quite clear if they're joining with statements like the one exhibited in this Signpost, they are joining for an activist reason. SilverserenC 17:29, 18 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
    • Would you like politics-related userboxes to be deleted as well? Users have the right to have opinions and to express them openly. As long as they aren't inserting claims that aren't reliably sourced into articles or removing claims that are reliably sourced from articles, they have the right to express themselves outside of the mainspace. Wikipedia is home to users who are openly anarchists, libertarians, conservatives, socialists, and more, yet we allow them all to edit and create articles. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 17:57, 18 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
      • That has nothing to do with what i'm saying. Comments from people that join like "enlightening conservative people & topics in a world darkening with liberalism" shows that they aren't meaning to join for a neutral reason. Expressing an opinion on your userpage is one thing, joining a Wikiproject so you can work at pushing that opinion is not the same thing. SilverserenC 18:04, 18 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
        • Special:Contributions/Jjrj24, [1] – I don't see any misinformation from that user. You're giving too much credit to a cherry-picked quote. If anything, that user is simply the victim of being unfamiliar with Wikipedia. His or her user talk page history shows clear signs of newbie-ness. Perhaps someone should try to talk to him or her instead of quoting him or her on a page he or she might never look at (in effect, criticizing the user without letting him or her know about the criticism). --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 18:19, 18 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
          • FWIW, Wikipedia users have no rights except the right to vanish and the right to fork. Any other activities they may engage in, singly or in combination, which disrupt the goals of this project can be prohibited by the community. That has included disruptive userboxes and projects.   Will Beback  talk  03:38, 19 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]

WikiProject Conservatism isn't the first active WikiProject to be nominated for deletion. Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedians against censorship was nominated for deletion on 12 March 2006. Kaldari (talk) 21:27, 19 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]

WikiProjects were nominated for deletion many, many times: [2], [3], [4]. The WikiProject Conservatism MfD shouldn't be described as "the first MfD of its kind." This MfD is far from being unprecedented. I'm shocked at how little research and effort Jorgenev placed in creating this Signpost article. As seen by Silver_seren's comments, Jorgenev's Signpost article had the effect of transforming the newbie Jjrj24 into a poster-boy for what's supposedly wrong with the WikiProject; meanwhile, no one ever told Jjrj24 face-to-face about what they felt was wrong with his comment. Jjrj24 never received any warnings or complaints about the comment on his talk page. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 22:26, 19 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Projects such as "WikiProject Wikipedians against censorship" or "WikiProject Wikipedians for Decency", despite having Wikiproject in their names, are hardly Wikiprojects in the usual conception and everything found your link, Michaeldsuarez, were either projects nominated for inactivity or projects that had just been started with only one a two users. As far as I can tell this is the first serious Wikiproject with a topic that that had sustained activity to be subjected to a serious deletion nomination and in that way it was unprecedented. I used Jjrj24's comment because his was used as an example at the MFD. JORGENEVSKI 22:43, 19 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I'm glad that I'm finally gained your attention. Perhaps you should start clarifying and improving what you've written. Its present state gives the wrong impression. My comments should be a sign that it's giving the wrong impressions. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 00:17, 20 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm pleased that the Deletion challenge ended a keep, I wish I had known about it so that I could have weighed in before closure. There have definitely been a couple missteps by this fledgling project in terms of advocacy, but I think the general output has been good and level-headed, outside of the inevitable fisticuffs that are going to spring up over hot-button topics like abortion. Carrite (talk) 23:19, 19 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • Rather biased presentation. I demand that the editor in chief of this rag-newsletter resign right away. Actually, I'll start a RFAR and nominate the Signpost for MfD as well. After that you can start a RfCU on me as it happened to the guy that started the RFAR on WikiProject Conservatism, and who also trolled several other places as well. Go left/right Wikipedia! Have mörser, will travel (talk) 04:14, 20 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • Actually, my impression is that this project is unusual in that it avoids advocacy to the point of suicide, and I have thus argued on its page. I think people have their heads in the sand. Do you not think that the "Israel" and "Palestine" projects exist to large extent (although not totally) to counter each other? Have you not seen remarks in IRS like "reality has a liberal bias"? Why do Conservative writers seem to get immediate RfDs? The project's purpose is to work on topics related to Conservative ideology, and this is what it does. However, I have argued that it should also act as a watchdog against anti-conservative POV's, so as to add the conservative POV and achieve actual NPOV though the balance. I have not had an easy time of it, I assure you, so you can all feel better. (By the way, if political ideologies may not have projects, I expect to see one of you purists issue an immediate RfD on the Feminism project.)Mzk1 (talk) 21:33, 4 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]


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