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Anti-piracy act has Wikimedians on the defensive, WMF annual report released, and Indic language dynamics

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By Resident Mario

Debates rage over the Stop Online Piracy Act

WMF general counsel Geoff Brigham, whose analysis of the impact of the Stop Online Piracy Act was the focus of much discussion

On October 26, 2011, Representative Lamar S. Smith introduced the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) in the United States House of Representatives. The bill would give the U.S. Department of Justice the power to more closely pursue online copyright infringement, allowing them to bar Internet-based services such as PayPal from working with websites accused of infringement, blocking search engine results for these sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to the sites completely; it may even make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony. The proposed bill has met with protests from a significant number of major websites, while drawing support from the Hollywood production houses whose works are being infringed. The Washington Post depicted the bill as a battle between the old media and new.

Discussions on the proposed bill raged across Wikipedia this week. Jimbo Wales's talk page was flooded by editors arguing over the bill after he seemingly proposed a server lockdown, similar to the Italian lockdown in October over a similar bill that was circulating in their parliament. A straw poll at the Village pump in support of the idea failed to gain traction and was quickly closed.

So far, the Wikipedia community has only achieved consensus to do something, with suggestions ranging from standing by, to shutting down Wikipedia for a day, to replacing the Main Page with an anti-SOPA demonstration notice. In a post on the foundation-l mailing list, Kat Walsh (mindspillage) crystallized the Wikimedian position on the issue, saying:

General Counsel Geoff Brigham has posted a legal overview of the law on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog, as well as a rough schedule of the Congressional process of considering the bill.

In an IRC office meeting on December 15, Brigham and Sue Gardner discussed the Wikimedia Foundation's stance on the issue (summarized here), stating: "The official position of the Wikimedia Foundation is that we are opposed to SOPA ... [but] we believe that the community should make up its own mind about whether to take any kind of on-wiki action." Gardner said the Wikimedia Foundation will follow community consensus in any actions against the proposed bill while doing its best to provide legal interpretation and guidance. Meanwhile, community action has shifted over to the new SOPA initiative page, a workshop to explore the various actions that the community could take in opposition to the bill, and the Wikimedia Foundation has routed all of its updates on the bill there.

Wikimedia Foundation publishes the 2010–11 annual report

The 2010–2011 Wikimedia Foundation Annual Report

The Wikimedia Foundation has released its Annual Report for the 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 fiscal year (see also the Foundation's recent November report and financial audit). The report details:

Other case stories include QRpedia, the recognition of Wikipedians as officially accredited photographers, and a breakdown of financials from the audit earlier this year. The report is available in six language versions—Arabic, Japanese, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish—which reportedly "took some serious coordination to time translation, design, production and wiki publishing." Printed copies will be available in the Foundation headquarters within the week.

Indian language Wikipedia statistics published

Attendees at this year's first annual WikiConference India, which precipitated a boost in attention given to Indian language projects

Shiju Alex, a Wikimedia Foundation consultant for Indic Initiatives, has released statistics on contributions from Indic language Wikipedia projects this week. The report is subdivided into three sections:

Brief notes

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See here and here, or indeed (for context) the early coverage in the Signpost itself. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 11:33, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I wouldn't call this a milestone in the sense of 'something praiseworthy achieved' (disclaimer: my personal opinion). In October 100k 'articles' were added to Dutch Wikipedia by bots, end November there were 870k 'articles', now 1M ?! Nearly all of this is done by bots. These new 'articles' are mostly really taxonomy stubs, an infobox and one or two sentences (which repeat texts from the info box). With 8.3 million species above bacteria level, we can expect a lot more. On Dutch Wikipedia there are about 200 'articles' about snakeflies, and similarly for hundreds of other genuses. In the English Wikipedia most snakeflies are not even mentioned on genus or family level. Could this mass import of low notability facts even have repercussions to our Google rating? At very least the connection between article counts and human efforts spent is getting more and more shady. I'm not sure where this will bring us. If any verifiable fact merits an article, we can expect 100M 'articles' about known stars some time later. Someone suggested to replace these 'articles' by lists and add 200k redirects instead. Erik Zachte (talk) 17:05, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with Erik Z. This is surface journalism, whereas something more probing about the size/threshold-related progress of the WPs is required. Tony (talk) 17:21, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]


Style point: Administrators aren't "promoted," they're "elected." Use of this word implies an Overseers-and-Plantation Hands division of the project. In reality, the tool box additions relate to quality control and rule enforcement work, which is independent of content creation. New administrators are merely those voted as being trustworthy to have access to these specific tools to be used in specific applications of their Wikipedia work. They aren't "promoted." Carrite (talk) 18:55, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I agree "promotion" is the wrong word.
I'm not convinced "elected" is the right word.
I don't think Overseers-and-Plantation Hands is the right metaphor apply to the word "promotion". I see promotion as a corporate term, which we also want to avoid, but I don't see it as relating to a plantation organization.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 23:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Dutch Wikipedia

Glad you didn't mention Dutch Wikipedia reaching 1,000,000 articles as in my view it's not much to be proud of with a few 100.000s of them being bot created stubs from the "animal project" with "facts" like "animal x is a species belonging to the family y and was discovered in {{{1}}} by z". Then again I don't care much about milestones, I only count my own (all handcrafted) articles and take a small bit of pride in the fact that none of the ones I created here have been deleted yet so that must mean that they at least are of value to some people. SpeakFree (talk)(contribs) 02:36, 22 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Honestly? I was unaware that this milestone had been reached at all when compiling the report =) Tee hee, ResMar 05:18, 22 December 2011 (UTC).[reply]


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