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WikiVIP; Art Feminism; Medical articles; PR manipulation; Azerbaijani Wikipedia

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By Go Phightins!, Jayen466 and Gamaliel

Wikipedia adding celebrity voices to wiki pages to preserve them for future generations

As reported in various media outlets this week, including The Next Web and The Daily Dot, this past week, Wikimedia Commons and various language Wikipedias are working together to encourage subjects of Wikipedia articles to record a 10-second clip of their voice to be appended to their Wikipedia article. The goal of the project, which was originally proposed by Andy Mabbett, is for posterity to have the ability to know what someone's voice sounded like, as well as to have a definitive pronunciation of their name. Thus far, Charlie Duke and Stephen Fry are among the relative few that have participated. There are some concerns, not the least of which is sound quality, however, The Daily Dot perhaps aptly pontificated,

Interested readers, or subjects of Wikipedia articles can check out the project over on Commons, and read this Wikimedia UK blog post for more information.

Art Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons

Video of Chicago participants
Gender gap logo

In case you had not yet heard, there is a major gender gap amongst Wikipedia editors, and consequently Wikipedia articles. On Saturday, 1 February 2014, Wikipedians new and old congregated on college campuses, libraries, or their own homes seeking to improve that gap and bias. They worked on articles with topics ranging from female artists to feminists themselves to important events in the women's rights movement, and as evidenced by the results, it was a success, with dozens of new articles being created, and subpar articles being improved.

Several involved Wikipedians expressed optimism and satisfaction with the event. Daniel Case noted that efforts such as this edit-a-thon are important because "having a diverse array of viewpoints represented among editors ensures that we will be able to write more comprehensive articles." He also expressed optimism on how the event attracted and mentored new users, commenting, "I think it helped a few new people get over the mystique and realize that they, too, can edit this thing." Girona7, another experienced Wikipedian, made the following comment in regards to the event she attended:

In regards to article construction at the events, Kevin Rutherford noted that, at his event, "we were able to get at least a few articles up". Finally, Another Believer said,

Interested readers can find full results here.

Below is an non-exhaustive list of publications that covered the event:

Wikipedia the top source of healthcare information for doctors, patients

Doctors and patients frequently consult Wikipedia for medical information

IMS Health, a large United States-based health communications organization, recently published an report asserting that half of physicians have, at one time or other, consulted Wikipedia for information on various ailments that may afflict their patients. Similarly, patients have also consulted Wikipedia for information on what may plague them. Perhaps most shocking, there is a correlation between the amount of views on Wikipedia pages, and treatment courses of action physicians have pursued:

Consequently, some doctors, professors, and medical students are seeking to ensure that Wikipedia's medical articles are stocked with information from reliable sources so that people do not obtain incorrect or potentially harmful information. ITM consulted WMF spokesman Jay Walsh for comment pertaining to the issues that Wikipedia can have with medical articles, as well as this new initiative from medical academics. In regards to a recent proposal to append a disclaimer to all medical articles, he noted that while he "is glad to see that this is an important conversation within Wikipedia", WMF "does not think additional disclaimers are legally necessary", but appreciates the conversation that ensued on both sides on how to best serve readers. While he did not comment specifically on the latest endeavor by some medical professionals and students to improve medical articles, he did note,

Several newspapers and publications covered both the report, and ensuing initiative. Herein lies an unexhaustive list:

Manipulation of Wikipedia a "problem for democracy"

The logo of the German "Monitor" TV programme

A Monitor TV programme on German television on 30 January 2014 (transcript) highlighted covert PR work in Wikipedia, describing such manipulation of a website that has a de-facto monopoly on providing information to the internet public as a potential "problem for democracy".

The programme featured an interview with Malte Landwehr, a PR consultant who stated that he knew of a number of PR agencies who had Wikipedia administrators on their staff and said that the use of sockpuppets to alter articles and manipulate discussions was widespread.

Another PR consultant interviewed for the programme expressed satisfaction with a Wikipedia article on a particular building style, "Schwedenhaus", that she had placed in Wikipedia to promote the business of a company specialising in prefabricated houses of that style, under that name. The article featured several pictures of the manufacturer's products, with the company's name and website noted on the image description pages in Commons. Shortly after the broadcast had ended, the Wikipedia article—which had existed for close to two years—was nominated for deletion (the article was eventually kept, although in much shortened form, and without the manufacturer's pictures). The user who created it was blocked by an administrator the same evening.

Pavel Richter, the head of Wikimedia Germany, and Dirk Franke, who for the past year has been conducting a paid-editing study funded by Wikimedia Germany, also appeared in the programme. The programme has been discussed at length in the German Wikipedia, in particular on the talk page of the German Wikipedia's Kurier newsletter.

The topic of PR editing is currently in the public eye in Germany, after a study published by German investigative journalist Marvin Oppong last month asserted that PR manipulation in Wikipedia is widespread.

Other media outlets reporting on the issue in recent days included the Berliner Zeitung, which in this context also mentioned Wiki-PR (covered extensively in recent issues of the Signpost), Main Post, Badische Zeitung and

Azeri government reaching for Wikipedia?

Azerbaijan's president Ilham Aliyev at the 2009 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos

Azeri news site reported on 24 January 2014 that IRELI, a youth organization that recently won a "Best of the Best" award from the Azeri government, will "launch WikiDays project in partnership with Wikipedia Azerbaijan." The announcement said,

This initiative should raise concern in the Wikimedia movement, and the Wikimedia Foundation. Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, has been named a "predator of freedom of information" by Reporters Without Borders, who say that unauthorised coverage of the president and his family is "completely off-limits for the media". In this week's release notes for the new 2014 World Press Freedom Index, developments over the past year in Azerbaijan are summarised as follows:

The situation is similar in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan—the other three ex-Soviet countries described by Reporters Without Borders as being run by "oil and gas despots" who escape international censure because of their countries' mineral wealth and strategic importance. Azerbaijan is now listed at no. 160 in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index.

In brief

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The discussion about "Fuck" appearing on the main page or not doesn't link to the discussion. GamerPro64 04:27, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks, fixed. This was due to the delayed publication date of this Signpost issue. Andreas JN466 05:02, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
My fault for the delayed publication. :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:30, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for this detailed coverage of the Art & Feminism edit-a-thon! I helped facilitate the Amsterdam one and we are going to do a followup in March on the request of the attendees, so the "results" I think are so far just the "results of the day" and don't reflect all results. Another note about the logo - after discussion of the difficulties writing about modern art on Wikipedia in general, one of our attendees mentioned that the "CC-by" logo looked too masculine and we should change that. I'd like to see a dark pink version in a skirt that we can use as an international logo, but I'm not clever with editing svg files. Jane (talk) 08:35, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Really meaty this week. One could spend hours here. Tony (talk) 11:59, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I agree, Tony1. The longest ITM we've had since I have contributed. The stars aligned - there was a lot of coverage, an extended deadline, and some available contributors. The yield? A solid recap of WP ITM. Go Phightins! 14:51, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]


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