The Signpost

In the media

Turkish Twitter outrage, medical translation, audience metrics

Contribute  —  
Share this
By Gamaliel

Wikipedia article sparks Turkish Twitter outrage

Picture of an authoritarian? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The Hürriyet Daily News reports on a series of posts on Twitter from Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ömer Çelik. Beginning on September 14, Çelik tweeted complaints about the inclusion of current President of Turkey and former Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Wikipedia article on authoritarianism. The offending passage reads:

Authoritarianism and democracy are not fundamentally opposed to one another, it is thus definitely possible for democracies to possess strong authoritarian elements, for both feature a form of submission to authority. For instance, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey, was elected three times, but shows strong authoritarian tendencies.

In a series of tweets continuing as of the 16th, Çelik complained that Turkey was included as an example of an authoritarian regime along with countries such as North Korea and Egypt. He claimed that editors had an "eclipse of reason" and that Wikipedia's "reliability has reached below zero".

The passage has ten citations, to sources including the New York Times, The Guardian, and the Hürriyet Daily News. The many citations may be the result of the previous attempts to remove mention of Erdoğan from the article. Attempts accelerated following Çelik's tweets and the article was semiprotected indefinitely.

One of the actions taken by the Erdoğan regime that has been seen as authoritarian was a ban on Twitter, the very platform Çelik used to make his complaint. Earlier this year, evidence of alleged corruption by high-ranking Turkish government officials circulated in social media. Twitter was banned in March after Erdoğan insisted the evidence was fake and vowed in a speech to "eradicate" the website. The ban was widely condemned in Turkey and worldwide and was overturned two weeks later by the Constitutional Court of Turkey.

Health news

Health24 reports (Sept. 10) that Rubric, a translation company, is helping translate Wikipedia articles on ebola into native African languages. This is part of Wiki Project Medicine’s Translation Task Force in their ongoing effort to translate medical articles into numerous world languages.

BBC News, Forbes, and Mashable are among the media outlets reporting on the jump in page views to Wikipedia articles about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the wake of the viral ice bucket challenge. Page views for the ALS article on the English Wikipedia are up 18 fold, from about 1.6 million in the previous year to nearly 3 million in August 2014 alone. Significant increases are reported from the Chinese (×59), Spanish (×14), German (×13), Russian (×13), and French (×5) Wikipedias as well.

The public domain

The Hindu reported (Sept. 5) that two Tamil language encyclopedias would be placed under a Creative Commons licence and be available for use in articles on the Tamil Wikipedia. The two works, Kalaikalangiyam and Kuzhandaigal Kalaikalangiyam, were produced by the Tamizh Valarchi Kazhagam (Tamil Development Council) from 1947 to 1954 and 1968 to 1976, respectively, and represent the work of thousands of scholars. Each encyclopedia is ten volumes and many thousands of pages. Though the encyclopedias have been scanned as image files, Professor C.R. Selvakumar (User:C.R.Selvakumar) of the University of Waterloo is looking for volunteers to type the articles in so the full text is searchable and can be made available on WikiSource.

An image scanned by the Internet Archive

BBC News reported (Aug. 29) on a project to post 12 million public domain images on the image hosting site Flickr. The project was initiated by Kalev Leetaru, a Georgetown University academic who has studied Wikipedia (see previous Signpost coverage). The images originate from 600 million pages from library books scanned by the Internet Archive to use optical character recognition to convert the pages into searchable text files. The scanned images were automatically ignored by the software and Leetaru added code to extract these images and convert them into jpeg files. Leetaru has so far posted 2.6 million images to Flickr, dating from 1500 to 1922, the earliest year when copyright restrictions cannot apply. Leetaru hopes many of these images will be added to Wikipedia articles.

Audience metrics

Variety is now publishing weekly "Digital Audience Ratings" that are intended to measure "fan engagement" online and in social media, including Wikipedia. The most current lists for film (Sept. 11) and television (Sept. 16) currently place Big Hero 6 and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at the top of the ratings. The ratings are provided by ListenFirst Media. Lost Remote interviewed (Sept. 10) Jason Klein of ListenFirst, who said:

We leverage Wikipedia as a proxy for organic search, since Wikipedia is often in the top search results and a destination that millions of people go to directly for information daily. We have been monitoring Wikipedia page views daily for tv shows (as well as films and consumer brands) for over two years, and have found fascinating trends around search patterns related to everything from the day an episode premieres to when a show gets renewed or cancelled to announcements around upfronts. We've turned dozens of our network clients on to it, and they've become vigilant about monitoring Wikipedia data around their shows (and competitors’ shows) and making sure their pages are completely up-to-date with current info.

Conferences and edit-a-thons

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

The National Archives and Records Administration and Wikimedia DC announced they would hold an Open Government Wikihack at the National Archives on September 27 and 28.

Re/code announced (Sept. 11) that it will conduct an interview with new Wikimedia Foundation President Lila Tretikov at their Code/Mobile conference in October in Half Moon Bay, California.

Books LIVE reports (Sept. 3) on the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon focused on South African literature that will be held in conjunction with the Open Book Festival from September 17 to 21 in Cape Town.

DNAinfo Chicago announced (Sept. 2) a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on September 4 to create an article for transgender activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy prior to her talk at the Hull House Museum that evening. The talk, called "The Ebb and Flow of Resistance", was part of that week's Jane Addams birthday celebration. Photos of the Edit-a-thon were posted on the Hull House Facebook page.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (Aug. 19) announced a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on August 23 that was held simultaneously in Mexico City, Mexico and Bogotá, Colombia. The EFF, Wikimedia México, and a number of Latin American hacker organizations collaborated on improving articles related to digital rights on the Spanish Wikipedia.

Baltimore Brew announced (Aug. 20) an Edit-a-thon held by the Baltimore Wikipedians at the Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse on August 23 to improve articles on the history of Baltimore, Maryland.

The Canberra Times and Seven News reported on the first "Wikibomb" in Australia on August 14. 144 people participated in an event online and at the Australian Academy of Science to create and improve Wikipedia articles on female Australian scientists in conjunction with National Science Week. A full list of articles can be found at Category:Wikibomb2014.

In brief

Rebecca Bardoux

+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.

See c:Commons:Internet Archive/Book Images collection for a Commons project for those interested in working with the Internet Archive images. -- Jheald (talk) 06:22, 18 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]

This might be irony or it might be more evidence, if evidence is needed, that Encyclopedia Britannica still doesn't get it: I'd love to read the interview in the Chicago Tribune, but it's behind a paywall. Can anyone give a short summary? - Dank (push to talk) 12:49, 18 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I was able to read the whole thing my first visit, but I'm unable to replicate that for some reason. Maybe because I went through Google News the first time? Gamaliel (talk) 15:02, 18 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, going through Google News produced this link, which is working for me (for now). - Dank (push to talk) 16:29, 18 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]
The story, in a different (non-paywalled) publication, is here. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 04:25, 19 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]
"Unlike some publishers, the company has yet to delve into native advertising — paid online editorial content designed to lure readers."
"If Britannica becomes an anchor on the Web for people that are wanting to learn and know, we can do a lot of things with this brand. It can be very, very profitable."
Sounds interesting... --NaBUru38 (talk) 18:08, 20 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I read "600 million library books". It should be "600 million pages" since Internet Archive scanned around three millions books. Cantons-de-l'Est (talk) 23:42, 22 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]

You're right, I accidentally a word from the BBC article. It's fixed now. Gamaliel (talk) 23:46, 22 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0