News and notes
Swedish Wikimedia chapter organizes simultaneous Wikidata contests; FDC election results
This week has been a busy one for the Wikidata project, with nearly simultaneous Wikidata contests, both organized by Wikimedia Sweden, now underway.
The first contest is the Menu Challenge: in a post to the Wikimedia Blog project manager John Andersson recounted that "we are aiming at a list of vegetables, meat, fruits and other ingredients and cooking related terms that 30 restaurants will be serving at a food festival in Stockholm, Sweden in June. Wikimedia Sverige will be there to highlight how open data and crowdsourcing can benefit nearly every aspect of society." The idea is to create and to maintain experimental digital restaurant menus, based on a mock-up prepared by Wikidata user Denny some time ago. The challenge will be based around translations of Wikidata labels and the addition of images and pronunciations for ingredient items, and will take place between May 8 and 27. "Let’s get some #tastydata!"
The second of the two is the Wikidata visualization challenge, a competition meant to "make it easier to understand the value of Wikidata, what is in there, and/or how it is being created ... [by] visualizing interesting representations of the data in the database". As examples of what the competition organizers are looking for and of what the Wikidata dataset makes possible project manager points to the Listen to Wikipedia application, an aural visualization of editing activity throughout the projects; and to the Wikidata tempo-spatial display, a geographic visualization of event histories. More details on the competition, as well as the grand prize, a travel scholarship, are available here.
In related news, an update to the Reasonator tool on Wikimedia Labs this week now allows the tool, a primary visualization tool of the Wikidata project, to be used on mobile. R
Signpost Publications by the Years
|Graphs are temporarily unavailable due to technical issues.|
- Graph extension live everywhere: Extension:Graph, a previously experimental MediaWiki extension allowing for the creation of visually appealing on-wiki graphs and graphics, has now been enabled across all wikis. The feature had previously been present only on Meta and MediaWiki. The Signpost is looking to take advantage of the new feature; a quick reproduction of its capacities is shown at right. More demonstrations can be found on the extension's demo page. Even though the graph definition cannot yet be shared between wikis, the data itself can be stored on Commons. The extension implements the Vega visualization grammar on top of the D3 engine. The documentation has many even more technically impressive and complex visualizations available and now build-able on-wiki. A detailed tutorial should help you get started quickly. The new extension's capacity will hopefully help bring Wikipedia more in line with the capacities of the modern web—your correspondent, for one, is extremely excited to test it out. R
- Community tech: A job posting has been made for experienced developers interested in joining the Wikimedia Foundation as part of an intriguing new forthcoming team, the Community Tech team. Two team member positions have been opened: for Community Tech Developer and for Community Tech Engineering Manager. Both have the following to say about their purpose: R
||The Community Tech team is focused on meeting the needs of active contributors to Wikipedia and the sister projects for improved, expert-focused curation and moderation tools. The creation of the Community Tech team is a direct outcome of requests from core contributors for improved support for moderation tools, bots, and the other features that help the Wikimedia projects succeed. The team will work closely with the community, through the Community Engagement department, to define their roadmap and deliverables.
- In his mailing list message, director of analytics Tony Negrin stated: "[we] have identified this gap in our community support and have made resources available to address it." The moves seem well-aligned with the Foundation's recently-evident desire to align more closely with the needs of the editing community, a central theme from this year's State of the WMF report. R
- Language translations: An engagement experiment in the translation of core MediaWiki messages was completed this week to good results. The steps taken were to take languages with priority interfaces that were 80–99% translated (~60), list active users using those languages (~600), and send them a short talk page message asking for their help with translation tasks (example). In two months of organized work the number of 99–100% systematically translated languages jumped up from 17 to 60, following the creation of a list of 500 most-used MediaWiki messages at the translatewiki. More details on movements in the project-translation effort are available. R
- Commons batch download tool: In still another piece of tech news this week community developer McZusatz released a new tool called Imker ("beekeeper" in German) that allows for batch downloads of large numbers of files from Wikimedia Commons, either by page or by category, via an easy-to-use cross-platform (written in Java) graphical interface. Extensive toolsets exist for the opposite process—batch uploading to Commons, an important capability for GLAM activities—but this is the first tool to allow for the opposite process to occur. R
- Metrics and activities: This week saw this month's iteration of the Wikimedia Foundation's monthly metrics and activities meeting, the full video of which has now been made available on Commons. R
- Wiki Loves Monuments evaluations: A discussion of interest occurred this week on the wikimedia-l mailing list about last month's publication of the Wiki Loves Monuments evaluative report. As the Signpost reported two weeks ago, the report, under "peer review" until May 20, was not uncritical of the program—pointing out, for instance, that its funding cost an average of $25 per participant, yet had only a 0.3% twelve-month editor retention rate. Some initial discussion occurred at the time at the Signpost, and now editors involved in the program have taken their response to the mailing list, with discussion between program coordinators, community mailing-list members, and elements of the Wikimedia Foundation staff. Discussion is now ongoing at the evaluation's talk page. R
- Wikipedia Library: A number of additional resources came online this week in the Wikipedia Library program. Account spaces have been made available for MIT Press Journals, Loeb Classical Library, RIPM, SAGE_Stats, and HeinOnline. Other journal efforts and account partnerships continue at WP:TWL/Journals. R
- whoColor and whoVis: A pair of advanced edit review tools came online this week with the publication of the whoColor and whoViz edit review tools. These technically impressive tools are still in alpha and have not yet been fully optimized for routine use, but already provide a wealth of useful visualized information. The latter of the two can be tested out online with no installation required (though it is very slow to load). R
- Early registration for Wikimania 2015: "Early-bird" registration has been opened for this year's Wikimania, taking place July 14–19 this year in Mexico City. R
- Wikimedia Germany fundraising report: Wikimedia Germany released their 2014 fundraising report, summarizing key points and take-aways in a post to the Wikimedia Blog. Employing approximately 60 staff the organization is by far the largest of the chapters associated with the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as only one of two (along with Wikimedia Switzerland) that handles part of its fundraising separately from the Wikimedia Foundation. R
- New administrator: The Signpost welcomes the English Wikipedia's newest administrator, Ritchie333. R