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Arbitration case attracts media coverage; Wikipedia in Israel

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By Gamaliel and Andreas Kolbe

UK media coverage of "sockpuppet investigation block" arbitration case

UK political blog Guido Fawkes reported on the proposed decision of the Sockpuppet investigation block arbitration case: "Wikipedia slaps down Grant Shapps' LibDem tormentor" (8 June). This was followed by numerous reports in the UK mainstream media later that day. The BBC was first to weigh in ("Censure for Grant Shapps' Wikipedia accuser"), to be followed by the Guardian, one of whose writers appears to have started the entire affair when he emailed a Wikimedia UK staffer ("Wikipedia volunteer faces reprimand over 'Shapps account' investigation"). Other publications reporting the story included:

On 9 June, after the formal conclusion of the arbitration case, the Guardian reported that the Contribsx account had been unblocked by a Wikipedia administrator: "Wikipedia: account at centre of row 'not linked' to Grant Shapps". On Twitter, frequent Wikipedia critic David Auerbach pointed out that the author of the article, Randeep Ramesh, "was also the original recipient of the leak". Breitbart weighed in on 10 June, opining that the "Shapps case raises questions for Wikipedia and The Guardian"; according to Breitbart, the "Guardian reader’s editor is investigating complaints against the newspaper."

Detailed coverage of the arbitration case itself will be provided in next week's Arbitration Report. A.K.

Wikipedia in Israel

Lila Tretikov and Moshe Fadlon, Mayor of Herzliya, at haNagid Middle School
Lila Tretikov with Wikimedians in Israel

Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov visited Israel and Palestine earlier this month for a number of Wikimedia-related events.  

Tretikov was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Wikipedia Academy Israel Conference in Herzliya. The topic of the conference was education, and in an interview there with i24news Tretikov was optimistic about Wikipedia's ability to meet the educational challenges of the future:  

Our power is in every human being around the world because people are motivated by their intrinsic motivators, by their desire to contribute, their desire to learn, and their desire to teach, and we have hundreds of thousands of contributors around the world who are participating without us having to pay them.

Tretikov visted a middle school in Hertzliya where students had been assigned the task of contributing information to Wikipedia about their city and local history. She told the Jerusalem Post "In Israel, this is the first country where we see innovation really happening on the scale where it’s a country-wide program, and that’s in primary education."

During her time in the area, Tretikov met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister's office noted that his father, historian Benzion Netanyahu, was an editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica. Tretikov accompanied Israeli Wikimedians on one of the regular meetings of the Elef Millim project, this one to the Old City of Jerusalem. Hebrew for "a thousand words", the project tours and photographically documents sites of historical interest. Tretikov also met with Palestinian Wikimedians in Ramallah

The Jerusalem Post noted that Tretikov will visit again in April 2016 for the Wikimedia hackathon, the first time this event will be held outside North America or Europe.  

In related Wikipedia news, the Jerusalem Post also reported (June 2) on a discussion on the Hebrew Wikipedia about racially charged comments made by prime minister Netanyahu on the day of the March 2015 Israel legislative election. The discussion resulted in the comments remaining in the encyclopedia. Also, Jimmy Wales was interviewed on the July 1 episode of The Cost of Doing Business on TLV1. G.

In brief

Benny Johnson

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They report that "The prestigious seven-person team had to date not included anyone from outside the USA and Western Europe." This is true of the current composition of the Board, but previous members have been from outside these areas, including Ting Chen and Bishakha Datta.

This is not true of the current composition of the board: Patricio Lorente is from Argentina. Also, the board has 10 members, not 7. —Emufarmers(T/C) 22:12, 14 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Sockpuppet investigation block

The press summary is useful, however why has the name/account name of the Checkuser the case was brought against been studiously avoided?

It is worth highlighting that others have raised direct questions about WMUK's records of the incident and the actions they will be taking to improve governance and necessary oversight[1]. The conclusion being "the response is underwhelming, evasive and unhelpful". It is hard to understand why a UK charity would not want to promptly make the public record clear and unambiguous during an open Arbcom case, given the context of possible manipulation of a national election. -- (talk) 10:25, 17 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]


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