The Signpost

Wikipedia Weekly Episode 119 (Running time of 1 hour 45 minutes.)
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  • There were so many insightful idea mentioned (including many to which I thought "Aha, so I wasn't the only one thinking this way"). In particular I want to commend you both on ideas of what the leadership role(s) should/could be. - kosboot (talk) 01:19, 20 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thank you very much kosboot. If you've suggestions for topics to cover, improvements on how we should actually produce the show (shorter!, I know) please let us know. Wittylama 18:37, 20 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, it's long but it also illustrated how several threads "in the news" are intimately interconnected - in a way, it couldn't have been much shorter. Glad to see you're not bound by a time constraint when the content calls for a more detailed explanation. - kosboot (talk) 19:57, 20 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Kosboot and Wittylama: - Thanks for the feedback, and I'm glad you found it useful. We bit the bullet and decided to go long, believing that it was worth trying to summarize two years of history in two hours. It's not clear when someone will get to record what has happened into a comprehensive written narrative, so I felt it was useful to memorialize it right away. Even then, there are some significant things we didn't get to mention but I hope we get to discuss as the board decides how to move forward. -- Fuzheado | Talk 14:47, 21 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • A good summary. The only new piece of history came from Liam, at 1:06:16: "... during that period [while the petition for the removal of Arnnon Gashuri was alive] I believe that Lila was telling Arnnon Gashuri to stay fast, just stick with it, that this controversy will blow over - even after the board had privately agreed that it actually would try and ... that it would remove him and acquiesce to community concerns."
What's your basis for those beliefs, Liam: the advice Lila was giving Arnnon and the board's prior private agreement?
I'm one of the few volunteers who actively challenged the narrative coming out of the staff (and the volunteers close to staff) prior to Lila's resignation, yet I was not allowed to comment on your Facebook page. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 03:12, 20 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It is something I believe to be the case, but for which I have no (or perhaps there doesn't even exist) specific "proof". Call it a hunch perhaps, or a supposition based on rumours I've heard from reliable people :-) Wittylama 18:37, 20 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I wanted to respond to a comment by Wittylama that I think was somewhere in the first half hour, where he was commenting about the Silicon Valley focus on quantitative metrics and the obsession with page views. I agree when he said that people who view Wikipedia content that has been scraped by other sites or devices (and thus not contributing to our page views) are still being reached as part of Wikipedia's mission, but that's not the whole picture. Maintaining Wikipedia (and thus fulfilling our mission) requires a critical mass of active editors, and we will struggle to replenish their ranks if fewer and fewer people view Wikipedia content without actually interacting with the encyclopedia. Gamaliel (talk) 01:13, 21 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gamaliel: This is true, to a point. I would argue two counter points: a) gaining new editors has not been a particular problem - its the retaining that has been more of a challenge for us. and, b) that I do not think that equating pageviews with and active editors is correct. These two points are tied together... As we've seen over the last few years of stagnation in active-editorship there is a difficulty of new people becoming "active" all the while the people who were editing before a certain date have a statistically longer 'sticking' power - this has been during an ongoing increase (until this last year) in pageviews. In the first few years there was a reasonably linear correlation between pageviews and editors, but after a certain point those numbers became divorced - and this has been blamed on roughly three factors: competition for attention from other newer websites (e.g. facebook); difficulty of the MediaWiki technology; complexity of wikipedia's rules and unfriendly existing editors (biting newbies). It is also a truism that not all visitors to Wikipedia are equally desirable as potential editors. It's a nice thing to say that everyone can participate, but in reality not everyone should be a Wikipedian - we're not facebook where increasing the number of accounts is the raison-d'etre of the company. Rather, we should be focusing on the things that help us access potential good quality editors in a targeted fashion (e.g. through editathons, education/glam outreach) and improving the tools that help make the editing process less technical and the community more welcoming (teahouse, visual editor, flow...).. Consequently, I would suggest, that arguing that a 'drop in pageviews' is directly linked to a 'drop in editors' is just as incorrect - or should be just as incorrect - an argument as it is to equate pageviews with donations. Both imagine that all readers are created equal with an equally likely desire to donate and/or to edit. Wittylama 17:57, 21 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One way to consider this is as a licensing issue. The WMF has a tendency to approach everything as a technology problem. But having data and media from Wikimedia sites become ubiquitous is a great result for our mission and a big morale boost to our contributors; I'm proud to have had one of my photos in the Britannica. What we need is a team at the WMF who are encouraging mirrors to provide attribution, ideally by links back to Wikimedia sites. ϢereSpielChequers 13:18, 24 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for posting! Interesting insights. I really think that we need US chapters and more decentral responsibilities. Forget Iceland - just make a Spanish chapter across the border in Tijuana. The Mexicans can try as hard or harder than the Icelanders at getting through to the Montgomery people. They at least share the same timezone. I would love to see more US-based chapter work and more multi-lingual support across the current communication channels, but I think that will be very tough to implement. Jane (talk) 10:49, 21 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Wittylama, it was great to hear your support (at around 1:26:30 to 1:29) for a "MediaWiki Foundation" that would take over the development of core MediaWiki, as suggested by various people, most recently Erik Möller. As you note, spinning off MediaWiki could potentially help both improve the software and allow the WMF to focus more on its true goals; it's good to hear this kind of view espoused by non-developers as well. Yaron K. (talk) 16:01, 22 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Wow, you listened that far in Yaron K.? :) It makes sense to me... MediaWiki is software that we use, but it is our primary tool, not our purpose. MediaWiki has a much bigger and more diverse usage base than Wikimedia project and allowing other users to get involved in the "core" (for want of a better word) more directly by having an organisation that is built for that purpose would unlock a lot of its potential I think... It would also open up a new revenue stream for donations specifically to that, and access developers from corporations that build on MediaWiki. Currently it seems to me that having MediaWiki as a sub-set of WMF engineering confuses the 'purpose' of the organisation. Wittylama 16:50, 22 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've heard this podcast before. It should be the signpost's. I want to be on it. I went to two secondary schools. --violetnese 19:02, 22 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • spoken word, English-language audio podcast I don't think it's a spoken word format, but the interpretation of that phrase is likely redundant to "English-language podcast" anyway (unless you really need to distinguish from music podcasts). czar 01:14, 25 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


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