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Money, milestones, and Wikimania

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By Bri, Kudpung, and Zarasophos

Problems on the run-up to Wikimania

Familiar faces at Wikimania?

The announcement of Wikimania scholarships for 2018 provoked complaints on a Foundation mailing list. Among the raised issues was that of some editors repeatedly being awarded scholarships while others are denied, who claim to have important presentations to make or a real need to meet people with whom they collaborate on significant developments. Indeed, some who fairly regularly attend Wikimania at their own cost mention that they see the same faces every time. There was also a call for more coordination between scholarship committee and programme planners as well as the repeated complaint that the presentations were WMF-top heavy.

A member of this year's scholarship committee replied with changes made to the scholarship process already:

This year's Wikimania will take place in Cape Town from July 18 to 22. The Signpost will provide further coverage.

Eleven new projects funded

The WMF Project Grants Committee has announced eleven new projects that will be founded in this round of grants. In total, these projects will receive over $320,000.

Seven software projects

One online organizing project

Three offline outreach programs

User Group Côte d'Ivoire in the process of destubbing the French article for Bernard Dadié, the father of Cote d'Ivorian literature. On to a hundred more articles with Les Classes Wikipedia!

There have also been several changes to the process of WMF Grants. Rapid Grants will now need a minimum amount of $500, in order to reduce administrative work at the Foundation. Application openings will be from the 1st to the 15th of each month. New Project Grants will "likely" be accepted during a single grant cycle in November 2018 for amounts between $2,000 and $100,000. Conference grants will get two rounds of funding, with existing regional and thematic conferences staying funded. New applications for local or national conferences will be considered up to an amount of $10,000.

Grants are currently in a phase of "major changes to our funding processes in the long term [...] these changes will reengineer the roles of participating organizations (the Wikimedia Foundation, committees, and grantees alike)", according to a Wikimedia announcement. Discussion of these and further changes is welcomed at the Annual plan talk page.

A Library for Women in Red

Women in Red (WIR) is seeking coders to help adapt the Koha integrated library system to eBook lending for the project. According to a short interview with members of the project, the project so far attracted funding via World Contest winners' donations to the Wikipedia:WikiProject Women in Red/The World Contest#Women in Red Book/WIR Subscription Fund, and is now planning to create a eBook and open access book lending library with Koha managing circulation and catalog functions. This effort is spearheaded by WIR members with professional library knowledge, namely Megalibrarygirl, Rosiestep, and SusunW. After an initial beta phase, model and software may be extended to other WikiProjects if they prove successful.

Technical Engagement Team formed

According to a Foundation announcement, this new team will report to the Foundation's CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and include a Cloud Services group and a Technical Advocacy group. Cloud Services will continue maintaining current services, while Advocacy will encourage API adoption through example software, tutorials, and other documentation and work with "groups at affiliate organizations and the larger Wikimedia volunteer community". The Foundation will also hire a new engineer and create the position of Developer Advocacy Manager. Initial reaction has been highly positive, with some expressing hope that the new team would fulfill a current need for code review.

Brief notes

Pbsouthwood wielding an underwater administrator keyboard
TheSandDoctor's new T-shirt
  • Pbsouthwood is from South Africa and has been editing Wikipedia since 2009. He specialises in WikiProject Portals and Scuba diving.
  • TheSandDoctor made his first edit in January 2017. He likes working on Rolling Stones related articles and is studying for a degree in Computer Science, majoring in gaming and graphics.
  • Not new but returning: Gogo Dodo was once a prolific vandalism and spam fighter, having deleted over 78,000 pages and blocked nearly 20,000 accounts. He suddenly stopped editing on 13 February 2017 and was procedurally desysoped in March 2018 following a full year of total inactivity. Returning from what he calls 'a long nap', his tools were restored on 27 June following a request at the Bureaucrats' Noticeboard.
Five admins were desysoped for inactivity on 1 June. This brings the total number of Admins to 1,212, with 549 active in the last two months. Two bureaucrats were also desysoped, one due to inactivity and one after resignation due to an ArbCom case.
  • The Portuguese Wikipedia became the 15th Wikipedia to have more than 1 million articles on 26 June. The Afrikaans Wikipedia reached 100,000 registered users this month.
  • At 16:40 (04:40PM UTC) 28 June, the English Wikipedia New Page Review backlog dropped to 700 during a concentrated backlog drive. Down from around 16,000 around a year ago – aided by the implementation of a new policy debated at WP:ACREQ (see The Signpost Special report March 2018).

In this issue
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I'm a little confused by the opening sentence: "The announcement of Wikimania scholarships for 2018 provoked complaints on a Foundation mailing list." The linked mailing list thread, while very relevant and interesting, was a May 2017 thread discussing the scholarships to Wikimania 2017 in Montreal. Is there a more recent thread discussing scholarships to Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town? Noting the contrast between the way Wikipedians apply for "scholarships" and adminship and ArbCom, and the accusations of bullying in that mailing list thread. Perhaps we could apply for scholarships by some community-driven process that was some variant of how we apply for adminship and ArbCom. Of course, applicants for those positions never are bullied during the process. LOL. wbm1058 (talk) 03:44, 2 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I'm also confused with this. BTW, last year I counted repeat scholarships, and found "out of 378 people awarded scholarships, 309 people have been awarded one scholarship, 55 have been awarded two, 14 have been awarded three, and 0 have been awarded four". The updated numbers for 2014-2018 are 500 people awarded scholarships, 413 awarded one scholarship, 73 awarded two, 14 awarded three, and 0 awarded four. Draw conclusions from that as you want. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:06, 2 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]
There was a May 2018 thread as well, similar to the May 2017 thread. It can be found here: Note that there is something of a conflict of interest here perhaps that isn't disclosed, as Signpost editor Kudpung was probably the most engaged critic of the scholarship process in this thread. Nathan T 22:35, 2 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]
You make it sound as if that email list is private and that Signpost editors are guilty of leaking information, and that they are forbidden to research their areas of interest and/or specialisation. Or does AfG not count in this comments section? Probably not Nathan, this is journalism. However, I did not begin the very short News & Notes item, but FWIW, yes, I am indeed very critical about several aspects of the way Wikimedia is organised - I've attended several of them. Anyway, you'll have plenty to complain about in next month's issue - stay tuned. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:44, 3 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Kudpung: "that email list is private and that Signpost editors are guilty of leaking information" ... that's not how I read Nathan's comment. I assume that by "AfG" you mean "assume faith good"... please correct me if I'm wrong. wbm1058 (talk) 19:41, 3 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]
No, it just seems that if the Signpost attempts to adhere to some standard of journalistic ethics it might be a good idea to report not just that "complaints were raised" but that they were raised specifically by the reporter himself. The appearance is that the Signpost brief is reporting, but because it is reporting your own beliefs it becomes advocacy and opinion writing and not journalism. I'm not normally a Signpost critic, so I'm not sure why you would anticipate that I would "complain" next month. Unless you plan to post more position advocacy under the guise of journalism? Advocacy and opinion is totally fine, it should just be clearly described as such and hopefully you will choose to do so. Nathan T 14:31, 7 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Nathan, I see no advocacy, and I do not see a lack of good faith coming from my quarter. The 'brief' item above was totally objective and carried no opinion. In the meantime, if Wikimania is your concern and you have something to contribute to this month's coming article about it from your own experience, and if you want to offer a better quality of journalism, the newsroom is thataway, and there are plenty of positions vacant, including that of E-in-C. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:57, 9 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]


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