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Our most important new article since November 1, 2015

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By Smallbones, Staff, and Wikipedia editors

Wikipedia has now reached its 6,000,000th article, a symbolically important achievement. Congratulations to User:Rosiestep for creating the article Maria Elise Turner Lauder, but let's take a moment to recognize that this is not the only important new article out of the one million that have been created since November 1, 2015. Some might say that every article created since then is equally important. Others might argue that there is some article that really truly is the most important article out of the last million created. They might say that their favorite article is the most important, or even their favorite article from their own creations. In short, the most important article out of the last million is completely subjective. A collection of a couple of dozen or so of these articles may, however, show what we as a community consider to be important.

Note that the editors who added their most important article were not randomly selected. To get this started I invited the Signpost staff, folks who commented on previous Signpost articles, and a few others who haphazardly (not randomly) popped into view. To get a better sample of Signpost readers, please add your own most important article in the comments section. Just follow the format of the example, putting the name of an article created since November 1, 2015 and explain, in 110 words or less, why you think it is the most important. You may add a 180px photo if you wish, with a short caption.

With more examples we can view a wider range of what Signpost editors view as the most important article out of the last million new articles.

"Most important articles"

A Huron–Manistee National Forests employee holds a kangaroo joey.

2019–20 Australian bushfire season is as a globally significant page documenting a tangible and emotive result of climate change – Hell on Earth. Climate and fire experts agree climate change is a factor known to result in increased fire frequency and intensity in Australia, and although it should not be considered as the sole cause, it is considered very likely to have contributed to the unprecedented extent and severity of the fires. Articles such as this, plus news pictures, seen around the world, serve to highlight and educate on the danger of ignoring climate change. -G

Ship and Oil Rigs in the Gulf of Mexico

Taylor oil spill. You haven't had enough depressing news about the environment lately? There's an ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that's been polluting so long that if it were a person, it could drive an automobile in many countries. Standard news sources tend to focus attention on stories when they are new and ignore them when they are ongoing. Wikipedia articles have the potential to provide a stable and ongoing source of information about topics like the Taylor oil spill, less subject to the up-and-down news cycle. Someone just needs to care enough to regularly monitor and update the article.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition. Known for her assertive speaking manner, she urges governments to take immediate action to address world climate change. Her exposure to the masses has had a significant global impact on making younger people conscious of the pressing issue, described in some sources as the "Greta effect". In 2019 Time named Thunberg one of the 100 most influential people and the youngest individual Person of the Year. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.-DrB

"Ivy Mike", the first full-scale thermonuclear test, 1952

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a Swiss organization founded to stop the use of nuclear weapons. As in all years, but especially that year, the Nobel Peace Prize is one of the big important recognitions that are given to people who strive to promote peace and human welfare, and the 2017 Prizes were exceptional in my opinion. -P2

Jess Wade – scientist, communicator and UK Wikimedian of the Year, 2019

Jess Wade is a physicist at Imperial College London, researching organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

In 2018 she started a personal project to raise awareness of women scientists, creating one article every day about notable academics. She has now written over 850 new articles, and inspired others to do likewise. The Wikipedia article about her was created by a fellow academic in 2018. Wade was named UK Wikimedian of the Year in 2019.

As a science communicator, she has helped encourage a wider awareness of Wikipedia and of science. Sadly, she has also attracted more than her share of trolls, demonstrating how Wikipedia reflects society's blindspots and biases. In 2019 Wade was awarded the British Empire Medal for her services to gender diversity in science, and was listed amongst the top 50 'Most Influential Woman in UK Tech' by Computer Weekly Magazine. -NM
Donna Strickland at press conference in 2018

Donna Strickland is a Canadian optical physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018 for her research into chirped pulse amplification. This article was not created until after she won the Nobel Prize, a fact which generated an outcry now commonly dubbed the "Strickland Affair". The news coverage on the incident demonstrated the lack of knowledge the media has on the inner workings of Wikipedia, while also signifying the importance the public attaches to the existence of a topic on this encyclopedia. But the activity in the following hours exemplified the best of our community's abilities, as editors from around the world contributed to the creation of a Strickland article in 36 different languages. -Ib

Women in Red official logo

Women in Red is a group of Wikipedians dedicated to creating articles about women, and addressing the gender bias on Wikipedia. Project founder Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, alongside Emily Temple-Wood, earned the 2016 Wikimedian of the Year award for their efforts to address the "gender chasm" on Wikipedia. Women accounted for only 15.53% of biographies before WIR got started. Their hard work has increased that to 18.21%, but many women remain in red. Still, because of the efforts of WIR, many more of the last million articles were on women. With luck, even more of the next million will be too! -CE

Women's March on Washington, 2017

The 2017 Women's March pointed out that women exist, which is a little startling, considering that approximately half the world population of 7.7 billion people are women. In addition to being the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, there were marches worldwide. The march and its successors have emphasized the importance of uniting to address a broad range of the world's problems, including issues of human rights, the economy, inequality and justice, the environment and climate change. The march also enabled women to combine political advocacy and fashion by sporting Pussyhats with cat ears.-MMO

Khasi women in Meghalaya
Matrilineal society of Meghalaya is a recognised good article which ticks many boxes for topics under-represented due to Wikipedia's systemic biases. It's about sociology rather than politics or popular culture. It's about women rather than men. Instead of the bias to OECD nations, it's about a rural, lesser-developed part of a developing nation. It's a product of a 2016 collaboration between Women in Red, ArtAndFeminism, Women's History Month, WikiProject Women artists, a series of initiatives where women have developed new ways of working, recruiting and supporting women on Wikipedia. -BHG
A woman holding a sign reading "#MeToo"

The Me Too movement sends the message that powerful people are not immune to consequences for their actions. RAINN reports that, in the United States, only 5 out of every 1000 perpetrators of sexual assault are incarcerated. Where other systems are failing, the Me Too movement gives a voice to those who have been denied one. It also addresses small scale issues of harassment or unpleasant actions, including stories from people of every gender and culture. There is something we can all learn from the movement, whether it's realising that something we are doing might be hurtful, or realising that we have the power to stand up for ourselves. -B

Fanny Eckerlin

Fanny Eckerlin (1802–1842) was an Italian operatic mezzo-soprano of the nineteenth century. I've never found an entry for her in any of the standard operatic reference works; evidently well-regarded during her lifetime, she has been reduced, today, to a footnote in critical surveys of the work of Gaetano Donizetti and Gioacchino Rossini and histories of the bel canto era. To me, this article shows the potential Wikipedia has to go beyond standard reference works in its scope; figures like Eckerlin may have been marginalized in print, but we have the opportunity to reintroduce their stories into the historical conversation, at the same time expanding scholarship on all manner of specialist topics.-SAdN

Turkish Wikipedia logo with red censor bar reading "2 yıldır özlüyoruz" (English: "we miss you for 2 years")

It is not too strong to say Wikipedia is part of a broader ongoing war of information and disinformation. The Block of Wikipedia in Turkey was a period from 29 April 2017 to 15 January 2020 during which the Turkish government prevented access to Wikipedia. The Turkish government objected to content on the English Wikipedia's article State-sponsored terrorism which said that Turkey had supported ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Wikipedias in all languages were blocked provoking condemnation from Turkish politicians such as Eren Erdem. Many Wikimedia communities protested the censorship, and in 2019 the Wikimedia Foundation petitioned the European Court of Human Rights for redress. On 26 December 2019, the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled that the block of Wikipedia violated human rights, and on its order the block was lifted on 15 January 2020. -W

The comet Ping pong restaurant during the fracas with its "we're still here" sign

The Pizzagate conspiracy theory article created in late 2016 had a rocky start, but now exemplifies the way that Wikipedia resists and shines light on fake news that pollutes much of the internet in this era. The allegations about nefarious activities in the nonexistent basement of the Comet Ping Pong Pizza restaurant even resulted in a gunman turning up and trying to find the basement. The first twenty edits, which are no longer available to view, were cleaned up by Ian.thomson with an edit summary that includes "this BLP-violating bollocks needs to change". Future generations will need to know that millions were duped into believing this fake news. Wikipedia's article will help people understand that. -WSC

A bare tree in a snowy field.

Had it been created two days earlier, Wintertree (userspace copy) may have been Wikipedia's five-millionth article. Its sorry pattern will be familiar to many editors – an article promoting a product (a spellchecker "proudly serving ... in many Fortune 500 companies"), unreferenced beyond an official website, and created by an obviously biased single-purpose account, then over-tagged and left to rot in bottomless maintenance categories. We tell our readers "Wikipedia is a place to learn, not a place for advertising", yet we're running 24,000 ads right now – and that's just the ones we know about. These articles remind us we must do much better to become a neutral, trusted encyclopedia. -T

16 June 2019 protest march in Hong Kong

2019–20 Hong Kong protests. With national populism on the rise worldwide, it would be tempting to point to articles on national elections in the United States, Great Britain, Brazil, or the Philippines as some Wikipedia's most indispensable up-to-date coverage. But despite the conflict it entails, the protests triggered by the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill somehow seem like a more optimistic choice. This is an area in which Wikipedia must continue to strive to live up to its standards as an unbiased, uncensored source of essential information; and the article covers a topic that reinforces how people everywhere continue to question and challenge the conditions under which they live. -D

2017 Laurence Olivier Awards. The seven Harry Potter novels sold 100s of millions of copies, but Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – the so-called "eighth story" of HP – is absurdly and irreconcilably incompatible with the rules/plot of the books. That it received a record 11 nominations and record 9 wins reminds all on Wikipedia and beyond that the childhood dreams of countless millions about "what came next for the characters" can be shattered in absurd fashion to thunderous applause by those who look no deeper than flashy stage effects and the labels "Harry Potter" and "J.K. Rowling". How to grapple with realities far from what we imagined is a skill with which all who come to Wikipedia must learn to cope in life, since for good or ill, rightly or wrongly, life seldom turns out quite how we imagined it.-NH12

Students of Jamia Millia Islamia University protest against the Indian government's decision to implement CAA and NRC

The Indian Citizenship Amendment Act protests is one of the largest student-led protests of this decade. It is not often you would find students at the forefront of resistance, but they persist still. With a sitting right-wing government, and a country showing the earliest signs of a curbed democracy, the Human Rights Watch found that the police have used excessive force only against demonstrators protesting the law, including many students. All the deaths have occurred in states governed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which in itself is a huge blow to the values of equality and secularism India has always stood for. Q

Unite to Remain. Several events in electoral reform history have shaped the United Kingdom – the Battle of Peterloo, the end of rotten boroughs in favor of urban boroughs, and the growth of suffrage to working-class men from the towns to the sticks, to women over 30 to 21, and eventually to everyone over 18 – but perhaps the next one could involve the end of first-past-the-post voting to join the rest of Europe in using proportional representation. In this year's election, the pact to Unite to Remain was a textbook example of escaping the problem of the spoiler effect associated with FPTP, even if it was not completely successful. P

Wikipedia's article on the Impeachment of Donald Trump not only provides information about a significant current event, but also serves to demonstrate the success of Wikipedia's model and its openness. The article is not protected, though it has been in the past to prevent vandalism. The talk page is highly active, with multiple discussions between editors working toward a consensus. In short, it demonstrates that Wikipedia's vision of people from all over the world, often with diametrically opposed views, can work together to improve an article, no matter how controversial the subject. D

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Older articles are important too of course. I personally nominated Greta Thunberg not because her biography is super important but because she is representative of an issue which is in my opinion the most important issue in the world right now. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 18:20, 30 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Maria Elise Turner Lauder

While no one questions the need for articles on women and the need for women editors, is Maria Elise Turner Lauder really the 6,000,000th article or is just a good advert for Wikipedia which happened to be created around the time of the 6,000,000th article? Giano (talk) 13:59, 28 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Giano, there is some discussion about this at Wikipedia talk:Six million articles. I'd summarise it as a photofinish and a close decision, with a number of editors trying to click save at exactly the right second. It is a reasonable assumption that only a tiny proportion of the articles created that week were created by editors who were watching the relevant counter and trying to get the 6 millionth. ϢereSpielChequers 14:53, 28 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you. Most fortuitous. I think I'll name my next horse The Lady in Red and hope you are adjudicating at the finishing post. Giano (talk) 15:07, 28 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) @Giano: It was a "photo-finish" and after that decision was made all involved agreed with the outcome. Chris Troutman (talk) 15:10, 28 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Well to continue the racing metaphor: I suspect had we known of the ten or so runners, it wouldn't have been very hard to pick the winner. Giano (talk) 15:22, 28 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]


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