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In the media

Boris and Joe, reliability, love, and money

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By Ganesha811, 3family6, and Smallbones

Boris gives Joe an outstanding present

A diplomatic exchange of gifts involving a photo on Commons (right) was thoroughly dissected by The Washington Post, The Independent, The Times and many other newspapers.

US President Joe Biden gave UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson a $6,000 bicycle. Boris gave Joe a photograph of a mural in Edinburgh of Frederick Douglass taken from Commons. An earlier version of the story in The Times suggested that Boris' present was not really adequate. Sorry, I didn't archive the earlier story in time, but in any case The Signpost disagrees. It's wonderful that Johnson recognized the importance of US–UK shared history—including Douglass's life and general race relations in both countries. It's even better that Johnson gave a freely licensed photo available on Commons. Why waste the taxpayers' money when such a thoughtful gift is libre as well as gratis.

The photographer Melissa Highton gives due credit to the muralist Ross Blair (AKA TrenchOne). Highton is a dual US–UK national with roots in Maryland and Scotland. She says that the "incident gained a wee bit of media coverage" and that it "just goes to show that serendipitous things happen when you share openly."

More prime ministers and presidents should give such gifts. We welcome readers' suggestions in the Comments section below on what Commons photos their political leaders should give to other countries' leaders. Be sure to include the filename, e.g. for Biden to France's Emmanuel Macron, include [[:File:New Colossus manuscript Lazarus.jpg]], with a colon in front of "File".

The most reliable source on the internet?

PC Magazine interviews Amy Bruckman, Professor at Georgia Tech, and a keynote speaker at the upcoming IntelliSys 2021 Conference, who also edits Wikipedia occasionally. She states:

The content of a popular Wikipedia page is actually the most reliable form of information ever created. Think about it—a peer-reviewed journal article is reviewed by three experts ... and then is set in stone.... A popular Wikipedia page might be reviewed by thousands of people. If something changes, it is updated.... On the other hand, a less popular Wikipedia page might not be reliable at all.

Her book Should You Believe Wikipedia? will be published in 2022 by Cambridge University Press.

Canada's Global News offers a slightly different perspective but concludes with similar advice.

Arabic Wikipedia grows in size and scope

Reuters reports that Arabic Wikipedia now has more than 1 million articles. The story, written by Mahmoud Mourad, notes that in 2020 the number of registered users to the site expanded by 44%, and is now at 136,000. A brief interview with a Wikipedian, Anass Sedrati, contains this quote which gets to the heart of Wikipedia: "We can consider this as an attempt to provide knowledge to those who have not had the same opportunities as us." In another example of the Wikipedia ethos (and some commentary on our notability policies!), a second Wikipedian shares: "...We must have an article on everything that exists and on everything related to our life." Happy editing to all those over at Arabic Wikipedia!

Wikipedia, love, and marriage

They met about 2010 in a "chat room" on Wikipedia, according to The New York Times among a community of "passionate moderators, writers, and editors". In 2013 they met in person at a Wiki-wedding in New Jersey. Wikimania 2014 in London was next. The relationship heated up a bit in 2016 and again in 2019. This Pi day, March 14, the two were married celebrating with lemon meringue and apple pies. In their spare time they've managed a total of over 30,000 edits. The Signpost sends our warmest congratulations to IShadowed and Shirik.

Apparent plagiarism leads Elsevier to retract periodic table book

Chemistry World reports that academic publisher Elsevier has retracted the book The Periodic Table: Nature’s Building Blocks: An Introduction to the Naturally Occurring Elements, Their Origins and Their Uses based on accusations that the book plagiarized Wikipedia. An occasional Wikipedia editor Thomas Rauchfuss, an inorganic chemistry professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was notified by another Wikipedian of the apparent plagiarism, and checked it out in some detail. After contacting the book's three co-authors without receiving a satisfactory reply, Rauchfuss notified Elsevier who pulled the book.

Canadian students write articles about Indigenous people and social justice

Canadian editorial outlet Troy Media publishes the story "Students bring Indigenous perspectives to Wikipedia", which was originally published in the University of Alberta's magazine Folio. The story reports on Dr. Nykkie Lugosi-Schimpf and one of her students, Kris Cromwell, and how they used Wikipedia in Lugosi-Schimpf's course Colonialism and the Criminal Justice System.

In the course, students created Wikipedia articles about Indigenous people and the Canadian justice system. Lugosi-Schimpf was inspired to create the course after reading a story about Erin O'Neil, the Wikipedian in Residence for University of Alberta, and O'Neil's discussion about how Wikipedia can be used for social justice projects. Lugosi-Schimpf then contacted Wiki Education to set up the course. Previously the course had students work directly with organizations and communities to fulfill the service learning portion of the course. With the COVID-19 pandemic, such in-person work was not possible and Wikipedia presented an alternative. According to Lugosi-Schimpf, it also presented a great opportunity for students as well. "Indigenous peoples have been spoken for and talked about, and I think that for students to be able to speak for themselves, about themselves, rather than have someone else tell their stories is really important." Students peer-reviewed each other's work before the final articles were posted to Wikipedia, which gave them scholarly editing skills as well as a connection to each other during a difficult time socially due to the pandemic.

Kris Cromwell relates that she was excited by the opportunity presented by the course to impact how Wikipedia depicts racialized groups. "I'm a Black woman in the Faculty of Native Studies, and I thought it was important to have something from the perspective of a racialized person with education and training in critical Indigenous studies." She created Indigenous peoples and the Canadian criminal justice system and has continued to edit. She says "while not everyone can be a journalist, everyone can be a Wikipedia editor."

An Edit-a-thon for Eternity

The Australian Christian newspaper Eternity, working with the WikiProject 1000 Women in Religion, held an edit-a-thon to increase the coverage of Australian religious women.

Two more Indigenous Taiwanese language Wikipedias

On April 15, 2021, the Atayal and Seediq language Wikipedias were launched, as reported in The News Lens and Language Magazine. Both languages are indigenous to Taiwan, and are the second and third indigenous Taiwanese language Wikipedias to be created. The launch of these Wikipedias, along with the Sakizaya Wikipedia back in 2019 (see prior Signpost coverage), are part of a language revitalization project by the Taiwanese government. Atayal is spoken by only 90,000 people, and Seediq by only 10,000, and fluent speakers of both respective languages are far fewer. In 2018, UNESCO categorized Atayal as "vulnerable" to extinction and Seediq as "severely endangered". These languages belong to the Formosan family of Austronesian languages. Most speakers are elderly.

The lab leak hypothesis on Wikipedia

Once again CNET reports on the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wikipedia. This time, the focus is on the origins of the virus: "Inside Wikipedia's endless war over the coronavirus lab leak theory." The article, written by Jackson Ryan, is clear in its descriptions of Wikipedia processes, and features quotes from involved Wikipedians. The piece was well-received on a relevant talk page, with one Wikipedian writing: "it is rare to read an article about Wikipedia that gets things broadly right".

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I thought [3] was pretty good, but since I'm too lazy to create an account, I can't even request to share it on the semiprotected discussion pages for the articles. I was surprised to see that it was sponsored by Discord. I'm not sure it covers all of the viable animal transfer theories (such as [4]) but it explains the uncertainty well. MEDRS sources need to have stood unchallenged for years, and we just don't have any of those yet. (talk) 09:41, 3 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]


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