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In the media

Vive la différence!

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By Smallbones and Staff

We hope Father Will forgives us, but we just couldn't keep this column concise this month. Even the stories in the "in brief" section are not brief. Despite all the horrific general news stories lately, stories related to Wikipedia have mostly been interesting and different. No, we couldn't totally ignore some of the usual, more somber, stories. So pick and choose your stories and enjoy the difference!

Learning to trust the internet again

Jimmy Wales in Al Jazeera reminds us how the internet used to be. According to Jimmy there was little or no disinformation in healthcare or elections, and people could generally agree on the facts. Despite this double dose of nostalgia, Jimmy has a point and a program to make things better. The disinformation situation has gotten much worse. The program looks like Wikipedia, "the cornerstone of the free web.... It is the blueprint for restoring public trust in the web again."

Wales draws three conclusions from the success of Wikipedia:

Sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? We've got one request however. Jimmy, next time, please let corporations and their paid editors know that we don't want their disinformation, AKA hidden advertisements in our encyclopedia. And please let them know that our minimum requirement is that they must declare each paid edit, along with the names of the client, employer, and other affiliated parties. If we can't see these hidden adverts, we can't correct them. If you or the Wikimedia Foundation won't let people know about these requirements, who will? – S

Olympic victories

How to Use Wikipedia When You're Watching the Olympics, Stephen Harrison of Slate set the stage for the Olympics by describing how to use Wikipedia as your second screen while watching the Tokyo games. The most popular athletes score high on Wikipedia pageviews, Google Knowledge panels and Alexa report the information from Wikipedia. You can even read about the oddities that only Wikipedia ever covers such as List of Olympic medalists in art competitions.

Editors at WikiProject Olympics report that good photos of the Olympians are hard to get because broadcasters and national sports federations control the copyrights. Are the articles biased? Inclusion of articles about athletes should not be biased against women because of easy notability requirements for all Olympic athletes, but the article coverage may be less for athletes from some countries. A gymnastics writer says that there are no obvious misstatements in Wikipedia articles about the gymnasts she covers, but that controversies are sometimes avoided.

Why Basketball 3×3 Star Stefanie Dolson, Others Fact Check Their Wiki Pages NBC Channel 4 New York asked five USA Olympians to review the Wikipedia articles about themselves on video and suggest any needed corrections. Four of the five loved the articles.

In the round of 16 she lost to Stoyka Krasteva, who later won the gold metal.

There are 11,656 athletes at the Olympics. Guy Fraser wanted them all on Wikipedia: The Guardian covers the work of one dedicated Wikipedian, who has been filling in the blank spaces in our coverage of the 2020 games. See Community view for further coverage. – S

Wikimania in Phnom Penh

Père Guillaume Conquer ran what must be the most unusual version of Wikimania this year, perhaps ever, in the Coconut Club in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as he documented in a local paper. With 15 participants, including a dozen Cambodians, young and old, a Korean businessman, and an Australian cultural-events organizer, the event was almost as large as the congregation of Conquer's church in the tiny village of Chom Lak. Father Will, as he's usually called, has been a Roman Catholic missionary in Cambodia for two years for the Missions Etrangères de Paris. It's his first assignment since being ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Monaco. He told AsiaNews "Wikipedia is not the right tool for proselytising. Its success lies in its neutral point of view. It's a space for knowledge, not preaching."

Father Will bought the first drink for Wikipedia editors registered before the event. He's been a Wikipedian since 2008 making 3,432 edits across all projects. His goal for the Khmer Wikipedia is to double its 8,000 articles over the next year. Thanks for all you do, Father. And keep the faith.S

Why not a single Wikipedia article for controversial topics?

Wikipedia Has a Language Problem. Here’s How To Fix It by Yumiko Sato in Undark Magazine (reprinted in Fast Company). Following an earlier article in Slate where she explains in detail how the Japanese Wikipedia has whitewashed much of Japan's World War II history, Sato notes that the Croatian Wikipedia has had similar problems for almost a decade. (See prior coverage in The Signpost Disinformation report (2021) and Opinion (2019).) Al Jazeera piles on the Croatian editors with Are Croat nationalists pushing a political agenda on Wikipedia? on how Croat nationalists affected the Croatian Wikipedia, but concentrates on how they affect the Bosnian Wikipedia.

Wikipedia certainly has had language versions that produce seriously biased articles resulting from poor governance. While Sato recognizes that there will be technical difficulties, she proposes that there be a single language version of Wikipedia (presumably English) so that poor governance on a smaller version doesn't affect article quality. Political problems would prevent the implementation of this solution, even more so than technical problems. Different cultures want to be able to determine their own "truths" in their own languages.

But could a single "All-Wikipedia" article even be possible for even one of the most controversial articles? Likely, that would involve a set of about five translations from a single main article. Edits to the translations would have to be translated to the other versions. Debate on talk pages might need several translations as well. The thought of a multi-language edit war boggles the mind. It's an interesting idea, but it's unlikely to be implemented any time soon. – S

On deleting articles about women

Francesca Tripodi's recent paper, Ms. Categorized: Gender, notability, and inequality on Wikipedia continues to make news this month. Dr. Tripodi, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, reports that biographies of women are more likely to be nominated for deletion than similar male biographies.


In brief

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Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:46, 31 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]

H1. The proportion of biographies about cis-gender women (she/her/hers) nominated for deletion each month will be greater than the proportion of available biographies about cis-gender women (she/her/hers) on Wikipedia during the same time period.
H2. Articles about cis-gender women (she/her/hers) are more likely to be misclassified as non-notable (i.e. “kept”) than articles about cis-gender men (he/him/his).

- I'm not seeing anything about "biographies of women are more likely to be nominated for deletion than similar male biographies". As I suspect Tripodi knows, there is other recent research more relevant to the the male/female ratios, which I won't attempt to summarize here. Johnbod (talk) 16:53, 31 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]

H1 is clearly a typo in the original. It literally says H1: A > A. Not a promising hypothesis. The 2nd "cis-gender women (she/her/hers)" should be changed to "cis-gender men (he/him/his)" or H2:A>B. This just says that "biographies of women are more likely to be nominated for deletion than ,,, male biographies". ("similar" not included here)

"H2. Articles about cis-gender women (she/her/hers) are more likely to be misclassified as non-notable (i.e. “kept”) than articles about cis-gender men (he/him/his)" can clearly be restated as:

H2. Articles about cis-gender men (he/him/his) are less likely to be misclassified as non-notable (i.e. “kept”) than articles about cis-gender women (she/her/hers)", i.e. similarly nominated men's bios are less likely to be kept than women's nominations. She's trying to compare similar things, AfD nominations of men to AfD nominations of women.

Hope that helps. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:52, 31 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]

"My dataset revealed that the proportion of women nominated for deletion each month (out of all biographies nominated for deletion) was greater than the proportion of available biographies about women on English-language Wikipedia more generally." Johnbod (talk) 02:40, 1 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Somebody is missing something here

@Johnbod: It could be me - but as I understand what you're saying is that Tripodi did not compare AfDs for men and women. Is that what you are saying? It is quite obvious that she did. Quoting from her paper:

So men's and women's nomination are directly compared. What am I missing about your complaint? If she didn't mean these statement, according to your view, what do you think she meant? If I can figure out what you mean and consider it to be correct, then I will issue a correction. Until then. I have to ask that you not try to correct Signpost articles. That is a matter for staff of The Signpost and ultimately the editor-in-chief, me. Signpost articles are signed by the contributors, changing them is equivalent to changing somebody's comment on a talk page. Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:24, 1 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

And I have to ask that you don't attempt to just rewrite what you think a (presumably peer-reviewed) paper ought to have said, when it clearly doesn't, as you did above (previous section). The analysis in your last issue was spot on; it's pity you didn't leave it at that. Many people including me have corrected various things in Signpost articles in the past, & I don't accept we can't. It's a bit rich saying that when you had just claimed the Tripodi paper must have meant something different to what it actually says! Johnbod (talk) 03:48, 2 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
"Dr. Tripodi, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, reports that biographies of women are more likely to be nominated for deletion than similar male biographies," appears to be correct, as illustrated by the bullet points above. The analysis in Recent research presented in our last issue is indeed very impressive and readers and anybody who has any questions about the paper should consult it. I believe the statement above is entirely consistent with what the original paper says, as well as what HaeB's analysis says. No correction is needed.
As far as readers - or anybody else who is not on the staff of The Signpost - making post-publication "corrections" to the content of an article, that is inconsistent with the project's rules and 16 years of The Signpost's practice. We are an independent newspaper that presents the news truthfully to the best of our ability as well as our contributor's opinions. We do not necessarily represent - or claim to represent - the views of the WMF, its affiliates, ArbCom, admins, or even non-staffers who are part of our very diverse community. I believe that our readers would not want it otherwise. That means that The Signpost has the final say on our content. Please do not ever change our published content in opposition to the views of our staff. Of course the overall rules of enWiki apply here. The applicable rules are those that apply to WikiProjects and talk page content, e.g. do not change the content of another user's signed content. You may make a request at WP:MfD or even ArbCom if you disagree. Smallbones(smalltalk) 13:31, 2 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Wikipedia's "language problem"

While written with good intentions, the "language problem" article is clearly written by someone who does not know the details of why it is necessary to have separate projects with separate policies and content. Notability, copyright (especially regarding local fair-use laws), real-life inherent cultural differences, and many other aspects of wiki projects all need to be different, and none of these topics are addressed by the article.
Having original content in different language versions has benefits far outweighing the downsides. At most, we can use WikiLambda or something similar to import basic statistical facts into Wikipedia articles in different language versions, but this should not be extended to complex prose prone to POV problems. — Sagotreespirit (talk) 05:43, 10 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]


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