This month we learned a great deal about the near term future of Wikipedia. It's not all scary! Two of the stories here appear in News and notes, Opinion, or Op-Ed with the extensive news coverage links parked here for your convenience.
Maryana Iskander – new WMF CEO
Wikimedia Foundation's selection of a new CEO was noted by several major media, after it was announced mid September:
You can find out more about the CEO's background and plans for the Foundation at this issue's News and notes. – B
A Wikipedia editor shines in the spotlight
Wired focuses the spotlight on the efforts of Wikipedian-in-good-standing K.e.coffman. The article, called "One Woman's Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia", notes her longstanding efforts as part of Wikiproject Military history, one of the largest and most active projects. Describing her journey down the rabbit hole, we come across a paragraph many editors might relate to: "At first, Coffman stuck to tentative, sporadic suggestions. But then she was making edits nearly every day; there was so much to fix. She liked the site’s intricate bureaucracy—the guidelines on etiquette and reliable sourcing, the policies on dispute resolution and article deletion, the learned essays and discussion pages that editors cite like case law. “Wikipedia is very regimented,” she says. “I am good with instructions.” Coffman is also responsible for an important essay on WikiProject Military History – which we reprinted in a 2018 Signpost Op-ed – about rooting out the Myth of the clean Wehrmacht, one edit at a time.
Also: Boing Boing, "How one woman took on Wikipedia's Nazi fancruft" – G
The future of Wikipedia is the future of the world!
Dive Into A Murder Mystery On This Creepy, Cyberpunk Wikipedia with video here. There are lots of other reviews of this game that seems to be designed to freak out Wikipedians. But Kotaku says "The writers do a great job of simulating a megacorp-sponsored, brand-safe Wikipedia." How frightening can that be? – S
China: Infiltration, physical harm, and bans
International coverage of the WMF's decision to ban seven users on the Chinese Wikipedia and to desysop a dozen others was extensive.
Other coverage included:
See related coverage at this issue's News and notes. – S
The complete Jimbo? #528: Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, on Homeschooling, Atheism, Understanding Financial Markets, Ayn Rand, Favorite Books, and More, with transcript. Tim Ferriss interviews Wales for almost one hour and 49 minutes – skip the first 4:45 minutes of adverts – covering almost every question you'd want to hear him answer. Some news coverage of the interview stressed that Jimmy spent a month incognito in Buenos Aires – except that he had to take a trip to Korea during that time. Perhaps the most interesting section is how Bomis, his internet startup, suddenly started working under contract with the NBC television network, then just as suddenly stopped, leading into the founding of Wikipedia, 9/11, and the financial crash of the internet. – S
More women journalists, more African women
- Why we need more biographies of women journalists on Wikipedia at Journalism.co.uk covers a speech by Jareen Imam at a Hacks/Hackers event in London. She stresses the need to increase the visibility of women journalists. "Visibility is necessary to help gender parity in journalism leadership, and it also affects women journalists’ safety, credibility, recognition, inclusion and income." Imam works with the group Women Do News. Though it was not reported in the story, Women Do News has received a $2,000 rapid grant to fund editathons to help write more articles about women journalists.
- Last month Global Citizen posted a list of seven African women that they thought deserved Wikipedia articles. Before we even published the list the red links turned to blue thanks to Abishe, Victuallers and Indy beetle. We then challenged other publications to send us similar lists and let us know on our suggestion page. Quartz did not mention Wikipedia or leave a message on the suggestion page, but sent a list of 24 notable African women innovators to my inbox. Six of them were already blue links. The full list is:
- Jihan Abass, Miishe Addy, Diarra Boussou, Héla Cheikhrouhou, Amira Cheniour, Farah Emara, Maya Horgan Famodu, Regina Honu, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Neema Iyer, Fara Ashiru Jituboh, Xaviera Kowo, Berita Khumalo, Tomilola Majekodunmi, Moky Makura, Cathye Moukoko, Catherine Nakalembe, Nanjala Nyabola, Marie-Alix De Putter, Mmamontsheng Dulcy Rakumakoe, Jasmine Samantar, Kalista Sy, Mariam Bintou Traoré, Seynabou Dieng Traore, Indira Tsengiwe, Wanjiru Koinange and Angela Wacuka. - S
- The women who appear in Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ are finally getting their due, 700 years later in The Conversation. Scholarship sets the stage for Wikipedia to cover Dante's characters.
- Wikipedia editing is thankless and addictive in The Business Standard; Who knew?
- Stop Source-Shaming, Acknowledge Wikipedia in the research process from the American Libraries Magazine.
- Wikimedia awards grants to tackle racial inequality, barriers to free information (Reuters): See related coverage in News from Diff.
- Superhuman: Slate published an article about Wikifunctions, which it described in a headline as a step towards "Transcending the limits of human language".
- Victory?: Wikipedia 'War in Afghanistan' Article Describes It As a 'Taliban Victory' (Newsweek). The article, largely hypothetical, theorizes that some may be upset by this statement of fact. Newsweek, a publication in decline if there ever was one, states that it "has reached out to Wikipedia for confirmation," raising many questions, starting with - do you really need to "confirm" the contents of a publicly available webpage?