The Signpost

File:DALL-E Astronaut Library.png
In the media

Propaganda and photos, lunatics and a lunar backup

Contribute  —  
Share this
By Bri, Oltrepier, Smallbones, and HaeB


Bernie Sanders at a 2016 rally, one of many photos of public figures taken by Gage Skidmore, well-known for his photos of candidates for the American presidential elections that have been used on- and off-wiki

Il Post published a "flash" article (in Italian) highlighting American photographer Gage Skidmore, starting from a question made by a Reddit user in the Wikipedia-related thread of the site last October: “Why is everyone's photo on Wikipedia a picture of them at San Diego Comic-Con?” The reason is actually Skidmore’s work: as mentioned by Il Post, since 2009 the Indiana-native photographer has been to each year’s Comic-Con to take pictures of guest actors and actresses (including Tom Holland and Scarlett Johansson, among many others), before publishing them on Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons license.

Throughout the years, the dozens of thousands of pictures taken by Skidmore, who is also well-known for his photos of candidates for the American presidential elections, have been used not only on Wikipedia, but also on many media, such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Associated Press and NPR. Those who want to help out themselves can consult Wikipedia:Uploading images. – O

Russian propagandist accused of plagiarizing Wikipedia in thesis

A flag with the top half blue, the bottom half yellow
The flag of Ukraine

The music video starts without music. We look down on a yellow wheat field, otherwise only seeing a young man walking away from us. Five seconds in, the view jumps so that the horizon divides the screen in half — the blue sky above, the yellow wheat below — a tableau of the Ukrainian flag. At the same time, the young man screams "I'm Russian", seeming to say that Ukraine (or its flag) is part of Russia. Strangely, that position is Vladimir Putin's justification for the invasion: that Ukraine was, is, and always will be part of Russia. Of course, the pop patriotic anthem genre is not unique to Russia. But some artists handle it very differently.

The singer Yaroslav Dronov, better known as Shaman, first became popular with the song Встанем ("We rise up"), released on February 23, 2022. Befitting any song released on Defenders of the Fatherland Day, it praises Russians who sacrificed themselves to rid the world of fascism, and calls upon today's Russians to be prepared to take up the same cause. The next day, Russia invaded Ukraine, and suddenly the song had a different meaning. Five months later, he had another huge hit in Russia, the pop patriotic anthem discussed above, Я русский ("I'm Russian").

The Moscow Times wrote on November 7 that "critics (are) accusing the singer of acting as part of the Kremlin’s wartime propaganda machine." MT also wrote "According to Dissernet, more than half of Shaman's 2016 thesis, which earned him the equivalent of a Ph.D. in art history at the Gnessin Academy of Music, contained excerpts lifted directly from other sources." Out of 35 total pages in the thesis, 6 were plagiarized from Wikipedia, 13 other pages plagiarized other sources, leaving only 16 pages (including the title page, the table of contents, and some appendices) which did not contain plagiarism. One should note that Dissernet only publishes preliminary reviews, that can be re-evaluated or deleted at any time. The review MT cited was deleted on November 8.

Putin is getting ready to declare his re-election campaign for the Russian presidency in mid–December according to The Bell. Shaman, who "has become the latest symbol of Russian military propaganda", is expected to be part of a small group of influencers acting as key campaigners and supporters for Putin. – S

Wikipedia's billion-year lunar backup to be updated

According to a press release, the Arch Mission Foundation's "second installment of the historic Lunar Library will launch to the Moon's surface later this year aboard Astrobotic's Peregrine Lander." The library's "foundational components" include "the Wikipedia" alongside "collections from Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive, and the Long Now Foundation's Rosetta Project and PanLex datasets." Stored in the form of laser-etched analogue images on thin sheets of nickel, the library is assumed to be "capable of lasting for up to billions of years on the Moon." In 2019, transportation of the first installment of the library onboard the Israeli Beresheet mission had ended in a crash landing, but Arch Mission stated at the time that the contents likely survived intact (Signpost coverage: "Vital Articles backed up on the Moon").
The "Lunar Library" project is not to be confused with the "Wikipedia to the Moon" effort championed by Wikimedia Germany, which was envisaged to bring a disc with a community-selected collection of articles to the Moon by 2017 (Signpost coverage in 2016: "Mixed reactions to Wikipedia's lunar time-capsule"). The chapter's partner (now called Planetary Transportation Systems after several renames and a bankruptcy) does not yet appear to have launched or participated in a Moon mission at the time of writing. – H

In brief

Placeholder alt text
Have you seen this gentleman ... on X?
Wales covers a lot of ground. He's looking at AI for Wikipedia to identify errors. AI can help Wikipedia community do a better job. It shouldn't be used in place of human-mediated encyclopedia due to its propensity for errors / confabulation. 200,000 startups can't be effectively regulated, "I don't see a role for regulators that makes any sense". Incredible positive things are coming, but there are real threats. Material on EU regulation starts at 03:45.
A man on a horse looking at the Sphinx
Napoleon à la Wikipedia
Two men in a formal setting, sitting in front of microphones, with a sign behind them concerning a "cramming workshop"
Cramming: we're here to help speakers brush up on a forgotten plot, or really, anybody

Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit our next issue in the Newsroom or leave a tip on the suggestions page.

In this issue
+ Add a comment

Discuss this story


  • Oltrepier I'm grateful you wrote a contribution for the issue. Every Wikipedian is welcome to submit an idea, suggestion, or contributing in other ways like copyediting. Eventually we hope to increase the staff of The Signpost, always looking for help and there are a number of vacancies for regular columns, even. For others who might be wondering how to get involved: we created this helpful Quick Start page. ☆ Bri (talk) 23:39, 20 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Take Notes

More on WP and the Napoleon-film

Watching the Napoleon Movie? Don’t Forget to Read His Wikipedia Page. I quote:

"Le petit caporal even has a stand-alone article on his genitals (only Jesus and Hitler can say the same)."

Wikipedians, I think we have been challenged. If nothing else, there is a gender-imbalance here that must be corrected. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 13:10, 27 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0