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Arabic Wikipedia blackout; Wikimedians discuss SpongeBob, copyrights, and AI

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By Red-tailed hawk, JPxG and Robertsky

Is SpongeBob SquarePants now freely licensed?

At the policy village pump: what's the deal with media companies uploading drawings and videos of highly recognizable characters under free licenses? Is it a proper release? Do they have the authority to make a proper release? Would it hold up in court? Who knows. One thing's for sure: in one week, the mouse will be freed from his prison. J

Wikimedia Commons discusses how to handle AI images

On December 6, a discussion was opened at Commons' village pump regarding the proper tagging and use of pictures created using image models (e.g. Midjourney, DALL-E, Stable Diffusion and friends). Should they be permitted? Labeled? Forbidden? There's a litany of opinions. At the center of them is the newly-congealing Commons:AI-generated media. J

Arabic Wikipedia blacks out main page, logs out all users, publishes statement, and adopts new logo in response to war in Gaza

Following a discussion on the Arabic Wikipedia ( archive alt), the wiki took several actions in response to the war in Gaza. The actions, as summarized by Arabic Wikipedia checkuser and administrator Dr-Taher, are as follows:

  1. The logo of the Arabic Wikipedia was changed to bear the colors of the Palestinian flag indefinitely;
  2. On December 23, the home page of the Arabic Wikipedia was to be blacked out and editing of the wiki would be prohibited;
  3. The Arabic Wikipedia published a statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people; and
  4. A competition is to be arranged by administrators of the Arabic Wikipedia to create content relating to the cause of the Palestinian people (Arabic: القضية الفلسطينية) and to the ongoing war in Gaza.
alt=The Arabic Wikipedia header includes a puzzle globe bearing the Palestinian flag's colors, as well as a message calling for an end to war in Gaza. The message reads: تضامنًا مع حق الشعب الفلسطيني لا للإبادة الجماعية في غزة .... لا لقتل المدنيين لا لاستهداف المستشفيات والمدارس .... لا للتضليل والكيل بمكيالين أوقفوا الحرب .... وانشروا السلام العادل والشامل In solidarity with Palestinian rights Stop genocide in Gaza. Stop killing civilians. Stop targeting hospitals and schools. Stop misinformation and disinformation. Stop double standards. Stop the war.. Spread the just and comprehensive peace.
alt=The Arabic Wikipedia header includes a puzzle globe bearing the Palestinian flag's colors, as well as a message calling for an end to war in Gaza. The message reads: تضامنًا مع حق الشعب الفلسطيني لا للإبادة الجماعية في غزة .... لا لقتل المدنيين لا لاستهداف المستشفيات والمدارس .... لا للتضليل والكيل بمكيالين أوقفوا الحرب .... وانشروا السلام العادل والشامل In solidarity with Palestinian rights Stop genocide in Gaza. Stop killing civilians. Stop targeting hospitals and schools. Stop misinformation and disinformation. Stop double standards. Stop the war.. Spread the just and comprehensive peace.
The header of the Arabic Wikipedia on 23 December 2023

The discussion began when Mervat posted a message to her fellow Arabic Wikimedians, encouraging the wiki to put out a banner message in solidarity with Palestinian Arabs and calling for an end to the war. As conversation developed, محمد أحمد عبد الفتاح lamented the state of the war's coverage on the Arabic Wikipedia, stating that it relied too much upon English sources and that several key articles were too short, and arguing that some changes should be made to encourage the creation of content related to the Palestinian cause and to encourage advocacy on its behalf.

Following initial discussion, a consensus was obtained on the Wiki to issue a statement of solidarity. Dr-Taher made a formal proposal to take several actions in support of Palestinians, including a blackout of the Arabic Wikipedia's main page.

هذا المقترح أعلاه، وأرجو من الزملاء الخبراء في الصور اختيار صورة مناسبة مع إبراز العلم الفلسطيني. سيبدأ الإعلان بـ (يوم إغلاق -Blackout- لصفحة ويكيبيديا الرئيسة) فلا يظهر فيها إلا الإعلان فقط، وكذلك صفحات ويكيبيديا على وسائل التواصل. يلي ذلك عودة الصفحة لما كانت عليه مع بقاء الإعلان في أعلى الصفحة، وتغيير الشعار إلى لون العلم الفلسطيني لحين إشعار آخر. سيبدأ الإداريون ترتيب مسابقة لتطوير المحتوى المتعلق بالحرب وبالقضية الفلسطينية كاملة.
— Dr-Taher

Later on, حبيشان suggested that the logo of the Arabic Wikipedia be changed to bear the colors of the Palestinian flag. The user compared the proposal to the decision by community of the Georgian Wikipedia to change their logos to bear the colors of the Ukrainian flag following the Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Throughout the discussion, there was near unanimous support for a statement of support for the Palestinian people, the creation of new content related to the conflict, the blacking out of the main page, and the changing of the logo. A broader ban on editing on 23 December was also implemented; an interface administrator installed a fork of Wikibreak enforcer into the site's Common.js file (diff, archive alt). It is not clear to The Signpost which interface administrator made the edit, as the username of the editor who performed the edit was subject to revision deletion.

Update: NickK filed a Steward request (archive) immediately on Meta after the Wikibreak enforcer came online: requesting for the enforcer to be removed on basis that unsuspecting logged-in editors who visit the Arabic Wikipedia would be logged out without adequate warnings. After a quick discussion with an unanimous view that the protest should not affect logged-in editors on other projects formed, the enforcer was removed.

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JPxG: Can we add an addendum to the Arabic Wikipedia forced logout issue? Just this additional paragraph since new developments have occurred while this edition was being published:

NickK filed a Steward request immediately on Meta after the Wikibreak enforcer came online: requesting for the enforcer to be removed on basis that unsuspecting logged editors going onto the Arabic Wikipedia would be logged out without adequate warnings. After a quick discussion with an unanimous view that the protest should not affect logged editors on other projects formed, the enforcer was removed.

– robertsky (talk) 11:41, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

JPxG doesn't seem to be around, or busy with other things, so I went ahead and added this update. It's rare that we change content post-publication, but this seems to be a worthwhile exception. Regards, HaeB (talk) 16:36, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Pretty appalling politicisation of ar.wiki. I know it had some major POV issues with regards to Israel, but this pretty much ruins any credibilty it might have for being a balanced, reliable source. Perhaps it might need an hr.wiki-style WMF intervention? Number 57 15:50, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

To User:QuickQuokka: I used my position on Ukraine to describe why I find it prudent for Wikipedia to steer clear of taking sides, but yes, I am also both shocked and in anguish regarding the situation in Palestine and Israel, and how both parties seems to disregard international law and human rights. But again, I don't see that as something I should promote supporting this or that side, it's just not what Wikipedia is about. Again, there are enough forums for those who want to do that, we should stick to our single mission, free knowledge to as many as possible. And of course, within that free knowledge, there should be as neutral and well sourced articles both about Hama's terrorist attack and Israels response on it, then readers can learn more about what is going on there. Ulflarsen (talk) 19:25, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Meh, enwiki did something similar to protest SOPA/PIPA. Mach61 (talk) 17:04, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
To Mach61: I know, but I did not support that either. I believe we should use our time here to write as neutral and well sourced articles as possible, not promoting this or that position directly. The way we can do that is to use time on such articles, improve them, for the benefit of as many as possible, not this or that fraction of the society. Ulflarsen (talk) 18:02, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Mach61: I think that's different, because SOPA/PIPA presented an existential threat to Wikipedia and the WMF itself. QuickQuokka [⁠talkcontribs] 19:16, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Did they do the same to protest the 300,000+ killed in Yemen? And others said, that was about a policy that affected Wikipedia itself. Number 57 19:40, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Big difference. SOPA/PIPA/ACTA were not political, just ham fisted legal wishlists for the some big media companies, directly threatening the existence of Wikipedia. I do wonder if Wikipedians would agree to protest World War III if it started, however. What existential threats do we protest? :) --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:33, 25 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Some serious PoV issues there. We laugh at Conservapedia for doing similar. Israel should rightly be condemned for its massively disproportionate response to the Hamas terrorist attacks, but that's not Wikipedia's job. The SOPA blackout was useful as it raised awareness and Wikipedia going down could have actually made a difference; ar.wiki doing this raises no awareness and will have no effect on Netanyahu's actions. Tim O'Doherty (talk) 17:04, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

What can be done about the Arabic Wikipedia at this point? Its administrators are clearly abusing their power. Yaron K. (talk) 18:38, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

A RfC on metawiki.· מקף Hyphen · 19:46, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I can't believe comments here. What is the site supposed to do, tell its Palestinian editors "we don't care if you die"? And don't think that you're just not supporting partisanship, or such (how many protested the Georgian parallel? But no, somehow western countries don't support one invasion, but are enthusiastic about another one...) - by declaring your opposition to a tiny protest that will, happily for some I presume, do little to stop the billions going into aiding a genocide, you are indeed supporting the latter. And, sure, sopa was different... in the sense that even if it was enacted no life would have been lost! Some perspective would be lovely... and no, sopa wouldn't have affected this site more, because wars kill people, and I thought people edited, not some legislation... — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.7.60.13 (talk) 13:54, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]




       

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