Dmitry Medvedev meets with internet people - including Wikimedia
On 29 April Russian President D.A.M. met with reps of the Russian internet community, including Stanislav Kozlovsky (Wikimedia Russia). Information in Russian at this link. In English here. At part of discussions CC and Wikimedia were discussed.
From the Russian transcipt, the concept of Creative Commons licencing and Wikipedia was discussed. D.A.M. was a bit perplexed with how CC licencing works - RIA Novosti seem to be in favour of such licencing in general. Perhaps ru:User:Ctac could be contacted for some further information/comment? --RussaviaI'm chanting as we speak 06:58, 30 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Due to a fix in mediazilla: 5210 it is now possible to parse <noinclude> tags within preloaded templates, so that anything within noinclude tags do not get preloaded onto a new page. Therefore, it is now possible to categorize preloaded templates, add documentation, mark with a protection notice if the template is protected, etc. :| TelCoNaSpVe :| 06:40, 4 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Jimmy Wales appeared in the May 4 episode of Al Jazeera's new media show The Stream, discussing Youtube comedy about the Arab world and Cuba's pressure on bloggers. He also answered viewer's questions about Wikipedia. AxelBoldt (talk) 09:46, 5 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would be great for the Signpost to talk about this year's Google Summer of Code students and mentors (working on MediaWiki), and maybe a student or two from previous years (like Brian Wolff) who joined the community via GSoC and are now established contributors. The students officially start working on their projects on Monday, May 23rd.
I don't think there's a story here. But a bit of background, if anyone cares. This spun out of controversies on the article Pippa Middleton, where people were trying to create a biography where there was in truth no biographical sources available. So, they did what Wikipedians often do on BLPs. Googled her name, found passing references in newspapers and then argued that the source was reliable because it was a national newspaper. The result was a mangled biography, full of references to her figure, buttocks, and boyfriends. I wrote Otto Middleton to make the point that lots of things get mentioned in newspapers that don't belong in encyclopedias - however in writing the article I discovered the fact that in this case, one paper had printed a false story, which then lots of papers (reliable sources) had embellished, before the hoax was discovered. Stronger point - newspaper often don't fact check celebrity stories, use lazy, careless journalists, and feed on one another with "it has been reported". (Ironically, the hoax story might have made the Otto article fit for inclusion, but "OMG dog - delete" triumphed). Was I making a point? Yes, a rather valid one. However, references to WP:POINT miss the point that making points is fine, as long as it isn't disruptive.--Scott Mac 08:16, 10 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interesting, but a bit old (the article is dated March 3, 2011). The writer's surprise at the enforcement of image coprights on Wikipedia (apart from the case mentioned directly, see also File:Montemascot.jpg and File:2010-11-19-monte-lindstrom 03c.jpg) might be seen as evidence for the hunch that these copyright issues are taken less seriously in the news media and in journalism schools (at least concerning the use of other people's content) than by Wikimedians. Regards, HaeB (talk) 19:25, 9 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Probably because 99% of the time, a newspaper or TV station will be able to successfully argue "fair use" if asked about their use of copyrighted material in their media... Tabercil (talk) 19:32, 9 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In fairness it's a freedom of panorama issue which is at least slightly complicated. Image copyright is also traditionaly more likely a matter for editors and photographers rather than those putting together the text.
Pending changes RfC close
The recent partial closure (and request for limited further input) on the pending changes trial, as well as the unsettled status of the PC/FR application overall, might be worth some coverage. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:57, 8 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1. Just as a reminder: the RFC's subjec was about whether to agree to stop using PC on the articles within the original trial, until a more permanent consensus can be reached about using the feature. (In the meantime, the technical infrastructure remains in place.) Steven Walling at work 00:11, 9 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, no one got around to cover this in time for this week's issue. I definitely agree it is worth reporting. Regards, HaeB (talk) 07:55, 12 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia biography used as part of poison-pen campaign against art dealer
I assume folks have seen this poison-pen campaign story, but I'll note it here just in case. "It began with alterations to his online Wikipedia entry, questioning the importance of “discoveries” and suggesting other dealers had made far more important finds ...". There's an interesting chronology in this blog post. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:04, 9 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well yes, it was already known, but you are in good company - many news topics have already been noted on our Twitter feed before they are posted here.
The blogger does not seem to have had access to the story in the print edition of the Evening Standard (that appears to have formed the basis for the Telegraph article). Do you have more information about its content, or know of any other online source that has? And I am wondering about the basis for the blog posting's assertion that this case was an example of "erroneous information in Wikipedia becoming what Wikipedia calls a ‘reliable source’, and so turning a previously unreliable source into a reliable one" - it does not present evidence that the tabloid's allegations were based on the Wikipedia article; it is merely said that the attacker submitted the same (or similar) allegations to both.
Regrets, I have no further information. I suspect the blogger is in error there, post hoc ergo propter hoc, and both the Wikipedia and the tabloid allegation may ultimately stem from the same hand (wielding the poison-pen) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 22:08, 9 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I love it when our lawyers play hardball: "Tugendhat said that the Wikimedia Foundation had told Bacon's solicitors, Schillings, that it would hand over details of the commenters if it was served with a court order – but later said that it would have to be a US subpoena, as opposed to a NPO brought in a UK court." Kaldari (talk) 17:11, 9 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see how one can reach the "fair case" conclusion in view of the legal material. Not completely frivolous, perhaps, but nobody claimed it was generated out of thin air. But it should be clear public opinion did not play a role, given that it was obvious what would happen when the events became public (i.e. this was not a situation of - who could have known). Regarding the second case, I'm unfamiliar with it, so I'd have to know what "cooperated" means, especially regarding information revealed. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 00:16, 10 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
First of all, the WMF lawyers aren't paid enough to care about PR. This is why 90% of the cases the WMF is involved in, you'll never hear about (mostly libel and copyright claims, although there are some juicier ones). Secondly, anyone who knows about American trademark law knows that the Foundation is required to protect the use of "Wikipedia" or else they will lose the trademark. Whether or not the Wikipedia Art case has legal merit, it's important that the Wikimedia Foundation went on record as objecting to it, regardless of the outcome. Having a history of defending the mark is important for future challenges. Kaldari (talk) 17:04, 10 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While you're quite correct that trademark law requires certain objections, it is also true that "webgeek" opinion holds that these situations should be handled at least initially with friendly, non-threatening, polite, almost regretful, requests. And everyone involved on the legal side knew that. There was, by contrast, very little sympathy for the FBI's position in rights over its official seal. But before we become lost in digressions, let me re-iterate that I was only demonstrating that PR does not drive the legal actions of the WMF. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 21:40, 10 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As of May 9, the Article Feedback Tool was rolled out on 100,000 articles in the English Wikipedia, from an initial set of 3,000 articles. Erik Moeller, Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, wrote on the WMF Tech blog that the intent of the tool is "to gain aggregate quality assessments of Wikimedia content by readers and editors" and "to use as an entry vector for other forms of engagement." Articles which currently have the tool engaged include:
The expansion was covered in the last issue of the Technology report, albeit in brief form. I agree, it could have been in N&N, but that's not really how the story broke on the day. - Jarry1250[Weasel?Discuss.] 14:39, 11 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Seems like a pretty important story to be relegated to the Tech Report "In Brief" section, no? If this is ultimately to be expanded to all WP articles, it's a pretty seismic shift in how we do things around here. No judgment on whether it's a good or bad thing, but it seems like something that more Wikipedians should be aware of. » Swpbτ•¢ 15:22, 11 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A Nature poll asked researchers several questions pertaining to Wikipedia. Among their findings: “Nearly 3% of respondents had edited their own Wikipedia biographies.”GobonoboTC 18:24, 11 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Jimmy Wales has given an interview to BBC Radio 4 suggesting that Wikipedia should publish information regulated against by super-injunctions if it is first published by a reliable source, such as a foreign newspaper. It Is Me Heret / c 21:07, 12 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's a short article on how Google doodle traffic increases page views on their corresponding Wikipedia articles. It would be interesting to see what the traffic has been on other articles as well. GobonoboTC 08:00, 13 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You might be interested in covering two issues, currently being discussed at WP:VPT.
The first is the slow loading times being reported by some users, which is affecting people's ability to read and edit.
The second is the implementation of emails notifying users of changes to their talk page. I'll say nothing of the debate, because I'm not neutral, but users should be aware that the default has been set as opt out, so they will receive mail, sooner or later. --Dweller (talk) 16:10, 17 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The latter was covered in today's issue (technology report) but I'll be sure to give the diagnosis of the former if one appears in next week's. Regards, - Jarry1250[Weasel?Discuss.] 16:52, 17 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I had read that page without noticing it, so I went back. I skimmed it three times without finding it, before I eventually did notice it. It comes across like it's a snippet about an event, rather than a piece of news about a change to the functioning of the site that every single user will notice at some point. --Dweller (talk) 08:42, 18 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert",rebuttal by Wikipedia Co-Founder Larry Sanger
I fear I'm feeding the trolls here... but I would not exactly second the idea that Sanger's rebuttal "deserves mention". With Citizendium basically dead, no significant academic work recently, and a failure to contribute to Wikipedia for years, he's not exactly a leading analyst on Wikipedia or collaborative technologies. More like a long gone memory in the project's history. Steven Walling 06:40, 19 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now, now - regarding "feeding the trolls", one of the fascinating aspects of Wikipedian sociology is that while the concepts of "critic" and "bad, harmful, person" aren't completely identical, they truly are associated. Larry Sanger was perhaps the single person most responsible for founding Wikipedia, sole founded another project afterwards, is still involved with the general area of online knowledge, and obviously thinks deeply about the topic. Clearly, you don't agree with him. But it should be unarguable that he is qualified to comment on this topic from a position of expertise. That you deny he "deserves mention" is perhaps a recursive proof of the point. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:05, 19 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually I do agree with some of what Sanger says, he's a smart guy. But at this point he's an irrelevant personality to Wikipedia's current state of being and regarding the realm of notable critical thinking about such projects. To keep trotting him out every time he says something about Wikipedia is to overestimate his impact on the project. Steven Walling 07:27, 19 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't understand "irrelevant personality" - this isn't about being a spokesman for a project. It concerns thinking about such issues as expertise, and academic structure. His analysis in that post is, in my view, quite accurate in terms of analyzing flaws in the original article, which contains many strawmen and distortions (that these fallacies were employed to cheerlead Wikipedia seems to be the true dispute). It has nothing to do with his impact on Wikipedia itself. Many people have said very true and perceptive things but had little impact on a disaster (e.g. those who warned beforehand about the financial crisis) - some even ending up worse for it, as jumping on a bandwagon is generally rewarded. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:43, 19 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I find Sanger's analysis interesting, and agree it probably deserves mention, I think I do so precisely because I don't value expertise as highly as he claims to. Studying collaborative knowledge-creation and online communities are areas in which one might have expertise (e.g. a PhD in sociology), and Sanger does not have the relevant expertise. You can see this by where he publishes: despite the fact that peer-reviewed journals dedicated to the subject exist, Sanger has never once published a study in them; instead he writes op-eds for non-peer-reviewed websites like Kuro5hin and The Awl. --Delirium (talk) 13:17, 22 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To be fair, Sanger has published an article in a special issue of the Journal of Social Epistemology, if I recall correctly. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:32, 23 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Book Bench at The New Yorker listed Bustillos' article. I liked this quote from her - "Rather than being just a tempest in the teacup of publishing, Wikipedia is the foreshock of an epistemological earthquake to rival the one set rumbling by Johannes Gutenberg ca. 1439." GobonoboTC 16:54, 20 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Folks, the journal article I noted above is called "The Fate of Expertise after Wikipedia". Again - journal article. Written by Wikipedia's co-founder. That I need to defend him as his views "deserves mention" rebutting an essay on "Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert" is really proving a point about Wikipedia and its relationship to expertise. I see objections above as being focused on his current social relationship to Wikipedia, as if that is dispositive with respect to quality (see linguistic association between "critic" and "bad, harmful, person"!). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 10:54, 23 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Larry Sanger writes blog post about Wikipedia" is not particularly noteworthy or remarkable - David Gerard (talk) 11:50, 19 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You might want to read over the context, it sounds like you have (to AGF) misinterpreted the notability point. The suggestion was that his rebuttal was notable in terms of replying to an article that was certain to covered - not that the post was a stand-alone "particularly noteworthy or remarkable" event. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 01:47, 20 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedian passes away
Unless it's been reported and I missed it, it may be worth noting that Vaoverland (Mark Fisher), a fairly prolific editor and administrator, passed away on April 30. Ral315 (talk) 06:29, 19 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Use of Wikipedia by medical students
Researchers conducting a survey of exam preparation by medical students found that nearly half of them used Wikipedia as one of their primary sources. A planned follow-up will examine the effect that students' source selection has on test scores and patient care outcomes. GobonoboTC 17:23, 20 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Télérama on French- and English-language Wikipedias
Both User:AlexNewArtBot and its owner have been missing in action, so I've recoded the bot from the specification, posted the source to Github with a friendly license, and the bot is happily running as User:TedderBot. Considering how many articles it searches and flags, as well as the feedback, it's a vital bot for people who don't want to stand in front of the firehose of WP:NPP but are interested in monitoring for new articles in a domain-specific manner. I suppose the new home for this is User:TedderBot/NewPageSearch, it needs a mascot and some work on a concise definition. There are some unique bits in it, like sparklines in the editsummary. Perhaps hit up my talk page if you want more info? tedder (talk) 01:20, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do think it merits some coverage (already noticed the sparklines in my watchlist), but it seems no one has gotten around to write something yet. Regards, HaeB (talk) 00:58, 1 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For those who didn't get what this was about, I spoke to User:ArielGlenn on the tech side. Quick summary of stuff:
Various switches and other networking systems were taken offline for updating for approximately an hour, at around 13.00 - 14.00 UTC Tuesday 24th May, the same time as maintenance had advised they would be. This had the effect of taking most Wikimedia wiki's offline.
There was an advisory  and also an Foundation-l reminder  however apparently no message was displayed to readers on Wikimedia web pages either as an banner in advance or during the maintenance downtime.
(Update: There was apparently some very limited publicity. More to the point, there has been very considerable discussion on foundation-l about what if any publicity would be / would have been appropriate.)
I asked the technical issue and was told by ArielGlenn: "The short summary is that people have been getting old copies of pages, this suggests a problem with multicast purging, which led us to look at a switch issue, and now some switches are being upgraded and reloaded to take care of the problem."
ArielGlenn stated during the restart phase that: "first report is that multicast issues look to be fixed, which means that cache purge issues have been resolved", noting this was an unconfirmed initial report at that point.
The update appeared to go according to plan and service was tentatively back online within the hour, subject to any subsequent monitoring.
As reported at ANI, on 26 May user MZMcBride reported that some deletion debates and arbitration pages were being indexed on Google. English WIkipedia's "robots.txt" is intended to prevent all of these pages being indexed. The problem was traced to a complexity in Google's spidering system which does not recognize ordinary characters (such as ":" and "/") and their encoded forms ("%3A" and "%2F") as being the same, although they are treated identically by web browsers. As a result effective blocking required a number of variants to be listed. In some cases not all had been.
Within 50 minutes Ryan lane at WMF was working on the case, and NOINDEX code was added to relevant templates and NukeBot (run by admin NuclearWarfare) had begun manually NOINDEXing all affected pages to enforce non-spidering at source. The issue was confirmed and an enhancement proposed to automatically handle such cases in future, an hour after that.
Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, and Alison Rosen discussed Wikipedia in a live episode of Carolla's (record-setting) podcast, quickly covering an incorrect entry on Maron's article and the ongoing meme of Carolla's page erroneously claiming he has Crohn's disease. They then focused on Alison Rosen's lack of notability. Rosen explained how she understood and viewed the AFD process. It's on this episode, about 50 minutes in, and it's perhaps a 10 minute discussion before the podcast moved on to a discussion of rattlesnakes.
Similarly, Chris Hardwick used a recent podcast to step through his Wikipedia entry, confirming and denying statements, which I used for the article. Obviously WP:V and WP:RS reign supreme in these areas, but it's useful for trivial issues. What makes it interesting isn't my involvement and what was right or wrong, but it's instructive to understand the impression these people have of their own biographies. tedder (talk) 21:52, 25 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The "alt" text on xkcd no. 903 says 'Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at "Philosophy".' It appears that some editors have been tweaking some articles to ensure this actually happens. There's a discussion about no. 903 on this thread at the xkcd forums.--A bit iffy (talk) 20:24, 26 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This masters student has contacted the WMF to make us aware of his thesis project on the spatiality of the Wikipedia dataverse. Check it out and write it up if it catches your interest:
A study presented at the 2011 Congress of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences found that students writing short biographies of Canadian writers for Wikipedia were more concerned with the accuracy of their facts. GobonoboTC 21:05, 30 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But you can still help with doing the dishes copyediting and factchecking (or even add omitted details, this Signpost issue is not published yet). Regards, HaeB (talk) 02:45, 31 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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