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Ethical standards for PR

Some news coming down the pike regarding the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) that published ethical standards not to directly edit pages for PR professionals. They collaborated with several international organizations for PR professionals, except the PRSA, who still wants direct editing to be allowed. I'm a PR professional and frequent COI contributor interested in seeing it covered and getting the community's take and discussion.

User:King4057 20:27, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Kudos to CIPR and Wikimedia UK for this. At last an attempt at a sensible compromise between the Wikipedia community and the PR industry. Here's a link to the thing itself as a PDF snapshot hosted on the CIPR website: [1], and as a "living document" at -- The Anome (talk) 22:56, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I for one was urging for the no direct edits approach and am glad to see it came out that way. I also did a lot of cleaning up on the current live version here[2], but it might be better to use the PDF version, which we can reasonable presume is endorsed by CIPR. User:King4057 23:30, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Article at FAC and AfD at same time

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Justin Bieber on Twitter and Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Justin Bieber on Twitter/archive1. For more, see the WP:AN post "... on Twitter". Sven Manguard Wha? 14:51, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

500,000,000th edit

Was this at 03:35 GMT today from an IP in New Zealand. Might be worth a mention?  —SMALLJIM  22:12, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

I'll put it in the milestones section of this week's issue. Rcsprinter (gossip) 16:23, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I find this, dated 2012-11-27T21:43:13, a bit more interesting. It's the 525252525th edit, by Wikipedian Fox Wilson, to Plymouth Rock (chicken). It's a) newer, b) written by a registered Wikipedian, and c) easier (and more interesting) to write an article about. Check out the diff! Do you think it's new section-worthy? -Cup o' Java 19:46, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Tech section & Open Source Bridge

The monthly engineering report for June will be published on the WMF blog on Monday, but even before that, you can look at it on the wiki and use it to develop the tech report.

Also, you might want to link to the keynote address I gave at Open Source Bridge (there's video and text) about issues preventing people from participating in open culture. Sumana Harihareswara, Wikimedia Foundation Engineering Community Manager 13:09, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Pending Changes

If there's room in the Discussion Report coming out in 8 days, I'll add a note about the current round of Pending Changes discussions. There's currently a (sort of) relevant case at Arbcom that's about to be declined. - Dank (push to talk) 13:31, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

There is always room for expansion. Feel free to add a section when it is up. The first draft should be posted by Friday. --J36miles (talk) 05:27, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I wanted to talk with Wikimanians first ... and now I'm a little maniacal myself :) I should have something to report the next time the Discussion Report comes around, in two weeks. - Dank (push to talk) 20:01, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Policy update

A suggestion for this edition's Brief notes: Policy update: The quarterly update for Wikipedia's content policy pages is finished. Until 2012, quarterly updates were also prepared for deletion and enforcement policy; volunteers to continue this work would be appreciated. - Dank (push to talk) 21:41, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Russian Wikipedia blackout

Russian Wikipedia ( is unavailable.

Wavelength (talk) 01:03, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

This is covered in this week's News and notes. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 09:44, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply.
Wavelength (talk) 15:20, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Centralized discussions

How about including a list of ongoing centralized discussions via {{centralized discussion}} template? (which would then update automatically)

looks like this ↑ ~ benzband (talk) 15:34, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Cecil Adams and the Straight Dope on Wikipedia

This week's The Straight Dope column (by Cecil Adams) address the question of Wikipedia's reliability. The verdict? "From a reliability or any other standpoint, Wikipedia is considerably better than could be accomplished by gorillas."

Oh, and "... for settling bar bets, satisfying idle curiosity, or, truth be told, getting an initial fix on a serious research subject, Wikipedia is an indispensable resource. The problem is when even those who know better rely on Wikipedia as the last step rather than the first in finding the facts."

-- Powers T 14:56, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

NYRB's Martin Filler really did have the balls to say, in the July 12 issue, "I am surprised that for someone so concerned about his image and the spread of misinformation, neither Koolhaas nor his office has bothered to correct his Wikipedia entry". To me it's rather big news that someone of Filler's stature, writing in a serious magazine, would reason this way.

I always wonder why discussions of Wikipedia's reliability always fail to note Wikipedia's transparency. Adams argues that it can be hard to know which Wikipedia articles are up to Britannica's level of accuracy, particularly if the Wiki errors are cloaked in well-composed prose. What he fails to note is that the article history and the talk page discussion are a proverbial open book. The ability to know who wrote it, and why, is the real key to Wikipedia. You don't get that in traditional sources; you only see the final product but not how it was made. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 15:34, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I've always liked Cecil, and I particularly liked his conclusion "Probably it would be helpful if all popularizers, including Wikipedia, Britannica, and us at the Straight Dope, permanently emblazoned at the top of our pages BELIEVE NOTHING YOU READ HERE. IT MAY ALL BE LIES." In other words, if it is important enough, always do your own research, check out all assumptions, and understand that no source is perfect. The phrase also roughly equates the Straight Dope's quality with Wikipedia's quality. I'd agree with that, Cecil might be a bit more entertaining, but then again, we've got about 4 million more articles than he does.
I'd also mention, as the Signpost already has:
"If Wikipedia is good enough for the Archivist of the United States, maybe it should be good enough for you."
Wikimania 2012 Closing Plenary by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, see especially (15:00-16:00), and (22:50 - end).
The word "maybe" is important, but still ... Smallbones (talk) 20:22, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I only trust Wikipedia as far as I can throw it. Kaldari (talk) 21:42, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Some News

Stolen from here: User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#...in_Other_WikiNews.... benzband (talk) 16:18, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

There is a discussion of Sanskrit archived at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2009 February 5#relationship between sanskrit and hindi, and the first of its two subsections is Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2009 February 5#Sanskrit is alive (not dead); Sanskrit is a living language.
Wavelength (talk) 17:07, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Sanskrit story seems a little complicated and the Congress article changes thing doesn't seem notable enough, but I gave the app a review in this weeks edition. Rcsprinter (chatter) @ 20:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Great! More on Sanskrit: Sanskrit Wikipedia in the offing: Gujarat teachers planning details;
More on app: Navigate Wikipedia By Charted Connections - There's An App For That.
Also: Jimmy Wales on Internet laws, the threat of Apple. benzband (talk) 20:28, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
That subsection (mentioned in my previous post) has a link to the Sanskrit Wikipedia atमुखपृष्ठं.
Wavelength (talk) 20:30, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

4 millionth article on

Word on IRC is that the 4 millionth article was Izbat Al Burj by User:Meno25. There will probably be a Wikimedia blog post about it some time soon. Kaldari (talk) 16:57, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

The draft Wikimedia blog post is at meta:Wikimedia Blog/Drafts/EnWP 4 Million Article Milestone. There's a WMUK blog post about it at [3]. Mike Peel (talk) 17:03, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I helped write the blog post, as the WMF wanted community input in it. ;-) Thanks for the WMUK link, I hadn't seen it. Have any of the other chapters released statements? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 19:31, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Included in this week's news and notes. Rcsprinter (speak) @ 20:11, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Atlantic article on RFA doldrums

... at The reporter attended Wikimania, and he's a regular columnist at The Atlantic. Might be good in next week's "In the News". - Dank (push to talk) 20:03, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

It made the BBC as well (try googling, don't have the link handy). - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 22:12, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Jimmy Wales denies Wikipedia admin recruitment crisis --J36miles (talk) 15:31, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
However everybody already knows we are losing admins; there was a special about it the other week. Not really something to cover. Rcsprinter (orate) @ 17:14, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

They like us, they really like us!

Wikipedia tied with Google+ for first place in user satisfaction in this survey. - Dank (push to talk) 16:27, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Requested moves bot down

It's worth a mention that User:RM bot is out for the count and that the operator is nowhere to be found. Details here. Marcus Qwertyus 09:54, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Technical watchlist issue

IIRC, Signpost reported a few months ago, a way to set a preference for your watchlist to show Bold for items that had not yet been checked. Then all of a sudden, it vanished, and I can't figure out how to turn it back on. Can you remind us technophobes how to do it? Thanks! -- Ssilvers (talk) 20:29, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Here is the signpost article and here is a link on how to customize the watchlist. --J36miles (talk) 21:48, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikimedians to the Games: 2 Wikimedians are going to the London Paralympics to cover them for Wikimedia

Hi. Two Wikimedians are going to the 2012 Summer Paralympics to cover them for Wikimedia projects. This is a great opportunity not just to improve Paralympic content, but also to work towards the goal Jimmy mentioned on his talk page back in January of getting Wikimedians on press passes to the Olympics. If we can successfully pull this off, it offers a great case for going further with this. Wikinews:Paralympic Games‎ is the organising space for this, and some of the flow on will obvious end up on Wikipedia as Wikipedia doesn't allow original reporting or pictures in the same way. It would be great to see this mentioned. :) --LauraHale (talk) 08:21, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

If we're going to do a write up of this, it should also be mentioned that apparently the International Paralympic Committee is not allowing pictures to be taken and licensed at the event under any license other than CC-BY-NC - i.e. not acceptable for Commons and (because the athletes are all still alive) not acceptable for Wikipedia's fair use criteria). Sven Manguard Wha? 15:17, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah. That. I've mentioned it elsewhere. The IOC license is as restrictive if I understand things correctly. It is annoying on the other front because we can't upload pictures taken to Commons because of the need to allow commercial re-use. : / --LauraHale (talk) 21:44, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Disclaimer: this post should be checked by someone with legal expertise before any of it is taken at face value. From personal experience, similar conditions apply for many other music and sporting events in the UK. But the only enforceable measures that I am aware of are refusal of entry to/ejection from the venue, or confiscation of devices deemed capable of taking images or recordings of a professional standard. It is for that reason that I don't take photographs for Wikipedia. However, I have never known of claims of this nature being enforceable if despite those risks photographs or other media are taken. —WFC23:49, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I've basically been told by the APC that unless we have a special press pass for photography, we can't even really take pictures with a professional camera for a news publication at the event. These were rules stipulated by the IPC, not by the APC. (Thus, I'm debating if I should haul my camera around as I'd rather not risk losing it.) The Olympic bid process often requires the country being willing to change the law to accommodate Olympic rules. If you're not willing to change the rules, you don't get the Games. I'm not certain how much this applies to the Paralympics. (I do know we have freedom of panorama in Australia, and you cannot copyright a live sporting event like you can in the USA. Thus, I own my pictures I take.) --LauraHale (talk) 23:56, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
See A Reporter's Guide to Sports and Olympics Reporting - TrustMedia.
Wavelength (talk) 22:35, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
That's good. Where is the packet for the Paralympics, which is what Wikimedia is sending reporters to? --LauraHale (talk) 23:47, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I do not know where there is a packet specifically for the Paralympics, but I suppose that much of the advice for sports and Olympics reporting applies to Paralympics reporting also.
Wavelength (talk) 00:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, nothing in that PDF mentions photography :( Kaldari (talk) 01:40, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
My press credential says in very tiny print: "I agree that all photographs and moving images taken by me at the Paralympic Games, including those of athletes competing within any Paralympic venue, shall be used solely for personal and non-commercial purposes, unless prior written consent is obtained from the IPC." --LauraHale (talk) 01:51, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Education program working group

The Wikipedia:Education_Working_Group met last week in Washington D.C., and we have a lot to do over the next few months. We've posted a brief note on a couple of education program related noticeboards as follows:

Since 2010, the Wikimedia Foundation has actively supported university professors who engage students in making high-quality constributions to Wikimedia projects as part of educational assignments. On July 16 and 17, 2012, a diverse working group of Wikipedians and academics met to begin formulating an enhanced structure for the U.S. and Canada Wikipedia Education Program (WEP) to enable future growth and innovation. Between now and December 2012, the working group will develop a collaborative plan for the future of the WEP. The working group knows that the wider community wants and should have a voice in this process, and so a Request for Comment (RFC) will be issued within the next few months to solicit feedback from the Wikipedia community, educators and ambassadors.

If the Signpost is interested in mentioning this, we'd be delighted; if you have any more questions about the working group or the plans please contact any of us. I'm the lead person in the working group for communications with the Wikipedia community, so I'd be glad to help; another key person is Jami Mathewson, who is one of the two members of the group from the Wikimedia Foundation, and whose primary responsibility is the US/Canada education program. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:53, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

BBC article about bots

Meet the 'bots' that edit Wikipedia — unusual article, in that it concerns an aspect of Wikipedia I've never before seen discussed outside Wikipedia: bots. Refers to ClueBot, rambot, Chris Grant, Brad Jorsch. Says bots are now vital to the functioning of Wikipedia. Likens bots to students that do grunt work in libraries, allowing librarians to be librarians. Says you can't do away with human editors.—A bit iffy (talk) 07:01, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Good to see ol' ClueBot getting the recognition it deserves. (Squirt of oil) The Interior (Talk) 07:05, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The article also states "In 2008, another bot created thousands of tiny articles about asteroids, pulling a few items of data for each one from an online Nasa database." I vaguely remember having seen part of this back then, but when I was checking up right now, I only found User:EagleAstroidBot, whose activity ceased (in 2007) at 109 edits rather than after creating the ca. 13k articles envisaged in its BRFA. -- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 07:44, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I read this. Don't think that it is worth mentioning in the Signpost though, perhaps point it out in some bot related venues? Rcsprinter (orate) @ 10:13, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I thought it would be worth an IB in ITN, or a mention in the bots section of Tech if not. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 10:50, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

James Stavridis: A Navy Admiral's thoughts on global security

In his June TED talk posted in July, he mentions Wikipedia and names the positive effects of popularizing the sum of all knowledge.. Jane (talk) 10:51, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Link to whole speech --J36miles (talk) 14:22, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

The International Society for Computational Biology announces a Wikipedia Computational Biology article competition

Press release here, initial coverage here and here. This ties in with the Topic pages and a tutorial at the upcoming European Conference on Computational Biology conference. All in collaboration with WP:COMPBIO. -- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 15:07, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Funds Dissemination Committee

A very important cog in the Wikimedia system - more or less, how money will be spent.

Please see,

Smallbones (talk) 22:18, 26 July 2012 (UTC)


We've promoted more editors in the past week than in all of May and June, with another two or three due next week. Perhaps a special celebratory look at RFA? — Crisco 1492 (talk) 02:22, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Formal mediation

Formal mediation may be changing. As a historical institution which has existed for as long as ArbCom, these changes to the Mediation Committee and its Policy may be of interest to the wider community. The poll and debate is at Wikipedia talk:Mediation Committee#Time to shutter formal mediation?. AGK [•] 15:08, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

replag approaching a megasecond (again)

See [4] and some discussion on VPT. --NYKevin 21:58, 30 July 2012 (UTC)


Perhaps old news by now, but:

Ruud 00:25, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Wikidata news of this week

I just published this week's Wikidata summary. Maybe there's something you'd like to cover. --Lydia Pintscher (WMDE) (talk) 14:50, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

WMF Policy and Political Affiliations Guideline

I assume editors are aware of the "WMF Policy and Political Affiliations Guideline" discussion, e.g. [5] [6]. Besides an obvious item, this strikes me as again indicating there would be some interest in a feature or Op-Ed debating Wikipedia's possible role in future activism. Note, I am not volunteering. But the people heavily involved in the mailing list or meta discussions might be good prospects to do a long piece on the topic. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 06:31, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

August 10+

Wikipedia activity used to predict US Republican Vice-Presidential nominee

Richardguk (talk) 18:39, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

In that case, I pick Rob Portman. Kaldari (talk) 04:55, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

3 Day Chart

7 Day Chart

Oh well, looks like my stats have been deleted. Kaldari (talk) 06:57, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
A sort of related news item from the front page of BBC News. It just goes to show that, on a high profile BLP, there is no such thing as a routine action. —WFC20:21, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Turns out that Paul Ryan did indeed have the greatest number of edits (July 30 to August 6), despite a relatively small number of page views and watchers prior to today's announcement. — Richardguk (talk) 14:22, 11 August 2012 (UTC)


The increasing and ongoing replag affecting toolserver. Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Toolserver replag.Blethering Scot 22:59, 10 August 2012 (UTC) decreasing, but at a slow rate – looks like it will take a further month for s1 to return to normal (via User:The-Pope at VPT). — Richardguk (talk) 14:32, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Upcoming conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing

The upcoming 4th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing might warrant a short mention in the appropriate 'news in brief' type section, as it's likely to be of interest to a few editors given the recent articles and discussions about this topic (it's a shame that no-one with an overt Wikipedia/Wikimedia connection seems to be on the program). Nick-D (talk) 10:27, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

New spanish book about Wikipedia

I'm pleased to share with all spanish wikipedia lovers a new book entitled "Wikipedia de la A a la W" (Wikipedia from A to W; ISBN: 978 84 9029 012 5) authored by Tomás Saorín, assistant professor at the Information Department in the University of Murcia and member of the Spanish Chapter of Wimikedia. It's a compact book aimed to GLAM practitioners and communication studies. It's published into the series "information professional" of one of the biggest acadmic presses in Spain, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya(UOC).

We hope that it helps to spread glam wiki projects in Spain and more a more librarians, archivist and cultural heritage people concerned in a stronger Wikipedia. We have also taken part in several papers about Wikipedia as educational tool in higher education, onbound links to digital libraries, Wikimedia Commons and Wiki loves monument experience in Spain (covered in older Signpost).

Although the book is release under copyright conditions, writer royalties obtained from book sales will be donated to the Spanish WikiMedia Chapter.

Troubles AE case

I think this debacle may be worthy of a write-up. This and the recent Falun Gong ArbCom case that got brought over from AE point to some rather gripping wikidrama for our contentious topic areas under discretionary sanctions. Especially consider this as potentially leading to the expansion of Mandated External Review from FLG2 to other topic areas per this clarification request by the admin who closed the AE case.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 02:02, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

OpenGlobe failure

Considering this article, perhaps the Signpost should cover why the website failed after less than a year.--William S. Saturn (talk) 19:46, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Independent article about gender gap

Article about Wikipedia, systemic bias and the gender gap in The Independent (UK newspaper), "What has Wikipedia’s army of volunteer editors got against Kate Middleton’s wedding gown?"

I thought this would be noted here already but I can't find any mention of it. The article is fairly positive, mentioning the Teahouse and similar efforts. It might be worth a "Brief Notes" bullet point if nothing else. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 12:45, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Summer coders' wrapup posts

mw:Summer of Code 2012 links to the students' wrapup emails & blog posts. Sumana Harihareswara 16:22, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Tech thank-yous

Some Wikimedia technical contributors are giving each other shout-outs in a wikitech-l thread. Sumana Harihareswara 16:22, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Stephen Kiprotich Ugandan winner of the Olympic men's marathon

Was interviewed on NPR on Sunday and asked what he thought of his Wikipedia article. He answered "I don't know what you're talking about." The Sunday stories won't be up until Monday, but should be at This might underline our difficulties in the global south. Smallbones(smalltalk) 13:34, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

WikiSym 2012

WikiSym 2012 is going on in Linz, Austria this week (27-29). I'm attending and will try to write up a quick report for next week's Signpost. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 12:19, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

New research wiki site on the lack of coverage of the Arab World in wikipedia

I got an e-mail from the University of Oxford last week about a new website being created and managed by Oxford and the American Univedrsity of Sharjah for this current week to discuss the comparative weakness of wikipedia's content on the Arab world and what could be done to improve it. The main page of the site is here. If there are any people interested in discussing why the Arab world doesn't get much coverage here, and what could be done to improve it, I think they would probably be more than welcome to offer their input. John Carter (talk) 15:34, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

thanks John, its not going to be covered this week - i feel right now - but i think it would fit in very nicely with coverage of the upcoming restructuring of the Arabic language initiative. thus, its definitely noted :), all best --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 21:12, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles

Although (or exactly because) the project is almost dormant, it might be nice to give some attention to WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles once again, it has been almost five years since it received any attention from the signpost. --WS (talk) 19:14, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

It could also be mentioned that some editors, weel OK one, me, is working on developing lists of topical missing articles at User:John Carter/Religion articles and related subpages, and that it would probably be a very good idea if we could maybe get other editors to establish other articles for other projects. As a personal idea, I think it would be extremely useful if we could get lists of m.e.a. for most of the projects which have multiple specialized encyclopedias on their topics, and that having such would be a significant incentive to developing the articles which exist in those published sources, but don't yet exist here. John Carter (talk) 20:05, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I've included WPMEA in the news sidebar for next week's WikiProject Report. -Mabeenot (talk) 16:34, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Thought you might be interested in commons:Commons:Deletion_requests/Template:Gods_Work. -mattbuck (Talk) 14:44, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Readability of Wikipedia

First Monday has the following article:

Readability of Wikipedia by Teun Lucassen, Roald Dijkstra and Jan Maarten Schraagen

I hope someone discusses it in a future issue. -- kosboot (talk) 17:46, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 18#Suggestion: readability test(s) for Wikipedia articles.
Wavelength (talk) 18:52, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Telegraph article about admin numbers

See this article in the Telegraph about Wikipedia; should it be covered in the Signpost? It Is Me Here t / c 17:40, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Upcoming tweaks to the edit window

Hey all; this discussion on the Village Pump (and more importantly, the changes behind it) really should be distributed to editors as widely as possible to give some advance notice and opportunities for comment/feedback before it's live. I'd really appreciate if you guys could cover it :). Thanks! Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 20:33, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation files suit against Internet Brands

Breaking news, straight from legal: Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)#Wikimedia Foundation seeks declaratory relief in response to legal threats from Internet Brands

-- Powers T 02:25, 6 September 2012 (UTC) Kaldari (talk) 05:54, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
New York Times is reporting on the dueling suits. Powers T 01:57, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Live chat?

I added a topic, and because this page is on my watch list, I find myself frequently looking back whenever someone adds subsequent comments. Isn't it time to rethink the whole idea of a newsletter? I used to be a big IRC fan, but shouldn't the Signpost have a regular Google Hangout or other some such venue? For some of these issues (the lawsuit, the supposedly declining numbers, etc.) I find I want to talk and find out more. I want WikiLiveChat or something. Like in the "old days" perhaps you can try a once-a-week hangout and if successful, revise accordingly. -- kosboot (talk) 13:19, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:IRC.—Wavelength (talk) 14:54, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

WMF board approves creation of multi-language Wikimedia travel guide

-- Powers T 15:15, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Note: The Wikimedia Foundation has filed its second ever lawsuit - see here. Definitely should be included.--Jasper Deng (talk) 03:28, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Philip Roth is not happy...

Mr. Roth has submitted An Open Letter to Wikipedia through the New Yorker. He was unimpressed by his biographer's failure to remove an inaccuracy from his novel's article, The Human Stain. This episode is now in the article, and the inaccuracy appears to have been fixed. The Interior (Talk) 17:25, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Whoever writes up the Signpost article on this incident, I hope they will discuss not just this incident, but show that there's a pattern of such incidents: "Person X complains that Wikipedia is wrong and is seemingly powerless to do anything about it." Same with Andrew McAfee last year. I think all of this stems from WP's failure to clarify what it is: the general public thinks it's an online monolithic encyclopedia, but it isn't; the general public thinks it's filled with facts, but it isn't. I think Roth's, McAfee's et. al. criticism point to a way for WP to go forward, by clarifying what it is clearly and succinctly - perhaps as a link from every page to a clarifying statement. -- kosboot (talk) 17:56, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
In some ways Roth's letter is sad, in some ways it's hilarious, but you have to admit that he's a great writer. I'll suggest somebody (at the Foundation?) reach out to him. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:58, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
What I find interesting about this is that Roth, by dint of his literary reputation, can publish a complaint about his article in a Reliable Source. Which then allows us to use his personal information as citable info, and the article is improved. The Interior (Talk) 18:17, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
That's one of the sad things about this. Only if you have a reputation like Roth's can you correct something in the article on you (or similar) that you know is wrong. But see below. Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:15, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand why Roth's original request wasn't considered reliable. Its a primary source, but we do allow primary sources when we're citing someone's opinion as long as we don't attempt to analyze that opinion. We could certainly have said, "According to Roth, the original model for The Human Stain was..." and cited the letter as something like "Personal correspondence from Philip Roth, dated..." Whoever corresponded with Roth needed to read WP:PRIMARY. BTW, Roth is a wonderful writer an The Human Stain is a remarkable book. I highly recommend it. GabrielF (talk) 19:15, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
It certainly seems like it could have been handled better (of course I haven't gone through the details) if only by a judicious application of WP:IAR. The other side is that authors do sometimes wish to be mysterious about their sources of inspiration - for many reasons. I've never seen "personal communication" used as a source in Wikipedia, and don't think it could be except by an expensive system of verification that we're actually communicating with the person who claims that identity. Sort of OTRS squared. Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:15, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Using personal communication violates our Wikipedia:Verifiability precept. No one else can go and check to make sure we have our facts right, which diminishes us as a source of information. Powers T 23:40, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Roth's letter notes that he was sending the message through an intermediary, which I'm assuming is an agent or publisher. In that case I don't think verifying the provenance of the sender is difficult. The correct approach in this case would have been to find a way to make this work. We could have asked Roth for permission to post the letter on WikiSource or, failing that, we could have noted that the original correspondence was filed in OTRS with a note that readers could contact an OTRS agent for more information. My understanding is that OTRS agents already do something similar when they make an edit by placing the case ID in the article talk page. Sources don't need to be immediately accessible to all users - we have no problem with academic journals that are held in only a handful of libraries for instance. The wrong approach here was to put Roth into a, frankly Kafkaesque, situation where he had to create his own published source in order to get us to make a change. GabrielF (talk) 21:06, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Because in the relevant field, literary criticism, the death of the author is a significant methodological issue that can only be properly resolved by expert secondary sources. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:29, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
That's what I was thinking. There is no general agreement on the right way to interpret art: to think what the author tells you to think about it, or whether you should interpret it in isolation, or through the lens of your own subjective experience. NPOV requires that we simply cite what good secondary sources have said about the question of inspiration, and never pretend we know the "right" answer is merely because the one author insists he has the right answer for us. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 22:00, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
That's a sophistry which seems to be advocated to excuse Wikipedia - to parody, the article couldn't be wrong, since there's no such thing as wrong when it comes to Aahhrt. However, the author's state of mind - inspiration - is not subject to the same sort of expansive interpretation. One can reasonably interpret a story in terms of X even if that's not the intent of the author. One can't reasonably say an author was inspired by X if the author never heard of it. The author's statements here are privileged above everyone else, even if that's anti-democratic. To be fair, authors can lie or be mistaken or give PR versions (Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds). But also to be fair, none of that seems to apply here. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:14, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Strangely, I find myself agreeing with Seth ;) Kaldari (talk) 01:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Really, it's not such a terrible thing. Often unpopular maybe, but sometimes expert :-) :-) :-) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:47, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
"The author's statements here are privileged above everyone else, even if that's anti-democratic." that's nice Seth. It isn't what is "true" given our penchant for relying on the opinion of experts for our epistemology. If an author's analysis of their own text is published in an appropriate forum, then we can rely on that. We don't evaluate the contents of statements about reality, we evaluate the form with which the content is conveyed in order to determine if it meets our requirements to include. An author's ramblings on their blog about their intentionality mean jack shit. If a review of books publishes an author's opinion of the role of their intentionality in relation to their work, then someone with a field competence to determine if they're speaking crap or not has surveyed the work and approved it as true enough to publish under their imprint. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:33, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
People don't believe me, but I find Wikipedia absolutely fascinating, as it's the same way I think in general (tech), but truly taken to absurd extremes. It's like those subgenre science fiction stories. Imagine - "On Wikiworld, the inhabitants believe nothing is true unless appearing in a Reliable Source, even one's own state of mind. Thus, an author stating "My book is based on X" will be sneered at, derided, as "ramblings". Were the lowest scribbler to write "Author's book is based on Y", it would be unassailable, no matter if it were in fact the most arrant nonsense. They are not totally unaware of the absurdity, but have a saying "Verification, not truth". They will passionately defend their creed, explaining that if one person were to claim public authority above the crowd, even in terms of discussing his or her own thoughts, their society would collapse". One can follow the reasoning, but it ends up in a mind-bogglingly weird place. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:47, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
I prefer my discipline's method of producing knowledge, but it is incompatible with the project of producing an encyclopaedia and probably incompatible with an open editing process. Reliability is a smidge more respectable than consensus for establishing that knowledge exists—it puts the problem onto another, external, group of people. It is however compatible with the encyclopaedic project of reflecting existing human knowledge instead of generating new knowledge. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:11, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Hold the phone, that isn't true at all. A blog or any website's interview explaining the theme to a book is perfectly reliable as long as the author wrote or is the interviewee, respectively. cf. an excellent essay I read this week: User:Tom Morris/The Reliability Delusion. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:33, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Except, The ed17, they're not. We recognise source escalation as the solution to source conflict, RS/N has regularly recognised limited and tenuous reliability from non-experts in areas covered by expert work, and the expert disciplinary systems (which we esteem) claim very strongly that they produce the best available work and that work produced outside their systems cannot begin to speak about stuff (as in literature) like intentionality. You'd get more leeway if this was criticism of contemporary popular culture where the equivalent of the intellectual review of books is often the semi-intellectual review of doijinshi published in blog format—but even in popular culture, consider the quagmire of heavy metal genre criticism which only escalates towards expertise. I'd suggest that a non-expert forum review of the author won't know how to interview them to access the literary context and won't know whether he's talking crap or not; in a way an outlet with experience will push. I wouldn't trust the NY Review of Books for Touhou evaluation, for example, they lack experience and context in doijinshi criticism. Fifelfoo (talk) 21:17, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Except, Fifelfoo, they are. I'm not saying that we should use a blogger's criticism of Insert Book Here, I'm saying that we use author statements no matter where they appear. If the someone is interviewing the author of a book, we don't care who the interviewer is – all we care is that it's the author making a statement about his own book. They don't have to know how to interview if we're quoting the author's words directly. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 07:43, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Make sure you note in the Signpost that Roth was improperly trying to get his biographer to remove information that he shouldn't have ever touched, i.e. the opinions of literary critics about his book. Especially when his refutation of the critics' statements was included in the article already in the next sentence. Furthermore, that there was nothing for us to use as a reference. Him saying something to us on Wikipedia isn't a primary source, it's not a source at all. If he had stated the information on his personal website or blog, then it would have been a primary source and good to use. SilverserenC 02:53, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Aside from the question of sourcing, this incident also raises a question of customer service. Could the community have communicated with Roth and his representatives in a way that didn't leave Roth wanting to write a letter in The New Yorker? There are certain things that customer service people are trained to do in order to leave customers feeling like they've been helped and not hindered in their interactions. For instance: demonstrating that you understand where the customer is coming from and offering alternatives. I think we would be well served to look at what we can do as a community to make article subjects feel like the process of having their concerns addressed is not onerous. GabrielF (talk) 03:38, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

It would have been much easier for everyone involved if Roth had written some sort of blog post explaining the background to the book; other than that, it gets difficult, because I don't think he ever actually stated what the true inspiration for the book was before his open letter. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:33, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Again, the entire incident and its coverage illustrate that the vast majority of people do not understand how Wikipedia works and fault it for not being like traditional forms of print where a simple phone call will result in an immediate retraction. I bet Roth and his agent *still* do not understand this. What are we doing to correct the erroneous impression? -- kosboot (talk) 16:43, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it's "traditional forms of print" (my emphasis), but more like "traditional scholarly norms". The problem is that trying to correct this runs straight into the public image of Wikipedia, to put it gently. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:12, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
I think this is a good point worth exploring further. We are an encyclopaedia. Encyclopaedias may have been edited in the past, but they certainly couldn't circulate rapid retractions and were vast collective efforts which lacked the (as a whole effort) scholarly expertise. The closest I can think of is the OED which crowd-sourced much of its work. It took OED ages to push a diff or version change in the past. Even more so than OED, we are a collective non-expert and edit as a collective non-expert. Even when many of us possess expert experience in disciplines, professions or sub-cultures; we still edit as non-experts and in a non-expert fashion. None of us have the capacity to believe Philip Roth's personal communication (OTRS are not "one of us"). All of us have the capacity to use consensus decided systems of knowledge verification to believe what someone has published about Philip Roth. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:29, 12 September 2012 (UTC)


Gathered from [7].

News outlets

BBC, TIME, Salon, The Guardian, Ars Technica, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Fox News,, Hindustan Times, CNET, Washington Post, Discovery News, Fudzilla, TechnoBuffalo, Alaska Dispatch, ScrapeTV, Inquisitr, Newser, The Celebrity Cafe, Digital Trends,, Atlantic Wire, Cinema Blend, Gizmodo Australia, BetaBeat, Tablet,


ABC News, Forbes, Slate, NYT, NPR,, MediaPost

Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps, co-chairman of the Conservative Party (UK), said to have anonymously altered his article in his favour, according to The Guardian.—A bit iffy (talk) 20:26, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Fox News: Exclusive: Wikipedia ignores solution to rampant porn problem

See [8]. Needless to say this is a biased and sensationalist piece. Dcoetzee 18:05, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Just stumbled across this mention of, a crowdfunding project dedicated to making published books freely available under CC-BY. So far, their one successful project has been Oral Literature in Africa by Ruth H. Finnegan. As many can attest, many academic monographs are at too few libraries, out of print, & can only be purchased at prohibitive prices; would be a useful tool to make such useful but uncommon works available that are not in the public domain. -- llywrch (talk) 23:32, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

A new wikiversity learning project

Is this an appropriate place to put in an announcement of a new wikiversity learning project and an appeal for contributors? I'll paste in below the text of an email we have sent out. Can you use this sort of thing? My user name on wikiversity is Droflet. --Jtelford (talk) 09:45, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

To individuals interested in the science behind Parkinson's

A New Initiative for the Global Parkinson's Community

A new wiki has been started for all those interested in scientific research into Parkinson's. It is a 'Learning Project' within Wikiversity, a sister project to the highly regarded Wikipedia. A wiki is a website which allows its users to add and modify its content via a web browser.

This new wiki is called The Science Behind Parkinson's Disease and everyone throughout the world, particularly those affected by Parkinson's, is invited to participate as a reader or a contributor. Go to to have a look at what has been produced so far.

What's the general idea?

People affected by Parkinson's want to know what the prospects are for better treatments and a cure. There is an increasing amount of research going on but it is a difficult and time-consuming job to follow this and to understand the significance of the various developments. For the lay person, understanding the science is a big hurdle. But a lot of people around the world want to do this and many are trying to do this in their own individual ways.

This wiki has been set up so we can share the results of our often painstaking investigations and explain to others in straightforward terms what we have learned. Through this wiki we envision building a framework to make sense of the concepts, ideas and discoveries about what Parkinson's is, how it affects the nervous system and how it might be confronted and we can keep updating it as progress is made. Above all we can explain new discoveries and their significance in terms that are clear and understandable.

The sources of knowledge and understanding

We learn from the experts – i.e. from the researchers doing invaluable work in various disciplines – whose papers and reviews we read and whose talks we hear at conferences and meetings. We hope we can go further and encourage such professionals to engage with and contribute to this wiki, adding new insights and correcting any misconceptions we as a largely lay community may have.

We know that full-time researchers welcome contact with those for whose benefit they are ultimately working. We hope, therefore, that the wiki can be another example where interaction and collaboration can help inform strategic research decisions to bring closer the achievement of effective therapies towards a cure.

All may join this creative community

This wiki is an entirely volunteer-run initiative, is not controlled or sponsored by any organisation and is open to anyone to participate by editing and contributing material. It operates under the same principles that underpin community projects like wikipedia and wikiversity. It is globally accessible (although at present the language used is confined to English).

Please publicise this initiative to anyone who might be interested. And do consider participating yourself!

An Active Community - Contemplating and Communicating - the Complexities of Parkinson's

Comprehensively and Comprehensibly

This Parkinson's Science wiki has been started by a few individuals and now is being opened up globally to interested parties who would like to participate in its development.

Please contact me if you have any questions about the initiative or want more guidance about how to be involved.

John Telford

(Alias Droflet: my Wikiversity User Name)

Bug 40,251

The plural: magic word recently broke in a number of localizations with the introduction of Common Locale Data Repository–based plural rules. In the affected localizations – az bm bo dz fa id ig ii hu ja jv ka kde kea km kn ko lo ms my sah ses sg th to tr vi wo yo zh – numbers were being omitted from interface messages that rely on plural:, such as the page count on category pages. A stopgap fix has been applied. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 07:49, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Baltimore Sun article on WP accuracy

You Don't Say. Cla68 (talk) 01:25, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Included in this week's ITM. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 17:15, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Why is the writer saying material was plagiarized? Looks to me like the correct attribution was given with the EB1911 material.[9] Who's credibility is in question here? :) Franamax (talk) 17:40, 25 September 2012 (UTC)


Although there has been a sizeable amount of negative press on this episode, this one is on ZDNet. Cla68 (talk) 23:56, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

While there certainly has been negative press, Signpost editors need to be very, very careful about how they approach it. Much of the reporting has been very inaccurate and sensationalised, due no doubt to hostile briefing from Cla68's pals at Wikipediocracy. Prioryman (talk) 23:59, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Anything inaccurate in the ZDNet column? Cla68 (talk) 00:03, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • The whole Roth thing, for one. Writing that we said something, when we said "[...] critics were struck by the parallels [of The Human Strain] to the life of Anatole Broyard, a writer and the New York Times literary critic in the 1950s and 1960s who was of Louisiana Creole mixed-race descent and passed for white.", is misrepresentation. We didn't say it was so, we said people had such readings. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 00:19, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • The Roth situation is a classic case of someone not understanding how Wikipedia works. The Gibraltarpedia situation is both that and an example of how people with anti-Wikipedia agendas are exploiting misunderstandings to cause harm. Prioryman (talk) 18:35, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Here are a couple of posts from the other side of the story:

I'm not endorsing their point of view, but just want to make sure the coverage is balanced. Kaldari (talk) 23:47, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

RfC: Arbitration Committee Elections December 2012 to start on 1 October

Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee Elections December 2012 will start on Monday, October 1; it would be great to get this mentioned in the next paper in order to reach out to as many people as possible. --MuZemike 19:04, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

We will put it in the "In brief" section of NAN. Thanks! Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:19, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Article suggestion/ idea

There's a new portal in town! The Miley Cyrus portal has been created & needs editors to collaborate to complete, maintain, & help with the portal. So my idea is to have an article about the portal & bring awareness to it & recruit editors. I hope you'll use this idea! (By the way: I'm the one who created the portal & the only editor for it. I am currently thinking about creating a Wikiproject for Miley Cyrus too) And I am planning to become a writer for the Signpost soon. :D Thanks! Lopezjaylo98 (talk) 20:24, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Hi, this would be something for the Signpost's WikiProject desk. Good luck with forming the project. Please talk with me before jumping into the Signpost though - we have planned stories for each week, and we'd need a suitable issue to focus on, space to include it, and a well-written, concise piece. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:43, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Better Facebook Integration

Wikipedia has been implemented into Facebook Community Pages. I think Wikipedia could add a Facebook button on each page of its website that has been linked, redirecting the user straight to the Facebook Community Page.

Hi, that's not a suggestion for this page, but the community pages are simple copies of the first few paragraphs of the corresponding WP page. That's not something we'd want to link to. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:40, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

LSE blog post

See this interesting post on the LSE blog: -- The Anome (talk) 11:29, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

This is an interesting post. It mirrors [part of] my experience so far! ;-) Thanks for the note, Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:40, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Jimmy Wales marries

Happened this past weekend. See [10], [11], [12]. "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales married Tony Blair's former diary secretary Kate Garvey on Saturday, witnessed by guests from the world of politics and celebrity." Dcoetzee 08:04, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the tip! Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:40, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Oct 9+

Wikipedia articles mistakenly listed in Microsoft automated DMCA request to Google

See story, the DMCA request at chillingeffects. It alleges that Caesar's Civil War, Glock, Britain's Got Talent, and 45th Fighter Squadron include illegal copies of the Windows 8 beta. Obviously, no human has ever looked at this request. Google did not block the pages on Wikipedia, likely because we're on some kind of whitelist, but smaller targeted sites remain unavailable. Dcoetzee 08:10, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for this tip; it will certainly be listed in at least "In brief". Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:40, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! This is now also in BBC ([13]) and TIME Newsfeed (see [14]). Dcoetzee 20:39, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia Cuts on the Bias by Douglas Anthony Cooper

This overly ironic article appear in the Huffington Post of Oct. 10, 2012: Wikipedia Cuts on the Bias. Rather than use the usual tact of questioning the article, Cooper questions an editor whom he determines to have a conflict of interest. It'll be interesting to see if anyone on WP takes it up. -- kosboot (talk) 20:45, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

"Writing for Wikipedia..." nice article by Martin Poulter

No controversies here but a nice brief article on why a Ph.D. has chosen to continue writing for Wikipedia and how it benefits scholarly writing. I like the section on what it takes to write collaboratively: Writing for Wikipedia has forced me into good scholarly habits and accessible writing -- kosboot (talk) 01:57, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Three volunteers get MediaWiki core merge privileges

On mw:Git/Gerrit_project_ownership this week, three volunteers -- TheDJ, Anomie, and SPQRobin -- got Gerrit project ownership of MediaWiki core and extensions. TheDJ and Anomie have written useful bots, templates, and user scripts on English Wikipedia, and SPQRobin especially works on language engineering, the Wikimedia Incubator, and support for new wikis.

With their new powers, these volunteers can review and merge changes into the codebase that will then be deployed onto WMF sites -- there are now 30 people, excepting the Ops team, who have been entrusted at that level. I thought that might be worth a note in the tech report. Sumana Harihareswara, Wikimedia Foundation Engineering Community Manager (talk) 12:17, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia's dark side

See [15]. Mostly a fairly well-done recap of past controversies, but also including some criticism of Wikipedia's PR and transparency. Dcoetzee 13:59, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Batten down the hatches. While it's "mostly a fairly well-done recap ...", there's some phrasing in there which could be a problem. I'm not sure how much we'll see in public, but I'm pretty sure there's going to be an angry missive in reaction. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 16:14, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia has serious issues. Even its most diehard supporters admit that. Wikipedia is also not particularly good at solving those issues; most of the time the pattern goes 1) realize an issue exists, 2) debate endlessly about it and fail to agree on a solution, 3) a scandal that people saw coming but couldn't stop (because of step two) happens, 4) a reactionary, somewhat poorly thought out, usually poorly implemented fix is rushed through by either the WMF or the community, 5) the problems with the quick fix are never addressed because not enough people agree on how to fix it and everyone is too afraid of the type of the scandal repeating.
I actually welcome criticism of Wikipedia, if it's done right. The issue is that it usually isn't. There's a rather significant difference between "I've identified X problem, it's occurred here and here, and I suggest Y to fix it." and "The idiots over at Wikipedia keep doing X, and so Wikipedia is garbage.". Both options identify a problem, but while the first posits a solution and tries to back up the problem with some sort of context, the second does neither, and opts to go straight for insults. I suppose that at least for groups like Wikipedia Review and Wikipediocracy the reason that they go to insults so quickly is that their communities are heavily populated with people who have been chased out of Wikipedia, and hold deep personal grudges against the project. That taints their view of everything Wikipedia just as much as my having spent several years happily editing the project taints my views in the other direction. I don't know why the writer in the piece above went the insult route himself; it could be that his brand of snark is what gets reads, it could be any number of other things. I suppose it really doesn't matter though. Ultimately, the author's own writing style undermines his credibility.
Hostile snark has its place, but it's awfully poor at offering analysis and starting intelligent discussions. Sven Manguard Wha? 21:01, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
There's some excluded-middle in your analysis above. And critics are not obligated to fix Wikipedia's problems - "Wikipedia is garbage" is a maximal statement, to be knocked-down, but "Wikipedia has huge amounts of garbage and extensive garbage issues" is quite defensible. There is a place for that sort of polemic _per se_ (abstractly), against the extensive hype promoting Wikipedia. You might also take into account that too many Wikipedians wallow in being obnoxious to people who criticize Wikipedia, even to the point of making vicious personal attacks bordering on libel against those who cannot fight back (i.e. banned users). This might be said to undermine their credibility, but that argument is rarely raised (can't say never, I've seen it happen, but it's unfortunately not common), and certainly more honored in the breach than the observance. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 21:24, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
You're correct on many counts. There is a middle ground. I never stated that there wasn't, my intention was to illustrate the gulf between the ideal and some of the worst that we see. There is certainly value to the middle ground, and I have little issue with people pointing out problems but not offering solutions, so long as they give at least some context and avoid being utter douchebags.
As to your comment on "too many Wikipedians wallow in being obnoxious to people who criticize Wikipedia", this is also correct. In some cases, however, we get into a 'which came first' style debate. Rarely have Wikipedans gone after the banned users that quietly faded away. Rather they tend to go after the ones that continue to cause trouble in one way or another. Wikipedians, like all humans, can get obsessive and protective of the things that they value (in this case, Wikipedia). When a banned user goes to large numbers of news articles that mention Wikipedia and leaves nasty, misleading comments about Wikipedia, it's going to understandably cause blowback, and some of that blowback is going to be from people handle the situation more poorly than others. An ideal world would have Wikipedians leave the banned users alone, but would have the banned users leave Wikipedia alone as well. I seriously doubt that a vast majority of Wikipedians would spend the time to go after banned users if they didn't feel that the project was under threat. There are simply too many other more interesting and important things to do. Sven Manguard Wha? 21:51, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Well then, forgive me my mistaken inference from "done right ... it usually isn't" that suggestions to fix are a requirement. But regarding "cause trouble", I find that to be an unfortunately elastic phrase, where continued criticism of Wikipedia might qualify in some minds, and hence "blowback" of borderline-libel personal attack. I must strongly disagree with any implication (note, this means it need not be stated explicitly) that even "nasty, misleading comments about Wikipedia", justifies retaliation. That's way too close to fair-game cult smearing tactics ("An ideal world would have existing acolytes leave the apostates alone, but would have the apostates leave the Church alone as well."). When you talk about "under threat", you might consider that snarky articles can arise from motives that Wikipedia can appear very threatening for understandable reasons, feared as a top-ten website apparently run by cliques (not cabals), infested with martinets, fakers, and hucksters. That's a downright scary picture, given the power Wikipedia wields overall. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:00, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, the language of article was so sensationalistic that once I saw references to Fox as a legitimate news organization, then I realized that objectivity was not part of the author's purpose. -- kosboot (talk) 23:28, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't look like there's anything new in the article. Just a bunch of old stuff rehashed and sensationalized. Kaldari (talk) 00:25, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

The Wikipedia Redefined

At first The Wikipedia Redefined sounds like a proposal to remake how Wikipedia works. But it's not. Rather, it's appears to be a design website/blog offering ideas for remaking Wikipedia (especially the front page) based on UX design principles. In fact, some of the ideas were aired at Wikimania 2012. Worth taking a look, if only to push through WP bureaucracy. -- kosboot (talk) 23:31, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Very, very old news, I'm afraid. Sven Manguard Wha? 01:24, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

contact us redesign

Wikipedia:Contact us redesigned by ironholds. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 21:16, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

wikimedia US voting

"Women" to "female"

Left by User:Ottawahitech on my talk page: I hope it is OK to suggest a topic for Signpost coverage: heated discussion regaring the renaming of all "women" categories to "female" at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2012_September_12#Categories:Women_by_occupation. –Mabeenot (talk) 05:33, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Football slur due to Wikipedia vandalism

The Asian Football Confederation published an article on their website referring to the United Arab Emirates team as the "Sand Monkeys," a slur for Arabs, because they thought, based on their Wikipedia article at the time, that that was their nickname. The vandalism was introduced September 22 by an anonymous user (revision since deleted, but I confirmed it) and fixed October 13 by User:Viruk42. Widely covered, see e.g. [16]. I have been unable to locate the AFC's original article. We're currently seeing a lot of copycat vandalism, e.g. [17], which led to page protection. Dcoetzee 22:31, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Women in Wikipedia

Two articles in The Guardian about Royal Society edit-a-thon on Ada Lovelace Day, concerning shortage of articles on women and shortage of women editors:

--A bit iffy (talk) 08:07, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

Internal link - WP:ADA. A lot of good new content! Andrew Gray (talk) 18:53, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

Salon article on paid editing

See "Is Wikipedia going commercial?". It's reasonably well-informed regarding policy and related matters like editor retention/demographics, unlike some other accounts on the matter, but I find it a bit too Wikipedia-is-doomed. Dcoetzee 01:28, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


Given the redesign of the contact us page we've started getting a lot more mail; it would be awesome to have a story about OTRS work to raise awareness, or simply a call for more volunteers :). Ironholds (talk) 01:42, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

Civility enforcement RFC enters phase two

A second phase of this RFC is now live at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Civility enforcement/Questionnaire. as you can see it is a bit different than your standard RFC. Hoping the signpost can give it a publicity bump as this is an issue that affected everyone and wide participation is desired. Feel free to contact me with any questions. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:45, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Spoilers of new Bond film on Wikipedia

See [18]. "A spokesman for Sony, the studio handling Bond's distribution, said that on a crowd sourced site like Wikipedia, it is difficult to police spoilers after a film has opened." See Skyfall, our spoiler guideline. Dcoetzee 21:58, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

If they think those are "major twists", they have very low standards :P I can understand complaining about The Mousetrap, but is anyone going to be surprised that somebody dies in a James Bond movie? Guess what, it isn't James Bond. Now that would be a nice twist. Kaldari (talk) 23:41, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
Now also reported in [19]. This seems to be in the news mainly because the film was released outside the US first. Dcoetzee 03:08, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
So they release it outside the United States first, then complain that plot details are being leaked? What is this, the pre-Internet era? :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 04:03, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for Improvement

As a recently created process that went through community approval, I guess it can be a good topic to talk about in the future newsletter. Also, it will make many Wikipedians know of the existence of the new process and encourage participation. — ΛΧΣ21

Nov 1+

Monthly metrics & activities meeting of the WMF now public

Wikimedians can watch a recording of the monthly WMF metrics and activities meeting for November, and were able to watch it live and participate via IRC on 1 November. Sumana Harihareswara, Wikimedia Foundation Engineering Community Manager (talk) 20:32, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

Most bizarre Wikipedia related article I've seen

As a representative of the librettist, Singpost should get an interview with the composer.

Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:52, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Also reported at [20]. Dcoetzee 00:38, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

"Meet The Climate Change Denier Who Became The Voice Of Hurricane Sandy On Wikipedia" ( - goes into WP's coverage of Sandy, climate change, and the nature of news coverage on a wiki. The Interior (Talk) 03:11, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Picked up by InfoDocket (news for librarians) as an examplar of "how Wikipedia works." Meet The Climate Change Denier Who Became The Voice Of Hurricane Sandy On Wikipedia] -- kosboot (talk) 19:58, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

NYT animated short

"Allergy to originality",, quirky little piece. Not really breaking news, but probably interesting to editors. The Interior (Talk) 03:14, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Somebody should tell the NYTimes that they really can't copyright that, since it is derived from Wikipedia, which is licensed CC-BY-SA. More precisely, they can copyright it, but it is required that they license it CC-BY-SA, so that everybody can reuse it. Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:15, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
They might claim fair use, although it'd be pretty dodgy in this case considering the extent of the borrowed work and the fact that they aren't commenting on or criticizing Wikipedia or its articles. Regardless, they'll get away with it as long as none of the contributors to those articles have any interest in pursuing action against them. Dcoetzee 08:30, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
I didn't think about the copyright issues. What're you, some kinda Wikipedia-repeatin' robot? The Interior (Talk) 07:44, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
They could claim fair use under the doctrine of transformation, although the large extent of the use would make it a difficult claim. Regardless, it's pretty hilarious :) Kaldari (talk) 09:25, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Story on Jointly They Edit

At least one news story is reporting on Jointly They Edit: Examining the Impact of Community Identification on Political Interaction in Wikipedia, the recent study on political discussion on Wikipedia. Dcoetzee 21:40, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Surreptitious advertising in Wikipedia is illegal in Germany

Under German law, a company that engages in any advertising behavior must make that fact apparent to the consumer; otherwise it is illegal Schleichwerbung (surreptitious advertising).

On May 10, 2012, the Oberlandesgericht Munich ruled that a manager who had criticized a competitor's product on the Wikipedia page de:Weihrauchpräparat had engaged in surreptitious advertising. The manager had revealed his affiliation on the Talk page, but this was deemed insufficient. The right to freedom of expression was held to be irrelevant as well, since the manager was deemed to have acted as an agent of his company, not as a private person.

Three blog entries by German lawyers about the case: [21], [22], [23]; full decision: [24] (all in German). AxelBoldt (talk) 02:24, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Now Wikipedia Used to Predict Movie Box Office Revenues

See [25]. "They looked in particular at the number of viewers, the number of human editors, the number of edits and another factor related to editing called the collaborative rigor." Dcoetzee 05:33, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Full paper freely available on arXiv at --A bit iffy (talk) 14:57, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Clay Shirkey on openness

No direct mention of Wikipedia/Wikimedia here, but this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education points to a talk by Clay Shirkey on the value of openness and the unseen good that can derive from it. Might be worth a mention or for a future deeper discussion: The Real Revolution Is Openness, Clay Shirky Tells Tech Leaders -- kosboot (talk) 14:30, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Apologies - I've now seen the entire video and yes, he uses Wikipedia in the familiar comparison (which he claims he produced) of the 100 million hours it took to create all Wikipedias versus the 200 billion hours watched by U.S. citizens. But the context is the open access and how this is a vast cultural revolution that we're only beginning to recognize how it is beginning to change institutions as we know them - and life in general. -- kosboot (talk) 19:38, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

DMCA takedown on Commons has implications for freedom of panorama policy

Until recently, it was widely accepted policy (see commons:Commons:Freedom of panorama) that it was okay to upload pictures of sculptures taken in public places in nations such as Germany that permit the reproduction of such works under law. On Nov 9, WMF took down a series of such images by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen as part of a DMCA takedown - see commons:Commons:Village_pump#DMCA_Take-Down. They are arguing that although German law protects reproduction of the works, US law does not, and so the images are illegal derivative works inside the US. If this viewpoint is accepted it will lead to a dramatic change in policy (images of copyrighted sculptures would become forbidden worldwide) and the deletion of many thousands of images, so the decision is highly controversial, reviving prior discussions on how assets might be moved to other nations. Dcoetzee 07:57, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Also see Commons:Freedom of panorama campaign. Kaldari (talk) 06:26, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
And commons:Commons:Requests_for_comment/Non-US_Freedom_of_Panorama_under_US_copyright_law. Dcoetzee 21:51, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Yet another PR company busted

Telegraph, rewriting a piece from the Times. The really interesting story is the PR industry response as documented in PR Week, which appears to be an almost unanimous "our blatant bad behaviour is all Wikipedia's own stupid fault." Yeah, that's really going to help your case. (CIPR, with WMUK, have strongly dissented.) - David Gerard (talk) 13:44, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Waiting on Wikipedia

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has a blog entry musing on whether WP has reached the point where it can be cited as a source, instead of teachers telling students not to use it. I find it a little bit behind the times, but at least this significant organization broaches the idea that Wikipedia is actually a valid resource to be used. -- kosboot (talk) 22:19, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Petraeus-Broadwell affair

The Petraeus-Broadwell affair may have been referenced as early as January here on Wikipedia.

Here's the edit.

-- Powers T 13:45, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Freedom of Panorama images under threat at Commons

Surprised to find no mention of this, which could be huge, in the Signpost this week.

WMF have acquiesced to a DMCA takedown notice from the Oldenburg Studio in New York, in respect of 59 images of Claes Oldenburg's large-scale outdoor works hosted on Commons, the majority of the images having being taken in European Countries where there are Freedom of Panorama provisions in local copyright law.

The Oldenburg Studio's contention appears to be (and WMF does not appear inclined to disagree) that these provisions do not apply in the United States, so these images cannot be made available to readers in the United States, nor hosted on US-based servers.

If applied to FoP pictures across the board, this could apply to a huge number of images of sculptures, buildings, and other 3D works, unless used here under strict WP:NFC terms.

What options are available to different international wikis across the globe, and whether on-wiki signifiers should be used to draw attention to the Oldenburg action (if any), are currently both hot topics on Commons, and also on the Kurier's talk pages on Jheald (talk) 00:37, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, dupe of Dcoetzee (talk · contribs) five days ago above; and I see it did get a brief mention under Brief Notes in News & Notes. Jheald (talk) 00:40, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Wiki articles on YouTube

As mentioned on Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)#Wiki articles on YouTube, the YouTube user WikiPlays has uploaded 46,000 videos since August 25 (increasing by some 2,000 each day), all based on a robot voice reading articles from the English Wikipedia. Who is behind this? What is the purpose? Is it well done, following all the rules? Is it successful in its purpose? Or is it just a form of useless spam? --LA2 (talk) 15:57, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't know about all of your questions but I certainly wouldn't characterize it as useless spam. I could see this being very useful for people with vision problems, or even illiterate persons. The videos I looked at are properly attributed to Wikipedia and at a glance I would say it is very much in keeping with the purpose and goals of WP. Who is behind it is a bit more obscure though as it is just a YouTube account. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:11, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Two new namespaces

I was at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/TimedText:Dane Blue - More and saw TimedText, which I had not seen before. Then, from this 8 November 2012 post, I found that Wikipedia has two new namespaces: Education Program:Main and TimedText:Main. I missed the project wide consensus discussion to add these two new namespaces. I didn't find any policy or guidelines on either of these namespaces. I discussed this a little with Justin here, but there does not appear to be any Wikipedia standards by which these new namespaces are to be used. Perhaps you can put a reporter on digging up the who, what, where, how, why, and when of these new namespaces. Thanks! -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 11:36, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Just a moment ago, I clicked on and Education Program:Main saw "The action you have requested is limited to users in one of the groups: Administrators, Course coordinators, Course online volunteers, Course campus volunteers, Course instructor." That was not there a few minutes ago! Why would the Wikipedia community agree to keep most of its members from editing in that namespace or is this unilateral rather than consensus actions? -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 11:40, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
There was a widely advertised RFC on the Education Program namespaces in August-September, though I haven't followed the details of implementation since then. Andrew Gray (talk) 11:57, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
User:Sage Ross (WMF) is the guy to talk to regarding the Education Program extension. The Interior (Talk) 18:48, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm definently curious as to what the "timed text" namespace is for. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:04, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
From TimedText, I'm guessing it's video related, but no idea why it involves its own namespace. The Interior (Talk) 22:21, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
TimedText It creates synchronized subtitles for media files. It has its own namespace because what would be the alternative? —Justin (koavf)TCM 10:34, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Cool, interested to see this in action. The Interior (Talk) 20:27, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Did BP rely on Wikipedia for oil spill estimate?

According to the article BP turned to Wikipedia to estimate size of spill, U.S. alleges in The Globe and Mail, an executive at BP is alleged to have relied on Wikipedia (specific WP articles are not mentioned) to estimate how much oil was being spilled into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, ignoring the company's engineers' estimates. Mindmatrix 17:26, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

This sounds pretty bizarre even for BP, even for Wikipedia. I tried to track down where that might have come from in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill article and it seems like nobody had much of an idea in the first few days, maybe 1,000 barrels per day (BPD), instead of the 5,000 BPD given by the exec a week or two later, vs. 62,000 BPD now estimated. The lower numbers seem well-sourced at the time coming from BP execs (!) via AP or the BBC, and later from the Navy as well. There's an incredible circularity in this - would anybody try to fool himself this way? I'm skeptical of how or why a Wikipedian could be (even unintentionally) involved. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:42, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I think the executive was looking at other articles for information about estimating the size of the spill. For example, here's the 19 April 2010 version of the article Oil spill, which already contained the section Estimating the volume of a spill. Mindmatrix 19:05, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
(EC below) That sounds much more likely (though still incredibly stupid on the exec's part) than the 2 scenarios the newspaper account suggested to me.
A. that some Wikipedia editor did some OR or just guessed at 5,000 and then the exec relied on this; or
B. that BP was trying to pull the wool over people's eyes and planted the 5,000 figure.
A doesn't seem to have happened (the numbers were properly sourced to BP), and B wouldn't fool anybody since the estimates were sourced to BP. Still, your possible version (I'll call it C) would involve some use of the referenced software, so BP scientists would almost certainly be involved. Which leads me to another possibility D. somebody just wanted to put down the exec's intelligence, but rather than just saying "the guy's a dumb jerk" dressed it up as "the guy got that from Wikipedia." In short, it still doesn't look kosher to me. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:58, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
There's more detail here: "...David Rainey cobbled together information from Wikipedia and internet sources to produce a falsely low flow rate estimate ... pegged by a very preliminary National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report at 5000 barrels per day. ... performed his own daily estimates, purportedly using the ASTM and Bonn methods ..."--Yannick (talk) 19:45, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, it looks like I'm making the same type of mistake as the exec - talking about things I don't know anything about. From the upstream source: " "Rainey's Bonn estimates resulted in best-guess estimates that were significantly higher than 5000 bpd and high-end estimates of up to 92,000 bpd. Rainey withheld his estimates from individuals working on flow rate estimates within United Command and, later, also withheld them from Congress." He also "manipulated" ASTM calculations to arrive at estimates of between 5000 and 6000 bpd, but they were not achieved using that method, the bill said. "

So it looks to me he went beyond Wikipedia. I'm still guessing Wikipedia had almost nothing to do with it. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:09, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

The Upstream article links to the indictment itself: "After learning of NOAA's preliminary and heavily-qualified 5,000 BOPD estimates, defendant RAINEY, an executive who had no prior experience in spill estimation, surfed the Internet for information about how to conduct oil-spill-volume estimates based on observations of oil floating on the surface of a water body, known as "mass balance" estimates. Defendant RAINEY's internet search led him to a website where he found a Wikipedia entry that described some generally accepted mass balance methodologies, including the American Society for Testing and Materials ("ASTM") method and the European "Bonn" method." and later "Defendant RAINEY falsely labeled the estimates he included in the memorandum as "ASTM" calculations."
So he was an amateur pretending to do science, and tried to sound smart by using some keywords and formulas found in Wikipedia. Rather than snipe at the Globe and Mail reporters, who probably know more about journalism than we do, why don't we just include this in the "Wikipedia in the News" segment?--Yannick (talk) 21:12, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I'm starting to figure out what's going on. I would (if I had anything to do with it) include it in "Wikipedia in the news". But as long as I'm sniping I'll blame it all on the headline "BP turned to Wikipedia to estimate size of spill, U.S. alleges." That whole concept seems so strange, I had to look into it and be skeptical. Turns out the guy is alleged to have intentionally "reverse engineered" his estimates and intentionally lied to the public and to Congress. Wikipedia is mentioned once in the indictment (your quote above), makes the lede of the newspaper article and the headline as well. Attention grabbing, not an outright lie, great journalism! Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:58, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

User:Bdcousineau and documents from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum

User:Bdcousineau works at the the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum, and they presently are uploading materials to Wikimedia Commons. As she notes on a talk page:

"We have a number of documents that might be of interest to you - they are located at Wikimedia, Category:Documents at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. If you are interested in writing articles/stubs, I may be able to provide you with pictures from our archives as well. We have a limited number of artifacts, also at Wikimedia, Commons:Category:Artifacts at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. Let me know if I can help in any way, and please feel free to pass the word about these docs; I'd love to see some content generated around them....thanks!"[26]

Perhaps the Signpost can write a short summary of this for the next edition. Sounds like User:Bdcousineau would be willing to do an interview as well. -- Uzma Gamal (talk) 13:24, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

HotCat enabled for more editors by default

Per community outcome, see Wikipedia_talk:HotCat#Village_Pump_proposal_for_enabling_this_by_default_for_most_editors. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 17:08, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Free JSTOR accounts

I assume this announcement on the Wikimedia blog will get into the Signpost:

JSTOR Provides Free Access To Wikipedia Editors -- kosboot (talk) 01:16, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Wonderful news. Editors who are not able to get their own accounts can request access to journal articles at Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange/Resource Request. GabrielF (talk) 02:53, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
It's too bad the agreement is to provide access to just 100 editors, since more than 200 have already signed up here. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 04:54, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Think of those first 100 as an experiment. If that experiment goes well, we could have more. Raul654 (talk) 14:40, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Should Students Use Wikipedia?

Wired has a story dated 17 Nov: Should Students Use Wikipedia?. I find it interesting in that it reflects the changing attitude of academics - WP is no longer evil - it's a tool. -- 19:32, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Indeed it does seem that more and more educators are beginning to realize how useful Wp can be. I actually had a discussion along these lines just yesterday with a relative who is a public school teacher. On their faculty mailing list someone opened a discussion of how students should use Wikipedia and everyone expected fireworks. What happened instead was broad agreement that it is an appropriate starting point for research.
Unsurprisingly, Greg Kohs is bad mouthing Wikipedia in the comments section. I hope I never get so bitter about something that I feel like I have to monitor the internet 24/7 for any mention of it so I can leave negative comments. Maybe the signpost could do a story about obsessive banned users.... Beeblebrox (talk) 19:47, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps I shouldn't do this, but I feel the need to defend Wikipedia criticism, especially in article comment sections. It seems to me there's a nasty catch-22 - Wikipedia can have an enormous hype-machine, full of puffery ranging to dishonesty - but that's considered OK. However, let someone repeatedly try to counter that hype, and just doing so is too often taken as a per se basis for making personal attacks on them. It's one thing to criticize the content of what someone says, and if it's repeatedly false or wrong, to take them to task personally for it. But Wikipedians should really be the last people to criticize devotion to a topic itself, abstractly. There's very much a glass house in that case. I don't think you'd react well to someone saying "Oh, Wikipedians, I hope I never get so obsessed with an Internet site that I feel I have to monitor some sort of watchlist 24/7 for anyone messing with it. Maybe there's a story about obsessives who should get a life already ..." -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:22, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Q100.000 reached at Wikidata

Q100.000 reached at Wikidata, a mile stone reached 25 days after opening the wiki. The item is "Cadier en Keer". Romaine (talk) 11:37, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

And it's now reached Q500000. Dcoetzee 19:46, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
Next week, it is propably one million items. -- (talk) 00:33, 11 December 2012 (UTC)
It hit 750,000 a few hours ago. Best guess is that we'll hit one million in three days or so. Related: File:Wikidata item creation progress.png. Sven Manguard Wha? 02:08, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

First datadump for Wikimedia-hosted Wikivoyage, first offline reader using this datadump

Wikivoyage is still in beta, but already datadumps have become available (containing all data from November 18).

This is significant because the lack of datadumps had always been a point of contention with the Wikitravel host. This lack was seen by some as a violation of the free content spirit, and it was one of the main reason for moving from IB (Internet Brands) to Wikimedia.

Database dumps are especially useful for offline readers, which travellers can use in places with no Internet connection.

The first offline reader to use these new Wikimedia-provided datadumps is OxygenGuide, others will probably follow soon.

Disclaimer: I am the project maintainer of OxygenGuide. Nicolas1981 (talk) 05:26, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

stop the presses

You guys are aware a major scandal related to ArbCom and the upcoming election has just erupted, right? There is already a motion to severly sanction a sitting arbitrator, so some sort of mention this week is probably warranted. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:19, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Pressing (execution) is a historically validated method of removing persons in positions of power, and is to be preferred to public flogging. (Public logging is banned on most Wikipedia-related IRC channels.) --Demiurge1000 (talk) 22:30, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

We included this in NAN this week. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:31, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

"The Independent" - Wikipedia article vandalism used in report

"Leveson's Wikipedia moment: how internet 'research' on The Independent's history left him red-faced" - describes how what seems to be a prank edit made its way into a major report. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 21:49, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

VIAFbot activities

I'm sure the announcement of results from VIAFbot Debriefing will be mentioned. But I hope the articles speculates more on "what next" and how might Wikipedia (and sister projects) move closer to more structured data, making WP more Semantic Web compatible. -- kosboot (talk) 00:07, 2 December 2012 (UTC)


It would be nice if the next issue made a brief mention of the passing of User:Franamax on Nov. 25. He was a dedicated, warm-hearted, and technically gifted editor from Canada who held admin and editfilter rights on en. The Interior (Talk) 19:48, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Goofy photo of him: [27] See Wikipedia:Deceased Wikipedians for more biographical details.The Interior (Talk) 19:59, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for including this, guys. The Interior (Talk) 20:18, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Commons milestone

Wikimedia Commons has reached 15 million hosted media files. Mindmatrix 17:38, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Wiktionary turns 10 on 12/12/12

Probably should be something in the Signpost about it. --Yair rand (talk) 22:10, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedian in Residence at the Józef Piłsudski Institute of America, NY

Since Signpost announced information about organizations looking for a WiR number of time in the past, I thought you'd like to know a new position has appeared. Please see the announcement at here for details. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 17:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Experimental Flickr uploading added to UploadWizard on Commons

A blurb for the tech report: A new Flickr uploading feature has been added to the UploadWizard. The feature allows users to import individual images or multiple images in one photoset from Flickr. It is currently restricted to administrators, but will probably be opened up to more users in the future (based on the consensus of the Commons community). The feature was developed by Ankur Anand as part of a Google Summer of Code project under my mentorship. Kaldari (talk) 00:30, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

SF Wiki Meetup - Dec 12, 2012 at Computer History Museum

Hi Signpost folks, this is a pretty unique meetup event that will be at the Computer History Museum, and is also a brainstorming session on an upcoming exhibit about Wikipedia. Hope you can put a mention in this week's signpost. Thanks. Wikipedia:Meetup/Computer_History_Museum

-- Fuzheado | Talk 19:33, 10 December 2012 (UTC)


Meet Wikipedians and help edit a museum exhibit about Wikipedia!

The purpose of the meet up is twofold:

  1. Meet fellow Wikipedians in the San Francisco Bay/Silicon Valley area while getting a behind the scenes tour of the Computer History Museum.
  2. Help edit this exhibit! The Museum is crafting an exhibit about Wikipedia that will debut in 2013. What should an exhibit about Wikipedia have? How should it display Wikipedia's activities, live, for visitors? Who better than ask than Wikipedians. Meet the museum staff to brainstorm around ideas and how to display and visualize Wikipedia to the public.

Who should attend: Wikipedians and non-Wikipedians alike, and especially museum or technology enthusiasts

RSVP and info:

Museum participants:

Telegraph blog post on pending changes

"Wikipedia vandals will be stopped in their tracks as 'pending changes' safeguard goes live". Has been picked up by Business Insider with headline "Wikipedia Has Figured Out A New Way To Stop Vandals In Their Tracks". Could be worked into a story about the pending changes RfC. Dcoetzee 19:42, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia Zero in the news

--Pine 00:46, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Hi, we included this in this week's news and notes. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:47, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I thought that the Signpost only covered content from the previous week. Is that only for the Featured Content report? --Pine 23:46, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
It depends? I mean, we only cover items that are at our publishing time or before. Does that answer your question? (FC does run on a slightly different timespan, which is noted at the top of each edition) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 23:48, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Invasion of the cyber hustlers, and Wikipedia

In a new article "Invasion of the cyber hustlers", Wikipedia figures prominently, for example "It is surprising how often Wikipedia is cited by such cyber-pedlars as a paradigm of communal "knowledge creation", given that Wikipedia explicitly bans the creation of any new knowledge. Its highest law is "no original research", barring any mention of either "facts" or "ideas" that are not already published elsewhere. Observance of this edict has the effect that Wikipedia is entirely dependent on its cited sources, including newspaper and journal articles, for the "knowledge" it contains. This does not mean that Wikipedia is useless - far from it - but it is not an example of what it is so often claimed to be." -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 05:36, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

For all of Steven Poole's blustery cynicism about "free content", I find it ironic that he released his first book as a free PDF. Kaldari (talk) 07:32, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
He does note - "There you go: if you write a book with the book as the goal, you are a fool. A book's correct function is that of a business card that gets you invited to where the real action is." There's nothing that prevents him from practicing it :-). More seriously, there are people who play a game while at the same time despising it, hating what it does, and loudly decrying it. We shouldn't let any superficial irony there discredit a well-grounded indictment of that game (even from a player). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:39, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Poole sets up a straw man stating that "Wikipedia is cited by such cyber-pedlars as a paradigm of communal "knowledge creation"", a claim I've never seen made in the media or by WP supporters. The claim usually made is that Wikipedia is a knowledge repository, collection, or aggregator, which of course is consistent with "barring any mention of either "facts" or "ideas" that are not already published elsewhere". Mindmatrix 01:43, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
The more common phrase I've seen is "knowledge production", but he may be reading slightly different sources. There's still quite a few hits for a Google Books search on -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:27, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Czech wikipedia milestone reached 250000 articles on december 13th , the one was cardinal cs:Guido del Mestri. (talk) 21:51, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Mormonism and Wikipedia

"Mormonism and Wikipedia: Believers and Critics Work to Edit Mormon History Online" Interesting take from a different perspective -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:53, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

A surprisingly dispassionate article about such a contentious area of Wikipedia. Kaldari (talk) 00:23, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

1 million reached at Wikidata

d:Q1000000 reached at Wikidata, a mile stone reached 21 days after d:Q100000 and 46 days after the opening of the wiki. Romaine (talk) 22:29, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

WND vs Jimbo Wales

[] and [28]. Funny spat between WND and WP's co-founder. The article touches on WP's dubious history with BLPs. Cla68 (talk) 22:30, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Their argument seems to be "It's OK to libel Jimmy Wales because he founded Wikipedia, and lots of articles about conservatives have been vandalized on Wikipedia." Kaldari (talk) 23:54, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Quite. I had assumed Cla68 intended this as a joke. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 00:26, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually, the article has a good point. How can Jimbo complain about libel when WP, which he cofounded, has a track history as one of the biggest websites used for defamation in the history of the web? He complained and WND altered their article text within days. Many people have complained about their BLPs in Wikipedia and have had to wait months to obtain help, if indeed they were helped. Cla68 (talk) 01:32, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it comes down to one's stance on the amount of humor in irony. He can complain, as a matter of right. But, in the purest sense it's ironic to be reading material like this: "Wales also argued that the factual accuracy of Wikipedia's own "Bomis" entry is irrelevant: "We are not discussing Wikipedia. If there are errors in Wikipedia, this does not relieve you of the moral and legal responsibility not to defame me, sir. You know that." ". It may be a true statement - but that doesn't mean it can't also be a humorous one, on a certain level recognized by the many people who have had to deal with false statements in their Wikipedia biography. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 01:49, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
The photo of Cap'n Jimmy and the Babes is just priceless. The Interior (Talk) 03:17, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
(with apologies to Gilligan's Island) "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a site's gray shades. That started from some web ring ads, and ended with Bomis Babes" -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:23, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Shortage of Christmas DYKs

Here we are at December 19 and it appears DYK has only four Christmas hooks to feature. We are desperately in need of someone to pen a few Christmas hooks to fill the DYK stocking. Any chance the next Signpost (assuming it is due before the 25th) could include a request for some Christmas submissions? Thanks, Gatoclass (talk) 10:50, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Reports on Keegan study on editing after tragic events

See "How Wikipedia Edits Tragedies", "What Wikipedia can tell us about the future of news". Dcoetzee 21:15, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Mention of Simple English Wikipedia

I was just wondering if we could get a mention of the Simple English Wikipedia in an upcoming Signpost. Here is a link to the discussion there.

Here is some suggested verbiage that we worked up.

Are you interested in expanding your role in other MediaWiki projects outside the English Wikipedia? Do you find that the the English Wikipedia is too hard to read, use or edit? Try the Simple English Wikipedia version of Wikipedia. It uses fewer words and easier grammar. At the start, it was designed for people learning English. Its style may help readers understand difficult concepts. With just over 90, 000 articles, less rules and easier to read articles it offers possibilities to editors who may feel limited in what they can do in the English Wikipedia.

If this isn't the right place for this or if you need to modify it just let me know. Kumioko (talk) 14:34, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Unless you can convince Mabeenot to put it in the WikiProject Report's In Brief, I'm afraid not. There's no 'newsworthy' news to cover from Simple, and we don't do advertisements, even from projects. Apologies, Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 18:19, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Ok thanks. I think hitting 100, 000 articles will probably meet the notability criteria so maybe I'll come back then. Kumioko (talk) 19:33, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Register article on use of funds by Wikipedia

See "Wikipedia doesn't need your money - so why does it keep pestering you?" Needless to say, it's very selective with its facts. I don't find any of the expenditures it highlights to be particularly objectionable. Dcoetzee 06:52, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Abstractly, I can see both sides of the argument over expansion and reserve. But having two sides also means it's a legitimate topic of debate. Some poor student donating their lunch money because they are under the impression that Wikipedia is running on a shoestring and server costs are dominant, might have a different view to find out about how relatively little is going to servers and similar, versus various very arguable initiatives. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 10:40, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
It is important that our donation campaign doesn't give the wrong impression about what donations are used for, and that spending info is immediately available and easy to understand during the donation process (rather than buried somewhere), but an honest account would break down overall spending by percentage, rather than cherry picking a few very small items intended to incite an emotional reaction like this article does. Dcoetzee 13:44, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
While I understand your objection, I think it's a valid journalistic technique to give a small example which is a concrete illustration of a much larger problem. The article does have information about overall allocation. But specific dubious spending is helpful too. Yes, this sort of presentation can be abused. It's a fact-specific matter, as to whether it's illustration or manipulation. However, the motto of Wikipedia fundraising is essentially "incite an emotional reaction" (remember the supposed little girl in Africa), so it can hardly be out of bounds itself. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:59, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I completely appreciate criticisms of the WMF's rapid expansion, but this is a carefully crafted smear piece and nothing else. Let's look at a few of the more ridiculous statements:
  • Claim: Wikipedia is now a powerful lobbying organization; Truth: Wikipedia temporarily contracted 1 guy in DC to keep tabs on SOPA as it was going through Congress.
  • Claim: Wikipedia is getting millions of dollars from corporate grants and is thus beholden to corporate interests; Truth: None of the grants he cited are from this year and Wikipedia has continually worked towards accepting fewer and fewer grants, especially any with strings attached. Part of that effort is why we ask the public for donations.
  • Claim: Wikipedia has more money than it knows what to do with; Truth: We only collect as much money as we have budgeted for each year. The budget process is completely transparent and widely open to public input (probably more so than any other non-profit on earth).
  • Claim: Part of why Wikipedia participated in the SOPA blackout was due to influence from Google; Truth: The opposite is closer to the truth, as I'm sure anyone involved in the blackout knows. The decision to participate in the SOPA actions wasn't even decided by the WMF, it was decided by the community. Once the decision was made, we did inform Google, but certainly not because they are our corporate taskmasters.
Kaldari (talk) 19:48, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
Sigh. I have a (perhaps mistaken) belief that it's beneficial for someone to participate in Wikipedia discussions from the critic's point of view. But I'm not sure it does any good, especially when there are such great differences in perspective. I fear I cannot devote the time necessary to write a lengthy rebuttal to your contentions above - there is simply too vast a gulf separating us. To note one point, for extensive evidence on the influence of Google, and the manipulations of the Wikipedia community, I refer you to this ongoing discussion. If you do not find that material highly supportive, I believe nothing I say will be productive. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:21, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
All I see is some absurd conspiracy theory about Fight for the Future and Reddit also being controlled by Google. Besides, the community being influenced by Google is not what Andrew's article is claiming. Andrew's article is suggesting that the Foundation is influenced by Google (which it isn't), and that this influence is due to money. You can accuse the Foundation of a lot of things, but you can't accuse it of being controlled by corporate interests. Freedom from corporate influence is the Foundation's religious mantra. It's the only reason we have the stupid annual fundraiser. The Foundation could easily just seek large gifts and grants (with all the strings attached) like every other non-profit and skip the fundraiser entirely. Kaldari (talk) 07:41, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
For those of us who know a bit about Wikifinances, the ideas in the article seem somewhat sensationalist or just off-point, but I do think the author is doing us a favor, by letting people know that there is information here that can be looked into. In short the article is inoculating us to more serious misinformation that is almost certain to come. My biggest complaint is the last sentence "But the organisation does seem to be presenting an incomplete picture." Not so, the info is out there, spread out all over the place in the usual Wikimedia fashion. Perhaps hard to find in a few places, but ultimately the journalists are just being lazy if they can't find it.
This is not to say that everybody should agree that all expenditures are well-thought out, but all editors - indeed the public - have been able to comment on all of them (again, if they can find their way around), and pretty open processes were used to decide the final amounts in various budgets (Foundation, Chapters, small grants, etc.). Criticism should be welcomed, even when it's off-base. As with any organization, we will make some mistakes with money - and we are a pretty experimental organization dealing with lots of young people all over the world, which makes things harder. We should be prepared for articles like this, feed them better info, organize our budgeting sites better, and even be prepared to say an occasional "oops!" Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:29, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I think you're giving Andrew too much credit. Most of these claims aren't new; they've just been recycled and constructed into another Register "expose" piece. We could put our budget proposals on the Main Page and Andrew would still happily continue his trolling. Notice for example that even in the cases where the criticism is clearly outdated (corporate grants for example), he presents it as if it was relevant to the current fundraiser. This is the same M.O. that Greg Kohs uses—criticizing the Foundation for any perceived infraction whether it has been corrected or not (and rarely, if ever, acknowledging improvements). Their intention isn't to improve our processes, it's to bring down the "evil cabal" of Wikipedia. I really wish someone would write a criticism of Foundation growth that is based on actual facts and realistic expectations, rather than sensational claims. Such criticism would actually be useful. Kaldari (talk) 22:24, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

No opinion here on whether it was by design or lack of understanding, but the article does not make a very clear distinction re: the spending of largely separate organizations. I found that to be the most objectionable part of a piece that seemed, overall, a useful survey of a topic that does not receive as much coverage as it should. Many points can be effectively rebutted; having a reason to rebut them seems like a good thing. Accountability is good for the movement. Should the piece be covered by the Signpost? I'm not sure I see a burning need. -Pete (talk) 08:38, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

I think any article that generates as much discussion as this one is useful to at least mention. Dcoetzee 18:52, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, a mention seems appropriate. I'm not sure there's much point in a full review or response, which I assumed was the suggestion; but maybe that was a bad assumption. In hindsight I think Smallbones captured my views better than I did. -Pete (talk) 19:38, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Assuming nothing goes wrong, I'm hoping to cover this in next week's edition. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:12, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Wikidata - first "production" use coming up

The first "live" use of Wikidata is expected to be turned on on the Hungarian Wikipedia on 14th January; this will essentially remove all the wikitext interlanguage sidebar links from the Hungarian site and replace them with a dynamically-generated table from Wikidata. There won't be any visible change to users (I think) and the way that we currently link out to hu.wp from within articles won't change.

No word yet on when the English Wikipedia will get the extension, but I believe the plan is to trial it on one or two other individual projects before rolling it out to all the Wikipedias, so probably not until February-March. It may well be worth letting people know in advance, though... Andrew Gray (talk) 14:05, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Fixed link for you. --J36miles (talk) 19:06, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Apple v. Samsung: Who's been editing the judge's Wikipedia entry?

Allegations of conflict of interest editing in Lucy H. Koh (diff) related to the Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd dispute. See CNN Money article. Dcoetzee

Cite4Wiki needs new developer(s) - it broke with the release of Firefox 17!

 – Issue no longer needs reporting/PSA.

Cite4Wiki is on e-death's door. I am the fourth developer, in series, of this tool. I need to hand over the reins to (or at least recruit the aid of) someone capable of re-developing this Wikipedia source citation add-on for Firefox, so that it is compatible with modern versions of the browser. In its current form, it dates to Firefox 4 (but was really re-developed from a Firefox 2 plug-in, and it shows). While it had an unusually long run without changes, as of Firefox 17 it no longer works. A large number of editors have depended on it, on a daily basis, for several years. I simply do not have the real-world cycles to absorb the new Firefox add-on APIs; not now, and not in the foreseeable future. The tool is simply dead without some hopefully quick aid. Please help if you have the skills! — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 04:15, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

I do have Firefox addon experience (among other things, ProveIt was originally a Firefox addon), and I maintain a separate one for URL shortening. I'm not familiar with the very latest API changes either, so I don't know how complex the breaking changes in Firefox 17 are. I'm definitely available to answer questions. I'll take a look at the code base, and see how hard it is to update. It looks like the addon has a manageable scope, so it should be doable. Has this been ported to git, or is it still svn? Can you point me to the latest version control repo?
The only Firefox-specific parts are the context menu, so it could also be ported to a bookmarklet in the meantime. Superm401 - Talk 21:35, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
That sounds like a reasonable interim solution. One concern is that this was original written in Java, I think, then ported to something else, then cobbled together into a FF 4.x add-on that barely worked, and finally I tweaked it a bit. It's something of a blecherous, palimpsestuous mess and probably needs to be re-done from scratch eventually. That said, anything that makes it work again would be a Good Thing. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:20, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
User:Ijon has actually already fixed it! Huzzah! — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:45, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Great! I would still be interested in seeing the version control repository, though. By the way, the fact that it uses a JAR is not in itself indication that it uses Java. That used to be a standard Firefox extension packaging technique. Superm401 - Talk 21:37, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
It isn't in a repository yet. I was figuring on using SourceForge, but open to other ideas. Anyway, near bottom of WT:Cite4Wiki is a link to the fixed version. It has not yet been uploaded to the Firefox Add-ons site. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 00:24, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually, it's in the MediaWiki repository at but that's the version that's broken in FF17. I'll have to figure out how to update it with the fixed version. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 01:00, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

The WMF, Jimbo, and Kazakhstan

"Wikipedia contributors in the West have questioned whether the Wikimedia Foundation and Mr Wales should be supporting a project backed by a government that Human Rights Watch said earlier this month was mounting a “growing crackdown on free speech”. Independent media outlets have been hauled before courts and shut down." -- kosboot (talk) 17:12, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Also mentioned in today's Guardian Technology Links Newsbucket, citing "Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales denies Kazakhstan connection" -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 19:42, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Further, there's a wire service piece by Asian News International -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 16:35, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Daily Dot - "Wikipedia's odd relationship with the Kazakh dictatorship" -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 20:10, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Social media and user-interface development

Developers on wikitech-l have begun a positive discussion about enabling article thumbnails to improve links from Twitter. This might be of interest for the weekly Technology Report.

Though this modest technical proposal is interesting in its own right, it also illustrates wider issues about whether/how Wikipedia should integrate with social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Even more broadly, readers and devs might appreciate a Signpost feature about the potential for making the website more engaging through improved user interfaces, such as more integrated HTML5 multimedia and more modern styling. The overlap between desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile platforms raises the question of whether the website is becoming offputting to readers used to touchscreen interfaces and Ajax-enabled inline editing. A discursive article could usefully set out recent implementations (such as VisualEditor), projects in the pipeline (such as Wikidata for cross-wiki fact-storing), and possible future directions (such as improved watchlists and a workable successor to LiquidThreads). How to balance the engagingness of embedded video with the authoritativeness of text; or the potential ease of inline editing with the risk of casual vandalism?

Richardguk (talk) 18:23, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Cute Dept: The Top 100 Most Viewed Articles on the English Wikipedia 2012

The Top 100 Most Viewed Articles on the English Wikipedia 2012 -- It's easily obtainable from anyone who knows Toolserver, but (formerly an independent website curated by Gary Price which is now part of Library Journal, a leading periodical for all kinds of librarians) is running this article, which is sure to be seen by many librarians.-- kosboot (talk) 19:22, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812 (article)

There's a really nice article by a seasoned Wikipedia editor: Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. What I like about the article is that the author doesn't try to paint everything rosy - he's realistic in mentioning the drop-off of Wikipedia editors, but uses the article on the War of 1812 as an example of extreme cooperation on an unresolved topic (none of the participating countries agree on the war's outcome). I think the article could be a good model for other editors who want to involve their respective disciplines in Wikipedia. -- kosboot (talk) 21:07, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Long-lasting hoax (and GA) deleted

Some fine detective work by ShelfSkewed (talk · contribs) has determined that the article Bicholim conflict was a hoax. This article was created in July 2007 and assessed as a GA two months later, though thankfully a FAC in October 2007 was unsuccessful. On checking the sources, ShelfSkewed determined that the main books cited in the article do not actually exist. The AfD is here and the summary I added to Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia may be of assistance [29] - this article is now the eighth longest-lasting hoax to be listed there. Nick-D (talk) 22:32, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Media coverage:


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