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ITM: The wisdom of polarized crowds

In Nature: "... the effect of ideological composition on team performance by analysing millions of edits to Wikipedia’s political, social issues and science articles... polarized teams consisting of a balanced set of ideologically diverse editors produce articles of a higher quality than homogeneous teams... Analysis of article ‘talk pages’ reveals that ideologically polarized teams engage in longer, more constructive, competitive and substantively focused but linguistically diverse debates than teams of ideological moderates." Chris Troutman (talk) 17:55, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

The preprint version of this paper was reviewed (by User:FULBERT) in Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2018-02-20/Recent_research. Regards, HaeB (talk) 15:25, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
My mistake. I checked back as far as March to see if we had; I didn't go to February to check. Chris Troutman (talk) 16:44, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I always find the archives search function very useful (search for "polarized crowds" at Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Archives or m:Research:Newsletter#Search the WRN archives).
BTW, it may still be worthwhile to mention the release of the published version, pointing back to the previous full review. Regards, HaeB (talk) 17:00, 18 June 2019 (UTC)


In outside news

In case anybody will be bothered to continue the Signpost, some outside outlets have mentioned the current WP:Fram mess: (talk) 11:27, 29 June 2019 (UTC)


Wikimania 2020 - Bangkok

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Per meta:Talk:Wikimania 2020. ---Another Believer (Talk) 20:08, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

This should definitely be part of New & notes Smallbones(smalltalk) 22:09, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
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List of Fram discussions

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I discussed this offline with the E in C and will help creating a template for the next issue. Moving this list to Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/List of Fram discussions for inclusion by reference. ☆ Bri (talk) 20:48, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

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French Wikipedia overtakes German

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An interesting analysis has been written up by de:User:Dr. Bernd Gross originally in German for Kurier. The English translation is at French_Wikipedia_overtakes_German. Would this be in-scope to include in the next Signpost issue to give readers some news from outside en.wp? T.Shafee(Evo&Evo)talk 08:04, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Seems interesting. Are there any indications as to where those users are coming from or what topics they are editing? I'm curious as to whether the more global presence of French is impacting this trend. -Indy beetle (talk) 20:30, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
Agreed, German is very much a first world language, as the Francophone parts of Africa come online it would make sense for French to overtake German. But I suspect another difference is over policies on sourcing and inclusion. The German Wikipedia is unusually strict on things like the sourcing of edits, good for quality, but not for community growth. ϢereSpielChequers 07:52, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
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Admin milestone, first time below 500 active admins

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User:Iridescent notes on his talk page that a milestone has been reached in the number of active admins. For the first time since records began there are now fewer than 500.[1] Haukur (talk) 17:05, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

If I'm reading User:Widefox/editors correctly this isn't a sudden FRAMBAN related event, but part of a long slow slide that has been commented on at The Signpost before (e.g. "the future is Swedish with a lack of administrators", Feb 2018). But worth following up, maybe User:Widefox would be interested? ☆ Bri (talk) 17:56, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Today is at 497 active (43.4%), 464 semi-active, 183 inactive. Yes it looks roughly on trend. I'll update the numbers and separate the graphs for totals from the % activities which will make things simpler (will be tomorrow). Widefox; talk 18:36, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
(responding to ping) I don't think you're reading the figures right. If you look at the actual figures, the active editor count peaked at just over 1000 in 2008, declined over the next few years to around 550, and has oscillated steadily between 510 and 570 since early 2017. On Frambanday, 10 June 2019, the figure drops for the first time in recorded history below 510 (we only started counting in 2007), and drops steadily from then on before dropping below 500 for the first time today. I'm not sure there's really a story there, unless the number continues to drop and we go back onto the downward trend; the issue isn't so much the decline in admin activity per se, but the fact that if admin numbers continue to drop while editing continues, the admin/page ratio increases exponentially and we eventually reach the point where problematic pages need to be locked because there are insufficient admins to perform the routine maintenance. ‑ Iridescent 18:42, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Looks like we're all (roughly) in agreement to me, but any off trend event will will be easier to see on the graph (and will give me a new era to trend). User:Widefox/editors - there's two compounding declines - total admins, and % active. Widefox; talk 18:54, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
IMO it would probably make sense to project the trend starting from the end of 2016, rather than from the Dawn of Time or the 2011 inactivity discontinuity. I'm not sure what happened then but something obviously did, as the change in trend is quite noticeable. Per my previous comment, I suspect if you're going for impact, then plotting the active admins–{{NUMBEROFPAGES}} and active editors–{{NUMBEROFPAGES}} ratios is going to be much more striking. ‑ Iridescent 19:04, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
July 2011 is when we started desysopping for inactivity, see Wikipedia:Desysoppings_by_month. In theory this should either cause an increase in retention if some people keep using the tools to avoid losing them, or a drop in retention as people who have taken a long break become less likely to return. Either way stats could be interesting, but probably need to allow for recruitment as that has varied sharply, usually with a sharp fall each year. ϢereSpielChequers 00:51, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
As I've mentioned many times, being based on a ridiculously loose criterion the expression 'active admins' is wildly inaccurate. If someone were to do the digging, like most other user rights areas, (eg. notorious at NPP) they would probably find that 80% of the work is being done by about 10% of the so called ~500 active admins. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 06:27, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, hence the line even by the WMF's very loose "30 or more edits during the last two months" definition of "activity" in my original post that prompted this thread. (Per my above comments I don't consider this newsworthy—comparing 2019 and 2008 is apples and oranges as so much that used to be done by admins is now done by edit filters.) ‑ Iridescent 06:32, 28 July 2019 (UTC)

If somebody wants to write this up as a very short article and get it in early Tuesday, that would be fine with me. I might even make up a new rubric for it - perhaps "Graph of the month" or "Stats of the month". It could be very simple - say a large graph right at the top followed by 2 paragraphs. 1) talking through the graph so that everybody knows what the axes mean, what data is being used, and the significance of the graph in the simplest sense, e.g. "The numbers of active admins are going down." The graph I'd choose would be the second graph at User:Widefox/editors, the 1st of the 3 graphs there has just too much stuff - with the real bizarre looking early stuff turning out to be not so important. The 3rd graph just extrapolates too far, 9 years of actual data vs. 11 years of extrapolated data.

The 2nd paragraph should be on the interpretation of the graph and its significance, e.g. summarize the views expressed in this thread.

Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:20, 28 July 2019 (UTC)

Iridescent Bri Smallbones redone with the latest numbers at User:Widefox/editors, the most interesting are these two/three, and that the moving average gives the trend better for the activity data. A linear decline trend in admin total number is a good fit with r2 = 0.994 which when fitted shows the WP:FRAMBAN loss of admins as significant in recent years, but similar to previous fluctuations.:

English Wikipedia administrator total English Wikipedia administrator activity English Wikipedia administrator total

Widefox; talk 12:52, 29 July 2019 (UTC)

Does anyone have an idea how to get admin action data, so we can plot actual activity of say the most active 20% of admins, and test against the hypothesis that they do 80% of the admin work per 80/20 rule ? Widefox; talk 13:55, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Smallbones-- I'll give it a go. @Iridescent: I'd like to use your text in an analysis-report, is that OK? ☆ Bri (talk) 14:31, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Writeup is started at User:Bri/Signpost draft. Anybody is welcome to pitch in at any time. Will this be run as a Special Report? Bri.public (talk) 17:20, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Help yourself, although you may want to double-check all my calculations before publishing any of them; all the figures in User talk:Iridescent#WP:BN were written as responses in a conversation between a small handful of people and didn't get the kind of checking I'd give anything intended for wider publication. (I'd request that unless you feel it's absolutely necessary for attribution purposes, you don't actually link directly to that thread in the published version. It's not that I have anything to hide—it's still visible on my talkpage and in due course will still be visible in my talk archives—but it contains strong criticism of a specific editor, and while I stand by that criticism it seems unfair to point the entire Signpost audience towards them.) ‑ Iridescent 19:07, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
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@DannyS712:, you should report on the creation of {{Newsletters}} and invite people to add Newsletters that are missing from it to relevant section. If they can't figure it out themselves, just dropping a message on the template's talk page should be good. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:30, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

@Headbomb: report it where? News and notes? --DannyS712 (talk) 00:44, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
That's where I was thinking. Open to other locations, but it seems weird to include in tech report. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:45, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
@Headbomb: Okay. I'm adding it --DannyS712 (talk) 00:55, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Cool. It'd be a good idea to send a mass message about this to to all Wikiprojects. You're a mass messenger, and I'm a bit fuzzy on the details here. What's the steps for this? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:56, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
@Headbomb: All of them, or the ones listed as having newsletters (or just the active ones). Basically, get me a list of pages you want a message posted to, and what message you want posted, and I can send it --DannyS712 (talk) 01:05, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
It would be all of them, since it's hard to know which newsletters have slipped through the cracks, or have non-standard names. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:13, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
@Headbomb: Okay. Ready when you are - see Wikipedia:Mass message senders#Before making your request for the things I need (targets and content) to send a message. Thanks, --DannyS712 (talk) 01:15, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

It might even be nice to list all newsletter issues that have come out since the last signpost. It could even be possible to have a section where newsletters can transclude/substitute in a little 100-200 word summary of an interesting update? T.Shafee(Evo&Evo)talk 11:21, 5 June 2019 (UTC) It seems the sort of thing that could be automated. Example of labelled section transclusion from Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life/Newsletter below:

On 23 May, user GreatSculptorIthas created a talk page post, "Revamp of Wikiproject Biology--Who is In?". In the days since, WP:BIOL has been bustling with activity, with over a dozen editors weighing in on this discussion, as well as several others that have subsequently spawned. An undercurrent of thought is that WP:BIOL has too many subprojects, preventing editors from easily interacting and stopping a "critical mass" of collaboration and engagement. Many mergers and consolidations of subprojects have been tentatively listed, with a consolidation of WikiProjects Genetics + Molecular and Cell Biology + Computational Biology + Biophysics currently in discussion. Other ideas being aired include updating old participants lists, redesigning project pages to make them more user-friendly, and clearly identifying long- and short-term goals.


Suggestion by Clovermoss (2019-06-20)

I have a two suggestions for what the Signpost could write about:

  1. Wikipedia:Time Between Edits 900,000,000 edits was reached on June 2, 2019, which means there's only 100,000,000 before 1000 million edits. Even if that isn't interesting, this page is. There's statistics for the time between each block of 10,000,000 edits to Wikipedia since 2001 and the general data associated with that is incredibly interesting.
  2. Today's article for improvement WP:TAFI (which is actually a weekly article for improvement, but that's not reflected in the name anymore) Bookworm (insect). There's been amazing improvements to the article this week.

Clovermoss (talk) 16:43, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Michael Z. Williamson (2nd nomination)

This is probably late, but if there's room on the funnypages or whatever, there's a rather vigorous Afd going on. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 12:38, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

@Gråbergs Gråa Sång: I looked at the AfD and the article and am sorta wondering what's the big deal. 2 guesses - it's trying to break the record for the longest AfD in history; and it's the most obvious case of canvassing in history. OK, if you want to try this as a Humour article, you've got 6 days to get it in. Let's see re: our non-humorous humour requirements - no putting down the military, scifi readers - that's about it. As far as gun owners and right-wingers - those are life-style choices so you can certainly mention them and give your opinion, but the point of the article should not be to put down these folks. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:04, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I don't think I'm in the proper frame of mind to attempt it. As a bonus, there's a decently long ANI-thread, too: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Long-term_sockpuppetry_at_AFD. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 18:12, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
...however, maybe others would be interested. Haukurth, Britishfinance, 6YearsTillRetirement? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 19:06, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I think this is worth reporting on - huge AfD, a large amount of SPAs, controversial character, off-wiki canvassing etc. etc. - but maybe just as two lines in a "what happened since the last Signpost"-type listing. These are the kind of "mini-events" that it would be nice to be alerted to in the SP for those who did not see it. Britishfinance (talk)
I second Britishfinance's suggestion. Haukur (talk) 19:42, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
"Recent AfD Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Michael Z. Williamson (2nd nomination) had over 2000 pageviews the first day, has been commented on by more than 80 editors and spawned an ANI discussion which resulted in the banning of the article subject. It's a brave new world, though there is some disagreement on whether it resembles a Utopia or 1984." Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 19:44, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

I'm still thinking that a humor column would be the best place for this, but it definitely needs somebody to volunteer to write it quickly. If we want a 2 line entry for it, perhaps somebody could write this up and leave a ping for @Pythoncoder: for the Discussions column. Smallbones(smalltalk) 23:43, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

m:Proposals for closing projects/Deletion of Bulgarian Wikinews

A still-developing story, but it seems that Bulgarian Wikinews will be closed and deleted, partially due to some pre-existing controversial, biased, and propaganda content. --Rschen7754 01:32, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

@Rschen7754: That should be a good paragraph or two in News & notes. Just a quick question - we, both Wikipedia in general and The Signpost - seem to be coming down hard on some small projects lately - Azerbaijan & Croatia come to mind. There's something in the news that I've been thinking about about the Farsi version (anybody have information - it's hard for me to judge?). Is it my imagination or are the smaller language versions under fire these days? Smallbones(smalltalk) 00:13, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
If you want my personal opinion, stuff has been going on like this among the smaller of the 900+ WMF projects for years. It is only now that some of it is coming to light. Thanks to language barriers, there could be more going on that we don't even know about. --Rschen7754 00:25, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. That's a good working hypothesis, but it's hard to judge (especially given the language barriers) Feedback from others would be appreciated as far as what The Signpost can do. Just keep plugging away every time a news item like this comes up? Try to pull something together for a larger article on the whole issue? Be more understanding of our cultural biases? It's a tough issue for me, but I think The Signpost could do something more. Smallbones(smalltalk) 00:45, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Update: the bg.WN project is now locked/closed and will be deleted soon. George Ho (talk) 00:12, 24 September 2019 (UTC)

Thanks to all. This should definitely be in News and notes. Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:22, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

You're welcome, Smallbones. Another update: remaining bg.wn articles are checked for possible copyvio at Meta-wiki. I predict that most of those articles will be deleted before the others would be transferred to ru.wn. George Ho (talk) 21:30, 25 September 2019 (UTC)


Another full issue which is great to see! But I missed News & Notes. I might have my months mixed up but I think we have a couple new admins. Liz Read! Talk! 22:28, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

@Liz: Thanks. The size of the issue is gradually shrinking along with the size of our staff. I'd love to see you contribute something - even just putting in the new admins and new chapters in N&N. That way somebody else can put in a couple of short news stories and we'd have something worth publishing! Any contribution would help. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:30, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

The ado over the fake spoiled plot of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"

 Closed External articles [2] [3]. (mind you, spoilers for the film here, but the general point can be gotten by a skim)

Short summary: prior to the film's wide release, an IP editor added a plot summary based on the fact that the film had been shown at Cannes FF. None of the other editors there were aware this summary was patently false until movie critics, who HAD seen the film at Cannes, called Wikipedia out for it. This has led to debate (at the film's talk page, and at WT:FILM) about when is it fair game for WP to include a spoiler summary of a film that has yet to hit wide release. As well as whether WP should respect wishes of content creators (Taratino here, who had written an open letter in May to the world at large about not spoiling the film), or follow our policy that when a film does it wide release, a plot summary becomes fair game. --Masem (t) 19:10, 30 July 2019 (UTC)

Will the story still be interesting next month? I don't want to discourage suggestions, but I'd really like to encourage them with at least three days to go before publication. There are always lots of last minute things going on, so I'm very reluctant to start a new story in the last few days. Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:12, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes and I think the story here is less Tarantino's wishes (Wikipedia is not censored yadda yadda) and more about the abuses of not requiring text/linked verifiability for plot sections. Saying it's sourced to the primary source is akin to giving a book citation without a page number: good luck verifying the contents. czar 22:04, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
I never liked the practice of uncited plot summary; a Wikipedian even risks SYNTH violations because, without the guide of a secondary source, they are picking which plot points are important enough to be included in the summary based on their own opinion. -Indy beetle (talk) 21:05, 24 August 2019 (UTC)

The Teahouse has reached 1000 archives

 Closed This might be worth a mention in "On The Bright Side". Clovermoss (talk) 03:10, 23 August 2019 (UTC)

Hi Clovermoss thanks, I will add that information for the next installment. If you have further suggestions please ping me or add them directly to the draft page. Thanks! --Pine (✉) 03:15, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

m:IP Editing: Privacy Enhancement and Abuse Mitigation

 Closed A proposal by WMF to hide all addresses of IP editors. --Rschen7754 04:49, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

This could be an item in the Discussion report. It would be pretty simple to report - the "NOs" and the "NO WAYs" are pretty evenly split. Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:46, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

This is kind of fun

 Closed (koavf)TCM 04:47, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

The Signpost covered this when it first launched, and the WMF blog post a week later, and the media response a week after that. (It is quite fun, though.) --Yair rand (talk) 23:02, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion to merge this page into Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost

 Closed To reduce the number of pages that staff of The Signpost need to watch, I suggest merging this page into Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost. Pinging Smallbones to request comment. --—↠Pine () 22:34, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

I can see why you want to merge something to reduce the workload, but I don't see why this page - which I find quite useful - should be merged into Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost which I haven't found very useful (since February). This page gives concrete suggestions that have gone into The Signpost. I check it more than once a week, more near the deadline and don't mind the time at all. On the other page, which I visit about as often, I can never see that there are concrete proposals that I can do anything about. That may change, but I think the main reason a general talk page isn't of much use is that we have the newsroom talk page, and the comment sections for the articles, and this page which all have specific reason for their existence. I don't see any reason to get rid of the general talk page, but I think it has a lot of competition from these other pages. Smallbones(smalltalk) 23:23, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

Cyberattack against Wikipedia

 Closed An attack that brought down Wikipedia in Europe and parts of the Middle East was covered by numerous news outlets and led to a statement being released by the WMF [4][5][6][7][8]. -Indy beetle (talk) 00:54, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

@Indy beetle: Thanks. I'm sure we'll need something on this. Do you want to write it up? Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:41, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
@Smallbones: Afraid I won't have the time this week, between my studies and a wedding. -Indy beetle (talk) 14:59, 9 September 2019 (UTC)


 Closed User:Monkbot seems to be editing a lot of article lately, fixing citation templates. It's noticeable. --evrik (talk) 04:27, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

@Evrik: Thanks for the suggestion. Two things I'll need to find out: 1) what is Monkbot? 2) what makes the new activity interesting or important? Any help appreciated. Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:25, 25 September 2019 (UTC)
@Smallbones:, it is a bot run by @Trappist the monk:. Look at edit, it seems to be changing values in some of the citations templates, a lot of them. --evrik (talk) 14:36, 25 September 2019 (UTC)
@Evrik: Ok, I've seen this before and wondered "why the heck would anybody do that?" since it doesn't seem to affect anything - change for change's sake. I just looked more closely and I still couldn't see any real affect before and after the edit. But he's done more than 1,000 of these edits today (I quit counting), which is amazing. To be published in The Signpost I'd really need to know why this is important. If it's just a bot gone wild, doing nothing of any use, you should just inform the proper noticeboard or admin. Thanks again. Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:24, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

I have been asked to comment here. Not sure for the purpose of such comments, but:

Trappist the monk (talk) 18:33, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion by Valereee (2019-09-23)

 Closed This is kind of fun, it's a bot that scans Wikipedia for page titles that can be sung to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song and posts them hourly: --valereee (talk) 10:17, 23 September 2019 (UTC)



Suggestion by Lingzhi2 (2019-10-04)

The Signpost should write about... WP:GA promoted its 30,000th article, Lucca Ashtear (nominated by Abryn and reviewed by Tintor2) with this edit on September 29th... I believe the total count listed on WP:GA, currently at 30,216, is significantly overstated. Whatever bot is totaling those is double- and triple-counting articles listed in more than one category, e.g. Triathlon at the 2012 Summer Olympics (was listed 3x when I counted on Sept. 22 or so)  ♦ Lingzhi2 (talk) 00:11, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Nice. Abryn made quite too many GA articles lately (although I wonder if ProtoDrake's works also count).Tintor2 (talk) 00:23, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
It looks like a good story. Can you give a better description of how you got the number 30,000? Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:07, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Most of it is on Wikipedia talk:Good articles. The very long and fairly boring version: GamerPro looked at the count on page WP:GA and announced we already had more than 30k. Lee Vilenski asked if we could find which one was the 30k promotion. I did various things, one of which was to manually copy paste all of the articles listed on the 15 pages that are transcluded onto Wikipedia:Good articles/all (e.g., {{Wikipedia:Good articles/Agriculture, food and drink}}) and quickly count them using maybe five or ten lines of Python. While doing so I checked for duplicates (old habit) and found many. After finding the count at that time (29,949), I looked at the most recent promotion and found that it was French destroyer Le Malin. I waited. Days later, I went to the hist of Wikipedia:Good articles/recent and manually counted from there (some lines have more than one promoted article)... I'm actually quite happy the article I found was Lucca Ashtear. I think the character is appealing and is a sort of a positive role model for young girls ("...she is a positive influence for aspiring female scientists and engineers"). That's all. [If my count was off by one or so, which is not impossible, don't tell anyone. I like (Lucca Ashtear). ♦ Lingzhi2 (talk) 04:31, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Possible In the Media

-Indy beetle (talk) 08:41, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Also, the current edition of the BBC news channel Click (TV programme) has an interesting segment on political, especially Chinese, state interference - 5 mins or so, at the top of the programme. I expect it's available wherever their news channel is, & maybe online. link on UK site. Also this derived article. There's an amusing moment when the group of Taiwanese Wikipedians are asked what the WMF are doing about it. Johnbod (talk) 16:13, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

The IPlayer video of the full segment is sadly geofenced to the UK.
But the author behind the BBC piece, Carl Miller, posted several snippets from it on Twitter, with additional background: thread with first snippet (unroll), another thread,second video snippet, third video snippet.
The "amusing moment" Johnbod mentioned happens toward the end of the second snippet. It should be noted though that WMF has actually previously intervened at zhwiki, as reported in the August issue (Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2019-08-30/Community_view#Office actions at the Chinese Wikipedia). Of course, that Taiwanese Wikipedians would be attacked is quite unsurprising to anyone somehow familiar with the tactics of Chinese nationalists and the Chinese government in the region. Regards, HaeB (talk) 06:01, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
China will be a big story in the next edition, probably more than 1 article. @Indy beetle: - you make a lot of good suggestions and make good comments throughout our pages. Would you like to try a straight news story on this? Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:43, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
@Smallbones: I'm not very familiar with this topic but I'd be happy to help; I'll be on a break from academics later this week and will have the time to do research and come up with a draft. I'll see what I can put together, but I'll need some time. -Indy beetle (talk) 05:15, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
I was just about to post the same thing. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 21:39, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
@Smallbones: I've begun a draft in my sandbox. -Indy beetle (talk) 19:22, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion by Bri (2019-10-04)

The Signpost should write about... Wikipedia's longest hoax (according to Haaretz)

For over 15 years, false claims that thousands of Poles were gassed to death in Warsaw were presented as fact. Haaretz reveals they are just the tip of an iceberg of a widespread Holocaust distortion operation by Polish nationalists.

— Benjakob, Omer (2019-10-03). "The Fake Nazi Death Camp: Wikipedia's Longest Hoax, Exposed". Haaretz. Retrieved 2019-10-03.

Press coverage about alleged systematic hoaxing at Warsaw concentration camp and elsewhere is under discussion at Jimbo's talkpage ☆ Bri (talk) 23:01, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Il Post is also covering the story [11] (in Italian) ☆ Bri (talk) 20:58, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
We have to keep in mind that this is based on account of an editor that got himself banned for off-wiki harassment, and the journalist did little to moderate the claims he made, some of them are related to doxing/outing/harassing others, others are about on wiki conspiracy theories (like that there is a hundred active Polish nationalist editors). It is also disputable whether this hoax is really a hoax (IMHO it meets the definition of WP:FRINGE, not WP:HOAX), and an error of that level is probably removed from Wikipedia every few days. This summer I removed several similar errors from WWII topics, for example, a fringe theory that WWII started with the bombing of Wielun. The Israeli journalist seems to have bought the indef banned editor's claims hook, line and sinker, and did very little fact checking. I am not sure how we can report on this, considering all the problematic angles, from factual errors, to making an indef banned editor into a martyr for what is common place error removal, to the relevant harassment/outing issues. It's a can of worms that may be best to deal with in the view of WP:DENY. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 10:31, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Hi Piotrus, nice to hear from you! Your concerns about the Signpost's coverage ("I am not sure how we can report on this") are appreciated. But with all due respect, they might be a bit more convincing if you would 1) present a concrete list of such factual errors in the Haaretz article rather than eloquent insinuations 2) be more transparent about the fact that you feature prominently yourself in the article, e.g.:
Icewhiz points to another editor, called “Piotrus,” as one who works with Poeticbent and other editors to help exaggerate cases of “Holocaust rescue,” in which Poles saved Jews. Icewhiz claims Poeticbent and Piotrus, for example, were active in rewriting numerous articles dealing with Jewish ghettos, with the goal of including a disproportionate emphasis on heroic rescue of Jews by Poles to overshadow any negative aspects. ... In his defense, Piotrus said that the edits were not an attempt to push out falsehoods, but rather only to shine light on the topic of Polish rescue of Jews, which he said were “under-researched” and even ignored by the likes of Yad Vashem.
I'm certainly appreciative of all the productive work you have been doing in many other areas of Wikipedia (including the Signpost/Recent research some years ago), and don't think patriotic feelings are necessarily a bad thing. But considering that you have previously been sanctioned yourself by Arbcom in this particular conflict area, it may also be worth taking a step back from debate and advocacy within it.
Also, downplaying this hoax/forgery as something that is "probably removed from Wikipedia every few days" ignores its record duration (15 years) - it is currently listed as the longest one ever at Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia. It is also highly unusual in that it was added to Wikipedia by (someone who later came to be) a well-known and respected editor:
Written by Halibutt, the username of the late Krzysztof Machocki, who was a well-known Wikipedia editor as well as also the spokesperson for the Polish branch of Wikimedia ...
Regards, HaeB (talk) 16:26, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
I think it should be made known that this hoax is not like other Wikipedia hoaxes though, in that it wasn't some random "shitpost" with no basis someone thought would be humorous to throw into an article and see how long they could hide it there. This was a false conspiracy theory that had sources (albeit bad ones) that made it onto Wikipedia. I think it's a different kind of hoax. -Indy beetle (talk) 01:39, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Thing is, Piotrus, there's six RS supporting parts of the article, and pick-up by at least eight outlets (ten if we consider Algemeiner and the JNS, which syndicate Haaretz content).[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20] This is clearly a worthwhile story. François Robere (talk) 21:12, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

We have to have a news article on this. No doubt about that. It will appear at the end of the month, so much of the current furor will die down by then. But I'd like to be sure we don't add gasoline to the fire, rather summarize the facts of the story. There's already enough to read about it at arbcom, Jimbo's talk, our submissions page for the last 2 months, the international press, probably ANI as well, and in in my email inbox. I see the most important facts of the case as being whether the "200,000 deaths" extermination camp existed and how long the "hoax" lasted and spread to other articles and wikis. I'd guess that we can track down those facts pretty well with very little controversy resulting. But we'd have to cover the arbcom case as well - at least as background - the site ban, and Icewhiz's behavior as well. There could be some controversy about this - I'd like to keep it reasonably short and non-explosive. Any volunteers to write this? Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:37, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

The core of the case is already covered in the draft I submitted last month, which I'm continuing to update.[21] we can add content there, or in a separate article. There' place for an editorial as well: I don't want to tease, but I think a good subject would be "why the article wasn't published last month". It's not everyday that the Signpost misses what could've been an international scoop, and I think it's worth opening up to your readers on your thought process as an editor, how you perceive the role of the Signpost, freedom of speech issues on Wikipedia, etc. François Robere (talk) 21:12, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

In the media this month: Japan TV show interviewed local Wikimedians

Hi there. This is Techyan from Chinese Wikipedia. While we were working on our local community media Qiuwen, our media watchdogs found a popular Japanese TV talk show named "Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai" (lit. The world unknown to Matsuko) made an episode on Wikipedia and local community in early September, sparked huge echoes among the locals; while a series of activities, including the recent WikiGap meetups, carried out after the show aired. This is something pretty rare for the Japanese community, and I think you might want to cover it in this month's issue.

The episode interviewed Sae Kitamura (User:さえぼー), and then the cameraman went to a local meetup. Several follow-up articles by local media also covered Kitamura's story. I have an archived version of the TV show for reference. The Wikipedia part starts from 34:40, and if the video doesn't stream, try to download it. [22]

It's a bit difficult for someone without any knowledge in the Japanese language to understand the show, but personally speaking, I am very delighted to see it, and there're a few things I can learn from it. The show has parts that are good for attracting audiences (such as talking about FA and GAs with interesting topics), introducing the people working behind Wikipedia, stressing the fact that there is no nation-wide user group nor a chapter in Japan so on; while everything neatly packed into a half-an-hour episode. This show is probably the best example of how to introduce Wikipedia to outsiders.

WikiGap in Japan received way more media coverage than I personally expected. Asahi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, and the Nikkei also covered this story - all of them are top Japanese newspapers; additionally, Kyodo as Japan's largest news agency, their Japanese story was also used widely among regional media.

--TechyanTalk18:19, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

m:Requests for comment/Site-wide administrator abuse and WP:PILLARS violations on the Croatian Wikipedia

A proposal to do something about Croatian Wikipedia. --Rschen7754 20:33, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

This would be good to see - the key specific proposals are here. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:27, 27 October 2019 (UTC)

Larry Sanger at it again, this time with "Encyclosphere"

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger, formerly involved with Citizendium and Everipedia, announced a new platform that will be free from the "arrogant and controlling oligarchy" of Wikipedia and its "shadowy group of anonymous amateurs". Perhaps worthy of a mention, perhaps not, just thought I'd leave this here. Enwebb (talk) 18:30, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

This is the third time now this has happened. Maybe it's time for him to give up? —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 13:34, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
It seems like his current proposal is for something of an encyclopedia aggregator that would provide searchers with encyclopedia articles from various competing entities, and multiple competing articles written for the site itself, with no quality control or filter for bias other than user-generated ratings. bd2412 T 02:54, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
...which would permit much more robust filters for quality control and bias than anything Wikipedia's anonymous and easily gameable system does today. Also, it's not a proposal for a site or an app, but for a network akin to the Blogosphere. Wikipedia will be part of this network, whether you like it or not. See the blog post & video linked above for details. (talk) 21:58, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
I mean, yeah. We give away the thing for free. That's kindof the point. GMGtalk 22:21, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

6 million articles

We should hit 6 million articles in the next couple of months, at the rate we're going. --valereee (talk) 22:51, 1 November 2019 (UTC)


I think it's interesting how LifeSiteNews was used as a "source" for your 31 October story on Taylor Marshall, while LifeSiteNews itself is deprecated and being actively removed from all over Wikipedia, wherever it has mistakenly been used as a "reliable" source. Elizium23 (talk) 20:23, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Comments moved from the draft page of "in the media"

The Comments pages are for comments made about the published article, not about the draft. Please leave them on this page. Smallbones(smalltalk) 02:41, 28 October 2019 (UTC)


@3family6: You're missing two important points in your article: 1) The KL Warsaw essay was brought to the Signpost before the material was published on Haaretz, and the Signpost rejected it for fear of sanctions by ArbCom. What does this mean for editorial freedom? 2) The assertion that the Polish government is pushing alternative historical narratives is very well founded (Haaretz alone quotes two experts on that point), even if it doesn't completely apply to the current story. François Robere (talk) 15:04, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Can you verify that the article was brought to the Signpost? And this article isn't disputing that the Polish government is pushing alternative narratives. The only claim in the article is "The historian and Haaretz contributor Daniel Blatman countered in a 17 October 2019 opinion piece that the false claims given in the article persisted through numerous Polish governments, including those which acknowledge the complicity of Poles in the Holocaust, and thus cannot accurately be described as an attempt by Poland to falsify Holocaust narrative. The blame for the faulty article lies, argues Blatman, entirely with Wikipedia." Considering that this is indeed true, what is your issue with this statement?--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 16:14, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Smallbones, can you confirm?--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 16:18, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Without fully checking the extensive history of this, I believe that my first view of this controversy was here. The first problem that I saw was that the authorship was unclear. It looked like a very interesting story - it still is - but I have lots of questions about it still. There are discussions throughout Wikipedia on this controversy, including those on Arbcom, User talk:Jimbo Wales, in my email box, and I'm sure in several other places.
Did we turn down the story because of ArbCom? It never got that far. I put the story on hold because it seemed that several people were trying to manipulate both me and The Signpost. I'm not going to approve a story for The Signpost unless I understand that it is submitted in good faith. The banning of Icewhiz has convinced me that at least one Wikipedian was not operating in good faith.
Now, if I had completely understood what was happening with this story and decided that it was submitted in good faith, would I have approved it for publication? Well, proxying for a banned or blocked editor can be a very serious matter on en:WP, and we are required to follow en:WP rules, but I don't think it is impossible to publish material from a blocked editor if we are very careful and no rules such as "no personal attacks" are broken.
The apparent accusation that the Signpost passed up an international scoop to avoid ArbCom's wrath struck me as ludicrous the 1st time I read it. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:08, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
Thank you!--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 20:13, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
With all due respect, Smallbones, that's not exactly what you said then. You said on three occasions that the story is good, but that you're worried about blocks:[23]
  • "it's a good article, the issues raised are important and... the facts, they all seem to line up... the question I'm asking myself is "Would I block Icewhiz and/or François Robere for publishing this if I were Arbcom?" I'm leaning toward "yes", but am still thinking about it."
  • "this will be "on hold" until I'm sure that nobody will be blocked or otherwise punished for printing it. At which point we'll start anew, with the understanding that it certainly appears to be a very good article."
  • "I have no problem taking this up again when I'm sure nobody will get banned for publishing it (that includes the Signpost and me personally)."
François Robere (talk) 22:53, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
@François Robere: Sorry if you misinterpreted "am still thinking about it," ""this will be "on hold" until .... At which point we'll start anew" and "I have no problem taking this up again ..." I don't always say "There are huge problems with this, but I'll see what happens." In any case, it does no good to keep on pushing. If you want to accuse me of something elsewhere, please go ahead, as long as it's not on The Signpost. Ultimately the editor-in-chief has to decide what to approve for publication. Your/Icewhiz's piece did not meet our standards. Discussion closed. Smallbones(smalltalk) 00:07, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Discussion closed. Take it elsewhere if you'd like.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
@3family6 and Smallbones: But you will of course mention to your readers that the essay was submitted to the Signpost and rejected, won't you? It is part of the story, and there's a full disclosure aspects to it as well. François Robere (talk) 13:10, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
@François Robere: I hadn't heard about the submission until you mentioned it here. My story was on the media coverage of the article, and I only took it on because it looked interesting. I wasn't planning on participating in the Signpost this month, but my fiancee drew my attention to the Haaretz article and I had some time available. I don't know what is worth reporting about the Signpost not excepting the draft for submission - it is nowhere mentioned in the story, and I don't see why that detail is needed.--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 21:09, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
If the Singpost would've published it before Haaretz, without credit, wouldn't you have mentioned that the Signpost was first? François Robere (talk) 21:52, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
That didn't happen, so it's a non-story. If it did happen, the Signpost would have a story, and the "In the media" mention would have been a short blurb about how Haaretz subsequently published the story.--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 22:16, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, but "non-stories" can be stories as well. For example, NBC rejecting Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein piece is a major story.[24][25] I would think that a national newspaper picking up a story that a community newspaper rejected ("not meet[ing] our standards", according to Smallbones) is news in its own right, at least for that community. It's also a clear COI, since the Signpost would be motivated to both expose and downplay the story, to avoid casting doubt on its editorial concerns. Usually what newspapers do in this situation is acknowledge that they were approached by a source, and explain why they chose not to publish. François Robere (talk) 09:45, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
I understand your point, but 1) the Haaretz story is not at all the same as the essay that you submitted, and 2) there isn't a COI issue since I wrote the "In the media" piece in full ignorance that an essay had been submitted. I think you do make a good point that you approached the Signpost, I'll add a short note there.--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 15:22, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

Guys, seriously. The Polish government is NOT pushing the KL Warshau conspiracy theory. The IPN is the institution which actually debunked it. Nobody in the Polish government has said anything about this theory (probably because it's actually a minor fringe theory that most people in Poland haven't even heard about). Other issues: [Icewhiz] "currently are subject to sanctions per Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Antisemitism in Poland". Is, not are, and also they are indef blocked for off wiki harassment related to the content disputes mentioned in the prior sentence (so quite relevant here and I think this should be mentioned earlier rather than at the very end of the story as it is in the current version). "and brought the story to Haaretz in order to generate reliable coverage " - WP:CANVASSING, anyone? This dimension should be relevant as well and the link to this policy may be relevant. I am also not sure if the usage of the world reliable is correct here. He brought it there to generate coverage, yes, but why the adjective? Considering the nwwspaper, partisan coverage might be actually better (just like a totally different spin would be given if this was published in the pro-government Polish media, ex. a few months ago Polish state media (TVP and some other allied outlets) run this rather uninspiring story [26] suggesting that there is an Israeli conspiracy... it is about as realistic than the theory peddled in Haaretz and this is why Blatman in his response refers to the prior story as 'sensationalist' - nice title, but not backed up by any evidence). The entire conspiracy theory is ridiculous, as this topic area was recently scrutinized by ArbCom, which did not find a shred of evidence to support any claims that an army, or even small group, is pushing a POV there in violation of our policies. It should be clearly noted that the article presents zero evidence, just opinions. And opinions by an editor indef banned for harassment and hence with a major ax to grind should be taken with a major grain of salt. Lastly, since the essay by FR is mentioned, I think we should also mention a recent one posted by the otherwise retired User:Poeticbent at his userpage, since it is quite relevant (FYI Poeticbent was the Wikipedia's most active contributor to the Polish-Jewish topics; for eample he wrote and DYKed the majority of articles on WWII-era Jewish ghettos; he got into some heated fights with Icewhiz and eventually retired last year....). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 03:47, 25 October 2019 (UTC)

The claim about generating "reliable coverage" was from Icewhiz - I've edited the story to make this clear.--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 10:43, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
@3family6: Attribution is nice. What about the "Both Icewhiz and Haaretz writer Omer Benjakob claim that this case was just one out of many instances of intentional misinformation added by Polish nationalist editors", in the context that the recent ArbCom case reviewed evidence presented by Icewhiz and issued zero findings regarding such a conspiracy/activities? I think this should be clearly stated. In general, ArbCom is more experienced and knowledgeable about Wikipedia than a journalist, even one who is somewhat interested in this topic. I think it is relevant to say that those claims have been reviewed and rejected by ArbCom (pointedly, ArbCom instead topic banned him...). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:51, 27 October 2019 (UTC)

Seriously folks - take it elsewhere. If you've already worn out everybody else in all the other forums on Wikipedia, then maybe it's time to just quit.

@Smallbones: I am sorry but I undid your closing of this discussion since I don't see any justification of this in Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. I don't see what is inappropriate in my comment above, where I simply mention that one fact should be moved up in the presentation, and another and that another bears mentioning. I do believe my comments here were polite and relevant to the topic, so there is no justification for their removal. It would be one think for User:3family6, whom I addressed, to reply and to say they don't think it's necessary (it is their prerogative as the author of this piece), but for another user to just close this without even acknowledging the issues I raised and given the person I addressed the opportunity to explain their stance on said issues is no different from Haaretz simply ignoring my response to them. On that note, I will also note that this fact, i.e. that Haaretz chose to completely ignore my response to them, including pointing out factual errors (like uncontroversial miscounting editors and sanctions in an ArbCom they mention), not to mention the fact that they refused to fix misquotations of mine and let me authorize the interview, is likely worth considering mentioning in the story. After all, you already say "two active editors are named as alleged perpetrators". The fact that at least one of those editors was interviewed, his request to authorize the interview was refused, feels misquoted, and his reply with corrections that was emailed to Haaretz was plainly ignored, is IMHO relevant. Lastly, I am still waiting to hear why Poeitcbent's userpage essay, quite relevant to this, is not even mentioned, unlike FR submission. In fact I do think both should be linked as relevant reading, as they both present some useful additional information about this incident. They are both, overall, IMHO, more accurate and less problematic than the Haaretz story itself, with its linkage to hate site ED which in turns presents death treats and outing (but no, I am not requesting that you mention this little fact, through I wouldn't mind if you would :> And I have no clue what you mean 'worn out people on other forums', the only issue I have raised elsewhere is the one in the prior sentence, but this is not what is being discussed here - I just raised it right now, after all...:>). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 00:30, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
@Piotrus: Do you have a record of that interview? Such as email exchanges? -Indy beetle (talk) 01:54, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
@Indy beetle: It was an email interview, so yes. I also made my reply to Haaretz public at [27] (it was simply too long to fit into their on-site comment form). I got a default reply 'we will get back to you in a week' and nothing since, and a brief comment from the journalist saying that that they suddenly got a deadline so there is no opportunity for them to let me authorize the piece, and that they will read my comments, and then silence again. PS. I don't think I could share the entire emails, since that would require permission form the journalist as well (private correpsondence assumption, etc.), but I think it is fine if I quote myself, such as, at the end of my reply to his interview questions, this request of mine: "PPS. I would ask that if you intend to quote me and identify me in the article, that you send me the parts in which I am named in for pre-approval". This request was explicitly ignored, with a between the lines remark that he suddenly got a deadline so he presumably has no time to wait for me to authorize anything. One thing I learned from this is to always get explicit agreement to authorization before being interviewed. Leave and learn. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 01:58, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
If you are okay with it, and can provide verification of your disagreement with Haaretz, Piotrus, both of which are the case, I can include mention of them. The User:Poeticbent essay I was not aware of until after I wrote the story. I can link that as well.--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 17:58, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
@Valereee: "begs the question" There are concerns that the story itself was slanted and some editors involved may not have been acting in good faith. To keep The Signpost above board, the EiC has pulled the story back. Chris Troutman (talk) 15:01, 31 October 2019 (UTC)
Chris troutman, that's fine, I'm thinking if I wondered why, others will too, and it might be worth making a fuller statement, like simply 'declined to publish due to concerns about objectivity.' or some such? This is a purely procedural question, nothing more --valereee (talk) 15:08, 31 October 2019 (UTC)
You might be right. I don't know how often our readership is curious why we don't cover something and I can't recall a time we wrote about our choice not to discuss an issue. Chris Troutman (talk) 15:16, 31 October 2019 (UTC)
@Valereee: Search "Smallbones, can you confirm?" above for as much of a statement as I really want to make. I'll add that, for such a controversial piece, it was submitted very close to the deadline, and then the next month - this issue - we did cover the story, but not they way that the original author(s) wanted, I guess. I mostly left it up to @3family6: to write the story, though I did warn him early on that it was a difficult story, and I did basic copyediting. He did a good job, though it was getting a bit long for In the media. Ultimately it comes down to the EiC has to make a judgement and also has to trust the judgement of the author. Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:02, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
FTR, it was literally only that the sentence "the signpost declined to publish it" seemed to need to be followed with a "due to X." To me a story is always 'who what how when where why', and the why was missing. It could have been satisfied for most readers with something as simple and nonspecific as 'due to a variety of editorial and policy concerns.' But when you leave 'why' completely unanswered, it could have been because it was poorly written, too long, slipshod, slanted, boring, libellous, we disagreed with it, WMF asked us not to, someone threatened see what I mean? Leaving it completely unanswered makes people think there's a reason you don't want to explain. It doesn't have to be an exhaustive explanation. It just has to at least touch on that final journalistic question: why. I didn't bring this up because I wanted an explanation. I don't actually care why, myself. I came because I had read it before publication, anticipated other people reading it and thinking, "Why aren't they telling us why they declined to publish? What else aren't they telling us?" and thought maybe a five word addition might prevent that. But at this point this is all moot, and I'm sure becoming tedious for all. :) --valereee (talk) 16:41, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
Noted, although I don't know if I will encounter something of this sort again.--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 14:23, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion by Lingzhi2 (2019-11-04)

The Signpost should write about... Weaving Books into the Web—Starting with Wikipedia  ♦ Lingzhi2 (talk) 03:06, 4 November 2019 (UTC)

See section immediately above this one. Mindmatrix 13:04, 4 November 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion by USERNAME (2019-11-09)

The Signpost should write about... (talk) 15:43, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

Sloud we include video game quotes on Wikiquote?

Video game are becoming a big part of our world, and so are the quotes that come with it.

Yet, somehow i don't see any on Wikiquote, (Yet) wren i can think of a few. (talk) 15:43, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

Hey anon. There are a range of video game related articles on Wikiquote. See the category for them at q:Category:Electronic games. GMGtalk 16:12, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion by Bri – 2019 administrator headcount review

Number of active administrators, graph created by Widefox

The number of active administrators has dropped below 500 for the first time since 2005. By mid-year 2020, we will also cross into 2007 territory for total admin headcount. Maybe this would be a good launching point for a discussion of the number of administrators and what it implies for the future.

In better news, we had four RfAs pass in October, which is better than any month in the last five years except Dec 2016–Jan 2017 (see User:WereSpielChequers/RFA stats). That bump was probably due to various causes we investigated in January 2017 News and notes. This shows that the decline isn't necessarily inexorable.

The Signpost covered this last time in my July 2019 Special report, so it might be too soon for a full story. Maybe a shorter item in News and notes? Feel free of course to start with this text if it's useful. ☆ Bri (talk) 17:09, 8 November 2019 (UTC)

I would only caution against assuming RfA is the problem. I think there has been an implicit bias against contrary voices at RfA ignoring questions of why our most prolific editors quit (as most de-sysops are for inactivity) and to what degree WMF is to blame for not doing more to defend our admins against all sorts of harassment. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:38, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
I will bump the numbers this week then. Widefox; talk 20:42, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

WMF Tuning session

The WMF just posted the 2019-20 Q1 Tuning session. This is the first real update on the WMF's activities in a year (since the "Quarterly check-ins" process fell out of use). Probably worth at least a mention. --Yair rand (talk) 01:35, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

Internet Archive helping WP by providing 2-page book previews if citation templates give page numbers

{{tick}} Internet Archive and Wired coverage. --Masem (t) 21:25, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion by AnonMoos (2019-12-08)

{{tick}} For good or bad, the Clarice Phelps controversy has made it to the Daily Mail: [28]. Worthy of a mention in the "In the Media" section at least... AnonMoos (talk) 19:34, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure of exactly how yet, but I'm 99% sure that we'll cover this story this month. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:46, 9 December 2019 (UTC) allows to visually search and explore Wikimedia Commons images

{{tick}} The Signpost should write about... Hi there, this is Kai Barthel from the Visual Computing Group of HTW, University of Applied Sciences from Berlin, Germany. I wanted to propose to let the Wikipedia community know about a visual exploration tool to search and discover the images from Wikimedia Commons. This project called started as a student project and was extended and improved by our research group. For the moment Wikiview supports 12 million Wikimedia Commons images which can be searched by keywords, colors or example images. The collection of the images is organized as a graph which allows fast visual navigation to related images similar to navigation services. For the moment the graph is built using the visual similarity of the images only. A future version will support all Wikimedia images and will use image graphs that also take the metadata into account. An article on Signpost would help to get feedback and learn about typical use cases and get ideas for improvements.


{{tick}} Did the SP do anything on WikiCon North America? GMGtalk 21:41, 13 December 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion by davidwr (2020-01-17)

The Signpost should celebrate Turkey's access to Wikipedia being restored. If you don't have time to do a full section or a full article, here's some ready-for-proofreading text for Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Next issue/In the media#In brief:

To followup on last month's late breaking news, as of 16 January, readers in Turkey can now access Wikpedia after that country's Constitutional Court overturned a government-imposed block dating to April 2017. To quote the Wikimedia Foundation, Welcome Back Turkey. Further coverage here, here, and elsewhere.

Feel free to shorten, lengthen, reword, replace, or otherwise make better. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 21:04, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

Giving credit where credit is due, A bit iffy had the idea before I did. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 21:19, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Cheers David! --A bit iffy (talk) 22:42, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
{{done}} Related content is in the draft of the next issue. Thanks Smallbones. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 16:52, 21 January 2020 (UTC)


This user has died, I was sorry to hear. I had only the most minimal contact with him, but I believe his contribution to the FA process, peer review and the like was quite significant. It might be good to write something about him. It might also perhaps be possible to ask Brianboulton's Family to provide some personal history. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 19:40, 21 December 2019 (UTC)

How unfortunate! I do recall only occasionally interacting with this editor, but he did good work. Since his family has linked his memorial site to the Brianboulton's Family wiki page, I presume its okay if we glean some info from there. They've recounted his Wikipedia history here. -Indy beetle (talk) 04:11, 22 December 2019 (UTC)

Yearlong editing commitments

As the year's end approaches, does anyone know of any unsung editors who are about to complete a full year of some kind of editing commitment or ritual, e.g., adding a new article every day or the equivalent in a cleanup task? Might make for a nice interview if there are any candidates. czar 21:31, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

Hoax article suggestion (2020-01-03)

The Signpost should write about the deletion of the hoax article Princess Maria Cristina Amelia of Naples and Sicily, which was on Wikipedia for nearly 10 years, making it one of the longest running hoax articles in Wikipedia history. Here's the AfD discussion. Author Kate Heartfield first publicly raised concerns about this article and that her research indicated this person never existed. See this social media thread from Heartfield for more, including a detailed examination why this person likely never existed. The article was created by a permanently banned Wikipedia editor and references to the fictitious subject were inserted and linked from nearly 100 other articles, including for Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Maria Cristina of Naples and Sicily. SouthernNights (talk) 20:29, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

You had a previous article in June's "In the Media" topic: "The disinformation age". An egregious example of disinformation has recently surfaced. The key and most worrisome nature of this is that it is apparently *not* the product of a nation-state actor nor any previously recognised organization. Rather, it has become so easy to construct a huge network of fake sites that anyone can do it.

Pro-Indian 'fake websites targeted decision makers in Europe (BBC) is one ref. That article links to EU Disinfo Lab. (Their clarion call on Twitter - MSNBC.UK !?)

That NGO is apparently not associated directly with the EU's East StratCom Task Force EUvsDisinfo project, though a previous BBC article referenced an article of theirs that discussed one of the newly identified 'newssites' in October. Passing off as an 'organ' of the EU is amazing, but it fooled MEPs! Consider also that EUvsDisinfo missed the bigger picture.

(So far I have found only a small number of mentions of this here, e.g. Fake news websites , Fake news controversy)

The critical issue here is that we have reached a tipping point, where even a very small number of people with money and fervour can weave a massive network of deception that is unnoticed for years, and unrecognized even by groups looking for this evil. Fakery from any direction, for any purpose.

Your previous article gave some examples of disinformation. The above example reverses the emphasis. It is not enough to be aware of disinformation. Rather, one must now discern which few sources to trust. This escalation should be noted in the Signpost.

BTW: where on WP is it noted that "Birmingham Gazette", "EP Today" (WP cites), "Eesti Aeg", "Times of Los Angeles", "Times of Geneva", "Dacca Times", "Hamevasser" are - now - fake news outlets? Shenme (talk) 21:53, 16 December 2019 (UTC)


The Signpost should write about the breaking news story regarding Keir Starmer in the UK. The page for this prospective Labour Party candidate (and "Sir" to you) is undergoing an edit war about whether this man of the people is a millionaire or not. It's covered at length in UK mainstream media eg Sir Keir Starmer at centre of Wikipedia 'millionaire' row ahead of expected Labour leadership bid - Evening Standard and Sir Keir Starmer's Wikipedia page edited to remove reference to his being a 'millionaire' - Telegraph. Mujinga (talk) 14:18, 19 December 2019 (UTC)

I like the general topic, but I'm trying to figure out a direct connection to Wikipedia. If we have a *direct* conection, e.g. pages using these websites as references, then we can go ahead with a story. I suppose an alternative way to get this story into The Signpost would be to have a general topic column on "Around the internet" (or maybe just "Disinformation") I think topics like this may have general interest for our readers, but would want to be sure first. Looking for a direct connection is better for now. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:30, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Article on reputation laundering, fake news and troll farms

The big picture behind UPE spamming: MER-C 13:40, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

Suggestion by PutriAmalia1991 (2020-01-17)

The Signpost should write about... the special girl is me (talk) 01:40, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

please report on various hoaxes in real life

Wikipedia now accessible in Turkey

Court rules ban was unconstitutional. --A bit iffy (talk) 05:53, 17 January 2020 (UTC)


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