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15 July 2015

Op-ed
On paid editing and advocacy: when the Bright Line fails to shine, and what we can do about it
Traffic report
Belles of the ball
WikiProject report
What happens when a country is no longer a country?
In the media
Shapps requests WMUK data; professor's plagiarism demotion
Blog
Wikimedia Foundation releases third transparency report
News and notes
The Wikimedia Conference and Wikimania
Featured content
When angels and daemons interrupt the vicious and intemperate
Technology report
Tech news in brief
 

2015-07-15

On paid editing and advocacy: when the Bright Line fails to shine, and what we can do about it

There are various views on paid editing on Wikipedia, among them, a suggestion that it should be explicitly forbidden. However, another standard is the Bright Line, as suggested by founder Jimbo Wales

The state-of-the-art in conflict of interest engagement is commonly called the "Bright Line" rule, from a quote by Jimmy Wales when he first outlined the concept in 2012. It basically goes like this: "I am opposed to allowing paid advocates to edit in article space at all, but am extremely supportive of them being given other helpful paths to assist us".

We immediately embraced this new development. After all, our greatest challenge over time was not the research and writing, nor aligning client goals with Wikipedia's mission, but rather the uncertainty involved in navigating a community that has as many views on paid advocacy as there are members. The Bright Line was an elegant solution, simplifying the process and making it more comprehensible for editors and clients alike.

It had other benefits, too: more feedback makes for better articles, and volunteer editors can help clarify things for a "lay audience". Sometimes clients are pushy, and it’s helpful to be able to use editor review as a backstop. Occasionally, it will even spark a great collaboration: identifying additional areas for improvement neither side would have found alone.


When the Bright Line does not work

The Bright Line can work, and we (and others who have embraced it) are proof. But after three years of following its prescripts, we are all too aware of the times when it does not. Jimbo's elegant solution comes with its own limitations, challenges, and even contradictions. Here are several reasons the status quo can and should be improved:


A proposed "First Amendment" to the Bright Line constitution

Signpost poll
Do you support the Bright Line rule?
 
 
 
 
  Yes, unequivocally (58%; 33 votes)
  Yes, with reservations (28%; 16 votes)
  Not at all (14%; 8 votes)

These problems raise an obvious question: what needs to be done? We have one short term suggestion that would immediately relieve some of the burden on volunteer editors and the wait times for adherents: The Bright Line should include an allowance for "maintenance edits".

Currently, the Bright Line allows exceptions for "emergency edits" that are comparatively rare: missed (obvious) vandalism and libel. A simple fix would be to allow for "maintenance edits" such as de-orphaning an article and removing the template afterward.

By applying common sense and allowing for edits that do not alter previous editorial decisions, the burden on volunteer editors can be eased, and neglected entries can be improved. To assuage concerns of potential abuse, COI editors might be required to use a standard edit summary such as "COI maintenance edit" so a filter could be created for identification and review.


Let's start over

The nuclear option, of course, would be to abandon the Bright Line altogether. While we wouldn't necessarily encourage doing so at this time, there is one (however unlikely) scenario in which doing so would make a great deal of sense: if Flagged Revisions were to make a comeback. Especially in light of the recent GamerGate debacle, the only difference really is whether the debate over GamerGate-inspired edits should have been a public game of whack-a-mole or a semi-public queue for editorial review.

In this scenario, editors with paid conflicts would receive scrutiny, and with new community infrastructure—not to mention some valuable gamification—they would be more likely to receive it in a timely manner. The uncertainty of how to participate and the absurdity of asking for help when the correction is obvious would be reduced, if not altogether eliminated.


A more elegant solution

Given our years of experience with client requests, we are comfortable explaining how Wikipedia works even to skeptical clients. Knowing how complex even "simple" requests can be, and how important it is to get things right, sometimes the months of research, writing and discussion are necessary. But the Bright Line in its current form makes no distinction between that which deserves careful scrutiny and those requiring a lighter touch. A few common sense adjustments would make the Bright Line easier to explain, more likely to be followed, and free Wikipedia volunteers to focus on more important things.


For more Signpost coverage on paid editing see our paid editing series.


William Beutler and 16912 Rhiannon are principals in a digital consultancy that specializes in online community content, including Wikipedia.

On Friday, July 17 at 16:45 (Mexico City time), William Beutler will be leading (with Andrew Lih) the Wikimania roundtable discussion Can Conflicts of Interest (COIs) be aligned with the Wikimedia project? Please join him to discuss this idea as well as anything else related to COI/paid editing.

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2015-07-15

Belles of the ball

However coy they may be about it in public, Americans love to win. And when they do, they make no secret of it. Today saw two American triumphs in world sport: Serena Williams securing her sixth Wimbledon win and the Women's national team securing their third World Cup title. America has had little recent success in men's tennis, lorded over as it is by seemingly invulnerable demigods like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. On the women's side though, Serena rules alone. As far as soccer goes, the US may not have a chance of ever dominating the male equivalent, but they rule the women's game, and are becoming increasingly vocal about it. Hopefully this will kickstart the one thing America is better at than any other nation in history: sales. As their ebullience translates into exposure and buzz, slowly other countries will come to treat women's football with the respect it deserves.

For the full top-25 list, see WP:TOP25. See this section for an explanation of any exclusions. For a list of the most edited articles of the week, see here.

As prepared by Serendipodous, for the week of July 5 to 11, 2015, the 10 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the report of the most viewed pages, were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Serena Williams B-class 1,002,160
Serena's no stranger to this list, but this week sent her into the stratosphere. Not only did she win Wimbledon for the sixth time in a straight-sets duel with Garbine Muguruza, she also secured her second "Serena Slam" – winning four major titles in a row, and is on course to winning a Grand Slam (four major titles in a calendar year). If she succeeds, she will be the first woman to do so since Steffi Graf in 1988. At 33 she is also the oldest ever world women's tennis number 1; with 16 years between her first title and her latest, Williams has already surpassed other long-surviving legends in her sport, such as Graf and Martina Navratilova, and shows no signs of slowing down. To put this in perspective, the 21-year-old Muguruza was only five when Williams won her first title.
2 Abby Wambach Good Article 988,700
The forward for the American women's national soccer team topped this list despite only scoring one goal in seven matches during the 2015 Women's World Cup. This may be due to her declaration that this World Cup would be her last.
3 Flags of the Confederate States of America B-Class 951,148
It took the horrific act of the Charleston church shooting on June 17 to refocus the attention of South Carolina politicians and public at large to the fact that South Carolina was still flying the battle flag of the Confederate States of America near their state capitol. This flag causes a lot of controversy in the United States, though its general modern use as a symbol of racist oppression of blacks is undeniable. Will the flag of ISIS/ISIL be similarly used in the Middle East one hundred years hence? In any event, on July 10, after an emotional debate in the state legislature, the flag was finally taken down.
4 Terminator Genisys Start-Class 875,698
File:Graffiti in Shoreditch, London - The Terminator by Graffiti Life (9425010886).jpg
This film marks the fourth attempt in 12 years to restart the dormant Terminator franchise without the aid of its creator, James Cameron. To date, if Metacritic and IMDb are anything to go by, the only remotely successful of these resuscitations was the hugely underrated TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. One wonders if audiences are wishing they'd watched that when they had the chance, because the box office numbers for this flick are bad. Really bad. As in, "made as much in its first five days as Terminator Salvation made in its first weekend" bad. Salvation, mind you, was the black sheep of the series until now. Even after two weeks, the movie has made barely $70 million. All this is rather perplexing, since the two things that usually drive movies up this list are box office and controversy, and so far the only controversy generated by this film is from the few scattered critics who don't consider it utterly terrible. Perhaps it was the presence of Emilia Clarke (currently the second Game of Thrones star to take on the role of Sarah Connor). Or perhaps, if this ageing Terminator fan could be wistful for a moment, the critics are wrong when they say the Millennial generation has no love for this franchise. Perhaps they rushed to their tablets incensed at the terrible reviews; determined to learn who and what was responsible for vandalising the legacy of this landmark work of science fiction. Or perhaps it means nothing at all. Who am I to guess?
5 Eiji Tsuburaya C-Class 854,672 Want a quick route to temporary posthumous fame? Become the subject of an interactive Google doodle. Which is exactly what happened to the creator of Ultraman this week.
6 Baahubali (film) C-Class 810,328
At $41 million, this sprawling, two-part historical epic is the most expensive film in Indian history (no, it isn't actually Bollywood, since it was made in South India, much to Bollywood's chagrin). Starring the Telugu actor Prabhas (pictured), the first part, subtitled "The Beginning", broke box office records upon its release on July 10, earning Rs 2.15 billion ($34 million) worldwide in just 5 days.
7 Carli Lloyd Good Article 796,339
The midfielder's hat trick in the final against Japan helped clinch the USA the World Cup title, and made her a national hero in the process. Though not enough of one to top this list, apparently.
8 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup C-class 775,963
If America wins a tournament, you can be sure it will end up on this list. And while the old US of A hasn't exactly stormed the palisades as far as men's football is concerned, it's comfortably ensconced at the top of the women's game. Perhaps this challenge to the world will lead some of the more macho footballing nations to begin to take their female counterparts seriously.
9 Ariana Grande C-class 706,116
A fixture on this list last year, the former Disney poplet has struggled to maintain a presence this year. Until this week, when she was filmed licking a doughnut on a display counter and then putting it back, before declaring, "I hate America". Not sure if this qualifies as a Britney Spears-level meltdown, but it's certainly lifted her profile.
10 United States women's national soccer team C-class 701,219
File:Women's World Cup Results.PNG
The US national team has now secured the World Cup title 3 times. If they were counted among the men's records, they would have a legacy as secure as Germany or Italy. Perceptions are changing though.


Reader comments

2015-07-15

What happens when a country is no longer a country?

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.


We return this week with an interview with a historical project that's still fairly active, WikiProject Former countries, which has a large amount of recognised content and a pretty large remit: countries that existed in history, but no longer exist as political entities. There are certainly a lot of those. Here to divulge their experiences are OwenBlacker and MirkoS18.

What motivated you to join WikiProject Former countries? Do you have an academic or professional background in world history? Have you contributed to WikiProjects covering any other geographical topics?

  • OwenBlacker: I went to school in Plymouth (the original one, in England), so there was a big emphasis on British naval history. Apart from the Roanoke Colony, though, it totally wasn't my bag and put me off history for years. Until I discovered my uncle's copy of The Times Atlas of World History and realised that learning more about history meant there were even more maps to look at — always a guilty pleasure. That helped me realise it wasn't history I disliked, just the parts I learnt at school. Since then I have read (and looked at maps) of history in great quantity.

Have you contributed to any of the project's 44 Featured or 77 Good Articles? What challenges do project members face when improving former countries articles to FA or GA status?

  • OwenBlacker: A lot of the Featured and Good articles are about military history, which doesn't interest me as much, but which benefits from many excellent writers. There's only one of the Good Articles that I've worked on in detail, Principality of Stavelot-Malmedy, one of the ecclesiastical states of the Holy Roman Empire and an article I raised from a stub to GA class. I look forward to doing more.

Your front page gives links to WikiProject Historical Atlas and WikiProject Heraldry and vexillology. Is this collaboration still actively maintained, and how does it help the net improvement to your content output as a project?

  • OwenBlacker: The articles benefit greatly by having high-quality maps, flags and arms. I also contribute to Commons:WikiProject Heraldry, mainly creating coats of arms images for articles I'm working on.
Coat of arms of Transleithania (1868–1915).

What is your favourite former country?

  • OwenBlacker: I mainly edit around pre-Napoleonic Europe, in particular the Holy Roman Empire and the Old Swiss Confederacy; I'd say the Empire is probably my favourite.
  • MirkoS18: Talks on history of Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are still hot topic in the region. There is almost noone who would be emotionally distant and neutral. At the same time, people know little facts about that time. Theirs opinions are glorification or vilification. Dissolution of Yugoslavia itself created new short living entities that are covered by this project. Today, there is even specific WP project Yugoslavia that tries to bring facts to the general public. Taking into account that topic is from recent history and is still very relevant for today, I would say that Yugoslavia would be my favourite former country and favourite topic to work on that is connected with this project.

What are the project's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?

  • OwenBlacker: Like so much in the English Wikipedia, our coverage of the Global South bears much room for improvement — for example, the Songhai Empire was one of the largest empires in Islamic and African history but is currently rated Start-class (though could do with a review and maybe a GA Nomination). The easiest place to start, though would be to take almost any article and flesh it out — over a half of our article-space pages are Start-class.

    Reader comments

2015-07-15

Shapps requests WMUK data; professor's plagiarism demotion

In The Register, Andrew Orlowski reports that three weeks ago, Grant Shapps filed a request with Wikimedia UK (WMUK) under the Data Protection Act 1998 "for all data relating to him". Shapps is a UK politician who was accused of editing the Wikipedia articles of political rivals in a matter that led to the removal of CheckUser and Oversight tools from Richard Symonds (Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry), a WMUK employee, in an Arbitration case (see previous Signpost reports on the media coverage and Arbitration case).

D’Arcy Myers, chief executive of WMUK, told Orlowski that WMUK was "fufilling" Shapps' request and that "WMUK has not issued an apology to Mr. Shapps as the charity has not been involved with this issue." Orlowski wrote that he was "puzzled" by this response. Orlowski, a frequent critic of Wikipedia who has been reporting on the encyclopedia for at least a decade, outlined the separation between the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and WMUK for his readers, but did not explain the distinction between Symonds' paid employment at WMUK as office and development manager, responsible for finances and reports, and his volunteer role on the encyclopedia as a functionary using checkuser and oversight tools. Orlowski did note instances where Symonds might have blurred those roles, writing that Symonds used a WMUK email address to communicate with The Guardian regarding Shapps, and claimed that Symonds "frequently" used his checkuser tool "on WMUK time". (July 13)

Plagiarism allegations lead to demotion for ASU professor

Professor Matthew Whitaker

The Arizona Republic reports that popular Arizona State University history professor Matthew C. Whitaker was demoted following an investigation into plagiarism accusations. Whitaker was demoted from full to associate professor and from director to co-director of ASU's Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. ASU's provost wrote that an "investigation identified significant issues with the content of" Whitaker's 2014 book, Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama.

Whitaker has been dogged with plagiarism allegations for years. His 2008 book African American Icons of Sport: Triumph, Courage, and Excellence contained material regarding Muhammad Ali and Serena and Venus Williams taken from Wikipedia. At the time, Whitaker blamed a freelance editor working from his outline and wrote "unfortunately and unknown to me, the freelance editor inserted verbatim sections from Wikipedia and other online sources without rewording them and without quotations or attribution." In 2012, a previous ASU investigation into this and other allegations concluded that Whitaker was not guilty of "systematic or substantial plagiarism". The Phoenix New Times reports that this conclusion was the subject of much controversy among bloggers, such as the anonymous author of the blog "The Cabinet of Plagiarism", and even some of his colleagues, one of whom resigned from a tenure and promotions committee in protest. (July 13)


In brief

Pluto photographed by the New Horizons probe. More than meets the eye?
  • VA plagiarism allegations: WKMG-TV reports that veterans are raising questions about the expertise of doctors evaluating their claims for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The doctor's report on one veteran's mycosis fungoides, denying his disability benefits claim, contained a section that appeared to be taken from Wikipedia. But the VA doctor's denial significantly omitted the word "not" in copying the following statement from the Wikipedia article: "While the cause remains unclear, most cases are not genetic or hereditary." (July 13)
  • Print Wikipedia finally uploaded: The New York Times reports that the final volume of Print Wikipedia was uploaded to Lulu.com around 10pm on July 12. Uploading all of Wikipedia took 24 days, 3 hours and 18 minutes (see previous Signpost coverage and a blog post by artist Michael Mandiberg (Theredproject)). (July 13)
  • More than meets the eye?: On the occasion of exploration of the planet dwarf planet Pluto by the New Horizons probe, The Week notes that "We know very little about the tiny world; its Wikipedia entry is 3,000 words shorter than that of Cybertron, fictional home planet of the Transformers." (July 13)
  • Reselling Wikipedia: Watson reports on the numerous print on demand compilations of Wikipedia articles for sale in online bookstores. Wikipedia content can be reused without cost for any purpose. The Swiss Foundation for Consumer Protection criticized these sales because they are priced almost as high as traditional books, while the cost to produce them is minimal. (July 12)
  • What's an encyclopedia?: In "Teens React to Encyclopedias", the latest video in the Fine Brothers' Teens React series, teenagers raised on Google and Wikipedia wrestle with finding information in the 2005 World Book Encyclopedia. It's funny. (July 12)
  • Sex offender test: A long article in The Atlantic about the Abel Assessment test, a test widely used in the American legal system purporting to measure a tendency toward pedophilia, briefly discusses the widespread online criticism of the test and its creator, Gene Abel. The article mentions that one of Abel's colleagues "tried to get the entry [on Abel] taken down". Last year, a new editor submitted the articles for Abel and the test for speedy deletion and the latter to Articles for Deletion, but both articles were kept. It is not known if this editor was Abel's colleague. Following the publication of the article, a different editor redirected Abel's article to the article for his test. (July 9)



Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next week's edition in the Newsroom or contact the editor.




Reader comments

2015-07-15

Wikimedia Foundation releases third transparency report

The following content has been republished from the Wikimedia Blog. The views expressed in this piece are those of the author alone; responses and critical commentary are invited in the comments section. For more information on this partnership see our content guidelines.


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2015-07-15

The Wikimedia Conference and Wikimania

Wikimedia Conference 2015

Wikimania 2015 is underway in Mexico City, and one of its sessions—a scheduled follow-up to the annual Wikimedia Conference that was held in Berlin in May—is good reason to provide a retrospective of that Conference.

The Wikimedia Conference gathered together leaders and staff of Wikimedia affiliate organizations, groups of volunteers such as the Affiliations Committee and the Funds Dissemination Committee, and WMF Board and staff members. The conference was held in Berlin, hosted by Wikimedia Germany, and involved 165 participants from 53 nations. Representatives were from 39 chapters, one thematic organization, and 17 user groups.

One of the highlights was the presentation by WMF executive director Lila Tretikov, in which she spoke of WMF collaboration with affiliates through improved partnerships, practices, and tools. In previous years the relationship between WMF and affiliates has been strained by financial disputes; governance issues with Wikimedia Germany and Wikimedia UK; "concern by the Foundation about budget and staffing growth, lack of demonstrable impact on WMF sites, and governance among eligible affiliates"; and the drama around the now-defunct Wikimedia Chapters Association. Many affiliate representatives welcomed the positive tone of Lila's presentation, which noted that "organizations can do what individuals cannot do alone", and acknowledged that Wikimedia affiliates have important roles in building collaborations with institutions around the world.

Other conference highlights included:

  • Numerous presentations on programs and program evaluation
  • Discussions of administrative workloads and volunteer burnout
  • An upcoming "community consultation" regarding WMF Community Resources (formerly known as Grantmaking)
  • The desire of user groups to receive more support from the Foundation (ongoing discussion about the extent of WMF support for user groups is on the WMF Annual Plan talk page)
  • Discussions among affiliates about how to increase diversity, particularly among affiliate board members.
  • Discussions about global metrics and alternative metrics for evaluating the outcomes of programs
  • Discussions on how to increase support for volunteers

An extensive report and commentary about the conference, including presentations and photographs, is available at User:Pine/Wikimedia Conference 2015 travelogue. P


May 13 highlights
May 14 highlights
May 15 highlights
May 16 highlights
May 17 highlights

Brief notes

2015-07-15

When angels and daemons interrupt the vicious and intemperate

Before we begin, enjoy a featured selection of Indonesian treats, or kue, created by Gunawan Kartapranata.

This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted from 28 June to 4 July.


Featured articles

The Destroying Angel and Daemons of Evil Interrupting the Orgies of the Vicious and Intemperate shows "Destroying Angel and the Daemons of Evil" at their last gig before they changed their name to "The William Etty Experience".

One Featured article was promoted this week.

  • The Destroying Angel and Daemons of Evil Interrupting the Orgies of the Vicious and Intemperate (nominated by Iridescent) William Etty painted The Destroying Angel in 1832, ten years after he'd been promised 60 guineas by Henry Payne of Leicester for a painting of the subject. Etty had been stung by newspaper criticism that he was lacking in taste and chastity of mind and was determined to prove his critics wrong. So he resurrected Payne's proposal, and set to with a will. Payne having given him free rein in the design of the picture, Etty portrayed "around 25 semi-naked human figures" (sounds like nobody's actually dared count them) engaged in "orgies" in a "Temple of Vice". To introduce a moral dimension, the orgies are being interrupted by the Destroying Angel and some naked swarthy daemons. In a neat division of labour, the Angel knocks down the architecture while the daemons carry off as many of the orgiasts as they can grab. Over the decade Etty's marketability had grown, so Payne paid 130 pounds for the finished canvas. Payne sold the painting in 1854 at auction for 770 guineas to the engineer Sir Joseph Whitworth- prices for Etty's paintings had increased rapidly after his death.

Featured lists

Edgbaston Cricket Ground is the primary cricket ground of the Warwickshire County Cricket Club - but, as List of Warwickshire County Cricket Club grounds shows us, not the only one.

Seven Featured lists were promoted this week.

  • Angelina Jolie filmography (nominated by FrB.TG) Angelina Jolie has an eclectic filmography, ranging from voice-overs in animated films through dramatisations of video-games to intense psychological dramas. She won an Oscar for her portrayal of a sociopathic patient in the film Girl, Interrupted. Recently Jolie has directed a brace of war films, set during the Bosnian War and in a WW2 Japanese camp. Is she going places? Yes, unless that place is called Serbia.
  • Deepika Padukone filmography (nominated by Krimuk90) Deepika Padukone, Bollywood actress, has appeared in almost thirty major films since 2006. Most of them are in Hindi and Tamil, so unless you speak those languages you'll need your reading glasses. The exception is Finding Fanny, which is in English; five dysfunctional friends go on a road-trip across Goa in search of Fanny. Padukone takes the part of Angie, a "young virgin widow", who becomes a "young widow" halfway through the tangled plot. She muses that "you can't wait for love, you must go out and find it". That's true- you won't find Fanny right under your nose.
  • Denzel Washington on screen and stage (nominated by Cowlibob) Denzel Washington started his acting career age 22 in a 1977 TV adaptation of the life of Wilma Rudolph, American athlete. His stage debut followed in 1979 in Shakespeare's Coriolanus and film in 1981 with Washington playing "the long-lost black son of...a respectable [white] businessman" in Carbon Copy. He's won two Oscars, with "Best Actor" for his cop on the take, in Training Day.
  • List of Gaon Album Chart number ones of 2011 (nominated by ) The Gaon Album Chart shows what's selling in South Korean music albums; it's compiled by those fun-loving guys at Korea Music Content Industry Association, in association with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, who provide the numbers. The ministry squeezes 'em out of the six major distributors of offline and online product. It's only been since 1987 that the Ministry of Culture have stopped censoring music; the Korean version of Dark Side of the Moon only had eight tracks instead of ten, omitting Us and Them and Brain Damage.
  • List of Warwickshire County Cricket Club grounds (nominated by ChrisTheDude and AssociateAffiliate) The WCCC, like other county cricket associations, had a number of grounds scattered in towns and cities around their "patch". Their main ground is at Edgbaston, laid out there in 1894 to "enhance the image of the district", and there are or were ten other grounds at which first class matches have been played. Of those that have fallen out of use, the Courtaulds ground in Coventry is the only one that hasn't been built on. It was laid out on land belonging to Courtaulds the fibre manufacturers, and cost £15,000 to construct in 1935 (equivalent to about £930,000 or $1.4 million now). Warwickshire played its first county match there in June 1946. The last first class match was in 1983, and it's now the site of a weekly car boot sale, overlooked by the ruins of the pavilion.
  • List of songs recorded by Ariana Grande (nominated by Calvin999) Ariana Grande is an American singer and actress with a "remarkable vocal range" (261 Hz to 2349 Hz, give or take a few Hertz). She was inspired to take up a music career after being complimented by Gloria Estefan, who saw a performance Grande gave when she was eight years old. She's recorded two studio albums, with the songs written by a number of collaborators, and she has worked with many rap and R'n'B musicians. Grande has adopted several dogs, who are among her biggest fans, especially when she hits 2349 Hz.
  • Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World (nominated by Harrias) The Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World is a development of the almanack's "Cricketers of the Year', which has been awarded to the "five cricketers that had the greatest impact during the previous English cricket season" since 1889. Recognising that the best cricketers weren't playing English domestic cricket the criteria for the original award were extended to take into account international performances, but in 2004 a separate world award was instituted. Selection is made by Wisden's editor, under advice. The first winner was Australian Ricky Ponting. A "notional award" was later instituted, to recognise cricketers from 1900 onwards (it was felt that international cricket was too "inchoate" before that year). The winners are described as being the first choice for a place in a World XI to play Mars. One drawback of playing cricket on the Red Planet is that because the gravity is so weak, the balls can reach Uranus.

Featured pictures

Meripilus giganteus, also called the "giant polypore" or "black-staining polypore", because people are sometimes terrible at names.
Title page to an early vocal score of Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata, showing the c. 1700 costumery the censors forced on the show, instead of the then-contemporaneous setting Verdi desired.

Fourteen Featured pictures were promoted this week.

  • Gorce Mountains (created by Pudelek; nominated by Tomer T) The Gorce Mountains are a range in the south of Poland, notable for their rich wildlife, including skunks. The peaks rise up to about 4,300 feet.
  • Snowy owl (created by User:Michael Gäbler; nominated by Brandmeister) Snowy owls start life with a number of black feathers among the thick white plumage. They gradually lose these as they age, with females retaining more of them; this photo is of a male snowy owl. They live in Arctic regions, but migrate for long distances in the winter- some have been recently seen in Florida,
  • Carl Nielsen (created by Adam Cuerden; nominated by Adam Cuerden) This is Danish composer Carl Nielsen, photographed probably in 1908. He is in his summer plumage, and his alert expression indicates that Nielsen has spotted a lady: although married, he had a roving eye.
  • Fatoumata Diawara (created by Thesupermat; nominated by FakeShemp) Fatoumata Diawara is a Malian singer-songwriter, based in France. Her music blends the lyric innovations of Wassalou music with the blandness of international pop-rock.
  • La traviata (created by Leopoldo Ratti; restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden) John Webber, who edited Wikipedia as Viva-Verdi, died in March this year, and work continues on our quest to provide a fitting memorial for his work on Wikipedia. The article on Giuseppe Verdi is up for good article status at the moment, and a selection of images of his articles with potential to reach featured picture are being worked on.
  • Iman Budhi Santosa (created and nominated by Crisco 1492) Iman Budhi Santosa, commonly known as IBS, is seen here reading from his 2015 book Sesanti Tedhak Siti, a collection of geguritan (Islamic poetry in a particular metrical form, usually religious or spiritual) written from 1980 onwards. He is an Indonesian author, whose poetry reflects Javanese culture. The title refers to the ceremony of Tedhak Siti, the first meeting of a child with the earth; IBS says he wished to imply that the Javanese should relearn their culture.
  • Robinson Crusoé (created by A. Jannin; restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden) Jacques Offenbach's comic opera in three acts, Robinson Crusoé, premièred in 1867. Its second professional performance was in 1973. The opera has a most marvellous plot, but unfortunately the margin of this page is too narrow to contain it.
  • Kue (created by Gunkarta; nominated by Adam Cuerden) "Kue" is a general term for bite-sized pastries, savouries, cakes and sweets beloved in Indonesia. They incorporate recipes and techniques from other cultures, such as Chinese and Indian, and are called "market munchies".
  • Johann Christian Bach (created by Thomas Gainsborough; nominated by Crisco 1492) The sad sad story of John Bach: born when his famous father was fifty years old, Johann Christian received a modicum of instruction from Old Bach. The contrapuntal style of his father faded from Johann's music, which was composed in the Galante style, with melodies and balanced phrasing (takes as long to go down the scale as it did to go up). Johann lived in Italy for a number of years before relocating to London when his operas received a warm welcome. He became John Bach, music master to George III's Queen Charlotte. But all the money he earned was embezzled by his steward, and he died in debt on New Year's Day, 1782.
  • Meripilus giganteus (created by Michael Gäbler; nominated by Tomer T) Meripilus giganteus is a large fungus, mostly found on hardwoods. It causes white rot, and is generally considered inedible although, according to Maud Grieve in her Modern Herbal, its "esculent properties are appreciated on the continent." Thick fog in English Channel- continent cut off.
  • When Will You Marry? (created by Paul Gauguin; nominated by Crisco 1492) Nafea Faa Ipoipo? by Paul Gauguin is the world's most expensive painting (at the moment). The Qataris were the rumoured buyers, but they've denied it and the painting is presently on display in Madrid.
  • Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich (created by Peter Lely; nominated by Crisco 1492) It would be a hundred years after Edward Montagu's death that the sandwich was invented by his great-great-grandson; the first Earl of Sandwich lived his whole life untroubled by the notion that he was some kind of foodstuff. Fighting on the side of Cromwell in the English Civil War, he later helped to restore the monarchy, and served Charles as an ambassador and later an admiral. Sandwich died in his burning flagship at the battle of Solebay.
  • Caleb Strong (created by James Bannister; nominated by Godot13) Caleb Strong was a Massachusetts lawyer and politician, whose legal practice thrived during the American Revolution. He was governor of Massachusetts twice; during his second term from 1812 to 1816 he opposed the federal government's pursuit of war against Britain as a case of trampling on states' rights. Strong believed that the state militia should only be used to protect the state borders.
  • Angklung (created and nominated by Crisco 1492) The angklung is an ensemble instrument made from bamboo. The tubes are tuned in pairs, one octave apart, and are sounded by striking to produce a resonance.


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2015-07-15

Tech news in brief

The following content has been republished as-is from the Tech News weekly report.


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