The Signpost
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10 January 2024

From the editorNINETEEN MORE YEARS! NINETEEN MORE YEARS!
Special report
Public Domain Day 2024
Technology report
Wikipedia: A Multigenerational Pursuit
News and notes
In other news ... see ya in court!
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The long road of a featured article candidate
In the media
What is plagiarism? Oklahoma Disneyland? Reaching a human being at Wikipedia?
WikiProject report
WikiProjects Israel and Palestine
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Anthony Bradbury
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everybody gangsta till the style sheets start cascading
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NINETEEN MORE YEARS! NINETEEN MORE YEARS!

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By JPxG
Talking newspaper having a beer with a Mountie at a hockey match.
The drinking age in Ontario is nineteen and not twenty-one, a fact which for some reason every teenager in southeast Michigan is intimately familiar with.

Perhaps I should explain:

At sporting events, political rallies, religious congregations, riots and other recreational gatherings where large throngs of people experience emotions together, you can often find them doing chants. Most of these are pretty simple. Often they are not just simple, but simplistic to boot. There's a number of explanations for that, some more misanthropic than others; ultimately, however, our explanations must come back to physical reality. The bandwidth of the communication channel (a chant in a crowd of mostly-strangers) is fairly low, and the number of steps required for it to sustain itself is fairly high: other people in the crowd must hear the chant over background noise, understand all the words, decide they agree with it, and be able to join in themselves on the next iteration, without it being so long that everyone's voices get out of sync. It's like an Internet meme, except it stops existing if everyone stops saying it for five seconds. So the solution space is quite constrained, and chants at rallies tend to be quite short and simple. "U-S-A!" is a great example: the United States is a vast country, with hundreds of years of history and hundreds of millions of inhabitants. There are many analyses of it, and many opinions to have about it. But those are quite hard to chant at a hockey game (especially after everyone has had a few) — so U-S-A! it is.

One particularly long-lived chant, with a long and distinguished history in the U-S-A!, tends to come back every election year in which an incumbent is running for the office of President. It traces its lineage at least as far back as 1972, in which year a documentary bearing its name was released. Back then, the contenders were Richard Nixon and George McGovern; you may think that their political ideologies matter here. They do not. What matters is that in the 1972 election, Nixon was the incumbent, meaning that voting for him would have resulted in:


As it turns out, many things work this way. Religions, political ideologies, and social movements themselves have similar constraints to the chants that people shout during their gatherings: they must be memorable, they must be comprehensible, and they must align with the principles of the people who espouse them. Over time they tend to change; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

With that in mind, let's see how well our own chanting has gone. Here is what Michael Snow had to chant say on January 10, 2005, in the first column of the first issue of the Signpost:

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Wikipedia Signpost! I hope this will be a worthwhile source of news for people interested in what is happening around the Wikipedia community. I plan to publish it on a weekly basis, every Monday.

The name, The Wikipedia Signpost, was chosen to be like the name of a newspaper, since a newspaper is what I would call this project. Though it will almost certainly never appear on newsprint paper, it will nevertheless take on this role for our community. It should have some resemblance to the other newspapers you may happen to read in the course of your life (which I venture to guess many of you read online anyway, rather than the paper copy).

With no slight intended to other projects or languages, The Signpost will focus strongly on the English Wikipedia. The news coming from other language Wikipedias could undoubtedly fill its own newspaper. Correspondingly, rather than trying to translate The Signpost for the benefit of other segments of the community, I hope that as other projects develop a need for this kind of resource, they will adapt and develop this idea for their own uses.

The name also especially suits Wikipedia, because it alludes to a practice here and on other wikis, in that we communicate primarily through "signed posts," as on talk pages. While the wiki system may be used to develop and publish articles, because this is original reporting the reporters will use a byline to "sign" their posts. Since this is not in the article namespace, guidelines such as "no ownership of articles", and particularly "no original research", will not necessarily apply. However, The Signpost will strive to maintain its objectivity as would be appropriate for an independent media organization elsewhere.

The need for a community newspaper is tremendous. Already long ago the speed of recent changes on Wikipedia surpassed anyone's ability to follow edits thoroughly. By now, we are well past the stage where, even when considered in broader terms, anyone can singlehandedly stay on top of events here. To attempt this, your watchlist would be unmanageable, your inbox inundated with mailing list posts, your browser overwhelmed with open tabs, and your time spent flitting from reading about Wikipedia in the blogosphere to hanging out on IRC—even when asleep! I hope The Signpost can spare people the effort of trying to be everywhere and read every discussion.

The subjects covered here should be whatever community subjects interest the readers. Some people will be more interested in things happening with featured articles, others will want to follow Wikipedia's statistical trends. Not everyone will share all interests, but I hope to have something for everyone, and to hear from readers what else they want to know. And to those who might call this navel-gazing, I merely ask—so why are you reading then?

Finally, given the size of Wikipedia that makes it necessary, even a small community newspaper is a huge task. I don't plan to do it alone, and anyone interested in writing for The Signpost should get in touch with me so we can organize the work. I especially welcome anyone who's been dying to try their hand at original reporting, but isn't really sure whether they have material worth publishing on Wikinews (and no, this project is not meant to make navel-gazing publishable at Wikinews). And really, what more logical place is there to develop our skills with original reporting than here, where news is being made and people are interested in this news?

With that, I wish you all happy reading!


— Michael Snow

I'd say this has aged pretty well, and almost all of it still holds — except, perhaps, for the "we publish once a week" and "we publish less often than Wikinews", which are now somehow both untrue.

As for myself, I look forward to the future of Signpost reporting: one may notice that, even though this issue is several days late (that's also a storied tradition), there are no blatant formatting issues, or templates that need to be manually updated on each article to make the images render properly. There are also no articles that failed to get published due to them being titled Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Next Issue/Serendipity instead of Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Next issue/Serendipity (NB: this actually happened in August).

Hopefully, we can also look forward to a day when the viral Reddit threads containing screenshots of Signpost source code are no longer in "programminghorror", but rather some other place, like perhaps "programminghappiness" or "stuffthatlooksreallynice".

Until then...

J



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Public Domain Day 2024

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By SnowFire
Steamboat Willie, starring one Mickey Mouse, public domain as of January 1, 2024

January 1, 1928. A day that will live in... famy? After fears that the public domain (PD) would remain frozen forever, it started... very slowly... moving forward again in 2019 in the United States. This year's Public Domain Day is unusually momentous, as a certain rodent you may know has finally been set loose. One of the driving forces behind multiple rounds of copyright extension in the United States over the last century was lobbying from the Disney corporation. The most recent of them, the 1998 Mickey Mouse Protection Act, was called that for a reason: repeated copyright extensions allowed Disney to keep their grasp on the oldest iterations of Mickey, whose first appearance was in the 1928 cartoon Steamboat Willie. It locked up tons of other harmless photographs and books in limbo as well, which was just too bad as far as Disney was concerned. However, we did not see another extension, and now Steamboat Willie has entered the public domain, along with a massive pile of other works.

More specifically: works published in 1928 are now unconditionally in the public domain in the United States (many lesser works were probably already public domain due to not being renewed, but now there's no need to verify the lack of renewal). In countries that use author's life plus some number of years, that means a few things: in "life + 70" countries, authors who died in 1953 had their works hit the public domain; and in "life + 50" countries, authors who died in 1973 have their works in the public domain. There are some complications here for Wikipedia though, which we will get into shortly.

This topic has been covered in a number of places, so here are some useful links:

What can I do (on Wikimedia projects)?

The Passion of Joan of Arc is now public domain in the United States... but probably not in France, since director Carl Theodor Dreyer died in 1968, and France uses life of the author + 70 years. And it's possible that other sufficiently major contributors to the film also died in 1953 or later.

Works are now free to use! Well. With caution. In general, copyright issues are something that it's best not to start uploading too aggressively on if you aren't sure. Copyright status will affect whether you ought to upload to English Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and/or Wikisource.

Step 1: Finding it

The above links already include the major works entering the public domain. However, you can go hunting for more obscure works, if you like. Category:1928 works and its subcategories are a good start. You can also browse around the Internet Archive; this is a preloaded query for works from 1928 that you can adjust to taste with other keywords, authors, or titles.

Step 2: Is it actually in the public domain?

A still image from Charlie Chaplin's The Circus. Pause the movie wherever you like and extract images like this (see File:The Circus (1928) by Charlie Chaplin (restored version).webm).
See also: Commons:Hirtle chart and Commons:Copyright rules by territory

Step 3: Using it

Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa. A scan with downloadable PDF was already on archive.org , so an editor uploaded it to Commons, and a transcription project at Wikisource is underway, but incomplete: Wikisource index.).

The easiest thing to do is go upload some images! You can flip through those newly public domain books or pause old 1928 silent films, then upload extracted images to Commons. Then use them on Wikipedia.

For largely textual works, this means that long quotes are now permissible to use on Wikipedia, as long as you attribute it. I don't think this will come up very often unless someone finds and uploads a major 1928 reference work – Category:1928 non-fiction books is slim pickings, but perhaps the Small Soviet Encyclopedia? Be careful here, though; back in the day, some Wikipedia articles were preloaded with the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (see Template:EB1911), and sometimes it's better to have nothing at all than to have something a century out of date. Here's a preloaded search of 1928 encyclopedias at the Internet Archive; mostly some 1928 publications of The New International Encyclopedia and World Book Encyclopedia, which are maybe mildly more up-to-date than earlier editions.

For the most deluxe treatment, if you think that there's sufficient interest in a work that digitizing the text is valuable rather than flipping through images, there is Wikisource, our local transcription site (think Project Gutenberg). Basically, you'll want to follow the procedure at Help:Adding texts. Hopefully a PDF of the scanned book already exists at the Internet Archive (for major works, it probably does);[a] you'll upload that PDF to Commons after making triple-sure that it really is free content in both the US and its source country. (And make sure you upload the 1928-or-earlier scan, not a later printing or edition.) Then follow the Wikisource instructions; you can create a page-by-page transcription as well as combined full-chapter webpages that span across multiple scanned pages. This will be much faster and easier if the PDF already has the text natively, of course, rather than relying on the fallback Wikisource OCR and manually fixing its many errors. Making a Wikisource edition might make sense for the most popular or important texts. After this is all done, go to the External links section of the Wikipedia article on the scanned work, and proudly link your contribution with Template:Wikisource-inline! (See s:The Prose Edda (Brodeur 1916) for an example finished work, or Index:The House at Pooh Corner for an example in-progress work.)

What can I do (as a person)?

This is the section where we give the usual free content enthusiast whining about copyright law, and how maybe you can do your part by informing your local representative / duke / overlord of the merits of an active public domain. That it would be better if copyright terms were much, much shorter, or if, at the very least, that we went back to a system of having to renew copyright registrations, meaning that orphan works could be freed for general use. Unfortunately, there is a problem here. The Hippocratic Oath says "First, do no harm," but every time politicians have looked at copyrights, it has almost always been to greatly extend them, even when it made negative sense to do so.[b] The Copyright Act of 1976 passed 316–7 and 97–0; the 1998 Sonny Bono Act passed by a voice vote (i.e. it wasn't controversial enough for a recorded vote). Calling up your local politician and encouraging them to start a new copyright-related bill may well make the problem worse, not better, judging by the track record so far.

Copyright length in the United States, which was substantially extended in 1976 and 1998. The Hirtle chart has more details on what to do in each case.

You might think based on the above that, even if 95 years is too long, at least we'll see a steady march into the public domain year-by-year. That's a nice thought — and it will be true for a while — but in reality things are much worse. As overly long as the US's copyright term for 1929-1977 works is, life-of-the-author + 70 years is usually even longer, and that's the system we'll be in for works published after 1978, even American works.[c] Granted, most of the people reading this will be dead in 2072,[citation needed] but that doesn't make it any better. Consider an unknown photograph obviously made in 1980 with a listed creator (so not anonymous), but the name is extremely generic and no information can be found on them. When will this photograph be safe-ish to use, assuming no further changes to copyright terms? Well, maybe a precocious 10-year old took the picture, and maybe they lived a long and full life to age 105, and maybe someone with a claim to their estate is extremely litigious. Math time: 1980 - 10 + 105 + 70 = the year of our Lord 2145 that this picture from 1980 is safely public domain. At least under the classic US system of mostly caring about publication date, at some point tracking down vague authors becomes irrelevant.

So, here is a modest proposal, which "merely" requires modifying international treaties a little. There should be a fallback instituted that says that the copyright term is either author's life + X years or Y years since publication, whichever is shorter. Copyright terms already extend far, far after everyone involved was dead. To avoid hypothetical 10-year old photographers & artists locking up orphan works forever, even a weak rule that said "copyright term is either author's life + 70 years, or 120 years after publication," would be a step forward. Ideally, something stronger would be nice (say, a global 95 years after publication limit? Or even 75 years after publication?), but we'll take what we can get at this point. Does anyone know any world leaders and can get this through?

Notes
  1. ^ If the PDF doesn't exist, you may be stuck on the rockier road of obtaining a 1928 edition and scanning it in yourself. Which will be a service toward the public commons, so go to it, but... a lot more work, for sure.
  2. ^ Easiest example: the irrational extension of old copyrights, rather than merely extending new ones. People doing creative work in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s thought that the reward from a mere 56 years of copyright was sufficient to produce their art; unless they were psychic or possessed a time travel machine, extending the copyright after the art was made wasn't going to encourage them to retroactively produce more of it. But it certainly would make the companies that held the rights money longer, so.
  3. ^ Although the good news is that works-for-hire will still expire 95 years after publication for post-1978 works. But, to my limited knowledge, there are borderline cases where it might not be clear if something really qualifies for that, and the only way to decide the issue would be to expensively go to court. Under the older rules, there's no fear of a litigious estate suing and claiming that they had a lingering authorship copyright.



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Wikipedia: A Multigenerational Pursuit

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By SDeckelmann-WMF
This article is an adapted version of a speech given at WikiConference North America in November 2023.

Hello everyone, my name is Selena Deckelmann. I'm the Chief Product and Technology Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation.

As many of you know, I started my role at the Foundation a little over a year ago, in August 2022. I want to start by sharing a little bit about what this role means to me: it's very much connected to how I learned about sharing knowledge as a kid.

I grew up in Montana, in the western half of the United States, but I also grew up on the road. My stepfather was part of a pipefitter-welder union, and we traveled to where the work was. We traveled so much that the places that stand out were all shared spaces.

The local library in the former Federal Building in Kalispell, Montana.

I especially loved the shared space at the public library in downtown Kalispell, Montana. It was an incredible place. I truly looked forward to the time I spent there, which was pretty often after school until one of my parents got off work.

I was lucky enough to have a wonderful children's librarian who spent a ton of time with me, recommending books based on what I liked, talking with me about school and explaining how libraries worked. He explained the card catalog and the Dewey Decimal System. He showed me all the books in the kids section by Roald Dahl, and showed me an Oxford English Dictionary that was available on a lectern as a reference. I got lots of nerd points when I went to university for aspiring to own an OED myself.

It makes me incredibly proud that Wikipedia and all Wikimedia projects contribute to the sharing of knowledge, and that we play as special a role in many people's lives as the Kalispell library played in mine. What Wikipedia has accomplished is the creation of a public space meant for everyone to experience the joy that comes from learning.

Not only that, but Wikipedia also makes it possible to share knowledge at a new and unprecedented scope and scale. We work together to protect these public spaces, and we stand against censorship everywhere. I think it's incredible that we get to do both of those things as a result of the contributions of hundreds of thousands of volunteers worldwide, every month.

Being here builds on my experiences with the many beautiful and useful public spaces I enjoyed as a child.

One Year In

The importance of public spaces is one of the main reasons that I took this role. The other reason is because of all of you, and the community you represent. I started my career tinkering with Linux and writing Perl scripts, and now I'm on my 3rd 20-year-old open source codebase. I've seen firsthand how powerful it can be when volunteers come together to build something out in the open.

The Rose City Book Pub in Portland, Oregon, where I've had meetups with local Wikimedians.

I knew many Wikipedians before I started at the Foundation, and since starting I've been able to revive connections and also meet many of you for the first time. I'm lucky to live in Portland, Oregon, also the hometown of Ward Cunningham, who coined the phrase "wiki," and who is a friend and advisor to me.

I've also been having meetups at a very Portland kind of place: a Book Pub (they sell new and used books, and you can sit in the stacks with a pint and have dinner). I've met up with local Wikipedians there, and some folks from the Cascadia Wikimedians User Group. I've been incredibly lucky to get to attend a handful of in person conferences, and meet hundreds of volunteers online, on wiki, on IRC and in video chats. Some of you have written me letters and I have appreciated meeting (sometimes frustrated) folks who are trying to make things better.

Big Questions

The conversations I've had over the past year have also led me to some big questions. Questions about our future — the future of Wikipedia and the projects, and also the future of our movement and the Foundation. These are about what we need — collectively — in order to meet that future.

Audrey Tang, Taiwan's first Digital Minister, has compared Wikipedia to "harnessing fire," by turning potentially destructive debate into energy that fuels truth and understanding among people.

In a recent conversation I had with Audrey Tang, Taiwan's first Digital Minister, she compared Wikipedia to fire. Wikipedia is the one place on the internet that has taken potentially destructive debate, harnessed it, and turned it into energy that fuels truth and understanding among people.

Audrey described this as "harnessing fire," something humans have done since the beginning. Along with it, you need all the things that can make fire safer — fireplaces, fire extinguishers, and fire departments — even as you're using it to do something good and useful.

Audrey described Wikipedia as a safe space for debate, a system that helps transform and unite divided people. I think harnessing the fire of passionate debate online is what Wikipedians do. And I'd like your help in using those skills for debate, research and reasoning, to unlock what I believe is a profound challenge we face.

I think it is a unique time for us all. There's a potential for sea change on the internet, driven by generative artificial intelligence. A shocking breadth of the world is touched by the work of artificial intelligence companies and very recent advances in machine learning.

There's increasing regulation, and also censorship threats, that affect Wikipedia.

We are also seeing a decline in a vital group of Wikipedians – our admins, whose work is crucial to how content is produced and maintained over the long term. A report from The Signpost in October shows that "we hit a new record low, going back over a decade, of 448 active admins. To find the last time English Wikipedia had fewer than 449 active admins, we have to go back to 2005."[1]

An earlier report from The Signpost, in August, says that "99% of our admins made their first edits over four and a half years ago. [...] Over 90% of current admins made their first edit before I wrote that article [thirteen years ago]."[2]

So, we have options. One might be to change nothing; maybe this project is a one-generation wonder.

Or, we could figure out what we all need to ensure our projects survive the sea changes coming our way. I know that there is a lot of Wikipedia history about how some pundits treat every big tech change as the impending death of Wikipedia. And over two decades later, that just has not been true. That said, I do think we have to face multiple things coming our way all at the same time – especially when our own numbers seem to be shrinking, not growing.

That has gotten me thinking about what kinds of projects and organizations really stand the test of time. My view is that most don't. It is hard to think beyond a single generation and I believe we must begin to do exactly that. We must ask what changes will be needed to make sure Wikipedia can last past this generation. There's enough that Wikipedia has done for the world that it's worth the effort to sustain it, and the world still needs Wikipedia. So how would we ensure this project is multigenerational?

As I've said before, I think it begins with sustainability: How can we ensure that this remarkable project that has been around for nearly 23 years continues to grow and stay relevant? Everyone here knows about how generative AI has seemed to affect every part of our lives over the past year. Our data and the systems that produce it form the backbone for every single commercial large language model. I fundamentally believe that this makes our work more valuable and relevant in this new future. But how can we help ensure that human-powered knowledge creation remains a priority for the world? And in addition, the world is shifting away from purely web-based platforms for searching the internet – with services like TikTok affecting powerful changes in the way people find knowledge. Are we prepared to meet the changing needs for how people find information, in the way that we've met other big technological and social shifts over the past two decades?

We also must determine what appropriate support looks like: How can we, as the Foundation, best support volunteers so that you can do the work of producing more knowledge?

Since coming to the Foundation, I've had a lot of conversations about the Foundation's role. I'll borrow a phrase from our CEO, Maryana Iskander, who is asking us all to examine what "roles and responsibilities" are best, and for who. I want to bring more clarity to that definition when it comes to the Product and Tech work, so that we are very clear on our role and how we can support you. The Wikimedia Foundation focuses on making the work of volunteers easier, and scalable across hundreds of languages and locations. But for us to do that well, I need more help from all of you. I can't tackle every tech issue that everyone wants to see resolved all at once, but I am proud of the progress we have been able to make in the last year.

In the last couple of months, we shipped changes that enabled a better backbone for PageTriage, and worked closely with volunteer developers to ensure future sustainability. Going forward, we have a number of initiatives ranging from projects like Edit Check, Discussion Tools, Dark mode, Patrolling on Android, Watchlist on iOS, Automoderator, Community Configuration, the Wikimedia Commons Upload Wizard, and others.

My team has also been looking into ways to make our bug fixing work more effective and visible. I recently learned that 331 volunteer-reported Phabricator tasks were resolved by Foundation staff and contractors from July 1st to September 30th of this past year.

With the input and help of volunteers and Foundation staff, I've been making and supporting a number of key decisions: First, we're changing how we partner with the community. For example, the Foundation has changed how we create and launch fundraising banners in response to RfCs and with ongoing feedback from volunteers.

In the product and tech space, we're using research methods that solicit prototypes directly from volunteers for informing typography decision making. And we're learning not just the basics of font size and spacing, we're also getting important information about context, devices and cultural aspects of the use of Wikipedia which are vital for helping make our software easier to use as how people use and access it changes (and it has changed a lot over 20 years!).

This screenshot shows an example of the kind of input we're gathering and incorporating into our product planning. This is using the same kinds of crowdsourcing techniques we use for articles, but adapted for user research and product development at the Foundation.

This year, I re-created a MediaWiki team, with product management leadership under Birgit Müller, tasked with rethinking approaches to development of MediaWiki going forward.

We are changing our approach to the community wishlist survey, with the Community Tech team working to get volunteer requests and needs communicated to all the different teams in product and technology to support the work, not only their team!

We are trying to improve what we do. But this won't really add up to much if I don't get more help from you. Some of what I need help with is resetting how we talk to each other, and work together. Finding better avenues for debate and discussion, and civil ways to disagree when we can't make everyone happy. The Foundation may be an organization, but at the end of the day, we're all just people. Many of you have built connections with individual members of my teams on and off-wiki as we come together to do the work.

How do we maintain strong, lasting relationships so this is more than a single-generation partnership? I don't have answers for all of these big questions. And these are not questions for me to answer alone. They're for us to answer, together.

The Wikimedia Foundation's stated mission is: To empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.

I believe that we can't succeed in that mission without being on the same page. I believe this starts with us seeking answers together for these big questions about sustainability, support and the human relationships and connections that enable our work.

In its first 20 years, Wikipedia was built by individuals: individual people making individual contributions, small and large, every day. Wikipedia grew, and simultaneously, a community of individuals became a movement. And look what you made!

A fire doesn't immediately begin as an inferno. Instead, it's stoked by many people over time, with care, passion, and dedication. Now, and always, we are responsible for the future of this mission and for what this project becomes. I'm glad to have the opportunity to stand here today and pose some of our big questions. This is an invitation to work on finding the answers, together.

The Milky Way above the horizon.
What do we all need to make Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects multigenerational in their scope? Schedule a time to chat with me and share what you're working on, and what problems we can solve together.

I'll close with a question I hope I can get help answering from everyone here: what do we all need to make Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects multigenerational in their scope?

We have some examples where projects and institutions can persist in time, like universities or libraries for example. But Wikipedia is different. What are the parts we can emulate, what other things might we need to invent?

Both Maryana and I started our time at the Foundation by taking a listening tour, where we each got the chance to meet so many of you. I deeply valued the time I spent speaking to you about your plans, your hopes for the movement, the roadblocks you met in your work. As Maryana recently shared, we're kicking off another listening tour similar to that first one, called Talking:2024. So: schedule a time to speak with me. I want to hear from you about what you're working on, and what problems we can solve together.



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In other news ... see ya in court!

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By Andreas Kolbe, Bri, Frostly and JPxG

Wikimedia Foundation files amicus curiae brief in US Supreme Court case

The Wikimedia Foundation last month filed a "friend-of-the-court" brief with the US Supreme Court supporting challenges to laws that regulate online media in Texas and Florida. It says these laws "threaten the right to freedom of expression as enshrined under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Our brief aims to inform the Supreme Court about how those laws also threaten community-governed free and open knowledge projects like Wikipedia."

The Foundation's lawyers, Cooley LLP, said in a press release about the two cases concerned:

The cases address Texas House Bill 20 and Florida Senate Bill 7072, which prohibit website operators from banning users or removing speech and content based on the viewpoints and opinions of the users in question. Although the drafters may have intended to target large, commercially run social media platforms, the laws are written so broadly that they could potentially be applied to volunteer-run projects, like Wikipedia.

Cooley's brief argues that the bills are unconstitutionally vague, as their definitions of "social media platforms" and other terms are so broad that they could potentially be applied to any website or service that allows people to exchange information over the internet – including Wikipedia and its long-standing volunteer-led systems of content moderation. The brief also argues that the bills violate the First Amendment prohibition of compelled speech, and that if these laws were applied to Wikimedia projects, they would violate the constitutional First Amendment rights of volunteer contributors by restricting them from editing and improving information on the platform.

AK

2024 WikiCup begins

The 2024 WikiCup began on January 1; since registrations opened, over 120 users have signed up for the competition. The Cup is a yearly editing contest that has been run since 2007. Participants are awarded points for writing and reviewing content. Readers are encouraged to sign up for the competition or subscribe to the newsletter! – F

Are makers of generative AI chatbots infringing copyrights?

Politico reports on the New York Times lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, which aims to prevent the latter from continuing to use its stories to train chatbots.

The Times did not list specific damages that it is seeking, but said the legal action "seeks to hold them responsible for the billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages that they owe for the unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works."

In the complaint, the Times said Microsoft and OpenAI "seek to free-ride on The Times's massive investments in its journalism" by using it to build products without payment or permission.

It is worth noting that Wikipedia is another major source used to build generative AI chatbots. If the Times lawsuit is successful, then the use of Wikipedia content could – conceivably – likewise be found to be infringing the copyright of its volunteer authors. Or the reverse, media companies that aggressively defend copyright could conceivably lead to more AI training from open knowledge content like Wikipedia. – B, AK

16 January: Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C) Charter vote

Patrick Earley, the Wikimedia Foundation's Lead Trust & Safety Policy Manager, has provided an update about Universal Code of Conduct development on the Wikimedia-l mailing list:

Last year, the Building Committee for the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee Charter started drafting the Charter. The initial version was shared for community comment a couple of months ago. After closing the community comment period, the Building Committee met again to finalize some of the details before a community ratification vote.

This ratification was initially planned for late November.

The Building Committee continued their conversations into December so that they could present a more comprehensive Charter for community ratification. The ratification vote is now scheduled to open next week, on January 16. We will provide more information about how to vote as it opens.

Thank you for following this process, and, on behalf of the Building Committee, thanks to all Wikimedians who have provided comments and direction for this document. We look forward to seeing the results.

According to voter information provided on Meta-Wiki, the vote will run from 16 to 30 January 2024. – AK

Brief notes

The Turkish Wikipedia's page for the 2023 Türkiye–Syria earthquakes was edited by more than 200 users in the first two days of the disaster, reports the Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey



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The long road of a featured article candidate

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By Roy Smith
A 19th century print of four horses starting a race at a horse track
The starting line for an FA candidate. Watch for the finish on January 14

The Featured Article process has a well-deserved reputation for being a difficult slog. This two-parter is an exploration of that process from the viewpoint of a first-time nominator. We'll look at how WP:FAC compares to other review processes (on-wiki and in real life), try to take some of the mystery out of it, and give some suggestions for what you can do to make things go smoother on your own first submission. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't take advantage of this opportunity to take a few jabs at things that were annoying.

In August 2023, with about a dozen GAs under my belt, I decided it was time to give FAs a shot. I nominated Fleetwood Park Racetrack as a featured article candidate (FAC) which turned out to be a wild ride; I'm writing this retrospective of my experience for the cathartic value and in the hope it might help those who follow me into the FA maelstrom.

I'm new to FA, but not to peer review. I've done a bit of scientific writing which is all peer-reviewed, and lots of software development which undergoes code review. There's much in common (good and bad) and my experiences with other review processes certainly helped me navigate FAC. If you recognize yourself in anything I've written, please don't take offense. I really appreciate all the work my reviewers put into helping me and any of my complaints are presented entirely with the desire to provide constructive feedback to the process.

Peer review

My first mistake was not availing myself of a pre-FAC peer review at peer review (PR). I had done one peer review a few years ago, prior to my first GA submission; the review was cursory and of so little value I decided not to bother again. Looking at the current FAC peer reviews, I can see that if you specifically ask for an FA review, you get something which is far more useful. Definitely recommended. There doesn't seem to be any urgency to PR requests, so put your request in several months before you want to nominate.

You want a mentor. Ignore where featured articles mentoring (FAM) says, "first-time nominators at WP:FAC are not required to use it". Just do it.

The reviews you get at WP:PR and WP:FAM will be similar to the ones you get at featured article candidate, but done in a lower-pressure environment. Once you submit to FAC, there's a clock running. Reviewers decide which articles to review from reading your nomination statement and a quick glance to see if your stuff is any good. If this is your first submission to FAC, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of not having attracted anybody to review your work after a few weeks, and the FAC coordinators may time-out your submission and archive it (FAC-speak for "fail"). Get the obvious problems dealt with early, before the clock starts.

Nomination statement

One thing that totally caught me by surprise was needing to write a nomination statement. This is a short introduction to your article which is intended to attract reviewers to doing a review. I didn't know I had to write one until I was in the middle of the submission process, and was prompted to enter it. I made something up on the spot. I don't know how much difference my poor nomination statement made, but having a good one is probably better than having a poor one. So before you nominate, read the various nomination statements at WP:FAC and think about your elevator pitch to sell your article to reviewers.

General notes

Don't fight with your reviewers, or at least reserve your pushback for important stuff. I made a ton of minor changes that I thought were silly or just plain wrong, but weren't worth arguing about. I'm sure in some cases the reviewer was actually right. And I'm sure there were also cases where they were wrong, but at some point your goal needs to be to get through the review and collect your "looks good to me" (LGTM) stamp, so pick your battles carefully.

If you decide to push back, go in armed with evidence. I had two specific comments about diction/grammar. On one, my response was basically, "Yeah, whatev, I'll let the grammar freaks worry about that". I think I only got away with that because that particular reviewer was a softie, and did the research for me. The other one was from a more hard-nosed reviewer, but I came back with a citation to a respected dictionary supporting my usage and heard no more about it. I also found that "I like my way better, but if you feel strongly about this, I'll be happy to make the change" is useful; it lets you express your opinion while showing that you're open to input. Pissing off your reviewer isn't going to help get you to LGTM. Or, as I recently read in another context, "Since you have asked for the [...] review, I encourage you to graciously accept more suggestions."

This one is critical: respond to all reviews promptly. It does a few things. It shows the reviewer that you're engaged. It also throws things back into their court; it may not be good to piss off your reviewer, but a little guilt-trip never hurts :-) The review is going to take longer than you want it to; any delay you add shows up directly on the bottom line, so do what you can on your end to keep it moving.

Criticism of the process

I need to mention a couple of things that made the process more difficult for me than it should have been.

First: I took to heart the advice I got that the best way to entice other people to review your article is to do some reviews yourself. I was shocked when I got an email from somebody telling me (in rather pointed language) that my review of their article was unwelcome and I should stay away. I'll leave it anonymous, but really? Whatever happened to WP:BITE? I've got a thick skin so I didn't let that phase me. A less experienced editor might have been devastated and driven away from any further participation.

Second: Please, reviewers, try to set reasonable expectations. It does nobody any good to say, "I'll finish this tomorrow" and then not finish it tomorrow. It's really no fun to be in the position of having to figure out if enough days have gone past tomorrow that it's time to bug your reviewer. Much better to say, "I'll do this, but may not get to it until next week".

Lastly: Please, reviewers, make your reviews actionable, and make them understandable. I had several reviews that left me scratching my head trying to figure out what the reviewer wanted. Leading questions are a great face-to-face teaching technique. On wiki, not so much. And some of the comments I got seemed more like crossword puzzle clues than anything else. When I'm doing a crossword, the joy of finally understanding the hidden meaning of the clue is what I'm looking for. When I'm having my work reviewed, what I really want is for the reviewer to tell me what's wrong and how to fix it.

Part 2 will appear in the next issue of The Signpost.



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What is plagiarism? Oklahoma Disneyland? Reaching a human being at Wikipedia?

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By Bri, Andreas Kolbe, Red-tailed hawk, and Smallbones

Can you plagiarize Wikipedia?

Shakespeare with addition by Durova

Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman must have been very angry after reading Business Insider's story about his wife, Neri Oxman, "Academic celebrity Neri Oxman plagiarized from Wikipedia, scholars, a textbook, and other sources without any attribution". Ackman then wrote two tweets on X totaling over 5,100 words, challenging Business Insider, defending his wife, saying that he would check the work of MIT and Harvard faculty for plagiarism, and even questioning whether somebody could plagiarize Wikipedia.

Can one use a definition from an online dictionary or encyclopedia without attribution [in an academic work]? I honestly don’t know the answer. I have never seen WikiPedia or Dictionary.com cited in any paper. Before Business Insider emailed last night, I never thought about this before. And on this point, what was the standard 15 years ago for citing WikiPedia? Was it different then versus now?
— Bill Ackman on X

Ackman's interest in plagiarism started with his protests against antisemitism at Harvard and other campuses. He called for Harvard President Claudine Gay to resign after she and three other presidents of major universities testified in a congressional investigation on antisemitism on campus. Ackman and many others believed their plans to counter antisemitism were not strong enough. After right-wing sources accused Gay of plagiarism, Ackman also called for Gay's removal based on the plagiarism accusation. These events were widely covered in the national and international press and did not involve Wikipedia. We limit this discussion to the question Can you plagiarize Wikipedia?

Several commentators at the discussion threads on the platform formerly known as Twitter appear to have confused copyright violations with plagiarism. Copyright violations are a matter of law generally decided in civil courts; plagiarism is an ethical matter generally covered by university policies. Most text in Wikipedia is copyrighted, with the exceptions of short "fair use" quotes and a limited amount of text taken from the public domain, for example in articles that state at the end "This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Name of article". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press." Other material is copyrighted by the Wikipedia editor who first added it and is licensed CC-BY-SA, which requires that the text be linked and the author attributed. Attribution can be done by linking to the page history.

Though this reporter is not a lawyer, it appears that plagiarism can be avoided in most, but not all, situations simply by complying with copyright law. Copying Wikipedia text into an academic work has long been viewed as possible plagiarism, even if done by university freshmen, as shown in a 2010 article in The New York Times. The same article suggests that "using words [you] did not write is a serious misdeed" if those words are not attributed. The book Victory at Sea by Yale Professor Paul Kennedy, published by the Yale University Press, is an example of how to attribute. The 544 page book includes references to more than 80 Wikipedia articles.

Academics who wish to check whether copying text from Wikipedia is plagiarism need to check their university policies, but copying text from Wikipedia without attribution generally is a violation of the CC-BY-SA license and copyright law. If you present the words or ideas in Wikipedia as if they are your own, this is generally considered to be plagiarism.

Update: Before The Signpost could publish, I noticed that Molly White (aka User:GorillaWarfare) scooped me on this story with a 9 minute 42 second video published on Youtube. Kudos to Molly!S

An interesting sidelight to the above story is that Bill Ackman in the same set of tweets also wrote "I also wish I knew how to reach a human being at Wikipedia as my Wikipedia biography needs correcting, and could be meaningfully improved if there was someone I could speak to."

There are several ways you can communicate with Wikipedians fairly directly. If you register an account on Wikipedia you can write on the talkpage, Talk:Bill Ackman, pretty much whatever you would like, but I suggest it be in the form "The following text [blah blah blah] is incorrect, it should be replaced by [yadda yadda yadda]. This can be referenced by [link to a story in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times – or a similarly reliable source]".

You can also continue using declared paid editors such as NinaSpezz who says they were editing on your behalf through 2021, and FMatPSCM who says they have been editing for you from May 2022 through at least October 2023. They have been fairly polite compared to other paid editors, but you might ask them to be a bit less aggressive. They have no special editing rights that other editors do not have.

If you'd like something more private, you can contact our Volunteer Response Team (VRT) by email at info-en-q@wikimedia.org.

Or if you'd like to be interviewed by The Signpost for our next issue I'd be happy to drop off my contact details at your office with my formatting and other requirements. – S

Downgrading Iranian human rights atrocities?

The Times raises many questions in How Wikipedia is being changed to downgrade Iranian human rights atrocities (archive), also available in a slightly abridged version in The Australian. The story claims that an Iranian government cyber army is removing information from Wikipedia about atrocities committed against the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, also known as Mojahedin-e-Khalq or MEK, which opposes the government. The article is based on information provided by an unknown Wikipedian identified only as "Marco", which is not their username. Someone claiming to be Marco recently has also contacted The Signpost without offering us any information.

This dispute has a long history with a stop made at ArbCom in the 2021 Iranian politics case, which resulted in Iranian politics being named a contentious topic. The only information we can add is that over the past year several editors of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran article have been given harsh bans or blocks of varying severity. All of them appear to have supported the MEK side of the issue. Alex-h and ParadaJulio were globally banned by Wikimedia Foundation office actions. Stefka Bulgaria, Fad Ariff, and Iraniangal777, have received indefinite blocks from a checkuser, which usually indicates an egregious case of sockpuppetry. MA Javadi received a basic indefinite block for sockpuppetry. – S

In brief

Reaching for the Moon: Peregrine ahead of launch. Unfortunately, Wikipedia didn't make it to the Moon this time round.



Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit our next edition in the Newsroom or leave a tip on the suggestions page.



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WikiProjects Israel and Palestine

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By Shushugah

Readers should feel free to submit your own questions in the comments section below, as well as boldly add more background context or notable AfD examples.

The 2023 Israel–Hamas war was the 27th most visited article of 2023. It is not surprising that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict garners a lot of interest from editors of various political persuasions and worldviews. Unlike other topics however, there isn't one but two different WikiProjects principally responsible for maintaining coverage.

If you are reading this, you are part of Wikipedia and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

This report touches upon the editorial processes, challenges and differences behind the WikiProjects WP:Israel and WP:Palestine in covering the most politically contentious content on English Wikipedia. Despite many editors being active in topics covered by both projects, it appears the vast majority of editors don't have a strong identification with either project.

Background

WP:Israel was founded in September 2006; two months later, it was followed by WP:Palestine. Notably at the time, both projects explicitly stated that their scope excluded the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Internally, a lot has changed on Wikipedia since then. In November 2015, the Arbitration Committee restricted editing to users with extended-confirmed status in its ruling WP:ARBPIA3#500/30 — and in 2019, the one-revert rule was implemented to minimize edit warring. More general guidelines around WP:CONTENTIOUS, WP:BRD, and WP:DUE apply as well. It's a long way from the early days of Wikipedia.

From the River to AfD

Everything from content disputes, to casting of aspersions, to debates about image-selection choices can lead to a heated atmosphere. Even seemingly-mundane things like selecting the appropriate title to describe geographic areas can be major points of contention. This specific example is partly explained because the politics of toponymy lends credence to certain historical narratives, e.g. the Hebraization of Palestinian place names. This political tradition occurs within Wikipedia disputes most iconically in the form of deletion debates at Articles for Deletion.

One of the earliest AfD discussions (back then known as Votes for Deletion) was for Occupation of Palestine, in early September 2004, and concluded after a whopping 120 kilobytes worth of discussion. A revamped version was created on 14 September 2004. Between 2006 and 2008, the article Allegations of Israeli apartheid was nominated for deletion ten times, until it was redirected to its current target Israel and apartheid. Perhaps the eleventh attempt will make a more compelling case. While the arguments raised in the AfD resemble some of the talk page discussions today, the end results are fortunately much more stable and mature today.

Statistics for the mentioned AfDs was found via SQL query: Quarry 79511 (courtesy of JPxG).

Interview

Are you affiliated with either WP:Israel, WP:Palestine or both? How did you decide which project to affiliate with?

What is your favorite relevant example of collaboration that neutrally weaves and identifies different viewpoints?

It is challenging for many to edit without WP:BIAS. How do you ensure your editing complies with Wikipedia:Five Pillars?

What advice would you give to editors to help them keep their WP:COOL and avoid engaging in edit wars or violating the other stringent requirements listed at WP:ARBPIA?

Admins are not supposed to be WP:INVOLVED. What makes an admin well suited to volunteer in this area? Skill sets include WP:BEHAVIOUR, stopping WP:Harassment, WP:Socking, WP:1RR and also understanding complex content disputes.

The premise of Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Do you see the WP:ARBPIA3#500/30 restrictions being compatible with that vision?

Links




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Anthony Bradbury

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By DreamRimmer
A bearded man sitting on grass holding a book.

Anthony Bradbury (User:Anthony_Bradbury) joined Wikipedia in April 2006. He liked to be called Tony.

Offline, he was born in 1943 and worked as a general practitioner for many years; he lived in Newhaven, England. Online, he served as an administrator on the English Wikipedia for over sixteen years.

Tony's areas of interest were naval and military history, Imperial and contemporary Rome, Ancient Egypt, pre‑Dreadnought battleships, Dreadnought battleships, and battlecruisers, military aircraft, National Socialist Germany, and medical science and practice. He passed away on January 1, 2024.



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The most viewed articles of 2023

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By Igordebraga, Benmite, CAWylie, Krimuk2.0, ltbdl, Ollieisanerd, Rajan51, Serendipodous, Shuipzv3, TheJoebro64

Out of all the things that drew viewer attention in 2023, we can see some duality. Humans are so advanced in technology that the top spot is a chatbot showing how far artificial intelligence has gone, but so difficult in morality that there are two armed conflicts, a convicted criminal, and another who is being prosecuted yet still wishing to resume his political career. The usual entries on sports and movies are here, but reminding that India's huge population is a great counter to Americentrism (the top 10 alone includes two entries on India's favorite sport and the country's two highest-grossing movies of the year, and on the rest of the list there are four more entries on their prolific film industry), as is the worldwide popularity of association football (the biggest league and three very famous footballers, one of whom is retired; American football only scored an entry because of a player's new girlfriend), and also telling that the year was all over the place in Hollywood, with success stories (the 6 highest-grossing movies of the year plus the top earner from 2022, the big winner of the Academy Awards, and an acclaimed sequel), displays of failure (the expensive final chapter of a once-mighty franchise that didn't make much impact), and a case in-between (the latest by a legendary director that did not make much money but was hailed as one of the year's best movies). HBO provides two highly contrasting shows: an adaptation of unquestionable success that even brought in its main actor to this list, and a limited show of questionable quality whose controversies were higher than its viewership numbers. To remain in pairs, there are the two countries that most shape the list, a billionaire and the website he has been mishandling, the American head of government and the British head of state, a blonde singer in a billion dollar tour and a blonde actress in a billion dollar movie, and the late father of one of the year's deceased along with the late mother of that British king. Finishing it off, the yearly death list and four high-profile departures.

Based on data from the Pageviews tool and prepared with commentary by:

Rank Article Class Views Image About Peak
1 ChatGPT 52,565,681 It's the first time an app or website has aroused this much non-bot-generated attention in quite some time, but what this bot can generate has piqued the interest of artificial intelligence fanatics the world over while creating new ones faster than the material it produces. There's not much to summarize here – if your only exposure to the happenings of the outside world is this yearly report, you can go to ChatGPT to ask it what it is. Its answer may shock you, mystify you, and even lie to you, but it won't slow down. It simply can't. I could try to explain LLMs (the massive neural networks used for programs like ChatGPT), but even their own developers can't. So why should I? (Hint: I don't understand them.)

This particular text generator by OpenAI takes the top spot by a huge margin in a way few articles have, feeling less like a brief fascination with the macabre like last year's Dahmer and more like a harbinger of things to come, à la COVID-19's taking of our coveted first spot years ago. And like COVID-19, it's hard to imagine that the advancements that come with the rapid AI arms race brought on by ChatGPT's whirlwind popularity will not come without some barely-understood long-term side effects, loss of smell notwithstanding. Yes, there's plenty to look forward to if you’re part of the AI in-crowd – better healthcare, more space travel, hell, maybe even immortality! But what this all means for the rest of us has yet to be seen, and if AI's frontmen and opinion polls are to be believed, it might even be the extinction of the human race. What are ya gonna do, right? Definitely not lobby world governments to let you make AI more and more powerful while convincing them to push for stricter restrictions on other companies' technology ... right?

The very least we can say about all this is that we're all in it together – but whether or not that the "we" in question even includes us humans will become harder to discern with time. I'll assure you that a human wrote this entry, but I can't guarantee that future reports won't be AI-generated.

Mar. 30
2 Deaths in 2023 48,603,284 Ever since the death of David Bowie back in 2016, notable celebrity deaths have dominated the Top 25 Reports, and in many cases the year reports as well, and the Deaths in year lists that includes them all. Those who have died that are featured below are: #16, #22, #33, and #44. Other notable high-viewed celebrity deaths this year included Henry Kissinger, Lance Reddick, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Paul Reubens. Jan. 13 (see #22)
3 2023 Cricket World Cup 38,723,498 The thirteenth edition of cricket's premier tournament was held in the country with the highest number of cricket fans (helped by its large population). After 48 matches and 46 days, the Australians bucked the trend of hosts winning the World Cup to snatch the title from the Indians, who were unbeaten before the final. Nov. 19 (final)
4 Oppenheimer (film) 31,265,503 If you had told Marvel fans in 2019 that an R-rated three hour biopic will make more money than any MCU film released in the same year, you would have been laughed out of the room, but that's exactly what happened this year, with some help from a meme. Christopher Nolan delivered with a gripping film that asks the question: What if man has too much power? A chain reaction that would destroy the entire world? Maybe. The story unfolds in Nolan's non-linear format going back and forth between two characters, a government official called Lewis Strauss and the physicist who led the Manhattan Project, played by Cillian Murphy. However, the father of the atomic bomb had been associated with Communist Party members, and came under intense scrutiny following the start of the Cold War, culminating in the loss of his security clearance. July 23 (finishes opening weekend with $180 million worldwide)
5 J. Robert Oppenheimer 28,681,943 July 22 (day after biopic's release)
6 Cricket World Cup 26,390,217 As a fighting reptile once said "Cricket? Nobody understands cricket! You gotta know what a crumpet is to understand cricket!" After all, in North America cricket is just a loud bug, but in the rest of the Anglosphere it's a sport popular enough for the only countries to win its world championship to be England itself and its former colonies, namely Australia (biggest winners, with the most recent edition, #3, being their sixth title), India (hosts of #3, whose massive population helped drive up the Wikipedia views), the West Indies (a congregation of Anglophone Caribbean territories), Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Nov. 19 (2023 final)
7 Jawan (film) 23,112,884 Released in September, this Indian action-thriller was the second film of the year for its star Shah Rukh Khan. While it may technically be a Bollywood film, its director and supporting cast are well known in the Kollywood film industry, which may have helped it break the box-office records set by Khan's previous outing, (#10). Jawan received was praised by critics, and became the highest-grossing Indian film of 2023, a spot it will hope to keep. (Sadly, we will not know for sure because this report will be published before the last big Indian film of the year finishes its run in theatres). Sep. 7 (release)
8 Taylor Swift 22,179,656 2023 was, in a turn I imagine very few people expected, the year of the Swiftie. No, seriously, even Time says so!

A more passive pop culture consumer might have balked at the idea of Taylor Swift becoming any more world famous than she already was before this year, but the eagle-eyed and extremely online among us saw the pieces coming together the entire time (because she's a mastermiiind...) The implosion of Ticketmaster over fans clamoring to get Eras Tour tickets, the growing fervor for the "Taylor's Versions" of her albums, and the budding comparisons of her to Beyoncé, who was unfortunately left in the dust on this year's list despite embarking on her own record-breaking world tour this year, felt like big red signs that something huge was coming.

Admittedly, it's jarring to try and broach the subject of Swift, not only because her now-gargantuan fanbase could pounce at any moment but because anything I could say about her would be redundant. Her music is overplayed, but she's also deserving of all of the acclaim, even if she is a capitalist, which makes her more of a marketing genius, but she's also heavily contributing to climate change, yet all of this talk about her just reeks of misogyny, even if she's really just a white feminist, and who's Taylor Swift anyway? Hearing about the onslaught of ever-changing opinions on a woman whose life and wealth will likely be altered by none of them would be just as exhausting as writing about it, so let's just stick to the facts of what got her on the list this year.

Early on in the year, Swift's pageviews were relatively low (even if low for her doesn't exactly translate to low for the average Wikipedia article) with a brief spike in February for the Grammys, where she won the award for Best Music Video for directing All Too Well: The Short Film. Then, of course, began the Eras Tour in March in Glendale, Arizona, which was briefly renamed Swift City for her arrival. The tour is now the highest-grossing concert tour of all time even with more to come, each date of which lasted over three hours and spanned each of her albums, or eras, and brought billions to the U.S. economy. Tragedy struck in April for Swift when her six-year-long relationship with actor Joe Alwyn, which (likely) inspired plenty of her songs like the atrocious less-than-impressive "London Boy", came to a swift end. She came back stronger than a 90s trend only a month later when she and The 1975 frontman Matty Healy started dating, but that soon spelled out a PR disaster for Swift when Healy appeared on an episode of a "dirtbag left"-style podcast where the hosts called rapper Ice Spice an "Inuit Spice Girl" and a "chubby Chinese lady" and mocked Chinese accents. Swift shook off Healy and rolled out an all too convenient remix of her song "Karma" featuring the neither Chinese nor Inuit rapper that left critics and fans feeling like Swift might be trying to evade her own karma. July brought us Speak Now (Taylor's Version), which gave Swift the most number-one albums on the Billboard 200 chart among any female artist, as well as a literal Swiftquake when her Seattle tour stop led to seismic activity equivalent to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake.

The North American leg of her tour ended in August, by which point The New York Times had defined it as "both a business and a cultural juggernaut", and she announced that her next re-recording would be of her 2014 album, 1989. Pageviews started to decline until September when, out of left field, in came 1989-born Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce as her new lover. Her spirited appearances at Chiefs games throughout October led to Kelce becoming a veritable sports superstar and the NFL to experience the "Taylor Swift effect", while her release of 1989 (Taylor's Version) made her a billionaire and her 2019 song "Cruel Summer" rocketed to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, four years after its release. Also that month, her concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour came out in theaters and became the highest-grossing concert movie. So overall, I guess it was an okay year for her.

Sep. 25 (leaves NFL game with Travis Kelce)
9 The Last of Us (TV series) 21,000,722 The past few years have seen video game adaptations go from the butt of countless jokes to the hot new trend, as Hollywood begins to turn its sight towards them as franchise fodder now that the superhero bubble appears to be popping. This HBO series, based on the franchise created by Naughty Dog for Sony's PlayStation, kicked off an especially strong year for video game adaptations. The first season of The Last of Us faithfully adapts the events of the original 2013 game, following the smuggler Joel (played by #41) as he escorts the teenage Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across the US in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.

Neil Druckmann, who wrote and co-directed the game, co-created the show with Craig Mazin. In addition to Druckmann, many of the game's developers were involved with the production and several of its actors make cameos. The Last of Us became a massive ratings success following its January 15 premiere, with an average of 32 million viewers per episode, and received widespread acclaim for the performances, writing, production design, and music. Unsurprisingly, a second season, adapting the events of the 2020 game The Last of Us Part II, has been greenlit and is set to premiere in 2025.

I haven't watched it yet, partly because I haven't had time and partly because I remain bitter that they massacred my boy. (Seeing how broken the PC port of the remake of the first game, which was rushed out to capitalize on the show, was at launch was the most wonderful schadenfreude I've experienced since the first time I sat down and watched Sony's glorious E3 2006 conference, an HD recording of which surfaced this year.)

Jan. 16 (premiere)
10 Pathaan (film) 20,614,066 Before this film, its star Shah Rukh Khan had not had a major commercial success since 2015. And Bollywood itself seemed to have lost its shine with none of its films being among the five biggest films in India in 2022. Then everything changed this January as Pathaan went on a record-breaking spree, tearing down records for Hindi films, and held the top spot among Indian films in 2023 until #7 came along. It re-established its star as a major box office draw, and ushered in a good year for Hindi films at the box office. Jan. 26 (second day of release)
11 Premier League 19,968,486 The British invented football (no, we won't call it soccer), and their league is the biggest of the world. The 2022–23 Premier League was one of massive pain for Arsenal F.C., who haven't won the title since the unbeaten campaign of 2003-04, and seemed poised to take it all by leading through most of the championship, only to choke in the final rounds and let Manchester City win their third straight Premier League, which this season was part of a treble along with the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. Riding the goals of Erling Haaland, Man City is still in the top 4 of the 2023-24 season as the year ends, and hope that they can become the first English team with four straight national championships. And along with the worldwide popularity of the English clubs, this article probably had a views boost from Indians who wanted to check the page on the Indian Premier League of cricket and instead landed on another country and sport. Sep. 16 (2023-24 round 5)
12 Barbie (film) 19,930,916 The other half of Barbenheimer featuring the iconic toy asks the question: What if men have too much power?[1] Directed by Greta Gerwig, the film follows "Stereotypical Barbie" played by Margot Robbie on her journey to understand human emotions caused by a rift between the real/human world and her utopia, and fight against the patriarchy. The film grossed over $1.4 billion and landed the top spot at the annual box office, which must have given a lot of confidence for its toymaker which already had plans for 45 more movies featuring their toys! July 23 (finishes opening weekend with $356 million worldwide)
13 Cristiano Ronaldo 19,287,757 Ronaldo and #17 made their marks in the football world this year. He made his 200th appearance in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying, the first Portuguese to do so. However, his publicly burning bridges with United at the end of 2022 and signing with Al Nassr for a record $136 million in 2023, put him at the top of Forbes list of the world's highest-paid athletes for the year, slightly ahead of Messi. Feb. 5 (38th birthday)
14 The Idol (TV series) 19,186,512 In last year's report, I railed on Euphoria as a waste of a slot (especially when there was a much better show that could've and should've been an entry), so when I saw that another Sam Levinson show wasted a slot on the report this year, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to rail on his work some more.

The series stars Lily-Rose Depp as a pop star who falls victim to/develops a relationship with a cult leader portrayed by Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, who co-created the series with Levinson. Months before The Idol's premiere, reports emerged that after its original director, Amy Seimetz, departed, Levinson attempted to remold the series—ostensibly a satire about the predatory side of the entertainment industry—into a clone of Euphoria. While the reports haven't been 100% confirmed, the series is undeniably that same Euphoria brand of misery porn that masquerades as "thought-provoking" and "deep" drama.

If #9 was HBO's yang, then The Idol was its yin—critics lambasted the series for its writing, performances, and handling of the subject matter, with at least one critic describing it as one of the worst TV shows ever made. Poor ratings led to it being canceled just two months after its premiere in June, which provided even more schadenfreude for me.

June 19 (release of third episode)
15 United States 18,135,421 If you are expecting a witty, insightful comment on the state of this country, past or present, prepare to be sorely disappointed. July 4 (Independence Day)
16 Matthew Perry 17,882,508 In November 2022, the actor best known for playing Chandler Bing in Friends (his filmography has few bright spots otherwise, like the movies Fools Rush In, The Whole Nine Yards, and 17 Again, and the show The Odd Couple) released a memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, recalling his struggles with alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs, discussing his insecurities and fears that made him never marry or have children, and showing the same self-deprecating humor of Perry's signature role – "Excuse me? You went for a walk and quit drinking? I have spent upward of $7 million trying to get sober. I have been to six thousand AA meetings. (Not an exaggeration, more an educated guess.) I’ve been to rehab fifteen times. I've been in a mental institution, gone to therapy twice a week for thirty years, been to death’s door. And you went for a fucking walk?" Few could have known that less than a year after finishing said book discussing his newfound taste for life and interest in what lied ahead, Perry would be found dead at just 54 in a bathtub, due to ketamine and coronary artery disease leading to unconsciousness and drowning. Fans were shocked and saddened, which is reflected in all the views Perry's article got, and just about every past co-star posted a tribute, including the five other Friends. Oct. 29 (death announced)
17 Lionel Messi 17,768,818 Let's see, in 2023, he scored 100 international goals, only the third footballer in history to do so; he was awarded his eighth Ballon d'Or, the only player to win it with three clubs; he signed a $130 million contract with Inter Miami; oh, and he was named Time Athlete of the Year, the first footballer to ever win the award. July 22 (day after Inter Miami debut)
18 Animal (2023 film) 16,988,676 This Bollywood action drama about an overgrown boy (played by Ranbir Kapoor) spouting nonsense about the virtues of being an "alpha" while threatening to beat up women and making them lick his shoe is #28's wet dream. It's telling that a "conservative" Indian society doesn't find this problematic, as Animal quickly became the third-biggest Hindi film grosser of the year. Just as critics lambasted the film's misogyny, writer-director Sandeep Reddy Vanga, in true "alpha" style, called them "‘illiterate" and "uneducated", while the film's official Twitter account trolled a female critic who had panned the film. Dec. 2 (day after release)
19 Elon Musk 16,026,256 For two Top 50 reports in a year, we've expressed a desire to never see nor hear about Elon Musk again, but his constant stream of provocative statements and questionable business decisions—not to mention the media's obsession with him—have sadly made that impossible.

Perhaps Musk's most bizarre action of the year was his decision to rebrand Twitter (#40), which he acquired last year, as "X", phasing out its iconic bird branding. The rebrand has (pretend to be shocked) failed to catch on, with the vast majority of Earth's populace continuing to refer to it as "Twitter", posts as "tweets", reposts as "retweets", and so on.

There's plenty more I could say about Musk, such as an incident in November in which he triggered an advertiser boycott of Twitter (see?) after expressing support for the white genocide conspiracy theory (for which he later apologized), but it is simply a waste of my time, effort, and brain cells (many of which I have lost while writing this). People, please stop clicking links to his article.

Apr. 18 (TruthGPT, first step of rebrand, and announcement of flight test)
20 India 15,200,006 A recent survey suggested that the number of English speakers in India may truly be just half what had been suggested by the 2011 census, the source for Wikipedia's article on the subject. But even if that were true, India would still have more English speakers than, well, England. And given the relative rarity of topics of British interest appearing on this list compared to those of Indian interest, I'd say it isn't. Sep. 5 (speculation of renaming)
21 Avatar: The Way of Water 15,062,733 Oh no! This movie could make only $2.3 billion because its predecessor did not have any cultural impact! It's funny watching people think that if something is not popular online, that means nobody likes it. James Cameron proved the naysayers wrong when his sequel to the biggest film of all time shattered box office expectations worldwide, despite coming 13 years after the original. It cruised past Top Gun: Maverick in the first week of the year, and just kept going, flowing past all but two movies in #50. Even a rerelease of Cameron's own Titanic didn't stand a chance. Jan. 2 (third weekend atop box office)
22 Lisa Marie Presley 14,812,928 The late daughter of The King (#35), who was married to Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage, was among the first celebrity deaths of the year. Jan. 13 (died)
23 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 14,155,874 Something is rotten in the kingdom of Marvel, as Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Five showed the highest-grossing movie franchise ever reached a state of saturation and fluctuating quality. Audiences were underwhelmed by Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, unimpressed by Secret Invasion, apathetic towards The Marvels and ambivalent on whether season 2 of Loki was too reliant on complicated time mechanics. The only unquestionable success was the goodbye to an unexpected hit, as 9 years after a C-list cosmic team whose members included a tree and a raccoon resulted in a beloved blockbuster, viewers were both fearing for the raccoon's life and deeply moved by his origin story involving a mad scientist obsessed with evolution and animal experimentation. Along with positive reception, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 had a box office of $845 million worldwide, the year's fourth highest (behind #12, #40 and #4) and the only massive hit in an off-year for Disney (who had no billion dollar movies for the first time since 2014, and didn't reap that many profits from Quantumania, Elemental and The Little Mermaid given how much they cost). 2024 will at least reduce the MCU's overexposure as Hollywood strikes reduced the theatrical releases to only Deadpool 3. And at the same time their Distinguished Competition will be preparing the restart of their film franchise through the same James Gunn that turned the Guardians of the Galaxy into a household name and will be writing and directing a new Superman (and to think Marvel would still have Gunn if some conservatives didn't decide to make a big deal out of his old tweets...). May 6 (second day of release)
24 Russian invasion of Ukraine 13,998,378 Sadly, the war continues in its second year. Fighting and casualties remained heavy, and Ukrainian cities and civilians continue to be attacked by Russian artillery, missiles and drones, though overall there was comparatively little territorial change compared to last year. In January, Ukraine's allies finally agreed to send the tanks it had long requested, such as the German Leopard 2, the British Challenger 2 and the American M1 Abrams.

In February, US president Joe Biden (#46) made a surprise visit to Kyiv. In March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Russian president Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes. On 4 April, Finland officially became a member of NATO.

In May, Russia finally captured Bakhmut after months of bloody fighting, though the Wagner Group's leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, later withdrew his forces amid continuing conflict with the Russian Ministry of Defence. This culminated with the Wagner Group rebellion on 23 June, in which Wagner forces took control of the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and marched a column toward Moscow, before abruptly ending it the next day after Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko brokered a settlement. Prigozhin and several other key figures of Wagner died on 23 August when the business jet carrying them crashed.

Also in June, Ukraine launched a counteroffensive, drawing on the aid it received in the preceding months, though as the months passed, analysts assessed it had not met its goals and the war had turned into a "stalemate". And the war continues to 2024...

June 24 (Wagner Group rebellion)
25 Leo (2023 Indian film) 13,994,461 It looks like Hollywood's ideas seem to be gaining traction in other countries as well. This Kollywood action film is the third entry in director Lokesh Kanagaraj's Lokesh Cinematic Universe. It stars Vijay, and despite opening to mixed reviews from critics, it went on to become the highest-grossing Kollywood film. Oct. 19 (released)
26 List of highest-grossing Indian films 13,904,959 Unlike Americans, whose films' budgets long ago climbed north of government departments, thus rendering their domestic take meaningless, Indians still follow the grosses of their blockbuster films. Give them time. The Bollywood version of Marvel is just around the corner. Jan. 30 (#10 keeps climbing)
27 2023 Israel–Hamas war 13,647,220 Two years in a row have sadly seen the start of a major war, this one beginning in October. The Holy Land has seen much conflict since 1948, as a nation of Jews and a nation of Arabs both have the right to exist, but there's never a consensus on how to split the territory, which added to a tendency for intolerance has unfortunately led to recurring armed violence. The latest one started once Hamas, the extremist party who rules the Gaza Strip and has been labeled as a terrorist organization, fired their rockets and infiltrated Israel during the holiday of Simchat Torah. Israel returned fire with aerial strikes followed by a ground invasion of Gaza, along with blocking any resources from entering Gaza. With the only pause being a week-long ceasefire for hostage exchanges, over 23,000 have died, hundreds of thousands have been displaced, both sides have been accused of commiting war crimes, and the blockade caused lots of suffering for the Gazans (particularly because hospitals are barely able to operate).

50 years ago, the Yom Kippur War ended after a month. This one is about to finish its third month of conflict, and right as 2024 started, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated "this will take six months at least, and involve intense mopping-up missions against the terrorists", no matter if the international community would just prefer for the bloodshed to end as soon as possible.

Oct. 9 (Gaza blockade)
29 Israel 13,344,140
28 Andrew Tate 13,604,475 Depending on your personal opinion, this internet celebrity turned human trafficking suspect is either "the poster child of toxic masculinity" or "a role model for all modern men with "inspirational quotes"." Tate's 2022 came to close with him and his brother Tristan being arrested in Romania on suspicion of human trafficking and creating an organized crime group to exploit women (he was in a "silly, goofy mood"). He began his house arrest in March after leaving prison whilst still under investigation. In June, his accusers went into hiding and in return the Tate brothers sued them for defamation. All this led to him being the third-most "googled" person in 2023 and appearing on this list. Jan. 1 (three days after arrest)
30 Elizabeth II 13,021,033 The British queen for 70 years until her death last year, making 2023 the first year with no Elizabeth since 1925. It's rare that you find a figure in an annual report in the year AFTER they died; her Majesty's appearance on this list was probably helped by the final season of The Crown airing and the coronation of her son (#42), who somehow managed to get less views than his mother despite actually being alive. May 6 (son crowned)
31 David Beckham 12,850,994 Ten years after retiring, the English striker renowned for both powerful free kicks and extreme marketability due to metrosexual good looks remains one of the most recognizable names in football, best demonstrated by how millions went to Netflix to watch a documentary miniseries on his life, Beckham (which has oft-amusing appearances by his wife, once and future Spice Girl Victoria Beckham). His Major League Soccer team Inter Miami FC also made worldwide headlines by signing #17. And given getting India's attention helps in boosting Wikipedia views, in November Beckham visited the country as part of his UNICEF humanitarian work, was in attendance as their cricket team won #3's semifinal, and afterwards attended a party hosted by #7 and #10's star Shah Rukh Khan. Oct. 7 (three days after Beckham)
32 Fast X 12,763,269 The eleventh film of the Fast & Furious franchise that everyone is definitely not sick of, as reflected by the Metacritic scores. May 18 (released)
33 Sinéad O'Connor 12,712,846 Amongst the many celebrity deaths this year was this Irish singer at the age of 56, who was best known for covering a Prince song and later for stirring controversy as well as praise for ripping up a picture of The Pope live on SNL. O'Connor was honored with the Irish president Michael D. Higgins attending her funeral with thousands paying tributes. The coroner's report stated she died of natural causes. July 26 (dies)
34 Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse 12,705,868 Almost five years after he was introduced to the big screen in a great movie, Miles Morales returns in a long awaited sequel that somehow manages to improve upon the original in terms of both the animation and the storytelling. This time, he faces a villain who comes across as someone that can be easily dismissed and an antagonist who tries to make him solve the trolley problem a certain way. The movie ends in what may be considered to be a cliff-hanger, and leaves the audience waiting for a sequel whose release date has not yet been decided. But if this movie's improvement at the box office over its predecessor is anything to go by ($690 million vs $375 million), one can expect the sequel to make a lot more. June 2 (released)
35 Elvis Presley 12,584,150 Following a year that saw The King of Rock n' Roll's music career and life depicted in the biopic Elvis, 2023 started with a sad reason to remember him, as his daughter (#22) passed away in January. And by the end of the year there was another movie and another woman in his life, his widow Priscilla Presley, who was chronicled by Sofia Coppola in Priscilla, where Elvis was played by Jacob Elordi. Jan. 13 (daughter died)
36 Killers of the Flower Moon (film) 12,525,826 For the second time in a row, a streaming giant gave Martin Scorsese $200 million to make a 1900s period crime drama starring Robert De Niro as a malefactor (though this time he's the crime boss, not the hitman). Scorsese's latest film adapts David Grann's 2017 book Killers of the Flower Moon, which recounts the Osage Indian murders that took place in Oklahoma between 1918 and 1931. Though it's unlikely to break even, having grossed just over $156 million at the time of this writing, reviews have lauded Killers of the Flower Moon as one of Scorsese's best and a step forward for Indigenous representation in film. Oct. 21 (day after release)
37 Twitter 12,220,814 2023 was the first full year of Musk's ownership of Twitter and, as mentioned in his entry (#19), saw his questionable decision to rebrand it as X and ditch the bird logo. Musk's stated goal is to turn the platform into an "everything app," but many of his decisions made people (including myself!) wonder if he was intentionally trying to kill it.

Such decisions included the overhaul of the verification system to make it entirely reliant on paid subscriptions, hampering the ability of non-registered users to browse the site, and limits to the amount of tweets a user can see per day, just to name a few. Concerns over the app's growing instability and a rise in hate speech led to many users jumping ship to alternatives, such as Bluesky and Threads. Even dril left—let that sink in for a moment.

One of the few positive changes, however, was the introduction of the Community Notes feature, which allows users to add context and/or fact checks to others' tweets. It's led to some hilarious interactions and takedowns, the best of which have been documented by the "community notes violating people" account.

July 24 (rebranded to X)
38 List of American films of 2023 12,197,227 Ten years ago, Steven Spielberg made a prediction: There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.

2023 saw multiple big movies crash at the box office, with the biggest ones being Shazam: Fury of the Gods, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, The Flash, Blue Beetle, The Marvels, and Wish.

Combined with other disappointments, the strikes – 2023 Writers Guild of America strike and 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike – and the success of #12, #40, and #4 making 2023 the first year since 2001 when there are no sequels among the three biggest movies of the year, it looks like this year might be a turning point for Hollywood.

Apr. 2
39 Travis Kelce 12,155,733 For those who watch the National Football League, Travis Kelce is the tight end of the Kansas City Chiefs. Considered one of the greatest players in the position, this year he won his second Super Bowl when he helped his team defeat the Philadelphia Eagles, in which his brother, Jason Kelce, plays. While rivals on the field, the two brothers have a close relationship off-field; they co-host a podcast, New Heights, and alternate between praising and insulting each other the way only brothers do on "Fairytale of Philadelphia", a parody of the Christmas classic "Fairytale of New York", on a charity Christmas album by the Philadelphia Eagles.

On the other hand, for those not familiar with the NFL (which is probably most people outside the United States), and even to some Americans, it is undoubtedly a connection with another singer which Kelce is most-known for. Yes, he started dating #8. Chaos ensued on social media when Swift showed up at one of his games to cheer him on, then the two of them got in his car and drove off into the sunset. Sales of his jersey went up 400%, and his podcast shot to No. 1. New viewers, particularly women, tuned in in droves, which the NFL quickly capitalized on, to the point that Kelce thought they were "overdoing" it. Swifties began pranking the men in their lives by claiming she "put Kelce on the map" and filmed their reactions. And chaos continued to ensue whenever they were spotted together, like when they made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live, or when she changed the lyrics to a song in reference to him.

So what is it about this relationship, described by one publication as "Gen Z's Posh Spice and Becks" (#31), that has captivated so many people? Maybe it's the old rom-com archetype of the "All-American athlete dating the All-American pop star". Maybe it reminds people of the title character of #12 and Ken. Maybe it takes people out of the sorry state of the world, e.g. #24 and #27. Whatever it is, no doubt people will continue to pay attention in 2024, as Kelce vies for a third Super Bowl and Swift resumes her record-breaking Eras Tour.

Sep. 25 (#8 watches his game)
40 The Super Mario Bros. Movie 12,065,680 After the awful attempt to bring one of the most popular video game characters to the big screen in 1993, Nintendo gave up on Hollywood. It took the makers of Despicable Me and almost three decades to gain their trust for another attempt, made for children and people who grew up with the games. However, this time, the results were explosive, with the film making over $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office and becoming the highest-grossing video game movie of all time by a big margin. Its success has encouraged Nintendo to go ahead with more movies. Beyond the film's success, the greater franchise had an incredibly active year, seeing the return of 2D Super Mario games, the return of traditional Mario RPGs, and the return of Funky Kong. Apr. 5 (released)
41 Pedro Pascal 12,022,551 Chilean-born actor José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal, in the words of his friend Sarah Paulson, "landed so surely in the cosmos, with such shattering force" that in 2023, few people in Hollywood have had as many people talking about them as him. He hosted Saturday Night Live, returned for a third season of The Mandalorian, starred in a short film directed by Pedro Almodóvar, and most importantly, was protagonist Joel Miller in our #9, which even landed him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. And 2024 is another busy year for him, as Pascal is set to appear in Freaky Tales (by the Captain Marvel directors), Drive-Away Dolls (by half of the Coen brothers), and the unexpected sequel Gladiator 2 (still by Ridley Scott). And that's not counting the rumours about him becoming Mr. Fantastic in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe take on the Fantastic Four. Feb. 5 (#9's fourth episode)
42 Charles III 11,978,873 Following the death of his mother (#30) in September 2022, the British king began his first full year as monarch, receiving a proper coronation with his wife in May. His public approval rating in the UK jumped from 42 to 52 percent since ascending the throne (55% in April). May 6 (coronation)
43 Donald Trump 11,925,480 After being absent from the Report last year, 2023 was an eventful year for the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York actor former president—and not exactly in a good way.

In 2023, Trump had four criminal indictments filed against him: a March indictment for the Stormy Daniels hush money scandal; a June indictment for his alleged mishandling of classified documents; an August indictment for attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election; and another August indictment for his election obstruction efforts in Georgia. That last indictment brought us the first (and currently only) mug shot of a US president, which quickly became fodder for memes and merchandise.

And all this happened as Trump began another run for the White House. Despite these legal hurdles, his rhetoric becoming increasingly inflammatory (to the point that many are characterizing it as authoritarian), and disputes over whether he's even eligible to be on the ballot due to his involvement in the January 6 attack, he maintains a large lead over his Republican primary rivals in polling. 2024 appears to be shaping up as a rematch of 2020, and Trump's even ahead of #46 in current polling.

God, I fucking dread the next election cycle.

Aug. 25 (indicted, with memetic mug shot)
44 Tina Turner 11,634,915 As big wheels keep on turning, another celebrity death with the singer who had truly unstoppable energy. Beginning her career in music with her then-husband Ike, the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" then launched her own super successful solo career in the 1980s, earning six Grammys during that time. Even though she retired to a peaceful life in Switzerland in 2009, her death in May aged 83 still garnered millions of visits that earned her a place on this annual report, and led to people being reminded that she was simply the best. May 24 (died)
45 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny 11,563,900 There was room in the current Hollywood ecosystem for a movie about Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford is a legend. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a rising star. Mads Mikkelsen is the euro-baddie du jour. It's just that the audience for such a film is now mostly 40 and over, and people that age don't go to movies more than once. So why in the name of the Ark of the Covenant was this film's budget $300 million? Did they honestly think a billion dollars was in the cards for this franchise? Particularly after the last one? July 2 (fourth day of release)
46 Joe Biden 11,152,150 Like his predecessor and rival (#43), the current US president began his 2024 campaign for re-election. Also like his predecessor and rival, Biden faces an uphill battle.

Biden doesn't have any indictments to worry about (the impeachment inquiry that House Republicans initiated this year doesn't seem poised to go anywhere), but he ended the year trailing Trump in polling and his approval rating sits at just 39%. His hardline support for #29 in #27 has proven unpopular among fellow Democrats, and polling indicates an overwhelming majority of Americans believe he is too old for a second term. His son Hunter's legal woes are also certain to be weaponized by political rivals.

Will 2024 end up being the first presidential rematch since 1956? Will Biden pull a Lyndon B. Johnson and drop out? Will Trump end up in a prison cell before the polls open? Will Robert F. Kennedy Jr. actually end up on the debate stage alongside the major party nominees like current polling suggests he will? Stay tuned for more from America's favorite soap opera, coming in 2024!

Apr. 25 (announces bid for re-election)
47 John Wick: Chapter 4 11,133,720 In 2014, film studio executives had so little confidence in the first John Wick that it was nearly doomed to go direct to video. Nine years later, John Wick has garnered a reputation as one of the industry's most consistent franchises, with Chapter 4 managing the unlikely feat of continuing its critical and commercial success for the fourth time in a row. The simple pleasure of watching Keanu Reeves effortlessly dispatching foes as if it's a game of Superhot has proven hard to resist, as John Wick: Chapter 4 became the highest-grossing film in the series, with earnings surpassing $440 million worldwide.

The franchise shows no sign of slowing down, either—a prequel series, The Continental, premiered on Peacock in September, while the Ana de Armas-led spin-off Ballerina is set to hit theaters next year. Meanwhile, John Wick: Chapter 5 is in development, so it's safe to say we'll be seeing plenty more of the Baba Yaga in the near future.

Mar. 25 (day after release)
48 Gadar 2 11,129,684 A 66-year old Sunny Deol made a career comeback after over a decade of decline with a sequel to his career's biggest hit, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001). Gadar 2 proved that nostalgia, nationalistic sentiment, and ageing men will never go out of vogue in India, no matter how tackily made the film is. This also reminds us what a stunning year it has been for the Hindi film box office, with four historic grossers, all of which have made this list (in perfect order of their gross, no less!). Aug. 13 (finishes opening weekend at #1)
49 Everything Everywhere All at Once 11,115,623 A 2022 film which dropped out of nowhere and decided to become one of the best movies ever created. It was directed by the Daniels, and stars Michelle Yeoh as the main character. You're asking why I wrote "one of the best movies"? What's wrong with that? No, I'm not biased. No, I didn't cry watching it, why are you asking? Mar. 13 (wins the Academy Award for Best Picture)
50 Margot Robbie 11,041,143 Ten years after her breakthrough in The Wolf of Wall Street, Margot Robbie has proven herself as a big star, between her beloved turn as Harley Quinn in the DC Extended Universe, box office hits such as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Academy Award nominations for I, Tonya and Bombshell, and even producing jobs like Promising Young Woman. And nowhere this Australian beauty shone harder than as Barbie in our #12, given beyond looking the part she pulled off effortlessly both the comedic moments (including one at her expense, as Barbie saying "I'm not stereotypical Barbie pretty!" led the narrator to add "Note to the filmmakers: Margot Robbie is the wrong person to cast if you want to make this point.") and the dramatic ones, making her name start to show up in the awards circuit. Next for Mrs. Robbie is a reunion with her Ken Ryan Gosling in a Ocean's prequel, where they will play the parents of the robbers portrayed by George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. July 23 (#12 gives biggest opening of career)
  1. ^ I got that joke from the Pitch Meeting

Exclusions

Toolforge's list, along with not including redirect views (for instance, Russian invasion of Ukraine was renamed a few times) and somehow excluding The Idol, has many pages we eliminate for suspicious numbers or activities:



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JPxG
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2024-01-10

everybody gangsta till the style sheets start cascading

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By JPxG

This issue — I'm sure everybody cares about this and is really interested in reading about it — I have spent some time optimizing the templates for crosswords, including a new several that allow for really easy formatting of the clues and answers. You can see the answer formatting in the last issue, for which I've added them.

I apologize to our phonular readers, for whom this sucks and doesn't work right; I am trying to figure out some CSS stuff that will let the highlighting properly on mobile. One major limitation is that it's impossible to just do what every other website (i.e. TV Tropes, the SCP wiki, etc) does and run clientside JavaScript from Wikipedia's MediaWiki install, meaning that 99% of the available technologies for hiding/displaying inline text are just not available. But surely we can use just vanilla tags like <details> and <summary>, and those wouldn't get roosterblocked by the parser, right?

<details>
    <summary>Open this to read a
    boring go-off</summary>
    Wow, hidden content! These are two of those
    sexy semantic HTML tags everyone forgets
    about the existence of, and would rather
    use a megabyte of JavaScript to do the
    same thing.<br/>

    But since I'm really smart and I know
    they exist, in theory it should be really
    easy to use them to implement behavior
    like collapsible and expandable text,
    even in  browsers that don't use
    JavaScript at all!<br/>

    Then maybe I could use CSS styling to
    modify the display of the details element
    to be inline rather than block, and mess
    around with the positioning and the box
    model to overlay it in the same place as
    the summary element.<br/>

    So then you'd just have a thing you
    could easily click to show the hidden
    content (and have its hidden/revealed
    state persist, even) rather than forcing
    the user to highlight black-on-black
    text to see the information.
</details>

<details><summary>Spoiler alert (click to open)</summary>It doesn't work.</details>

Furthermore, on an unrelated note, it should be noted that if you make a template to display text that's the same color as the background (like a spoiler), no matter what precautions are taken, or what giant red messages there are in the documentation, or how many technical measures have been taken to make it impossible to use the template in mainspace, there are certain names that you should never, ever give to that template... under any circumstances... no matter how innocuous and straightforward it may be — similar to how certain good-luck symbols should never be used in certain European countries — it will resurrect old terrors and cause great strife. You've been warned!

Anyway, amidst all the excitement, I forgot to actually bother to write any crosswords worth a damn this month, so here is some dreck I had lying around in the drafts.

The good news is that there is now a very good and well-documented guide on how to make your own crosswords easily using these templates here, so maybe next issue I will not have to put them together myself...??

The rectangle of doom

....
..
1
.
2
.
3
.
4
5
.
.
.
.
6
.
.
.
.
7
.
.
.
.
.

Clues

Across

1   Tenant of a fleshy drupe, or perhaps installer of a fleshy Drupal package in python  A PIP 
5   6-across needs to drop the  STICK 
6   The guy who won't drop his 5-across is being  A DICK 
7   Frequent utterance of pythons  SSSS 

Down

1   (abbrev.) Should have considered them before !voting "delete"  ATDS 
2   (abbrev.) Functs' NDAs cover these (this word is pluralized here in a stupid way that it never is in actual usage)  PIIS 
3   (abbrev.) Two organizations, one recognizing good deeds in cricket and the other bad deeds in war, are both known as the  ICCS 
4   (abbrev.) Leftist Kurdish gunmen  PKK 
5   (abbrev.) Elite tea-quaffing airmen  SAS 

The H of doom

.....
1
.
2
.
3
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4
.
5
.
6
7
.
.
.
.
.
.. ..
.
.. .. .
8
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9
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.
10
.
11
.
12
13
.
.
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.

Clues

Across

1   Nominators' expected  BEFORE 
7   For deletion, or of Delphi  ORACLE 
8   Not b this but the  BOTHER 
13  Frequent utterance of cobras  SSSSSS 

Down

1   Multi-talented athlete, martial arts weapon, or personal odor  BO 
2   What COI editors have to submit; alternately, show from the 90s with sexy doctors in it; alternately, the real-life place that show was about  ER 
3   Pungent phenomena considered "top lols" by schoolboy vandals  FARTS 
4   Initialism for Californian county known for production of citrus and reality TV  OC 
5   Machine learning technique; alternately, the place where you go to touch grass  RL 
6   Type of engineer who specializes in capacitors, timer chips, and goofy talk page comments  EE 
8   When the edit is pungent and false you call this  BS 
9   When the edit is pungent and reveals someone's phone number you request this  OS 
10  Institution attended by the kids writing 3-down into articles  HS 
11  Expect RfA opposes if you don't use them a high enough percentage of the time  ES 
12  Expect RfC opposes if you don't back up your claims to one of these  RS 

The templates of love

I'm not kidding about the templates being easy to use. You basically just type the things into the grid: . is an unused square, 0 is an empty square, and any number is a square of that number. Here, I will show you. This code:

{{Signpost/Crossword}}
{{Signpost/Crossword row|1 |2 |0 |4 |5 }}
{{Signpost/Crossword row|6 |0 |. |7 |0 }}
{{Signpost/Crossword row|8 |0 |0 |0 |0 }}
{{Signpost/Crossword row|9 |0 |. |10|0 }}
{{Signpost/Crossword row|11|0 |0 |0 |0 }}
|}

Produces this output:

.....
1
.
2
.
.
4
.
5
6
.
.
..
7
.
8
.
.
.
.
9
.
.
..
10
.
11
.
.
.
.

And this code, for clues:

{{Signpost/Crossword clues begin}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clues}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clues|Across}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clue |   1|Popular orange vegetable|CARROT}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clue |   3|Bone filling|MARROW}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clue |   5|Popular white flower|YARROW}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clues}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clues|Down}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clue |   2|Reminiscent of bow ammunition|ARROWY}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clue |   4|Characteristic of improper technique|ERRORY}}
{{Signpost/Crossword clue | 451|Mechanical model of the solar system|ORRERY}}
|}

Produces this:

 

Across

Popular orange vegetable  CARROT 
Popular white flower  YARROW 
Popular wheeled conveyance for 1-across and 3-across in the garden  BARROW 
Bone filling  MARROW 
 

Down

Reminiscent of bow ammunition  ARROWY 
Characteristic of improper technique  ERRORY 
451  Mechanical model of the solar system  ORRERY 




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2024-01-10

Conflict resolution

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By JPxG
Comic strip of a woman sitting at a table with two young girls.

"Hmm — okay, what if you just put half an infobox in the article, would that work?"



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