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2 March 2024

News and notes
Wikimedia enters US Supreme court hearings as "the dolphin inadvertently caught in the net"
Recent research
Images on Wikipedia "amplify gender bias"
In the media
The Scottish Parliament gets involved, a wikirace on live TV, and the Foundation's CTO goes on record
Obituary
Vami_IV
Traffic report
Supervalentinefilmbowlday
WikiCup report
High-scoring WikiCup first round comes to a close
 

2024-03-02

Wikimedia enters US Supreme Court hearings as "the dolphin inadvertently caught in the net"

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By Andreas Kolbe, Bri, Ganesha811, and HaeB
US Supreme Court seal
The United States Supreme Court is hearing two cases that will be crucial for Wikimedia

Cautious optimism from "the dolphin inadvertently caught in the net" at US Supreme Court hearings "crucial for Wikimedia"

For prior Signpost coverage, see see Section 230 report (February 2023)

On the Wikimedia-l mailing list, two members of the Wikimedia Foundation's "Global Advocacy" team drew attention to

important hearings happening this week at the United States Supreme Court.

The hearings on two cases that will be crucial for Wikimedia have just started: NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice, LLC. Both cases are challenges to state laws in Texas and Florida, which impact content moderation on social media websites. [...] As they are written, these laws prohibit website operators from banning users or removing speech and would generally risk Wikipedia’s volunteer-led systems of content moderation. That’s because these laws were designed to prevent social media platforms from engaging in politically motivated content moderation, but were drafted so broadly that they would also impact Wikipedia. The case is also important beyond the impact it might have on our projects. It represents a scenario that is part of a trend globally, where governments introduce legislation to address harms from big tech actors, yet Wikimedia ends up as the dolphin inadvertently caught in the net."

The Foundation has previously weighed in on these cases with an amicus brief and several blog posts, and is present at the current hearings "in person talking to stakeholders and observing the proceedings. We expect the Court to rule this year and will be providing updates as we know more."

Asked about the worst-case scenario (from a Wikimedia perspective), Stan Adams of the Global Advocacy team elaborated:

"Perhaps the worst long-term outcome would be if several other states or even the US Congress replicated the Texas or Florida laws. If those laws were enforced against Wikipedia editors or the Foundation – say, for editors' regular work of removing content that is inaccurate, unsourced, or that violates NPOV policies – it could become increasingly difficult to operate and maintain Wikipedia."

However,

"based on what I observed at the Court yesterday [February 26, mentioning comments by justice Brett Kavanaugh in particular], I think most of the Justices would be reluctant to uphold the Texas and Florida laws. That said, these cases won't be the end of legislative attempts to regulate social media and other venues for expression online – I expect to see the Court considering more cases like these as states continue to enact laws that raise First Amendment questions in the online context."

H

U4C Charter vote

The Wikimedia Foundation advised on Meta-Wiki that –

A vote to ratify the charter for the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C) was held from 19 January until 2 February 2024 via SecurePoll. Voting is now closed. Thank you to all who voted. The result was 1249 voters in support and 420 voters opposed. 69 voters did not choose an option. Voter statistics and a summary of voter comments will be published soon.

You can find more information on the U4C's purpose and scope here. – AK

2024 Requests for adminship review

Placeholder alt text
Cleanup on aisle 24...

Are more changes afoot for the Requests for adminship process? Open proposals from Phase I include the following (some others were already rendered unsuccessful).

Phase I is still open, and you may weigh in with your thoughts here: Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/2024 review. – B

Stylized, black white and blue picture of a human brain made up of PCB-type connections
AI is changing the way people use the Internet ...

WMF publishes draft "research agenda on the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for the knowledge commons"

From February 19 to February 23, 2024, "a group of 21 Wikimedians, academics, and practitioners" met at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Northern Italy "to draft an initial research agenda on the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for the knowledge commons." The aim is "to focus attention (and therefore resources) on the vital questions volunteer contributors have raised, including the promise, as well as risks and negative impacts, of AI systems on the open Internet." The agenda is available on Meta-Wiki, together with a brief report on the meeting.

Members of the "Wikimedia AI" Telegram group expressed their surprise about hearing about this effort first from organizations outside the Wikimedia movement, and about the fact that the term "open source" isn't mentioned in the document (despite open-source AI being an important topic of debate in AI currently, and WMF's general commitments to the use of open source software). While the announcement appears to be speaking on behalf of "volunteer contributors", the "Wikimedians" involved in drafting the document appears to have consisted exclusively of Wikimedia Foundation staff (largely from its Research department), according to the attendee list. Wikimedia Foundation CEO Maryana Iskander subsequently clarified that this "effort to contribute to a shared research agenda on AI [...] was created by a small group working in the open who rushed to publish a ‘bad first draft’ that will benefit from more input."

In other AI-related news, the Wikimedia Foundation recently received a $2.2 million grant from the Sloan Foundation (a longtime supporter) for the purpose of "leverag[ing] AI for the benefit of Wikipedia's readers and contributors, including tools to address vandalism" over the next three years. (These funds come on top of a $950,000 grant announced in April 2023 by WMF's own Wikimedia Endowment for "building and strengthening AI and machine learning infrastructure on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects", similarly highlighting "the development of algorithms to measure the quality of Wikipedia articles and machine learning models that help catch incidents of vandalism on Wikimedia projects.")

AK H


Brief notes

Group photo from the EduWiki Conference 2023 in Belgrade, Serbia
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2024-03-02

Images on Wikipedia "amplify gender bias"

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By Bri and Tilman Bayer

A monthly overview of recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, also published as the Wikimedia Research Newsletter.


Images on Wikipedia "amplify gender bias" compared to article text

Reviewed by Bri and Tilman Bayer

A Nature paper titled "Online Images Amplify Gender Bias"[1] studies:

"gender associations of 3,495 social categories (such as 'nurse' or 'banker') in more than one million images from Google, [English] Wikipedia and Internet Movie Database (IMDb), and in billions of words from these platforms"

As summarized by Neuroscience News:

This pioneering study indicates that online images not only display a stronger bias towards men but also leave a more lasting psychological impact compared to text, with effects still notable after three days.

This was a two-part research paper in which the authors:

While the paper's main analyses focus on Google, the authors replicated their findings with text and image data from Wikipedia and IMDb.

Gender bias in text and images

For the first part, images were retrieved from Google Search results for 3,495 social categories drawn from WordNet, a canonical database of categories in the English language. These categories include occupations—such as doctor, lawyer and carpenter—and generic social roles, such as neighbour, friend and colleague. Faces extracted from these images (using the OpenCV library) were tagged with gender by workers recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk. The reliability of tagging was validated against the self-identified gender from a "canonical set" of celebrity portraits culled from IMDb and Wikipedia.[supp 1]

For the replication analysis with English Wikipedia (relegated mainly to the paper's supplement), an analogous set of images was derived using another existing Wikipedia image dataset,[supp 2] whose text descriptions yielded matches for 1,523 of the 3,495 WordNet-derived social categories (For example, we retrieve the Wikipedia article with the title ‘Physician’ for the social category physician: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physician).

To measure gender bias in a corpus of text from e.g. Google News, the authors use word embeddings (a computational natural language processing technique) trained on that corpus. Specifically, their method (adapted from a 2019 paper) assigns a number to each category (e.g. doctor, lawyer or carpenter) that captures the extent to which [the word for this category] co-occurs with textual references to either women or men [in the corpus]. This method allows us to position each category along a −1 (female) to 1 (male) axis, such that categories closer to −1 are more commonly associated with women and those closer to 1 are more commonly associated with men [in the corpus]. [...] The category ‘aunt’, for instance, falls close to −1 along this scale, whereas the category ‘uncle’ falls close to 1 along this scale. The authors interpret any deviation of this "gender association" value from 0 as evidence of "gender bias" for a particular category. Figure 1 in the paper illustrates this in case of Google News for a list of occupations. There, the three categories with the largest male bias appear to be "football player", "philosopher", and "mechanic", and the three categories with the largest female bias "cosmetologist", "ballet dancer", and "hairstylist". In the figure, the category closest to being unbiased (0) in the Google News text was "programmer". Overall though, texts from Google News exhibit [only] a relatively weak bias towards male representation, with an average score of 0.03.

In case of Wikipedia text, this gender association of a particular WordNet category was determined using a pre-trained word embedding model of Wikipedia available in Python’s gensim package, which was built using the GloVe method to analyze a 2014 corpus of 5.6 billion words from Wikipedia. Somewhat concerningly, this description by the authors is inconsistent with the gensim documentation, which states that this 5.6 billion token corpus was not based on Wikipedia alone, but on "Wikipedia 2014 + Gigaword". According to the original GloVe paper,[supp 3] "Gigaword 5 [...] has 4.3 billion tokens", meaning that it would form a much bigger part of that corpus than Wikipedia. (The GloVe authors also observed that Wikipedia's entries are updated to assimilate new knowledge, whereas Gigaword is a fixed news repository with outdated and possibly incorrect information; the corpus contains newswire text dating back to 1994.)

In other words, the Nature study's conclusions about Wikipedia text might not be valid. Assuming they are though, they might seem vaguely reassuring for Wikipedians (and perhaps somewhat in contrast with earlier research about textual gender bias on Wikipedia): Using several different variants of the model (with different word embedding dimensions), respectively, 57% (50D), 59% (100D), 57.6% (200D), and 54% (300D) of categories [are] male-skewed, with an average strength of gender association below 0.06 (recall that the authors describe the corresponding value of 0.03 for Google News as a relatively weak bias). The story is different for images, though:

images over Wikipedia are significantly skewed toward male representation. 80% of categories are male-skewed according to images over Wikipedia (p < 0.0001, proportion test, n = 495, two-tailed). [...] Including all 1,244 categories in our analysis continues to show a strong bias toward male representation in Wikipedia images (with 68% of faces being male, p < 0.00001). [...] Wikipedia content can appear to be neutral in its gender associations if one focuses only on text, whereas examining Wikipedia images from the same articles can reveal a different reality, with evidence of a strong bias toward male representation and a stronger bias toward more salient gender associations in general.

Impact of image vs. text search on users' gender bias

For the second part (which did not involve Wikipedia directly), the researchers

... conducted a nationally representative, preregistered experiment that shows that googling for images rather than textual descriptions of occupations amplifies gender bias in participants’ beliefs.

To measure participants' gender bias after they had completed the googling task, an implicit association test (IAT) methodology was used, which supposedly reveals unconscious bias in a timed sorting task. In the researchers' words, "the participant will be fast at sorting in a manner that is consistent with one's latent associations, which is expected to lead to greater cognitive fluency [lower measured sorting times] in one's intuitive reactions." Specifically, the IAT variant used was designed to detect the implicit bias towards associating women with liberal arts and men with science. The test measured how long participants took to associate a particular word or image (e.g. "Girl", "Engineering", "Grandpa", "Fashion") with either the male/female or science/liberal arts categories.

The labeling of text descriptions was performed by other humans recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Both the test subject, and the labelers, were adults from the United States, and the test subjects were screened to be representative of the U.S. population to include a nearly 50/50 male/female split (none self identified as other than those two categories). The experiment focused on a sample of 22 occupations, e.g. immunologist, harpist, hygienist, and intelligence analyst.

Some test subjects were given a task related to occupation-related text prior to the IAT, and some were given a task related to images. The task was either to use Google search to retrieve images of representative individuals in the occupation, or Google search to retrieve a textual description of the occupation. A control group performed an unrelated Google search. Before the IAT was performed, the test subjects were required to indicate on a sliding scale, for each of the occupations, "which gender do you most expect to belong to this category?" The test was performed again a few days later with the same test subjects.

On the second test, subjects exposed to images in the first test had a stronger IAT score for bias than those exposed to text.

The experimental part of the study depends partly on IAT and partly on self-assessment to detect priming, and there are concerns about replicability concerning the priming effect, and the validity and reliability of IAT. Some of the concerns are described at Implicit-association test § Criticism and controversy. It seemed that the authors recognized this (We acknowledge important continuing debate about the reliability of the IAT), and in their own study found that the distribution of participants' implicit bias scores [arrived at with IAT] was less stable across our preregistered studies than the distribution of participants' explicit bias scores, and discounted the implicit bias scores somewhat.

The conclusion drawn by the researchers, based partly but not entirely on the different IAT scores of experimental subjects, was that of the paper title: "images amplify gender bias" — both explicitly as determined by the subject's assignments of occupation to gender on a sliding scale, and implicitly as determined by reaction times measured in the IAT.

Takeaways

The paper opens with the (rather thinly referenced) observation that "Each year, people spend less time reading and more time viewing images". Combined with the finding that searching for occupation images on Google amplified participants' gender biases, this forms an "alarming" trend according to the study's lead author (Douglas Guilbeault of UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business), as quoted by AFP on "the potential consequences this can have on reinforcing stereotypes that are harmful, mostly to women, but also to men".

The researchers also determined, apart from experimental subjects, that the Internet – represented singularly by Google News – exhibits a strong gender bias. It was unclear to this reviewer how much of the reported Internet bias is really "Google selection bias". Based on these findings, the authors go on to speculate that "gender biases in multimodal AI may stem in part from the fact that they are trained on public images from platforms such as Google and Wikipedia, which are rife with gender bias according to our measures".

Briefly


Other recent publications

Other recent publications that could not be covered in time for this issue include the items listed below. Contributions, whether reviewing or summarizing newly published research, are always welcome.

Compiled by Tilman Bayer

"Gender stereotypes embedded in natural language [of Wikipedia articles] are stronger in more economically developed and individualistic countries"

From the abstract:[2]

From the abstract: "[...] measuring stereotypes is difficult, particularly in a cross-cultural context. Word embeddings are a recent useful tool in natural language processing permitting to measure the collective gender stereotypes embedded in a society. [...] We considered stereotypes associating men with career and women with family as well as those associating men with math or science and women with arts or liberal arts. Relying on two different sources (Wikipedia and Common Crawl), we found that these gender stereotypes are all significantly more pronounced in the text corpora of more economically developed and more individualistic countries. [...] our analysis sheds light on the “gender equality paradox,” i.e. on the fact that gender imbalances in a large number of domains are paradoxically stronger in more developed/gender equal/individualistic countries."

To determined "the relative contribution of residents from each country to each language [version of Wikipedia]", the author (a researcher at CNRS) used the Wikimedia Foundation's "WiViVi" dataset which provides the percentage of pageviews per country for a given language Wikipedia. This data is somewhat outdated (last updated in 2018) and also, for the goal of measuring contribution (rather than consumption), the separate Geoeditors dataset might have been worth considering (which provides the number of editors per country, although with - somewhat controversial - privacy redactions).


"Poor attention: The wealth and regional gaps in event attention and coverage on Wikipedia"

"On November 2nd 2020, two terrorist attacks occurred: One in Vienna, Austria and one in Kabul, Afghanistan (top). Although both events gained many page views and edits on the English Wikipedia (bottom left), the attack in Austria received much more attention than the one in Afghanistan, including coverage in more Wikipedia language editions (bottom right)." (Figure 1 ("Motivation") from the paper)

From the abstract:[3]

"for many people around the world, [Wikipedia] serves as an essential news source for major events such as elections or disasters. Although Wikipedia covers many such events, some events are underrepresented and lack attention, despite their newsworthiness predicted from news value theory. In this paper, we analyze 17 490 event articles in four Wikipedia language editions and examine how the economic status and geographic region of the event location affects the attention [page views] and coverage [edits] it receives. We find that major Wikipedia language editions have a skewed focus, with more attention given to events in the world’s more economically developed countries and less attention to events in less affluent regions. However, other factors, such as the number of deaths in a disaster, are also associated with the attention an event receives."

Relatedly, a 2016 paper titled "Dynamics and biases of online attention: the case of aircraft crashes"[4] had found:

that the attention given by Wikipedia editors to pre-Wikipedia aircraft incidents and accidents depends on the region of the airline for both English and Spanish editions. North American airline companies receive more prompt coverage in English Wikipedia. We also observe that the attention given by Wikipedia visitors is influenced by the airline region but only for events with a high number of deaths. Finally we show that the rate and time span of the decay of attention is independent of the number of deaths and a fast decay within about a week seems to be universal.


A new corpus of Wikipedia passages about events, paired with potential sources

From the abstract:[5]

"[...] we present FAMuS, a new corpus of Wikipedia passages that report on some event, paired with underlying, genre-diverse (non-Wikipedia) source articles for the same event. Events and (cross-sentence) arguments in both report and source are annotated against FrameNet, providing broad coverage of different event types. We present results on two key event understanding tasks enabled by FAMuS: source validation -- determining whether a document is a valid source for a target report event -- and cross-document argument extraction -- full-document argument extraction for a target event from both its report and the correct source article. "


"Open-domain Visual Entity Recognition: Towards Recognizing Millions of Wikipedia Entities"

"An illustration of the proposed OVEN task. Examples on the right are sampled from the constructed OVEN-Wiki dataset. OVEN aims at recognizing entities physically presented in the image or can be directly inferred from the image." (figure 1 from the paper)

From the abstract of this preprint by a group of authors from Google Research and Georgia Institute of Technology:[6]

"... we formally present the task of Open-domain Visual Entity recognitioN (OVEN), where a model need to link an image onto a Wikipedia entity with respect to a text query. We construct OVEN-Wiki by re-purposing 14 existing datasets with all labels grounded onto one single label space: Wikipedia entities. OVEN challenges models to select among six million possible Wikipedia entities, making it a general visual recognition benchmark with the largest number of labels. Our study on state-of-the-art pre-trained models reveals large headroom in generalizing to the massive-scale label space. We show that a PaLI-based auto-regressive visual recognition model performs surprisingly well, even on Wikipedia entities that have never been seen during fine-tuning."


"Understanding Structured Knowledge Production: A Case Study of Wikidata’s Representation Injustice"

From the paper:[7]

"... through a case study of comparing human [Wikidata] items of two countries, Vietnam and Germany, we propose several reasons that might lead to the existing biases in the knowledge contribution process. [...]
We chose Germany and Vietnam as subjects based on three primary considerations. Firstly, both nations have comparable population sizes. Secondly, the editors who speak the predominant languages of each country maintain their distinct Wiki communities on Wikidata. [...]
The first analysis we did was comparing different components of Wikidata pages between pages in two countries. The components we are comparing are labels, descriptions, claims, and sitelinks. For a single Wikidata page, label is the name that this item is known by, while description is a short sentence or phrase that also serves disambiguate purpose. [...] In the dataset we collected, there are 290,750 people who have citizenship of Germany, and there are only 4,744 people who have citizenship of Vietnam. [...] German pages on average had 13 more labels, 5 more descriptions and 7 more claims compared to Vietnamese pages. While surprisingly, Vietnamese pages had slightly more sitelinks, the difference according to effect size was negligible.
The second analysis focused on the edit history of Wikidata items. [...] we quantified the attention metric into five features: Number of total edits, number of human edits, number of bot edits, and number of distinct bot and human edits. [...] in all the five features the [difference in means between the German and Vietnamese Wikidata human pages] is significant and in terms of bot activity and total activity, the effect size is beyond medium threshold (0.5).


"The Politics of Memory: An Extended Case Study of the Memory of Crisis on Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[8]

... an extended case study is developed on the (re)construction of a major pollution event (the [1952] Great Smog of London). Critical discourse analysis of intertextuality (connections between texts through hyperlinking and other shared patterning) is utilised to move from a focus on micro level practices to macro and meta level findings on the ordering of Wikipedia and its interactions with other institutions. Findings evidence a layered, self-referencing formation across texts, favouring the interests of established institutions and providing limited opportunity for marginalised groups to interact with sustained (re)constructions of the Great Smog. Comparison to a previous study of the constructed memory of a crisis (the London Bombings 2005) reveals dynamics across Wikipedia that lead to an emphasis on connecting (re)constructions to institutional traditions rather than the potential usefulness of such (re)construction for those at higher risk of negative outcomes arising from repeated crises.

References

  1. ^ Guilbeault, Douglas; Delecourt, Solène; Hull, Tasker; Desikan, Bhargav Srinivasa; Chu, Mark; Nadler, Ethan (February 14, 2024), "Online Images Amplify Gender Bias", Nature (online ahead of print), 626 (8001): 1049–1055, doi:10.1038/s41586-024-07068-x, PMID 38355800Open access icon code and (links to) data files
  2. ^ Napp, Clotilde (2023-11-01). "Gender stereotypes embedded in natural language are stronger in more economically developed and individualistic countries". PNAS Nexus. 2 (11). Michele Gelfand (ed.): –355. doi:10.1093/pnasnexus/pgad355. ISSN 2752-6542. PMC 10662454. PMID 38024410.
  3. ^ Ruprechter, Thorsten; Burghardt, Keith; Helic, Denis (2023-11-08). "Poor attention: The wealth and regional gaps in event attention and coverage on Wikipedia". PLOS ONE. 18 (11). Robin Haunschild (ed.): –0289325. Bibcode:2023PLoSO..1889325R. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0289325. ISSN 1932-6203. PMID 37939022. Data and code: https://github.com/ruptho/wiki-event-bias https://zenodo.org/record/7701969
  4. ^ García-Gavilanes, Ruth; Tsvetkova, Milena; Yasseri, Taha (2016-10-01). "Dynamics and biases of online attention: the case of aircraft crashes". Open Science. 3 (10): 160460. arXiv:1606.08829. Bibcode:2016RSOS....360460G. doi:10.1098/rsos.160460. ISSN 2054-5703. PMC 5098985. PMID 27853560.
  5. ^ Vashishtha, Siddharth; Martin, Alexander; Gantt, William; Van Durme, Benjamin; White, Aaron Steven (2023-11-09), FAMuS: Frames Across Multiple Sources, arXiv, doi:10.48550/arXiv.2311.05601
  6. ^ Hu, Hexiang; Luan, Yi; Chen, Yang; Khandelwal, Urvashi; Joshi, Mandar; Lee, Kenton; Toutanova, Kristina; Chang, Ming-Wei (2023-02-22), Open-domain Visual Entity Recognition: Towards Recognizing Millions of Wikipedia Entities, arXiv, doi:10.48550/arXiv.2302.11154 Code and data request form
  7. ^ Ma, Jeffrey Jun-jie; Zhang, Charles Chuankai (2023-11-05), Understanding Structured Knowledge Production: A Case Study of Wikidata's Representation Injustice, arXiv:2311.02767 extended abstract. In: CSCW ’23 Workshop on Epistemic injustice in online communities, October 2023, Minneapolis, MN.. ACM, New York, NY, USA
  8. ^ Schuller, Nina Margaret (2023). The politics of memory: An extended case study of the memory of crisis on Wikipedia (phd). University of Southampton. (dissertation)
Supplementary references and notes:
  1. ^ the "IMDB-WIKI dataset", from: Rothe, Rasmus; Timofte, Radu; Van Gool, Luc (2018-04-01). "Deep Expectation of Real and Apparent Age from a Single Image Without Facial Landmarks". International Journal of Computer Vision. 126 (2): 144–157. doi:10.1007/s11263-016-0940-3. hdl:20.500.11850/204027. ISSN 1573-1405. S2CID 207252421.
  2. ^ the "Wikipedia-based Image Text Dataset" (cf. our earlier coverage: "Announcing WIT: A Wikipedia-Based Image-Text Dataset")
  3. ^ Pennington, Jeffrey; Socher, Richard; Manning, Christopher (October 2014). "Glove: Global Vectors for Word Representation". In Moschitti, Alessandro; Pang, Bo; Daelemans, Walter (eds.). Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP). Doha, Qatar: Association for Computational Linguistics. pp. 1532–1543. doi:10.3115/v1/D14-1162.



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2024-03-02

The Scottish Parliament gets involved, a wikirace on live TV, and the Foundation's CTO goes on record

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

Scottish Parliament computers might have been used to edit Wikipedia, report says

Portrait of Alex Cole-Hamilton
Alex Cole-Hamilton, one of the several politicians involved in the latest "Wiki-gate" report

As first reported by The Scottish Sun, and then shared by The National, a few computers from the Scottish Parliament's headquarters might have been used to edit the Wikipedia articles of several MSPs from all over the political spectrum. Both newspapers correctly remind that all kinds of edits made to a specific page are automatically archived in its history: in this case, the original inquiry found that the IP addresses of some unregistered users apparently trace back to Holyrood. If confirmed, this would represent an evident breach not only of the parliamentary code of conduct, but also Wikipedia's rules on conflict of interest.

The main subject involved in the inquiry is Scottish Liberal Democrats leader, Alex Cole-Hamilton. Back in February 2021, the MSP received widespread backlash after being caught insulting his fellow politician Maree Todd, who was then serving as the Minister for Children and Young People, during an online institutional meeting. On February 16 of the same year, user Alex B4 added a short mention of the incident, which included a National article that further criticized Cole-Hamilton for his inappropriate apologies to Todd. However, on February 24, an IP user stepped in to remove references to the incident entirely: then, they proceeded to cut down part of the information provided on Cole-Hamilton's expenses for his campaign ahead of the 2016 elections, calling them "ad hominem attacks". All of the content was eventually restored by Alex himself on March 7. Since then, another IP user deleted some of the references about the 2021 incident again, replacing them with an unsourced statement claiming that Cole-Hamilton wrote a letter saying sorry to Todd, before apologizing to her in person – a statement that is still up at the time of writing this piece.

Other notable MSPs involved in the report are incumbent Scottish First Minister and SNP leader, Humza Yousaf, who was added to a list of "notable alumni" of the US-backed International Visitor Leadership Program; Reform UK Scotland leader, Michelle Ballantyne, who had an entire section about her political controversies removed from her article; and, finally, incumbent Minister for Cabinet and Parliamentary Business, George Adam, whose love for football club St Mirren F.C. was further highlighted on his page – curiously, Adam was the only one who immediately responded upon being contacted by The Sun, and it looks like he just had a good laugh out of the "incident". – O, B and RTH

Taylor Tomlinson hosts a wikirace on live TV

caricature of Snoop Dogg
Can you get from the celebrity depicted here to the Great Depression in five clicks or fewer?

In a recent episode of CBS-hosted comedy panel show After Midnight, aired on February 12, 2024, host Taylor Tomlinson arranged a special wikirace as part of one of the show's mini-games, Wikipedia Link. In the occasion, her fellow comedians Vinny Thomas, Riki Lindhome and Rob Huebel took turns to guess how many clicks it takes to go from Snoop Dogg to the Great Depression on the English Wikipedia.

Tomlinson introduced the game by deeming Wikipedia as "humanity's CliffsNotes", as the three panelists then shared increasingly unorthodox guesses, ranging from weed to The Grapes of Wrath. Although it was Huebel who eventually found the right number of articles needed to complete the race, specifically five (including the two aforementioned pages), Tomlinson revealed quite an unexpected pattern: from Snoop, to Peanuts, to Howdy Doody, to Wonder Bread, to the 1939 New York World's Fair, to the Great Depression. However, in the comments below the video extract available on the show's YouTube channel, several users have stated there are even shorter paths connecting the two pages.

No matter who is right, it's safe to say Taylor and the rest of the After Midnight staff deserve a shout-out for helping popularize the wikirace trend and, by extension, Wikipedia as a whole. – O

Selena Deckelmann profile

The MIT Technology Review has published a profile of the Wikimedia Foundation's CTO, Selena Deckelmann. The main focus of the piece is how Deckelmann sees the place of Wikipedia in the age of chatbots:

Deckelmann argues that Wikipedia will become an even more valuable resource as nuanced, human perspectives become harder to find online. But fulfilling that promise requires continued focus on preserving and protecting Wikipedia’s beating heart: the Wikipedians who volunteer their time and care to keep the information up to date through old-fashioned talking and tinkering. Deckelmann and her team are dedicated to an AI strategy that prioritizes building tools for contributors, editors, and moderators to make their work faster and easier, while running off-platform AI experiments with ongoing feedback from the community. “My role is to focus attention on sustainability and people,” says Deckelmann. “How are we really making life better for them as we’re playing around with some cool technology?”

However –

Today Deckelmann sees a newer sustainability problem in AI development: the predominant method for training models is to pull content from sites like Wikipedia, often generated by open-source creators without compensation or even, sometimes, awareness of how their work will be used. “If people stop being motivated to [contribute content online],” she warns, “either because they think that these models are not giving anything back or because they’re creating a lot of value for a very small number of people—then that’s not sustainable.” At Wikipedia, Deckelmann’s internal AI strategy revolves around supporting contributors with the technology rather than short-circuiting them. The machine-learning and product teams are working on launching new features that, for example, automate summaries of verbose debates on a wiki’s "Talk" pages (where back-and-forth discussions can go back as far as 20 years) or suggest related links when editors are updating pages. “We’re looking at new ways that we can save volunteers lots of time by summarizing text, detecting vandalism, or responding to different kinds of threats,” she says.

The article also discusses the potential need for Wikipedia to meet its readers elsewhere online, naming the Foundation's Wikipedia ChatGPT plugin as an example. – AK

In brief

We covered it, OK? Jeesh.
American Beaver
This beaver comes at no charge special for readers of The Signpost made in USA
A gray haired woman wearing glasses being coached in front of a computer screen on a desk, with a stack of books also on the desk near her arm
Workshops for older Czech editors have been held at least since this 2016 event in Brno
Jimmy Wales reading a newspaper
Circular reporting? Jimbo reads the news, we read the news about Jimbo.



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2024-03-02

Vami_IV

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By JPxG, Oltrepier, sawyer-mcdonell and AirshipJungleman29
A picture of late user Vami from January 2024.
A picture of Vami from January 2024, shortly before his premature passing.

We are deeply saddened to inform you that American Wikipedia volunteer Vami suddenly passed away on February 13, 2024, aged 24, just one day after making his last edits on the platform. He was a contributor on Commons, Wikidata, Meta, the English Wikipedia, and elsewhere.

Fellow Wikipedians sawyer-mcdonell and AirshipJungleman29 wrote a brief note about Vami's accomplishments:

Vami_IV joined Wikipedia in November 2014 and soon became a prolific editor across a wide variety of topics, including buildings, wildfires, video games, and the history of Europe, Texas, and Latin America. In total, he brought ten articles to featured status, including two worthy of the Four Award, and had nominated two more at WP:FAC at the time of his passing; he also brought numerous articles to A or GA-class, including a year-long project on Simón Bolívar. Vami often collaborated in these efforts with other editors; he was active at both WikiProject Military history, at which he was a coordinator between 2021 and 2023, and WikiProject Women in Red, for which he created 167 articles on primarily Latin American women. He also contributed extensively to WP:CCI and was active at the Wikimedia Discord, where he was unfailingly witty and generous with his time, especially with newer editors.

He will be remembered for his editing talents, his personality, and his dedication to the project, exemplified by his philosophy of Completionism:

"As a Wikipedia editor, I understand that my goal is the destruction of my purpose."



An armored person on horseback, holding a sword aloft. From a tarot card.
An image displayed since 2018 on Vami's userpage, with the caption "Be bold!"


On behalf of the whole Signpost staff, we would like to send our condolences to Vami's family and loved ones. You can leave respectful comments of remembrance on his talk page.



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2024-03-02

Supervalentinefilmbowlday

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By Igordebraga, CAWylie, Ollieisanerd, Shuipzv3, Rahcmander, I am RedoStone
This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by igordebraga, CAWylie, Ollieisanerd, Rahcmander, I am RedoStone and Shuipzv3.

Ah, Kansas City, gonna get my baby back home, yeah-yeah (February 11 to 17)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Patrick Mahomes 2,486,936 The star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs led his team into Super Bowl LVIII with the aim of becoming back-to-back Super Bowl champions. Their opponents, the San Francisco 49ers, took the lead for most of the game, but the Chiefs fought back hard, with Mahomes making several crucial plays to level the score and eventually sending the game into overtime in the last seconds of the fourth quarter, then making the game-winning pass to seal victory for the Chiefs. Mahomes was also named the Super Bowl MVP, which he also won in his other two Super Bowl wins (with the most recent also against the 49ers). In his post-game speech, Mahomes declared his intent to win three Super Bowls in a row, a feat no team has achieved.
2 Usher (musician) 2,404,225 Peace up, A-town down! Usher Raymond was the performer of the big game's halftime show, having to clear off the high bar set by this (and yes, that song was in the set list) with plenty of hits and special appearances by Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Ludacris and Lil Jon (and wonder if Usher only didn't play "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" because that would require bringing in Pitbull).
3 Travis Kelce 2,232,171 The star tight end of the Chiefs and boyfriend of #5 went viral for his appearance in #7 for the wrong reason. During a part of the game where he is benched, the Chiefs ended up fumbling the ball. Clearly disagreeing with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid's decision to sideline him, Kelce proceeds to march up to his coach and shouted in his face, as well as making contact which caused Reid to stumble. Still, there appeared to be no "Bad Blood" between the two, with Reid later playing down the incident. Kelce went on to make the most receptions and yards in the game on the way to his third Super Bowl victory.
4 Madame Web (film) 2,081,146 Sony's Spider-Man Universe already provided a low point in comic book movies with Morbius, and both critics and audiences are agreeing they did it again with Madame Web (co-written by the Morbius writers, making many people question how those two still get work). Dakota Johnson is Cassandra Webb, a paramedic who discovers premonitory powers and decides to use them to save three teenagers from a maniac intent on killing them – and given those three women are three of the ladies who in the comics answered to "Spider-Woman', the marketing made sure to show them in costumes, that in the movie itself only appear in visions! And as a reminder of why filmgoers bothered with this movie there are plenty of allusions to Spider-Man, from the costume worn by the bad guy to the fact that Cassie's partner is Ben Parker, about to earn a promotion to Uncle Ben given he is taking in his home his pregnant sister-in-law Mary. Along with negative reviews, Madame Web had an unimpressive opening that couldn't overtake Bob Marley: One Love and is still halfway through its budget with $50 million worldwide. And the SSU still has two movies this year, and while Venom 3 in November should at least make money and give another unhinged Tom Hardy performance, the delayed Kraven the Hunter in August is the make-it-or-break-it point regarding Columbia Pictures doing Spider-Man movies without the Webhead.
5 Taylor Swift 1,847,552 Following much speculation, the pop superstar did make it to #7 to cheer on her boyfriend (#3) and his team, together with a group of her friends including Ice Spice and Blake Lively. Following the Chiefs' victory, the couple were spotted partying through the night in Las Vegas, before she resumes her Eras Tour in Melbourne, Australia.
6 List of Super Bowl champions 1,812,814 The Kansas City Chiefs added their name to the list two years in a row, winning an overtime thriller in Las Vegas. Can they make it three in a row?
7 Super Bowl LVIII 1,775,252 The 58th iteration of #10 took place in Las Vegas and was nicknamed the "Taylor Swift Bowl" due to the extensive media attention on her relationship with #3. The game got off on a slow start with a scoreless first quarter, before the San Francisco 49ers took the lead in the second. The Chiefs fought back to take the lead in the third quarter, but the 49ers regained the lead not long after, though a failed conversion gave the Chiefs the chance to equalize the score with a field goal. The 49ers took the lead again with their own field goal, and in the final nail-biting seconds of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs scored another field goal to send the game into overtime. The 49ers possessed the ball first, but ended up stalling and settled for a field goal. The Chiefs fought their way to the end zone, and scored the game-winning touchdown to win 25–22. This match broke several records for the Super Bowl, including the longest field goal in Super Bowl history (57 yards, or 52 meters for pretty much the rest of the world), and became the most watched television broadcast in the United States (123.7 million viewers on average, which was attributed in part to #5).
8 Valentine's Day 1,555,915 A cheerful day for couples around the world, and a sad reminder of loneliness for those without romantic partners.
9 Alexei Navalny 1,492,658 On February 16, the announcement came that the Russian opposition leader, imprisoned since December 2023 at a labor colony in the Russian Arctic, had died. Almost immediately, tributes flowed in and protests took place in many cities around the world. Though his cause of death has not been revealed, many world leaders in the West laid the blame squarely on Russian president Vladimir Putin.
10 Super Bowl 1,281,816 Everyone who doesn't care about gridiron certainly wished we could discuss some Superb Owls instead.

Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight (February 18 to 24)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Alexei Navalny 1,165,437 Though the imprisoned Russian opposition figure died on February 16, ostensibly of natural causes as said by the authorities, it wasn't until February 24 that his body was released to his mother, after several attempts were denied, as well as pressure on his family into burying him in secret or within the prison grounds. His wife, Yulia Navalnaya, has vowed to continue his work. The US and UK announced sanctions on officials said were connected to Navalny's death, at the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
2 Madame Web (film) 1,138,299 2023 demonstrated the "superhero fatigue", regarding audiences getting tired of so many comic book movies to the point they're not as willing to go to theaters for them, particularly if questionable quality and\or lesser-known characters are involved. And both these boxes are ticked by Madame Web, based on a minor Spider-Man side character and deemed just as bad as Morbius, showing that it takes more than allusions to the Webhead (including one of the final scenes being his mother giving birth to him!) to win over viewers, leading to sluggish box office and ensuring that sequel hook regarding a team of Spider-Women will probably never pay off. At least superheroes will stay away for a while, until Deadpool & Wolverine arrives in July.
3 J. Robert Oppenheimer 1,007,592 Oppenheimer already blew up the box office last year, and now the movie about the physicist who helped build the atomic bomb is wrecking up the awards season, the last one being the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards, where along with all actors earning Outstanding Performance by a Cast, "Oppie" portrayer Cillian Murphy won Best Actor and Robert Downey Jr. Best Supporting Actor for playing the government official who questioned Oppenheimer's loyalty given his sympathy for Communism. Makes the movie's fans hopeful for its Academy Awards prospects on March 10. (in the meantime, Barbenheimer will become a trashy comedy-horror by Charles Band!)
4 Deaths in 2024 1,001,761 As it was in the beginning (one love)
So shall it be in the end (one heart)...
5 Elimination Chamber: Perth 869,248 Australia received the latest WWE extravaganza, that included Rhea Ripley (pictured) defending her Women's World Championship belt.
6 Bob Marley 760,714 Bob Marley: One Love chronicled the reggae legend, particularly the period before and after the album Exodus, which adequate to the title is the source of the song "One Love". Reviews were mixed, praising the soundtrack and Kingsley Ben-Adir as the protagonist, but found director Reinaldo Marcus Green to play too safe into biopic conventions, yet audiences clearly approved as One Love led the box office and has already made over $100 million worldwide.
7 True Detective (season 4) 729,263 The newest season of this anthology crime series, starring Jodie Foster (pictured) this time, concluded on February 18.
8 Avatar: The Last Airbender (2024 TV series) 693,573 Water, Earth, Fire, Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when M. Night Shyamalan attacked. 14 years passed, and Netflix released a new remake, and although it looks great, it has a lot to learn before it can live up to the original. Netflix's newest fantasy series is a retelling of the beloved animated series that premiered 19 years ago. While, it is certainly an improvement on the movie that does not exist, it is still not as good as the original. Netflix may have hoped for positive reception like their other live-action remake, One Piece series from last year, but that is not the case here, with the reception from both critics and audiences being quite mixed. While many fans want the series to get renewed for a second season, there are some who think that live-action remakes of animated movies and shows are disrespectful to animation as a medium.
9 Pakistan Super League 657,092 This year's edition of this cricket tournament began on February 17, and is set to conclude on March 17.
10 Griselda Blanco 642,260 If you want to hang out, you've gotta take her out, cocaine... Viewers are still intrigued by the late Colombian drug lord chronicled by Netflix on Griselda.

Exclusions

Most edited articles

For the January 25 – February 25 period, per this database report.

Title Revisions Notes
Deaths in 2024 2269 The deceased of the period included Steve Wright, Kelvin Kiptum, Robin Windsor and Kagney Linn Karter (plus Toby Keith and Carl Weathers, who appeared in the last Traffic Report).
Legalism (Chinese philosophy) 1776 Still busy with this article, FourLights?
2024 Pakistani general election 1452 One week after former Prime Minister Imran Khan won a majority of the National Assembly seats, coalitions were formed to fully investigate electoral fraud and the PTA's shutting down PTI internet access and limiting its cell phone service during the election. Numerous members of various parties also jumped political boats.
Super Bowl LVIII 1079 As mentioned above, the latest NFL final.
List of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance candidates for the 2024 Indian general election 979 27 parties made an alliance (noticed that the initials are I.N.D.I.A.?) to oppose the current government in the election that will run between April and May.
Vultures 1 975 A rap release by Y$, which is Kanye West teaming up with Ty Dolla Sign. Given all the stuff Ye has said and done in the last few years, some of whom is downright discussed in the album's lyrics, reception has been mixed (Anthony Fantano downright refused to review the album).
Miss Universe Philippines 2024 789 Some people don't understand how beauty pageants still exist, but here's an upcoming one. The Philippines have a reason to care about Miss Universe, given they won twice (Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray) in the last ten years.
José Luis López Vázquez 774 One user is editing the page on this Spanish actor/comedian.
List of foreign footballers in Malaysia 767 Another mostly solitary work regarding players who chased footballs in the Malaysian pitches.
Late night television in the United States 761 Just about every one is a minor edit by a single user.
2024 in sports 756 The year barely started and has a lot to offer in this regard, particularly qualifying tournaments for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Death and funeral of Alexei Navalny 719 As mentioned above, a Russian opposition leader who died in a corrective facility and thus sparked protests worldwide, mostly holding Putin's government responsible.
T-Square (band) 719 One user is continuously editing the page on this Japanese jazz fusion band.
Narwhal 695 Denne er narkval. An attempt at making an FA out of this cetacean didn't go through.
The Tortured Poets Department 674 During the Grammys, Taylor Swift announced her eleventh album, to be released in April.



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2024-03-02

High-scoring WikiCup first round comes to a close

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By BeanieFan11
A beautiful trophy.
Will yours truly be a repeat-champion, will a first-year participant win the crown...
will we have our first three-time champion...
will someone finally do it after having come just short 14 years ago...
or something else?
Stay tuned!


The first round of the 2024 WikiCup, English Wikipedia's annual editing competition, has just concluded, and it's turning out to be an exciting one! This year saw 135 participants, the highest since 2017. Due to the high number of participants, a total of 30 points were needed to qualify to the next round, the most since 2014, and the third-highest of all time.[1] Due to a tie for the last spot, 67 users advanced (normally 64), including yours truly, the defending champ, who made it as the 30th spot![2]

A brief history

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More articles

See also: The WikiCup 2023.

The WikiCup began humbly in 2007 with 12 competitors, scoring being based primarily on edit counts and unique page edits. The competition adopted its present form in 2009, with points awarded for featured articles (FA), lists (FL) and pictures (FP), along with good articles (GA), In the news (ITN) and Did you know (DYK). There were 60 contestants that year and 120 the next, and the contest has taken place annually ever since.

Notable scores

135 users entered – 83 scored points – only 67 advanced. Here we have some notable scores and participants:

...Other Notables...

Concluding notes

Thank you to all those who have been greatly improving Wikipedia in the competition! Good luck to the remaining 67 in your (and my) quest to be the 2024 WikiCup champion in the remaining four rounds until October 31!

Notes

  1. ^ Per User:Hey man im josh/Wikicup stats. However, note that early on, such as in the 2009 competition which had the highest cutoff score, points could be accumulated in different ways, including by simply making an edit, which has since been discontinued.
  2. ^ Uh oh... I need to ramp up my game!



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