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29 March 2024

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2024-03-29

Millions of readers still seeing broken pages as "temporary" disabling of graph extension nears its second year

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By HaeB
An error message displayed in an article about asteroids, showing "graphs are currently unavailable due to technical issues"
Since April 2023, Wikipedia readers who want to learn about the physical characteristics of asteroid 4 Vesta have also learned about this software problem.

A lack of technical support for interactive content on Wikimedia projects was lamented in a wide-ranging discussion on Wikimedia-l and elsewhere over the last two months. In particular, several community members expressed deep frustration about the state of the Graph MediaWiki extension, which had been disabled in April last year due to security vulnerabilities in the underlying third-party Vega framework (Signpost coverage). Back then, a Wikimedia Foundation representative had stated that "My hope is we can maybe restore some functionality in the next week or so." But eleven months later, graphs and charts remain deactivated, replaced by a prominent error message in many Wikipedia articles - despite extensive discussions about possible solutions.

Basque Wikimedian Galder Gonzalez Larrañaga (User:Theklan) opened the Wikimedia-l discussion by decrying this state of affairs:

All the solutions proposed have been dismissed, but every two months there's a proposal to make a new roadmap to solve the issue. We have plenty of roadmaps, but no vehicle to reach our destination.

He contrasted Wikimedia projects with e.g. "a place like Our World in Data [which] has been publishing data and interactive content with a compatible license for years". Several other Wikimedians likewise voiced their frustration about the lack of progress in getting graphs re-enabled.

Marshall Miller, Senior Director of Product at WMF, acknowledged these concerns on the mailing list, stating that:

to support graphs and other interactive content, we would need to take a step back and make a substantial investment in sustainable architecture to do it – so that it works well, safely, and is built to last. And because that’s a substantial investment, we need to weigh it against other important investments in order to decide whether and when to do it.

I know that it is very frustrating that the Graph extension has not been operational for many months – it means readers haven’t been seeing graphs in articles, and editors haven’t been able to use graphs to do things like monitor backlogs in WikiProjects. Over the months of trying to find a way to turn graphs back on, it has become clear that there isn’t a safe shortcut here and that the path forward will require a substantial investment – one that we have not yet started given the other priorities we’ve been working on.

Proposed solutions fail

How did things get to this point? Several proposals and plans had been pursued since the discovery of the XSS vulnerability in April 2023:

Quantifying the impact

Rarely, if ever, has there been a software issue that affects Wikipedia content so visibly for such a prolonged time. By January 2024, User:Sj estimated that it had "already conservatively affected 100M pageviews." According to a September 2023 analysis, over 1.3 million pages are impacted across all Wikimedia projects - the vast majority of them (1.16 million) on the Arabic Wikipedia.

Still, on English Wikipedia, only 19,160 pages were affected. (Those numbers likely already reflect the manual removal of broken graphs from many pages.) In a more detailed 2020 analysis, volunteer developer User:Bawolff had found that "the graph extension is used on 26,238 pages [on English Wikipedia]. However, most of these are in non-content namespaces, from a template that generates a graph of page views for a specific page (w:Template:PageViews graph). There are 4,140 pages on en.wikipedia.org in the main namespace that use graphs. [...] As a percentage, that's 0.07% overall, 0.2% of "Good Articles", 0.3% of Featured Articles." Another Wikipedian reported that "In ruwiki, interactive Lua-based graphs are used in more than 26000 articles about settlements and administrative units through https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Module:Statistical (also, more than 8000 on ukwiki, etc.)."

How much interactivity is needed, anyway?

Several users questioned whether the full interactive functionality of the Vega library was really needed, arguing e.g. that "Most graphs on wiki are simple bar/pie/line charts. These could be produced quite easily using even a language like Lua."

WMF engineer Gergő Tisza (who appears to have done much of the technical work on the aforementioned iframe solution) observed that

Interactive animations were very much part of Yuri's vision for the Graph extension, but during the decade Graph was deployed in production the number of such animations made was approximately zero. [...] Instead, both gadgets and Graph usage are mostly focused on very basic things like showing a chess board or showing bar charts, because those are the things that can be reused across a large number of articles without manually tailoring the code to each

Concretely, Bawolff had observed in his 2020 analysis of the usage of graphs on English Wikipedia that:

Most of these are simple static graphs. Some notable exceptions is interactive time scale maps, such as the one at w:Template:Interactive COVID-19 maps and the one at w:List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions, which shows how geographic data evolves over time (See also w:template:Global Heat Maps by Year). Also the graph at w:Vancouver_Whitecaps_FC. Nonetheless, I have yet to see any examples where a graph based visualization makes what would otherwise be a difficult concept clear, or where the visualization stops me in my tracks, and is core to my understanding of the article.

Volunteer developer TheDJ even argued "let's be honest... the interactivity-part has been an 8 year long nightmare. Maybe its time to put that to bed and accept defeat."

On the other hand, Galder titled his post that opened the Wikimedia-l discussion "We need more interactive content: we are doing it wrong". He took a much wider view, arguing that the WMF's failure to get graphs working again was just one example of wider stagnation and lack of progress towards the goal that "By 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge" (quoting from a 2017 strategy document). Besides Our World in Data, Galder named several other educational websites that have surpassed Wikimedia projects on interactive content, e.g.:

  • Wolfram Alpha is like a light year ahead us on giving interactive solutions to knowledge questions [...] That's also "free knowledge".
  • Brilliant (https://brilliant.org/) is brilliant if you want to learn lots of things, like geometry or programming. Way better than Wikipedia. But... you need to pay for it.

(Other parts of the mailing list discussion focused on MediaWiki's shortcomings with regard to video.)

In her op-ed in this Signpost issue, Maryana Pinchuk, the Wikimedia Foundation's Principal Product Manager, pushes back against such proposals, reporting that at an event last fall, she "heard many Wikipedians express concern about where pursuing this strategy could lead us. There was fear of making Wikipedia into something it isn’t. There was also fear about the cost and risks of building big new software features and trying to compete with massive for-profit technology companies for users. I think all of these concerns are very valid."

In the Wikimedia-l discussion, Wikipedian and former WMF engineer Ori Livneh argued that direct comparisons with sites that do not contain user-generated content may severely underestimate the additional engineering work to implement such interactive features on Wikipedia. He pointed out security engineering as a bottleneck at the Foundation holding up such work:

The critical issue is *security*. Security is the reason the graph extension is not enabled. Security is the reason why interactive SVGs are not enabled. Interactive visualizations have a programmatic element that consists of code that executes in the user's browser. Such code needs to be carefully sandboxed to ensure it cannot be used to exfiltrate user data or surreptitiously perform actions on wiki.

The bar for shipping security-critical features is high. You can ship code with crummy UX [user experience] and iterate on it. But something that touches security requires a higher amount of up-front technical design work and close scrutiny in the form of peer review. And this means that it cannot progress spontaneously, through sporadic bursts of effort here and there (which is how a lot of engineering work happens) but requires a solid commitment of focused attention from multiple people with relevant expertise.

There are engineers at the Wikimedia Foundation and in the technical contributor community with the relevant expertise but as a rule they are extremely oversubscribed. My recommendation would be to engage them in crafting a job description for this role and in reviewing candidates.

On March 26, the WMF invited feedback on "the Product & Technology draft key results for next fiscal year. They aim to explain what outcomes we are working towards" as part of the 2024/25 annual plan. In reaction, Galder noted that "there's no single mention to this [Graphs outage problem], nor to improving the multimedia experience". In a discussion on the talk page, Miller said that "we are working on a possible plan for graphs, but I'm not sure yet what its scope will be or when we would resource it if we proceed with that plan".




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2024-03-29

Interview on Wikimedia Foundation fundraising and finance strategy

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By Bluerasberry
Signpost interview with James Baldwin, Senior Director of Finance Strategy, and Megan Hernandez, Vice President of Fundraising, both of the Wikimedia Foundation

Summary

As a Wikipedia community newspaper, The Signpost organizes the investigation and reporting of issues important to the Wikipedia community. At the start of 2024, the Wikimedia Foundation Community Affairs Committee invited any Wikimedia community members to Talking:2024 to request to talk with Wikimedia Foundation leadership about anything. Signpost editors made a request to discuss the nature of consensus and collaboration between the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia community on the issue of the Wikimedia fundraising banner.

Here to discuss are Megan Hernandez, User:MeganHernandez (WMF), Vice President of Fundraising, with the Wikimedia Foundation Advancement department to discuss fundraising; and James Baldwin, User:JBaldwin (WMF), Senior Director of Finance Strategy, from the meta:Wikimedia Foundation Finance and Administration department, to discuss financial strategy. Lane Rasberry, user:bluerasberry, journalist for The Signpost, conducts the interview.

Transcript

bluerasberry: Hi, everyone. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia which anyone can edit. It's also a community project where anyone can participate in its governance. This includes things such as finance. Readers of Wikipedia will be aware that there is an annual fundraising campaign that involves banners, and those same people who edit Wikipedia also participate in the design and management of this fundraising campaign. We're going to talk about this today with staff of the Wikimedia Foundation. I have Megan Hernandez, VP of Fundraising, here and James Baldwin, Senior Director of Finance Strategy. James and Megan, can you please tell us what is finance strategy? What is fundraising in the context of the Wikipedia movement? And what do you guys do?

Megan Hernandez: Sure, I can kick it off. Thanks so much Lane for putting this together. I think we're excited to be talking with you today and happy to share a little bit more. My name is Megan Hernandez. I'm the VP of fundraising at the Wikipedia Foundation. I am from California in the United States, but I'm living in France. I've been with the foundation for about 14 years and and I've been working in fundraising throughout that time. I can talk a little bit about our fundraising approach. The Wikimedia Foundation is supported by millions of readers all around the world who use Wikipedia, find it valuable, and want to support our mission. We received donations from countries all around the world. We were on campaigns in about 30 countries and translate our messages in more than 20 languages to really be able to invite a very broad group of people to support our mission and participate in the movement.

Our movement strategy does call on us to ensure the long-term sustainability of our mission and we've been doing that over the years as the fundraising program has really evolved the diversify and have a more resilient model with the campaigns that I was talking about. But also through newer revenue streams like the Wikimedia Endowment and Wikimedia Enterprise that are really ... aim to have this longer term sustainability so that we're around for the long term.

bluerasberry: Great all things that people can read more about online. Very well documented, and active community discussions about all of these things. Anyone can participate in this. James, what can you say... finance strategy, what does this mean?

James Baldwin: Thanks Lane. Yeah, thanks for the question. I think, well, let't's maybe start the introduction. So again, I'm James Baldwin, senior director of finance and a big part of my role at the foundation is facilitating our budgeting process and managing our budget throughout the year and I've been at the Foundation for about seven years, and so our finance strategy I think is helpful to understand. It's really about how we use and manage the resources and support of the mission. So first I want to maybe just share what are the things that we're deploying our resources around the major categories of investment that the foundation makes even each year. Firstly we support the technology backbone of Wikipedia that makes our projects reliable, accessible, and secure. We are recognized as one of the fastest sites in the US, and we're working hard to deliver a similar experience in other regions of the world, including the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe.

We do this by running two data centers, four caching centers, over 30 internet peering and translocations, and over 2,000 servers; and all that supported by a team of hundreds of engineers who support that work in various capacities and fashions. And that's the first area. The second area is that we explore how to provide knowledge to people wherever they are and however they need it, that when we do that alongside volunteers. So a few examples of this one is we have a machine learning team that the foundation has supported since 2017. We also run a multilingual platform. We have support for 320 languages. We have a MinT translation service, which is AI technology to support volunteers in |creating translations and over 200 languages and that includes some languages that had never before had machine translation support.

James Baldwin: All of those translations are reviewed by volunteers and edited before they're published. The third area I'd highlight is supporting volunteer communities. So, we support communities all over the world. We operate a pretty complex and large grant making infrastructure that provides funds in over 90 countries. And lastly we help fight disinformation, censorship, and other threats. We educate lawmakers and policymakers on the importance of Wikipedia, and we ... support and defend our projects and volunteers in the case of some threats. That's sort of what we're investing in terms of how the founding the finances are set up. We share our annual plan how we do this.

James Baldwin: We've been growing as a foundation for some time. Really the last five or so years, until last year. Last year we entered a period of slower growth. That's because we entered a much more uncertain environment, we saw a change in context around us, including higher inflation, more volatile currency exchange rates, and overall slower fundraising growth. So now after that period of growth that we had for some time, we're now entering a period of slower growth that we expect more in the neighborhood of 5-ish percent for the next several years. As we think about deploying our budget, a couple of things are important to maybe understand how we do that. One is we prioritize grants and movement support. Last year, in particular, we were in a position with slower fundraising growth than we expected, and that forced us to make some hard choices and reduce costs in certain areas [of] the Foundation in order for us to continue to fund increases in grants. We increase grants by about seven percent this year. Secondly, we're always considering long-term financial sustainability and stability of the organization and the mission. The board has a policy of maintaining a working capital reserve at 12 to 18 months of operating expenses. That's a core part of how we manage risk and ensure sustainability for the long term and in line with what we've seen in other major successful not-for-profits.

James Baldwin: Thirdly, we work to align our budget to our annual plan goals and we provide a breakdown of all of that in our annual plan, which we can talk a little bit more about and we can also reference last year's plan. Personnel is our largest cost of the budget. It's about two-thirds of our investments. And so what our staff are spending their time on is one of the most important decisions we need to make each year. We also follow not-for-profit best practices. Rating agencies like Charity Navigator have consistently rated us a top-rated charity because we understand the best practices they're tracking against and we make sure that we're in line with them. Maybe I'll stop there.

bluerasberry: Okay, James. I'm going to reflect some of that back to you.

James Baldwin: Right.

bluerasberry: So we're not going to talk about all these things in detail, but for anybody who wants to read more after this talk, you're going to share me the links. I know there's documentation for this. There's active community discussing and commenting on all of these things that you mentioned. It's been this way for many years. In this talk, we're gonna focus mostly on what is your relationship to the community in discussing these kind of things, but to recap, money is used to keep the lights on in the site. This is how we say it: keep the lights on, keep it fast. We're in this new age of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Yes! I'm so glad as our many wiki community members that this is our investment. Grant making - it couldn't be closer to the community than grantmaking. These are discussed and negotiated with the community. I encourage anyone who wants to see where Wiki Community money is going to check out these grants. They're also posted publicly. Very novel and innovative that Wiki does this! And then policy issues. Why are we doing this? Everyone should have access to Wikipedia. Everyone should have the right to edit Wikipedia, and then whatever related policies.

So about these money issues, about all these various priorities everywhere: you both mentioned that Wikipedia is multilingual, multicultural, multinational. You have comments from people all over the world and we can't go into a full detail about how this works. But can you possibly make an attempt to explain how do you get comments from people all around the world to come to some kind of consensus. This happens for things including the fundraising, the money, and where the money goes. How do you negotiate these things and collaborate with people on the Internet that perhaps you don't know, that are going by random usernames, and you come out with some kind of agreement that this is the way to do things. Megan should we go back to you for this?

Megan Hernandez: Yeah, I'd be happy to, for the question. It's such a good one. I think there's a lot I could talk about with our volunteer community, and how we create fundraising campaigns together, and I'll jump into that. But I also want to say we have also a broader community of our readers and our donors, and we take their input and feedback into shaping all of our campaigns as well. But I'll dive deeper into the volunteer community and that's really a huge part in how we are creating our campaigns together. We just ended, in December, our annual English fundraising campaign that runs once a year (and in a lot of the main English speaking countries).

Megan Hernandez: And it's our biggest campaign of the year. While it ran into December, it actually kind of started in July. So at the start of our fiscal year is in July, when our team starts preparing and running kind of "pretests" and all the preparations for the campaign of that year, and right alongside that at the beginning of the year. We kicked off this collaboration process with our volunteers to be able to prepare and really create the campaign together. Practically, what this looked like, was of course a Wikipedia page where we put some sample banners and some ideas and just asked to have some ideas of how we could make it better this year and what messages folks would want to share with our readers.

Megan Hernandez: Throughout those six months preparing and getting ready for this big campaign, we just kept that collaboration up on Wiki sharing ideas, sharing thoughts for how we could get involved. I love earlier you were just mentioning "in this age of AI". I'll say that the whole movement right now, I think, is talking about AI, and that certainly came through on the fundraising collaboration page. It was one of the newer messages that came through in December. It started, "In the age of AI, access to verifiable information is more important than ever", or a few variations of that, was one of the messages that we ran in December, and that came through this on Wikipedia collaboration process, I think really highlighting an important topic for readers and volunteers – and kind of the world right now.

Megan Hernandez: But alongside the on-wiki collaboration. We also hosted calls similar to this, to get together and have conversations. We had folks from the team head to Wikimania in Singapore to run a workshop and brainstorm how we can run these campaigns together. I attended WikiConference America in Toronto in November, which was just as we were getting ready to launch the campaign and was really a good moment, when we had folks right in person, right as we were getting ready, and worked through ideas there as well. So yeah, I think those were some of the themes and highlights from the year, and then we take that model and that English campaign runs in December once a year.

Megan Hernandez: The fundraising team is running campaigns year-round, in all different countries, and all different languages. And we take this collaboration model, and I've tried it in all these other countries where we run as well. I think we have our page up in Sweden right now a few weeks ago. We hosted some calls with the Latin American communities with folks on our team who speak Spanish and Portuguese, to join kind of existing community calls, to give updates about the fundraising and invite participation. So this collaboration process that I just talked about - we're doing it year round, in all different countries and languages, and working with folks on Wiki and Affiliates as well, to help localize our campaigns so that we have a good local experience for readers and in different countries.

bluerasberry: Thanks so much Megan! James, could I ask you, what's your experience with collaborating with community on any of the decisions you make?

James Baldwin: Yeah sure! I think it could be helpful, maybe, to start the budgeting process, and talk a little bit about the way the community is involved in that process at different levels. And then also talk about maybe a more interesting case around how we do grants, which is quite unique. When we build the budget, community conversations are a big part of our planning and budgeting process. The budget then allows management, the staff leadership of the organization, to make decisions on a day-to-day basis in most cases, the major exception being grants. So each year, we provide a breakdown of the annual plan on Meta-Wiki, and we describe what we're currently doing. We're working on the next years right now; our fiscal year starts in July. So this is our period of budgeting and planning. We've already shared the proposed product to technology objectives for next year and as a week or two ago, they're posted on a blog post and we're now getting some good feedback and input from community members. James Baldwin: In April, we'll do the same with the rest of the annual plan and we'll provide a breakdown of the budget and during that time like we did last year. We'll set up and join Community conversation to invite feedback and input on the work. From there the budget goes to the board for approval, and our board has a set of legal and fiduciary responsibilities to the organization. Our board is a combination of community-elected representatives - that's another point of community collaboration - as well as board and pointed positions. And they in practice will approve the budget. They also set policies to sign-on major strategy for the organization those kinds of things.

James Baldwin: Then, I'd like to talk a little bit about the regional funds committee. So we have expanded our approach to participatory grant making, with our last and most recent iteration of our grant making strategy a few years ago. And in that strategy, we created regional fund committees. They're designed to increase representation, and introduce more equity into the decisionmaking process and research allocation decisions. We have eight committees. So there's seven: one for each of the major regions. We're organized around the world, and another one for our conference grant program. They're all made up of volunteers, and supported by staff of the foundation, and they are the ones who make decisions on resource allocation for community project proposals.

James Baldwin: We developed a framework to guide those decisions that's based on evaluating the value for Knowledge Equity impact on the volunteer community for impact on the movement and the feasibility of the projects. And they also take into consideration, of course, what the resources is that are available to be distributed. We'll share with you some Diff posts. Probably interesting to read a little bit about some firsthand accounts of some of the members of these committees, who describe what it's like participating in these decisions. We have a couple on the Diff blog from a recent one from a North American Committee Member as well as a Middle East and Africa region.

bluerasberry: Yes, share those Diff links. For those of you watching, who aren't familiar, Diff is a blog by means of which people get information about these things. Very popular among the community! You've dropped a lot of names, dropped a lot of terms. Again, we don't have time to go into all of these, but we'll have links in the bottom. The point, that I'm glad that you're making, is that there's community process and documentation in all of these things. I've got a follow-up question to both of you. A little reality check, a little situating all this in the here and now, at this point in time. All this community collaboration - if you were perhaps employed at some other nonprofit organization, or if you went to another, and you met your peers, your colleagues, at other nonprofit organizations in the positions you are doing, tell me, how much of this community collaboration they would be doing? How common is it for these kinds of things to happen in your field of work?

James Baldwin: I can take a stab. I would say, it really depends on the stakeholders of your work how you're engaged with them. My background is in public education prior to coming to the foundation. And so the stakeholders that were interested are our students - I was at a public high school - and their families, principally as well as the wider community. And the way we engage with them was much more in person than the Wikimedia movement, of course.

bluerasberry: Perhaps not so much talking on web pages, online, for anonymous people.

James Baldwin: Yeah a lot less of that.

bluerasberry: All right.

James Baldwin: But don't think I could say "more" or "less". It was just different. The way, the input that we needed in the community, to align with our stakeholders and service of our mission, was the goal. I think it was the same: we're in this together. We need to do this together, and make decisions about the future of our work together. So that was my experience there and it's ... looks very different here, but I think there's a lot of parallels.

bluerasberry: Alright Megan. How do you feel about this? Anything unusual about the way this happens in Wikipedia?

Megan Hernandez: Sure, and I do actually meet with fundraising partners in other organizations regularly, and I do think we are in a unique space here in how Wikipedia is created and exists is unique in itself. People all around the world coming together writing content, writing creating an encyclopedia. And in the same way having, people all around the world contributing and making our campaigns together, I think is unique, just as Wikipedia is unique. I have worked another nonprofits, and there are ways that stakeholders are involved, but I think in a different kind of way than the way that we run our campaigns. There's different kinds of stories and engagement with communities with all nonprofits, of course, but I do think the model that we have is unique and to a different level than what I hear from colleagues in other organizations. Unique model for, I think, a unique movement!

bluerasberry: All right. Thanks. I'm gonna ask a little bit more about this movement. And this is going to be a broad question. There's so many ways you can feel free to answer it however you like, but I want to know more about the stakeholders in the Wikimedia movement who have voices or votes or can weigh in on all these conversations. Who are these stakeholders? You mentioned there's a Wikimedia Foundation. There's all these people and all these other countries. We've got the board weighing in, in different ways. What is the nature of the power-sharing among these demographics for Wikimedia financial decisions and other strategic decisions? So again, feel free to answer this however you like.

James Baldwin: So I think it probably starts with some of the points I made in the previous answer. The governance structure of the Wikimedia Foundation is designed to include community members as part of our board. That's like, the board is set up to meet the responsibilities and accountabilities needed as a us-based 501(c)3, but the composition of that board is something we can determine. So the organization in the movement is determined to include a combination of sort of community members who provide the expertise and voice of community, as well as other experts to sort of supplement expertise and capacity, that we might need on a board. And the other place, again, is the regional funds committees, which I mentioned earlier: where we've taken a very participatory approach to provide, to create these committees, to support them with the resources they need to be successful, and then trust them to make decisions about the things that they're experts in. So in the case of the regions, we have community members...

bluerasberry: The grants, like you were saying.

James Baldwin: ...who are from that region, who understand best the needs, opportunities, challenges of that region; and they can then make decisions about how to allocate the grant budget and portfolio across the proposals they get from that region, which is the goal. The goal is to be in line with several movement strategy principles of including equity, and decision-making, as well as the principle of subsidiarity. Which, in paraphrasing, is that the people closest to the challenges and closest to the needs are the ones able to make decisions and respond to them.

bluerasberry: Subsidiarity, is that the word? Okay. Yes, okay.

James Baldwin: Subsidiarity is one of the concepts that the movement strategy highlighted. Yeah.

bluerasberry: Right. Megan what do you have to say about stakeholders and power-sharing?

Megan Hernandez: Yeah, I think we try to engage as many stakeholders as we can in how we fundraise. We talked a lot about the volunteer community. But we also have a very active donor and reader community. When we run these campaigns we get hundreds of thousands of messages from donors and readers around the world, telling us about Wikipedia, our fundraising, about our work - and we really listen to that.

bluerasberry: How do you listen to 100,000 messages?

Megan Hernandez: Clearly we have an amazing donor relations team on staff who speak a whole bunch of languages, and put together human responses. Humans actually respond to everybody, and engage with them, and we look at the recaps and breakdowns and what are people saying, and really try to listen to folks, which I think is kind of the spirit of this Talking:2024 Initiative: just to have these conversations, and have a better understanding, and listen to each other, and use that to inform the strategy and decision-making and our work together.

bluerasberry: All right. I got a last question for you both and this is going to be an opinion. What parts of the collaboration between the community and the Wikimedia foundation and other stakeholders work really well. What parts of this kind of collaboration is a challenge? James, what comes to your mind?

James Baldwin: We will stay with the specific example of the Regional Funds committees. And I think what we've seen, in a couple years of those operating, is that they do a great job of understanding the needs and opportunities of the region. And when grant proposals are really aligned, to the goals that region is working toward, they add a lot of value. The decisions are clear. The frameworks are really helpful. When the regional goals and objectives are less clear, or the proposals are sort of at a right angle to some of those things, not necessarily different, they have occasionally had challenges to be able to respond, and understand, and think through, a decision about sort of allocating a portfolio of investments from grants, on how to consider these things that are different, or when the goals aren't super clear. So that's been a challenge. I think they've been struggling with that is maybe inherent to the movement.

bluerasberry: Can you say why it's inherent to the movement?

James Baldwin: Yeah, that's a great question. The reason I say that is because the goals of a grantee could be hyperlocal, it could be global. It could be technical. There are so many dimensions, that we're operating on – the ability to have a single 'what's the one thing that we're all aligned to' doesn't really exist in our movement. I personally haven't seen it. There's a bunch of different goals, and a bunch of different dimensions we're working on, which is sort of normal and makes sense. And so that makes it challenging I think sometimes to have goals that help make decisions about every single proposal.

bluerasberry: Okay, I get it. When you're trying to share all information, about all things, in every language, everywhere in the world, you have to set strategic priorities. It totally makes sense. Megan, what works well, and what is a challenge?

Megan Hernandez: Sure, I think the collaboration process is going well and it's been something we've been growing and improving on over the past year. I think we're actually creating campaigns together, and I think more than we have in the past and that's really exciting. I think we still have work to do. I think the team has been trying to share more information, and share more insights of the work, so that we have more of a shared understanding and can work through and improve our campaigns together. And we also have challenges - right? - with a changing Internet environment and changes and trends and how people donate and help people read, for the longer term.

bluerasberry: Okay.

Megan Hernandez: We have improvements to make into our fundraising to continue to support our movement and we need to run stronger campaigns. And so I think we have room to grow and how we do that together and how we learn together and learn how to improve our campaigns. But I feel like we have the structure here, and the people we need, to work through that together.

bluerasberry: And Megan, I appreciate your commitment to improving sharing information. It is indeed a challenge to share this amount of information. It's a challenge for Wikipedia editors to read, and digest, and respond to this information. I would like to invite anybody watching this to look at the links below to read more about this information. Also, even if you're not a Wikipedia editor, you're still invited to read these things and comment on them. Wikipedia is not just for the editors, it's for the readers! And even if you've never edited before, you've never posted a comment, you're quite welcome to go into any of these initiatives, read them, comment, ask questions, respond, as you like. Megan, James, thanks so much for joining me today. Thank you Wikipedia Signpost for being a newspaper for the Wikipedia community, helping us organize and report these kinds of things. If you have any questions or comments, please post them on the wiki. Thank you all.

James Baldwin: Thank you very much for having us.

Megan Hernandez: Thank you.

bluerasberry: Alright, thanks so much for a great interview guys, and, Nadee, you'll please send me the recording, any time you're ready. I can't promise when this is going to be in the Signpost. They have their own editorial schedule. But I anticipate ... I hope before May, probably realistically in April

Megan Hernandez: Thank you so much! That was fun.

bluerasberry: It was fun. Thank you so much for meeting with me.

Megan Hernandez: Thank you, have a good one.

James Baldwin: Alright, thanks.

bluerasberry: Bye-bye.

Megan Hernandez: Bye.

Fundraising banner discussion

Previous discussions on Wikipedia fundraising banners include the following:

From The Signpost

On-wiki discussion

Wikimedia Foundation publications



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2024-03-29

19-page PDF accuses Wikipedia of bias against Israel, suggests editors be forced to reveal their real names, and demands a new feature allowing people to view the history of Wikipedia articles

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By JPxG, sawyer-mcdonell, and HaeB
Logo of Arabic Wikipedia, showing the Wikipedia "globe" colored to look like the Palestinian flag.
Arabic Wikipedia's logo in solidarity with Palestine has caused controversy

The report

HaeB, sawyer-mcdonell

The World Jewish Congress has published a report titled "The Bias Against Israel on Wikipedia", which has been covered by The Jerusalem Post, Jewish News Syndicate, and Spectator Australia (paywalled). The author, Dr. Shlomit Aharoni Lir, is an academic, described in a related recent publication as "a poet, essayist, lecturer, and gender studies scholar [who] holds a research fellowship at Bar-Ilan University and is a lecturer at Achva College". She had previously published a peer-reviewed paper about gender bias on Wikipedia (Signpost coverage). The present report does not seem intended to be an academic publication, although it has already been used as a citation in the article Wikipedia and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

The report criticizes Arabic Wikipedia's "blackout" in solidarity with Palestinians (see Signpost coverage), the English Wikipedia's coverage of the Holocaust, and its general "bias against Israel", which the author argues is exemplified through content and sourcing bias, "deletion attacks", editing restrictions, "selective enforcement" by administrators, and "anti-Israeli editors".

Lauren Dickinson of the Wikimedia Foundation's Communications Department told The Signpost that several staff had reviewed the document, and found that "the WJC report makes a number of unsubstantiated claims of bias on Wikipedia. It lacks adequate references, quotes, links, or other sources to support its purported findings. Further, the report misunderstands Wikipedia's NPOV policy, as well as the importance of anonymity for user privacy on Wikimedia projects."

But what is the deal, really? Let's take a look.

Big if true, but is it true?

JPxG

The problem with this report is that many of its suggested improvements are things we've already been doing (publicly, and in a very prominent way) for decades; and many of the rest are intrusive threats to the personal safety of editors and administrators. This makes it hard to take most of its claims seriously; for example, if somebody thinks there's no way to see who has added text to a Wikipedia article, it seems easier to tell them where the "history" tab is at the top of the page, rather than create an unaccountable editorial council and appoint them to it.

The 19-page report, which focuses on the English Wikipedia, "is based on research, content analysis, and interviews with Israeli Wikipedians"; its overview of challenges to Wikipedia's ideals include "The Power of the Admins and Beurocrats" [sic], as well as the gender gap (see Signpost coverage). Their citations on the gender gap include a survey taken in 2008 saying that Wikipedia editors were mostly male,[1] and a paper from 2011 which compared Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica on coverage of women in historical biography lists and concluded that Wikipedia had "significantly greater coverage" and its articles were "significantly longer than Britannica articles [...] for every source list"[2]. It is somewhat unclear what, if any, relation the gender ratio of biography articles (or indeed of the editoriat) has to Israel and Palestine; while there is indeed a paper from 2014[3] (cf. our coverage) that talks in greater depth about lower participation rates for female editors, and it's uncontroversially true that there exists a gender disparity among Wikipedia editors, it's hard to see what the connection is here. It is a little embarrassing, but so are the MoS arguments, and those don't have anything to do with Gaza either. The closest the report comes to making a connection between the gender gap and Gaza (apart from the alliteration) is to say:

Sure: it is true that we live in a society, and that the biases of that society pose issues for our attempt to write an encyclopedia that is both neutral and based on direct citations to sources written in that society. This is a problem apparently endemic to all encyclopedia writers, even our Britannic forebears; and it is the subject of much ongoing reflection and work, which is altogether good and proper to do. But it is not really clear how this relates to the main claim of the report, which is that Wikipedia is biased against Israel.

Regarding administrators, the report mentions issues with "concealment of decision-makers' actions, alongside the significant authority wielded by anonymous administrators who can delete entries and block participants without accountability". This may come as a surprise to readers, who may justifiably consider Wikipedia to be one of the most transparently operated major sites on the Web, and indeed in the modern history of the Web. Editorial decisions, discussions about those decisions, administrative actions, and the edits themselves are meticulously logged, to the second, in full public view, on a page that automatically generates a display of precisely which changes were made in the edit, or what actions were taken, by whom. When someone is banned from Twitter or Facebook, there is not an up-to-the-second log of which specific person pushed the button; there may be a form letter emailed to them later, but the act itself is not public, nor is it really disclosed at all. On Wikipedia it is; moreover, it can be reviewed and contested publicly. There's a public noticeboard for review of administrative actions; the Arbitration Committee regularly rules on cases of administrator misconduct, often deciding to remove admins. There is a large, highly regimented formal process for deleting articles (and a second one for formally appealing deletion decisions). Indeed, there are incidents in which administrators act beyond the bounds of propriety, but it is not really clear that Wikipedia is a "failed state" in any meaningful way with respect to their actions.

For example: this is a full public log of every formal action that I (Signpost editor and Wikipedia administrator JPxG) have ever taken.

You can see, in this log, that Ayamediainc was indefinitely blocked on March 12, 2024, at 04:45 UTC, for violation of the spam guidelines.

On their user talk page is a publicly viewable template indicating the name of the page in question, and an explanation of the specific way that it was in violation of the policy.

The log for that user account indicates it was created at 02:47 that same day, and two hours later they created a page at User:Ayamediainc/sandbox with the summary "Added sections from Ayamediainc profile and added background information". The log also specifies that this edit tripped two automated alerts, because text on the page matched patterns that are strongly associated with spam. The policies, the user warnings, the block, the reason for the block, and the identity of the blocking administrator (in this case me) are publicly viewable and can be audited by anyone. If the user appealed the block, that too would be a matter of public record, as would the response of whichever seprate administrator handled the appeal (which wouldn't be me).

One of the demands I can easily agree with: the "transparent editing history" item, which exhorts Wikipedia to "ensure that all changes to articles are transparent and traceable", which "helps in identifying editors who may consistently introduce bias into articles".

This stance is shared by the Wikipedia community, who implemented it 23 years ago; a link to the (mostly) complete history of every article has been a central element of the top of every Wikipedia page since the year 2002 (and the feature was incomplete and less prominently linked the year before that).

If there is some other website which provides greater transparency into its administrative and editorial decisions, perhaps it would provide a useful model for us to emulate. However, it is hard to come up with one. The histories viewable for every single Wikipedia article track every modification ever made to them, from major copyedits to em-dash fixes, and are permanently attributable to the editors. It's hard to come up with any way to increase the transparency of the process, except for personally doxing the administrators and editors.

This is one of the suggestions vaguely alluded to in the report, and later said explicitly: to this, I may offer the rejoinder that in that block log you can see me issuing blocks to a wide range of people encompassing bored schoolkids, scammers, vandals, and seriously disturbed and hostile individuals who carry decades-long grudges. I am a volunteer who edits for fun. These are not, generally speaking, people I would prefer to know where my family lived, especially not the guy who capped off a decade and change of Wikipedia harassment career by going to jail for making dozens of graphic death threats to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. That was not a made-up example: this guy is real and he's one of the hundred or so entries on the long-term abuse page. As for editorial integrity, I can definitely imagine what effect it would have on our article about any given scandal of corporate malfeasance or government corruption if somebody were able to instantly file vexatious lawsuits against individual editors. I just cannot imagine it being a good one.

The report says that "network bullying and discriminatory treatment increase when there is no personal responsibility and acting under cover of anonymity is possible". In general, my experience over the last twenty years of hanging out on the Internet suggests that network bullying also increases a lot when every person you ban from a website has trivial access to your home address, including this sicko.

One of the report's proposals for new features that should be implemented is to "host forums and discussions within the Wikipedia community to address concerns about neutrality and gather feedback for policy improvements"; it is not specified how this would fit into the existing directory of centralized discussions, dashboard, project-wide Request for Comment process with fifteen categories, six Village Pumps, and dozen or so noticeboards, including a neutral-point-of-view noticeboard and dispute resolution noticeboard. It is not explained why these venues are insufficient; none of them are even mentioned.

Generally, a persistent problem with the first part of the report is that it repeatedly claims (either explicitly or through insinuation) that Wikipedia lacks a process to deal with some issue, and gives no evidence to support that claim, when in reality Wikipedia not only has a process, but has had it for a very long time (sometimes more than 20 years) and it forms a central part of the site's administrative apparatus upon which editors spend hundreds of hours daily rigorously documenting all of their actions with direct references to policies and consensus. It seems that the main objective is to establish (or at least repeatedly assert) that Wikipedia lacks self-governance, or that it is unable to handle contentious issues, or that nobody has ever realized until now that it was possible for people to be rude about politics online; then this is used as the basis to propose all sorts of bureaucratic impositions, most of them done by external groups (perhaps including the one that made the report).

This is bad. While it is indeed the case that some people are biased towards one view or another, it seems unlikely that instituting binding top-down procedures (like an official oversight committee to dictate content at the behest of external consulting agencies and lobbyists, as is also suggested in the report) would arrive at a remotely better result. It's also not clear why we lack these: the report seems to be unaware of basic features like page history, which allow anyone to see who's written an article. Simply clicking on the history tab seems like an easier solution than doxing every editor or subjecting sitewide editorial decisions to random external think tanks.

If an unknown detective arrives at the murder scene and demands to be given authority over the investigation, of course there are questions about whether he has jurisdiction, but even before that, it seems relevant to note whether the victim is actually dead. If he's sitting at the dinner table asking what you're doing in the living room, this seems like a significant detail in the murder investigation.

The bias

After this, there are a number of specific examples given of pages concerning the conflict in Gaza. Frankly, this may be true: political articles are biased sometimes. They tend to be edited by a variety of people with various allegiances, who argue at great length over everything from trivial minutiae to the timelines of major events. It is not clear this can, or should, be fixed. Existing research seems fairly consistent on the idea that conversation and collaboration between people of various perspectives improves the overall quality of articles.

This process does involve a great deal of tedious, unpleasant argument; ask anybody who's edited (or worse, created) a contentious article on a political subject. But ultimately, if an article about an event is unduly biased towards one side, the only solution is to edit it in a way that fixes the problem. This sometimes results in contention, in which case a discussion must be carried out between the people who disagree, and if they cannot resolve it between themselves, there are a variety of ways of seeking external assistance.

There are a broad number of existing venues to which disputes can be brought, and through which disputes can be addressed. It's true that these processes often take a long time to resolve, and it's true that in the meantime an article can be grotesquely biased. It's even true that an article can stay grotesquely biased for a while. Any editor active on political topics can tell you about their personal Alamo, perhaps several of them, where they showed up armed with reason and common sense, and a dozen idiots showed up armed with idiocy, and they were crushed in ignominious defeat. In fact, maybe I am one of the idiots who ruined your article, and maybe you are one of the idiots who ruined mine. And we are both the idiots for some other third person. It is just an inescapable aspect of living in a society: sometimes people, even people collaborating on a project, have irreconcilable disagreements. This has happened thousands of times, and we have mechanisms for dealing with it; they may not always work perfectly, but it remains to be seen what other way things could possibly be run and work anywhere near as well.

Wikipedia policies and consensus processes are the worst form of collaborative encyclopedia-writing projects, except for all the other ones.

Arbitration Committee grants new editor extended-confirmed status to open case request

JPxG

Subsequent to the publication of this report, on March 20, the Arbitration Committee announced that a user account created that day with zero edits (Mschwartz1) would be granted extended-confirmed status "for the exclusive purpose of participating in a case request about Israel-Palestine". Extended-confirmed status, generally, is given to accounts with over 500 edits that are at least 30 days old (and is currently a prerequisite for any editing activity in the Israel–Palestine area, formally designated a Contentious Topic).

A long discussion ensued at the ArbCom noticeboard's talk page, as well as at the unmentionable BADSITE, in which it was speculated that this may have been an employee of the organization publishing the report (due to timing that closely aligned with the publishing of the report). Arbitrator Barkeep49 said that it "may or may not be a coincidence", explaining that "I can say the conversation with us that led to this grant has been going on since early February." Limited information has been made available about the nature of the editor, although the rare decision to grant EC status to a zero-edit account on the day of its creation based on private correspondence with the Committee beforehand indicates that there is something unusual about the situation.

It remains uncertain whether this account has any relation to the WJC (or to any lobbying organization); commenters at the talk page for the ArbCom noticeboard have questioned whether this unknown party has standing to request a case be opened, whether a disclosure is required per WP:COI, and other issues. A more comprehensive explanation came from arbitrator Primefac:

Mschwartz1's sole edit (on the 26th) was to add this case request against Nishidani (mistakenly putting it at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee instead of Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case, after which it was closed with instructions on how to post it to the correct board).

As of press time, there seems to be no conclusive evidence either way of who or what this account belongs to, despite many fairly strong opinions and speculations being expressed on the talk page.

See also related earlier coverage: "Does Wikipedia's Gaza coverage show an anti-Israel bias?" ("In the media", November 6, 2023) and "WikiProjects Israel and Palestine ("WikiProject Report", January 10, 2024)



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2024-03-29

Wikipedia in the age of personality-driven knowledge

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By Maryana Pinchuk
Maryana Pinchuk is the Wikimedia Foundation's Principal Product Manager, and has been a Wikipedian since 2011.

In March 2023, I helped organize a Zoom call to discuss external trends that may impact the Wikimedia movement, and over a hundred Wikimedians attended to talk about the opportunities and risks of generative AI. But a different concern also surfaced that really surprised and stuck with me. Longtime English Wikipedia editor Ragesoss noted that when observing how his children like to learn things online, he saw that instead of going to websites, they sought out personalities who had built large followings on platforms like YouTube, and could provide information from an authentically human point of view. In the year since that AI call, the English Wikipedia community has heatedly debated how to respond to the opportunities and threats of generative AI. But this other trend – of people (especially younger people) seeking out personalities to aggregate knowledge for them, on social platforms that make it easy and rewarding for contributors to participate in new formats like short video – hasn’t been discussed as much. And while some Wikipedians may wonder what any of this has to do with encyclopedic content, I believe that this trend deserves as much attention and conversation in our community.

Despite the excitement (and hype) around generative AI in the press over the last year, Wikipedia is still used by more people globally than ChatGPT.[1] But, when looking at Wikipedia usage compared to usage of popular social platforms frequented by young people, the comparison is far less favorable for us. TikTok has close to two billion monthly global users – twice as many as Wikipedia – and is still growing.[2] And while it's tempting to dismiss TikTok and apps like it as entertainment platforms where young people only share and watch lip-syncing and viral dances, consider that a third of US people under age 30 recently reported regularly getting their news from TikTok, and one in four US TikTok users say they come to the platform for educational purposes like learning history.

Meanwhile, recent surveys by the Wikimedia Foundation Brand Health team have shown that worldwide, people aged 18–24 report being less aware of, less likely to use, and less likely to recommend Wikipedia to a friend than older age groups. Many of these younger audiences report preferring to get information via video platforms like YouTube or social knowledge sites like Quora. Traditionally, young people have always been a huge staple of Wikipedia readership. What could account for fewer young people than retirees today saying that they use or are even aware of Wikipedia's existence, and more going to social apps for educational content?

I think it's important to look outward at what's happened in the world in the last decade to better understand these data:

Given all these changes to how people expect to get information online, what opportunities does Wikipedia have to continue to meet the needs of this younger generation and generations to come?

I think there are a few strategies we could pursue.

One strategy, which I’ve heard expressed by some Wikipedians, is evolving what our content or projects looks like, to better fit some of these new expectations and preferences. There are different proposals for how to achieve this that have recently been proposed and discussed on the Wikimedia-l mailing list: for example, should we provide the ability to create and include more interactive elements (like graphs, timelines, or quizzes) on Wikipedia articles? Should we produce and include video explainers of important topics on Wikipedia? Though the specifics differ, fundamentally these ideas are about making Wikipedia more of a “knowledge destination” that younger audiences will want to visit – to read and to contribute to – instead of going to places like TikTok or YouTube. But when this conversation came up at WikiConference North America last fall, I heard many Wikipedians express concern about where pursuing this strategy could lead us. There was fear of making Wikipedia into something it isn’t. There was also fear about the cost and risks of building big new software features and trying to compete with massive for-profit technology companies for users. I think all of these concerns are very valid.

Some alternative strategies might instead focus on:

  1. Making sure people continue to get reliable information from Wikipedia, and that they understand what Wikipedia is and that they can join our movement, no matter where they like to share or receive information online. This “free knowledge everywhere” strategy seems promising to me because creators on YouTube and TikTok already routinely harvest facts, ideas, and images from Wikipedia and include them in their videos (and it's possible that in this way, information from Wikipedia is already being viewed by more young people outside of Wikipedia than on it, in the formats that they prefer). However, Wikipedia is rarely credited or acknowledged in these videos, so audiences have no way of knowing about the amazing volunteer project that brings them this information for free, let alone that they can join in and contribute. One way to change this might be to make using our new sound logo a more consistent practice whenever Wikipedia knowledge is shared externally.
  2. Evolving the habit that has been so standard among people of my generation when reading or hearing some claim that sounds dubious: opening up a new tab and checking what Wikipedia has to say. This strategy is about seeing if we can continue to make Wikipedia the "Internet's conscience" – i.e., the knowledge commons that provides additional context; organizes secondary sources; and gives ordinary people the ability to see, participate in, and influence the consensus on what is known – while adapting to the fact that "opening up a new tab and reading longform text" might not be the way younger audiences use the Internet anymore. One way to do this might be to provide instant verification with Wikipedia wherever people are getting information.

My team at the Wikimedia Foundation, Future Audiences, is exploring these different strategies, and our mandate is to evaluate them with quick experiments (including an experiment to build and test that last example, just-in-time third-party information verification with Wikipedia). But we are not the only ones within the Wikimedia movement who are interested in better understanding and showing up in this space: Basque Wikipedians have been turning Wikipedia articles into short videos for YouTube and TikTok as well as adding them back to Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia UK chapter has recently started their own TikTok channel.

I would love to hear from more Wikipedians: what role could Wikipedia play in this new personality-driven knowledge era? What new strategies seem most promising (or not) to you? What aren't we as a movement talking about or doing that we should be?

Notes



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2024-03-29

"Newcomer Homepage" feature mostly fails to boost new editors

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By Tilman Bayer


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

Largest newbie support features experiment to date finds mostly null results

How to better support new editors has long been a conundrum for Wikipedians. In 2018, the Wikimedia Foundation launched its Growth team, which tackles this issue by working on "features to encourage newcomers to make edits." A paper[1] by four Wikimedia Foundation staff reports on the results of a long-time systematic study evaluating their impact:

"We propose the Newcomer Homepage, a central place where newcomers can learn how peer production works and find opportunities to contribute, as a solution for attracting and retaining newcomers. The homepage was built upon existing research and designed in collaboration with partner communities. Through a large-scale controlled experiment spanning 27 non-English Wikipedia wikis, we evaluate the homepage and find modest gains, and that having a positive effect on the newcomer experience depends on the newcomer’s context."

The newcomer homepage is summarized as "a central place to learn how Wikipedia works and that they can participate by editing". It offers a set of "Newcomer Tasks" to work on articles that the community has flagged as needing improvement, "with some tasks categorized as 'Easy' (e.g. copy editing, adding links), 'Medium' (e.g. adding references), and 'Hard' (e.g. expanding short articles)."

One version of the newcomer homepage on Czech Wikipedia, suggesting an article for copyediting (lower left)

More specifically, the team conducted randomized controlled experiments, where newly registered accounts were either shown a "Get started here!" notification inviting them to visit their "Newcomer Homepage", or received the standard interface. Outcomes were tracked for four different metrics (all based on edits made to articles and article talk pages). Two different methods were used to evaluate impact: 1) An "'Intent-to-Treat' (ITT) approach, where we learn whether an invitation to the homepage results in significant differences" (combined with hierarchical regression to aggregate the results from the different wikis), and 2) a two-stage least squares approach to obtain an "estimate of the causal effect of making suggested edits conditional on being invited". The overall findings are:

  • Activation A small but significant increase in overall activation [specifically, an 1% increase in the odds of making an edit within 24 hours of signing up], and that the outcome depends on newcomer context. Our intervention appears to distract newcomers who were already in the process of contributing, but seems to support those who were not, and in particular those who did not create an account with an intention to contribute.
  • Retention No difference in the retention rate; we find a strong correlation with the activity level on a newcomer’s first day.
  • Productivity No difference in the overall number of constructive contributions. [measured as the number of edits made within 15 days]
  • Revert rate No difference in the proportion of contributions rejected by the community.

(The null results on retention and productivity contrast with the positive results that the team had earlier found in a smaller-scale experiment confined to four language Wikipedias, see our brief earlier coverage.)

The framing of these mostly null results as "modest gains" in the abstract appears a bit generous, also considering that the only metric with a significant increase (activation) seems less directly related to furthering Wikipedia's mission than some of the others. Similar A/B tests have been successfully used across the internet to greatly increase new user retention and activity on many websites, quite a few of which may be competing with Wikipedia for people's free time. However, the growth teams of commercial sites often have vastly more resources at their disposal (fueled by advertising revenues), enabling them to try out many more different features until hitting on one that has a significant impact. And in any case, in this reviewer's opinion these Wikipedia experiments should be considered a success in that they represent a major advance in helping us better understand new editors. As highlighted by the authors, there is a scarcity of existing research about what works specifically on sites like Wikipedia: "It is unclear what solutions work when it comes to attracting and retaining newcomers at scale in peer production communities." They note that in previous research (apart from an experiment that successfully used barnstar-like awards to increase long-term retention of new editors on German Wikipedia), "proposed solutions have only been available in a single community (English Wikipedia), and only two have been evaluated in controlled experiments". These are The Wikipedia Adventure (cf. our coverage: "The Wikipedia Adventure: Beloved but ineffective"), and the Teahouse, which the authors call (to their knowledge) the only "controlled experiment that has shown a significant impact on newcomer retention." (However, non-Wikimedia researchers have pointed out that "The Teahouse study might also have been a false positive" because of a statistical problem involving multiple comparisons.)

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.

"Prominent users in the ECC article. A) Top 10 editors, based on edit count. B) User activity timeline of the top 20 users. In green are years of activity for each user. On the bottom are counts of active users per year (out of these 20)." (Figure 4 from the paper)

"High Impact: Wikipedia sources and edit history document two decades of the climate change field"

From the abstract:[2]

[...] to understand how [climate change] was represented on English Wikipedia, we deployed a mixed-method approach on the article for “Effects of climate change” (ECC), its edit history and references, as well as hundreds of associated articles dealing with climate change in different ways. Using automated tools to scrape data from Wikipedia, we saw new articles were created as climatology-related knowledge grew and permeated into other fields, reflecting a growing body of climate research and growing public interest. Our qualitative textual analysis shows how specific descriptions of climatic phenomena became less hypothetical, reflecting the real-world public debate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had a big impact on content and structure, we found using a bibliometric analysis, and what made this possible, we also discovered through a historical analysis, was the impactful work of just a few editors. This research suggests Wikipedia’s articles documented the real-world events around climate change and its wider acceptance - initially a hypothesis that soon became a regretful reality. Overall, our findings highlight the unique role IPCC reports play in making scientific knowledge about climate change actionable to the public, and underscore Wikipedia’s ability to facilitate access to research. [...]


"From causes to consequences, from chat to crisis. The different climate changes of science and Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[3]

"Understanding how society reacts to climate change means understanding how different societal subsystems approach the challenge. With the help of a heuristic of systems theory two subsystems of society – science and mass media – are compared with respect to communications about climate change over the last 20 years. With text mining methods metadata of documents from two databases – OpenAlex and Wikipedia – are generated, analyzed, and visualized. We find substantial differences as well as similarities in the social, factual, and temporal dimensions. [...] This demonstrates for science a discursive shift from causes to consequences and for mass media a shift from chat to crisis. Science shows an ongoing growth process, while the attention of mass media appears cyclical."

"Authors of climate change pages in [English] Wikipedia per year"
"New and edited climate change pages in [English] Wikipedia and proportion of all edited pages per year (index: 1 =2001)"

"Do popular research topics attract the most social attention? A first proposal based on OpenAlex and Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[4]

"[...] The aim of this paper is to [... analyze] whether the research topics of greatest academic interest align with those that attract the most social attention. To this end, the OpenAlex concepts are explored by comparing their works count with the page views of their respective Wikipedia articles. As a result, a correlation analysis between the two metrics reveals a lack of connection between the two realms.

See also a presentation at the November 2023 Wikimedia Research Showcase, and earlier coverage of related publications involving the first author


"Collaborating in Public: How Openess Shapes Global Warming Articles in Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[5]

[...] I trace how the global warming-related articles in Wikipedia changed over time, particularly in the wake of the publication of the 2007 International Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report. [...] I trace how Wikipedians enact genre in an unstable environment by analyzing how arguments unfold in Wikipedia talk pages, how the article text and citations change, as well as the larger network of global warming-related articles. [...] In chapter 2, I find that Wikipedians’ arguments create boundaries around the discursive spheres that can be cited within different articles, which suggests the significance of arguments not only about the topic but about genre as a deliberative resource in networked discourse. In chapter 3, I find that editors’ work in enacting genre results in facts becoming more at issue, or destabilized, within articles through the course of 2007. This analysis suggests that arguments about genre, and the easy availability of circulating texts online, may challenge consensus about controversial issues. In chapter 4, I use argument and network analysis to trace both Article for Deletion discussions and also the larger ecosystem of articles about global warming. This analysis shows how the talk page and article editing practices that I trace in earlier chapters become sedimented within the site’s information architecture, shaping what Internet users may learn about the issue. [...]

Higher-quality environmental articles "have more editors and edits, are longer, and contain more references, as well as a higher ratio of references to words"

From the abstract:[6]

"Wikipedia articles are categorized into different levels of quality, so we analyzed all 7,048 environmental articles in the Environment Assessment project on English-language Wikipedia. Based on a review of literature, we selected indicators of information quality (number of editors, number of edits, article length, number of references, and the ratio of references to words) and tested the correlation between these indicators and quality perception in the Wikipedia Assessment project. We found that articles perceived as higher quality typically have more editors and edits, are longer, and contain more references, as well as a higher ratio of references to words"


"Using Wikipedia Pageview Data to Investigate Public Interest in Climate Change at a Global Scale"

From the abstract:[7]

"[...] This study examines global engagement with climate change and related concepts through an analysis of around 517 Million Wikipedia pageviews of 3965 items from WikiProject Climate Change across 213 countries in the years 2017 to 2022. We take advantage of Wikimedia Foundation's differentially-private daily pageview dataset, which makes it possible to study Wikipedia viewing behavior in a language edition agnostic way and on a per-country basis. Temporal analysis reveals a stagnant engagement with climate change articles, contrary to societal trends, possibly due to the attitude-behavior gap. We also found substantial regional differences, with countries from the global north displaying greater traffic compared to the global south. Specific events, notably Greta Thunberg's speech at the UN climate summit in 2019, drive peaks in climate change engagement [...]. However, causal time series analyses show that events like these do not lead to long-lasting increased traffic."


References

  1. ^ Warncke-Wang, Morten; Ho, Rita; Miller, Marshall; Johnson, Isaac (2023-09-28). "Increasing Participation in Peer Production Communities with the Newcomer Homepage". Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction. 7 (CSCW2): 1–26. doi:10.1145/3610071. ISSN 2573-0142.
  2. ^ Benjakob, Omer; Jouveshomme, Louise; Collet, Matthieu; Augustoni, Ariane; Aviram, Rona (2023-12-01), High Impact: Wikipedia sources and edit history document two decades of the climate change field, bioRxiv, doi:10.1101/2023.11.30.569362
  3. ^ Korte, Jasper W.; Bartsch, Sabine; Beckmann, Rasmus; El Baff, Roxanne; Hamm, Andreas; Hecking, Tobias (2023-10-01). "From causes to consequences, from chat to crisis. The different climate changes of science and Wikipedia". Environmental Science & Policy. 148: 103553. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2023.103553. ISSN 1462-9011.
  4. ^ Arroyo-Machado, Wenceslao; Costas, Rodrigo (2023-04-21). Do popular research topics attract the most social attention? A first proposal based on OpenAlex and Wikipedia. 27th International Conference on Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (STI 2023). doi:10.55835/6442bb04903ef57acd6dab9e.
  5. ^ Cooke, Ana (2018-05-01). Collaborating in Public: How Openess Shapes Global Warming Articles in Wikipedia (PhD thesis). Carnegie Mellon University. (published online 2023)
  6. ^ Petiška, Eduard; Kuběna, Aleš; Dressler, Michal (2024-01-15). What does the data analysis of 7,048 environmental articles tell us about the quality of Wikipedia?. In Review.
  7. ^ Meier, Florian Maximilian (2024). "Using Wikipedia Pageview Data to Investigate Public Interest in Climate Change at a Global Scale". ACM Web Science Conference (Websci'24).




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2024-03-29

Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee Charter ratified

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By Andreas Kolbe, Bri, and sawyer-mcdonell
This picture of the Giza Pyramids taken by Mona Hassan Abo-Abda during the UNESCO-sponsored "Forever is Now" exhibition took first place in the 2023 Wiki Loves Monuments contest.

Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee Charter ratified

The Charter for the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (holy alliteration!) has been ratified, with nearly 75% support from 1,746 voters. Some voters were excited about the potential benefits of the charter regarding administrator accountability and representation, while others were concerned about local-project autonomy, potential abuse of the policies, increasing bureaucracy, and even political bias. Still others commented on the voting process itself, including the availability of translations into other languages. Full voter comments are available on Meta-Wiki. – s, AK

Wiki Loves Monuments winners announced

The winners of the 2023 Wiki Loves Monuments contest were announced earlier this week. The announcements were staggered and spanned two days, starting with honorable mentions (places 25 to 16) on Monday 25 March, and concluding with the 15 winners on Tuesday 26 March. To see the 15 winning entries, go to the Wiki Love Monuments website. Wikimedia Commons has a complete overview of all nominees, winners and runners-up. – AK

Brief notes

Katowice, Poland



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2024-03-29

"For me it’s the autism": AARoad editors on the fork more traveled

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By Bri, sawyer-mcdonell, HaeB, and JPxG


Wikipedia is useful for flying, apparently. Alternatively, you could print out Wikipedia articles and make your own planes :-)



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2024-03-29

He rules over everything, on the land called planet Dune

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By Igordebraga, I am RedoStone, CAWylie, Rahcmander, Shuipzv3, Krimuk2.0
This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by Igordebraga, I am RedoStone, CAWylie, Rahcmander, Krimuk2.0 and Shuipzv3.

He is the King of all the land, in the Kingdom of the sands, of a time tomorrow (February 25 to March 2)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Dune: Part Two 1,498,715 40 years after David Lynch showed Dune is not exactly a story that can be told in a scant 137 minutes, comes the conclusion of Denis Villeneuve's adaptation, making for two movies that suffered a few delays (Part 1 due to COVID, Part 2 due to the Hollywood strikes) and translated in over five hours of runtime how Paul Atreides went from an heir sent to a planet filled with sand and worms to a messianic figure who the local populace will follow to a war. Dune: Part Two earned glowing reviews for fulfilling its epic ambitions, even if it lacks a proper conclusion and ends downright saying Paul's crusades are only beginning (there were originally six Dune books, after all), but hopefully Warner Bros. will answer Villeneuve's dreams of a third movie, given Part Two has high box office prospects (it made back its $190 million budget by Tuesday!) and the universe will even be expanded with the streaming show Dune: Prophecy.
2 Dune (2021 film) 1,248,051
3 Richard Lewis (comedian) 1,232,679 This comedian, best known for his recurring role on Curb Your Enthusiasm as a semi-fictionalized version of himself, died aged 76 on February 27.
4 Shōgun (2024 miniseries) 1,210,277 Improving on its 1980 predecessor, this miniseries, based on the titular bestseller, focuses more on the start of the Asian Saga than on the John Blackthorne character. The 10-episode miniseries premiered on February 27.
5 Self-immolation of Aaron Bushnell 1,105,851 As the Israel-Hamas war is closing its fifth month, to the despair of the Gaza strip population, lots of people worldwide make clear they'd rather see the conflict end, and none were more desperate than an active-duty U.S. Air Force soldier who lit himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in D.C..
6 Dune Messiah (film) 1,074,257 Redirects usually get high views due to page renames. But this one is a whole other deal, as over a million people went for this page, having the expected title for the trilogy closer, taken from the Dune sequel Dune Messiah (which couldn't even get 300,000 views) and instead only entered the "Future" section of #1. In any case, this movie can't be confirmed/made any sooner.
7 Deaths in 2024 1,038,148 Somethin' happened along the way
What used to be happy was sad
Somethin' happened along the way
And yesterday was all we had
8 Avatar: The Last Airbender (2024 TV series) 823,762 Almost 20 years after debuting as an animated show on Nickelodeon, Aang and the "Benders" were fully visualized for a Netflix series. Released on February 22, it has received praise for its visuals and criticism for its writing.
9 Avatar: The Last Airbender 748,199
10 Shane Gillis 681,638 This controversial comedian who was previously fired from Saturday Night Live in 2019 returned to the show to host an episode, earning mixed to negative reviews and a comparison to Jo Koy.

He rules the sand worms and the Fremen, in the land amongst the stars, of an age tomorrow (March 3 to 9)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Dune: Part Two 2,124,244 Repeating atop this page is the second part of a seminal sci-fi novel's (#5) adaptation that has won over critics and audiences alike with its impressive cast and epic scope, while serving as a relief in these days filled with movies that don't warrant their overlong running times, given the insurrection on Arrakis has barely any filler in spite of lasting 165 minutes. Respectable earnings of $369 million in two weeks also makes for good box office prospects. Also, AMC Theatres issued a Sandworm-themed popcorn bucket of questionable design, down to inspiring a Saturday Night Live sketch!
2 Akira Toriyama 1,981,346 One of the most influential artists in the history of manga, Toriyama, who is most famous for creating Dragon Ball, died on March 1, but his death was only announced on March 8. Tribute quickly poured in from fans around the world, as well as several governments.
3 Mukesh Ambani 1,838,741 The "richest person in Asia" (and his wife is #13) received additional attention when his youngest son got married on the family's $1 billion estate, with #10 performing a mini-concert during the three-day event starting March 1.
4 Dune (2021 film) 1,559,422 The predecessor to #1, which was given a day-and-date release both on the big screen and on (HBO) Max back in 2021, and Frank Herbert's novel from nearly six decades ago, from which the book, TV and film, and game franchise got its roots.
5 Dune (novel) 1,031,306
6 Shōgun (2024 miniseries) 1,016,700 As expected, the "visually sumptuous" miniseries depicting the 30-year Asian Saga has achieved "universal acclaim". Released episodically every week until April 23, the series drew 9 million views across three streaming platforms in its first six days.
7 Deaths in 2024 986,961 Waterloo Waterloo
Where will you meet your Waterloo?
Every puppy has his day
Everybody has to pay
Everybody has to meet his Waterloo
8 Sydney Sweeney 969,684 Fresh off a massive hit and a massive flop, the Euphoria actress hosted Saturday Night Live on March 2.
9 Manjummel Boys 887,520 This Indian survival thriller film based on a true incident of a man getting trapped in a cave has received positive reviews from critics and audiences and is currently the fourth highest grossing Indian movie of the year, grossing over $18 million
10 Rihanna 871,961 The Barbadian singer performed at the wedding of the youngest son of #3 on March 1. Nothing like a billionaire entertaining other billionaires.

Had her chance for the Moon on strings, Poor Things (March 10 to 17)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Poor Things (film) 2,219,393 The Academy Awards rolled on, and the most viewed article wasn't the Best Picture, but the second biggest winner, a very weird movie once described as "like someone pitched an old porn parody of Frankenstein and then thought 'actually, you know what, we could leave in the sex scenes, but, uh, I don't know, let's try going for some Oscar gold with this!" And indeed, the story of a woman revived by a mad scientist who discovers the wonders of the world, including what she describes as "furious jumping", earned awards for its lavish and surreal scenery (Art Direction) and clothing (Costume Design), the scientist's stitched face and the woman's waist-high hair (Make-Up and Hairstyling), and most importantly, the wacky and wholly committed performance of leading lady Emma Stone, who took her second Best Actress award 7 years after La La Land.
2 Emma Stone 1,985,826
3 96th Academy Awards 1,932,293 Hollywood's biggest prize – albeit not the end of awards season, the Writers Guild of America Awards is only next month. Host Jimmy Kimmel wasn't as inspired this time, aside from reading a complaint from Donald Trump and adding "Isn't it past your jail time?" Among the winners were two Japanese movies (The Boy and the Heron was the Best Animated Feature, and Godzilla Minus One took Visual Effects), a French movie in English and an English movie in German, the script of American Fiction, Da'Vine Joy Randolph for The Holdovers, Wes Anderson with Best Short, and seven prizes to...
4 Oppenheimer (film) 1,358,606 Christopher Nolan told the story of the physicist heading the Manhattan Project that created the atomic bomb, as well as how years later the United States Atomic Energy Commission questioned if he was a Communist and/or untrustworthy – sadly focusing too much on the latter given the runtime of 3 hours, making much more attractive the idea of following the movie with a screening of Barbie. Nevertheless, glowing reviews and massive box office intakes of over $900 million worldwide followed, and expectedly the impeccable values and outstanding cast of Oppenheimer also dominated the awards circuit, culminating in Best Picture and six other Oscars during #3. (Given the award for Japan's best known allegory for being nuked, it was joked that Oppenheimer and Godzilla Minus One was the first time a movie and its sequel got Oscars in the same ceremony.)
5 Dune: Part Two 1,259,910 Still on Hollywood for this week's highest non-Oscar related article, although expect to see this win a few awards at next year's ceremony. Part Two has now surpassed its predecessor at the worldwide box office, and with half a billion dollars total, Part Three (possibly titled Dune Messiah) is a certainty, whenever that is – hopefully less than the 12 year interval where the sequel book starts.
6 Cillian Murphy 1.170.667 Two of the acting awards of #3 went to #4. Best Actor as protagonist J. Robert Oppenheimer was the Irishman who starred in Peaky Blinders and a few thrillers like 28 Days Later, Red Eye and Sunshine, and was also the villainous Scarecrow in Batman Begins. Best Supporting Actor went to the portrayer of Lewis Strauss, the once and future Iron Man in his third nomination, after being film legend Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin and "the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude" in Tropic Thunder.
7 Robert Downey Jr. 1,103,163
8 Flat white 1,094,757 Yes, somehow coffee beat many Oscar-related articles. Blame it on Google.
9 Damsel (2024 film) 1,063,759 Netflix star Millie Bobby Brown and her make-up remain unvanquished despite many obstacles in another hit for the service.
10 Ryan Gosling 1,007,611 #7 might've beaten him as Best Supporting Actor, but one of #3's highlights was Gosling doing a show-stopping, hilarious performance of "I'm Just Ken" heavily inspired by "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", featuring Slash (who believe it or not, is in the original version too, as was the other guitarist on stage, Wolfgang Van Halen) and the movie's other Kens, plus Gosling lending the microphone to three Barbie ladies – and to his friend #2, prompting her to start her Best Actress speech with "my dress is broken, and I think it happened during 'I'm Just Ken'!" Certainly made up for the movie's other composition taking Best Song.

Against evil the fire that spreads through the land (March 17 to 23, 2024)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Nowruz 1,372,788 The Iranian-Persian New Year (depicted here in the Chehel Sotoun palace) was celebrated on March 21. The date marks the spring equinox on the Solar Hijri calendar. Traditional celebrations across the world include bonfires, ritual dances, gift exchanges, reciting poetry, and symbolic meals honoring classical elements.
2 Catherine, Princess of Wales 1,362,338 "Where is Kate?" In January, Kensington Palace announced that the Princess of Wales had undergone abdominal surgery for something that was not cancer. She then postponed all public appearances and duties until after Easter. Her going off the grid caused numerous conspiracy theories in the ensuing months. On March 22, via video message, she announced that post-operative tests had indeed found cancer and that she had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since February.
3 Dan Schneider 1,331,755 From the late 1990s until 2019, Schneider created, produced, or wrote for over a dozen children's shows, primarily for Nickelodeon. He also became part of the Weinstein effect when young actresses began filing complaints about him: from temper issues to verbal abuse and gender discrimination. In March 2024, a documentary series, Quiet on the Set, explored the allegations.
4 Indian Premier League 1,271,572 Cricket's richest league returned on Friday for its 17th edition with the reigning champions defeating the team whose female counterpart just won the Women's Premier League, the women's version of #4, whose title was surprisingly not used for the Women's Super League, the women's version of the English premier football league.
5 2024 Indian Premier League 1,137,627
6 Aaron Taylor-Johnson 1,116,376 Speculation was raised that the favorite to be the 007th James Bond was this British actor, who has two superhero roles (the title one in Kick-Ass and Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron) and an upcoming supervillain one in Kraven the Hunter, and quite some experience in action films such as Godzilla, The King's Man and Bullet Train – he's even playing an action star in the upcoming The Fall Guy!
7 Drake Bell 1,052,807 In the March 17 episode of Quiet on the Set, Bell revealed how he was sexually abused by dialogue coach Brian Peck (#10) while working for Nickelodeon shows in the early 1990s. A subsequent episode detailed Bell's DUI arrest in 2015 and his 2021 guilty plea for child endangerment.
8 Deaths in 2024 984,113 All by myself
Don't wanna live
All by myself anymore
9 Road House (2024 film) 937,954 Jake Gyllenhaal, once known for working with auteurs in intense dramas, has in recent years embraced his action hero persona. Road House is his latest testosterone-driven vehicle, which serves as a remake of the 1989 film starring Patrick Swayze. Critics seem to like this version only a tad more than the original, but it's a ratings hit for Amazon Prime Video on which it's streaming.
10 Brian Peck 914,816 Peck had many jobs in the entertainment industry: producer, director, dialogue coach, and actor; but, in 2003, he was arrested and convicted of being a sex offender (as evidenced here by his creepy mugshot) and performing lewd acts with a minor. Peck has served his time, but has yet to secure work in the industry. On the March 17 episode of Quiet on the Set, it was revealed that Drake Bell (#7) was the victim. (Sidenote: Peck was also penpals with serial killer John Wayne Gacy.)

Exclusions



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2024-03-29

Letters from the editors

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By Thebiguglyalien
I hope this letter finds you in good health.
I hope this letter finds you in good health.

Dear fellow Wikipedian:
I have heard your concerns, and I understand that this is a contentious discussion that requires careful deliberation. Upon consideration, I have determined that more deliberation will mean better results. It must also be recognized that I am right, hence all deliberation must be for the purpose of stating my argument. Therefore, I will continue to reply to every comment that disagrees with me in this 7,000-word-long discussion, even if I am not being addressed in any way. I do not recognize that this may crowd the discussion, make it difficult for other editors to speak, or fail to accomplish anything that I could not have done with a single comment. I have added the page to my watchlist, and I have enabled notifications for this discussion. I look forward to engaging with you further. Extensively.
Kind regards,
Your persistent friend


Dear fellow Wikipedian:
Thank you for filing your report. You have accurately identified 750 instances of incivility, point of view editing, ignoring of consensus, ownership of content, and insertion of original research by this user in the last 7 days, and you are correct that they have chased away three productive editors. We have determined that this is a content dispute. None of these individual infractions rises to the level of sanctions, and you are chastised for wasting our time. Furthermore, you used a slightly brusque tone in one of your interactions with this user. You are cautioned to improve your conduct in the future. Please hesitate to file additional reports here if you encounter further disruption.
Sincerely,
The Administrator's Noticeboard


Dear fellow Wikipedian:
It has come to my attention that you have nominated my article for deletion. What you fail to understand is that you are a buffoon, because this thing was mentioned in seven different newspapers, only twelve years ago. Therefore any encyclopedia would be incomplete without a thorough repetition of every complete thought that was reported in regard to this subject. I reject any idea that more than a brief acknowledgement of its existence is necessary for this to be a notable subject. You don't need to read any notability guidelines to know that three reliable sources means automatic victory.
Thanks,
AfD arguer


Dear fellow Wikipedian:
I resent your comments about my participation in the Palestine/Israel topic area. I assure you, I take the utmost care in following policies and guidelines while editing and engaging in discussion. I carefully deliberate on every issue before developing an opinion. Yes, you are correct that my actions in this area have been beneficial to the same side and detrimental to the other every single time I have ever engaged with the topic in my ten years on Wikipedia. This is not because I am incapable of a neutral point of view. It is because my side has been correct in 100% of the disputes that have emerged. If you accuse me of editing with a POV again, I will disparage you on every noticeboard I can find. You have only proven that you and your people cannot edit on Wikipedia neutrally.
Best wishes,
An account that edits almost exclusively in the Palestine/Israel area (swap the topic as needed)


Dear fellow Wikipedian:
I fail to understand your concerns about the quality of my sources. I happen to be an avid reader of Alternative Facts Today, The Extremist Times, and The Government is Lying to You Weekly. I can attest to their accuracy in reporting. I expect that you would prefer coverage from the lying mainstream media, like Reuters or The New York Times. My friend, has it occurred to you that it is actually the reliable sources that are the biased ones, while my sources are entirely neutral and correct? Pull the wool from your eyes, and wake up to the lies that keep them in power.
Until the revolution proves me right,
A neutral Wikipedian


Dear fellow Wikipedian:
It appears you have taken an interest in our favorite subject. What you don't realize is that this subject is governed by our WikiProject. The five of us who engage at the WikiProject have total ownership over all 12,000 articles under our domain, and any edits to these articles must follow the rules we have imposed. Please see our WikiProject style guide essay for what you are and are not allowed to do when editing on this subject. You are welcome to join, but we will all vote against your ideas because they are not part of our established paradigm. If you attempt to make an edit that complies with Wikipedia best practices, we will continue to inform you that we don't do that here and that our articles operate on different rules from all of the others... because we said so.
Cordially,
Your local WikiProject


Dear fellow Wikipedian:
I have noticed that you attempted to make a change on Wikipedia. Have you asked permission first? Wikipedia is not some place where anyone can edit, you must first seek approval before doing anything beyond fixing a typo. I object to your change because you have not been given permission, and I will continue to object on account of the fact that it has been objected to (by me). I have no suggestions for an alternative or a compromise, so we'd better just leave everything exactly as it was without fixing whatever you were trying to improve.
Sending my love,
The neighborhood watch

All characters and letters on this page are fictitious. The concepts expressed herein are representative of broad trends that exist throughout Wikipedia. Any resemblance to specific editors is purely coincidental.




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2024-03-29

Layout issue

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By JPxG
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"No, it still looks like ass on mobile. Why isn't it centered properly? Okay, well, I guess I will change random stuff in the stylesheet until it works."







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