The Signpost
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25 April 2024

In the media
Censorship and wikiwashing looming over RuWiki, edit wars over San Francisco politics and another wikirace on live TV
News and notes
A sigh of relief for open access as Italy makes a slight U-turn on their cultural heritage reproduction law
WikiConference report
WikiConference North America 2023 in Toronto recap
WikiProject report
WikiProject Newspapers (Not WP:NOTNEWS)
Recent research
New survey of over 100,000 Wikipedia users
Traffic report
O.J., cricket and a three body problem
 

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2024-04-25

Censorship and wikiwashing looming over RuWiki, edit wars over San Francisco politics and another wikirace on live TV

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By Andreas Kolbe, Bri, Oltrepier, QuicoleJR, and Smallbones


Putin's Wiki-censor

Former Wikimedia RU director and Ruviki founder Vladimir Medeyko in 2021

How does censorship work? In Russia, you can start with intentionally sowing confusion about the name of your brand new website, by calling it essentially the same name as the website you are trying to censor. In this case, "Рувики" in Cyrillic characters, or "Ruviki" in Latin characters.

So let's call a spade a spade. We'll call the legitimate Russian Wikipedia (ru.wikipedia.org) by its common on-Wiki name, Ruwiki. It is being forked with the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime by an imposter website (ru.ruwiki.ru) that we'll call Ruviki.

Novaya Gazeta reports how Ruviki has been operating since its official January 15 launch. Almost all of Ruwiki's 1.9 million pages have been copied and pasted onto the fork, and then edited to "delete everything that raises even the slightest doubt" about compliance with Russian media law – at least in the words of Vladimir Medeyko. In general, the censor mostly edits politically sensitive topics involving the Russian government’s policies on free speech, human rights and, most notably, the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Medeyko was the long time director of Wikimedia RU (aka Wikimedia Russia), a Wikimedia Foundation affiliate intended to support WMF projects in Russia. He launched Ruviki's beta version back in May 2023 and was soon stripped of his position at Wikimedia RU by the organization's members, before being also banned indefinitely from editing all Wikimedia sites by the WMF.

Medeyko's post at Wikimedia RU was taken by Stas Kozlovsky, who in turn announced the dissolution of the organization in December 2023, after being forced to resign from his job as associate professor at Moscow State University, and then included in the Russian government’s foreign agent blacklist.

According to Novaya Gazeta, about 110 Wikipedia pages about the war in Ukraine have been cut entirely from Ruviki, while graphic designer Konstantin Konovalov, who tabulated the number of characters changed for every major category of Ruviki articles following their copying from Ruwiki, compared the extensive censorship process to "something out of [...] 1984". Ironically, Ruviki's version of the article about George Orwell's dystopian novel is missing the whole section about the Ministry of Truth, which the Ruwiki page describes as "continuously falsifying various pieces of information (statistics, historical facts)". Other examples of altered pages include the 2022 documentary film about the murdered dissident Alexei Navalny, both the Wagner Group's co-founders, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, GRU colonel Anatoliy Chepiga – who was reportedly involved in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in 2018 – and Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov.

Moreover, Ruviki users have attempted to minimize the influence of sources from Russian independent media, by removing most of the links to Novaya Gazeta itself – even deleting references to articles penned by the assassinated journalist Anna Politkovskaya – as well as Meduza and Dozhd. While Wikipedia is still alive in Russia, despite repeated struggles with the national government, Ruviki's effective censorship process might cast doubt on the future of Ruwiki, the truly free Russian encyclopedia, and more generally, the freedom of information within the country. – S and O

The way we were, or the way we are?

Barbra Streisand knows that it's not always the best strategy to hide the past

Meanwhile, a group of Russian billionaires are trying to hide their ties with the Kremlin by editing pages both on the Russian and English Wikipedia, according to the Kyiv Post, who in turn covered an article in Important Stories reported with Wikiganda. In an attempt to keep traveling, running their businesses, or accessing their money freely in the West, the billionaires are minimizing, or even eliminating, mentions of Russia and Putin in the Wikipedia articles about themselves. According to these sources, they just wikiwash the inconvenient facts away (or more poetically, they stay тише воды, ниже травы, "quieter than water, lower than grass"). Billionaires Arkady Volozh, Dmitry Pumpyansky, Alexander Mamut and Igor Altushkin, as well as Nikolai Choles – the son of Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov –, all seem to have tried this tactic. Vladimir Putin's daughters, Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, may have also tried it, but perhaps only to mask the activities of their large groups of bodyguards. – S and B

Two musical interludes

San Francisco's heated political debate overflows into Wikipedia

Nate Thurmond (left) and Wilt Chamberlain demonstrate how to throw knees and elbows in "The City"

In a year full of key elections, including one in the U.S. and another one over in Europe, the city of San Francisco is no exception: in November, its citizens will line up to vote for the new Mayor, District Attorney, and members of the local Board of Supervisors. As reported by the San Francisco Examiner, though, the local political debate has become so heated that it has spilled into Wikipedia articles on several prominent candidates: "The City" is where the Wikimedia Foundation has its headquarters.

The Examiner report focuses on edit wars involving local supervisors and their views on the housing shortage affecting San Francisco – a problem the city's administration tried to tackle directly last year, by announcing a plan to build more than 80,000 new housing units by 2031. According to the data collected by the newspaper, the total number of edits made to the Board members' pages has increased significantly from 2022 to 2023, and 2024 could soon set a new record, since 164 revisions have been made in this year's first quarter alone. Four supervisors who have gained the most attention are Dean Preston and Connie Chan, who are seeking re-election, and Ahsha Safaí and Aaron Peskin, who have both switched to the mayoral race.

Preston has become the subject of the fiercest virtual battle. The Democratic Socialist supervisor's page has been edited at least 177 times over the last year, almost as much as the article for Governor of California Gavin Newsom, with its size more than doubling in the process. Most of these edits involved Preston's political career, the perceived contrast between his political views and his controversial record on housing, as well as the extent of his wealth – reportedly including a house worth $2.5 million, a detail that has now been removed from the page. Two users, Coffeeandcrumbs and Thenightaway, have been noted for their frequent contributions to the page, with the former even diving in lengthy and fiery discussions with other editors. – O

Taylor Tomlinson hosts a wikirace on live TV – again !

The CBS show's love for this platform and wikiraces is definitely real

In a recent episode of the CBS comedy panel show After Midnight, aired on April Fool's Day, host Taylor Tomlinson brought back the mini-game Wikipedia Link for another edition – see previous Signpost coverage about its first instance – as her fellow comedians Jourdain Fisher, Zach Zimmerman and Arden Myrin competed in a wikirace to guess how many clicks it takes to go from Jacob Elordi to the Dutch West India Company on the English Wikipedia.

Once the three panelists submitted their final guesses to Tomlinson, who reminded the show's audience of how Wikipedia is "the most educational way to waste your time", she finally revealed the solution to the enigma: we have to click four times to go from the actor last seen in Priscilla and Saltburn, to Vin Diesel, to Greenwich Village, to Wouter van Twiller, to the infamous Dutch chartered company. Obviously, there are likely unlimited combinations of pages hiding behind wikiraces like this one, but as for Tomlinson's own disclaimer: "This is a comedy show, not an accuracy show!"

Something we can all agree on, though, is that Taylor and the After Midnight staff have seemingly fallen in love with our encyclopedia and its comedic potential, quite like that English baby who grew really fond of his brother's finger back in the day. Well, the respect is mutual! – O

In brief

For sale, cheap
A recreation of the sort of photoshop mashup of Jonathan Gullis and seagulls that has become a meme online
Some say he is the King of Wikipedia...
...but maybe he really is?



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




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2024-04-25

A sigh of relief for open access as Italy makes a slight U-turn on their cultural heritage reproduction law

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By Andreas Kolbe, Bri, GZWDer, and Oltrepier
An exclusive photo of Italian academics celebrating the return of cultural heritage to the public domain paradise.

Partial victory for public domain as Italy eases restrictions on digital reproductions of cultural heritage

In the end, it seems like the Italian Ministry of Culture did get the memo (kind of). As reported by Piergiovanna Grossi for Wikimedia Italy (in Italian), on 21 March 2024 the MoC published a revised version of the controversial decree that had aimed to introduce minimum fees for the commercial use of digital reproductions of state-owned cultural heritage, including works in the public domain. This decision had received widespread backlash from the academic community and had been criticized even by the national Court of Audit – see previous Signpost coverage.

The new bill brings some encouraging updates for researchers who work with and produce open access material: academic publications of every kind, newspaper and magazine articles and art catalogues, together with brochures and other publications (printed in up to 4,000 copies) involving exhibitions and cultural events, have all been exempted from payment for using reproductions, in line with the so-called Cultural Heritage and Landscape Code (CCHL), an Italian law originally approved in 2004 to "support the role of cultural heritage institutions in sustainable economic and social development".

However, both Grossi and University of Florence professor Paolo Liverani remarked that the bill and the CCHL still present some legislative flaws and confusing passages that could be detrimental for freedom of access to and sharing of reproductions of cultural heritage in the public domain. In an analysis for JLIS.it (in Italian), Liverani noted how the MoC "didn't have the courage to [fully] abandon the previous formula [of the bill]" and host public conversations with academic and cultural experts. As a result, the original fee system has been kept in place, despite being "neither acceptable, nor practically feasible", especially outside of Italy: in fact, the trial court of Stuttgart recently rejected (source in German) the MoC's request for compensation to allow toy company Ravensburger to use a reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man for a new model of their 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle series. Among other aspects, Liverani also points out at the vague definition of "open access" provided by the bill, which is generically indicated as "publications freely accessible by everyone in virtue of not having a cover price", without any clear reference to the various types of Creative Commons licenses.

Plus, the decree still delegates reviews of requests submitted by non-exempted applicants to local cultural institutions: this bureaucratic process might not only take a toll upon the boards' economic and human resources, but also put researchers at risk of unequal treatment, since the bill could be interpreted differently depending on the area. On the other hand, as argued by Grossi, this same aspect could also lead to wider freedom of access to cultural heritage, if local institutions prove virtuous enough to extend exemption rights to other categories; she also noted that such organs have the right to cut fees entirely, which might be particularly beneficial to institutions in lesser-known areas and/or with lower budgets.

Overall, Grossi and Liverani agree that, despite some notable issues, the new version of the MoC's decree is a step back on the right track, although the former reminds that "it's now the turn of cultural institutions, the scientific community, researchers and volunteers to put these concessions to the test and see how far we can go". — O

WMF white paper on privacy and research ethics: community feedback request

The Wikimedia Foundation staff have presented a draft for the "Wikimedia Research Best Practices Around Privacy Whitepaper", which aims to outline privacy guidance for academic researchers to avoid doxing contributors, as requested last year by the English Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee in one of the remedies of the case "World War II and the history of Jews in Poland" — see previous Signpost coverage. The Arbitration Committee said:

Formal request to the Wikimedia Foundation for a white paper on research best practices

1) The Arbitration Committee formally requests that the Wikimedia Foundation develop and promulgate a white paper on the best practices for researchers and authors when writing about Wikipedians. The Committee requests that the white paper convey to researchers the principles of our movement and give specific recommendation for researchers on how to study and write about Wikipedians and their personal information in a way that respects our principles. Upon completion, we request that the white paper be distributed through the Foundation's research networks including email newsletters, social media accounts, and web publications such as the Diff blog.

This request will be sent by the Arbitration Committee to Maggie Dennis, Vice President of Community Resilience & Sustainability with the understanding that the task may be delegated as appropriate.

Passed 11 to 0 with 1 abstention at 16:30, 20 May 2023 (UTC)
Updated to include Phabricator tracking at 09:20, 1 June 2023 (UTC)

Community feedback on the newly-presented draft is invited by 30 April. The WMF has also scheduled a Conversation Hour:

* Join us for a Conversation Hour on 23 April 2024 at 15:00 UTC. This conversation will be guided by some questions to encourage actionable feedback. Join via Google Meet.

  • We encourage you to use the talk page/discussion feature to provide your input. If you need a private space to communicate your feedback, you can do so by sending an email to research-feedback@wikimedia.org with "privacy white paper" in the subject line.

AK

WMF proposes solution to year-long graphs outage as communities start to resort to workarounds

Following extensive discussions (see last issue's Technology report) about how to handle the outage of the Graph extension (which had been deactivated in April 2023 due to security issues, leaving tens of thousands of Wikipedia articles with broken content) and multiple abandoned attempts at a more limited technical fix, the Wikimedia Foundation has announced a plan for

[...] building a new service to replace the Graph extension. This approach will enable editors to create basic visualizations, will require coordination with communities around migrating existing graphs, and will be extensible by developers who want to build and maintain additional functionality.

The Foundation asks for input on several questions (e.g. "What are the basic visualization types that are most important to support? Which ones can we do without?" and "Which use cases are you concerned about being missed?"). The announcement indicates that implementation work on this project won't ramp up fully before July, and won't include interactive features yet:

In the many conversations around graphs, volunteers have also raised longer term questions about “interactive content”, such as timelines and 3D objects. Rebuilding the capability to serve simple graphs securely will be a large amount of work for staff and volunteers. As part of this, the new extension will be readily extensible by volunteers who have the technical skill to add more sophisticated visualizations and more data sources. This may be an open door to some kinds of interactive content, but the larger topic of interactive content is worthy of separate, continued conversations moving forward.

In meantime, Basque Wikipedia, in collaboration with the Wiki Project Med Foundation, has implemented a feature for displaying interactive graphs from Our World in Data inline in Wikipedia articles (example, documentation). For privacy reasons, it initially shows a static image from Commons and requires the reader to click a button and provide consent (to have their IP address shared with a non-WMF site) before the interactive version of the graph is loaded from OWID's servers. Another community-driven implementation of interactive content using the same "Template gadgets" system (enabled by a March 22 software change that allows the loading of gadgets for pages in a specific category) can be seen in the Spanish Wikipedia's article on the Game of Life. Both workarounds have obvious downsides in terms of the editability of the displayed interactive content. – H

Iranian ex-Steward globally banned by WMF

Mohsen Salek at Wikidata 2022 in Istanbul

Former Steward Mohsen Salek (User:Mardetanha) was globally banned by the Wikimedia Foundation on 8 April 2024.

Mohsen has been a prominent movement figure for many years, as a past co-author of Wikimedia "Diff" blog posts, as well as the recipient of an honorable mention in the Wikimedian of the Year 2016 event for creating the Persian-language version of the "Wikipedia Library".

He also served as an administrator and bureaucrat for the Persian Wikipedia, which in recent years, according to several independent reports, has been subject to interference from Iranian authorities, most notably from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. – AK, G, O

Brief notes



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WikiConference North America 2023 in Toronto recap: Pics, tales and videos

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By Lane Rasberry
group photo of WikiConference North America

WikiConference North America 2023 was held in Toronto from 9-12 November 2023. Here we share outcomes of this event including newly published videos and photos, the archived conference website and program, and share some attendee reflections on its significance.

Background

WikiConference North America 2023 featured three days of programming

WikiConference Toronto was the 10th annual WikiConference North America and the first in-person conference since 2019 in Boston before the COVID-19 pandemic. Wikimedia volunteers organize the conference for other volunteers, and the invited programming includes whatever issues seem most important to the volunteer community. The format of the conference is to have a day of "culture crawl", which are trips to local museums and sites of Wikipedian interest, followed by two days of presentations and workshops. The conference counted 440 attendees. Funding for about 80 scholarships to attend came from the Wikimedia Foundation, which has a practice of sponsoring diversity in participation. Wikipedia's friend Craig Newmark, who supports aspects of Wikipedia including contributor safety and the fact-checking of the content itself, also funded parts of the conference, as did the nonprofit organizations Hacks/Hackers, which promotes community journalism, and Credibility Coalition, which is concerned with increasing accuracy in popular media.

As the conference changes city with every iteration, local people wherever it is held are always a large portion of the attendees, and the most likely to attend as inexperienced Wikimedia editors. Organizations which have completed a Wikimedia project in the last year use the event to share results, so attendees from universities, museums, and other knowledge centers are always present. Wikimedia functionaries attend the event to have in-person discussions on topics which are challenging to address in wiki talk page posts or virtually otherwise. This conference was the first in-person meetup of the English Wikipedia Functionaries User Group. Members of other Wikimedia movement affiliates were in attendance, but of more general interest to the North American Region, the North American Hub Research Project surveyed attendees and presented focus-group findings which included intent to better support Wikimedia contributors who are not members of a Wikimedia community organization.

Every event is also someone's first event, and some new attendees are experienced Wikimedia contributors. New attendees unfailingly remark and wonder that they have followed the discussion topics online, but did not anticipate how it would feel to talk face-to-face with their virtual collaborators whom they meet in person for the first time.

It is common knowledge among Wikimedia organizers that transparency is a value of our community. WikiConference North America organizers practice this transparency with the budgets of Wikimedia community events. The conference team identifies themselves on Meta-Wiki. They approach the Wikimedia Foundation meta:Grants:Conference program to submit a funding request for the conference. Interpret the budget for yourself, but at a glance, it requests US$110,000 total, of which $50,000 is for travel scholarships, $22,000 is catering, $12,000 reserves the conference venue, and $11,000 pays for language interpretation and translation services. The final report closes out the grant with accounting updates and a narrative of the event impact.

Programming

The conference program is the best published description of the conference topics which framed conversation at the event. Any summary of the conference would be subjective, but many conference attendees remarked that many of the presentations – regardless of how they were described in the program – veered into discussion and bewilderment of how suddenly artificial intelligence is changing Wikimedia activities (though this was already a topic at Wikimania 2015, see prior Signpost coverage – eds.). Topics discussed included users submitting AI text to Wikipedia, generating AI images for Commons, summarizing long talk page discussions with AI, the state of Wikimedia tools developed with AI features, and especially, what Wikipedia's place might be in a future where more readers interact directly with an AI rather than browse our encyclopedia.

The bravest, most welcome, and most celebrated conference attendees are those who come to report and recruit collaborators for community projects. These kinds of projects are often the most original in scope, surface new social and ethical issues in knowledge sharing, and have a precedent of bringing new engaged editors to Wikimedia projects. Examples of these include "An Alternative to the Pushpin Map in the Neighbourhood Infobox", "Indigenous Artists and Wikidata", "WP:WELW Women Electronic Literature Writers Project editathon or round table". Again, reading the presentation titles in the conference program is a reflection of the interests of the time.

Wikimedia governance was continually discussed. Our Wikimedia Movement Strategy gives recommendations for how to achieve our goals. Everyone has their own way of discussing what Movement Strategy means to them. One perspective is that it concerns money, including US$17 million in grants to community projects out of the Wikimedia Foundation's US$154 million revenue as noted in the latest reports for each.

Bomb threat

The Signpost previously covered a bomb threat targeting the conference. Discussing harassment, terrorism, and threats against Wikipedia editors is difficult online, but easier in person. This bomb threat took hours out of everyone's conference while the bomb squad searched the building. Those hours were costly, and that was in addition pondering the unnerving reality that editing Wikipedia greatly increases one's likelihood of attracting stalking and harassment. There was no bomb. The threat was a hoax to waste time and scare people.

Efforts to address Gender bias on Wikipedia or develop LGBT and Wikipedia are routine targets, but also vulnerable are those who edit content on any controversy in Wikipedia, which can include any topic. The Signpost previously reported that the international Wikimania conference in Singapore in 2023, protestors came to the event to protest the availability of gender-neutral toilets. Previously at WikiConferences, the 2016 WikiConference in San Diego included a yelling protestor who ran around until security was able to physically remove them, and the 2014 WikiConference in New York City included someone who communicated their objection to the event by pooping on the floor. Typical conferences and gatherings do not attract such hostility, and these generalized attacks are in addition to the personal attacks against attendees which they often keep private, and which they often assume is a rare occurrence rather than the systemic problem it is.

In their own words

Toronto Public Library interior

User:Bluerasberry invited attendees to the conference to come to the video room and share whatever brief message about Wikimedia projects anyone would like to record. See them and hear their own words.

Presentations

Commons:Category:WikiConference North America 2023 presentations

Images

group photo
main presentation area
traveling to the conference by Wiki-Train

The Signpost is the newsletter that anyone can edit. If anyone identifies additional subjects of in-focus pictures in Commons:Category:People at WikiConference North America 2023, then please edit this gallery to include them.

Further reading

Credits

WikiConference is for volunteers and by volunteers. Thanks to all attendees, to speakers, and to the organizers.



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2024-04-25

WikiProject Newspapers (Not WP:NOTNEWS)

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By Shushugah

WikiProjects Newspapers and Magazines spun from WikiProject Journalism and like WikiProject Academic Journals, these projects focus primarily on the textual periodicals themselves rather the humans or organizational structures behind them.

They are killing trees to publish this pulp fiction article?!

News is what someone, somewhere, doesn't want reported: all the rest is advertisement.[1]

Behind the scenes in the wiki-lawyer trenches, hundreds of Wikipedia editors debate discuss with each at the Reliable sources/Noticeboard to which degree different sources are suitable for usage within Wikipedia articles. Is it news...or advertisements?

Wouldn't it be great if there existed a digital resource that readily made available the sum of human knowledge about various topics, something like an encyclopedia of different newspapers in order to help editors and readers alike ascertain the reliability of said sources?

Reading Skimming sources takes time, so Wikipedia users sometimes try to gloss over by checking whether there is a blue link, which could be an indicator that the article topic is notable. It may WP:SHOCK some, but it does not necessarily mean The Onion aka America's Finest News Source is reliable.

Conversely, a red link does not mean popular newspapers like Die neue Fußballwoche [de; fi] are unsuitable for usage within English Wikipedia for an article's source.

Tracking source usage within Wikipedia is already done for magazines and journals. You can find an example at WP:Magazines cited by Wikipedia and read last year's Signpost coverage about it.

In addition to the venerable Signpost, there are 11,606 articles inside WikiProject Newspapers and 11,936 articles inside WikiProject Magazines. These two projects are distant cousins of the more broad (pun intended) WikiProject Journalism.

We Are Not a Newspaper (sorta)

You are probably reading this WikiProject report on English Wikipedia's internal newspaper, Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost. If you don't know what The Signpost is, you can learn more about it on Wikipedia's article called The Signpost. The article was hopefully edited by uninvolved editors. What else is news? English Wikipedia's home page features the latest In The News. Despite all that, you should know that news is not WP:NEWS which is also not WP:NOTNEWS![FBDB] If you cannot access Newspapers.com or Newspapers.com you are likely better off visiting Wikipedia:Newspapers.com to access it for (500 edits) free. It is amazing anything gets published on this newsless site.

Interview

How did you get involved in these WikiProjects?

What are some of the challenges you encountered and how did you address them?

How do you find sources about a periodical that is widely cited in other publications but aren't about the periodical itself?

What is a publication related article you created or significantly expanded that you are proud of?

Sources are biased, ergo Wikipedia is biased. How do you counter system bias and ensure representation of non-English and non-digitized periodicals?

Anything else you would like to add?

Previous Signpost coverage

Links



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New survey of over 100,000 Wikipedia users

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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.


Survey dataset of over 100,000 Wikipedia readers and contributors

From the abstract:[2]

"The dataset focuses on Wikipedia users and contains information about demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the respondents and their activity on Wikipedia. The data was collected using a questionnaire available online between June and July 2023. The link to the questionnaire was distributed via a banner published in 8 languages on the Wikipedia page. [...] The survey includes 200 questions about: what people were doing on Wikipedia before clicking the link to the questionnaire; how they use Wikipedia as readers ("professional" and "personal" uses); their opinion on the quality, the thematic coverage, the importance of the encyclopaedia; the making of Wikipedia (how they think it is made, if they have ever contributed and how); their social, sport, artistic and cultural activities, both online and offline; their socio-economic characteristics including political beliefs, and trust propensities. More than 200 000 people opened the questionnaire, 100 332 started to answer, and constitute our dataset, and 10 576 finished it."

This dataset paper doesn't contain any results from the survey itself. And from the communications around it (including the project's page on Meta-wiki at Research:Surveying readers and contributors to Wikipedia) it is not clear whether and when the authors or others are planning to publish any analyses themselves. Hence we are taking a quick look ourselves at some topline results below (note: these are taken directly from the "filtered" dataset published by the authors, without any weighing by language or other debiasing efforts). It remains to be hoped that more use will be made of this data soon, also considering that various questions appear to have been designed for compatibility with certain previous surveys.

These gender ratios are notably somewhat more balanced than e.g. the figures from the Wikimedia Foundations "Community Insights" surveys of recent years; however, those targeted a different population consisting exclusively of contributors. Still, the gender gap in this new survey data is even somewhat smaller than that found for English-language Wikipedia readers in a past survey by the Wikimedia Foundation (cf. below).

Distribution of responses to the question "In political matters, people talk of 'the left' and 'the right.' How would you place your views on this scale, generally speaking?" (NB: 11.7% of those who responded chose the option "This distinction does not speak to you".)

Unless we are dealing with a data anomaly here, this chart shows a general preponderance of left-of-center political positions among Wikipedia users, partly balanced out by a substantial share of far-right users (10 on a scale from 1 = left to 10 = right).


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.

"Global Gender Differences in Wikipedia Readership"

"Wikipedia reader gender by language" (from 2019 survey data)

From the abstract and introduction:[3]

"From a global online survey of 65,031 readers of Wikipedia and their corresponding reading logs, we present first evidence of gender differences in Wikipedia readership and how they manifest in records of user behavior. More specifically we report that (1) women are underrepresented among readers of Wikipedia, (2) women view fewer pages per reading session than men do, (3) men and women visit Wikipedia for similar reasons, and (4) men and women exhibit specific topical preferences"
"Across 16 surveys, men represent approximately two-thirds of Wikipedia readers on any given day. Additionally, we observe that women view fewer pages per reading session than men do. However, we also find that on average, men and women visit Wikipedia for similar reasons. That is, the depth of knowledge that they seek, referred to as information need for the remainder of this paper, and their triggers for reading Wikipedia, referred to as motivations, are remarkably similar. Finally, men and women exhibit specific topical preferences. Readership of articles about sports, games, and mathematics is skewed to-wards men, while readership of articles about broadcasting, medicine, and entertainment is skewed towards women. We further observe evidence of self-focus bias[...], i.e. that women tend to read relatively more biographies of women than men do, whereas men tend to read relatively more biographies of men than women do."
"closing content gaps is not a panacea as evidenced by prior research on Welsh Wikipedia, where a majority of the biographies are about women [...], a majority of Welsh speakers are women,[...] but readership is still heavily skewed towards men"

See also project page on Meta-wiki: m:Research:Characterizing_Wikipedia_Reader_Behaviour/Demographics_and_Wikipedia_use_cases and a subsequent literature review which formulated various potential explanations for the observed gender gap in Wikipedia readers.


"Hunters, busybodies and the knowledge network building associated with deprivation curiosity"

From the abstract:[4]

"A recently developed historicophilosophical taxonomy of curious practice distinguishes between the collection of disparate, loosely connected pieces of information and the seeking of related, tightly connected pieces of information. With this taxonomy, we use a novel knowledge network building framework of curiosity to capture styles of curious information seeking in 149 participants as they explore Wikipedia for over 5 hours spanning 21 days. We create knowledge networks in which nodes consist of distinct concepts (unique Wikipedia pages) and edges represent the similarity between the content of Wikipedia pages. We quantify the tightness of each participants' knowledge networks using graph theoretical indices and use a generative model of network growth to explore mechanisms underlying the observed information seeking. We find that participants create knowledge networks with small-world and modular structure. Deprivation sensitivity, the tendency to seek information that eliminates knowledge gaps, is associated with the creation of relatively tight networks and a relatively greater tendency to return to previously-visited concepts. We further show that there is substantial within-person variability in knowledge network building over time and that building looser networks than usual is linked with higher than usual sensation seeking."

See also an explanatory Twitter thread by one of the authors


"Architectural styles of curiosity in global Wikipedia mobile app readership"

From the abstract:[5]

"[...] most curiosity research relies on small, Western convenience samples. Here, we expand an analysis of a laboratory study with 149 participants browsing Wikipedia to 482,760 readers using Wikipedia's mobile app in 14 languages from 50 countries or territories. By measuring the structure of knowledge networks constructed by readers weaving a thread through articles in Wikipedia, we provide the first replication of two distinctive architectural styles of curiosity: that of the busybody and of the hunter [in reference to the above paper involving some of the same authors ...] Finally, across languages and countries, we identify novel associations between the structure of knowledge networks and population-level indicators of spatial navigation, education, mood, well-being, and inequality."

See also research project page on Meta-wiki: m:Research:Understanding Curious and Critical Readers


"Quantifying knowledge synchronization [between Wikipedia language versions] with the network-driven approach"

From the paper:[6]

"[...] we explore the dominant path of knowledge diffusion in the 21st century using Wikipedia, the largest communal dataset. We evaluate the similarity of shared knowledge between population groups, distinguished based on their language usage. When population groups are more engaged with each other, their knowledge structure is more similar, where engagement is indicated by socio-economic connections, such as cultural, linguistic, and historical features. Moreover, geographical proximity is no longer a critical requirement for knowledge dissemination.
We used Wikipedia SQL dump of 59 different language editions on February 1, 2019. [...] Specifically, we used two collections of the Wikipedia dump: category membership link records (*-categorylinks.sql.gz) and interlanguage link records (*-langlinks.sql.gz). [...] From the linkage between Wikipedia pages and categories, we extracted a hierarchical knowledge network of each language edition. [...Based on these per-language structures] we constructed the similarity network from the pairwise knowledge structure similarity, where nodes represent the language of Wikipedia, and the link's weight indicates similarity between languages.
"English is in the center and serves as a hub node, while intermediate hub languages such as Spanish, German, French, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Dutch also function as cluster centroids"


Despite teachers' skepticism, 86% of Estonian high school students use Wikipedia at least a couple of times per month (female students more often)

From the abstract:[7]

"The article is based on a quantitative study in which 381 Estonian school children [9th and 12th grade students] participated in filling out an online survey. The questionnaire included both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Findings: Statistical analyses and responses to open-ended questions showed that students often use Wikipedia as a primary source of information, but that their use of the site for learning tasks is guided by teachers’ attitudes and perceptions towards Wikipedia. Students perceive Wikipedia as a quick and convenient source of information but are uncertain about its reliability."

From the "Results" section:

"[...] 5% of the students surveyed use Wikipedia every day, 51% at least a couple of times a week and 30% a couple of times a month. To compare the groups, we conducted a t-test, which concluded that statistically significant differences were present across gender and grades. For the purpose of the calculations, we treated responses as numerical (rarely/not at all = 1, a few times a year = 2, a few times a month = 3, a few times a week = 4, every day = 5). For gender, the mean is 3.73 for women and 3.46 for men (p < 0.05). Thus, there is a statistically significant difference in the frequency of Wikipedia use between the two groups, with female students using Wikipedia more often than male students. [...] 24% of the students surveyed said that teachers had no objection to using Wikipedia, 3% said that teachers did not allow to use Wikipedia, 47% said that some teachers did and some did not and 10% said that they did not know. Teachers do not explicitly forbid students from using Wikipedia for learning tasks, but they do recommend that students use more trustworthy sources [...]"


"With or without Wikipedia? Integrating Wikipedia into the Teaching Process in Estonian General Education Schools"

From the abstract:[8]

The study is based on semi-structured interviews with 49 teachers from 11 general education schools in Estonia. The results of the qualitative content analysis of the interviews indicate that teachers consider the use of Wikipedia to be a suitable for teaching, alongside other information sources and environments. However, teachers acknowledge some uncertainty and caution towards Wikipedia, as they do not consider it a very reliable teaching tool: an attitude largely inherited from the early days of Wikipedia. While teachers themselves are active and frequent Wikipedia users, and allow students to search for information, they do not assign Wikipedia-based text-creation tasks to students. "

References

  1. ^ Source: media tycoon William Randolph Hearst
  2. ^ Cruciani, Caterina; Joubert, Léo; Jullien, Nicolas; Mell, Laurent; Piccione, Sasha; Vermeirsche, Jeanne (2023-12-01). "Surveying Wikipedians: a dataset of users and contributors' practices on Wikipedia in 8 languages". arXiv:2311.07964. Dataset: Cruciani, Caterina; Joubert, Léo; Jullien, Nicolas; Mell, Laurent; Piccione, Sasha; Vermeirsche, Jeanne (2023-12-01). Surveying Wikipedians: a dataset of users and contributors' practices on Wikipedia in 8 languages. doi:10.34847/nkl.4ecf4u8m.
  3. ^ Johnson, Isaac; Lemmerich, Florian; Sáez-Trumper, Diego; West, Robert; Strohmaier, Markus; Zia, Leila (2021-05-22). "Global Gender Differences in Wikipedia Readership". Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. 15: 254–265. doi:10.1609/icwsm.v15i1.18058. ISSN 2334-0770.
  4. ^ Lydon-Staley, David M.; Zhou, Dale; Blevins, Ann Sizemore; Zurn, Perry; Bassett, Danielle S. (2020-11-30). "Hunters, busybodies and the knowledge network building associated with deprivation curiosity". Nature Human Behaviour. 5 (3): 327–336. doi:10.1038/s41562-020-00985-7. ISSN 2397-3374. PMC 8082236. PMID 33257879. Earlier preprint: Lydon-Staley, David Martin; Zhou, Dale; Blevins, Ann Sizemore; Zurn, Perry; Bassett, Danielle S. (2019-06-08). Hunters, busybodies, and the knowledge network building associated with curiosity. PsyArXiv.
  5. ^ Zhou, Dale; Patankar, Shubhankar; Lydon-Staley, David Martin; Zurn, Perry; Gerlach, Martin; Bassett, Danielle S. (2023-11-02). Architectural styles of curiosity in global Wikipedia mobile app readership. PsyArXiv. doi:10.31234/osf.io/szuyj.
  6. ^ Yoon, Jisung; Park, Jinseo; Yun, Jinhyuk; Jung, Woo-Sung (2023-11-01). "Quantifying knowledge synchronization with the network-driven approach". Journal of Informetrics. 17 (4): 101455. doi:10.1016/j.joi.2023.101455. ISSN 1751-1577.
  7. ^ Remmik, Marvi; Siiman, Ann; Reinsalu, Riina; Vija, Maigi; Org, Andrus (January 2024). "Using Wikipedia to Develop 21st Century Skills: Perspectives from General Education Students". Education Sciences. 14 (1): 101. doi:10.3390/educsci14010101. ISSN 2227-7102.
  8. ^ Reinsalu, Riina; Vija, Maigi; Org, Andrus; Siiman, Ann; Remmik, Marvi (June 2023). "With or without Wikipedia? Integrating Wikipedia into the Teaching Process in Estonian General Education Schools". Education Sciences. 13 (6): 583. doi:10.3390/educsci13060583. ISSN 2227-7102.




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O.J., cricket and a three body problem

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By Igordebraga, Rahcmander, Marinette2356, Boyinaroom, Vestrian24Bio, and Bucket of sulfuric acid
This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by Igordebraga, Rahcmander, Marinette2356, Boyinaroom, Vestrian24Bio and Bucket of sulfuric acid.

And all that is gone, and all that's to come (March 24 to 30)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Indian Premier League 4,610,878 In case you never noticed, cricket is the favorite sport of a nation of billions, and thus the national championship is heavily attended and valuable (estimated at US$10.9 billion!), so big Wikipedia views should come as no surprise.
2 Francis Scott Key Bridge (Baltimore) 2,218,745 In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner" about Fort McHenry, built in 1798 and still standing today. In 1977, a bridge was built in Baltimore bearing his name. The bridge will not enjoy the same longevity as the fort, however, as it was destroyed after being struck by a container ship (see #8).
3 2024 Indian Premier League 2,156,687 The latest edition of #1, with ten teams from all over India and a qualifying stage lasting until mid-May.
4 3 Body Problem (TV series) 1,828,994 Netflix released this science fiction series where Rosalind Chao plays an astrophysicist making discoveries that will change mankind's fate.
5 The Three-Body Problem (novel) 1,431,574
6 Sean Combs 1,365,599 Controversies aren't new for the rapper once known as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, and Diddy, and the newest ones this week revolved around Homeland Security raiding his properties for an investigation, and former associate Rodney "Lil Rod" Jones suing Combs accusing him of sexual assault, paying to keep sex workers, and having a drug mule.
7 Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire 1,126,911 Three years ago, Godzilla vs. Kong had a surprisingly strong showing in theaters in spite of the goddamned pandemic and a simultaneous HBO Max release. Now the most famous giant monsters are back, Godzilla fighting whatever kaiju decides to go on rampage on land, and King Kong exploring an underground world and discovering he's not the only living giant ape, and because of them is willing to destroy the surface world. And of course, there's a human plot that was highlighted by reviewers as the weakest part of the movie, albeit audiences just wanting to see massive creatures punching each other (including a climax in a partially frozen Rio de Janeiro!) will get what they want, to the point the movie is expected to earn over $190 million worldwide in its opening weekend.
8 Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse 1,082,978 During the night of March 26, a container ship struck the piers of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, causing it to collapse entirely and leading to deaths and injuries. The incident gained massive traction across news outlets and social media, with some expressing their condolences to the families of the victims, and others throwing out conspiracy theories on who was to blame for the situation.
9 Dan Schneider 1,022,915 Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV aired on Investigation Discovery and the former HBO Max, now just Max (except in Europe), detailing how some nasty things allegedly happened behind the scenes of Nickelodeon's 1990s and early 2000s sitcoms, giving a particular shine on the hostile work environment allegedly created by producer Dan Schneider, who in the wake of the MeToo movement got fired from the channel in 2018 as stories of his sexual misconduct and gender discrimination were made public.
10 Deaths in 2024 974,325 Don't get too tired for love
Don't let it end
Don't say goodnight to love
It may never be the same again

And everything under the sun is in tune (March 31 to April 6)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Indian Premier League 3,610,348 Once again, the top article regards the latest season of the Indian cricket league (breaking the 94% mobile views threshold for exclusion because most Indians can only access Wikipedia through their phones, but we'll let it fly again at least this week).
2 2024 Indian Premier League 2,154,516
3 3 Body Problem (TV series) 1,118,058 This Netflix show opens on a Chinese scientist being publicly beaten to death during the Cultural Revolution, but instead deals with his daughter years later making groundbreaking and world-changing discoveries in astrophysics.
4 WrestleMania XL 1,089,704 A possible chart-topper for next week, WWE's biggest event that was held in Philadelphia and featured The Rock!
5 Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire 1,065,368 Godzilla fans noted that after the Japanese creators offered a 'fancy meal'-like movie with Godzilla Minus One, it was time for the Americans of the MonsterVerse to deliver the fast food equivalent, as the Big G beats up other kaiju, including some that King Kong discovered roaming the massive underground ecosystem of the Hollow Earth. Plenty of cinema goers wanted to see giant monsters fighting, given Godzilla x Kong had one of the best Easter opening weekends, and remained strong atop the box office, having already passed $350 million worldwide.
6 Deaths in 2024 980,506 In the warrior's code
There's no surrender
Though his body says stop
His spirit cries, never!
7 Caitlin Clark 928,912 After driving up ticket sales for her final season attending the University of Iowa, the Hawkeyes' top basketball player again pushed them to the March Madness finals, while continuing her streak of wrecking as many NCAA records as possible (including TV viewership ones!). Standing against Clark in the finals are the South Carolina Gamecocks, led by Brazilian wunderkind Kamilla Cardoso.
8 Vontae Davis 871,903 Davis, a former football player, was found dead on April 1, with the cause of death unknown but foul play was not suspected. He was drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins, was traded to the Indianapolis Colts where he spent most of his career, and controversially retired from football mid-game in 2018 while playing for the Buffalo Bills.
9 The Three-Body Problem (novel) 860,520 A Chinese novel named after a complex physics theory that inspired #3.
10 Solar eclipse of April 8, 2024 830,629 On April 8, the Moon passed directly between the Earth and the Sun, obscuring the Sun for a bit and in its direct path causing the world to go dark. This total eclipse gained particular attention for being the first in the United States since 2017, and the last until 2044 for most of the country.

But the Sun is eclipsed by the Moon (April 7 to 13)

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 O. J. Simpson 4,021,730 If Orenthal James Simpson had died on April 10, 1994, shortly after the release of Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, he would've gone relatively young at 46, but left behind a good legacy as both an American football player inducted in both the college and pro football halls of fame and as an actor. Instead two months later he was arrested accused of murdering his ex-wife (#6) and a friend of hers. Even if he was acquitted in a trial-turned-media circus (#7), Simpson couldn't ensure the blemish on his reputation being "possible criminal" once he actually went to jail for stealing from a Vegas casino in 2007. In short, when "The Juice" died on April 10, 2024 of prostate cancer, there was an excuse for informal if not outright disrespectful eulogies (while acknowledging his children and grandchildren's requests to "please respect their wishes for privacy and grace").
2 Indian Premier League 2,608,607 As the top rivalries (except MI v CSK) of IPL at #5 took place in the past week, it brought more people to its articles.
3 WrestleMania XL 2,557,335 Normally WWE's premier event tops the Report, but with a big death and another week not excluding the IPL in spite of high mobile views, they had to settle for third in 2024.
4 Solar eclipse of April 8, 2024 2,254,760 The #8 happened last Monday brought more people's attention as it's the first total solar eclipse for Canada since 1979, for Mexico since 1991 and for United States since 2017. The next total solar eclipse in the US will be on 2033 over Alaska and in the lower 48 states of the US will be on 2044. The next total eclipse of similar width will take place in 2045. It's the only solar eclipse in 21st century to appear in all three countries.
5 2024 Indian Premier League 1,659,772 As the top rivalries (except MI v CSK) of #2 took place in the past week, it brought more people to its articles.
6 Fallout (American TV series) 1,640,411 Like The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic series based on video games. Only this one is on Prime Video, and the disaster was a nuclear war, with the show following a girl who leaves her underground bunker to seek her kidnapped father in the destroyed remains of Los Angeles. Fallout earned much praise for feeling like an extension of the games, including its distinctive retrofuturism aesthetic heavy on atompunk, and has already been renewed for a second season.
7 Nicole Brown Simpson 1,098,507 On June 12, 1994, the second wife of #1 was found dead at her home alongside her friend Ron Goldman, both covered in knife wounds. When LAPD came to his house to notify, they found some suspicious evidence, and by June 17 there was an arrest warrant issued for OJ, who even tried to evade in a Ford Bronco. The trial spanned eleven months, from November 1994, to October 1995, and in spite of the prosecution having a lot in their favor, including the reveal that the marriage had ended amidst accusations of domestic abuse and was followed by Nicole being stalked and harrassed, Simpson was acquitted. The impact of the events in culture were big, from making household names out of the defense attorneys Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran, Alan Dershowitz and (for all the good this caused) Robert Kardashian, to two high-profile productions in 2016, the Oscar-winning documentary O.J.: Made in America and the Emmy-winning miniseries The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
8 Murder trial of O. J. Simpson 1,055,773
9 Solar eclipse 1,029,599 The Moon stood in front of the Sun last Monday (#4), bringing much attention as it's the first total solar eclipse for Canada since 1979, for Mexico since 1991 and for United States since 2017.
10 Civil War (film) 969,535 While Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and Dune: Part II fell off this list, filmgoers were hyped by this dystopian war film by Alex Garland, where the United States are instead divided and disputed between four warring factions.

Exclusions

Most edited articles

For the March 15 – April 15 period, per this database report.

Title Revisions Notes
Crocus City Hall attack 2538[1] On March 22, four gunmen stormed the Crocus City Hall during a concert and opened fire on the crowd, killing 144 and injuring 551. The Islamic State claimed responsibility shortly after. Vladimir Putin declared a day of national mourning while also making baseless accusations against Ukraine.
Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse 2356 As mentioned above, the collapse of a bridge in Baltimore after it was hit by a ship.
Deaths in 2024 1942 Our obituary. Notable deaths since the last "most edited" besides O.J. and Vontae Davis included Louis Gossett Jr., Joe Lieberman, Chance Perdomo, Jaclyn Jose, Paul Alexander, Pankaj Udhas, Kenneth Mitchell and Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild.
Legalism (Chinese philosophy) 1337 For those who don't know, no one has ever edited an article so much as FourLights with this one.
List of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance candidates for the 2024 Indian general election 1213 I.N.D.I.A. will face the current government in the biggest election in the world (almost a billion people can vote!).
Cowboy Carter 1196 Beyoncé Knowles-Carter went country for Cowboy Carter, meant as a reinvention of Americana (even if track two is the cover of a Liverpudlian...) and featuring stalwarts of the genre like Dolly Parton, Linda Martell and Willie Nelson. Reviews were glowing, streaming records were broken, and lots of people are seeking cowboy clothes to wear.
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire 961 A sequel to the movie revolving around the conflict between an ape and a lizard who spews radiation, now having them both facing off against an ape and a lizard who spews ice.
2024 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament 913 Dan Hurley coached the UConn Huskies to his second straight March Madness victory, over the Purdue Boilermakers of Zach Edey. Hurley was also named the Naismith College Coach of the Year and received the Sporting News Men's College Basketball Coach of the Year Award.
2024 Indian Premier League 902 Our South Asian fans love cricket, so no surprise for lots of coverage regarding their Twenty20 league.
Solar eclipse of April 8, 2024 878 Pink Floyd took this as an opportunity to release a fan-made video of the song I quoted for the titles above.
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire 855 After winning back fans with the nostalgia-fest Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the best known spectral hunters return in a movie where New York is threatened by a ancient god trying to both build a ghost army and restart the ice age. Originally scheduled for December before the 2023 Hollywood labor disputes delayed it to March 2024, Frozen Empire got mixed reviews for a crowded script that brings everyone back from the previous movie and still introduces new characters, and in spite of opening atop the box office has not performed so well, having barely passed its $100 million budget domestically.
2023–24 Australian region cyclone season 797 Over 8 cyclones have hit Australia since December, with the strongest storms being Kirrily and Jasper.
Regency of Algiers 784 Given a few months ago this article on the North African parcel of the Ottoman Empire failed its GA review, the dedicated editors are extensively editing it hoping for another shot.
Francis Scott Key Bridge (Baltimore) 758 To quote from Last Week Tonight, "It has been a busy week, from a massive bridge collapse in Baltimore to Sam Bankman-Fried getting sentenced to 25 years in prison. Are these two events related? Experts say 'no', but given enough time, morons can find a path to 'maybe'!"
2024 Indian general election 741 The largest ever elections in the world will be held in India from April 19 to June 1, where 970 million people will elect 543 members of 18th Lok Sabha. Modi with his NDA alliance is competing for his third consecutive term against a big tent alliance of 41 parties led by Indian National Congress. Expect this entry to reach even higher as we witness the event.
  1. ^ 964 from original title '2024 Crocus City Hall attack'



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