Recent retirements typify problem of admin attrition
Wikipedia's administrative tools are often likened to a janitor's mop
, leading to adminship being described at times as being "given the mop".
Last May, three administrators nominated me for adminship: TParis, Secret, and Dennis Brown. Perhaps I am a curse, but none of the three are still administrators, a testament to the problems Wikipedia faces in retaining volunteers willing and able to fill this post.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's pivot to the real problem: when respected administrators—and for that matter, experienced editors—resign or even decrease their activity due to burnout, abuse, under-appreciation, or disillusionment, the entire encyclopedia is hurt.
TParis, an administrator for several years who was particularly active in de-escalating drama at ANI and related pages, left in part because he had "lost interest" and stamina, as well as having received unwarranted abuse from various editors. TParis's reasons for leaving typify Wikipedia's problems with how it treats its administrators.
It is time that, as a community, we recognize that admin abuse—editors abusing admins, the reverse of the typical concern—is a problem. Yes, admin abuse is a major problem that is hindering the quality of the encyclopedia.
In his departure comments, TParis wrote:
||The fact that editors can make intentional attacks and then play it off like they had no idea it would or could be offensive, even denying the history of the attack, is one of the major contributions to the failure of the civility policy. It has created an expressway out of the civility policy: say your attack, deny it's[sic] background, and good faith will protect you.
I read a lot more administrator talk pages and noticeboards than I comment on, and what I see there is frankly appalling, especially the level of bad faith of which administrators are regularly accused. And it is not just newbies angry that their first article was speedily deleted; editors who are generally respected take swipes at administrators that, if the roles were reversed, would prompt cries of personal attacks, admin abuse (the other kind), etc.
It would be disingenuous for me to say that admin abuse—in its general usage—does not occur, and that there are not administrators who are a net negative for the encyclopedia.
However, certainly most would agree that TParis did not fall into that category, and when he—a soldier with a thicker skin than most—gets tired of personal attacks, perhaps it is time for the rest of us to take notice and rectify the problem. "I don't feel I can turn in the admin hat without the issues I was involved in as an admin not haunting me and paying me special visits," TParis wrote. Surely for a project that purports the notion that "adminship is no big deal", a sentiment like that should be a wake up call.
On a partially related note, there is such a backlog of administrative work to be done and few administrators ready, willing, and able to do it. The administrative backlog continues to expand, as does the general Wikipedia backlog. The community, however, continues to promulgate the notion that content is king (a notion with which I agree), and nothing else is worth doing at all—in other words, if you are not a content contributor, you really have no place here. That is categorically untrue; backlog busters and behind-the-scenes workers pave the way for content contributors to contribute content. When that work is not done, the encyclopedia suffers.
When articles for creation submissions take months to be processed, it is incredibly disconcerting to new contributors, whom we try to recruit to replace our ever increasing population of retired contributors.
When new page patrol turns into a weeks or months long process, we become an incubator for potential BLP violations.
When requests for comment languish awaiting closure, it undermines the consensus building process—the fabric of Wikipedia.
And when administrators and other editors try to help in this area, they frequently subject themselves to undue grief, accusations of bad faith, etc. No wonder we see burnout, admin resignations, etc. at such high levels. Sure, the instance of TParis and my commentary thereof is anecdotal, but it is one that is repeated with disturbing frequency.
Recall the formerly active administrators Boing! said Zebedee, Toddst1, The Blade of the Northern Lights, even Writ Keeper and Dennis Brown. And now TParis. Although all left or significantly decreased their activity under different circumstances, their respective departures leave a void in all kinds of admin areas of the encyclopedia, some of which we probably have yet to fully discover. They did the work no one else would, and now that work is not getting done.
All of this is to say we, as a community, need to address some underlying problems and important questions if we want to be a functional encyclopedia:
- Realize that we have a problem ... before we can do anything else, we have to recognize that the loss of active administrators poses a clear and present danger to the credibility of the encyclopedia and its future. This danger manifests itself in many ways, some of which I have outlined, others of which I have decided not to outline, and most of which, I probably would never have imagined.
- Recognize administrators for doing unpleasant work ... a simple "thanks" or just hitting the thank button often will do the job. Elaborate barnstars, awards, etc. are not always necessary. Yes, administrators do sign up for a "thankless" job, but that does not mean community members cannot and should not thank them when they do it well.
- Recruit new administrators with requisite experience ... this may also mean fixing a broken RfA process, a likely unpleasant and daunting task, but one that needs to be done.
- Make adminship not suck. TParis wrote, "I'm sorry for what the hell I've encouraged them to volunteer for," in regards to his recruitment of new administrators. How do we make adminship at least a non-hellish experience?
Perhaps the answer is rethinking the entire process of adminship. Perhaps it is unbundling of some kind. Perhaps it is in recruiting more people to run—my RfA was not bad at all, although others obviously have different experiences. Perhaps it is in creating a de-adminship process that has the side effect of giving those who retain adminship increased credibility and respect within the community. Perhaps it is none of these things, or some combination thereof.
Regardless, the retirement of TParis underscores the problem of admin attrition, and as an encyclopedia, it is time we seek to find solutions.
- Go Phightins! is a Wikipedia administrator and a co-editor-in-chief of the Signpost. He primarily focuses his editing on sports articles, and only occasionally dabbles in admin areas. This editorial is written in his capacity as a Wikipedia editor—not in his Signpost role or as an administrator, although an admittedly inactive one that rarely uses the tools.
Students' use and perception of Wikipedia
Students' use and perception of Wikipedia
Monash University Menzies Building
The Australian ("Wikipedia not destroying life as we know it", February 11) and Times Higher Education ("Wikipedia should be 'better integrated' into teaching", February 10) reported on a recent study performed at Monash University, titled "Students’ use of Wikipedia as an academic resource – patterns of use and perceptions of usefulness".
Based on a survey of over 1,650 students at two unnamed Australian universities, the study found that students generally viewed Wikipedia only as an "'introductory and/or supplementary source of information' [...] of limited usefulness compared with university library resources, e-books, lecture recordings and academic literature databases". Seven out of eight students said they used Wikipedia, but only 24 percent of respondents classified Wikipedia as "very useful", meaning it ranked below "learning management systems, internet search engines, library websites, videos and Facebook" in students' assessments, but above "other university websites", "educational games and simulations" and Twitter.
Commenting on students' usage patterns, the study's lead author, Neil Selwyn, said that Wikipedia did not make students lazy: lazy Wikipedia use, where it did occur, probably just reflected those students' pre-existing working modes: "Students are finding ways to use Wikipedia that fit with their broader study habits. High-achieving students are using Wikipedia in a way that helps them continue to be high achieving."
Selwyn also noted that the early years' "hype and excitement" about Wikipedia's role in higher education had given way to a kind of "mundane domestication":
||The early alarmist fears that Wikipedia would lead to a dumbing down of university study was not apparent, but neither is Wikipedia ushering in a new dawn of enlightenment and students and teachers creating their own knowledge.
Noting the disparity between reader and editor numbers, Selwyn described Wikipedia editing as "an incredibly closed shop" and said that Wikipedia content in his academic discipline remained woefully inadequate:
||[Wikipedia contributors] tend to be white, North American, of a certain age, (and) male. Which is why, when you look at things like comic books or computer games, the information on Wikipedia is brilliant. And when you look at my own area of educational sociology, it’s shocking.
Selwyn concluded that in order to remedy these quality defects, universities should be getting more engaged, given that "Something like Wikipedia is going to be a constant presence over the next few decades".
||There are clearly many ways in which universities need to engage more directly in supporting and enhancing the role that Wikipedia is now playing in students’ scholarship. [...] Lecturers should be encouraging their classes to edit and improve Wikipedia pages. At the very least, more academics should become Wikipedia editors – writing on their areas of expertise.
The study was funded by the Australian government’s Office of Learning and Teaching and will be published in the journals Studies in Higher Education and the Journal of Higher Education Policy & Management. A.K.
Are Pakistan articles being manipulated?
In the Daily Times, Yasser Latif Hamdani writes about efforts engaged in "Manipulating the Pakistani narrative" (February 17). Hamdani charges
||It is clear that our deep state is obsessed with controlling information and moulding it to fit its narrative. On Wikipedia, a number of 'users' and 'editors' have been planted to ensure that only Pakistan's official stance or the Nazaria-e-Pakistan [ideology of Pakistan] is reflected in the pages on Pakistan. Consequently, the pages on Pakistan's history read like a secondary school Pakistan Studies textbook... All alternative views on Pakistan's constitution, role of religion and federalism are stifled by this group...If one were to venture a guess it would be that these manipulators of the Pakistani narrative on sites like Wikipedia and others are operating out of some nondescript building in Islamabad's G sectors [where Pakistani intelligence agencies are located].
Hamdani writes that "Even Jinnah's famous August 11 speech is censored with Jinnah's page — a featured article — making no reference to it at all." The article Muhammad Ali Jinnah does mention the speech and link to the article about it. Hamdani told the Signpost:
||The relevance of the 11 August speech pertains to Mr. Jinnah's comments regarding Hindus ceasing to be Hindus and Muslims ceasing to be Muslims, "not in a religious sense, but as citizens of a state" are the relevant portions because in it the founding father of Pakistan was declaring that religious affiliations would not determine the citizenship rights. This is a significant statement which has often caused a lot of consternation for Pakistan's ruling elite which wants to establish an Islamic polity. This particular part is not reflected in the current article nor is it reflected anymore in the 11th August speech article...So while I stand corrected that there is a reference to the 11 August speech, it is not the main reference for which the speech is significant i.e. which is that religion would not be a determining factor for citizenship. The quote that is there right now is merely a quote on religious freedom.
Hamdani named to the Signpost several editors whom he accused of being part of this manipulation effort. One of those editors denied to the Signpost these accusations and alleged that Hamdani had "defamed" him as a result of the deletion of the Wikipedia article about Hamdani.G
Conferences and editathons
The Irish Times reports on a February 14 workshop for new Wikipedia editors held by Wikimedia Community Ireland at the National Museum of Ireland's Collins Barracks. The workshop focused on Ireland and World War I in conjunction with the Museum's exhibition Recovered Voices: the Stories of the Irish at War, 1914-15.
Art+Feminism editathons were again in the news. The Daily reports on the Valentine's Day "I Love to You" editathon at the University of Washington, named for a phrase from French feminist Luce Irigaray. Creative Dundee reports on the upcoming March 6 editathon at the University of Abertay.
The Hindu reports (February 16) on a two day gathering of editors on the Telugu Wikipedia to celebrate its 11th anniversary. 55 of that Wikipedia's 80 active editors attended. G
- Classroom tips: The Chronicle of Higher Education offers five tips on "Integrating Wikipedia in Your Courses" (February 18).G
- General notability guidelines: NPR reviews (February 17) Laura van den Berg's new novel Find Me and notes that the protagonist laments "No one will ever write a Wikipedia page for me."G
- You only die twice: The Daily Telegraph and The Independent reported on (February 16) "a tidal wave of sadness" that engulfed Twitter over the weekend regarding the death of beloved English artist and children's television presenter Tony Hart. Numerous Twitter users posted a link to an obituary from The Guardian without noticing that it was dated 2009, the date of Hart's actual death. The two newspapers noted Wikipedia was also affected: on Monday two different IP editors "corrected" the date of death from 2009 to 2015.G
- Tell me sweet little lies: In The New York Times, Bill Adair, founder of PolitiFact, and Maxime Fischer-Zernin detail some of "The Lies Heard Round the World" (February 15) in 2014. One of them was uttered at an October rally at the Circus Maximus by Italian politician Alessandro Di Battista, vice president of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Chamber of Deputies and leading figure in the Five Star Movement. He claimed "Nigeria, you can read about it on Wikipedia: 60 percent of its territory is controlled by Boko Haram, the remaining part is Ebola." While the terrorist group Boko Haram does control a huge swath of Nigerian territory—some 50,000 square kilometers—in and around Borno State, it does not even control the entire state, which is one of 36 states of Nigeria. During the 2014 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, Nigeria had only 20 cases of and 8 deaths from Ebola. The bulk of the epidemic, about 23,000 cases, was in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, over 2000 km away. The Italian factchecking website Pagella Politica gave this statement the "Insane Whopper of the Year" award.G
- Lights out: Pulse Ghana reports (February 14) that the word dumsor now has a Wikipedia article, created on February 8. Dumsor is a combination of the Twi words for "off" and "on" and is used to describe the problems which have plagued Ghana's electrical power grid since 2007. The article concludes "this might not be something we can be proud off but we have to live with it as we grow has a nation."G
- The Wikipedia Games: The Wall Street Journal reports (February 13) that in Mark Doten's new dystopian novel The Infernal, Jimmy Wales is not the founder of Wikipedia, but "the inventor of the Omnosyne, a torture device that extracts information from victims before uploading it into a world network of knowledge called the Memex." Guernica offers an excerpt from the novel. G
Revision scoring as a service
Wikipedia relies heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) based tools in order to operate at the scale that it does today. The use of AI is most apparent in counter-vandalism tools, like those used to revert nearly all the vandalism on the English Wikipedia: ClueBot NG, Huggle and STiki. These advanced wiki tools use intelligent algorithms to automatically revert vandalism or triage likely damaging edits for human review. It's arguable that these tools saved the Wikipedia community from being overwhelmed by the massive growth period of 2006–2007.
Regretfully, developing and implementing such powerful AI is hard. A tool developer needs to have the expertise in statistical classification, natural language processing, and advanced programming techniques as well as access to hardware to store and process large amounts of data. It's also relatively labor-intensive to maintain these AIs so that they stay up to date with the quality concerns of present day Wikipedia. Likely due to these difficulties, AI-based quality control tools are only available for English Wikipedia and a few other, larger wikis.
Our goal in the Revision Scoring project is to do the hard work of constructing and maintaining powerful AI so that tool developers don't have to. This cross-lingual, machine learning classifier service for edits will support new wiki tools that require edit quality measures.
We'll be making quality scores available via two different strategies
- via our Web interface (for bots and gadgets)
- via our library (batch processing)
from mw import api
from revscoring.extractors import APIExtractor
from revscoring.scorers import MLScorerModel
model = MLScorerModel.load(open("enwiki.damaging.20150201.model"))
api_session = api.Session("https://en.wikipedia.org/w/api.php")
extractor = APIExtractor(api_session, model.language)
for rev_id in [644899628, 644897053]:
feature_values = extractor.extract(rev_id, model.features)
score = model.score(feature_values)
We'll also provide raw labelled data for training new models.
Project status and getting involved
Mockup of the hand-coding interface
We've already completed our first milestone: replicating the state of the art in damage detection for English, Turkish and Portuguese Wikipedias. In the next two months, we will construct a manual hand-coding system and ask a set of volunteers to help us categorize random samples of edits as "damaging" and/or "good-faith". These new datasets will help us train better classifiers. If you'd like to help us gather data or extend the scoring system to more languages, please let us know by saying so on our talk page.
February is for lovers
This week saw the 57th Annual Grammy Awards (#13 on the Top 25) held on February 8 dominating the traffic chart, as music lovers checked out Sam Smith (#3) picking up four awards, Beck taking album of the year, and performances including Sia (#9), Madonna (#11), and Annie Lennox (#16). But Valentine's Day (#1) proved the perfect time for the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, with the movie coming in at #5, the book of the same name at #2, and the primary actors at #14 and #15.
For the full top 25 list, see WP:TOP25. See this section for an explanation of any exclusions.
For the week of February 8 to 14, 2015, the ten most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the report of the most viewed pages, were:
||As in 2013 and 2014, Valentine's Day makes its annual appearance at the top of the chart.
||Fifty Shades of Grey
||Unquestionably, the film based on this book picked the right weekend to be released. As of Sunday February 15 (one day after this Report's coverage period), the film had grossed over $239 million worldwide. On this chart, it is up from #8 and 713,992 views last week.
||Sam Smith (singer)
||At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards held on February 8, 2015, Smith won four awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Stay with Me", Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album. Speaking of "Stay with Me", it is clear that Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne cashed in at the right time, recently settling a dispute with Smith to get a cut of royalties from the song based on coincidental similarities to a part of 1989's "I Won't Back Down". Lots of songs have similar riffs to earlier songs, since there are only so many combinations of notes and chords in pop music that appeal to us. But being similar to a song of the year is apparently worth paying a lawyer to complain about a bit.
||Beck's album Morning Phase won Album of the Year at the Grammys. And Kanye West took issue with Beck winning over Beyoncé, which got himself placed at #18 this week.
||Fifty Shades of Grey (film)
||See #2. The film stars Dakota Johnson (#14) (pictured) and Jamie Dornan (#15).
||Better Call Saul
||A television show spinoff of Breaking Bad (a former chart favorite on Wikipedia) starring Bob Odenkirk (pictured), it debuted on AMC on February 8, 2015.
||Down from 1.59 million views last week, but still quite strong. If there's one thing America loves, it's a good, old fashioned culture war. Clint Eastwood's latest directorial effort American Sniper may not be wowing the critics (Rotten Tomatoes places it 13th among the films he has directed), nor drawing the crowds overseas (its international box office take is currently less than a third its domestic take), but it has played spectacularly well in America's conservative heartland, leading politicians on the left and right to, well, snipe at each other about what the film and its popularity say about America, its people, and in particular its subject, the now deceased sniper Chris Kyle. While interest seems to be winding down (viewing figures for this article peaked at 5.3 million two weeks ago), the topic still has enough oxygen to keep it in the Top 10.
||The former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, black hole theorist, and latter-day science icon makes his 15th straight appearance in the Top 25 this week. Interest is only likely to increase in the run-up to the Oscars, thanks to Eddie Redmayne's likely Best Actor win for portraying him in The Theory of Everything.
||The popular singer hid her face once again, but performed at the Grammys on February 8.
||A perennially popular article.
A load of bull-sized breakfast behind the restaurant, koi feeding, a moray eel, Spaghetti Nebula and other fishy, fishy fish
This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted to featured status from 1 February through 7 February.Text may be adapted from the respective articles and lists; see their page histories for attribution.
No steak on the menu and what a load of bull!! Well is that seafood down on the page a bit available or am I going to have to go with the fried chicken again?
Five featured articles were promoted this week.
- James B. Weaver (nominated by Coemgenus) James Baird Weaver was a member of the United States House of Representatives and two-time candidate for President of the United States. After several unsuccessful attempts at Republican nominations to various offices, and growing dissatisfied with the conservative wing of the party, in 1877 Weaver switched to the Greenback Party, which supported increasing the money supply and regulating big business. As the Greenback Party fell apart, a new left-wing third party, the Populists, arose. Weaver helped to organize the party and was their nominee for President in 1892. Many party insiders, however, were wary of Weaver's association with the Prohibition movement and preferred to remain uncommitted on the divisive issue.
- I Never Liked You (nominated by Curly Turkey) I Never Liked You is an autobiographical graphic novel by Canadian cartoonist Chester Brown, originally serialized as Fuck in the pages of his comic book Yummy Fur. Brown was at the forefront of the 90s wave of autobiographical comics. Since cartoonists usually spent most of their days at the drawing table trying to eke out a living, here autobiography didn't mean high adventure, it meant the minutiae of human existence. These cartoonists put their own lives under the microscope, unflinchingly portraying their weird emotional states, sexual fantasies, and masturbatory habits. In I Never Liked You, Brown tells the story of his introverted teenage years in a Montreal suburb. He is painfully unable to express emotion, especially to women, including his dying mother and the girl next door he is interested in. The powerful story and minimalist style drew critical adulation and awards, so if you are in the mood to revisit your awkward adolescence, this is the book for you.
- Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata (van Eyck) (nominated by Ceoil and Victoriaearle) A new featured article from our exellent featured art article editor team Victoria and Ceoil (is this number 45 or?) Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata is the name given to two unsigned paintings completed around 1428–32 that art historians usually attribute to the great Flemish artist Jan van Eyck. The panels are nearly identical, apart from a difference in size. Both are small paintings: the larger measures 29.3 cm x 33.4 cm and is in the Sabauda Gallery in Turin, Italy; the smaller panel is 12.7 cm x 14.6 cm and in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The paintings show Saint Francis of Assisi, who is shown kneeling by a rock, in prayer as he receives the stigmata of the crucified Christ on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet.
- The Thrill Book (nominated by Mike Christie) The Thrill Book was a short-lived US pulp magazine published by Street & Smith in 1919. It was intended to carry "different" stories: this meant stories that were unusual or unclassifiable, which in practice often meant that the stories were fantasy or science fiction. Although The Thrill Book has been described as the first American pulp to specialize in fantasy and science fiction, this description is not supported by recent historians of the field, who regard it instead as a stepping stone on the path that ultimately led to Weird Tales and Amazing Stories, the first true specialized magazines in the fields of weird fiction and science fiction respectively. Street & Smith cancelled the magazine after the sixteenth issue, dated October 15. A printers' strike has often been suggested as the reason.
- William of Wrotham (nominated by Ealdgyth) William of Wrotham was a larger than life figure from the dramatic days of the English middle ages. When Robin Hood roamed Sherwood Forest, William was having action-packed adventures as... Archdeacon of Taunton and "keeper of ports". Like the Sheriff of Nottingham, William was a minion of King John, usually depicted as so villainous that the Magna Carta had to be forced upon him by his own rebellious barons. One of those rebels was William, who until that point had ably served John in a number of ecclesiastical and naval posts. After a brief time in exile, William was back in the good graces of John and his son and successor Henry III. Chronicler Roger of Wendover dubbed him one of John's "most wicked counsellors", but later historians called him a distinguished administrator.
Six featured lists were promoted this week.
- Preity Zinta filmography (nominated by FrB.TG) Preity Zinta is an Indian actress known for her work in Bollywood films. She made her debut in 1998 with a supporting role in the drama Dil Se.. and starred in the commercially successful thriller Soldier. In 2001, Zinta featured in the dramedy Dil Chahta Hai, which is cited in the media as a defining film of Hindi cinema. She starred in two blockbusters—the science fiction film Koi... Mil Gaya and the drama Kal Ho Naa Ho.
- 67th Academy Awards (nominated by Birdienest81) Held in March 1995, sentimental favorite Forrest Gump won Best Picture over four better 1994 films and took away 6 wins out of 13 nominations. To this day, some insist it should have been Pulp Fiction's year, and while the film catapulted Quentin Tarantino to stardom, out of 6 nominations it only went home with Best Original Screenplay. Gump earned Tom Hanks his second consecutive Best Actor, making him and Spencer Tracy the only winners to do so in this category. Jessica Lange got her second Oscar and first Best Actress award, while Best Supporting Actress Dianne Wiest became the first person to win two acting Oscars for performances in films directed by the same person, Woody Allen. Best Supporting Actor winner Martin Landau was doing some of the best work of his career in his 60s and capped that with a tour de force as film star Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's Ed Wood, a film inexplicably overlooked for a Best Picture nomination. At the ceremony, when the orchestra tried to play him offstage he pounded his fist on the podium and shouted "No!", angry because he was unable to thank Lugosi. Whovians take note, future Doctor Peter Capaldi shared the Best Live Action Short award for writing and directing Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life, only the fifth tie for an award in Oscar history.
- List of municipalities in Yukon : (Nominators Mattximus and Hwy43) Yukon is the second-most populous of Canada's three territories, with 33,897 residents as of 2011. Over two-thirds of the population of Yukon (23,276 residents; 68.7%) reside in Whitehorse, the largest municipality in the territory. It is also the largest municipality by land area at 416.54 km2 (160.83 sq mi).
- Vidya Balan filmography (nominated by Krimuk90) Vidya Balan is an Indian actress known for her work in Bollywood films. She made her acting debut in 1995 with the sitcom Hum Paanch. Vidya had five film releases in 2007 and played a variety of roles in them, including a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis in Mani Ratnam's semi-biographical drama Guru. From 2009 to 2012, Vidya starred in five consecutive films that garnered her widespread praise. She is the recipient of several awards, including a National Film Award, five Filmfare Awards, and five Screen Awards, and was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2014.
- List of World Series Cricket international centuries (nominated by Harrias) World Series Cricket (WSC) was a professional cricket competition established by Kerry Packer which ran from 1977 and 1979. Packer set the competition up after failing to gain the rights to show Test cricket on his Channel Nine television channel. It was opposed by the International Cricket Conference (ICC).
- Julia Roberts filmography (nominated by Cowlibob) Julia Roberts is an American actress and producer who made her debut in the 1987 direct-to-video feature Firehouse. Roberts made her breakthrough the following year by starring in the coming-of-age film Mystic Pizza (1988). Roberts' next role was opposite Richard Gere in the romantic comedy Pretty Woman (1990). The film is estimated to have sold over 42 million tickets in North America—the most for a romantic comedy in the United States as of 2014. For her performance, Roberts won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress (Musical or Comedy). Two years later, Roberts starred in the legal thriller The Pelican Brief, an adaptation of the John Grisham novel of the same name. She also starred in the Ocean's Eleven series and the title role in Erin Brokovich, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess of Derby I like that, could be a new style bonnet
Doge Leonardo Loredan 500 hundred years later he is still waiting for his hat style to make a comeback
Seventeen featured pictures were promoted this week.
Breakfast behind the restaurant...
Chain moray eel
(looking at the koi feeding at the National Arboretum on some tasty Zehnder's Chicken :)
- Zehnder's (created by Chris Woodrich, nominated by Crisco 1492) Zehnder's is a large restaurant in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The food, served family style, is generally American or midwestern-style, like chicken dinners, seafood, steaks, fresh baked goods, and European desserts. Originally built as the Exchange Hotel by Henry Reichle in 1856, in 1927, William Zehnder, Sr. purchased the hotel and remodeled the building, including redesigning the facade to look like Mount Vernon. In the 1980s, it was one of the ten largest restaurants in the United States, with seating for 1,500 people. Zehnder's serves almost a million people annually. John Zehnder, the executive chef and food and beverage manager at Zehnder's, received the 2011 Hermann G. Rusch Chef's Achievement Award from the American Culinary Federation.
- Koi feeding (created by Arden, uploaded by AgnosticPreachersKid ) Koi is a pet fish, kept in ponds because they are believed to bring luck and money to the house. These guys are fighting for the food in a pond at the United States National Arboretum. The koi varieties are distinguished by coloration, patterning, and scalation. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream. Common carp were bred to a new breed, the koi, with bright colors, in Japan in the 1820s. By the 20th century, a number of color patterns had been established, most notably the red-and-white that is called Kohaku in Japanese. New koi varieties are still being actively developed.
- Antonie Frederik Jan Floris Jacob van Omphal (created by Herman Antonie de Bloeme, nominated by Crisco 1492) Antonie Frederik Jan Floris Jacob Baron van Omphal, painted by Herman Antonie de Bloeme, was a Dutch lieutenant-general and extraordinary aide-de-camp to William III of the Netherlands. He was very much awarded. Take a deep breath before you work through his long list of awards that can be admired on his chest too (or just jump to next entry): Baron van Omphal was awarded a knighthood in the Military William Order, was made a knight in the Military William Order, Grand Cross (1849) and commander (1857) in the Order of the Oak Crown, a knight of the Legion of Honour, a commander of the Guelph Order and the Order of the Dannebrog, a knight of the Order of St. John, of the Order of St. Anna second class with diamonds, of the Order of the Red Eagle second class, of the Order of the Sword with grand cross and of the Order of Saint Stanislaus first class, and a Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold (1859). Yeah, did we forget any? Van Omphal excelled in the service of the French during the Battle of Leipzig as first lieutenant of the Imperial Guard of Napoleon I. He also served in combat at Ciudad Real and during the French invasion of Russia.
- Apse of Our Lady of the Assumption (created by Chris Woodrich, nominated by Crisco 1492) Our Lady of the Assumption, located at 350 Huron Church Road in Windsor, Ontario, is the oldest continuous parish in Ontario. On July 7, 1842 the cornerstone of the present church was laid. Three years later, on July 20, 1845, the new 60 by 120 feet (18 m × 37 m) rectangular church was inaugurated under Fr. Pierre Point S.J. This rectangular structure forms the nave of the present parish. The church's high altar, spacious sanctuary, communion rail, and pipe organ make it an impressive and appropriate home for this historic liturgy, which attracts churchgoers from throughout southern Ontario and southeastern Michigan.
- Dancing Fairies (created by August Malmström , nominated by Hafspajen ) Dancing Fairies (Swedish: Älvalek) is a painting by the Swedish painter August Malmström, depicting fairies dancing above the water in a moonlit landscape. The visionary painting depicts the morning mist turning into fairies, like the spirits of untamed nature. The fairies are dancing in the meadow in the twilight and they flow over the romantic landscape; one of them bends over the water to catch a glimpse of her own image. In Swedish folklore, the fairies were seen as delicate, tender, sensitive creatures, but also capricious and inclined to have their feelings hurt easily and take offence if not treated well and respected. Malmström, who was a professor at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, was one of the Swedish artists who aspired to create a national Swedish art. August Malmström's Dancing Fairies is a widely recognised work in its home country.
- Tungabhadra River near Hampi (created by Dey.sandip, nominated by National Names 2000) Coracles are round-shaped flat bottomed boats used on rivers as paddled fishing vessels. This picture depicts a pair of coracles on Tungabhadra River near Hampi, India. Coracles are oval in shape and can be made of wood with interwoven bamboo and waterproofed by using resin and coconut oil, or a framework of split and interwoven willow rods, tied with willow bark, with an outer layer made by animal skin, calico or canvas with a thin layer of tar, or nowadays even fibreglass, to make it waterproof. Coracles traditionally vary in design between different rivers; the Teifi river coracles are flat-bottomed for shallow rapids, while the Carmarthen coracle is rounder and deeper, for use on tidal waters on the Tywi.
- Breakfast Time (created by Hanna Pauli and nominated by SagaciousPhil) Breakfast Time is a painting completed in 1887 by the Swedish artist Hanna Pauli (1864–1940). An open-air painting, Breakfast Time depicts a tranquil scene with a table set for breakfast on a sunny morning. Placed at the bottom right of the picture is a table covered with a white tablecloth alongside a bench and two chairs. It is positioned under a tree with its branches stretching over the table. A maid is approaching the table carrying a tray in her hands. The light is reflected from the shiny objects on the table and from the white tablecloth. The painting was completed by Hanna Pauli by the summer of 1887; later that year, in the autumn, she became engaged to her future husband, Georg Pauli, who was also an artist. When the painting was completed she was still unmarried and the signature is her maiden name. Breakfast Time was exhibited at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1889 and the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.
- Beech Grove I (created by Gustav Klimt, nominated by Sca) Beech Grove I is a painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, mostly known for his iconic painting The Kiss, which depicts two people passionately kissing each other lost in a gold turmoil. Klimt is noted as a master of eroticism and for his symbolist paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art. He was one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt's primary subject was the female body. It's safe to say that he liked his ladies, naked.
- Drainage of water in Lake Urmia (created by مانفی using NASA imagery, nominated by Crisco 1492) This animation of the Lake Urmia drought was created with NASA images mixed using cross dissolve transition in Adobe Premiere. Lake Urmia is an endorheic salt lake in northwestern Iran near Iran's border with Turkey. The recent drought has significantly decreased the annual amount of water the lake receives. This in turn has increased the salinity of the lake's water, lowering the lake's viability as home to thousands of migratory birds, including large flamingo populations. The salinity has particularly increased in the half of the lake north of the causeway. The lake is between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan in Iran and west of the southern portion of the Caspian Sea. At its full size, it was the largest lake in the Middle East and the sixth largest saltwater lake on Earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km² (2,000 mile²), 140 km (87 mi) length, 55 km (34 mi) width, and 16 m (52 ft) depth. To infinity and beyond!
- Elizabeth Smith-Stanley, Countess of Derby (created by George Romney, nominated by Armbrust) This painting of Lady Elizabeth Hamilton is by George Romney. The Duchess of Hamilton was considered one of the most beautiful women of the day. George Romney is a kinsman of American businessmen and politicians George W. Romney (1907–1995) and Mitt Romney; their ancestor Miles Romney was George Romney's first cousin.
- Echidna catenata (created by Atsme, nominated by Atsme) A chain moray eel, pictured here below a feather duster worm. Echidna catenata, commonly known as the chain moray, is a moray eel found in shallow parts of the western Atlantic Ocean, where its range extends from Bermuda, Florida, and the Bahamas to the Antilles and Brazil. It occasionally makes its way into the aquarium trade. It is a carnivore and feeds on such organisms as crabs, which are the mainstay of its diet, shrimps, worms, and small fish.
- Burking Poor Old Mrs Constitution, Aged 141 (created by William Heath, restored and nominated by SchroCat) This is a political cartoon based on the Burke and Hare murders, a series of murders committed in Edinburgh, Scotland, over a period of about ten months in 1828. The killings were attributed to Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare, who sold the corpses of their 16 victims to Doctor Robert Knox as dissection material for his well-attended anatomy lectures. Before 1832, there were insufficient cadavers legitimately available for the study and teaching of anatomy in Britain's medical schools. As medical science began to flourish in the early nineteenth century, the demand for cadavers rose sharply, but at the same time the legal supply failed to keep pace. One of the main sources—the bodies of executed criminals—had begun to dry up owing to a reduction in the number of executions being carried out in the early nineteenth century.
- Hayley Williams (created by Sven-Sebastian Sajak, nominated by Crisco 1492) Hayley Williams, lead vocalist of the American rock band Paramore, at Rock im Park 2013 in Nuremberg, Germany. Williams was discovered in 2003 by managers Dave Steunebrink and Richard Williams, who signed the 14-year-old to a two-year production deal. In the 2007 Kerrang! Readers' Poll she finished second to Evanescence's Amy Lee in the "Sexiest Female" category, going on to win the first place spot for "Sexiest Female" a year later in the 2008 poll, and again in the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 poll
- Simeis 147 (created by Rogelio Bernal Andreo, nominated by The Herald) Photograph by Rogelio Bernal Andreo of Simeis 147. Simeis 147, also known as the Spaghetti Nebula, SNR G180.0-01.7 or Sharpless 2-240, is a supernova remnant (SNR) in the Milky Way, straddling the border between the constellations Auriga and Taurus. Discovered in 1952 at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory using a 25-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, it is difficult to observe due to its extremely low brightness. This filamentary structure can be found in the constellation Taurus, close to the border of Aurigua, in roughly the same line of sight as the star Elnath. Approximately 3000 light years away, the nebula stretches about 150 light years across.
- Feral Charolais bull (created by The Photographer, nominated by Hafspajen) What a load of bull! Charolais cattle (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁɔlɛ]) are a beef breed of cattle (Bos taurus) which originated in Charolais, around Charolles, in France. The breed tends to be large muscled, with bulls weighing up to 1,100 kilograms (2,400 lb) and cows up to 900 kilograms (2,000 lb). The breed was introduced in the southern US from Mexico in 1934. In Sierra Nevada de Mérida, Venezuela, following the rural flight of farmers, many Charolais cattle were abandoned; they have survived in the wild feeding on Espeletia schultzii, a high altitude shrub.
- Dome ceiling of the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque (created by Nikopol, nominated by Fauzan) Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Masjed-e Sheikh Lotf-ollāh) is one of the architectural masterpieces of Safavid Iranian architecture, standing on the eastern side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square, Isfahan, Iran. The Dome ceiling of the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque was described by Robert Byron, a British travel writer, who wrote about this sight:
I know of no finer example of the Persian Islamic genius than the interior of the dome: The dome is inset with a network of lemon-shaped compartments, which decrease in size as they ascend towards the formalized peacock at the apex... The mihrāb in the west wall is enameled with tiny flowers on a deep blue meadow. Each part of the design, each plane, each repetition, each separate branch or blossom has its own somber beauty. But the beauty of the whole comes as you move. Again, the highlights are broken by the play of glazed and unglazed surfaces; so that with every step they rearrange themselves in countless shining patterns... I have never encountered splendor of this kind before.
- Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan (created by Giovanni Bellini, restored and nominated by SchroCat ) Leonardo Loredan was the Doge of Venice from 1501 to 1521. In Giovanni Bellini's painting, he is shown wearing his robes of state. The hat and ornate buttons are part of his official wardrobe. The sitter can be identified as Doge Loredan by comparing his features with portrait medals of him. The shape of the hat comes from the hood of a doublet. It is called a corno ducale and was a type of ducal hat, worn over a linen cap. The Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Giovanni Bellini, dating from 1501. It is on display in the National Gallery in London. It portrays Leonardo Loredan, Doge of Venice from 1501 to 1521, in his ceremonial garments with the corno worn over a linen cap, and is signed "IOANNES BELLINVS" on a cartellino.
Dome ceiling of the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Portrait of the 100 Hundred Beech Trees
Portrait of the 88 Fairies that made a comeback
We've built the nuclear reactor—now what colour should we paint the bikeshed?
The most significant item on ArbCom's agenda this fortnight has been the closure of the Wifione case and subsequent fallout, although the fallout from GamerGate continues to linger. Meanwhile the committee has become deadlocked on all manner of trivial issues, holding up progress on the larger issues, even where arbitrators are in broad agreement.
The Wifione case recovered from a delay during the workshop phase and was finally closed on 13 February with Wifione—formerly an administrator and well-regarded editor—receiving an indefinite ban from the English Wikipedia.
The central allegations to the case were that Wifione (talk · contribs), who was an administrator from 2010 until the case's final stages, had been manipulating Wikipedia to advance the interests of an Indian business school. The abuse included a reputation management campaign, sanitising the institution's article and the articles of people connected with it by removing unflattering material and using disingenuous policy arguments in order to retain poorly sourced but flattering material, for example calling the institution's founder a "business guru". Jehochman also presented evidence that Wifione had embarked on a search engine optimisation campaign on Wikipedia, in order to pad search engine results with irrelevant or flattering material with the intention of decreasing the prominence of unfavourable coverage in search engine results. Several editors alleged that this was part of a long-term campaign by the institution to manage its online reputation.
Of greater concern, Wifione also manipulated the articles of rival institutions and biographies of people associated with them in order to retain damaging content, including coverage of a rescinded arrest warrant against the founder of one rival institution which consumed two thirds of the founder's article. Wifione appears to have begun this campaign shortly after registering their account in 2009; they became an administrator in 2010 after receiving minimal opposition and were able to use their position and their knowledge of Wikipedia's policies to support their campaign by making specious and duplicitous arguments against any edits which did not suit Wifione's preferred narrative.
In addition, extensive evidence was presented during the case, backed up by analysis from Jayen466 in the workshop, that Wifione was likely a reincarnation of an editor who was blocked for extensive sock-puppetry in 2008, after abusing dozens of accounts to conduct a similar campaign over a period of several years which included threatening editors who persistently challenged the abuse. Arbitrators were sufficiently satisfied by the evidence of sock-puppetry that they passed (by a majority of ten to two) a finding of fact stating that Wifione was likely a sock-puppet, and thus that the account was created in violation of a block.
The proposed decision was posted on 9 February and it quickly became apparent that Wifione was to be stripped of their administrator status and banned. Nonetheless, implementation of the decision was delayed by a variety of factors: arbitrators struggled to agree on the exact scope of a topic ban that would run concurrently with the siteban (and would continue in the event that the siteban was lifted); Wifione resigned their administrator tools, leading arbitrators to embark on an exercise of dubious usefulness by crafting a new remedy to state that the soon-to-be-banned Wifione would be ineligible for automatic restoration of admin tools (the tools are normally returned as a matter of course when an admin voluntarily resigns unless they do so "under a cloud" as Wifione did); and the talk page became bogged down in a lengthy discussion of whether paid editing (of which Wifione was not accused) was against Wikipedia policy.
The case was eventually closed on 13 February, shortly after publication of last week's Signpost, with the result that Wifione may regain administrator tools only after a new RfA, is subject to a broad topic ban, and is banned from the English Wikipedia for a period of not less than one year.
Several editors remarked that it was a matter of deep concern that Wifione was able to fool the community for so long, and questioned the effectiveness of processes like requests for adminship. There has been much discussion over the years of increasingly unattainable standards for prospective administrators, including questions about whether these standards are responsible for the dearth of new administrators (the number of editors to pass an RfA has been in decline for several years). This case, though, raised questions (commented on on the proposed decision talk page) about whether RfA was focused too heavily on arbitrary statistics and was failing to thoroughly vet candidates for what is a position of great trust—especially in the light of another concern raised during the case, which is the difficulty of removing an administrator, even one whose editing has been fundamentally at odds with Wikipedia's mission. Although this case was resolved relatively quickly by modern standards, it still took six weeks from start to finish, while serious questions had been lingering over Wifione's editing since at least the end of 2013, and concerns had been raised in various fora on several occasions from early in Wifione's editing career. A proposed finding of fact to that extent in the workshop attracted comments from multiple arbitrators and other editors—several of whom observed the failure of these discussions to get to the bottom of the issues and their tendency to produce more heat than light.
At the time of writing, the workshop phase of this case was set to conclude shortly. Five editors have made proposals for consideration, including—somewhat unusually—the drafting arbitrator, Dougweller, who proposes remedies against four editors and the authorisation of standard discretionary sanctions for the topic area. The proposed decision is due on 25 February, and the arbitration report in a fortnight's time will cover the case in more detail.
The evidence phase in this expedited case to review the restriction on Pigsonthewing (themselves the result of 2013's Infoboxes case) closed this week with 19 editors presenting evidence (full disclosure: including the author). As of last update from drafting arbitrator Courcelles, a proposed decision was almost ready for posting publicly and was expected to be posted shortly after press time, although—in the absence of a workshop for this lightweight review—several editors have been presenting analysis of each other's evidence on the proposed decision talk page. This will also be covered in more detail in a fortnight's time, after the proposed decision has been published.
- An amendment request under the Interactions at GGTF case filed by Lightbreather, requesting an interaction ban between herself and Hell in a Bucket, was declined by motion after a fortnight's discussion involving 30 statements and much squabbling left the committee deadlocked.
- A motion to ban Two kinds of pork for a topic-ban violation failed, some arbitrators feeling that the one-month block imposed by an administrator was sufficient and some feeling that the motion was out of process.
- A clarification request concerning a block, arguably improperly imposed under the Eastern Europe discretionary sanctions, has closed. The committee passed a motion leaving the block in place but removing arbitration enforcement provisions.
- An amendment request against Arzel, referred to the committee from AE, resulted in Arzel being topic-banned from the American politics subject area.
- GamerGate continues to plague the committee, with two requests at ARCA this week alone. A request for community sanctions (since vacated) against an editor not named in the original case to be noted was opened, but arbitrators are almost unanimous in declining it, and in recommending that the matter be taken to Arbitration Enforcement if necessary. The second, referring to the interpretation of the biographies of living persons policy and its application on talk pages, but leading to much discussion about exemptions to GamerGate topic bans, was declined earlier this week.
This column in next week's Signpost
will be dedicated to the first in what the author hopes will be a series of interviews with current and former arbitrators, starting with veteran arbitrator Newyorkbrad
who recently retired from the committee after seven years' service.Reader comments
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