A sign of the times: the Signpost revamps its internal structure to make contributing easier
We received a large amount of feedback in our survey indicating that our readers found the idea of contributing to the Signpost difficult due to our opaque internal structure. If you happen to have any of the Signpost subpages watchlisted, you may have noticed Resident Mario's great amount of work in revamping our internal structure and, particularly, how we handle outside submissions. Concurrently, the Signpost editorial board is pleased to welcome Resident Mario aboard as an associate editor, focusing on design, templates, and administration, and our regular writer for "News and Notes." The board wishes to express its gratitude to Resident Mario both for the past, present, and future of his sterling contributions, and we hope you will join us in welcoming him.
As part of these changes, our new content guidelines outline for our readers the specific formats and particularities of our various regular and special sections, and they also formalize the three different ways in which you, too, can get involved:
- As a regular writer. Our content page describes in detail what each of our regular features aims to do—find a section you'd like to write for and send us a line so we can help set it up! At present, the Technology and the WikiProject report are in need of regular contributors. Even if you only wish to commit to a biweekly report or a small item in a regular section, we are interested in hearing from you; if helping in one of these ways appeals to you, please drop us a line. Our contact information is at the bottom of this article.
- As a copy-editor. If you are an experienced writer interested in making sure that the material we publish every week is as high-quality as possible, this is the position for you. In the newsroom, when a section writer or editor-in-chief marks something as "needs copyedit", as happens often on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays close to publication, dive in! If you see something, be bold.
- As a contributing writer. Many past articles have been the result not of spontaneous contributions by our readers, but of our active solicitations to well-placed users who we hoped would give us some of their time to write about the Wikimedia movement. This week we reorganized and reformatted the Signpost's publication stream to make it easier for you, our readers, to reverse this process and solicit our help in publishing your thoughts.
As the third point in our statement of purpose outlines, the Signpost actively solicits and encourages the publication of works written by members of the community at large. We've constructed new and improved submission processes for all four of our irregular publications—special reports and op-eds, and our much rarer book reviews and dispatches—which seek to make it as easy as possible for you, our readers, to propose, debate, write, comment on, and ultimately publish your own writings, reflections, and research in the Wikimedia movement. All content in the Signpost is subject to approval by the editors-in-chief, but we are very interested in hearing your pitches and are open to all types of content. If you are willing to write about a topic that would interest the Wikimedia community at large, chances are that we are willing to publish it.
Have an opinion on something you'd like to argue, share, and put up for debate? Our opinion desk can help you find a community audience. Got an inside scoop on Foundation activities or project going-ons that you'd like to share? We've got the place for you—our special reports are likely the most widely read long-form journalism in the community. Perhaps you want to write about the featured content processes on the various projects, or perhaps review a recently published book related to the project? We'd like to reopen the featured content dispatch workshop and review desk for you.
We cannot emphasize enough that these changes were spearheaded by reader feedback—several comments in our recent survey made us realize that some readers were being actively discouraged from contributing to the Signpost by our admittedly confusing project structure. To those people, we thank you. We encourage further feedback from our readers, either via our talk page, our email, or via our IRC channel (#wikisignpost connect). Simplifying the Signpost's submission process is important to us, and we look forward to seeing more community-sourced features in the future.
- — Go Phightins! and Gamaliel, Signpost editors-in-chief
- The ed17, editor emeritus
- Pine, newsroom/publication manager
- Resident Mario, associate editor
Conspiracy theories distract from real questions about grantmaking report
Last week, my colleagues on the Signpost produced a news report covering a minor controversy about a report commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation. Written by the staff of The Lafayette Practice, a French research firm, it proclaimed the WMF as a leader in the practice of participatory grantmaking. In response to an apparently self-promotional WMF blog post heralding the report, an Examiner.com article by Gregory Kohs, longtime Wikipedia critic and founder of MyWikiBiz, alleged that the report, the blog post, and the Wikipedia article on participatory grantmaking—created by WMF staffer Asaf Bartov and since deleted—were a WMF promotional effort that constituted a violation of the conflict of interest guideline.
||My goal was not to promote WMF's practice, or even the general practice, but to document it, in a fair and NPOV way. I still think I achieved that. Indeed, I would welcome concrete criticism of the article text I composed.
|— Asaf Bartov on the now-deleted Wikipedia article on participatory grantmaking
After a week of reading about article timestamps and speculation about whether Bartov had time to write the text on his lunch break or during work hours, I realized that everyone was making the mistake of taking this matter far too seriously, at least in the aspects they put under the microscope. This is a conspiracy theory, where minor facts are connected to point to a preordained conclusion, where coincidence is evidence of collusion, and where human motives are not fully understood and are only interpreted in the most nefarious way possible. And, as with all conspiracy theories, the time and effort of reasonable people are wasted having to investigate or disprove speculative and fanciful notions. It is not surprising that such a theory emerged from Wikipediocracy, where users spend years nursing and reinforcing each other's contradictory grudges against Wikipedia.
Is it really so unbelievable that Asaf Bartov, a Wikipedia editor since 2003, created a Wikipedia article on this topic of his own volition after hearing about the topic at a conference? That's what Wikipedians do: they create articles on new topics they hear about that aren't yet in the encyclopedia. If this was a conspiracy born out of some half-baked WMF promotional scheme, Bartov and his alleged conspirators could have easily covered their tracks using dummy Wikipedia accounts.
Kohs certainly knows about generating new Wikipedia accounts, as he uses them frequently to comment on Jimmy Wales' talk page and elsewhere – not to mention his use of them to vandalize the encyclopedia. Last year, Kohs bragged on Wikipediocracy about vandalizing Wikipedia articles during a talk at an unspecified college, as if, over a decade after the founding of the encyclopedia, we still needed to remind audiences that people can edit Wikipedia maliciously. After a quick Google search of his speaking engagements, within minutes I was able to find the offending edit; Kohs had made up a fake radio station for Rollins College. This was particularly irritating for me, as Rollins already has a radio station, WPRK, and I have fond memories of listening to it back when I was dating a woman who lived near Rollins. Later in that Wikipediocracy thread, he bragged again about more instances of this kind of vandalism, at other talks at Rollins and elsewhere. This is certainly more damaging to the encyclopedia than anything Bartov is alleged to have done.
Looking at the real issue
The report produced by the Lafayette Group for the Wikimedia Foundation.
Too much time has been wasted on empty speculation about the article on participatory grantmaking, or indeed the concept itself. I doubt any of those people speculating about the legitimacy of the phrase, including myself, are in any way qualified to make a judgment on the matter. The real issue is the report itself. How much was paid for the slim 37-page report? What value does this report provide? Couldn't this report have been assembled by paid WMF staffers or even interns?
There does not seem to be much heft to this report beyond being a colorful brochure for the Foundation. The report claims to be "new research" (p. 2) and "the first full survey of grantmaking at the Foundation" (p. 27), with lots of text and graphs about their fundraising, mostly without a clear rationale for inclusion. There are grand statements such as that participatory grantmaking is "a powerful movement building strategy", that the WMF is "innovative and groundbreaking" in its application of participatory grantmaking, and that this is on by far "the largest scale we have seen" among similar organizations (p. 2). Nowhere in the report is the term clearly defined; the closest it comes is by making frequent references to a previous Lafayette report which was not about the WMF. This is a crucial omission given the comparative claims made in relation to other agencies, some of which do offer direct assistance to grant applicants on a large scale.
According to the report, the volunteer grantmaking committees are designed to be gender-diverse (p. 3), yet at the time of the report's preparation, the Individual Engagement Grants Committee and Grant Advisory Committee had only two and one female members, respectively, out of a total of over 40 members. The report was silent on how active those committees are in their review processes and the extent to which the grant recipients demonstrate how their grants affect WMF projects and how much value they provide in proportion to the size of each grant. No reference was made to the work of the WMF's evaluation team, which last year made a preliminary finding that there is generally an inverse relationship between the size of grants and their impact. It also offered no proper analysis of how effective the IdeaLab forum is in helping applicants to develop their proposals.
There is no doubt that there are many examples of consultants like the ones commissioned to complete this report who provide important services and insights, but there are also many who are grifters in fancy suits who produce little to nothing of value. In many organizations, needed materials are purchased from the lowest bidder, staff salaries are cut, and positions go unfilled while consultants enrich themselves. Instead of answering questions about timestamps and conspiracy theories, the Foundation should tell the community what value this particular report provides for the money spent upon it. We should be less concerned about who wrote a borderline Wikipedia article which a little over a thousand people have read and be more concerned about how the WMF is using its funds, so the community can ensure that the encyclopedia has not been improperly monetized by grifters. Perhaps it is not surprising that Kohs has chosen not to complain about this potential monetization of Wikipedia, as Kohs has engaged in eight years of criticism of Wikipedia because he was unable to monetize the encyclopedia in the fashion of his choosing.
- Gamaliel has been an administrator on the English Wikipedia since 2004 and is currently an editor-in-chief of the Signpost. The views expressed in this editorial are his alone and do not reflect any official opinions of this publication. Responses and critical commentary are invited in the comments section.
Wikimedia Foundation and OTRS team both publish reports, indicate operating changes
, senior operations analyst at the Wikimedia Foundation (and, as HaeB
, former editor-in-chief of the Signpost
, 2010–11), is responsible for the publication of the report in its new format.
The Wikimedia Foundation released its Quarterly Report last week covering the three months from October to December of 2014. The Foundation has been releasing and making publicly available internal operational reports—originally presented directly to the Board of Trustees—since January 2008. What makes the publication of this particular report notable from an organizational perspective is that it is the first report published since the Foundation's decision to move to a quarterly instead of monthly structure late last fall. A key reason for the decision was to better align reporting with the Foundation's generally quarterly planning and goal-setting processes. Due to the larger time spans, the new quarterly reports attempt to highlight key priorities more so than to present detailed quarterly activities documentation. Highlights from Foundation goings-on continue to be posted as blog-aggregated Wikimedia Highlights; more detailed information is presented in team-separated WMF quarterly reviews.
Making good on the new format, the Foundation has presented a much more visually oriented and succinct report than it has in the past this reporting round. Readers interested in the Foundation's initiatives may find it a good resource to review. Some highlights:
- Mobile readership is ascendant: while global pageviews are flat (and concurrently, desktop traffic is in decline), mobile pageviews are on the rise, and the Foundation succeeded in raising the mobile fundraising share in the end-of-year campaign from 1.7% in 2013 to 16.1% in 2014. The Foundation-funded mobile web-viewing and editing applications have seen significant improvements as well.
- The deployment of the HHVM interpreter tool late last year has reduced average edit save-time by almost half.
- After impact analysis, Foundation grant disbursement has increased its focus on smaller projects, finding more and smaller projects to have more impact than fewer, larger ones. However, the total amount disbursed in 2014 actually decreased by 14% year on year, in part because the Foundation sees that project organizations "want non-monetary support ... [and are] focusing on institutional partnerships".
- The Foundation reached its annual (as always, very conservative) US$58 million funding goal six months ahead of schedule in 2014. Funds raised from non-English-speaking countries increased by 42%, but still compose a small fraction of overall funding.
In related news, last week the Foundation kicked off strategic planning consultation with the Wikimedia community. This will be the second of the Foundation's five-year plans: the first such plan, begun in 2009 and published in 2011 (Signpost coverage here, here, and elsewhere), proved at best flat-footed. It contained wildly optimistic editor growth projections—a particularly notable projection failure, as editor numbers have actually decreased since the report's publication. The Foundation released a supplement, "Narrowing Focus", in 2012, and is now proceeding with a 2015 iteration of the report in changed organizational format:
||Rather than trying to draft a five-year document for the entire movement, we are kicking-off what will become a discipline of ongoing strategic inquiry, assessment, and alignment. This more agile, adaptable process will directly inform and update our priorities and goals and help us maintain a strategic direction that is consistent with the Wikimedia vision, supports the Wikimedia projects, and is sensitive to the changing global environment.
The "Strategic Visioning" Community Consultation is the first step in our new strategic process. It is an opportunity for us to explore together what the future holds for the Wikimedia Movement and projects. We will learn from your ideas and use them to inform and refine our strategic thinking. From that, we will define the WMF Strategic Direction, which we will share with you in 2015. This Strategic Direction will guide us in our community support, engineering, grant-making, and fundraising and will be updated annually.
To participate in the consultation, follow the instructions; at the time of writing, the consultation had already drawn more than 200 responses.
Wikimedia OTRS team publishes annual report
Members of the French contingent of the Wikimedia OTRS
team at a 2014 organizational gathering.
The Wikimedia OTRS team has released its annual report for the year 2014. The OTRS team handles the Wikimedia movement's instance of the Open-source Ticket Request System, and is generally responsible for all queries, complaints, and comments from the public directed at the movement via email since September 2004. The report, both visually striking and very informative, presents a detailed report on the activities and actions of the OTRS team over the past year. Some highlights:
- The OTRS team fielded 72,714 tickets in 2014, of which more than half were information requests, and another fifth were requests from copyright holders. The other third of the tickets were split among queries about chapter, photos, and various miscellaneous queues.
- The number of requests fielded has declined somewhat from a peak of 84,571 tickets in 2010.
- The OTRS team consists of 660 open accounts on OTRS and 850 inactive (closed) ones, as of the end of 2014.
- In many cases the workload for individual ticket queues was predominantly distributed among one or two editors, and even among busy queues—such as en-info, which fielded almost four times as many requests as the next busiest info queue, de-info—a handful of editors tend to handle over half of requests, per the long tail.
- The English-language team responded to 77% of its tickets within 24 hours; for other sizable teams the percentage ranged from 33% (info-es) to 80% (info-pol).
- Tickets remain overwhelmingly directed at the Wikipedia projects. The cumulative 2014 total for sister projects came to just 782 tickets.
- There were 12,857 photo-permission verification tickets, from editors checking about the copyright status of particular images, and 616 photo-submission tickets, from photographers releasing their work for use on Wikimedia projects.
To better reflect the status of the project's backlogs, the OTRS team will be moving to a monthly instead of quarterly report structure this year. The OTRS team is currently exploring applying for grants from the Foundation to hire external developers to improve the movement's OTRS software, and efforts are underway to expand project documentation. Editors are invited to post their responses to the report on the report talk page.
Train the trainer program held in India
This week saw the 2015 iteration of the Centre for Internet and Society's Access to Knowledge program's train the trainer community workshop (in shorthand, the CIS-ATK TTT). The event, first held in 2013, is a four-day intensive training workshop and program for a select group of Indic-language editors. As the title of the workshop implies, the event attempts to expose its attendees to and give them experience with the tools and skills they need to communicate with and encourage participation from prospective Wikimedian editors in their respective languages. After the event, participants are expected to begin implementing the "plans of action" they develop at the workshop, with support from the CIS-A2K team. Travel expenses to and from the event are covered by organizational stipends. There were 30 attendees overall this year, up from 17 in 2013.
The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) is a Bangalore-based Indian NGO concerned with technological advocacy and multidisciplinary research in Internet and society. It is integrally involved in the Wikimedia India movement via the Access to Knowledge (A2K) program, a long-standing project ongoing since 2011 organized and funded in collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation (coincidentally, the quarterly report this week). This event, one of the most visible results of these efforts, included seminars on public presentation, copyright law, Internet research techniques, digitization techniques, media strategies, and community-building, as well as multiple panel and group discussions, a GLAM activity session at Janapada Loka, and capstone individual outreach planning presentations.
- This article was retitled after publication to reflect that the OTRS report was annual, not quarterly.
Indiegogo campaign for prolific Wikipedian photographer underway
An Indiegogo campaign to fund a macro lens and other equipment purchases for Wikipedian Jeevan Jose launched last week. Jee's wildlife photographs illustrate over 500 Wikipedia articles, including nearly 300 on English Wikipedia alone. The campaign, coordinated on Commons, launched on 22 February; the modest initial target—funding the purchase of a new macro lens—has already been exceeded. Fund-raising for additional small-wildlife photography equipment—such as a macro flash, camera bag, a travel tripod, and improved digital darkroom (computer & software)—continues. The campaign runs until 24 March.
- Death of a Wikimedian: The Malayalam Wikipedia lost one of its most prolific contributors on 4 March. G. Balachandran, also known as Babug, joined the site in 2008. By the time he made his final edit, he had single-handedly created almost 1% of the site's total articles, despite being partially paralyzed from a debilitating stroke and suffering from several subsequent health problems. He was 76 years old. ViswaPrabha, who notified the Wikimedia community through the Wikimedia-l mailing list, wrote:
||He always attributed his renewed energy and life's aspirations to the Wikimedia mission, for having returned to a meaningful life after a 20-year long and frustrating solitude while constrained to an immobile chair. Ever since 2008, he stood up and started walking and moving around. His was an extreme example for us in Malayalam [Wikipedia] to showcase how Wikipedia can change lives. ... For us in [the] Malayalam Wikipedia, today is a black day, for having lost a great beacon on our voyage to ultimate openness and freedom in knowledge and wisdom. Yet we feel [that] BabuG has made his life stamped immortal for ever and has shown us the pathway we should follow in continuing our humble contributions to the ultimate cause of mankind.
- Wikidata for research forges ahead: Wikidata volunteers this week officially submitted their EU grant proposal for review. The proposal, developed for the Horizon 2020 European research initiative, aims to construct a virtual research environment connecting open-source databases across disciplines and languages worldwide through the Wikidata framework. With €1.5m of funding on the line, this is by far the largest competitive external grant that a Wikimedia project has ever applied for, involving coordination between the community, the Museum für Naturkunde, and more than ten other associated institutions throughout Europe. This week also saw additional follow-up meetings in Berlin, where a general proposal information session was held, and Bern, which hosted a hackathon focusing on the proposal's impact for taxidermy. See previous Signpost coverage for more details on the effort and its potential impact both on and off-wiki.
- Metrics and activities: The Wikimedia Foundation will hold their monthly metrics and activities meeting on March 5th this week. The theme for this month's iteration is "VisualEditor & Mobile". Editors are invited to participate via YouTube stream or via IRC. Remote video participation via Google Hangouts, limited to eight participants, is also available.
- Foundation board composition: The Wikimedia Foundation Board has been debating the propriety and nature of policies which may be put in place to increase the diversity of viewpoints on the Board, and is asking movement editors to post their thoughts on the Board's topical talk page.
- Zero on video: The Wikimedia Foundation released a short video this week presenting an overview of the Wikipedia Zero initiative. The Zero initiative is a no-charge access mobile data access plan for movement Wikipedias that offers a beneficial reciprocal relationship between the Wikimedia Foundation and service carriers in a number of countries worldwide; see previous Signpost coverage (or, indeed, the video, at right) for more details.
- Around the world
- English Wikipedia
- Stewards elections: The 2015 Stewards elections officially closed this week. A live final tally is available here.
- Art and Feminism challenge: The Art and Feminism Challenge, for content work related to female artists, is set to run on March 7–8.
Meet a paid editor
Before being indefinitely blocked, FergusM1970 made more than 4600 edits on the English Wikipedia, spread over eight years. In the last two years, he was paid to edit several articles for clients that included the Venezuelan energy company Derwick Associates; Fergus maintains that this was his only step into paid advocacy, rather than paid editing, a distinction that the Signpost has drawn attention to previously. Fergus was banned in December 2014 amid allegations of advocating for pay on behalf of e-cigarettes. We spoke with him about his experiences.
The ed17: How long did you edit for pay on Wikimedia sites?
- FergusM1970: I edited for pay for around two years—pretty much since I started freelancing. It's a very common category of freelance job now.
Ed: Is FergusM1970 your first account? If not, how have you evaded scrutiny by the English Wikipedia's checkuser tool?
- Fergus: Yes, it was my main Wikipedia account. To be honest it never occurred to me to use a different account for paid edits; I wasn't aware that paid editing was an issue, as Wikipedia's rules are so tortuous that no normal editor actually bothers to learn most of them. That's why it's so easy for POV-pushers to use them as a club to beat editors with.
Ed: Do you only operate on the English Wikipedia, and how many articles have you been compensated for editing?
- Fergus: I only operated on the English Wikipedia. I can't actually remember how many articles I was paid to edit; it was a pretty small percentage of my freelance writing work. Between a dozen and 20.
Ed: To broach a potentially taboo topic area, how much do you charge clients for creating or maintaining articles?
- Fergus: It would depend on what the client was looking for. To edit an existing article, anywhere between $50 and $100. To create a new one, $75–$150 depending on length. I'd charge extra to watchlist it, generally $75–$100 for three months. In that time I'd patrol edits and attempt to deal with any attempt to remove the article.
Ed: Have you consistently disclosed when you were editing for pay?
- Fergus: No, I didn't disclose that because up to the point where I started getting (frankly pretty unpleasant) emails from (Redacted) I wasn't aware I was supposed to.
Ed: If a client's preferred topic is not notable under Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, how do you proceed?
- Fergus: Early on I had a couple of articles deleted because they didn't meet WP:N. Later I started being a lot more discriminating and would tell clients up front that the article wouldn't stick. Often they asked if putting out a press release would help; I told them no, it wouldn't.
Ed: Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, has endorsed a so-called "bright line", which "is simply that if you are a paid advocate, you should disclose your conflict of interest and never edit article space directly. You are free to enter into a dialogue with the community on talk pages, and to suggest edits or even complete new articles or versions of articles by posting them in your user space." Is this a viable option for paid advocates?
- Fergus: I don't think paid advocacy is acceptable at all. I only did it once, because I was financially quite squeezed at the time, and felt distinctly uncomfortable about it.
Ed: In your opinion, how should the Wikimedia sites deal with paid editing and advocacy? Where should the proverbial line in the sand be drawn?
- Fergus: I don't see any problem whatsoever with paid editing. As long as the article meets the notability and neutral point of view policies, what does it matter? Advocacy is another thing entirely. Paid advocacy should not be permitted, as it's POV-pushing by its very nature. I also have serious concerns about advocacy by people who may not be paid directly but have a conflict of interest, such as a lot of what happens around the WP:MED cabal and its efforts to spread its influence into non-medical articles.
Attack of the movies
The Report this week is dominated by the Academy Awards, taking the top 4 spots and 13 of the Top 25 (if you count another big jump in views for Stephen Hawking at #4). In the aggregate this is not too much different than the past two years, where the top American movie award show took 12 slots in 2014 and 14 in 2013. The 87th Academy Awards article led at #1 with an impressive 6.2 million views, though a rather low mobile view count of 12.17% suggests those numbers might be somewhat inflated; Best Picture Birdman had 2.2 million views with 50% mobile views.
Also of note this week was the death of actor Leonard Nimoy (#5). Nimoy's article was also one of the most edited recently, and is currently topping the automated Top 20 most edited articles report as of March 1, showing that 193 editors have hit "edit" 524 times. As a recent creation, you probably didn't know this report existed—you should take a look.
For the full top 25 list, see WP:TOP25. See this section for an explanation of any exclusions.
For the week of February 22 to 28, 2015, the ten most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the report of the most viewed pages, were:
||87th Academy Awards
||Just as this year's awards held on February 22 were a bit predictable (Really? Birdman won? I'd never have guessed!), it was just as predictable that this entry would top the chart this week.
||Received nine Oscar nominations, and won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director for Alejandro González Iñárritu, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Birdman has only appeared in the Top 25 twice previously, for two weeks in January 2015 when it peaked at #10.
||The former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, black hole theorist and latter-day science icon makes his 17th straight appearance in the Top 25 this week. And at the Oscars, Eddie Redmayne (#8) won Best Actor for portraying him in The Theory of Everything (#20).
||The death of this beloved actor on February 27, best known for playing the role of Mr. Spock in the Star Trek franchise, led to widespread tributes. Spock's Vulcan salute bade us to "live long and prosper," as Nimoy did himself.
||America loves a good, old fashioned culture war, and while Clint Eastwood's American Sniper may not have wowed critics nor drawn great overseas crowds, it has played spectacularly well in America's conservative heartland. After dropping to #8 and 850,000 views last week, news that Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty of the deaths of Kyle and Chad Littlefield on February 25, after three hours of jury deliberations, raised the profile of this article once again.
||Whiplash (2014 film)
||A new entry to this chart, Whiplash won the Oscars for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Supporting Actor for J. K. Simmons (pictured). It had also been nominated for Best Picture. Whiplash was written and directed by Damien Chazelle based on his experiences in the Princeton High School Studio Band, and stars Miles Teller as a student jazz drummer who seeks the respect of an abusive teacher played by Simmons. Though critically acclaimed, you may not have been aware of the film, which had only grossed about $12 million worldwide (on a $3.3 million budget) prior to its Academy Award wins.
||See #4, Redmayne won Best Actor at the Oscars for portraying Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (#20).
||Fifty Shades of Grey
||The release of the film adaptation (#11) of this onetime Twilight fanfic continues to draw fans, though it is very unlikely to be drawing Oscars this time next year.
||The daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson plays the lead role in Fifty Shades of Grey (film) (see #11). Griffith and her daughter were at the Oscars (of course), where some inane kerfuffle on the red carpet occurred over the fact that Griffith hadn't chosen to watch her daughter's film. We know our parents and children have sex (God willing), but we don't need to watch it.
- Just missing the Top 25 this week: 26. Alejandro González Iñárritu (531,666 views); 27. Melanie Griffith (530,798 views); 28. Facebook (517,306 views); 29. J. K. Simmons (516,168 views); 30. The Grand Budapest Hotel (513,267 views, also the last article to exceed 500,000 views).
- From the Raw WP:5000: Last article to exceed 250,000 views was Mullet (haircut) (#148) (induced by reddit); Last to exceed 100,000 views was Martin Sheen (#595), last to 75,000 was Nigeria (#964), 50,000 was Marie Curie (#2004), 40,000 was Cognitive dissonance (#2894), and 30,000 was Alcohol (#4702).
Kanye West rebranded; Wikipedia in court; editors for hire
- So why don't you kill me?: Numerous news outlets are reporting that the domain loser.com now redirects to the Wikipedia article for rapper Kanye West. Page views on West's Wikipedia article skyrocketed to almost 250,000 views on March 2, up from less than 19 thousand the previous day. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, West leaped on stage to interrupt Album of the Year winner Beck, but a moment later left the stage without saying anything. Beck first achieved fame with the 1993 single "Loser"; the song's chorus is referenced in our headline. CBC News reports (March 2) that a Twitter user claims responsibility and said that she has owned the domain for 20 years. G
- I'll be there for Kim Jong-un: Wired published a long article (March 1) about activists who smuggle cultural products, including Western films and television shows like Friends, into North Korea on USB flash drives in an effort to destabilize the totalitarian military regime. It reports that one of the activist groups, the North Korea Strategy Center, "is working with the Wikimedia Foundation to put a North Korean-dialect version of Wikipedia on every flash drive it smuggles over." G
- Hong Kong government slammed for citing Wikipedia: The South China Morning Post reports (March 1) that Hong Kong's government "has been accused of using standards of sourcing that would shame an undergraduate student after citing information from Wikipedia in Legislative Council papers." A.K.
- Editors-for-hire on Wikipedia: The print edition of the Financial Times (February 27) featured an article on paid editing, with comments by the WMF's Katherine Maher, Michael Wood of Legalmorning, Dariusz Jemielniak and others. (The online version of the article is only available to FT subscribers.) A.K.
- Arrested for Wikipedia edit: The Toronto Sun reports (February 26) that a member of the Canadian Armed Forces has been arrested for an inappropriate edit to the article Suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons and other online comments related to the case, according to Parsons' father. The case is also covered by Vice (February 26) and CBC News (February 27), which reports that "No charges have been laid, the man was released on several conditions and the investigation continues". A.K.
- Building Wikipedia: ArchDaily reports (February 25) on the #wikiD event created by ArchiteXX, an organization of female architects , to coincide with International Women's Day on March 8. Inspired by the 2013 essay "Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia" by Professor Despina Stratigakos, it seeks to "write into wikipedia women designers, architects and all those involved in the creation of our built environment." G
- Online threats: The Irish Times reports (February 25) that an Irish former medical student was given a three-year suspended sentence for sending threatening letters to instructors at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland after he was refused readmission. The letters threatened to reveal confidential medical information about 1,300 patients by posting it on Wikipedia. G
- Wikipedia as sculpture: In an interview (February 25) with the Charleston City Paper, comedian Kyle Kinane was asked about the accuracy of some information about his family that appeared in his Wikipedia article. He said "Hey, man, what do you want to do, pull the curtain back on Wikipedia? I will say that Wikipedia, I never put that page up there, and I don't know how you access Wikipedia pages, but as long as it's nothing offensive or cruel to me or my family, I look at it like a living art project. I look at it like a literary sculpture that the public can access and augment at any time. So yeah, maybe my dad did sell beer at those events...When people are like, 'So, your grandfather was Lon Chaney Jr.'s stunt man?' I just go, 'Sure was, guy. Sure was.'" G
- How Wikipedia reminds me: In an interview (February 25) with Music Times, Nickelback guitarist Ryan Peake expressed surprise that he had no Wikipedia article. Peake said " The less I'm on the internet, the better! I truly do appreciate any kind of privacy I can get living in the spotlight. It doesn't bother me. It's kind of nice that nobody's paying attention. I don't feel slighted whatsoever." A Wikipedia article on Peake was created in December 2002 but it was edited to redirect to his band in April 2011. Attempts to re-create the article in December 2013 and May 2014 were reverted. On the day of the interview's publication, another editor turned the redirect into an article. G
Black History Month edit-a-thons tackle Wikipedia’s multicultural gaps
- Editor's note: the Blog will be a recurring Signpost section that will highlight a recent post from the Wikimedia blog, run by the Wikimedia Foundation. This week's installment is written by Dorothy Howard, the Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Metropolitan New York Library Council.
The following content has been republished from the Wikimedia Blog
. The views expressed in this piece are those of the author alone; responses and critical commentary are invited in the comments section
. For more information on this partnership see our content guidelines
For Black History Month, many new Wikipedia articles about black culture were created in edit-a-thons across the United States, such as this at the "BlackLivesMatter" event at the Schomburg Center in New York City. Photo by Terrence Jennings, free license under CC BY-SA 4.0
Black History Month
Black History Month is celebrated annually in the United States in February, to commemorate the history of the African diaspora. For this occasion, Wikipedians worked together to honor black history and to address Wikipedia's multicultural gaps in the encyclopedia, hosting Wikipedia edit-a-thons throughout the United States, from February 1 to 28, 2015.
Black WikiHistory Month Edit-a-thons include:
Maira Liriano, one of the key institutional organizers of the #BlackLives Matter Edit-a-thon in New York, summarized the goals of this project to to reporters at Innovation Trail: "There is a bias and a lack of people of color involved in creating Wikipedia and many subjects are also missing from Wikipedia. So events like today are in part to make people aware of that and then to empower them and give them the information they need to correct that bias."
To kick off this project, the New York #BlackLivesMatter Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was held on Saturday February 7th at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York. This event took place in the Aaron Douglas Reading Room of the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division of the library. Satellite #BlackLivesMatter Edit-a-thons were held on February 7th at the SUNY Purchase College Library and the Nashville Public Library, and the AfroCROWD initiative kickoff event was held on February 7th and 8th at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch. Wikimedia D.C. also co-organized three events including: the First STEM Heroes Edit-a-thon at the White House and the NPR Black History Month Edit-a-thon on February 24th, as well as the Black History Month Edit-a-thon at Howard University on February 19th.
Libraries proved to be ideal places for these edit-a-thons. At the Aaron Douglas Reading Room, librarians located reference texts and provided suggestions for further research. A list of Wikipedia articles to edit and create was prepared for the Schomburg Center Edit-a-thon and used by many of the satellite events.
These events received wide press coverage from diverse news sources, including:
Schomburg Center, New York City
Group editing Wikipedia at the Schomburg Center in New York City. Photo by Terrence Jennings, free license under CC BY-SA 4.0
The #BlackLivesMatter Edit-a-thon at the Schomburg Center was organized in collaboration with NYPL, the Metropolitan New York Library Council, Wikimedia NYC, Wireless Harlem, and the West Harlem Art Fund for the Black WikiHistory Month outreach campaign.
Over 50 experienced and beginning Wikipedians attended throughout the day, and almost every seat was filled.
The New York Edit-a-thon was an overwhelming success, which led to the creation of 19 new Wikipedia articles, including:
- Leonard Harper, producer/stager/choreographer in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance.
- Judy Dearing, American costume designer, dancer, and choreographer.
- Mildred Blount, American milliner, costume designer, and clothier.
- National Black Theatre, a non-profit cultural and educational corporation, and community-based theatre company.
- Ruth Jean Baskerville Bowen, first black female booking agent and the president of Queen Booking Corporation
- Harlem Book Fair, the United State’s largest African-American book fair.
- Maritcha Remond Lyons, educator, civic leader, feminist, and writer from Brooklyn, NY; first African American to graduate from Providence High School in Rhode Island in 1869.
AfroCROWD Kickoff at the Brooklyn Public Library 2/8. Photo by Aliceba
, free license under CC BY-SA 4.0
On February 7th and 8th in Brooklyn, kickoff events took place for a new initiative, the Afro Free Culture Crowdsourcing Wikimedia (AfroCROWD), which seeks to increase the number of people of African descent who actively partake in the Wikimedia and free knowledge, culture and software movements. The workshops were open to all Afrodescendants, including but not limited to individuals who self-identify as African, African-American, Afro-Latino, Biracial, Black, Black-American, Caribbean, Garifuna, Haitian or West Indian.
Events were held at the Brooklyn Public Library. Wikipedia trainings and overviews were given in some of the many languages spoken by our target population: French, Garifuna, Haitian Kreyòl, Igbo, Yoruba, Spanish and Twi. Affiliate project pages such as WikiProject Haiti were also introduced -- and organizers announced the new Garifuna language Wikipedia incubator, the fruit of a collaboration between AfroCROWD and Wikimedia NYC.
Afrocrowd's next 3 events will be HaitiCROWD on 3/14, AfricaCROWD on 4/4 and AfrolatinoCROWD on 4/12. HaitiCROWD will focus on resources in the Haitian Kreyòl, French and English Wikipedias, as well as growing the Haitian Wikipedia, which is now available free of charge to many Haitians in Haiti through the Digicel/Wikimedia Foundation Wikipedia Zero initiative. The workshop series will culminate in an edit-a-thon on June 20th at the Brooklyn Public Library.
Here is a visual recap of the AfroCROWD kickoff event.
Events in Washington D.C.
Three Black History Month events were held in Washington D.C.; one at Howard University on February 19th, as well as the STEM Heroes Edit-a-thon at the White House (learn more) and another one at the National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters on Tuesday, February 24th.
The Howard University event led to the following additions to Wikipedia:
Nashville Public Library
Participants editing at the Nashville Public Library Our Story Matter Editathon. Photo by Amwilliams15
, free license under CC BY-SA 4.0
The Nashville Public Library
held "Our Story Matters Wikipedia Edit-a-thon"
on Saturday February 7th. This was the first Editathon at Nashville Public Library and 11 enthusiastic editors attended, including 8 new users. Participants worked on these articles; African Americans in Tennessee
and Callie House
. Several articles were in the draft stage when the program ended, but will hopefully be completed soon.
A #BlackLivesMatter Edit-a-thon was also held at SUNY Purchase, Westchester County, NY on Saturday February 7th.
We wish to thank all participants who made these edit-a-thons possible! It's really exciting to see so many new editors join forces to help fill the multicultural gaps in Wikipedia -- and honor black history together.Reader comments
Bugs, Repairs, and Internal Operational News
- Editor's note: the Signpost has arranged to mirror Tech news from Meta-Wiki to supplement the long-form tech coverage in our infrequent Technology report..
Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available.
Recent software changes
- A Lua function to use Wikidata has changed. You need to update the pages that use it. 
- You can use the Content Translation tool on Wikipedia in Uzbek and Minangkabau. You need to enable it in your Beta options.
- You can now hide banners if you don't have an account.  
Software changes this week
- The new version of MediaWiki has been on test wikis and MediaWiki.org since February 25. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis from March 3. It will be on all Wikipedias from March 4 (calendar).
- You can use the Content Translation tool on Wikipedia in Punjabi and Kyrgyz. You can ask for the tool in other languages.
- Editing the fake blank line in VisualEditor is now simpler. This change also fixed a few bugs.    
- The TemplateData editor now warns you if a related page already has TemplateData. 
- The TemplateData table now tells you if a template doesn't take any parameters. 
- A new feature allowing one to more easily link to sections within an article was deployed this week as a default setting. 
- You can read the notes from the last meeting with the VisualEditor team.
- You can join the next weekly meeting with the VisualEditor team. During the meetings you can tell developers which bugs are the most important. The meeting will be on March 4 at 16:00 (UTC). See how to join.
- You can join technical meetings in France and Mexico this year. You will be able to ask for help if you can't pay yourself. 
- You will be able to get a direct link for a section of a page. 
- Tech news prepared by tech ambassadors and posted by bot • Contribute • Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe.
Ploughing fields and trading horses with Rosa Bonheur
This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted from 15 to 21 February 2015. Text may be adapted from the respective articles and lists; see their page histories for attribution.
Two featured articles were promoted this week.
- Keen Johnson (nominated by Acdixon) Part of the nominator's long series of articles on Kentucky governors, Johnson edited several newspapers before running for lieutenant governor in the 1930s. In 1939, the governor resigned so that Johnson would appoint him to a Senate seat; Johnson won the subsequent election and governed Kentucky during the opening years of the Second World War. His later political career included a short stint as the first Undersecretary of Labor and an unsuccessful run for the US Senate in 1960. He died ten years later.
- Horace Greeley (nominated by Wehwalt) One of Wikipedia's vital articles, Greeley was the editor of the New York Tribune, which under his leadership became the highest circulating newspaper in the United States. In the decade before the American Civil War, the Tribune became a major force in politics and had a non-trivial role in helping Abraham Lincoln get elected. Greeley himself helped found the Republican Party and eventually ran for president in 1872, where he lost badly to former army general Ulysses S. Grant. Greeley died three weeks later, at which time Harper's Weekly wrote "Since the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, the death of no American has been so sincerely deplored as that of Horace Greeley; and its tragical circumstances have given a peculiarly affectionate pathos to all that has been said of him."
Four featured lists were promoted this week.
- World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology (nominated by PresN) The World Fantasy Awards are one of the most prestigious awards in speculative fiction and the most prestigious devoted strictly to fantasy. The winners are presented with a bust of H.P. Lovecraft, a subject of controversy recently since Lovecraft was notoriously racist and the last four Best Novel winners have been a Nigerian-American, an Israeli, an American-born Muslim convert, and a Somali-American. This particular category has avoided controversy and been pretty much what you'd expect: a mix of best of the year compilations and original theme anthologies. Living legend Ellen Datlow has racked up the most wins, eight out of thirty nominations, which is no surprise since she's a prolific anthologist and widely admired in the speculative fiction world. The most recent winners were two other legends in the field, Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin, for the original anthology Dangerous Women. This 2013 release was eagerly anticipated since it featured an original novella by Martin, "The Princess and the Queen", set in his A Song of Ice and Fire universe. And, yes, we mean Game of Thrones, if you've only seen the television version.
- Abhishek Bachchan filmography (nominated by Jim Carter) Abhishek Bachchan is an Indian actor and producer. Making his acting debut in 2000 in the film Refugee Bachahn has gone on to widespread success after playing "a no-nonsense Mumbai police officer in the blockbuster action thriller Dhoom" in 2004.
- Kajol filmography (nominated by FrankBoy) Kajol, an Indian actress, has since 1992 appeared in more than 36 films. She is tied for the most ever wins of the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, for her films Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001), Fanaa (2006), and My Name Is Khan (2010).
- 77th Academy Awards (nominated by Birdienest81) The Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator won the most awards – five out of its eleven nominations – including Best Supporting Actress to Cate Blanchett for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn, the first time an Oscar was given for a portrayal of a previous Oscar winner. But director Martin Scorsese was snubbed again and would not receive his due until two years later, for 2006's The Departed. Despite The Aviator's numerical superiority, though, this was really the year of Million Dollar Baby, a boxing film which swept the major categories: Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Actress (Hilary Swank), and Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman). Jamie Foxx won Best Actor for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the film Ray.
Thirty-eight featured pictures were promoted this week.
- The Virgin and Child with St. Anne (created by Leonardo da Vinci, nominated by Crisco 1492) The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne is an oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, a triangular composition showing St Anne, her daughter the Virgin Mary, and the infant Jesus. This theme had long preoccupied Leonardo. The Christ child is depicted stretching his arms out towards the sacrificial lamb that symbolizes the coming Passion, while the Virgin tries to restrain him. The painting was commissioned as the high altarpiece for the Church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence. Unfortunately, the painting was rather controversially restored in 2011, leading to two directors at the Louvre resigning.
- Castle by the River (created by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, nominated by Hafspajen) A very moody, charming image, painted by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841). The painting is full of lovely details – the target, the deer... Bit of a walk to get up to the castle, but I bet it'd be worth it. Schinkel was a German architect, city planner, and painter, known for his prolific production of buildings in a neo-classicist style. He was also known for his paintings, in Romantic style. The Napoleonic wars interfered with his work as architect, so he took up landscape painting while he was not able to work in his occupation, displaying a talent for the romantic delineation of natural scenery.
- Sanctuary of St Cyprian's Church, Nave of St Cyprian's Church, Ceiling of St Cyprian's Church, Rood screen of St Cyprian's Church (created and nominated by David Iliff.) There is no such church, all is faked. More seriously... St Cyprian's, Clarence Gate, near Regent's Park, Marylebone, London, was founded in 1866 by Father Charles Gutch, who wanted to run a church in the manner he saw fit. Its opening was the source of various very silly controversies to do with Father Gutch's "churchmanship", somewhat badly told in the article, and better told at the church website used as the article's main source. The church's article could certainly use some love by a copyeditor.
- First Cabinet of Barack Obama (created by Chuck Kennedy and nominated by The Herald) This photo depicts the First Cabinet of Barack Obama. Back row: Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa P. Jackson, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke (no longer in office), Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter R. Orszag (no longer in office), Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Christina Romer (no longer in office), and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Second row: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (no longer in office), Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice, and Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki. Third row, sitting: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (no longer in office), Secretary of Treasury Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (no longer in office), and Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder.
- The Horse Fair (created by Rosa Bonheur and nominated by Crisco 1492) The Horse Fair is an oil on canvas painting by Rosa Bonheur, begun in 1852. Rosa Bonheur was a French animalière (animal painter), realist artist, and sculptor. The Horse Fair was first exhibited in 1853 at the Paris Salon and was then reworked until completed in 1855. Well, at least as complete as an artist will ever consider their work, anyway. It has been in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1887, when it was donated by Cornelius Vanderbilt II.
- Vaxholm Castle (created by Arild Vågen, nominated by Adam Cuerden) This photo is an aerial shot of Vaxholm Fortress, a historic fortification on a small island in the Stockholm archipelago near Stockholm. It was originally constructed by the Swedish king Gustav Vasa in 1544 to defend Stockholm against shipborne attacks coming from the east. Today it houses the Swedish National Museum of Coastal Defence. The fortress was strategically situated on the main sea route to Stockholm to defend the city from naval attacks, and was attacked by the Danes in 1612 and the Russian navy in 1719. Since the mid 19th century, the fort became so rusty, unfashionable and outdated, that it was said the great Prussian Field Marshal Von Moltke was only ever seen to laugh twice, once when they told him his mother-in-law was dead and again when he saw Vaxholm Fort... He was a jolly fellow.
- House of the Blackheads (created and nominated by Diliff) House of the Blackheads is a building situated in the old town of Riga, Latvia. The building was originally erected in the 1300s for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, an oddly named guild for unmarried German merchants in Riga. The exact origin of the term 'blackhead' is unknown, though it is unlikely to be a reference to skin blemishes.
- Hospital at Scutari (created by William Simpson, restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden). The print "One of the wards in the hospital at Scutari" shows the Selimiye Barracks during the Crimean War, at which time they had been converted into a hospital. Florence Nightingale and thirty-eight volunteer nurses arrived there to find overworked staff delivering poor care to wounded soldiers; Nightingale's reformation of the hospital was a pivotal event in her creation of the modern field of nursing.
- In a Pine Wood (created by Christen Dalsgaard, nominated by CorrineSD) In a Pine Wood is a study of a young woman sitting in a chair reading a book in her hand, an attentive look on her face. The painting is painted by the Danish artist Christen Dalsgaard (1824–1907), and the image is an example of a style of Scandinavian painting whose themes focused on scenes close to home, in contrast to previous styles. The painting depicts a very typical Danish home interior from the time period. One of the pieces of furniture depicted has the number 1828 painted on it, suggesting that our author stopped writing the sentence at this point... The original title in Danish is: En læsende pige fra Salling, which translates as "a girl from Salling, reading", or, more literally, "a reading girl from Salling".
- Wikipedia blackout (created by Wikipedia, nominated by TomStar81) A copy of the blackout screen of the English-language Wikipedia page on 18 January 2012, illustrating its worldwide blackout in opposition to U.S. legislation such as SOPA and PIPA. (See Signpost coverage of the blackout.)
- The Umbrellas (created by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, nominated by Crisco 1492) The Umbrellas is a painting, completed by Pierre-Auguste Renoir between 1881 and 1886, which depicts a busy Parisian street in the rain, blue umbrellas dominating the upper part of the painting, and girls and women the rest. The charming young milliner's assistant is modeled by Suzanne Valadon, Renoir's lover and frequent model. Suzanne Valadon was also a painter herself, who became the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1894. She was also the mother of painter Maurice Utrillo.
- Lady Standing at a Virginal (created by Johannes Vermeer, nominated by SchroCat) Lady Standing at a Virginal is a painting created by the Dutch Golden Age artist Johannes Vermeer around 1670–1672. It depicts a Dutch house interior with an elegantly dressed woman in yellow and blue playing a richly decorated virginal, a type of early keyboard instrument similar to a harpsichord. Her home has a tiled floor, paintings on the wall, and some of the locally manufactured Delftware blue and white tiles of a type that appear in other Vermeer works. One painting depicted on the wall is a landscape and the other shows Cupid holding a card; neither have been definitely identified, but the second was probably painted by Caesar van Everdingen. Vermeer painted many women with virginals. There was an attempt to bring this concept to Scotland, and a large number of virginals were acquired, arriving in Inverness in the north of Scotland. Four and twenty virginals came down from Inverness, but when they came back, there were four and twenty less. Quite a disaster.
- Marriage à-la-mode: 1. The Marriage Settlement; Marriage à-la-mode: 2. The Tête à Tête; Marriage à-la-mode: 3. The Inspection ; Marriage à-la-mode: 4. The Toilette ; Marriage à-la-mode: 5. The Bagnio ; Marriage à-la-mode: 6. The Lady's Death (created by William Hogarth, nominated by SchroCat) Marriage à-la-mode is a series of pictures painted by William Hogarth between 1743 and 1745. It depicts, in a series of six scenes, a tragedy caused by the disastrous results of an ill-considered marriage for money in the upper class 18th-century society in England. Hogarth liked to satirize subjects like arranged marriages, quackery, foppery, poor parenting, and bad taste. In this case, it is an arranged marriage that was wrong from the beginning. The series starts with the early signs of a marriage that has already begun to break down, continuing to the young husband treating his syphilis he conrtacted in adultery, while the lawyer Silvertongue has an affair with his wife to the bitter end of this marriage, ending with both dead, leaving a child orphaned and suffering from syphilis inherited from his parents. Cheery!
- Ring-billed gull (created by Chris Woodrich , nominated by Crisco 1492) A portrait of a ring-billed gull, a species of sea gull found in much of North America. The eyes are yellow with red rims, and the short beak has a black ring around it.
- Toledo, Spain (created by Chensiyuan, nominated by National Names 2000) Toledo is the capital city of the Province of Toledo, 70 km south of Madrid, Spain. Toledo is known as the "Imperial City" for historically having been the court of Charles I, and as the "City of the Three Cultures", because of the peaceful historical co-existence of Christians, Muslims and Jews, and remaining full of the cultural and monumental heritage of all three cultures. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. Toledo has a history of production of bladed weapons; if you go there, swords and daggers are the souvenirs you should buy, providing you can get them back through customs. If possible, go on Easter as that is declared as a National Tourist Interest, and it is cerebrated with various processions, and religious and cultural events... Quite a spectacle.
- Crab on its Back (created by Vincent van Gogh and nominated by Crisco 1492) Crab on its Back is an 1888 oil painting by Vincent van Gogh. It is a still life of a crab lying on its back with a green background. The painting is in the permanent collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. This is not what you think of when you hear "van Gogh", and yet here it is. Honestly, it's a very original idea for a still life, even if it may have been derived from a Hokusai print...
- Equestrian Portrait of Charles I (created by Anthony van Dyck, nominated by SchroCat) This portrait of King Charles I of England is one of the masterpieces of Anthony van Dyck. Van Dyck, a Flemish Baroque painter with a name that causes many snickers among undergraduates, was a great success on the continent before becoming Principal Painter in Ordinary in the court of King Charles. His many portraits of Charles, his family, and his court, became the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years. This particular painting echoes works by Titian and Albrecht Dürer and can be found in the National Gallery in London.
- Portrait of a Young Woman (created by Johannes Vermeer, nominated by Crisco 1492) Portrait of a Young Woman is a painting by the Dutch Golden Age artist Johannes Vermeer. Because of the similar size and theme, it is often considered to be related to the artist's better-known Girl with a Pearl Earring. Both paintings depict young women who wear pearl earrings, have scarves draped over their head and shoulders, and are in front of a plain black background. In addition, it is likely that the creation of both works involved the use of a camera obscura. The lack of idealised beauty has led to a general belief that this work depicts a real person and was painted on commission.
- Italian Landscape with Umbrella Pines (created by Hendrik Voogd, nominated by Alborzagros) Hendrik Voogd (1768–1839) was a Dutch painter and printmaker, active in Italy. As he was inspired by the French painter Claude Lorrain, he was known as 'Dutch Claude'. He was famous for his historical landscapes, and painted mostly motifs taken directly from nature, such as trees and rocks. This painting depicts the golden light in the late afternoon at the Villa Borghese in Rome, with high umbrella pines that stand out sharply against the magnificent sunset in the garden. An artist is leaning against a fallen tree while disturbed in his peace by some admirer. Long shadows can be spotted on the green grass.
- Folio from a Quran (unknown creator; nominated by Alborzagros) This is a folio from an early Quran, the Islamic holy book, written in Kufic script from the Abbasid period. It originates from the Near East or North Africa in 8th–9th century and shows the Al-Fath Sura (Surah 48: 27–28). Kufic is the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts and consists of a modified form of the old Nabataean script.
- John Philip Sousa (created by Elmer Chickering, restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden) John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known primarily for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as "The March King", or the "American March King" due to his British counterpart Kenneth J. Alford also being known by the former nickname. He became the leader of the U.S. Marine Band in 1880 and remained as its conductor until 1892. Upon leaving the Marines, he organized The Sousa Band, which toured from 1892 to 1931, performing at 15,623 concerts in America and around the world.
- Tomb of Bibi Jawindi (created by Shah zaman baloch, nominated by Adam Cuerden) Considered one of the most ornate monuments in the area, the Tomb of Bibi Jawindi is one of the five monuments in Uch Sharif, Punjab, Pakistan that are on the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The site is located in the south-west corner of Uch, a historical city founded by Alexander the Great. Half the monument was lost in floods in 1817, and the tomb is still slowly crumbling, in need of a conservation project. Bibi Jawindi was the great-granddaughter of Jahaniyan Jahangasht, a saint in Sufism, a branch of Islam.
- Ploughing in the Nivernais (created by Rosa Bonheur, nominated by Xanthomelanoussprog) Ploughing in the Nivernais is a painting by Rosa Bonheur that was first exhibited at the Salon of 1848, and is now in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The painting depicts a team of oxen ploughing a fields with untold sorrow – while attended by peasants set against a vast pastoral landscape. Why are they sad? Well ... too much hard work, or maybe because they are oxen and not bulls anymore...
- Emmanuel College (created by David Iliff, nominated by Armbrust ) Emmanuel College is one of the colleges of the University of Cambridge, founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, and built on the site of a Dominican Friary. It was intended to be a training college for Protestant preachers. The chapel of the friary was converted to be the college's dining hall, and there is a large fish pond in the grounds, also part of the legacy of the friary. The pond is home to a colony of ducks. The college originally took only male students, first admitting female students in 1979. Emmanuel is one of the wealthier colleges at Cambridge, for which they give thanks with a recitation of the Oratio Post Cibum after every dinner:
Confiteantur tibi, Domine, omnia opera tua,
:et sancti tui benedicant te.
:Agimus tibi gratias, omnipotens Deus,
:pro universis beneficiis tuis,
:qui vivis et regnas Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum.
- Lindau Lighthouse (created Taxiarchos228 and nominated by Crisco 1492) The Lindau Lighthouse was built from 1853 to 1856 and has a clock in its façade. This lighthouse is the southernmost lighthouse in Germany, located in Lindau on Lake Constance. Nowadays the light is lit on demand by ships using radio signals. It is open to visitors and it is a popular subject for photographs, though most probably aren't as good as this one.
- SpaceShipOne takeoff (nominated and created by D. Ramey Logan) SpaceShipOne flight 17P was a spaceflight in the Tier One program that took place on October 4, 2004. The White Knight, a carrier aircraft, took SpaceShipOne to the launch altitude, in excess of 43,500 feet (13.3 km). SpaceShipOne separated from White Knight at 07:49 and promptly ignited its rocket. The rocket motor was capable of burning for approximately 87 s. The burn-out altitude was in excess of 200,000 feet (61 km). After burn-out, the craft continued to coast upwards. The wing was feathered into high-drag configuration during the coasting phase. The spacecraft coasted to apogee at an altitude of 367,442 feet. The SpaceShipOne pilot was Brian Binnie, while White Knight was piloted by Mike Melvill. It was the second competitive flight in the Ansari X Prize competition to demonstrate a non-governmental reusable manned spacecraft, and is hence also referred to as the X2 flight. To win the X Prize, a spacecraft needed to make two successful competitive flights within a fortnight. SpaceShipOne made a successful competitive flight on September 29, 2004, and so needed to make a second by October 13, 2004 in order to win. It was a successful flight, winning the X Prize. After the launch of the first flight, Mike Melvill approached our own WPPilot and gave him a handful of M&M's he had just taken into space, who promptly ate them and continued shooting photos :) & Still feeling a little spaced out to this day.
- Thomas Gainsborough (created by Thomas Gainsborough, nominated by Sagaciousphil) A self-portrait of Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788), a famous English portrait and landscape painter. He lived in Bath and London, where the fashionable society patronised him. He painted the portraits of the king and queen, but the king chose Gainsborough's rival Joshua Reynolds for the position of royal painter. However, in 1769, he became a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts. Gainsborough is credited, together with Richard Wilson, as the founder of the 18th century British landscape school. Gainsborough had a charming and original style, he painted quickly with vibrant brushstrokes, and caught his subjects on canvas depicting not only their outside but capturing the inside as well (That's how you say "his pictures give some idea of people's personality in their expressions and body language" in the language of art criticism). William Jackson, in his contemporary essays, said of him, "to his intimate friends he was sincere and honest and that his heart was always alive to every feeling of honour and generosity". His portrait and landscapes reflect the strong romantic component in Gainsborough's artistic temperament.
- Portrait of Pope Julius II (created by Raphael, nominated by SchroCat) An oil painting from 1511, Portrait of Pope Julius II shows the Pope lost in thought. Raphael, through this much-copied portrait of Pope Julius II, set a standard for the painting of future popes. This papal portrait was hung at the pillars of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo on feast and high holy days. Giorgio Vasari, writing long after Julius' death, said that "it was so lifelike and true it frightened everyone who saw it, as if it were the living man himself". Several versions of the painting exist; one has a hanging in the background with a blue and gold textile, either woven silk or embroidery, with gold emblems in tear shaped light blue compartments against a dark blue background. The pope wears here a red velvet high-necked cape covering the neck and shoulders, trimmed with white fur, together with a fashionable red velvet men's cap. Below he wears a white, light, wide and loose silk robe with an especially flattering high waistline, Empire silhouette, with tight sleeves completely covering the wrists, falling loosely below, flowing in graceful folds down, with no buttons or tapes in the front. On his fingers he wears several golden rings with brilliant gemstones. However ... no pearls.
- William Faulkner (created by Carl Van Vechten, restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden) Carl Van Vechten was a novelist, essayist, and photographer. White and well to do, he was a friend and patron of many of the leading writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance, such as Langston Hughes. He also took up photography, creating striking portraits of many of the leading artistic figures of the day: writers, actors, dancers, and painters. Many of those photos now accompany Wikipedia articles because the Library of Congress has placed them all online and free of copyright restriction. Here is a 1954 photograph of some obscure regional novelist and failed screenwriter named William Faulkner. Hailing from Oxford, Mississippi, he chronicled the lives of people of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi in introspective and experimental novels, capturing spoken vernacular and internal monologues in works like The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936) that are now staples of literature curriculums. Faulkner received the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, which catapulted him to worldwide fame, something he was decidedly not happy about. He didn't even tell his own daughter, who learned of it from her high school principal.
- Flowers in a Terracotta Vase (created by Albertus Jonas Brandt and Eelke Jelles Eelkema, nominated by CorinneSD ) – Flowers in a Terracotta Vase, is a still life painting by a couple of Dutch painters, featuring a great variety of enchanting spring flowers, lilacs, morning glory, peonies, poppies, and honeysuckle among others. The painting was started by Albertus Jonas Brandt and finished by Eelke Jelles Eelkema. The painting is owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Bradspeaks—impact, regrets, and advice; current cases hinge on sex, religion, and ... infoboxes
- Editor's note: eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that we promised an interview with Newyorkbrad for last week's Signpost. We were unfortunately unable to deliver the interview as planned, and it is instead below. Our apologies to Newyorkbrad and to any readers who may have been disappointed by the interview's absence last week.
In the first of what the author hopes will become a regular feature of the Arbitration report, the Signpost speaks to veteran arbitrator Newyorkbrad, who recently retired from the committee after almost seven years of arbitrating. The Signpost was keen to hear his thoughts on his time on the committee and on the past, present, and future of ArbCom.
Harry Mitchell: What motivated you to stand for election back in 2008? And to twice seek re-election?
- Newyorkbrad: Like almost every new user, I started editing Wikipedia in 2006 with the intention of working on articles. However, I quickly became aware that there was a back-office administrative apparatus to the site, including the arbitration pages. Although I wasn't a party to any arbitration cases, I began to comment on requests and to draft proposals for the workshop pages, which are open to any editor, not just the arbitrators. I also participated some on AN and ANI, making comments on disputes and how they might be resolved. And I started writing essays and thinking about some of the key issues facing the project, notably BLP issues.
- Some kind editors saw my work and suggested that I might make a good arbitrator. They suggested that I run in 2006, just a few months after I'd started editing, but it was too soon then. In January 2007, I passed RfA and became an administrator. Around the same time, I also became an arbitration clerk, meaning that I helped run the arbitration pages and assisted the arbs in maintaining them. (The procedures were simpler then, even though there were a lot more cases than there are now.)
- By the end of 2007, I thought I had enough experience to be a good arbitrator, so I ran in the election and was elected.
- I ran for reelection in 2010 because I was still enjoying the role of arbitrator (well, as much as anyone ever enjoys that role) and I thought I was doing a good job. The majority of the community was kind enough to agree with me. My decision to run again in 2012 was much harder, because by that point I'd been an arb for five years, which is plenty, but several editors I trust suggested that I should seek one more term and so I did. At that time, I vowed that my third term would be my last, and I never had second thoughts about that decision.
HJM: What do you think ArbCom does well? What does it do less well? Is there anything it does at present that you feel it shouldn't do at all?
- NYB: I think ArbCom has made some good decisions and some less-good decisions in most areas of its responsibilities. I wouldn't answer your question categorically with anything like "it does a good job on arbitration cases and a bad job on ban appeals and checkuser appointments," or the reverse, or anything like that based on categories of work. Like everyone else, I agree with some of the Committee's decisions over the past seven years and disagree with others.
- I also can't think of any categories of the Committee's work as to which I would say "why the heck is the ArbCom handling that? What were they (we) thinking when they took that on?" There are, however, areas of responsibility that have landed on the Committee's plate as a matter of default more than anything else. I doubt that any arbitrators would insist on holding on to these responsibilities if the WMF Office (in a couple of cases) or the En-WP community (in others) agreed to take over the area.
HJM: How effective do you think ArbCom is at resolving the wiki's most interminable conflicts?
- NYB: It's a mixed bag. Anyone can take a look at the list of the Committee's completed arbitration cases (found at WP:RFAR/C) and think "this dispute seems really to have calmed down since this case was decided," or conversely, "the ArbCom decision doesn't seem to have made a dent in that one."
- One could potentially divide the Committee's cases into two broad categories, albeit with a good deal of overlap: one group dealing with specific editors (including admins), and the other group dealing with specific topic areas. If a case concerns one particular editor, it's comparatively easy to figure out whether that editor is still causing issues (if he or she is still editing), or whether he or she is missed and could have been saved (if the editor wound up being banned). In the case of topic-areas, ongoing contentiousness in the topic-area is often a function of the topic-area's real-world contentiousness today, not anything the ArbCom or Wikipedia does. Not to be flippant, but there will never be real peace on Ukraine until there is peace in Ukraine, and so forth.
- As I said when I wrote a book review for the Signpost last year, I think we have a project-wide myopia about evaluating the success of our dispute-resolution mechanisms. No one goes back, a couple of years after an ArbCom decision, and tries systematically to say "well, this approach seems to have done a good job of resolving this type of problem" or "that remedy was pretty much as a disaster." We learn anecdotally, and experientially, but there's no attempt to collate the experience systematically. I say that it's a project-wide myopia because there's not enough effort to learn from the everyday experiences in other dispute-resolution processes either. For example, there must be a way of synthesizing the collective experience of thousands of 3RR reports about whether blocking or protecting or chatting is the best way to solve an edit war—not only to immediately stop the back-and-forth, but to maximize the future good-faith contributions of both parties—but I've never seen it written up anywhere.
HJM: How has the committee changed over your seven-year tenure?
- NYB: The main change is that the case workload has decreased radically, because a lot of disputes that would have come to arbitration a few years ago are now resolved in other venues. I discussed that trend here a couple of years ago and it has continued since then. The result is that the Committee has fewer easy or straightforward cases these days, but only complicated morasses to try to help with.
HJM: How much time in an average week did you find yourself devoting to ArbCom business? Do you think the current workloads are too great?
- NYB: You refer to "an average week" but I'm not sure there really was such a thing. There were heavy weeks, such as when I was reviewing evidence and drafting a decision or when I was on the Ban Appeals Subcommittee (BASC) and there were a lot of ban appeals, and there were other weeks that were lighter. On average I might say 5 to 10 hours a week but that is just a guestimate. I don't think the current workload is as insuperable as some people would suggest, but it couldn't hurt to lessen it, as long as the responsibilities taken away were handed off to appropriately qualified and selected people.
HJM: Did you implement or contribute to any reforms during your tenure?
- NYB: I tried to emphasize the importance of being fair to all the participants in every case. I don't want to call that a "reform", which would suggest that previous arbitrators didn't care just as much as I and my colleagues did, but the arbitration process is complex enough that it's a useful thing to re-emphasize from time to time.
- I called a couple of times for trying to simplify the arbitration processes and pages. For the most part I failed miserably at that; there is still more "paperwork" involved in arbitration than I'd like. One of my (and some others') suggestions that was accepted was combining the "clarifications" and "amendments" pages, because we were wasting time worrying about whether a given request was for a clarification or an amendment. This was an improvement, though I wouldn't call it a "reform".
- I stood up for the principle that ArbCom has the authority to review and, if warranted, overturn a community ban or community sanctions decision. I simultaneously emphasized that we wouldn't often exercise that authority, but I do think it's important that there be some avenue of appeal from AN and ANI, which like any other decision-making venue can be fallible. I understand the reasons behind the proposals to remove BASC (ban appeals) work from the ArbCom's task-list, but I cannot support them unless there is a genuinely independent, high-level review board taking BASC's place. And even then, some appeals will still be resolvable only by ArbCom because non-public information is involved.
- (As a sidenote, I've never understood the wiki-maxim that AN and ANI "are not a part of the dispute resolution process." These days, they're where most of the complicated disputes get resolved—or, often enough, fail to get resolved.)
HJM: There has been significant discussion over the years about the possibility of arbitrators who have not previously been elected administrators. How would you feel about non-admin arbitrators?
- NYB: It's never bothered me that all of the arbitrators have been administrators, because that has been a collective community decision (as opposed, say, to having a rule that non-admins can't run in the election, which I'd oppose).
- I think that many voters in the election view adminship experience as proof that a candidate is committed to helping administer the project, and as providing a basis for evaluating the candidate's skills in doing administrative work, including dispute resolution. (I don't believe it has anything to do with creating a caste system among editors, as some critics have suggested.)
- On the other hand, it also wouldn't bother me if a non-administrator were elected. If that occurred, though, I think the community would need to agree to provide that arbitrator with the equivalent of adminship for the duration of his or her term (or else the candidate should launch an RfA right away, which he or she would certainly pass). I say this because there are rights available only to admins, most notably access to deleted revisions, that are necessary for working on some cases and appeals.
HJM: Is there anything you regret about your time on the committee? Any reform left undone, a decision that had unexpected repercussions? Anything you would do differently with the benefit of hindsight?
- NYB: Among other things, I regret the two major incidents in which large numbers of e-mails on the arbitrators' mailing lists were hacked or leaked and published on other websites. This obviously compromised the confidentiality of our discussions and of communications we received from others. We've taken every step we could think of to avoid any recurrence of this problem. (Incidentally, we still don't know who did it.)
- I regret a few of the hundreds of votes I cast on Committee decisions, though not very many.
- I regret a few of the times I was outvoted, and an editor was banned or an admin was desysopped who I thought need not have been. On the other hand, I was consistently viewed over my tenure as perhaps the most lenient arbitrator—there is truth to that perception, though at times it is oversold—and I probably was in error sometimes in voting to keep an editor around who created more dissension and disruption than we should be prepared to tolerate.
- I regret the two times, both early in my tenure, when I was talked out of a first draft of a controversial but necessary decision, and it soon became apparent I should have stuck to my guns. Long-time readers will know which cases I mean.
- I regret that I didn't get to serve full terms with some of my most qualified and knowledgeable colleagues. In an earlier draft of this answer I had mentioned a bunch of them by name, but I'm fearful of leaving someone out.
- I don't regret my decision to participate in the major Wikipedia criticism sites, which was very unusual for an arbitrator when I first showed up there—but I do regret a few times when I've found myself being blatantly trolled there, which didn't do the Committee or anyone else any good.
- And I apologize for the worst of my bad jokes.
HJM: What qualities do you think a prospective candidate in this year's elections should have?
- NYB: I think the community has elected very qualified arbitrators in recent elections, so I don't have much to add to whatever criteria the voters have been using.
HJM: What advice would you offer the remaining arbitrators, especially those who are just embarking on their first term?
- NYB: I don't have much unexpected advice for the new group of arbitrators, because they are settling into their roles very well. Although my term as an arbitrator expired last December 31, I remained on the mailing list during January, because I was still an active arbitrator on the GamerGate case. During that month, I was highly impressed with the energy level, commitment, and knowledge base of the new group of arbitrators, seven of whom were brand-new to the Committee. Early in the nominating process for the election, there had been concern that there wouldn't be enough well-qualified candidates to fill the nine seats, but that turned out not to be the case.
- A major piece of advice that I would give to the new arbitrators is to pace yourselves so as to avoid losing perspective and the possibility of premature burnout.
- Another piece of advice—which I struggle to follow myself—is to try to spend at least some of your wikitime in mainspace. That, and not the back-office apparatus, is what the project is about.
HJM: If you could change one thing about ArbCom, what would it be?
HJM: Where do you see ArbCom in five years' time? Ten years?
- NYB: It's hard to answer where I see ArbCom in five or ten years' time without knowing where Wikipedia itself will be in five or ten years' time. There will always need to be a dispute-resolution procedure of last resort, and having a Committee of experienced, community-elected people address the disputes is as good a system as anyone has been able to come up with thus far.
HJM: Would you stand for election again in the future or do you see your priorities changing?
- NYB: Given that I was active on GamerGate until it closed at the end of January, I've been fully off the Committee for just a month now—so it's premature for me to address whether I'd ever want to serve on it again. But since you ask, I have no plans to run for arbitrator again, and certainly not in the foreseeable future.
- In addition to leaving ArbCom, I've also relinquished my checkuser and oversight rights (which I had rarely used anyway), though I remain an active administrator. I expect I'll comment on an AE or ANI thread on occasion, especially if I believe I could offer a perspective that others might miss. But my plan is to focus my Wikipedia efforts on content for awhile, as I had planned and hoped to do all along.
HJM: Is there anything you'd like to add?
- NYB: I'd like to thank all the members of the community who elected me to the Committee three times, and who have said kind things to and about me during my service.
- Beyond that, nothing to add off the top of my head, though I'll keep an eye on the comments section below and will probably wind up writing more there.
This fortnight's business
Things appear to be settling down now that the new committee is in place and the traditional rush of cases at the start of the year is slowing. Only one case remains open at the time of writing; another was closed in the fortnight since the last report.
After a stall during the proposed decision phase, this review of 2013's Infoboxes case—opened as a result of multiple clarification requests—finally concluded on 4 March. The purpose of the review was to assess the fitness for purpose of a remedy from the 2013 case, which prohibited Pigsonthewing from adding or removing infoboxes and from discussing their addition or removal. The review, and the enforcement and clarification requests which preceded it, focused largely on whether Pigsonthewing's participation at Templates for Discussion (where he regularly nominates infobox templates for deletion or merging) was in keeping with that remedy.
The arbitrators were satisfied that Pigsonthewing's conduct had improved since the disputes which precipitated the 2013 case—Courcelles (one of the drafting arbitrators) observed "I remember the 2013 case, and I honestly believe [Pigsonthewing]'s conduct is better [now] than it was back then"—but remained concerned that his conduct was still wanting. Arbitrator Yunshui, for example, saw "at least some comparatively recent instances of inflammatory behaviour [by Pigsonthewing], whether provoked or not". Remedies proposed included banning Pigsonthewing from any involvement with infoboxes anywhere on Wikipedia (opposed by all but the proposer on the grounds of Pigsonthewing's progress since 2013), discretionary sanctions on infoboxes (rejected because it was possibly out of scope for the review, and several arbitrators expressed concerns about its workability), and several more complicated restrictions on Pigsonthewing (rejected because of their complexity and concerns about workability). The final result was that all previous remedies against Pigsonthewing were vacated, and in their place Pigsonthewing:
- is indefinitely restricted from adding an infobox to any article;
- may be banned from further participation in any discussion by any uninvolved administrator, should he behave disruptively in the discussion; and
- may add infoboxes to articles which he creates, provided he does so within a fortnight of the article's creation.
The proposed decision in this case was published on 2 March, four days ahead of the target date. The drafting arbitrators propose to sanction four editors for their part in the dispute, which has included edit-warring, failure to adhere to a neutral point of view, personal attacks, and possible sock-puppetry. At the time of writing, arbitrators are voting unanimously to site-ban two editors, while a package of restrictions for another editor are passing (after modifications) by eight votes to one and the committee is currently divided on whether the fourth editor should be admonished or subject to a similar set of restrictions. Arbitrators have begun voting on a motion to close, and the case is likely to be complete within a day or two of the publication of this week's Signpost.
- American politics: The amendment request regarding Arzel (talk · contribs) discussed in last fortnight's report resulted in a topic ban for Arzel.
- Eastern Europe: The committee overturned an out-of-process block ostensibly made in accordance with the discretionary sanctions on Eastern European topics, and advised the administrator responsible to better familiarise himself with the discretionary sanctions process.
- Wifione: A request to strike a principle from the Wifione case (which stated that ArbCom had "no mandate to sanction editors for paid editing as it is not prohibited by site policies") failed to gain sufficient support among arbitrators, and was archived.
- Toddst1: Last year's Toddst1 case was closed by motion after Toddst1 was desysopped for inactivity. Toddst1 indefinitely blocked himself and left Wikipedia while arbitrators were debating whether or not to accept a case about his administrative actions, as a result of which the case was suspended pending his return or desysop for inactivity.
- Functionary appointments: The Committee is inviting comments on candidates for checkuser and oversight permissions; the community consultation phase will remain open until 18 March.
If articles have been updated, you may need to
Check back for the next Signpost on August 31.