In the media
Arbitration case attracts media coverage; Wikipedia in Israel
UK media coverage of "sockpuppet investigation block" arbitration case
UK political blog Guido Fawkes reported on the proposed decision of the Sockpuppet investigation block arbitration case: "Wikipedia slaps down Grant Shapps' LibDem tormentor" (8 June). This was followed by numerous reports in the UK mainstream media later that day. The BBC was first to weigh in
("Censure for Grant Shapps' Wikipedia accuser"), to be followed by the Guardian, one of whose writers appears to have started the entire affair when he emailed a Wikimedia UK staffer ("Wikipedia volunteer faces reprimand over 'Shapps account' investigation"). Other publications reporting the story included:
On 9 June, after the formal conclusion of the arbitration case, the Guardian reported that the Contribsx account had been unblocked by a Wikipedia administrator: "Wikipedia: account at centre of row 'not linked' to Grant Shapps". On Twitter, frequent Wikipedia critic David Auerbach pointed out that the author of the article, Randeep Ramesh, "was also the original recipient of the leak". Breitbart weighed in on 10 June, opining that the "Shapps case raises questions for Wikipedia and The Guardian"; according to Breitbart, the "Guardian reader’s editor is investigating complaints against the newspaper."
Detailed coverage of the arbitration case itself will be provided in next week's Arbitration Report. A.K.
Wikipedia in Israel
Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov visited Israel and Palestine earlier this month for a number of Wikimedia-related events.
Tretikov was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Wikipedia Academy Israel Conference
in Herzliya. The topic of the conference was education, and in an interview
there with i24news
Tretikov was optimistic about Wikipedia's ability to meet the educational challenges of the future:
Our power is in every human being around the world because people are motivated by their intrinsic motivators, by their desire to contribute, their desire to learn, and their desire to teach, and we have hundreds of thousands of contributors around the world who are participating without us having to pay them.
Tretikov visted a middle school in Hertzliya where students had been assigned the task of contributing information to Wikipedia about their city and local history. She told
the Jerusalem Post
"In Israel, this is the first country where we see innovation really happening on the scale where it’s a country-wide program, and that’s in primary education."
During her time in the area, Tretikov met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister's office noted that his father, historian Benzion Netanyahu, was an editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica. Tretikov accompanied Israeli Wikimedians on one of the regular meetings of the Elef Millim project, this one to the Old City of Jerusalem. Hebrew for "a thousand words", the project tours and photographically documents sites of historical interest. Tretikov also met with Palestinian Wikimedians in Ramallah.
The Jerusalem Post noted that Tretikov will visit again in April 2016 for the Wikimedia hackathon, the first time this event will be held outside North America or Europe.
In related Wikipedia news, the Jerusalem Post also reported (June 2) on a discussion on the Hebrew Wikipedia about racially charged comments made by prime minister Netanyahu on the day of the March 2015 Israel legislative election. The discussion resulted in the comments remaining in the encyclopedia. Also, Jimmy Wales was interviewed on the July 1 episode of The Cost of Doing Business on TLV1. G.
- World Oceans Day edit-a-thon: In National Geographic, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson of the Waitt Institute writes "How Hosting an Edit-A-Thon Made Me Trust Wikipedia" (June 12). G.
- Maverick: Gizmodo UK profiles Jimmy Wales, "The Maverick Who Brought The Encyclopaedia Into the Internet Age" (June 11). G.
- "Don’t read Wikipedia on me for God’s sake": In an London Evening Standard profile (June 11) of historian Andrew Roberts, Roberts told the newspaper that "a mutual friend" informed him that his Wikipedia article was being edited by Richard Tomlinson, the MI6 agent who was convicted of violating the Official Secrets Act 1989 for providing his publisher with a seven-page synopsis of the book eventually published about his intelligence career, The Big Breach. Roberts called Tomlinson "a full-scale traitor" and said "He must have a lot of time on his hands that he thinks that it's worthwhile saying that I cling-filmed the lavatories at school, and that was the reason for my expulsion." G.
- Republicans attempt to steal another political contest: Roll Call reports (June 11) that the article for the Congressional Baseball Game was edited from an IP address assigned to the US House of Representatives to name the Republican Party the winner of the 2015 game, the 54th, before it had been played. Both parties were tied at 38-38-1 and the Democratic Party had won the previous six years in a row. However, the Democratic Party later won the June 11 game, extending their winning streak. G.
- The illusion of perfection: In The Conversation, Craig Blewett, Senior Lecturer at University of KwaZulu-Natal, writes "Why it’s time the world embraced Wikipedia" (June 10). Blewett concludes that "Our attempts to ban students (and writers) from using these modern digital spaces will inevitably fail. And, in the meantime, it will rob us of the opportunity to engage in conversation, rather than blind content consumption." G.
- First Pole on the Wikimedia Foundation board: Radio Poland reports (June 9) on the election of Dariusz Jemielniak to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the first Pole to serve on the Board (see Signpost coverage). They report that "The prestigious seven-person team had to date not included anyone from outside the USA and Western Europe." This is true of the current composition of the Board, but previous members have been from outside these areas, including Ting Chen and Bishakha Datta. G.
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