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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-06-09/In the media

Did Wikipedia just assume Garfield's gender? Garfield is male, and other places Wikipedia made the news

This Signpost "In the media" report covers media primarily from 19 February to 17 March.

Jim Davis & David Choe.jpg
Is Garfield male? Only the Creator knows. A silly edit war erupts.

In one of the more silly Wikipedia editing disputes of all time, an "edit war" over whether the comic strip character Garfield is really male received major press coverage. As evidenced at Garfield's talk page, a semi-well known internet troll found a 2014 interview with Garfield's creator Jim Davis, that said "Garfield is very universal. By virtue of being a cat, really, he’s not really male or female or any particular race or nationality, young or old." This springboarded a war over whether Garfield's gender in his infobox should be "none." The whole thing was chronicled in a number of lighthearted press stories, including this one in the Washington Post (which I am partial to because it ends with a dumb quote from me). The faux edit-war was put to a complete end, however, when Davis told the Post: "Garfield is male." (Heat Street (February 27); Washington Post (March 1); Mashable (March 1); New York Magazine (March 1); New York Daily News (March 2); Zet Chilli (March 3, in Polish); NTDTV (March 3, in Chinese); Helsingborgs Dagblad (March 5, in Swedish); Süddeutsche Zeitung (March 9, in German); El Nuevo Diario (March 13, in Spanish); and many more)

In brief

Wiki Women Editathon Mangaluru 01.jpg
Editathons all over
Daily Mail placard Versailles agreement June 24 1919.jpg
The Daily Mail's answer to whether it has been treated unfairly by Wikipedia.
  • The battle for stubs: Slate published an op-ed by WMF Trustee Dariusz Jemielniak (speaking only on his own behalf) about how Wikipedia treats short articles in its deletion processes, in a follow-up to Andrea James' piece in Boing Boing covered in our last column. (Slate, March 7)
  • All-Women edit corps in Mangalore: The Hindu reported on a 47-team of all women editors from Mangalore who have created over 300 articles in the Kannada, Tulu, and Konkani language Wikipedias. (March 8).
  • Detroit edit city A women in the arts edit-a-thon was held in Detroit, Michigan on March 11 as part of the international campaign by Art + Feminism. (Detroit Free Press, March 9)
  • Everwhere edit city: Other planned women focused edit-a-thons also received coverage: Windsor, Ontario (CBC, March 10); Luxembourg, (Delano, March 10); Cambridge, UK (Varsity, March 10); New Haven, Connecticut, (New Haven Independent, March 9); Washington D.C. , (Washington City Paper, March 15); and more.
  • For women architects, too: The Sydney Morning Herald highlighted a group in Australia working to increase the coverage of female architects on Wikipedia. (Sydney Morning Herald, March 17)
  • The Daily Mail at war: The Daily Mail continues to chafe at its reduced status as a Wikipedia citation source (see last issue's In the media), publishing a long story tilted towards proving unfair treatment. (Daily Mail, March 3)
  • Wikipedia printouts considered not reliable in court: A case against a torrent site proxy operator in the UK was dismissed, in part because the judge was apparently not happy at the prosecution relying on printouts from Wikipedia to explain what a reverse proxy actually is. (Torrent Freak, March 7)
  • Right to forget watch: A bill introduced to the New York State Assembly would attempt to secure a "right to be forgotten" that would require censorship of Wikipedia and other sites. Writing on his Volokh Conspiracy blog, law professor Eugene Volokh concludes that the bill is unconstitutional on its face. (Washington Post, March 15)
  • Vandal watch: Among the usual press coverage of recent vandalism on the articles of public figures, the Houston Chronicle noted recent trolling of U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert's article. (Houston Chronicle, March 17) Another source described the vandal edits as a "hack", which is no doubt a sexy word to use in a headline, although Wikipedia editors know that malicious edits required no hacking skills or really any skills whatsoever, aside from the occasional creative flair seen in Garfieldgate. (Roll Call, March 15)
  • My BLP is awesome if I say so myself: Utah State Representative Mike Winder has been reported to have used multiple Wikipedia accounts to create and primp up his own biography. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 14)
  • Response to Wikipedia has cancer: A popular Reddit thread reviewed Guy's provocative Signpost editorial from February, raising concerns about Wikimedia's spending growth. That thread, and a similar review published in Quartz, concluded that Wikimedia is healthy for a non-profit, and remains efficient compared to libraries and publishers. (Quartz, May 8)

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