Problems on the run-up to Wikimania
The announcement of Wikimania scholarships for 2018 provoked complaints on a Foundation mailing list. Among the raised issues was that of some editors repeatedly being awarded scholarships while others are denied, who claim to have important presentations to make or a real need to meet people with whom they collaborate on significant developments. Indeed, some who fairly regularly attend Wikimania at their own cost mention that they see the same faces every time. There was also a call for more coordination between scholarship committee and programme planners as well as the repeated complaint that the presentations were WMF-top heavy.
A member of this year's scholarship committee replied with changes made to the scholarship process already:
|“||Repeated funding of the same people is a concern. This year, we introduced a rule where those who had been funded in the past year would receive a point deduction on their score this year. This has leveled the playing field a bit, and may be magnified a bit next year.||”|
This year's Wikimania will take place in Cape Town from July 18 to 22. The Signpost will provide further coverage.
Eleven new projects funded
The WMF Project Grants Committee has announced eleven new projects that will be founded in this round of grants. In total, these projects will receive over $320,000.
Seven software projects
- Nigerian keyboard relieves users of cut and paste to get Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo vowels.
- Feature improvements to Wikimedia Programs & Events Dashboard enhances usability on mobile devices and other improvements.
- Wikipedia Cultural Diversity Observatory "provides focused data and strategic recommendations for cross-language collaboration."
- WikiInAfrica/WikiFundi "expands the Kiwix offline reader experience to include an offline editing platform."
- Kiwix/User Experience aims to "revamp the user experience and architecture."
- Soweego's goal is "a fully automatic robot that syncs giant volumes of external information with Wikidata."
- LinguaLibre "facilitates recordings of pronunciation audio files and encourages contributions in minority languages."
One online organizing project
- Community toolkit for Greater Diversity "will develop tailored online and offline training modules to equip veteran volunteers to create a more inclusive, diverse editing community on Indic language Wikipedias."
Three offline outreach programs
- Les Classes Wikipedia (Wikipedia Classroom) "will continue a successful pilot program in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Teens and young adults will be trained to create and improve Wikipedia articles, focusing on the 100 most notable Ivorian writers."
- Les sans pagEs "will expand both its online and offline presence in Europe, engaging the francophone community to collaborate on reducing the gender gap on the French Wikipedia."
- WikiDonne roadmap "will continue to organize event coordinators across Italy to help promote more gender diversity in Italian Wikipedia. The group aims to increase female biographies by writing at least 250 new articles."
There have also been several changes to the process of WMF Grants. Rapid Grants will now need a minimum amount of $500, in order to reduce administrative work at the Foundation. Application openings will be from the 1st to the 15th of each month. New Project Grants will "likely" be accepted during a single grant cycle in November 2018 for amounts between $2,000 and $100,000. Conference grants will get two rounds of funding, with existing regional and thematic conferences staying funded. New applications for local or national conferences will be considered up to an amount of $10,000.
Grants are currently in a phase of "major changes to our funding processes in the long term [...] these changes will reengineer the roles of participating organizations (the Wikimedia Foundation, committees, and grantees alike)", according to a Wikimedia announcement. Discussion of these and further changes is welcomed at the Annual plan talk page.
A Library for Women in Red
Women in Red (WIR) is seeking coders to help adapt the Koha integrated library system to eBook lending for the project. According to a short interview with members of the project, the project so far attracted funding via World Contest winners' donations to the Wikipedia:WikiProject Women in Red/The World Contest#Women in Red Book/WIR Subscription Fund, and is now planning to create a eBook and open access book lending library with Koha managing circulation and catalog functions. This effort is spearheaded by WIR members with professional library knowledge, namely Megalibrarygirl, Rosiestep, and SusunW. After an initial beta phase, model and software may be extended to other WikiProjects if they prove successful.
Technical Engagement Team formed
According to a Foundation announcement, this new team will report to the Foundation's CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and include a Cloud Services group and a Technical Advocacy group. Cloud Services will continue maintaining current services, while Advocacy will encourage API adoption through example software, tutorials, and other documentation and work with "groups at affiliate organizations and the larger Wikimedia volunteer community". The Foundation will also hire a new engineer and create the position of Developer Advocacy Manager. Initial reaction has been highly positive, with some expressing hope that the new team would fulfill a current need for code review.
- New administrators: We welcome two new admins this month.
- Pbsouthwood is from South Africa and has been editing Wikipedia since 2009. He specialises in WikiProject Portals and Scuba diving.
- TheSandDoctor made his first edit in January 2017. He likes working on Rolling Stones related articles and is studying for a degree in Computer Science, majoring in gaming and graphics.
- Not new but returning: Gogo Dodo was once a prolific vandalism and spam fighter, having deleted over 78,000 pages and blocked nearly 20,000 accounts. He suddenly stopped editing on 13 February 2017 and was procedurally desysoped in March 2018 following a full year of total inactivity. Returning from what he calls 'a long nap', his tools were restored on 27 June following a request at the Bureaucrats' Noticeboard.
- Five admins were desysoped for inactivity on 1 June. This brings the total number of Admins to 1,212, with 549 active in the last two months. Two bureaucrats were also desysoped, one due to inactivity and one after resignation due to an ArbCom case.
- New user-groups: The Affiliations Committee announced the approval of this month's newest Wikimedia movement affiliates.
- Jenga Wikipedia ya Kiswahili wants to strengthen Swahili Wikipedia, the only encyclopedic resource in that language.
- Wikimedia Community User Group Albania will continue to organize Wikipedians in Albania.
- Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania has evolved out of the growing Dar-es-Salaam User Group.
- The Portuguese Wikipedia became the 15th Wikipedia to have more than 1 million articles on 26 June. The Afrikaans Wikipedia reached 100,000 registered users this month.
- At 16:40 (04:40PM UTC) 28 June, the English Wikipedia New Page Review backlog dropped to 700 during a concentrated backlog drive. Down from around 16,000 around a year ago – aided by the implementation of a new policy debated at WP:ACREQ (see The Signpost Special report March 2018).
- More books for the library: The Wikipedia Library has added access to Rock's Backpages, Invaluable and Termsoup to its repository.
- More Military History: A new Consortium of Wikipedia Military Historians has been founded to promote support to military historians across all Wikimedia platforms.
- Wiki Loves Pride/Women in Red: The two projects collaborated during the entire month of June, with at least 10 related meetups taking place. Over 180 articles were created, improved or translated by this month's publication deadline.