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In January 2017, the Signpost polled its readers. We sought to learn more about our readers' habits and wishes, around subscription and notifications. We were also interested in the dynamics that bring readers to us in the first place; we believed that readers typically learn about the Signpost by finding it on their colleagues' user talk pages, but we wanted to test that hypothesis.

The poll was prompted by recent progress on a long-planned extension to Wikipedia's underlying software, which will offer a new, central page on which publications may advertise their existence, and will allow publishers to notify their readers of new issues or editions via web or email notifications instead of user talk page messages.

We also have an important (but only tangentially related) development to report. Thanks to the efforts of Evad37 and Samwilson, the Signpost once again has a functional RSS feed, here. The feed is still being refined, but is usable as of now.

Analysis

Between January 17 and February 2, 2017, we received 93 responses.

  • 54 respondents supplied usernames.
  • 61 identified themselves as subscribers; 30 said they were not, and two gave no answer to that question. (Note, we did not supply a specific definition of "subscriber.")
  • 74 listed the English Wikipedia as their "home wiki." 3 Chinese Wikipedia, 2 each from Wikidata and the French and Spanish Wikipedias, and 1 each from English Wikiquote, MediaWiki, and from the Danish, Dutch, Galician, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, and Swedish Wikipedias.

In the near term, these data will inform our decisions about the Newsletter Extension. Though it is outside the scope of our decision and our sample, the results may prove helpful to the English Wikipedia more broadly, if and when it makes a determination about whether and how to implement the extension. We were pleased with the level of response, and may run similar polls in the Signpost in the future.

How did you first learn about the Signpost?

How learned about Signpost.png
  Another Wikipedian's user talk page, 40.2%
  On a wiki (outside user space), 40.2%
  Can't remember, 13%
  Mailing list
  Social media
  Somebody told me

Wikipedia users often learn from each another through interactions on user talk pages. When one Wikipedian sees the Signpost on a colleague's user talk page, that may be roughly analogous to noticing a magazine sitting on their table; when a Signpost notification appears in the watchlist, that may be similar to seeing a newspaper on a friend's doorstep.

The Signpost enjoys strong readership and community engagement; but that's not something we can take for granted. We therefore wanted to learn more about how our readers originally learned of the Signpost. 40% of poll respondents learned from a user talk page, which would not be part of a system based on the new extension. Another 40% learned of the Signpost on a wiki; while the extension would offer an on-wiki list of newsletters, there is no easy way to predict behavior patterns around visiting a page that doesn't yet exist. Only with extensive research (beyond the remit of either the Signpost team or the Newsletter Extension team) might we develop a strong theory about how Wikipedians might become aware of the Signpost (or other newsletters) if the delivery methods were to change substantially.

We interpret this as a strong reason to approach with great caution any changes to delivery that would eliminate user talk page notification.

How do you usually find a new edition of the Signpost?

How users find the Signpost.png
  In my own user space, 51.1%
  On wiki (watchlist or central pages), 23.9%
  Email, 10.9%
  Somebody else's user space, 7.6%
  Social media, 6.5%

We were curious about what attracts our readers' attention when we publish a new edition. Since our main subscription options involve delivery to user talk pages and updated information in user page templates, we were not surprised to see more than half of respondents are alerted within their own user space.

One noteworthy result is that 7.6% learn that we have published a new edition via somebody else's user space, echoing the results of the previous question. Interestingly, three of the seven respondents who gave this answer also described themselves as subscribers. We would not have expected this as the primary answer from readers who identify as subscribers. This suggests that to some of our readers, the appearance of the Signpost in a familiar place may be part of the process that draws them into our pages, in addition to the formal notification that results from subscription.

What's your preferred way to receive the Signpost?

Preferred way to receive the Signpost.png
  User talkpage delivery with story titled laid out (as currently offered), 55.4%
  Single notification via "Echo", 28.9%
  Table of Contents, with links, via email, 8.4%
  Single link to new edition, via email, 7.2%

55% of respondents prefer notification on their user talk pages, as currently offered. While it's important to consider the role of selection bias, this is an especially strong result, and one we cannot afford to ignore. If even a few of our readers (say, 10%) preferred to have user talk notification, it would be difficult for us to justify doing away with it; but this goes far beyond a significant minority. Defying the preference of a majority is not a reasonable option, meaning that the Signpost cannot consider eliminating the present delivery method for the foreseeable future.

It was interesting to learn that 16% of our readers would prefer to receive the Signpost by email. This leaves an open question; since we do send notifications to two email lists (WikimediaAnnounce-L and Wikimedia-L), we don't know without further inquiry how well we are meeting the demand for email notification. If readers would prefer a direct email notification apart from those lists, that is something we may wish to consider in the future.

Our subscriber list has always been publicly visible. Should this continue?

Signpost subscriber list public or private.png
  I don't care, 76.7%
  Yes, keep it public, 17.8%
  No, it should not be publicly visible, 5.6%

Throughout most, if not all, of the Signpost's history, we've maintained publicly visible subscriber lists. (Those wishing to subscribe privately do have alternatives, however, such as subscribing to one of the email lists noted above, adding the Signpost issue page to their watchlist, etc.)

While we've heard no complaints about subscription privacy, we did learn that keeping subscriptions private was a goal of the extension's design team, so we included this question. We also considered that, while publications have historically used subscription methods that are at least somewhat private, many modern digital publications (such as Medium, Facebook, and Twitter) treat public expressions of interest and affiliation as a feature, not a bug.

Only 5.6% of respondents preferred that the subscription lists be kept private. We hope our current menu of options (including publication to two email lists) is adequate for those readers, but can't be certain without further inquiry.

How important is it to see our story titles as links on your talkpage?

How important to see titles?.png
  Somewhat convenient, 30.4%
  Very important, 28.3%
  Unimportant, 25%
  I don't care, 16.3%

58.7% prefer to have the titles and links to each section visible in their notifications.

Conclusions

The primary purpose of this poll was to inform the Signpost's plans: should we anticipate transitioning to the new, Echo-based Newsletter Extension if and when it becomes available on English Wikipedia? If so, should we do so at the earliest opportunity, or wait? Should we make a clean switch, or use both the old and new methods during a transition period?

Based on our analysis of the results, we do not plan to use the Newsletter Extension in the foreseeable future. We do not see evidence that our readers have a significant problem in need of a solution (nor do we have a significant problem publishing under the current system).

We also feel that the risk of disrupting the notification patterns, as well as the risk of disrupting the dynamics that lead new Wikipedians to encounter the Signpost in the course of their normal editing process, outweigh any potential benefits. Some specific concerns:

  1. Confusion for readers, or potential readers, if they encounter a page that purports to offer a comprehensive list of newsletters, and of ways to subscribe to them, but leaves out some newsletters and methods;
  2. It would tax our limited volunteer resources to take this on, to get it right, and to maintain an additional notification method during a transition period;
  3. Our exposure to new readers could suffer, and we have yet to see a sophisticated theory for how new readers could be exposed to the Signpost under the new system.

While our poll made no effort to reach beyond readers of the Signpost, in the absence of information about broader communities (like all of English Wikipedia, or all of the Wikimedia projects), we feel this poll may be useful to the extension's development team, and may also inform wiki projects' decisions about when, whether, and how to adopt the extension.

On these broader decisions, one point stands out: the Newsletter Extension relies on listing newsletters on a single, central page. If a wiki adopts the extension (at least, as it's currently designed), any newsletters that decline to opt into the new system will not be represented on that central page. This could have the undesirable result of increasing confusion about what newsletters exist, rather than decreasing it.

Regardless of whether and how it is adopted, we applaud the effort to develop new technical tools for MediaWiki users, and appreciate the opportunity to evaluate it for our needs.

Errata

Our pie charts, and their underlying data, simplify the responses to some degree; we changed the wording of some responses to establish clearer patterns (e.g., changing "es.wiki" to "Spanish Wikipedia" so the two would be grouped together under the "home wiki" question, and combining "meta change list" with "elsewhere on Wikipedia", renaming the result to "elsewhere on wiki", for the "How did you first learn about the Signpost" question.) For transparency, each pie chart's description page on Wikimedia Commons links to both the underlying data, and to the more granular pie chart with answers exactly as provided (but with usernames redacted for privacy).

For a complete list of the original poll questions, as well as a chart of the pros and cons of various delivery methods, see here.



Reader comments

Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png
A monthly overview of recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, edited jointly with the Wikimedia Research Committee and republished as the Wikimedia Research Newsletter.
This month's edition focuses on research about the role of Wikipedia in education.

"Wikipedia as a platform for impactful learning: A new course model in higher education"

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny
Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University

The paper[1] starts with a solid literature review on existing scholarship on teaching with Wikipedia, and this reviewer commends the authors for doing a very solid job with their introduction, which also displays their familiarity with Wikipedia community and institutions such as the Wiki Education Foundation and related. The authors then describe a semester-long elective course opened in the 2013 fall semester at the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, registered on Wikipedia as the Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Tel Aviv University project.

One of the unique elements here is that the authors designed a course that would not just use the Wikipedia assignment as part of the course, but also had substantial elements discussing topics such as "what Wikipedia is". Courses that significantly discuss Wikipedia are still very rare, and this one is to the best of my knowledge the first course of this type that has been described in peer reviewed literature. In terms of content generation, the course resulted in 64 new articles in Hebrew Wikipedia and 64 expanded stubs, all related to medical topics.

The article presents an in-depth overview of student responses, which were mostly positive. There are many insights which match my own experiences, including the note that "A new mini-assignment focusing on copyright violations resulted in a drastic decline in copy-paste issues" – a great idea that deserves inclusion in best practices for teaching with Wikipedia (if it is not there already). The authors also found that students' perception of Wikipedia's reliability has risen. Students did not think that their digital literacy improved significantly, but instead noted that their academic skills and collaborative work skills improved. Students were satisfied and proud, and most reported sharing their experiences with family members and friends, and would recommend this course to others. Four students (out of 62) reported editing Wikipedia after the course. The authors describe the course as successful, and note that they are expanding it to be available to more students. The authors express hope that their study and design will allow for further popularization of Wikipedia teaching assignments and Wikipedia-focused elective courses, and this editor sincerely thinks their effort will be very helpful, as in my professional experience related to reading and reviewing literature on teaching with Wikipedia for many years, this is one of the best, if not the best, treatment of this subject. Anyone interested in teaching with Wikipedia, particularly from a practical perspective, should read this paper.

Faculty perception of Wikipedia improves over five-year term

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny

This paper[2] reports on faculty perception of Wikipedia, based on a survey of academics at four Californian universities. (The authors attempted to identify all faculty members in those institutions, and asked all of them to participate in the survey. The response ratio was about 13% of a population of 3,000.) The primary research question was whether attitudes towards Wikipedia are changing. Respondents were asked whether their attitudes have shifted over the past five years, and if so, why. The study opens with an interesting literature review, citing prior works on use and perceptions of Wikipedia in academia. Following a presentation of the survey results, the authors conclude that faculty perceptions of Wikipedia have improved over the five-year period surveyed. (The perceptions of over a third of the respondents improved, while perceptions of only 6.5% worsened.) Interestingly, the number of teachers allowing students to cite Wikipedia nearly doubled from 5% to 8.5%. The biggest reported shift is for teachers recommending use of Wikipedia for initial data gathering (from 40% to 55%). Similarly, the number of those telling students to never use Wikipedia decreased from 52% to 31%. The authors find that the impacts of rank, years of teaching, or discipline on faculty attitudes are minimal. Based on qualitative comments, the authors note that negative comments about Wikipedia focused on the lack of reliability and the instability of entries. As the authors note, followup studies on what, exactly, is responsible for different attitudes will hopefully cast light on this still unclear topic. At the same time, we can reasonably expect that as time goes on, faculty views of Wikipedia will be slowly but steadily improving.

On another note, authors also found out that 13% of the respondents (52 individuals) have incorporated Wikipedia into their courses in some fashion – an interesting number regarding the spread and impact of the Wikipedia in Education initiatives.


Students report 95% of their interactions with other Wikipedians as positive – even when they are getting reverted

Reviewed by Tilman Bayer

A case study titled "Giving Psychology Away: Implementation of Wikipedia Editing in an Introductory Human Development Course"[3] reports on a Wikipedia assignment to edit psychology related content in a large introductory class (110 participants). Students received guidance in the form of in-class workshops as well as online support, and "demonstrated considerable engagement with the assignment", with an average of 14.5 edits over 50 days. Apart from peer feedback by classmates, the reactions by other Wikipedians to the students' contributions were highlighted as important in the evaluation survey:

only 6% (of 93 responses) indicated that [the students] had not interacted with outside editors. The majority (95%) identified beneficial interactions, where the editor helped them to improve their work [...]. Of the 70 students who described their interactions with these Wikipedians, over half (73%) mentioned editors who reverted their edits (perhaps due to concerns about quality or plagiarism), or corrected their punctuation/grammar (56%). Some students (17%) reported using Wikipedia talk pages to communicate with other editors. A few (6%) asked the instructor or a campus ambassador to intervene with an outside editor; another 3% described an edit war that occurred when they went back and forth with an outside Wikipedian editor, reverting their work.

The outcomes of the course were described as positive: "Students demonstrated improvements in information literacy and Wikipedia knowledge, with gains in locating and evaluating the quality of source materials." However, when the researchers checked back six months after the end of the semester, none of the students had made further edits to their articles after the course ended.


Briefly

What we know from research about why Wikipedia is still struggling to get accepted in academia, and about the benefits of teaching with Wikipedia

Reviewed by Tilman Bayer

"Teaching with Wikipedia in a 21st-century classroom: Perceptions of Wikipedia and its educational benefits"[4] offers a thorough examination of two main research areas, based on an extensive review of the existing literature (up to early 2015):

  1. "the reasons that Wikipedia is still struggling to gain acceptance among many academics and higher education professionals"
  2. The benefits of using Wikipedia in class – for educators, students and the public

Regarding the first question, the author (Piotr Konieczny – also a frequent contributor to this research report, like in this issue, but not involved with this particular review), notes that much of the coverage of skeptical attitude in academia towards Wikipedia is based on anecdotes (opinions that "are commonly backed up by references to one or two newspaper articles focusing on criticism of Wikipedia by academics"), whereas peer-reviewed publications about the question are rarer – only seven (up to 2015), whose findings are summarized in form of a handy table. All involved faculty surveys of varying sample sizes, with respondent numbers ranging from 5 to 800 (the latter in the 2015 paper by Meseguer et al., also listed below). Recurring topics include Wikipedia's credibility (both negative opinions about the project's credibility and positive opinions about the actual quality of articles) and "a negative attitude toward collaborative knowledge produced interviews with faculty members outside academia".

"Contributing to Wikipedia as an assignment for undergraduate students"

Reviewed by Piotr Konieczny

This short paper[5] describes another teaching activity. It notes that students in a German undergraduate class had much confidence in the quality of Wikipedia, but did not feel qualified to make their own contributions. The study suggests that students need a hands-on guide to explain how editing Wikipedia works, and to direct them to articles that need attention, and confirms that if a Wikipedia assignment is offered as an optional activity, relatively few students will attempt it.

Logo of Arabic Wikibooks

How to motivate students and others to contribute to Wikibooks

Reviewed by Tilman Bayer

A paper titled "How to motivate formal students and informal learners to participate in Open Content Educational Resources (OCER)?"[6] reports on results of a survey of Wikibookians in English and Arabic, conducted as part of PhD research at University of South Australia.

The survey was targeted at both readers and editors in 2009–'10 via posts to the project's mailing list ([2],[3],[4]) and banner notices on Wikibooks itself (English versions: 1,2).

Of the 262 respondents, 88% described themselves as contributors. 26% identified as female and 71.8% male, indicating one of the smallest gender gaps observed on Wikimedia projects.

Regarding incentives to contribute to Wikibooks, "tesults show the co-existence of intrinsic & extrinsic motivations and approach & avoidance motivations. Results suggest that self-learners are more likely to be excited and have their desire to learn and other endorsed values, while students likely to be 'pushed' or encouraged to write and contribute to OCER until they enjoy/value what they are doing".

K-12 teachers perceive Wikipedia as easy to use but unreliable

Reviewed by Tilman Bayer
The Technology Acceptance Model

This paper[7] reports on a survey among Israeli K-12 (i.e. primary and secondary school) teachers, whose design was informed by the technology acceptance model (TAM) theory. As summarized by the authors, "TAM suggests that when users are presented with a new technology, three major factors influence their decision about whether and how they will use it: (1) External factors, e.g. personal characteristic and background of the user (2) Perceived usefulness (3) Perceived ease of use."

The survey had 143 respondents (out of 200, reached through Facebook groups and during professional development seminars), most of whom "perceive Wikipedia as an environment of middling to poor reliability, accuracy, and timeliness. Many teachers do not realize how authoritative information is when generated by 'wisdom of crowds' and interpret it as unacceptable and untrustworthy." Among the positive assessments, "the teachers ranked the ease of use of Wikipedia as High. They consider the information very handy (M=4.46; SD=.74) and very easy to understand (M=4.05; SD=.83). Nevertheless, they perceived its overall usefulness as medium." While "a large majority of teachers don't think Wikipedia should be forbidden for learning purposes [, ...] they rank Wikipedia as a valuable source of information only on a medium level. Therefore teachers don't encourage their students to use this environment". Most of them were using Wikipedia at least once per month themselves, and more than 30% at least once per week.

As may be common in this professional group, respondents showed a huge gender gap (as extreme or even more extreme as that of Wikipedia itself, but in the opposite direction), with 11% male and 89% female. Also, "the average age was 45 years (ranging from 26 years to 67 years)." From the paper it appears however that the results indicated no gender bias or variation by age (or that the question was not examined): "Looking for correlations between teachers' use of Wikipedia with their students and their personal characteristics, the only correlation found was between the self reported information evaluation competencies of the teachers and their level of teaching their student to evaluate information in Wikipedia".

Conferences and events

See the research events page on Meta-wiki for upcoming conferences and events, including submission deadlines.

Other recent publications

Other recent education-related publications that could not be covered in time for this issue include the items listed below. Contributions are always welcome for reviewing or summarizing newly published research.

  • "Wikipedia at university: what faculty think and do about it"[8] From the abstract: "... based on a large survey to all faculty members in two large public universities [with 913 valid responses. ...] The results do not support an overwhelming sceptical attitude among faculty towards Wikipedia. The overall quality of Wikipedia articles is highly valued and most faculty are regular users, just as students are. Though most faculty show a positive view on the teaching usefulness of Wikipedia, few of them actually use it for teaching purposes. A certain conflict has been detected between standard academic procedures of knowledge building and the open collaborative model on which Wikipedia rests. In the end, two important factors play a role in shaping faculty views: their colleagues’ perceived opinions and practices, and academic disciplines." See also our previous review of an earlier publication about the same research: "Most academics are not concerned about Wikipedia's quality – but many think their colleagues are"
  • "Veni, Vidi, Vicipaedia: Using the Latin Wikipedia in an Advanced Latin Classroom"[9] From the abstract: "Vicipaedia, the Latin Wikipedia, offers instructors an easy and flexible way to integrate composition assignments into a course. The high profile and immediacy of the site makes it uniquely attractive to students while the collaborative nature and complete transparency of the editing process recommend it to instructors. This paper documents the way Vicipaedia was incorporated into one advanced Latin class as a rich learning experience that resulted in better translation and increased understanding of the language." (see also la:Usor:Dr_Ostorius)
  • "Using Wikipedia to Teach Discipline Specific Writing"[10] From the abstract: "Students at a mid-sized research institution in a course called Writing in the Health Professions evaluate Wikipedia articles related to healthcare and contribute to one of them. Writing for Wikipedia provides students with the opportunity to practice using plain language, write for an authentic audience, and engage in a non-traditional form of civic engagement. [...] In this paper, the assignment will be discussed as well as the advantages and challenges of using Wikipedia in the classroom."
  • "Improving Information Literacy Skills through Learning To Use and Edit Wikipedia: A Chemistry Perspective"[11] (coauthored by User:Walkerma) From the abstract: "This article overviews the Chemistry content on Wikipedia and how students can learn to use it effectively as an information resource, critically evaluating content, and learning key information literacy skills. We also discuss how students’ information literacy skills can be improved through a class project where students edit Wikipedia articles."
  • "The Use of Digital Media Like YouTube and Wikipedia in Education"'[12] Thesis about an online survey of 50 students. From the "Research findings" chapter: "10 students (20.4%) of the questionnaire respondents reported that they always use Wikipedia and 13 students (26.5%) answered they used Wikipedia frequently [...] (36.7%) reported that they used it occasionally. Far fewer of the respondents (2%) said that they never used it. [...] 20 students in this study (40.8%) said they used [Wikipedia] to obtain a summary or a background information about a topic and to get started to assignment, (24.5%) of the students said they refer to use it when they want to find a meaning of terms, (10.2%) stated that they used it because of its comprehensible explanations, (12.2%) said Wikipedia has certain advantages in researching over the citation at bottom of entry, (10.2%) reported that they used it to figure out search terms by having an idea about what are they going to write about, [...] (10.2%) of the respondents reported they use it because it’s up-to-date entries, as unexpected only (4.1%) of the students report that they refer to Wikipedia because it is more credible than other websites, (26.5%) respondents reported that they refer to Wikipedia because it's interface were easy to understand and use. [sic]"
  • "Writing for Wikipedia in the classroom: challenging official knowledge (a case study in 12th grade)"[13] From the abstract: "The paper describes an exploratory case study, carried out in an environment of critical action-research, at a urban K12 School in Portugal [...]. The question was: Does the activity of writing articles for Wikipedia, by students changes the way these students a) relate to knowledge (awareness of it’s constructed, dynamic nature and b) use the information available on the Internet? Through questionnaires, observation and document analysis, we found many positive outcomes, e.g. skills relating to Wikipedia system; critical awareness of the information available; awareness that a text is an unfinished product and that can be collective; awareness of ethical and legal requirements. [sic]"
  • "Basic information competencies and the use of Wikipedia in educational environments" ("Competencias informacionales básicas y uso de Wikipedia en entornos educativos", in Spanish)[14]
  • "How do Japanese students think about the credibility of Wikipedia and use Wikipedia in their learning? " ("日本の大学生のWikipediaに対する信憑性認知, 学習における利用実態とそれらに影響を与える要因", in Japanese)[15] From the English abstract: "[...] we conducted a survey on 102 students of Doshisha University in 2015. The survey concluded that students think Wikipedia has some credibility and they use it in writing reports. However, most of them never cited Wikipedia in the reference [sic] of their reports."
  • "Ninth Graders’ Use of and Trust in Wikipedia, Textbooks, and Digital Resources From Textbook Publishers"[16]
  • "Using Wikipedia to Teach Audience, Genre and Collaboration"[17] From the abstract: "This essay describes a sequence of assignments to guide students though an informed effort at making contributions to Wikipedia that persist, and suggests ways this set of exercises in social informatics may also serve a number of common goals in a variety of writing, literature, and other courses: analyzing and writing for explicit editorial guidelines (“standards” in information science; “house style” in editorial practice); understanding, conforming to, and even negotiating conventions of genres and subgenres; collaborating online; writing for an audience that is not only real but talks back; and developing deep understanding of revision and the writing, editorial, and publication processes."


References

  1. ^ Sigalov, Shani Evenstein; Nachmias, Rafi (2016-12-12). "Wikipedia as a platform for impactful learning: A new course model in higher education". Education and Information Technologies: 1–21. doi:10.1007/s10639-016-9564-z. eISSN 1573-7608. ISSN 1360-2357.closed access / author link
  2. ^ Aline Soules (2015-03-09). "Faculty Perception of Wikipedia in the California State University System". New Library World. doi:10.1108/NLW-08-2014-0096. ISSN 0307-4803. closed access
  3. ^ Shane-Simpson, Christina; Che, Elizabeth; Brooks, Patricia J. (2016-11-01). "Giving Psychology Away: Implementation of Wikipedia Editing in an Introductory Human Development Course". Psychology Learning & Teaching. 15 (3): 268–293. doi:10.1177/1475725716653081. ISSN 1475-7257.>
  4. ^ Konieczny, Piotr (2016-04-01). "Teaching with Wikipedia in a 21st-century classroom: Perceptions of Wikipedia and its educational benefits". Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. doi:10.1002/asi.23616. ISSN 2330-1643. closed access Temporary author link available via [1]
  5. ^ Reimers, Gabriel; Neovesky, Anna. "Contributing to Wikipedia as an assignment for undergraduate students" (PDF). Proceedings of DisCo 2016: Towards open education and information society.
  6. ^ Hanna, Amal (2014). "How to motivate formal students and informal learners to participate in Open Content Educational Resources (OCER)?". International Journal of Research in Open Educational Resources. 1 (1): 1–15.
  7. ^ Meishar-Tal, Hagit (2015-01-01). "Teachers' use of Wikipedia with their Students". Australian Journal of Teacher Education. 40 (12). doi:10.14221/ajte.2015v40n12.9. ISSN 1835-517X.
  8. ^ Aibar, Eduard; Lladós-Masllorens, Josep; Meseguer-Artola, Antoni; Minguillón, Julià; Lerga, Maura (2015-07-21). "Wikipedia at university: what faculty think and do about it". The Electronic Library. 33 (4): 668–683. doi:10.1108/EL-12-2013-0217. ISSN 0264-0473. closed access
  9. ^ Oosterhuis, David (2016). "Veni, Vidi, Vicipaedia: Using the Latin Wikipedia in an Advanced Latin Classroom" (PDF). Teaching Classical Languages. 7 (2): 30. ISSN 2160-2220. (archived from the original)
  10. ^ Callens, Melissa Vosen (2016-06-28). Using Wikipedia to Teach Discipline Specific Writing. EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. 2016. pp. 1299–1303. ISBN 9781939797247. closed access
  11. ^ Walker, Martin A.; Li, Ye (2016-03-08). "Improving Information Literacy Skills through Learning To Use and Edit Wikipedia: A Chemistry Perspective". Journal of Chemical Education. 93 (3): 509–515. doi:10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00525. ISSN 0021-9584. closed access
  12. ^ Shehab, Abdulkarim; Kadhem, Kadhem Husain (April 2016). "The Use of Digital Media Like YouTube and Wikipedia in Education". (student thesis)
  13. ^ Oliveira, Lia Raquel; Martins, Lauro Manuel (2016). "Writing for Wikipedia in the classroom: challenging official knowledge (a case study in 12th grade)". ECER 2016. ECER 2016.
  14. ^ Tramullas, Jesús (2016-06-07). "Competencias informacionales básicas y uso de Wikipedia en entornos educativos". Revista Gestión de la Innovación en Educación Superior. 1 (1). ISSN 0719-7624.
  15. ^ Sho Sato, Ranko Ide, Saki Ota, Naoki Hayashi, Kana Michura, Saori Soeda (佐藤 翔, 井手 蘭子, 太田 早紀, 林 直樹, 道浦 香奈, 副田 沙織): "How do Japanese students think about the credibility of Wikipedia and use Wikipedia in their learning?" ("日本の大学生のWikipediaに対する信憑性認知, 学習における利用実態とそれらに影響を与える要因"). Joho Chishiki Gakkaishi (情報知識学会誌), Vol. 26 (2016) No. 2 p. 195-200. (in Japanese, with English abstract)
  16. ^ Hatlevik, Ove Edvard (2016). "Ninth Graders' Use of and Trust in Wikipedia, Textbooks, and Digital Resources From Textbook Publishers". Digital Expectations and Experiences in Education. pp. 205–219. doi:10.1007/978-94-6300-648-4_12. closed access
  17. ^ Bilansky, Alan (March 2016). "Using Wikipedia to Teach Audience, Genre and Collaboration". Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture.



Reader comments


Responsive content for a narrow screen... "isn't that beautiful?"

CREDIT showcase (Community, Reading, Editing, Discovery, Infrastructure and Technology) is a monthly live-streamed meeting that demonstrations developers' recent work, such as new gadgets, experiments and independent projects. It is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, with presentations from Wikimedia Engineering teams or individuals. The following highlights have been taken from the February's CREDIT showcase, which is available in full on Commons (WebM video) or on YouTube.

Responsive content for narrow and wide-screen displays

Derk-Jan Hartman (User:TheDJ) has written some CSS styling rules that makes Vector, the default desktop skin, adapt the display of content for both narrow and wide displays. These changes include limiting the width of content, adjusting the font size, and for wide screens, moving images and infoboxes into sidebars. The responsive content CSS is available on-wiki for users to install and test.[1]

On-wiki translatable training modules

A training module that takes it content from wiki pages

Sage Ross has developed a framework for presenting community built training modules. The modules are designed to present "bite-sized" bits of information in a way that is easy to learn - a slideshow to navigate through, without lots of distracting links that on-wiki content usually has. The slide contents are pulled from wiki pages, which makes them editable and translatable.

Offline content in the Android app

The Wikipedia Android app detects that the device is offline, and seamlessly switches to an already-download collection of articles
Kiwix is an app that allows offline browsing of Wikipedia, after downloading a collection of articles. Dmitry Brant has worked on seamlessly integrating this functionality into the Wikipedia Android app. When it detects that the device is offline, the app automatically switches to the offline collection as the content source (and warns the user that articles might not be up to date). Mobile app features, such as collapsing infoboxes and searching within the page, still work. Users can also continue reading articles they had been reading online, and navigate through links, with the pages being fetched from the offline collection. The user experience of downloading the offline collection still needs to be worked on.

Random locale for Android app developers

Stephen Niedzielski demonstrated a small change in the developmental version of the Wikipedia Android app – a randomised locale is chosen when the first time the app launched after installation. This ensures single-lingual or even bilingual developers experience "a little bit of what the rest of the world sees" in one of the almost 300 languages other than English (or their preferred language). This makes developers less likely to be completely unaware of issues in other locales.

After installing this developmental version of the Android app, the locale is randomly set to "MN" (Mongolian)

In brief

Newly approved bot tasks

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community: 2017 #6, #7, & #8. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available on Meta.

  • Problems
  • Recent changes
    • Wikimedia pages will now be better at showing pictures when you share them on social media. The descriptions will be different too. You can see an example of before and after. (Phabricator task T157055)
    • The TwoColConflict extension is a new way to solve edit conflicts. It makes it easier to copy and paste the relevant text to the text field. It came to Meta and German Wikipedia recently (week of 13 February). It is also available on MediaWiki.org. It will come to more wikis later. (Meta page)
    • The edit summary box is now a little bit bigger. This is to make it follow the Wikimedia design guide. (Phabricator task T152025) You can make your edit summary box smaller again by adding code like #wpSummary { padding: 0.2em !important; } to your CSS (the number can be adjusted until it looks right for you).
    • Octicons-tools.svg There are some changes to the OOjs UI. Some old functions will not work anymore or not work as they used to. This could be a breaking change. (Wikitech mailing list)
    • Octicons-tools.svg EventStreams is a new way to show activity on Wikimedia wikis. For now it works with the recent changes feed. It will do more things later. It will replace RCStream. Tools that use RCStream should move to EventStreams before 7 July. (Analytics mailing list)
    • Octicons-tools.svg The Developer Wishlist is a list where developers prioritize tools they need. The voting closed at 14 February 23:59 (UTC), and the results are available on MediaWiki.org. This process is only for developers.
  • Changes this week
  • Future changes
    • Page Previews (formerly called Hovercards) was turned on for logged-out users on the Catalan, Greek, Russian, and Italian Wikipedias in the middle of February. It will be updated on 23 February to fix many bugs, and it be deployed to more wikis in March and April. Page Previews shows readers a short part of a linked article when they rest their mouse pointer on the link. This is to help them understand what it is about without leaving the article they are reading. (Phabricator task T156290, rollout plan on MediaWiki.org)
    • Octicons-tools.svg Tidy will be replaced later this year (see previous Signpost coverage). Instead, the HTML 5 parsing algorithm will be used to clean up bad HTML in wikitext. This will cause problems on a number of wikis. They need to be fixed first. You can see if your wiki still has something to fix here for one of the HTML problems. This list does not cover all problems. You can read about more problems. (Phabricator tasks T89331 & T134423)
  • Review

Installation code

  1. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    mw.loader.load( '/w/index.php?title=User:TheDJ/responsiveContent.css&action=raw&ctype=text/css', 'text/css' ); // Backlink: [[User:TheDJ/responsiveContent.css]]



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PyramidMGraceland.jpg
The Daily Mail's lead headline as news broke of its Wikipedia "ban" was about the Illuminati and pyramid mausoleums.

The recent closing of an English Wikipedia request for comment (RfC) on the reliability of British tabloid The Daily Mail as a source has drawn wide press attention. The Guardian first covered the story (February 8), followed by a piece in Engadget (Feb. 9), and a flurry of coverage in various outlets extending for more than a week.

Some coverage described the decision as a "ban," and some in the Wikipedia community have objected to the use of the term. The text in the RFC stated that the source is "generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist." Many editors have long avoided using the newspaper, which in a pre-Internet world was known outside Britain as being lampooned by The Smiths in 1986's The Queen Is Dead ("Charles don't you ever crave, to appear on the front of the Daily Mail, dressed in your mother's bridal veil.")

The Daily Mail responded, quoted first in a Press Gazette story (February 10). The response rambled from one point to another, stating that the Daily Mail had banned Wikipedia as a source in 2014 (and why not before?), mocking the editor who initiated the RFC, and suggesting procedural problems in the decision. Signpost editor Pete Forsyth published a point-by-point rebuttal (February 13), which was featured on the front page of medium.com. According to a public statement from the RFC initiator, personnel from the Daily Mail also paid an unannounced and unwelcome visit to a family member of his; responding to a Signpost inquiry, he added that they had returned a second time. He also speculated that the Daily Mail's characterization of him as a "clearly obsessive newspaper-hater" may have derived from an abandoned project of his, dubbed the "Tabloid Terminator," in which he sought to improve sourcing in prominent biographies. Jimmy Wales publicly invited the Wikipedian to contact him for assistance.

The story continued to expand. AdWeek, Al Arabiya, and Mashable joined the fun, and there were more news blips (CNN, Fox News, Newsweek). Some, including the original Guardian story, quoted a response from the Wikimedia Foundation.

Responding to a question about whether commentary from Wikipedia administrators, rather than the WMF, might have made a better focal point for his initial story and his February 12 followup piece, Guardian reporter Jasper Jackson said "I do and I did confirm various details with people involved." He added that "it could be easier for a reporter to contact Wikipedia administrators, and some sort of easily available contact information, ie an email address, would be helpful." Jackson may continue covering the piece, and he invites commentary via Twitter or email.

Slate's Will Oremus generally praised Wikipedia's decision and its transparent and deliberate nature, but he cautioned that "Wikipedia's [often non-expert] editors are opening a dangerous box by targeting specific news outlets for blanket prohibitions. Bans are binary, whereas journalistic credibility lies on a spectrum." The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard wrote: "The concept of 'ban' on Wikipedia is a strange one since anybody can edit an article. This is more like an agreement among Wikipedia's most active editors to try to address the problem by not linking to Daily Mail articles and by editing sources that do link to them."

As numerous other media piled on, editors at Wikipedia's Reliable Sources noticeboard had mixed reactions. In a series of tweets quoted by "Political Scrapbook", Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said the "...organization did not decide this, contributors did," affirming that the Wikimedia Foundation had not participated in the decision.

Wikipedia's article on the Daily Mail has been semi-protected since January 2013, preventing direct edits from new Wikipedia contributors.

Discerning readers may recognize an echo, in this article's title, from the 1980s sitcom Yes Prime Minister; see quote, video clip.

In brief

Colt Third Model Dragoon Percussion Revolver, Serial Number 12406 MET DT3916.jpg
Colt Third Model Dragoon Percussion Revolver, one of 375,000 public domain images released by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next week's edition in the Newsroom or contact the editor.



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This is a small selection of the images held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of WikiProject Metropolitan Museum of Art, which have recently been released under the Creative Commons Zero dedication (see Signpost coverage). Further images are available on Commons.



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Tom (LT910001) has been a Wikipedia editor since 2013. He is an active anatomy editor who also dabbles in good article reviewing, template discussions, and occasional edits to medical articles. He discovered peer review in 2013 and has become very active in the process since.

English Wikipedia's peer review process is a relatively unknown yet fairly active venue for feedback. Editors can request a review of an article, regardless of its stage of development, in general form or highlighting specific areas they are looking to improve. One or more editors may weigh in.

Here, I outline the history of peer review and my contributions to it, and detail future plans and a request for more reviewers.

Introduction

Peer review runs similarly to other processes such as good articles and featured articles: an editor may post a request, and one or more editors answer that request, critiquing the article. Editors who submit their work for review range from novices with their first article to those seeking feedback before nomination to the good article or featured article forums.

The peer-review venue was created in 2003 by Wapcaplet (now inactive); the first article reviewed was States of the United States. The process quickly gained popularity. Reviews were manually added to a list, until a 2005 redesign based on transclusion. Editors had to manually add and remove articles until 2008, when the processes for adding articles to the list and for closing old reviews were automated by VeblenBot (inactive), created by CBM (inactive), and reviews were split into categories.

Processes and procedures

After creation, peer review rapidly developed a set of instructions and advice. A "policy" page formalising review closure criteria had developed by 2005, created first by Bishonen. Ta bu shi da yu (inactive) began to archive old reviews from 2005. A list of volunteers by topic area was created in 2007 by Marskell (inactive). From 2008, Ruhrfisch began a backlog of unanswered reviews. In 2012 an "alert" template cautioning editors from directly posting reviews on the main peer review page was created by Ruhrfisch.

I first encountered peer review in 2013. In comparison to processes such as "good articles" and "featured articles" I found it messy and disorganised. These had developed friendlier interfaces, clearer instructions, had split into several pages for ease of use and load times (a crippling issue for me, using wireless internet in a rural area at the time), had a greater degree of automation, and more active users. These had changed with time; peer review appeared mostly unaltered for many years. Three things struck me:

  1. Repetitive, mind-numbing processes existed which could be eased or automated
  2. Processes had been intermittently stalled because of a bus factor of 1 (Emphasised by the poetic interludes of Ruhrfisch, styled on Geometry guy (inactive): "Still getting darker in the north, lighter in the south, such is the time of year" [5] [6] [7]
  3. There was significant duplication among pages. This made it confusing to work out the "definitive" version of any set of instructions and also made it harder to improve and discuss change.

Finding the actual peer reviews very useful, I have since striven to gradually improve the process, with discussion and consensus. My goal has been to make it easier to use, and therefore more widely used, as part of Wikipedia's growing infrastructure for supporting new editors, and another way of helping users non-confrontationally gather feedback about their articles.

I started by creating a tabbed header of commonly used pages, similar to good and featured articles; and by branding the peer review pages with a colour scheme. I created a sidebar with other main pages (identified via "what links here" and also "subpages") and put links to as many relevant templates into the "tools" subpage, where I tried to document the byzantine template- and bot-based technical underpinnings of the peer review process.

A sample:

The Category Format (CF) templates are a suite of templates to be used in conjunction with automatic category listing. An automatically listed category is a category which has an associated category list page where the items in the category are listed ... for maximum flexibility, the entries on the category list page are formatted using a subtemplate of CF named after the category. For instance each page in an automatically listed Category:foo has a corresponding entry.

I have centralised information, truncated text, simplified instructions, and made small changes to ease reviewing (such as including the date of creation and last edit on all displayed reviews; slipping in a request for reciprocity in instructions). I have simplified the technical side of things for future editors (this has included creating simpler and comprehensive documentation; centralising the 11 identical templates; simplifying the archive process.) We now link to categories of monthly reviews; previously, an editor had to copy and parse reviews each month, a time-consuming process that understandably was often months behind.

Problems

Reviews would not transclude to the main page during mid-2015, due to a technical cap on the amount of text that can be transcluded. When this is exceeded, nothing transcludes and, with great foresight, peer review receives a message from VeblenBot. With too many reviews (and delays in automatic closure), this limit had been exceeded. We quickly implemented a fix – reviews of a certain length now display their text on the main page. After this limit, a link is provided to the main review. I hope in the future that we continue to have this problem, because it indicates that the process is being used more and more.

We've had long-running issues with on-again–off-again bots over the last two to three years, which has impacted the displaying of new reviews, and the closing of old reviews. I hope this has been finally solved by AnomieBOT (thank you!!). The bot was designed in response to requests at the technical village pump and bot requests, and even a failed attempt I made to learn bot coding. This again illustrates the frustrating aspect of a small bus factor, particularly for such a critical bot as VeblenBot.

The "unanswered reviews" list was automated in 2016. This replaced a "backlog" template that was infrequently edited, with months often lapsing between edits due to the complexity and time-consuming nature of the task. An editor has to manually scan the list of reviews (daily if the template were to be kept up to date) and add reviews older than a certain duration to the template; and check all reviews on the template to see if they had been reviews. This required a lot of effort and months often passed without reviews. The current automatic method is imperfect and not entirely satisfactory, but at least provides a more up-to-date list. It displays only reviews that have never been edited. I should mention and thank on behalf of the community Cirt (inactive) and Brianboulton (active), who maintained the backlog list for some time.

Call for reviewers

Peer review is busier and busier than ever, and is attracting more and more reviews. This is great news and I'm pleased to see the diverse nature of requests posted. But we're still plagued by a lack of reviewers; there's nothing special needed to become a reviewer, and frankly not that much time needed for a review.

Most editors, in my experience, are seeking some general tips about the articles they are editing – general help about sourcing, structure, titles, images and so forth. Interested editors have the potential to help ease newer editors' introduction to Wikipedia – this may appeal particularly to those civic-minded people who help out at the teahouse.

Editors seeking review often do so for no other reason than a desire to improve articles and better write articles in the future. By helping these editors, who are often new, you can make them feel welcome, and make a positive contribution to their future edits and to the encyclopedia as a whole. I hope I've given you an idea of the evolving nature of peer review, and that you'll consider participating! Please drop by and have a look at peer review every so often, and pick up one or two reviews.



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Guy Macon has been a Wikipedian since 2005, has more than 30,000 edits to his name, and is the author of the Wikipedia essay WP:1AM. He runs a consulting business, rescuing engineering projects that have gone seriously wrong.
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WMF expenses by fiscal year, from founding in 2002-'03 through 2015-'16. Lines at US$20 million increments.



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A Feeble Song in the Heart (February 12–18, 2017)

This year, the return of Valentines Day coincided with the broadcast of the 59th Grammy Awards; two annual celebrations widely seen as a joke. Does anyone truly care about the Grammys? I mean seriously, watch this Simpsons clip. There are just too many of the friggin things. Can you imagine if, say, Kate Winslet had won 19 Oscars, including two this year, but people felt she hadn't been recognised enough? Well that's exactly what was said about 19-time Grammy winner Beyoncé when she lost to Adele this week. The Grammys are, bluntly, debased currency. They never really ignite this list either, unless nerd favourites like Macklemore or Daft Punk are involved. This year didn't even see the traditional Kanye outburst. What are the Grammys coming to when people can just accept their awards without Kanye jumping the stage? In other news, the ongoing carnival of carnage that is the Trump administration continued to provide much fodder for further reading. Oh, and tens of thousands of people are at risk of death. --Serendipodous

For the full Top 25 this week, see Wikipedia:Top 25 Report/February 12 to 18, 2017.

For the week of February 12 to 18, 2017, the ten most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Valentine's Day C-Class 1,519,240
Antique Valentine 1909 01.jpg
The annual greeting-card consumption festival returned to the top of the chart this week, though with a fairly anaemic view count compared to past years (see 2013 and 2014 and 2015).
2 Oroville Dam Good Article 998,789
Oroville dam aerial.jpg
"We're in the middle of a drought and the water commissioner drowns!" goes the memorable line from Chinatown, "Only in LA!" Well the Oroville Dam isn't in LA, but it seems California can outdo fiction for irony, as recent epochal rainfall during the worst drought in the region's history has slowly begun to overwhelm this dam, meaning a lot more than just the water commissioner are in danger of drowning. In fact 188,000 people were evacuated as a precaution. One of Wikipedia's less heralded uses is providing up to the minute information during periods of crisis, so it's not surprising people turned to it.
3 Michael T. Flynn C class 959,948
Michael T Flynn.jpg
On February 13, 2017, Michael T. Flynn became the shortest-serving National Security Advisor in US history upon resigning his position after just 24 days. Turns out getting caught lying does have consequences for politicians. Particularly when it involves lying about treating with an unfriendly foreign power. Given how deeply connected the Trump administration is to said foreign power (Russia), and how rapidly the revelations on this topic have been breaking, I don't think this is the last we'll see of him.
4 Donald Trump C class 862,573
Trump visits MacDill Air Force Base (31942365443).jpg
WDDD? What Did Donald Do this week? Well judging from the headlines specific to this time frame, "White House chaos" seems to be the dominant theme, as many of his ... controversial appointees either didn't get confirmed, were confirmed under dubious circumstances, or resigned. Apparently to remedy this, the President decided to call a last minute press conference so bizarre that late night comedians made montages of cable news talk show hosts opening their commentary with "... Wow".
5 Chance the Rapper C class 839,710
Chance The Rapper 2013.jpg
The, er, rapper won three awards at the Grammys this week, including "Best New Artist", the award most widely regarded as a poisoned chalice, having in the past been awarded to such nascent icons as Sheena Easton, Men At Work, Marc Cohn and Evanescence. Still, for every one of those there's an Adele, Amy Winehouse, or Bobby Darin, and Meghan Trainor remains popular for some reason, so call it a 50/50 shot.
6 Bruno Mars Good Article 774,985
Bruno Mars, Las Vegas 2010.jpg
He didn't win (that was last year) but his tribute performance of Prince's Let's Go Crazy in full Purple Rain getup, including ruffles and eyeliner, wowed both the audience and the critics.
7 Elimination Chamber (2017) n/a 771,938
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WWE's latest pay-per-view pantomime was staged at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona on February 12.
8 Justin Trudeau C-class 739,930
Justin Trudeau 2014-1.jpg
The Prime Minister of Canada and head of state everyone in the Western world secretly wants as their own met with Donald Trump this week, leading to a number of "bae" memes, including a shot of Trump's daughter Ivanka apparently giving him the eye.
9 Deaths in 2017 List 727,657
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After the annus mortalis that was 2016, the "Deaths in... " list seems to have settled down to its stable, comforting thrum, albeit at a far higher average number of views. Again, because its numbers vary so little from week to week, it acts like a barometer of traffic levels, and the fact that it has shot up 7 slots shows just how pallid the view count is this week.
10 Adele C-class 703,229
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The British belter is no stranger to Grammys- she's won 14, five of which were awarded this year, for her album 25 and song Hello. Not bad for a girl from Tottenham who released her first album less than a decade ago.

Football and Politics Do Not Mix (February 5–11, 2017)

It initially seemed "death" was a major theme in this week's report, but neither Shannon Matthews (#9) nor the guys who stole the Boeing 727-223 (#23) are confirmed to be dead, and the Bowling Green massacre (#20) was not a massacre at all. What we're left with is, as always, politics and sports. The Super Bowl (#6, #11) clearly topped the report this week, with Tom Brady (#1) of the Patriots (#7) defeating the Falcons (#21) in a never-before-seen comeback. No American event can be without its politics, but neither Lady Gaga (#2) nor George H. W. Bush (#25) are controversial figures today. Meanwhile, all that's on Dutch TV seems to be ice skating, which does not appear in the top 5000 at all.--Maplestrip

For the full Top 25 this week, see Wikipedia:Top 25 Report/February 5 to 11, 2017.

For the week of February 5 to 11, 2017, the ten most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Tom Brady B class 3,748,813
Tom Brady (cropped).jpg
Quarterback of the New England Patriots (#7), Tom Brady seems to have broken various Super Bowl records last week. Apparently, "Brady directed the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to tie the game at the end of regulation. This resulted in the first overtime in the history of the storied game." He is now the first quarterback in NFL history to win five Super Bowls. I can understand why people are so interested in the man.
2 Lady Gaga Good Article 2,870,782
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Lady Gaga headlined the Super Bowl halftime show (#24). There were no major controversies: she sang a few lines of various nationalist songs, ranging from "God Bless America" to "This Land is Your Land". Her song "Born This Way" may have been the most politically progressive song to have ever been sung at the Super Bowl, but the event was otherwise just some good old pop fun. Probably for the best.
3 Betsy DeVos C class 1,439,337
Betsy DeVos.jpg
I was surprised to see that the United States Congress accepted DeVos as the US' new Secretary of Education. I suppose I should know better by now. Let's see how this activist-turned-politician will handle the country's school system.
4 List of Super Bowl champions Featured Article 1,282,718
SuperBowl I - Los Angeles Coliseum.jpg
Patriots, broncos, seahawks, ravens, giants, and saints – I have always liked how American football teams are named. The Patriots (#7) have a very successful history with the Super Bowl, but you wouldn't be able to predict the winner of any given event from this list.
5 Donald Trump Start class 1,227,176
Trump visits MacDill Air Force Base (31942365443).jpg
Donald Trump is still controversial. His executive order that bans people from seven random countries is still under heavy fire; Trump keeps sending out Twitter messages about how the federal judge and court system are putting the entire nation in peril. Now, if he could tell us why these seven countries specifically are dangerous, he might be able to save the country.
6 Super Bowl LI C class 1,140,923
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Some of this year's highly-watched Super Bowl commercials have been perceived as anti-Trump, or at least pro-immigration. I'm the kind of person that likes to look for politics everywhere I can in American media, and I won't let some sporting event get in-between that.
7 New England Patriots Good Article 1,098,494
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The New England Patriots won said sporting event (#6). Having appeared nine times in the Super Bowl and having won five of these matches, the Patriots are possibly the most successful American football team in the country. Congratulations, Greater Boston region.
8 XXX 1,095,937
XXX P icon.png
I don't know if people are looking for the ZZ Top album or the triple X syndrome. I'm sure it's not the latest Vin Diesel film XXX: Return of Xander Cage they are looking for, which is part of the XXX film series.
9 Kidnapping of Shannon Matthews B class 915,840 The 1998 kidnapping and abuse of nine-year old child Shannon Matthews is currently being dramatized as The Moorside. After reading this article, all I care about knowing is how Matthews is doing today, something that isn't touched upon in it at all. For the record, it seems like the girl was caught by social services and given a new identity.
10 Gisele Bündchen B class 794,893
Gisele Bündchen 2006.jpg
This gorgeous model is the wife of Tom Brady (#1).

Are you tired of winning yet? (January 29 – February 4, 2017)

Once again, President Trump dominates the headlines, bylines and edit wars of Wikipedia. His nominees Neil Gorsuch and Betsy DeVos have risen to instant fame, the former getting the final rose in The Bachelor meets the Supreme Court, and the latter seeing her three-hour hearing before Congress reduced to a soundbite about protecting schools from grizzly bears; life is harsh in the world of entertainment politics… Opposing Trump can lead to instant fame too, as proven by Sally Yates from Obama's Justice Department, who was fired pronto after daring to question the constitutionality of Executive Order 13769. The few entries that are not about politics also bear the Midas Touch of The Donald, with a WWE event and Miss Universe contest in which he was once heavily involved. Only Swiss tennis, Indian movies and British monarchs escaped the unpresidented tsunami. --JFG

For the full Top 25 this week, see Wikipedia:Top 25 Report/January 29 to February 4, 2017.

For the week of January 29 to February 4, 2017, the ten most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Neil Gorsuch Start class 2,453,582
Neil Gorsuch 10th Circuit.jpg
In a perfectly orchestrated ceremony, complete with red carpet and red roses, Donald Trump delivered the Supreme Court benediction nomination to Federal Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, who had been on Trump's short list of Supreme Court candidates announced during his campaign. He's got the honest good looks of a Bachelor candidate, and some people say appearance must have played a role in the cathodic President's decision.
2 Royal Rumble (2017) Unassessed 2,115,245
John Cena at a WWE house show in January 2015.jpg
John Cena wins again, scoring his 13th WWE Championship title. Tremendous guy! Trump loves him. Believe me!
3 Donald Trump C class 1,855,391
Trump signing order January 27 (square crop).jpg
Two weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump keeps everybody's heads spinning. From typing unpresidented tweets to penning tough-looking executive orders, his fingers know no rest. Expect him to grab Australia by the Aussie, China by the vagina and Mexico by the sombrero.
4 Roger Federer Featured Article 1,535,712
R federer.jpg
The Swiss Borg. Such a winner. Fifth Australian Open. 18th Grand Slam title. Won more than 1,000 matches. 302 weeks ranked #1. The greatest. Best paid too. Now that we're on winning terms, Roger has a message for President Trump. You see, Switzerland is not only home to the best tennis players, but we've got the best mountains. Look at those big fat mountains. Unlike the Netherlands, so flat, total disaster.
5 Milo Yiannopoulos C class 1,388,501
Milo Yiannopoulos, Journalist, Broadcaster and Entrepreneur-1441 (8961808556) cropped.jpg
Gay immigrant journalist with a black boyfriend and a loud mouth who trolls feminists and calls Trump "Daddy". After protesters violently torched the UC Berkeley campus to prevent violent speech, Milo's unreleased book, Dangerous, topped Amazon pre-sales again. So much for silencing him…
6 Steve Bannon C class 1,364,232
Steve Bannon - Caricature2.jpg
Trump's éminence grise is reportedly busy drafting the Star Wars meta-sequel. With just 24,000 views between them, I bet he's jealous of Milo Yiannopoulos now.
7 Fred Korematsu C class 1,059,722
Fred Korematsu.jpg
How could we ever complete our history lessons without the good graces of Google Doodles? Korematsu opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 which placed Japanese Americans, German Americans and Italian Americans in internment camps following the Pearl Harbor attack. Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger designated January 30 the Fred Korematsu Day, placing the man just two degrees of The Donald. Who would surely have fired him. (See #10.)
8 Raees (film) C class 1,043,144
No free image (camera).svg
Why do we get Shah Rukh Khan, King of Bollywood, when we need Khizr Khan? Uh, sorry, not the founder of the Sayyid dynasty, I mean the guy who single-handedly revived sales of pocket constitutions. See also Kaabil (#16). And did you know that Raees also means President? I love Indian people. Indians have the best words. It's true!
9 Edmonia Lewis B class 953,833
Edmonia lewis hiawatha.jpg
It's Black History Month, folks! Google Doodle honored this 19th-century black sculptor. A woman too. Tremendous people! See also Frederick Douglass (#18).
10 Sally Yates C class 884,904
Sally Q. Yates.jpg
Got her 15 minutes of fame for standing up to Trump and getting fired. Sad. Although she can surely get a book deal now (see #5). Call it When Harry Reid met Sally Yates. At least Sally Ride (unrelated to Harry Reid) had the wisdom to board Space Shuttle Challenger before it blew up. And she wasn't fired. Such a winner.




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The following content has been republished from the Wikimedia Blog. Any views expressed in this piece are not necessarily shared by the Signpost; responses and critical commentary are invited in the comments. For more information on this partnership, see our content guidelines.


WikiIndaba video
Bobby Shabangu Wiki Indaba 2017.jpg
Bobby Shabangu, the author.

The African continent supports about 1.1 billion people, nearly a seventh of the world’s population. As of 2014, 19% of the continent’s population used the internet, including ready access in fourteen of its major cities.

This means there are more Africans who read or have had interaction with Wikipedia than those who are contributing to the website.

This then raises several questions: why are Africans themselves not contributing to Wikipedia? Who is contributing? What challenges are Wikipedia volunteers facing in the African continent? What are the successes and what can be learned from other African Wikimedians? And what needs to be done going forward?

All these were questions raised at the second-ever WikiIndaba conference, held in Accra, Ghana from 20–22 January 2017. A regional conference of African Wikimedians, WikiIndaba is named for the Zulu tradition of gathering the Indunas (chiefs) to determine problems and find ways forward. 49 Wikimedians from 18 countries, including 13 African nations, attended.

At WikiIndaba, African Wikimedians, stakeholders, and non-Africans, all with an interest in the open movement, came together to identify solution to the challenges facing Wikipedia user groups and chapters on the African continent and its diaspora. This was in line with the conference’s theme, which was centered around three key areas:

Indaba 3.jpg
Part of WikiIndaba's organizing team
  • Growth within the African continent
  • Building capacity among Africans
  • Connecting Africans both within and the diaspora.

The conference covered several diverging themes, from why Africa’s growth depends on cross collaborations of open movements, to how to choose partnerships and communicate with partners, to the potential of Wikidata.

Two sessions, however, stood out to me the most. One came from Peter Gallert, a university professor in Namibia who focused on the use of oral citations on Wikipedia. Peter noted that there is more to oral citations than what is captured on visual or audio recordings, and the recordings can be misinterpreted by those unfamiliar with the specific cultural context. This can go both ways, Peter noted, as the framing of questions is important. I was particularly fascinated by his example of interviewing a village elder, where Peter noted that something as simple as "what year was electricity brought to the village?" could be misunderstood, as "he might not be counting the way you are counting." In this instance, one needs to ask about what chief was in power when electricity came.

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The focus of Peter's presentation was to show the stark difference between Western and African citations, how each can learn from the other, and to argue that Wikipedia needs to accommodate all kinds of knowledge sources. But when the problem is compounded by a culture of speedily deleted articles, the conference realised that this would be a difficult feat to accomplish.

The second session that stood out to me was Asaf Bartov's presentation on conflict engagement, which focused on giving Wikimedians the necessary tools to deal with or handle conflict better. Asaf, who is a Senior Program Officer of emerging Wikimedia communities at the Wikimedia Foundation, argued that as humans we cannot avoid conflicts because it’s part of human behaviour. He made the example of an elephant and a mahout, the elephant being your emotions and the mahout being yourself. "As Wikipedians we must strive to control our emotions," he said. "That's what the mahout does to the elephant." Wikimedians are people too; sometimes they lose their cool. When you are confronted by someone who deletes an article you've just created or reverts your edit, Asaf said, we should try to deal with the person on the merits of their action rather than personal attacks. Bring as many facts as you can to the table, and if you win your case, don’t crush that person’s ego by bragging about your win.

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Ghanaian Wikimedians

An emphasis of this presentation was that conflict can be prevented by clear and open communication. When one person frames what they want to say by clearly letting people know the subject topic of what they want to address, they then have to advocate their claim by supporting their statement, illustrate how their idea will work, and obtain other opinions on what they think of the idea. "If you don't reach consensus," Asaf said, "you can always solve a dispute by a vote, that's the culture at Wikimedia." As Asaf was presenting, I realized that all of this is not an easy thing to do, but it's something that can be learned over time.

The final part of the conference was open to questions from the floor, which helped to give an overall view of what participants were thinking about the conference and what they thought needed to be done going forward. For example, one point of concern was that there is not much representation from all the regions of African continent; more activation work needs to be done by participants in their respective countries to activate volunteers for better representation. Katherine Maher, the Wikimedia Foundation's Executive Director, gave closing remarks thanking all who participated and the organising team. She ended with a congratulatory note to Tunisia, who will be the next host country for Indaba 2018.



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