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Wikimania next week!

Wikimania 2017 in Montreal

This is an actual conference venue power outlet. It has been verified by a trusted Wikipedian. Do not be misled!

Wikimania 2017, the international Wikimedia conference, will be August 9–13 in Montreal. The event invites Wikimedia contributors from around the world to convene and discuss anything related to Wikimedia projects. The conference website includes the programme of scheduled talks, keynote speakers, and various preconference activities.

Following Wikimedia community tradition, various people have complained and been confused on the Wikimania-l mailing list. The two most popular conversations in July were the 23 post review of AC power plugs and sockets in Canada and the 53 posts about visa rejections.

Wikimedia France problems continue

Wikimedia France has continued to suffer prolonged problems (see previous Signpost coverage).

On 1 July the organization confirmed a new board of trustees. On 23 July, the board secretary announced to the greater Wikimedia community that one of the eight board members, Louise Merzeau, had died and the treasurer had resigned and already been replaced. This is the fifth board resignation in less than five months. The announcement noted that the chair, vice chair, and secretary are unchanged by these developments.

A WMF site visit was held on July 25–26, 2017. A special general assembly by request of 25% of members has been scheduled for September 9, when the community will elect members to six open seats. In October, the regularly scheduled general assembly will proceed to elect six currently held seats.

The international Wikimedia community saw and discussed one highly visible cause or symptom of conflict in May 2017 when the Funds Dissemination Committee gave WMFR only fifty percent of their requested grant. The Signpost reminds readers that no part of Wikipedia is competitive, that all Wikimedia chapters should support each other, that Wikimedia chapters and their communities must find peace and alignment, and that a problem for any individual among us makes the international news much more commonly than drama in other special interest online communities. French readers can find French language controversy in the Wikimediafr mailing list.

Wikimedia Sweden ordered to pay fine in copyright case

On 6 July the Swedish Patent and Market Court ordered Wikimedia Sverige, the Wikimedia chapter in Sweden, to pay a fine and lawyers' fees following a previous ruling by the Supreme Court of Sweden that their database of links to Wikimedia Commons photographs violated copyright law. The details of the case will sound strange to Wikimedia contributors as the court identified separate copyright laws for paper versus digital media publishing.

The Signpost and the Wikimedia Foundation's blog reported the original April 2016 loss at the Supreme Court. The Visual Copyright Society in Sweden, known natively as the Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige or BUS, initiated a lawsuit against Wikimedia Sverige in 2014 over the publication of, a website which displayed Wikimedia Commons images through a map. Wikimedia Sverige argued that Sweden's freedom of panorama laws allowed the publication of photos of permanently installed public artworks, such as monuments in public parks. Interpreting the result is challenging, but the court seems to have said that the freedom of panorama rules permit photographers to create images of art, publish them online, publish them in books, and sell copies of their photos commercially, all without permission from the artist who created the work featured in the photo. The part that is not allowed is compiling a database which makes it very easy for anyone to find and republish the images for any purpose, including commercial purposes. Whatever the legal interpretation, Wikimedia Sverige lost, and the Wikimedia Foundation disagreed with the court's ruling.

Following that ruling, the Swedish Patent and Market Court awarded money to BUS in July 2017 as reported by Wikimedia Sverige in the mailing list and on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog. While the Supreme Court mentioned the database explicitly in the final ruling, the Patent and Market Court ruling did not. Instead, that court says that media shared online cannot be considered "avbildning", a Swedish term which means "a reproduction". Since avbildning is allowed under the freedom of panorama exception it means that online publishing is likely no longer covered by freedom of panorama. Wikimedia Sverige must and will pay 750,000 SEK (US$90,000)) to BUS for legal expenses and a fine. Wikimedia Sverige is asking for donations from the Wikimedia community and supporters, even if the donation is only a small symbolic amount to demonstrate support. They take money in Swedish Krona and 10 krona, a fine donation which creates a record of civic interest in Wikimedia Sverige's position, is US$1. Anyone outside the European Union may have difficulty making a donation, although some payment types in the US and elsewhere may work.

Wikimedia Sverige executive director John Andersson said of the case that "Copyright is complex and largely incomprehensible. ... This ruling asserts that there is a difference in terms of user rights between digital and print media as photos of these works of art can for example be printed as postcards and used for commercial purposes. Digital non-profit projects like the websites and Wikipedia, however, must pay for using the very same photos. In a society looking to fully enter a digital era, it is unreasonable to undermine the use of digital media in this way. The legislation clearly must be revised."

Available documentation of this case is all in Swedish language and includes the timeline, Wikimedia Sverige's press release, and the court ruling.

Brief notes

Reader comments

Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png
A monthly overview of recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, also published as the Wikimedia Research Newsletter.

"Wikipedia matters": a significant impact of user-generated content on real-life choices

Reviewed by Marco Chemello and Federico Leva

Improving Wikipedia articles may contribute to increasing local tourism. That's the result of a study[1] published as preprint a few weeks ago by M. Hinnosaar, T. Hinnosaar, M. Kummer and O. Slivko. This group of scholars from various universities – including Collegio Carlo Alberto, the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) and Georgia Institute of Technology – led a field experiment in 2014: they expanded 120 Wikipedia articles regarding 60 Spanish cities and checked the impact on local tourism, by measuring the increased number of hotel stays in the same cities from each country. The result was an average +9 % (up to 28 % in best cases). Random city articles were expanded mainly by translating contents taken from the Spanish or the English edition of Wikipedia into other languages, and by adding some photos. The authors wrote: "We found a significant causal impact of user-generated content in Wikipedia on real-life choices. The impact is large. A well-targeted two-paragraph improvement may lead to a 9 % increase in the visits by tourists. This has significant implications both in macroeconomic and microeconomic scale."

The study revises an earlier version[supp 1] which declared the data was inconclusive (not statistically relevant yet) although there were hints of a positive effect. It's not entirely clear to this reviewer how the statistical significance was ascertained, but the method used to collect data was sound:

  • 240 similar articles were selected and 120 kept as control (by not editing them);
  • the sample only included mid-sized cities (big cities would be harder to impact and small ones would be more susceptible to unrelated oscillations of tourism);
  • hotel stays are measured by country of provenance and city, allowing to measure only the subset of tourists affected by the edits (in their language);
  • as expected, the impact is larger on the cities whose article was especially small at the beginning;
  • the authors cared about making contributions consistent with local policies and expectations and checked the acceptance of their edits by measuring content persistence (about 96 % of their text survived in the long-term).

Curiously, while the authors had no problems adding their translations and images to French, German and Italian Wikipedia, all their edits were reverted on the Dutch Wikipedia. Local editors may want to investigate what made the edits unacceptable: perhaps the translator was not as good as those in the other languages, or the local community is prejudicially hostile to new users editing a mid-sized group of pages at once, or some rogue user reverted edits which the larger community would accept? [PS: One of our readers from the Dutch Wikipedia has provided some explanations.]

Assuming that expanding 120 stubs by translating existing articles in other languages takes few hundreds hours of work and actually produces about 160,000 € in additional revenue per year as estimated by the authors, it seems that it would be a bargain for the tourism minister of every country to expand Wikipedia stubs in as many tourist languages as possible, also making sure they have at least one image, by hiring experienced translators with basic wiki editing skills. Given that providing basic information is sufficient and neutral text is generally available in the source/local language's Wikipedia, complying with neutral point of view and other content standards seems to be sufficiently easy.

Improved article quality predictions with deep learning

Reviewed by Morten Warncke-Wang

A paper at the upcoming OpenSym conference titled "An end-to-end learning solution for assessing the quality of Wikipedia articles"[2] combines the popular deep learning approaches of recurrent neural networks (RNN) and long short-term memory (LSTM) to make substantial improvements in our ability to automatically predict the quality of Wikipedia's articles.

The two researchers from Université de Lorraine in France first published on using deep learning for this task a year ago (see our coverage in the June 2016 newsletter), where their performance was comparable to the state-of-the-art at the time, the WMF's own Objective Revision Evaluation Service (ORES) (disclaimer: the reviewer is the primary author of the research upon which ORES' article quality classifier is built). Their latest paper substantially improves the classifier's performance to the point where it clearly outperforms ORES. Additionally, using RNNs and LSTM means the classifier can be trained on any language Wikipedia, which the paper demonstrates by outperforming ORES in all three of the languages where it's available: English, French, and Russian.

The paper also contains a solid discussion of some of the current limitations of the RNN+LSTM approach. For example, the time it takes to make a prediction is too slow to deploy in a setting such as ORES where quick predictions are required. Also, the custom feature sets that ORES has allow for explanations on how to improve article quality (e.g. "this article can be improved by adding more sources"). Both are areas where we expect to see improvements in the near future, making this deep learning approach even more applicable to Wikipedia.

Recent behavior has a strong impact on content quality

Reviewed by Morten Warncke-Wang

A recently published journal paper by Michail Tsikerdekis titled "Cumulative Experience and Recent Behavior and their Relation to Content Quality on Wikipedia"[3] studies how factors like an editor's recent behavior, their editing experience, experience diversity, and implicit coordination relate to improvements in article quality in the English Wikipedia.

The paper builds upon previous work by Kittur and Kraut that studied implicit coordination,[supp 2] where they found that having a small group of contributors doing the majority of the work was most effective. It also builds upon work by Arazy and Nov on experience diversity,[supp 3] which found that the diversity of experience in the group was more important.

Arguing that it is not clear which of these factors is the dominant one, Tsikerdekis further extends these models in two key areas. First, experience diversity is refined by measuring accumulated editor experience in three key areas: high quality articles, the User and User talk namespaces, and the Wikipedia namespace. Secondly, editor behavior is refined by measuring recent participation in the same three key areas. Lastly he adds interaction effects, for example between these two new refinements and implicit coordination.

Using the more refined model of experience diversity results in a significant improvement over baseline models, and an interaction effect shows that high coordination inequality (few editors doing most of the work) is only effective when contributors have low experience editing the User and User talk namespaces. However, the models that incorporate recent behavior are substantial improvements, indicating that recent behavior has a much stronger impact on quality than overall editor experience and experience diversity. Again studying the interaction effects, the findings are that implicit coordination is most effective when contributors have not recently participated in high quality articles, and that contributors make a stronger impact on content quality when they edit articles that match their experience levels.

These findings ask important questions about how groups of contributors in Wikipedia can most effectively work together to improve article quality. Future work is needed to understand more about when explicit coordination is most useful, and the paper points to the possibility of using recommender systems to route contributors to groups where their experience level can make a difference.


Predicting book categories for Wikipedia articles

Reviewed by Morten Warncke-Wang

"Automatic Classification of Wikipedia Articles by Using Convolutional Neural Network"[4] is the title of a paper published at this year's Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries conference. As the title describes, the paper applies convolutional neural networks (CNN) to the task of predicting the Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC) category that a Japanese Wikipedia article belongs to. This NDC category can then be used for example to suggest further reading, providing a bridge between the online content of Wikipedia and the books that are available in Japan's libraries.

In the paper, a Wikipedia article is represented as a combination of Word2vec vectors: one vector for the article's title, one each for the categories it belongs to, and one for the entire article text. These vectors combine to form a two-dimensional matrix, which the CNN is trained on. Combining the title and category vectors results in the highest performance, with 87.7% accuracy in predicting the top-level category and 74.7% accuracy for the second-level category. The results are promising enough that future work is suggested where these will be used for book recommendations.

The work was motivated by "recent research findings [indicating] that relatively few students actually search and read books," and "aims to encourage students to read library books as a more reliable source of information rather than relying on Wikipedia article."

Conferences and events

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

Other recent publications

Other recent 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.

Compiled by Tilman Bayer
  • "Open strategy-making at the Wikimedia Foundation: A dialogic perspective"[5] From the abstract: "What is the role of dialogue in open strategy processes? Our study of the development of Wikimedia’s 5-year strategy plan through an open strategy process [in 2009/2010] reveals the endemic nature of tensions occasioned by the intersection of dialogue as an emergent, nonhierarchical practice, and strategy, as a practice that requires direction, focus, and alignment."
  • "Wikipedia: a complex social machine"[6] From the abstract: "We examine the activity of Wikipedia by analysing WikiProjects [...] We harvested the content of over 600 active Wikipedia projects, which comprised of over 100 million edits and 15 million Talk entries, associated with over 1.5 million Wikipedia articles and Talk pages produced by 14 million unique users. Our analysis reveals findings related to the overall positive activity and growth of Wikipedia, as well as the connected community of Wikipedians within and between specific WikiProjects. We argue that the complexity of Wikipedia requires metrics which reflect the many aspects of the Wikipedia social machine, and by doing so, will offer insights into its state of health." (See also earlier coverage of publications by the same authors)
  • "Expanding the sum of all human knowledge: Wikipedia, translation and linguistic justice"[7] From the abstract: "This paper.. begins by assessing the [Wikimedia Foundation’s' Language Proposal Policy and Wikipedia’s translation guidelines. Then, drawing on statistics from the Content Translation tool recently developed by Wikipedia to encourage translation within the various language versions, this paper applies the concept of linguistic justice to help determine how any future translation policies might achieve a better balance between fairness and efficiency, arguing that a translation policy can be both fair and efficient, while still conforming to the ‘official multilingualism’ model that seems to be endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation." (cf. earlier paper by the same author)
  • "Nation image and its dynamic changes in Wikipedia"[8] From the abstract: "An ontology of nation image was built from the keywords collected from the pages directly related to the big three exporting countries in East Asia, i.e. Korea, Japan and China. The click views on the pages of the countries in two different language editions of Wikipedia, Vietnamese and Indonesian were counted."
  • "'A wound that has been festering since 2007': The Burma/Myanmar naming controversy and the problem of rarely challenged assumptions on Wikipedia"[9] From the abstract: "The author’s approach to the study of the Wikipedia talk pages devoted to the Burma/Myanmar naming controversy is qualitative in nature and explores the debate over sources through textual analysis. Findings: Editors brought to their work a number of underlying assumptions including the primacy of the nation-state and the nature of a 'true' encyclopedia. These were combined with a particular interpretation of neutral point of view (NPOV) policy that unnecessarily prolonged the debate and, more importantly, would have the effect, if widely adopted, of reducing Wikipedia’s potential to include multiple perspectives on any particular topic."
  • "The double power law in human collaboration behavior: The case of Wikipedia"[10] From the abstract: "We study [..] the inter-event time distribution of revision behavior on Wikipedia [..]. We observe a double power law distribution for the inter-editing behavior at the population level and a single power law distribution at the individual level. Although interactions between users are indirect or moderate on Wikipedia, we determine that the synchronized editing behavior among users plays a key role in determining the slope of the tail of the double power law distribution."
  • "Wikidata: la soluzione wikimediana ai linked open data"[11] ("Wikidata: the Wikimedian solution for linked open data, in Italian)
  • "Open-domain question answering framework using Wikipedia"[12] From the abstract: "This paper explores the feasibility of implementing a model for an open domain, automated question and answering framework that leverages Wikipedia’s knowledgebase. While Wikipedia implicitly comprises answers to common questions, the disambiguation of natural language and the difficulty of developing an information retrieval process that produces answers with specificity present pertinent challenges. [...] Using DBPedia, an ontological database of Wikipedia’s knowledge, we searched for the closest matching property that would produce an answer by applying standardised string matching algorithms[...]. Our experimental results illustrate that using Wikipedia as a knowledgebase produces high precision for questions that contain a singular unambiguous entity as the subject, but lowered accuracy for questions where the entity exists as part of the object."
Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopaedia (1728)
  • "Textual curation: Authorship, agency, and technology in Wikipedia and Chambers's Cyclopædia"[13] (book) From the publisher's announcement: "Wikipedia is arguably the most famous collaboratively written text of our time, but few know that nearly three hundred years ago Ephraim Chambers proposed an encyclopedia written by a wide range of contributors—from illiterate craftspeople to titled gentry. Chambers wrote that incorporating information submitted by the public would considerably strengthen the second edition of his well-received Cyclopædia, which relied on previously published information. In Textual Curation, Krista Kennedy examines the editing and production histories of the Cyclopædia and Wikipedia, the ramifications of robot-written texts, and the issues of intellectual property theory and credit."


  1. ^ Hinnosaar, Marit; Hinnosaar, Toomas; Kummer, Michael; Slivko, Olga (2017-07-17). "Wikipedia Matters" (PDF): 22.
  2. ^ Dang, Quang-Vinh; Ignat, Claudia-Lavinia (2017-08-23). An end-to-end learning solution for assessing the quality of Wikipedia articles. OpenSym 2017 - International Symposium on Open Collaboration. doi:10.1145/3125433.3125448.
  3. ^ Tsikerdekis, Michail. "Cumulative Experience and Recent Behavior and their Relation to Content Quality on Wikipedia". Interacting with Computers: 1–18. doi:10.1093/iwc/iwx010. Retrieved 2017-08-01. closed access / author's pre-print
  4. ^ Tsuji, Keita (2017-05-26). Automatic Classification of Wikipedia Articles by Using Convolutional Neural Network (PDF). QQML 2017 - 9th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries.
  5. ^ Heracleous, Loizos; Gößwein, Julia; Beaudette, Philippe (2017-06-09). "Open strategy-making at the Wikimedia Foundation: A dialogic perspective = The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science": 0021886317712665. doi:10.1177/0021886317712665. ISSN 0021-8863. closed access author's preprint
  6. ^ Tinati, Ramine; Luczak-Roesch, Markus (2017). "Wikipedia: a complex social machine". ACM SIGWEB Newsletter: 1–10. ISSN 1931-1745. closed access
  7. ^ Dolmaya, Julie McDonough (2017-04-03). "Expanding the sum of all human knowledge: Wikipedia, translation and linguistic justice". The Translator. 23 (2): 143–157. doi:10.1080/13556509.2017.1321519. ISSN 1355-6509. closed access
  8. ^ Youngwhan Lee; Heuiju Chun (2017-04-03). "Nation image and its dynamic changes in Wikipedia". Asia Pacific Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. 11 (1): 38–49. doi:10.1108/APJIE-04-2017-020. ISSN 2071-1395. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  9. ^ Brendan Luyt (2017-05-25). ""A wound that has been festering since 2007": The Burma/Myanmar naming controversy and the problem of rarely challenged assumptions on Wikipedia". Journal of Documentation. 73 (4): 689–699. doi:10.1108/JD-09-2016-0109. ISSN 0022-0418. closed access
  10. ^ Kwon, Okyu; Son, Woo-Sik; Jung, Woo-Sung (2016-11-01). "The double power law in human collaboration behavior: The case of Wikipedia". Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. 461: 85–91. doi:10.1016/j.physa.2016.05.010. ISSN 0378-4371. closed access
  11. ^ Martinelli, Luca (2016-03-02). "Wikidata: la soluzione wikimediana ai linked open data". AIB studi. 56 (1). ISSN 2239-6152.
  12. ^ Ameen, Saleem; Chung, Hyunsuk; Han, Soyeon Caren; Kang, Byeong Ho (2016-12-05). Byeong Ho Kang, Quan Bai (eds.) (eds.). Open-domain question answering framework using Wikipedia = AI 2016: Advances in Artificial Intelligence. Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing. pp. 623–635. ISBN 9783319501260.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) closed access
  13. ^ Kennedy, Krista (2016). Textual curation: Authorship, agency, and technology in Wikipedia and Chambers's Cyclopædia. The University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-61117-710-7. closed access
Supplementary references:
  1. ^ Hinnosaar, Marit; Hinnosaar, Toomas; Kummer, Michael; Slivko, Olga (2015). Does Wikipedia matter? The effect of Wikipedia on tourist choices. ZEW Discussion Papers.
  2. ^ Kittur, Aniket; Kraut, Robert E. (2008). Harnessing the Wisdom of Crowds in Wikipedia : Quality Through Coordination. Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. doi:10.1145/1460563.1460572.
  3. ^ Arazy, Ofer; Nov, Oded (2010). Determinants of Wikipedia Quality : The Roles of Global and Local Contribution Inequality. Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. doi:10.1145/1718918.1718963.

Reader comments

An interview with a project that is centered around comics


What is WikiProject Comics? WikiProject Comics is a "a project formed by Wikipedians to increase, expand, improve, and better organize articles related to comics in Wikipedia". In its scope, it has an impressive 48 featured articles, and 282 good articles. In all, in its scope it has 45,115 articles. With a WikiWork factor of 108,966, they have a lot of work to be done.

The Signpost reached out to project members, to ask about their experiences working on articles, and to find out their plan for expansion.

When did you first hear about WikiProject Comics? How did you start contributing to the group?

  • Argento Surfer: I was invited to join by User:Tenebrae in August 2011 after making a significant edit to Adam Warlock. I had been editing Wikipedia for less than a month, and had only registered earlier that week.
  • Darkwarriorblake:I don't honestly remember, I know when I came to Wikipedia I was mostly editing character articles, and a lot of my work went into the Eddie Brock article as I was a big Venom fan, and other main articles like Batman or Spider-Man were already very developed. When I was learning about Wikiprojects I saw you could add yourself to a particular Taskforce so I added my name, watched the page, and then gradually become more involved in active discussions.

I see you have an impressive amount of FA articles, and GA articles in your scope. Does your project edit regularly to make it happen?

  • Argento Surfer: Project participants mostly work independent of each other, but I believe there was an effort at coordinated improvements prior to the time I joined (late 2011).
  • Darkwarriorblake: I don't think the project works regularly. What I have found with most Taskforces/Wikiprojects is that the number of active users tends to be very small and we all have our own passions which shift greatly with real world influences such as characters/stories being turned into films or games. I have never experienced multiple editors working on major articles, they tend to become passion projects for one or two users with more casual users chipping in here and there. And there are so many comic related articles, the chances of tripping over another user are rare.

It looks like your project was formed in 2004. How active would you say it was now?

  • Argento Surfer: I'm not involved with other projects, so it's hard for me to gauge the activity level, other than to say it appears less active than it used to be. Looking through the discussion archives, new topics used to receive more replies than they do now.
  • Darkwarriorblake: Low, but I think this is true of most projects. You can open discussions on any project and you'll either get no response or typically the same handful of people responding. It does make it difficult sometimes to generate meaningful discussion and some things end up boiling down to two users at opposing ends just fighting with each other.

What can a new member do to help out?

  • Argento Surfer: We have a clean up list that is an easy place to start. There's also a large number of articles that have excessive plot details that need pruning. There's an on-going effort to merge articles for minor characters to List of Marvel Comics characters, although it is sometimes met with resistance.

Do you work with any WikiProjects, or have any parent/child WikiProjects?

  • Argento Surfer: Because of the increase in the number of comic-based films and television, there is growing overlap with those projects. All of our articles comic creators belong to the biography project. I am not aware of any direct collaboration in these areas. We have workgroups for certain publishers, but I am unaware of any activity in them - I believe they have become a relic.
  • Darkwarriorblake:Child wikiprojects have less to absolutely no activity on them, so I stick to the top level projects now. A lot of areas I am interested in such as video games, comics and films all overlap heavily so it works well for me.

What is your favorite thing to do, in the scope of this project?

  • Argento Surfer: This has varied over time. At one point, clearing items from the clean up list was my primary pastime. I have also been active with merges and deletion discussions. Currently, I like to create new articles about comics I enjoy reading and raising them to GA or FA status. I also patrol the list of newly created pages and make an effort to be inviting to new editors. When their first articles aren't very good, I help improve them while providing links explaining what I've done.
  • Darkwarriorblake:I like developing articles in content and style and bringing them up to GA and then FA status. It's much harder on comics as certain people have beliefs on the way it should be and will obstruct attempts at promotion. I've been trying to promote the Joker for about 4 years, but it's always knocked back. It's very disheartening. But in between I might find a topic that interests me or someone will ask for help and I will dedicate some time to developing those articles.

Do you mostly work with films, or paper comics?

  • Argento Surfer: Paper.
  • Darkwarriorblake: Video games mostly now, comics articles are so hard to develop due to a lack of real world context for many things, and even harder to promote that it can sometimes not be worth the struggle.

Anything else you'd like to add?

A big thank you to Argento Surfer for a correction on question three on the interview. The question stated that "It looks like [the] project was formed in 2009.". Argento corrected this, and gave us evidence that the project was created in 2004.

Reader comments

Court cases built on Wikipedia articles

The Huntsville Unit houses the Texas execution chamber where TaiChin Preyor received lethal injection following his lawyer's examination of the article, "Capital punishment in Texas".

On July 18 the New York Post reported on an "utterly incompetent" lawyer who was accused of using Wikipedia to defend her client, TaiChin Preyor. Preyor was arrested for the fatal stabbing of Jami Tackett during a drug-related robbery in 2004. Preyor's new lawyers claimed that "It appears she relied on Wikipedia, of all things, to learn the complex in and outs of Texas capital punishment." The lawyer had, among other things, the Wikipedia article titled "Capital punishment in Texas" printed out and labeled "research". Preyor was executed on July 27.

VVS 100th IMG 0063 (7727429476).jpg
The Supreme Court of Estonia ruled that information in the Wikipedia article Mil Mi-28 was insufficient for determining whether a company was importing combat helicopters from Dubai at Muuga Harbour.

On July 26, Estonian Public Broadcasting reported that the Supreme Court of Estonia decided that checking the Wikipedia article Mil Mi-28 is an inadequate method for determining whether to levy a tariff for civilian versus combat helicopter parts. The story began in 2015, when parts for Russian helicopters arrived at Muuga Harbor in Estonia from Dubai. The company shipping them claimed that they were parts for civilian helicopters; however, it was eventually discovered that they were intended for combat helicopters. In response to the sale, Europe's Tax and Customs board fined the company 1,600 euros, citing a Wikipedia page. The company promptly sued, and the Supreme Court eventually found that Wikipedia was not a sufficiently credible source to justify an order of punishment.

These are just the most recent developments in a long history of lawyers and courts using Wikipedia as a source. The Signpost covered the beginning of this trend in a UK court case in 2006, and further cases in 2007. The latter was prompted by a New York Times article that year by Noam Cohen, a frequent contributor to its Wikipedia-related stories. At the time, Cohen reported that more than 100 American court cases had cited Wikipedia, including 13 from the federal appeals courts (as distinct from American state appeals courts, within each of the states). Why did the judiciary choose to cite Wikipedia? Cohen quoted Stephen Gillers of the New York University Law School as saying that the most critical factor is public acceptance, including acceptance by the litigants: "A judge should not use Wikipedia when the public is not prepared to accept it as authority." In March of 2017, Eugene Volokh wrote an opinion piece concerning the Texas Supreme Court using Wikipedia to define what 'Welfare queen' meant. Perhaps by Gillers' criteria this indicates public/Wikipedia alignment on the understanding of this term. Every circuit court in the United States has used Wikipedia as a source for general knowledge and/or slang terms.

The proliferation of Wikipedia as a source has drawn criticism from some, such as Cass Sunstein and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. However, others such as Judge Richard Posner maintain that "Wikipedia is a terrific resource … because it [is] so convenient, it often has been updated recently and is very accurate." However, Judge Posner also noted that it "wouldn’t be right to use it in a critical issue". Other scholars agree that Wikipedia is most appropriate for "soft facts", when courts want to provide context to help make their opinions more readable. Many agree that "Selectively using Wikipedia for … minor points in an opinion is an economical use of judges' and law clerks' time."

While it remains difficult to identify lawyers who admit to using Wikipedia, paradoxically, it has become common for lawyers to claim that their lesser esteemed colleagues and rivals get all their information from Wikipedia.

A Wikipedia approach to things

Anies Baswedan, who is governing Jakarta in the manner of a Wikipedia editor managing articles

The Governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan envisions "collaborating with citizens to tackle social issues" the Nikkei Asian Review reported on July 27. He has compared his approach with that of Wikipedia, saying "[The] movement approach is Wikipedia. They provided the platform and allowed everyone to participate, fill in the entry, provided the information – and it has created a very rich information [source], Today, we are entering a 21st century in which the citizens of a city, with its connectivity, are able to interact among themselves. And between those people and the government, those interactions can translate into cooperation for the betterment of a community, of a society, of a nation."

In brief

Linkin Park-Rock im Park 2014- by 2eight 3SC0327.jpg
Billboard noted the surge of traffic to Wikipedia's article for Chester Bennington of band Linkin Park following the musician's death
  • Supreme Court Justice praises Wikipedia: Anthony Kennedy, an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court, speaking at the Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change praised the 'tremendous potential of Wikipedia'. (reported in the Washington Examiner) (July 27, 2017)
  • The Most Worthy Rectangle: For two years, an incredible list of different, completely false slang terms for Australian currency existed. Junkee Media as well as much of Twitter were ecstatic over the now-removed names. (reported in Junkee Media) (July 21, 2017)
  • Wikipedia pageviews as a measure of celebrity popularity Since the 1930s Billboard has published "Billboard charts", a ranking of the popularity of music. A recent article notes that the newer Billboard Social 50 is using new media metrics to identify which artists are most popular. Along with Instagram reactions and Twitter mentioned, this report determines the relevance of celebrities by their Wikipedia pageviews. (reported in Billboard), (July 28, 2017)
  • Wikipedia editathon reports: All good news editors take every opportunity to report local Wikipedia WP:Meetups. Rekord East reports with SABC's additional view that the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria hosted a HerStory editathon for women's issues (July 21). Genomeweb reports on a computational biology Wikipedia editing event in Prague (July 30). Feminism in India blogs their editathon for Indian women in politics (August 1).

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.

Reader comments

This week sports lead the popularity. Despite a Google doodle influenced first place of Eva Ekeblad, much of the rest of the list is dominated by sports figures and events. Tennis led the sports, as Wimbledon recently concluded. Roger Federer (#7) advanced to the final match in the men's competition. Hopes were high in the Women's for Johanna Konta (#4) as she advanced into the semifinals. However, Konta lost to Venus Williams (#13), who advanced to the finals against Garbiñe Muguruza (#10). Baseball took one spot, with the immensely successful Aaron Judge (#6) winning the Home Run Derby. The other major placer in sports was wrestling. The upcoming "money fight" (#11) between Floyd Mayweather Jr. (#5) and Conor McGregor (#3) drew attention, as well as the recently closed WWE Great Balls of Fire (#16).

In the film industry, Spider-Man: Homecoming (#2), and its star, Tom Holland (actor) (#15) ranked alongside interest in War for the Planet of the Apes (#8) and the franchise (#17). In television, the seventh season (#9) of the wildly popular Game of Thrones (#20) and the death of actor Nelsan Ellis (#12) drew interest.

And what would this report be like if it didn't have at least one Reddit driven entry (#18).

For the week of July 9 to 15, 2017, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Page Views Picture Class Description
1 Eva Ekeblad 1,588,785 Evadelagardie.gif start Class Eva Ekeblad (10 July 1724 – 15 May 1786) was a Swedish countess who was a salon hostessagronomist, and scientist best known for discovering a way to make alcohol and flour from potatoes. Propelled by the recent Google Doodle on her 293rd birthday, this is the first time in 2017 a Google Doodle has reached number one.
2 Spider-Man: Homecoming 1,475,238 World premiere of Spider-Man Homecoming at TCL Chinese Theatre.jpg c Class Despite a large drop in earnings, the popular and highly acclaimed coming-of-age Spider-Man movie received an increase of 200,000 views, though swinging one spot lower in the rankings.
3 Conor McGregor 1,150,548 Conor McGregor, UFC 189 World Tour London (2).jpg c Class The announcement of the upcoming bout pushed the Irish UFC Lightweight Champion up on the list. Expected to snag 75 million dollars from the aptly named 'money fight' McGregor is going to have a tough fight against the undefeated Mayweather.
4 Johanna Konta 1,148,737 Konta US16 (48) (29236562133).jpg c Class The British player just can't get a break. First in Nottingham, as a number one seed, she lost in the finals. Seeded number four in Birmingham, she was defeated in the second round. Better luck in the French Open was not to be found, as she got out first round in an upset. Because of a back injury, most expected her performance at Wimbledon to be similarly disappointing. However, Konta triumphed over Hsieh Su-wei, the very same person who defeated her in Birmingham. She followed that victory with multiple others, and all of Great Britan watching with bated breath, hoping that this might be the time that the nation would win again (the last time being in 1977). But alas, it was not to be. Venus Williams defeated Konta in the semifinals.
5 Floyd Mayweather Jr. 983,312 Floyd Mayweather, Jr. cropped.jpg b Class The undefeated pretty boy soared in the rankings upon announcement of his return to boxing to fight Connor McGregor.
6 Aaron Judge 928,174 Aaron Judge on September 8, 2016.jpg c Class Aaron Judge has seen success after success. He broke (multiple of) Joe DiMaggio's records, won the Home Run Derby, became 'Rookie of the month' in June, and has potential to be "the face of the game".
7 Roger Federer 847,680 Roger Federer (26 June 2009, Wimbledon) 3 cropped.jpg GA Class He won Wimbledon. Again.
8 War for the Planet of the Apes 774,557 Andy Serkis 2014 WonderCon (cropped).jpg start Class The latest in the Planet of the Apes franchise continues the practice of re-writing the earliest versions. The most views occurred upon release with a current steady downward trend.
9 Game of Thrones (season 7) 723,248 Emilia Clarke (9347957209) (cropped).jpg c Class The seventh series in the blockbuster show approached releasing this week to much fanfare and excitement.
10 Garbiñe Muguruza 719,402 Cropped Garb.png c Class Muguruza beat Ekaterina Alexandrova, Yanina Wickmayer, Sorana Cîrstea, Angelique Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Magdaléna Rybáriková, and both Williams sisters (one at a time).
11 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor 710,219 Cropped boxer guys.png stub Class The upcoming professional boxing super-fight between undefeated eleven-time five-division professional boxing champion of the world Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the current UFCLightweight Champion Conor McGregor is drawing much interest.
12 Nelsan Ellis 701,597 Nelsan Ellis at True Blood premiere party (crop).jpg c Class The recent death of the film and television actor and playwright, known for Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series True Blood, which he played from 2008 until the series' completion in 2014, and for starring as Bobby Byrd in the 2014 James Brown biopic Get on Up sent many fans to his page.
13 Venus Williams 685,253 Venus at us open 2009-cropped.jpg b Class The older half of the Williams sisters made it to the Finals of the Women's Singles bracket at Wimbledon for the first time since 2009, after defeating Johanna Konta (#4), but would ultimately lose to Garbiñe Muguruza (#10).
14 Deaths in 2017 666,017 Jacques-Louis David - La Mort de Marat.jpg list Class The page maintains a steady stream of viewers, staying roughly the same in all but rank.
15 Tom Holland (actor) 619,650 Tom Holland by Gage Skidmore.jpg c Class The star of Spider-Man has retained much interest, in part due to growing acclaim for his work.
16 WWE Great Balls of Fire 575,786 WWE Live 2016-09-07 20-41-17 ILCE-6300 1147 DxO (31049700636).jpg future Class The inaugural wrestling event has largely lived up to expectations, despite some controversy over Roman Reigns' post-match 'attempted murder' of Braun Strowman.
17 Planet of the Apes 496,900 Charlton Heston Civil Rights March 1963.jpg c Class Those enjoying War for the Planet of the Apes are doing their homework and reading the history of the franchise.
18 Outsider art 476,224 Adolf Wölfli General view of the island Neveranger, 1911.jpg c Class Driven by a July 10 Reddit TIL ("Today I Learned", a subreddit where people share what they've learned on that day), page views went up a thousandfold in one day, then dropped back to normal. Who knew social media could drive learning about the arts and culture?
19 Bastille Day 473,321 Prise de la Bastille.jpg start Class The annual celebration of the Storming of the Bastille on July 14th drew droves of viewers.
20 Game of Thrones 464,585 Thrones costume.png GA Class Now entering its seventh season, the show is seemingly only becoming more popular.
  • This list excludes the Wikipedia main page, non-article pages (such as redlinks), and anomalous entries (such as DDoS attacks or likely automated views). Since mobile view data became available to the Report in October 2014, we exclude articles that have almost no mobile views (5–6% or less) or almost all mobile views (94–95% or more) because they are very likely to be automated views based on our experience and research of the issue. Please feel free to discuss any removal on the talk page if you wish.

Reader comments

Wikimedia Foundation Blog Vectorized Logo 2.svg
The following content has been republished from the Wikimedia Blog. The views expressed in this piece are those of the author alone; responses and critical commentary are invited in the comments section. For more information on this partnership see our content guidelines.
The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Google must remove search results worldwide, dismissing concerns that this may impede freedom of expression for people outside of Canada or inspire other countries to censor speech.
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Artwork by Sandro Botticelli, public domain.

Last month the Supreme Court of Canada issued its ruling in the Google v. Equustek case, holding that Google must remove search results worldwide for URLs leading to web pages selling goods that violate Equustek’s trade secrets. We intervened in the case on behalf of Google, and we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision. When national courts impose international judgments, they risk trespassing the free expression rights of people living around the world, both to publish and access information online. This impact could be felt across the globe, particularly by sites such as the Wikimedia projects, which host content that some countries claim should not be freely available.

As noted in our previous blog post on this lawsuit, the case concerned the sale of products which appear to have been based on trade secrets owned by Equustek and taken unlawfully by a competitor. The Canadian court never held a full trial, but rather ruled in the context of an interlocutory (i.e. temporary) injunction. This type of injunction is supposed to last a short time to minimize harm while a trial is ongoing and offers a party a temporary legal solution to the matter they are seeking to fix in court. Unfortunately, with the way the Canadian court system works, Equustek does not need to set a date to complete the trial. There is a good chance that Equustek will use the temporary order without moving forward with the trial, effectively making it final.

Equustek filed a court application against Google, a third party that wasn’t in the underlying case, because it could not reach the actual infringer. That infringer continued to sell infringing goods, but had moved its business outside Canada. On the other hand, because Google is a large company and has many users, Equustek thought it could solve its problem by suing Google, even though Equustek admitted that Google wasn’t part of the original lawsuit and wasn’t breaking any laws itself. The Canadian courts found that because Google was enabling others to find the infringing products, Equustek could get a Canadian court to order Google to delist certain URLs from search results, and that this delisting right extended to every domain Google owns, no matter where the user viewing the search results was located.

Google appealed this case on jurisdiction and free expression grounds. In October 2016, the Wikimedia Foundation filed an intervention, similar to the amicus briefs we often file in American courts. Many media, free expression, and digital rights groups did the same. In our brief, we urged the court to consider the free expression concerns that arise from worldwide orders, the negative impact and dangerous precedent this could set for the ability to find and access information online, and to exercise general respect for the differing laws of other nations.

Ultimately, the Canadian Supreme Court disagreed with our position. The court focused on Equustek’s trade secret claim, which the court observed would be a legal wrong in most jurisdictions, while saying that this order requiring Google to delist all sites that involved the sale of goods in question, did not implicate freedom of expression.

The court’s opinion focuses particularly on Google as a major internet company with substantial resources. The opinion notes that if Google thinks there is some conflict between the laws of Canada and another country, they can come back to the Canadian courts and ask for the order to be modified. The same would apply if Google could point to an effect on freedom of expression in this case. This may be possible for Google, but the court failed to acknowledge the difficulty that similar orders could present for smaller, more scarcely-resourced organizations such as the Wikimedia Foundation. This could force members of an organization to travel to a foreign court several times over to seek modifications of overly broad injunctions and can pose a significant financial obstacle, especially for newer or smaller websites. A wave of such orders could stifle a website before it ever has the chance to get off the ground. Though the case did not reach the outcome we had hoped to see, limiting factors may prevent the court’s ruling from being read too broadly. First, the case does not apply to everyone on the internet, as the power exercised by the Canadian courts here relied in part on the fact that Google (the U.S. company) was actually selling ads to Canadians. A website that was not targeting citizens of a particular country for commercial sales may not have been subject to an order like this one. The decision also does not address cases that do not involve trade secrets or the unlawful sale of a product. For example, it does not address the sorts of free expression issues that the Wikimedia projects often face, such as a disputed copyright in a remix.

However, a dangerously expansive reading of this case could be used to seek global orders that place limits on free expression and broad access to knowledge. In our view, the court did not adequately take into account the potential of misuse of its decision, despite the large number of intervenors explaining the harmful implications to which a broad reading of the case may lead. Worryingly, large entertainment industry associations—who were also represented at the Supreme Court—have already pointed to this decision as precedent for allowing them to obtain global orders outside of the trade secret context.

With similar demands for global delisting coming from countries in Europe, this case may encourage courts around the world, including those in countries with weaker free expression protections, to attempt similar rulings in order to block access to information worldwide. Ultimately, such actions harm the ability of the Wikimedia movement to create and share knowledge freely.

We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to McInnes Cooper, and in particular to David Fraser for their excellent representation in this matter. We would also like to extend special thanks to legal fellow Leighanna Mixter for her assistance in preparing this blog post.

Jacob Rogers is a legal counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation. This piece originally appeared at the Wikimedia Blog.

Reader comments

Offline Innovation, a 5-minute video documentary on the Columbia students' program in the Dominican Republic

Some people who wish to access Wikipedia are unable to do so because they lack Internet access. This is more common in developing countries but demand for offline mobile learning exists everywhere. There is especially high demand for access to good health information, as both doctors and patients require up-to-date information to promote the doctor–patient relationship, inform health care decisions, and act as a general reference.

In 2017 Anne Nelson (user:Anelsona) of the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University (SIPA) organized Wiki Loves the Dominican Republic, a pilot project to provide offline access to Wikipedia to medical students and health care providers in the Dominican Republic (DR). The result was that Anne's graduate students traveled from New York to the DR and placed a wireless access point in medical schools or clinics. That access point was the source of an offline Wi-Fi hotspot which contained an SD memory card presenting a Kiwix installation of the Medical Wikipedia app. Any user could use this offline Wi-Fi connection to browse Wikipedia or download the Wikipedia app. 30 users could connect simultaneously without slowdown. The devices cost about $100 each including the removable memory card which contained the data.

People everywhere have smartphones which can connect to Wi-Fi, download apps, and use a web browser. In this project, people who used an Android smartphone within Wi-Fi distance of the "Internet-in-a-Box" were able to connect as with any Wi-Fi connection, then immediately start reading Wikipedia. Users hardly needed instructions. Ideally devices could be deployed and used with little or no time and labor for setup and user training to grant access to Wikipedia in places where Internet is inaccessible.

This was a small experimental project with some promising results. It demonstrated the option for professionals outside the Wikipedia community to set up an offline Wikipedia access point, and a pathway for online Wikipedia editors to deliver up-to-date content offline, and for the Wikimedia community to join in coordinating any part of this.

The challenge to address

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Internet data is relatively expensive and inaccessible in the Dominican Republic.

This project began with Anne perceiving that some professionals in Latin America are unable to access the information they need. Anne's previous digital media research in Central America documented an underground economy of information sharing in which people routinely subscribe to offline data delivery services and exchange media through physical storage devices. This observation brought some insights about how and why communities in this region were open to using offline media. Anne began to consider how these offline communities could access copies of Wikipedia in a useful way.

Anne convened some colleagues who collectively decided to pilot an offline Wikipedia deployment project in the DR. Reasons for choosing this country included existing team interest in the DR; the large base of Dominicans who live in New York City and who might support project planning; prior institutional relationships between schools and clinics in the DR, and both Columbia University and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and the expectation that professionals in the DR would participate in testing this. As a Wikipedia community member who arranges collaborations between institutions in Central America and institutions in New York City, Anne began to articulate the information demands she heard in the DR to the Wikipedia community.

The wiki community in New York City

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The student deployment project originated in NYC.

Wiki NYC is a Wikimedia chapter in New York City. Wikipedians in the city piloted the Wikipedia Education Program in 2011, with Anne and her students as pilot participants. As a member of Wiki NYC, in 2016 Anne attended WikiConference North America where all sorts of Wikipedia contributors met. Anne expressed that she needed a way to deliver health information to the DR. WikiProject Medicine participants in attendance described the health information which they had available to share. The Internet-in-a-box team described that they had a physical hardware prototype which could serve Kiwix - Wikipedia Offline to anyone who wanted the content. Various wiki groups were participating in the 2016 Year of Science and had a desire both to share medical information and to support medical students.

Sometimes it takes a regional conference and confirmation from a large number of people to convince a team that an idea is worth pursuing. The synergy from the conference encouraged everyone to advance the project of loading devices with Wikipedia and distributing them in the DR, but still it took time and conversations to make all participants confident enough to invest their time and resources into doing such a complicated multi-part project. Wiki NYC presents about 100 in-person Wikipedia events a year and at many of these people began to discuss the project to share offline Wikipedia. WP:AfroCROWD, an NYC-based project to do wiki-outreach to people of African descent, already had a community of Wikipedia editors from Haiti who would discuss the project and their interest in getting better information to the clinics in the DR where Haitian Creole was a common language. Consumer Reports supported the SIPA students with wiki-training as part of a project to encourage medical schools and health science students to develop any Wikipedia information which informs health care decisions. While Consumer Reports supported the SIPA students, Wiki NYC generally provides an environment where any nonprofit expert institution which wants to discuss Wikipedia can get answers in person by hosting or joining a Wikipedia event.

Wikipedia's medical information

Tango Phone medapp.svg
Medical Wikipedia app for Android

WikiProject Medicine curates health information on Wikipedia. Some contributors to health content in Wikimedia projects have further organized into a Wikimedia community organization as Wiki Project Med. In anticipation of projects to share information offline, Wiki Project Med coordinated with Wikimedia Switzerland to develop special Kiwix - Wikipedia Offline packages of Wikipedia's medical content.

In addition to packaging Wikipedia's medical content for offline distribution, the WikiProject Medicine community has a history of advocating for universal access to general medical information of the sort that Wikipedia carries. Different people express different opinions, but a common statement which Wikipedia's medical editors make is that Wikipedia provides an excellent option for free, ad-free, neutral point of view, high quality health information for consumers and health care providers. That base of conversation makes it easier for organizations to agree to contribute health information to Wikipedia and for them to share Wikipedia's health information in education programs. Students from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Wikipedia club were able to have these conversations peer to peer with others in this outreach project based on their own Wikipedia editing experiences.

Software and hardware

This Internet-in-a-Box contains offline Wikimedia content and a Wi-Fi transmitter. Anyone physically near to the device may connect to it and download the offline content it contains.

The Kiwix project develops software which presents offline copies of Wikipedia. Wiki Project Med and Wikimedia Switzerland present the Medical Wikipedia app, which is an instance of Wikipedia's medical content in Kiwix. The Wikimedia Foundation provides support for Kiwix developers to make the software better. Internet-in-a-Box is a project to provide hardware, software installation, and deployment consultation for offline content sharing.

The idea for all this is that Kiwix provides an offline Wikipedia reader. English Wikipedia with full media is currently 61 gigabytes or 25 GB for a slimmed version. For just the 50,000 medical articles in English the Medical Wikipedia app is 1 GB. For the DR project, the devices were packaged with just the medical information from English Wikipedia, Spanish Wikipedia, and Haitian Creole Wikipedia. There was demand for some other regional languages as well for which Wikipedia does not currently have content. At various points in the project the hardware team considered using different devices. The selected devices were Raspberry Pis.

Device deployment in the Dominican Republic

Offline Wikipedia demonstration.jpg
Students at the Universidad Central del Este browse offline Wikipedia on their own phones.

Although the software and the hardware were designed to be intuitive, graduate students from Columbia's SIPA went in person to give the devices to clinical and school faculty and staff. An essential part of deployment for this round was having conversations about digital health information, the software, the hardware, and ongoing support.

The student participants in the project were all graduate school students of SIPA. They all were fluent in English and Spanish and based in New York City. All of them were studying international policy and had experience in relevant program administration. They applied for travel support from the Wikimedia Foundation but otherwise depended on the resource contributions from their school. In NYC the students consulted with medical advisors from Icahn School of Medicine and Engineering for Change, an information and communications technology organization. In the DR the students had great support from clinicians and university staff.

Typical time for device setup to getting content from Wikipedia was 5 minutes from site arrival. The process was that students entered a room chosen for research. They placed the Internet-in-a-box device on a table and turned it on. The NYC students directed the local people who had already been invited to the presentation to seek the Wikipedia offline Wi-Fi connection on their Android phones. After connecting to the offline Wi-Fi connection, the readers were on a landing page from which they could search and browse Wikipedia. These parts of the process consistently worked and constituted success for this round of the offline Wikipedia deployment experiment.


As is typical for Wikipedia projects, there are a few hundred people involved in this one. Few individuals had much understanding of what contributions others were making to the project. There was no central management of this. In this particular instance, Anne Nelson was essential for heading the idea to share the information in the DR, but in the longer term, somehow various teams are going to share Wikipedia's content in all kinds of ways with all sorts of new audiences, sometimes offline and increasingly online. Other individuals and teams have been essential in providing medical information, software, software applications, hardware, hardware installations, academic discourse about Wikipedia as a learning aid, community conversation about Wikipedia, and many other pieces of this project. Without all the parts available, this project could not have proceeded.

Here are some open questions:

  1. How do we empower the audience of readers of offline Wikipedia to have greater control over deciding what information they need in Wikipedia and how they can acquire it?
  2. What barriers prevent anyone from adopting offline Wikipedia and how can we address them?
  3. How do we promote cultural exchange in which people who use offline Wikipedia have the opportunity to contribute information back?
  4. When nonprofit organizations have a mission to share the sort of information which Wikipedia distributes, then how can Wikipedia make itself attractive as a channel for accepting that expert content and providing feedback which demonstrates that the nonprofit organization achieved its mission by supporting Wikipedia?
  5. How can we make participation in Wikipedia more meaningful for students who do projects like this one?


Reader comments

Lead electrolytic and 1cm3 cube.jpg
Three electrolytically refined lead nodules and a 1 cm3 cube for comparison. While this picture was featured in 2010, its subject has been brought to the lead more recently.

This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted from 30 June through 29 July. Text may be adapted from the respective articles and lists; see their page histories for attribution.

Featured articles

Twenty-eight featured articles were promoted this month.

S.M. Linienschiff Weisenburg.jpg
The SMS Weissenburg in 1902
Platycercus caledonicus -Tasmania -female-8.jpg
A perched green rosella
Northern England.svg
The three Northern England government regions shown within England, without regional boundaries. Other cultural definitions of the North vary.
Eckhart Hall.jpg
Eckhart Hall at the University of Chicago was used for the Metallurgical Project's administrative offices
Michigan 1 map.png
M-1 is in red
Jan Van Eyck La Madone au Chanoine Van der Paele 1434.jpg
The Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele, 1434–36. Oil on wood, 141 x 176.5 cm (including frame), 122 x 157 cm (excluding frame). Groeningemuseum, Bruges.
George III Maundy 1800 722666.jpg
Set of Maundy money dated 1800, including the silver penny (top)
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-185-0116-22A, Bucht von Kotor (-), jugoslawische Schiffe.jpg
The name ship of the class Beograd (right) and the flotilla leader Dubrovnik in the Bay of Kotor after being captured by Italy
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Fort vancouver half dollar commemorative reverse
Hydrodamalis gigas skeleton - Finnish Museum of Natural History - DSC04529.JPG
Skeleton of Steller's sea cow at the Finnish Museum of Natural History
Senator Robert F. Kennedy, pictured campaigning for president in 1968
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During the Baltimore Riot, the 6th Massachusetts became the first Union unit to take casualties in action on April 19, 1861.

Featured lists

Eight featured lists were promoted this month.

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The official logo of Pokémon for its international releases; Pokémon is short for the original Japanese title of Pocket Monsters.

Featured pictures

Four featured pictures were promoted this month.

Reader comments

New TechCom

The Architecture Committee (ArchCom) has adopted a new charter and renamed itself the Wikimedia Technical Committee (TechCom). The new charter defines the committee's scope, purpose, operation.

TechCom is the guardian of the integrity, consistency, stability, and performance of the software supporting the Wikimedia projects. It acts as the senior advisor and the convergence point of all decisions related to technical work that is strategic, cross-cutting, and/or hard to undo.
— Mission statement

The commitee's authority over technical development at the WMF is also specified – it acts as an extension of the Chief Technical Officer.

In brief

New user scripts to customise your Wikipedia experience

Newly approved bot tasks

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community: 2017 #29, #30 & #31. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available on Meta.

  • Problems
    • On some pages, the Table of Contents is not being shown. It will normally appear if you edit the page again. Investigation is currently ongoing. (Phabricator task T168040)
    • Some pages show the error Lua error in mw.wikibase.entity.lua at line 34: The entity data must be a table obtained via mw.wikibase.getEntityObject. This problem happens on pages with a Lua module that uses Wikidata. The developers are working on fixing the problem. You can fix a page by opening it for editing and then saving without changing anything. (Phabricator task T170039)
    • Wikidata and German Wikipedia could not be edited for an hour on 28 July. You can read why and how we could avoid it in the future in the incident report.
  • Recent changes
  • Future changes
    • New Filters for Edit Review, at the moment available as a Beta feature, will be released by default for the Recent Changes in September.
    • The default font in the edit window will soon change for some users. Instead of using the browser default it will be monospace. Users can change this in their preferences. This should only change this for some users on Macs and iOS devices. (Phabricator task T171201)

Installation code

  1. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    importScript( 'User:Kephir/gadgets/jssand.js' ); // Backlink: User:Kephir/gadgets/jssand.js

Reader comments

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We WWASOHs are not intimidated by scary clowns

Some editors have identified themselves as Wikipedians with a sense of humor (WWASOH). This is a underused category that some of us put on our user pages to demonstrate chest-bursting pride as editors who can't suppress a smile (ETCSS). So how do you tell a WWASOH/ETCSS edit apart from than the rest? One of the best examples is the user page of Rubbish computer, a very sophisticated and experienced editor who lets Barbara vandalize his user page. The only annoying, not-funny section of this user's page is the length of the column of user boxes. Can someone PLEASE write a script for a video game in which you can blast userboxes off a user page? Even the name of this user is funny. Wikipedians may have familiarised themselves with EEng's talk page (weighing in at 951,791 bytes), the only one in the project that is so large that it can actually be seen from space, alongside his assorted museums of New-Editor Retention Tactics, Thoughts While Watching CNN and second-rate erotic fiction.

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WWASOH/ETCSS with Uncombable hair syndrome

If you visit the category page you might be caught off guard. Unfortunately for WWASOHs/ETCSSs, we lost 10% of our members when a naughty editor was blocked and banished to sockpuppet hell.

A bold (brazen, really) proposal – we, the WWASOHs/ETCSSs declare, only allow other editors who participate in a screening process to use this category on their user page. The application process is pretty simple. Just go to the category talk page and leave a message that demonstrates that you have a sense of humor. For those users who have funny user names, your message will be pretty short. For those of you who wish they had a sense of humor and at least want to try to acquire one from others, you should probably list those articles and talk pages that make you smile. Here are a few suggestions:

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Feral girls

If WWASOHs and ETCSSs would work collaboratively[dubious ] we could get at least one of the above articles to a FA. Go ahead, read Wikipedia for the fun of it. You just might be a WWASOH/ETCSS.

Reader comments

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