The rise of Wikipedia as a disinformation mop
ACTRIAL results adopted by landslide
The future of portals
No new cases, and one motion on administrative misconduct
WikiProject Military History
A quiet place to wrestle with the articles of March
Coming soon: Books-to-PDF, interactive maps, rollback confirmation
Featured content selected by the community
A concerted effort gets this issue out on time
Following Kudpung's op-ed "Death knell sounding for The Signpost?" in the 29 March issue, the user comments encouraged a burst of enthusiasm to keep the newspaper in print. Despite the retirement of many regular contributors and editors, an all out effort was made for this bumper issue. We thank those former members of the editorial team for their dedication over the years, and while we are currently operating on an ad hoc editorial staff, we hope you like this month's publication and look forward to receiving submissions for the May issue.
Bri is a 10+ year Wikipedia contributor and acted as interim publication manager for this month's and last month's issue of The Signpost. Eddie891 has been contributing to Wikipedia for over one year. They have both been involved in reviving The Signpost since June 2017.
We heard you
Feedback from The Signpost's readers on Kudpung's op-ed last issue "Death knell sounding for The Signpost?" was robust, and as somewhat frequent contributors, made us think of solutions, both incremental and major. Here are our cards on the table. This is intended to document a few of the incremental changes made so far, and to keep the conversation going.
Publishing is hard and requires unusual technical skills; see Bluerasberry's 2017 grant proposal for a solution, or Bri's followup rapid grant submitted after the last issue. The rapid grant proposal is intended to demonstrate for a short time (three months) that a funded publication manager role could help keep the publication on time and basically keep the work on its feet until we get some of the other stuff sorted out. Bri listed himself as the fundee because it was easier and quicker than finding an organization to sponsor it and finding another individual with the required skills.
Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Submissions is buried and user contributions are inordinately hard. To trial a solution, we have put together WP:Signpost/Quick Start to make it easier for first-time contributors. We're still working out the kinks.
- Publication manager update
Just before publication of this issue, Chris troutman announced he is willing to take over as publication manager starting with next month's issue, for which we are very grateful. This apparently renders the grant proposals moot.
Lots of ideas worth exploring came in from the community. Here are a few:
- Different publication schedule
- Navigation links
- Autofill submission block (duh)
- Automate tedious parts (e.g., part of F.C., traffic report, etc.)
- Consider allowing the Arb report to become just scripted by arbitration clerks, almost like the summaries.
- Change all Signpost page names from Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost... to Wikipedia:Signpost...
- Consider Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Mirroring
- Email addresses for team members at a custom domain (or a "group" email-list address like en-signpost-teamwikimedia.org might be helpful)
- Enable Visual Editor for contributions
Simplifying the publication model
A longer discussion took place related to whether we should strip away the gloss that makes it hard to publish, and make contributing to The Signpost a lightweight process more like editing any article. Would we lose brand identity doing this? Would editorial control evaporate? More discussion is required before committing to this.
An energized community of contributors, readers, and newsroom volunteers are what really would keep The Signpost going. Can we do some incremental things to reinvigorate, reward, and recognize?
- Participation badges/chicklets.
- Reach out, e.g., an automated notice once a 500(?) edit milestone is hit. Increase visibility.
- Figure out why others (OZOO, Armbrust, EpochFail, Piotrus, Milowent, Kaldari) stopped writing and if they will come back.
- Becoming a User group?
The Signpost has a tiny social media footprint which we could probably leverage better. We need to put our heads together to think about responses to modern social media. Just a few ideas off the top of my head listed here. These would be tiny steps on the way to an overhaul listed below. Would somebody be willing to create The Signpost Show? We could start just by reading headlines for the on 's channelYouTube, but I could see a video outlet becoming more of an integrated entity or even driving The Signpost (more below).
- Why is our Twitter feed not visible in the pages of The Signpost?
- Where do replies to Twitter go?
- The Signpost Show
Dream big: Signpost 2.0
"Dream big" ideas have been floating around but need a place to land. Here are some of the things that have been discussed, in a grab-bag fashion. Readers are invited to further discuss how to organize and implement (especially where funding is required).
- · Radical look & feel overhaul: integrated video, modern look and feel, easy user interaction, easy social sharing (incl. hashtag feedback), you know, more 2018 and less 1995. Re-imagining the whole thing from the start, in other words. Ideally with input from new media experts with specific knowledge of Web based platforms. · Overhaul the submissions pages to make it inviting and easy as pie to contribute. · How about a "feed" of content proposals automatically formatted? That and some programming changes on the editorial side including short-term snippets and longer-term serious reporting and roll-ups. · More bot curated content as has been suggested – traffic report has been specifically mentioned here. · User-customizable editions, filters, periodicity. · Upvote/downvote model for TOC presentation. · Multiple curators of multiple views · Ad-hoc and self-organizing editorial board based on followership.
The story of a photo
There have been numerous debates on the use of a non-free image to depict Kim Jong-un, most notably two RfCs (one in 2012, and another in 2015). These debates began even before he was leader of North Korea (see 2010 discussion). A non-free image was never approved, and literally dozens of uploads of non-free images of him under various file names were deleted both on en.wikipedia and on Commons (see example here, and example on Commons). A FAQ (see Talk:Kim Jong-un/FAQ) was even added to the header of the talk page informing people why there was no image of him. Non-free images or copyright violating images of him were added to the infobox of the article countless times. In every case, the images were removed. Efforts were made to generate a free license alternative, by way of photo-realistic images and sketches. Even that became a subject of debate (see discussion) and edit warring. Finally, after nearly 12 years of the article's existence, a free license image of Kim Jong-un has been made and released. This image, found and uploaded to Commons on March 6 by Cyberdoomslayer, is a derivative work from File:Kim Jong-un at the Workers' Party of Korea main building.png, and a day later is already in use on 8 different language Wikipedias. It is currently being used on dozens of Wikipedias.
The Wikimedia Foundation stated in their 2008 resolution on licensing policy that non-free images of living people would almost always not be allowed. No.1 of the 10-point local English Wikipedia policy, of which all points must be met, explicitly states "or could be created", which echoed the Foundation's decree in that we could not allow non-free content where free license content could be created. This was the sticking point with all Kim Jong-un photographs until this image was found; no free license images existed or could be located. The uploading of this image has finally broken the Gordian knot, and ended many years of debate on a crucial non-free content licensing issue. – Eddie891
Wikimedia foundation wins legal battle against Italian official
Cesare Previti, described by the English Wikipedia as "a former Italian politician and convicted criminal", sued WMF to remove what he said was damaging information about him. In Previti v. Wikimedia Foundation, Previti sued the Wikimedia Foundation for hosting an article with defamatory content.
The case, which was initiated in 2012, was originally decided in favor of Wikimedia by the Civil Court in Rome, and was affirmed by the Court of Appeals of Rome on Feb. 19, 2018. "The court held that as a hosting provider, the Wikimedia Foundation cannot be held liable for the content of Wikipedia articles, which it does not control. The court also noted that both the Foundation and the Wikipedia sites themselves provide information about the open and collaborative nature of the encyclopedia." The Wikimedia Foundation said the ruling "protects the community editing model". (adapted from a Wikimedia blog post by Jacob Rogers and Emine Yildirim)
Death of Stephen Hawking
Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who passed away in the middle of March, was one of the most influential scientists of all time. Pageviews of Hawking’s article led the Top-10 across all language Wikipedias and was the most popular of the month on the Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Polish, and Farsi Wikipedias (and probably more). The English Wikipedia entry on Hawking is a former Featured Article; the featured photo on the right has been selected as Picture of the Day on Wikimedia Commons for 26 April 2018.
Hawking's research on black holes achieved groundbreaking work in the field of quantum gravity and theoretical cosmology. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, in 2002 he was ranked number 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.
His 1988 book A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes is a popular-science book on cosmology (the study of the universe). The book which was written for nonspecialist readers with no prior knowledge of scientific theories, appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 4.5 years. It sold more than 20 million copies and was translated into 35 languages by 2001. One of his greatest unfulfilled desires was to travel to space; on hearing this, Richard Branson offered a free flight into space with Virgin Galactic, which Hawking immediately accepted.
Hawking was born in Oxford, England on the 300th anniversary of Galileo's death and died on the 139th anniversary of Einstein's birth. His private funeral took place on 31 March, in Cambridge. During a thanksgiving service on 15 June, his ashes will be interred in the nave of Westminster Abbey next to the grave of Sir Isaac Newton and near that of Charles Darwin. Fifteen years before his death he directed that the Bekenstein–Hawking entropy equation be his epitaph. – Kudpung (adapted from a Wikimedia blog post by Ed Erhart)
Making a total so far of just three new additions to the mop and bucket brigade for 2018, we welcome two new administrators:
- Cordless Larry from the UK who has been around since 2005. Larry is one of the most prolific participants at the Teahouse and is an OTRS agent. He decided to run following unanimous positive feedback at the Optional RfA candidate poll (ORCP).
- 331dot from the State of Maine made his first edit in 2012. A regular Teahouse host and New Page Reviewer, on his RfA which passed at 186/5/4 he exercised his prerogative and chose not to answer several of the barrage of user questions.
Notability guideline substantially rewritten
The notability guideline for organizations and companies has been substantially rewritten and adopted by the closure of this request for comment. Among the changes, the guideline more clearly defines the sourcing requirements needed for organizations and companies to be considered notable. – Kudpung
Passings: Craig Franklin
Craig Franklin, user:Lankiveil, was a long-standing Irish-Australian Wikipedian who served as a board member (2011–2015) and president (2013) of Wikimedia Australia. Franklin joined Wikipedia on 12 August 2004 and became an administrator in August 2008. He also served as an oversighter for the English Wikipedia, a clerk for the Arbitration Committee, an OTRS volunteer, and as a member of the ombudsman commission. In 14 years dedication to the project, never a month went by without an edit. He passed away unexpectedly on 15 April 2018, a day after his last edit. – Kudpung
- Milestones: The English Wikipedia hit 5.6 million articles, with the creation of Raymond C. Morgan.
The Chinese Wikipedia has reached 1,000,000 articles.
- New policy: "We [Wikipedia] require those involved with paid editing on Wikipedia to link on their user page to all other active accounts on external websites through which they advertise paid Wikipedia editing business." see here.
- Gender Gap Data Data on the gender gap (as relating to articles) across Wikimedia has been released. It ranges from Welsh Wikipedia with 46% male, to Tajik Wikipedia, with 1.0% female.
- Tony Sebro's appointment as Deputy General Counsel has been announced by the Wikimedia Foundation. Sebro, a member of the New York bar, joins the WMF after working since 2011 at the Software Freedom Conservancy—a public charity that acts as the home for more than 40 free and open source software projects. He also has a degree from MIT in mechanical engineering.
- Successful scholarship awardees for Wikimania 2018 have been notified by email. Some applicants have been advised that they are on a stand-by list and will be informed by 1 June. The Foundation's open annual conference takes place 18-22 July this year in Cape Town, South Africa with a leitmotif based on ubuntu, the Southern African philosophy, to focus on Wikimedia’s gaps in content and contributors.
- The ACPERM debate, recently closed with an overwhelming consensus but had some minor opposition from Wikimedians-in-Residence and Outreach organizers. To address their concerns, a RfC launched by TonyBallioni is currently underway at Requests for comment/Event coordinator proposal. Calling for a new user group, it appears to be gaining serious traction.
- Joe Sutherland, WMF Community Advocate, has announced this month a Keeping Events Safe resource kit — a short, high-level booklet which documents the most important aspects of event safety.
- Page Previews, deployed on 17 April – almost exactly three years in the making – is one of the largest changes to desktop Wikipedia made in recent years. By hovering over a link to another article, a short summary of the subject and an image (if available) is displayed. The feature allows readers to get a quick grasp of what’s behind a link without committing to a click-through.
- GLAM: The closure of the Rapid Grants program between May 14–June 30, 2018 has been announced. This year the amount of grants offered to the community was almost doubled compared to last year's quarter. This means that the funds for this fiscal year have been expended. The last date for applications for a rapid grant will be 11 May 2018. 'Wiki Loves Earth' participants are encouraged to apply for a Rapid Grant before the closure. The grant program will be open again on 1 July and applications will be accepted from 1st through 15th of each month.
Should Wikipedia be asked to cure the Internet?
Bloomberg Businessweek recently published an op-ed in which the writer argued for a "Digital Protection Agency". According to the article, after social media companies make a mistake "they mop it up with Wikipedia or send out a message that reads, 'We take your privacy seriously'". This practice is becoming increasingly common as companies face recoil over videos and comments that propagate conspiracy theories and fake news. In an article published by Wired, entitled Don't Ask Wikipedia to Cure the Internet, the author criticized the move by companies, writing "Using the crowdsourced encyclopedia as a shield, platforms abdicate responsibility for their own problems." A Washington Post article noted that Wikipedia is becoming the "good cop" of the internet. The decisions, however, are not incredibly out of line with the moves of other companies, such as Amazon and Apple, to utilize Wikipedia as their digital assistant.
In October of 2017, Facebook announced that they would be adding an information button () to their news feed that users could click on to read the Wikipedia page of the news organization publishing an article, in an effort to combat the spread of fake news. In March of 2018, YouTube stated that text boxes called "information cues," with links to Wikipedia (and other sources) would appear next to videos to help discredit conspiracy theories. The Wikipedia foundation said in a statement that "We were not given advance notice of this announcement", and Katherine Maher tweeted that "frankly, we don’t want you to blindly trust us. Sure, we’re mostly accurate - but not always! We want you to read Wikipedia with a critical eye. Check citations! Edit and correct inaccurate information! You can’t do that in a simple search result." A month before, Google (the parent company of YouTube) decided to put a label next to state owned media organizations, linking to the Wikipedia article.
In the face of such disinformation and privacy concerns, some went so far as to propose a Facebook clone, run in the same manner as Wikipedia. This hypothetical social media service was termed 'Wikiface'. Others raised concerns about the reliability of such measures, arguing that taking content from Wikipedia opens the floor up for conspiracy theorists to spread their views, or for vandalism to be given a wider field of view. Such things have previously happened, including an instance when vandals caused Siri to respond to the question "What is an Indian?" by saying "they are a little brown and they smell like curry and they eat it". In late March, Wikimedia's Chief Revenue Officer complained about Apple and Amazon using Wikipedia's content without giving back to the foundation.
Several Wikipedians gave their thoughts:
"it's a good thing if these social media companies use Wikipedia properly. If they started linking to unverified material or add content into Wikipedia themselves, then it could be bad for the companies' (and Wikipedia's) reputations. The reader would not benefit if they are directed to a poorly sourced article that itself looks like it could be a hoax. However, among some groups, the perception of Wikipedia as a reliable source is low. In an ideal world, the articles that are being linked-to would be at least of the same quality as you may expect from an article that is run for Did You Know. It would be optimal if Wikipedia could recruit experts in these subject areas that could help edit the Wikipedia articles, discrediting the hoaxes.
Most controversial topics are already semi protected and relatively decently watched. I am hoping that this will be enough to deal with much of the potential disruption.
- On the plus side this sort of exposure may bring in more people who are interested in improving or maintaining these topics as they may see Wikipedia as having a potentially greater impact.
- Well YouTube has announced this effort, I do not think it has rolled out yet. It would be nice to help with maintenance if they provided us with a list of articles they plan to link to. This would also allow us to determine what effect their change has on readership if any.
- We could of course potentially build something internally [by] creating a list of articles based on traffic coming from YouTube.
— Doc James
Mike Pompeo did not serve in the Gulf War after all
Quartz describes in this piece how an IP inserted an unsourced claim that the CIA director, and current nominee for the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo served in the Gulf War – he did not. His cavalry squadron was not one of the units sent to Iraq in 1991. The problem is that several other outlets repeated the claim and months went by before the CIA issued a correction and the error was removed from Wikipedia. The Quartz piece said, "The situation shows how much major media outlets have come to rely on Wikipedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia run by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit that employs less than 300 people".
The false claim was picked up by the Los Angeles Times ("an army officer who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War"), The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. Trey Gowdy, in his letter of support for the nominee, wrote "Michael Pompeo spent five years serving in the United States Army, including in the Gulf War". The article was viewed over 850,000 times between when the erroneous information was added in December 2016, and when it was corrected in April 2018.
- Penny Wong: In February, Buzzfeed and others reported that "The Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet has launched an investigation into who in the department is editing [vandalizing] the Wikipedia page of Labor's leader in the Senate, Penny Wong". After several months, the department has given up the investigation.
- Previews: It was noted by several news organizations that Wikipedia added page previews "designed to help save you from disappearing too far down internet rabbit holes".
- The tale of a tweet: Government officials of Uttar Pradesh were left red-faced when they sent Guru Nanak birthday tweets–about seven months early. They were quick to blame the mishap on Wikipedia, with one writing "Sorry for Guru Nanak Ji’s birthday tweet. The confusion happened due to Wikipedia (enclosed). Apologies to everyone".
- They like trains: The New York Times reported on the work of two members of WikiProject New York City Public Transportation, Epicgenius and Kew Gardens 613.
Zarasophos is currently working on everything related to Jadidism. He also recently took up Editing the Signpost.
Out of over one hundred questioned editors, only twenty-seven (27%) are happy with the way reports of conflicts between editors are handled on the Administrators' Incident Noticeboard (AN/I), a recent survey by the Community health initiative on English Wikipedia found. The survey, which was undertaken by the Wikimedia Foundation Support and Safety and Anti-Harassment Tools teams, also found that dissatisfaction has varied reasons including "defensive cliques" and biased administrators as well as fear of a "boomerang effect" due to a lacking rule for scope on AN/I reports. Ideas for improvements included moderation of discussions by neutral clerks as well as bans of uninvolved editors in AN/I discussions. The survey also included an analysis of available quantitative data about AN/I.
53% avoided making a report due to fearing it would not be handled appropriately
Invitations to the survey were sent to editors who had recently contributed to the AN/I boards, but were also posted publicly on noticeboards and through Wikimedia affiliate mailing lists. Overall, 136 people completed the survey; 100 of those claimed to have been editors for longer than five years, which conforms with the teams' warning that the opt-in nature of the survey and its small sample would most likely result in a skew towards experienced editors.
Nearly three quarters (72.06%) of the participants reported being involved in an incident reported on AN/I in the last twelve months before the survey took place, while about as many (73.13%) said they were dissatisfied with the way reports are handled on AN/I. These do not necessarily have to be the same people – the survey was anonymous – but still, that's not a very good quota. There was also general consensus among answers that the AN/I process breaks down with increasing case complexity. However, while more than six in ten (62.5%) participants said they "sometimes" or "frequently" disagreed with the outcome of AN/I cases, nearly as many (51.13%) reported they "agreed" or "strongly agreed" with the general process of AN/I reports.
"Otherwise 'popular' users often avoid heavy sanctions for issues that would get new editors banned."
A specific problem raised by several answers is the discrepancy in the handling of new and old users – which is especially interesting considering the high self-reported experience of the participants. "Rarely is the discussion unbiased in these cases [...] where one of the users is new and the other one is a 'old hat' with plenty of friends", one editor writes. This bias of Wikipedia meta structures towards more experienced users – even in cases where that experience should not generally matter, such as in AN/I decisions that should be made according to Wikipedia policy – has already been reported on in other circumstances.
Another issue that could potentially further this clique-building was a perceived lack of admins actually active on the noticeboard – one participant reports seeing "the same old faces time after time." Participants speculated that this may be associated with the sometimes extreme complexity and long history of cases discussed on AN/I, as well as the "thanklessness of both the admin's and the involved editor's role." Finally, almost half (48.49%) of the participants said that discussions on AN/I are "almost never" or "rarely" focused and neutral.
"Discussions need to be clerked to keep them from raising more problems than they solve."
While there was no lack of criticism, there was also a consensus that AN/I in general was a positive thing in need of reform. This sentiment is also shared among admins active on AN/I, according to Oshwah:
|“||There is a general agreement that ANI has its flaws and that reforming certain things wouldn't be a bad idea. If users are generally feeling unsatisfied with how things at ANI are being discussed and handled, and responses to the survey show a significant vote on specific things – we outta take time and look into those things and figure out exactly what is causing the dissatisfaction and what can or should be done to resolve it.||”|
The improvement to AN/I advocated by most editors was the introduction of moderators to keep discussions relevant to the discussed issue. These moderators would not have to be admins, as they would not be responsible for the final verdicts; instead, they would keep order so that admins could proceed with their investigations. Two other proposals that aimed in a similar direction were a ban on uninvolved editors getting involved in AN/I discussions and the introduction of a fill-in report form, which would allow more standardized procedures.
Oh, and there is a Harvard paper
The Wikimedia Foundation also reached out to the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) in the autumn of 2017 to provide recommendations for reports and management of conflicts between editors. HMNCP observed several communities, interviewed experts and finally published an extensive catalogue of findings and recommendations.
The findings of the paper are similar to the ongoing internal criticism against AN/I: a discussion-based culture and a decentralized network of noticeboards without effective moderation do not lead to effective case management. For HMNCP, the result would be the replacement of the noticeboards with a single, centralized evaluation system. While this is harsher than what editors wanted in the internal survey, many of the proposed ideas seemed to build on similar ideas.
Another finding of HMNCP is a systemic inability of Wikipedia report structures to convert precedents into standards, with many cases being negotiated in very similar fashions time after time again. It is noticeable that Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) cases already function in a fashion of strictly enforcing and, if necessary, modifying prior verdicts. The status of ArbCom as Wikipedia "High Court" could inspire AN/I to adopt an analogous standardized way of conduct, in a fashion adopted to the generally lower profile of cases.
The HMNCP report applies the general idea of standardization in three recommendations:
|“||1. Offer guidelines for consensus decision making;
2. Organize complex discussions using argument mapping techniques; and
3. Offer guidelines to encourage behaviors that promote effective collaborative discussions.
Especially the call for better organization of complex discussions seems very much in line with the proposal of report forms and the exclusion of uninvolved editors made in the Wikimedia survey.
Finally, HMNCP recommends a better standardization and dissemination of systems and policies across Wikimedia communities and offers a bit of warning: Harvard "assumes no responsibility for the implementation of the recommendations expressed herein".
Kudpung has been a Wikipedia contributor since 2006 and and an administrator since 2011. His focus is on policy changes concerning deletions/notability, RfA, and the improvement of the new page patrolling and AfC processes. The views expressed in this article are his alone and do not reflect any official opinions of this publication.
Confirming the massive 2011 consensus to put an end to the inappropriate pages that comprise up to 80% of a day's intake of new articles, the new ACTRIAL debate was closed on 18 April this year after running for exactly 30 days almost to the hour, with a clear majority to permanently implement a new rule: in future, the creation of articles in mainspace is to be limited to users with confirmed accounts. Champagne corks were heard popping from as far away as New Zealand.
The RfC registered 88.8% consensus for the most important change in editing policy since the Foundation limited article creation to registered users in December 2005. Faced with an imminent roll out of ACTRIAL by community administrators in 2017 using a locally developed filter, the Wikimedia Foundation offered support this time round in the form of professional statistical research. The results and those of the ensuing debate illustrate that while the WMF brusquely rejected the trial in 2011 (The Signpost, 26 September 2011), under the organic evolution of Wikipedia they are able to respond to urgency. The volte-face was welcomed by the community.
- How they voted
Among the users opposing the introduction of the new rule, the arguments were centred mainly around an expected increase in the workload for reviewers at Articles for creation (AfC), and claims made by several Wikipedian-in-Residence (WiR) employees and other Outreach and editathon volunteers, that the move would inhibit the creation of new articles by session participants. Wikipedians-in-Residence, who primarily maintain a link between their institutions and the Wikimedia editing community by organising, for example, training events and editathons, are generally paid for their work either by the institution or by a Wikimedia-related organization. Many editathons are also organised by the outreach teams of Wikimedia chapters, and Wikipedia projects such as Women in red. Solutions suggested by those countering the arguments included the need for these organisations to be more aware of developments throughout Wikimedia and related projects, providing more support from administrators (Sysops), or even the creation of special user rights for the organisers.
– Espresso Addict
Finally, I had the privilege of deleting the first page created by a non-autoconfirmed user after ACTRIAL ended, and yes, its creator made no effort to understand what an encyclopedia is before he edited one.
Opposing on the premise of much increased AfC submissions, admin Espresso Addict who has herself deleted over 3,500 pages, expressed her concerns in the discussion section that reforms for AfC appear to be overdue:
|“||I am deeply concerned that AfC is simply not fit for assessing new articles. I have reviewed a tiny fraction of the biographical articles requested for speedy deletion recently from this project, and have found a worrying error rate, far in excess of the usual NPP errors. In a very small sample (not had time to look at more, for firefighting all the problems uncovered so far) potentially viable articles are being rejected for relatively trivial stylistic reasons, for not having inline citations, for being written in the wrong tone or for suspected COI. In mainspace these problems could be fixed by any of the hundreds of thousands of active editors, alerted via the template-warning system or via categories, and relevant Wikiprojects are notified by talk page tagging & the various newbots. In draftspace, only the creator has the opportunity to fix them, without any assistance from the reviewers, and largely doesn't have the knowledge.||”|
To which Insertcleverphrasehere replied "New users ending up at AfC is entirely a result of the fact that AfC exists, and therefore becomes the only option for a new user who wants to publish now. ACTRIAL was never about sending new users to AfC instead of NPP, but rather about stopping them from creating new articles in the main space altogether (for a time). (...) AfC reforms can come later, and I for one am committed to making sure that happens, but ACTRIAL is needed now to prevent an overwhelming deluge of terrible submissions from overwhelming New Page Patrol."
Jim Henderson (supporting) exposes in the discussion section his experience as an editathon facilitator with an arresting description of those who attend his many sessions in New York:
|“||Interesting that the majority of OPPOSE and most of DISCUSSION are about editathons. As it happens I coach at such events more than once most months and they are a useful institution. However, they don't generate many new persistent editors. They mostly attract attendance by promising new biographies, and newbies arrive expecting to make articles about their friends. Friends who, through no fault of their own, are unfortunately still alive and able to benefit. We tell them how difficult this is. (...) Having arrived with the wrong expectation, they may ask for new a direction. We may say they should find and fix Wikipedia's plentiful old, bad articles. (...) If they succeed in finding a few refs and write a new biography in userspace, that's when they run into the 4-day 10-edit barrier. We usually have enough coaches to take care of these directly by a mainspace rename. So, the major problem is the concentration on new BLP, and the Autoconfirmed barrier is a minor one. That barrier could be further shrunk by giving Account Creators the right to boost newbies for one day or four, and maybe someone can suggest other methods, but it shouldn't be a reason for allowing the rawest newbies to create articles on their own.||”|
Where such debates often serve to highlight related problems, commenting early (vote #16), admin MER-C highlights the difficulties in communicating the needs for assistance from the Foundation: "It is near impossible to get any useful software development out of the WMF in any reasonable amount of time."
- AC-TRIAL goes AC-PERM
Summing up, closer Primefac concludes by saying "Other concerns that were brought up were that this change moves us further away from 'The Wiki Way' (where anyone can create and edit a page immediately after joining), it gives a barrier to those wanting to immediately use the Content Translation tool, and for 'philosophical reasons'."
The RfC resolution was passed by 207 editors supporting, against only 26 in opposition. ACTRIAL is scheduled to go ACPERMANENT (or ACREQ) on 3 May, or earlier, by WMF core software developers. A debate is taking place to discuss a suggestion made by TonyBallioni for solutions requested by the event coordinators.
Moving forward – AfC meets NPP
In another venue, workshopping some future suggestions for the two systems, according to Kudpung the Wikiproject Articles for creation (AfC), and the core function of Page Curation (aka NPP) share the same goals:
- Ensuring that inappropriate new articles are not published in main space.
- Helping the creators of articles with potential to better understand how they can efficiently prepare their articles before publishing in mainspace and thus avoid deletion.
These two systems, if they were to function at an optimal level, would appear to complement each other well by addressing not only the needs of the creators of new pages, but also those of the reviewers.
Clarifying that they are as similar as they are different, Insertcleverphrasehere explains that "while the the two systems are almost the same, they operate at different stages of content creation and apply slightly different criteria for retention or rejection: while AfC is proactive, the reviewer doesn't have to prove anything, the submitter must demonstrate notability/suitability, while NPP is reactive, the the reviewer has to prove non-notability/unsuitability". He goes on to imply that "NPP is the 'necessary evil' (if we want to have quality control) and AfC is the 'necessary kindness' (if we want to be able to provide a path for very new editors to create articles)".
- New developments in the aftermath of ACPERM
As the systems of reviewing new pages and for processing drafts are inextricably correlated, talks are on-going at The future of NPP and AfC and at AfC Process Improvement with the participation of Foundation envoy Marshall Miller who is looking into the possibility of supporting improvements to the AfC process.
Other recent talks on improvement to AfC include suggestions that the New Page Reviewer user right (NPR) should become the default qualification for processing submitted Drafts. In order to demonstrate their understanding of the challenges of better reviewing, a large number of active AfC reviewers have already applied at Requests for permissions for access to the NPR user group. Administrators have been able to accord many applicants that key to the Curation tool set.
Other suggestions include the AfC process sharing the New Pages Feed and the Page Curation tool, and encouraging the WMF to address the list of required improvements to the new page patrolling software.
While regular AfC reviewers are expecting some possible help from the WMF on the design and wording of their templates, the New Page Reviewer faction remains optimistic that the deciders of Foundation engineering projects will accord top priority to upgrading the Page Curation software developed by the WMF 6 years ago.
Per the RfC, the page creation limitation enacted during ACTRIAL is now permanently implemented as of 26 April 2018 22:37 (UTC)
Jytdog edits mostly about health and medicine. He also works on conflict of interest and advocacy issues more broadly.
Our mission is to provide the public with articles that summarize accepted knowledge, working in a community that is open to anybody. That mission remains as ludicrous as it ever was, yet the editing community has been surprisingly successful at realizing it. That success has led to Wikipedia being used by pretty much everybody as a first stop to learn about anything, but also to a perception that Wikipedia is a crucial platform for promoting organizations, people, or products.
So along with all the great and interesting new pages that are created every day, the reviewers at New Page Patrol and Articles for Creation face a torrent of sewage – promotional pages about people, video games, movies and companies that come pouring into Wikipedia. For a long time, the community has discussed how to deal with this flood and has done work to address it. One part of the discussion and work has been focused on contributors. The ongoing efforts to deal with conflicted and paid editors have been part of that. The Autoconfirmed article creation trial (ACTRIAL) was another. It was a resounding success, and the community said it wants to permanently adopt this filter in the follow-up RfC, as discussed elsewhere in this issue.
All good! But the thing that matters most on Wikipedia is content, and there has also been a call to raise the standards in the content policies and guidelines. The aim is to more easily filter out and remove pages that are not encyclopedic, while keeping and welcoming new articles that are. Parts of this discussion have centered around notability guidelines and essays, all of which implement our fundamental policy that Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.
Finding a new consensus
The notability guideline for organizations (called ORG or NCORP) is used to judge the notability of nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
A series of discussions on raising NCORP standards started over the summer after yet another hand-wringing session on Jimbo's talk page about promotional editing. These discussions were remarkably free of bickering between deletionists and inclusionists – you can review them in archive 17 and archive 18 of the associated talk page.
The discussions initially focused on the qualities of the organization itself (for example, its annual budget, number of employees, or "impact"), but those efforts failed to gain consensus. The focus then shifted to the description of what kinds of sources are useful for demonstrating notability. In late January Renata, who had made only one prior comment in the series of discussions, provided the first draft of what came to be adopted – it is just remarkable how things like this emerge from the editing community.
Sources, sources, sources
The new content includes the self-explanatory lead:
|“||These criteria, generally, follow the general notability guideline with a stronger emphasis on quality of the sources to prevent gaming of the rules by marketing and public relations professionals. The guideline, among other things, is meant to address some of the common issues with abusing Wikipedia for advertising and promotion. As such, the guideline establishes generally higher requirements for sources that are used to establish notability than for sources that are allowed as acceptable references within an article.||”|
As it always has, this section emphasizes that the notability of an organization is judged based on there being:
- Substantial discussion of the organization
- in multiple
- reliable sources
- that are actually independent and
The revision explains what each of those elements means in greater detail, and provides examples of sources that are not useful for demonstrating notability – those that fail one of the above criteria.
Wikipedia's written policies and guidelines are only valid to the extent that they are the expression of the living consensus of the editing community and to the extent that they are practiced, day to day. With regard to NCORP, please take some time to read the revised WP:ORGCRIT section, and please keep the clarifications of this guideline in mind when creating or evaluating new articles, and especially in deletion discussions, where the shit hits the fan.
Wikipedia's myth of the clean Wehrmacht and what you can do about it
Despite the abundant World War II historiography published in the last 20 years, the popular perceptions of the German armed forces as an apolitical and professional institution that stood apart from the Nazi regime largely remains intact in the Anglophone world. The myth of the "clean Wehrmacht"—and even clean Waffen-SS—lives on. Below are my experiences in dealing with the issues of historical distortions in Wikipedia articles, along with my outreach to outside experts and suggestions for the Wikipedia community.
Nowhere was the distorted picture more apparent than on English Wikipedia c. 2015, with the articles on "Stuka aces" and "Panzer aces"; thousands of recipients of the "coveted Knight’s Cross" awarded for "extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership"; and generals leading from "the frontlines" with "jovial, caring attitude". There were Waffen-SS commanders who "opposed the Nazi party" and Luftwaffe pilots who were "rabidly anti-Nazi". A Wehrmacht general was "praised for his humanitarianism", while a field marshal had a whole section dedicated to same. Collaborationist police units "clashed" with SS forces, who moreover only "tried" to execute concentration camp inmates. In the more extreme example, a commander of an SS death squad "worked (...) to reduce the atrocities committed".
That some of Wikipedia's low-trafficked articles would be sourced to AchtungPanzer!, Aces of the Luftwaffe, and other dubious websites was not surprising. But what troubled me was that the concept of Nur-Soldat ("merely soldier") was so prevalent on Wikipedia. This view celebrates the martial accomplishments of military men with a focus on their medals, "ace" status, enemy materiel destroyed—ships sunk, aircraft downed, tanks "busted", bridges blown up, and so on while dismissing social and political context of the war as irrelevant. Because of the questionable sources, which tend to be hobbyist and / or non-independent in nature, this view frequently veers towards fan fiction and hagiography. Undertones of war-time Wehrmacht propaganda are also present since that’s where the origins of the sources often lay.
The other side of the coin is the "clean Wehrmacht" mythology, which emphasises the professional, apolitical image of the German armed forces and its commanding officers, who (according to the myth) stood apart from and in disapproval of Hitler’s regime, whom they allegedly opposed at every turn. An apologist worldview akin to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, it posits that if it weren’t for Hitler’s inept leadership, difficult terrain and weather conditions on the Eastern front, and Allied material superiority, the German army would have emerged victorious. This outlook borders on historical revisionism and whitewashing: accomplishments are celebrated while crimes and ideological alignment with the regime are minimised, in contrast to the contemporary historiography of the war.
Reaching out to outside experts
I was surprised that editors did not share my concerns or appreciate the extent of these problems. Faced with what I perceived to be issues of entrenched local consensus, I emailed a number of historians, providing examples from my user page (User:K.e.coffman) and a few Wiki discussions. I initially emailed those experts whose books I read and used in my editing. I then expanded my outreach to members of the Military History Working Group, a German professional association that focuses on interdisciplinary war studies and military history. I also contacted the U.S.-based international Society for Military History and was invited to submit a story for their quarterly newsletter.
Reaching out to historians was relatively straightforward: those in academia almost always have their emails published in their University profiles. Military History Working Group publishes a member list, which includes contact information, specialisation, and interests. I received responses from about half of those whom I emailed. Some referred me to others while some offered encouragement and feedback. Below are select quotes from the responses I received:
Let me recommend Ronald Smelser and Edward J. Davies, The Myth of the Eastern Front (NY: Cambridge University Press, 2008). It provides an interesting (or horrifying) look at the topic you wrote about.
— Charles D. Melson, U.S. Marine Corps Chief Historian (retired)
This is fascinating and quite disturbing.
— Deborah Lipstadt, Holocaust historian
I had noticed occasionally that on some pages this myth of the clean Wehrmacht is reproduced but wasn't aware that it is done so systematically. Even more do I appreciate your work.
— Thomas Kühne, historian of Nazi Germany
The English Wikipedia pages are far more sympathetic towards the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS than the German ones. Of the mainstream websites, Wikipedia and Amazon are the worst distributors of pro-Nazi perspectives and the Wehrmacht myth.
— Jens Westemeier, military historian
Yes, this is one of those myths about Nazi Germany at war that simply won't lie down and die, no matter how many stakes are driven through its heart. The nature of Wikipedia is a large part of the problem, because "enthusiasts" are the ones who tend to spend the most time writing and editing.
— S.P. MacKenzie, military historian
Some sources belong in the dustbin of history
Why should this concern Wikipedia editors? First, I believe that mythology in our articles has a large—and detrimental—impact on the popular perception of the World War II history, due to Wikipedia's high rankings in search engines and perceived authoritativeness. An academic article may be read by a thousand of people in total, but a page on Heinz Guderian, for example, receives an average of a thousand views per day, every day.
Second, we should use sources that do not meet the bar set forth in WP:MILMOS#SOURCES with caution. In my experience, the types of sources that almost always turn out to be problematic fall roughly into these three categories:
- Phaleristics-oriented catalogues of award winners and their respective decorations; these are primary sources insufficient for establishing notability or for sourcing matters of history.
- Landser-pulp literature, known in German as Landser-Hefte, which aims to heroicise the military men and strays into historical fiction while doing so. Franz Kurowski is the prime example of such authors.
- Deliberate historical distortions, published by authors such as the fringe Richard Landwehr and various authors affiliated with HIAG, the post-war Waffen-SS lobby group in West Germany. In German, these works are generally published by far-right and extremist publishers such as the Munin Verlag, the Arndt Verlag, and the Nation Europa Verlag, among others.
In North America, Group 2 & 3 titles are being published by militaria presses J.J. Fedorowicz and Schiffer Publishing. Some eventually find their way into speciality publishers, such as Osprey Publishing and Stackpole Books that have a wider distribution. The prolific Kurowski reached even wider audiences through the publication of his works in the mass-market Ballantine Books.
Finally, we need to be aware of the conflict between recent historiography and older popular history or even academic publications, which present more positive views of the German military, such as those steeped in Cold War mentality. The key underlying issue is that many sources that would normally meet Wikipedia's criteria for WP:IRS are unusable because they are dated or skewed by political or self-serving, exculpatory motivations.
Wikipedia can be a wonderful resource to educate the public about the important issues of history. What’s great about it is that it’s always evolving, with new knowledge added all the time. It’s in everybody’s interest that this knowledge is free of historical distortions. I’m looking a for wider awareness of these issues and I thank the Signpost for providing me with an opportunity to share my perspective.
K.e.coffman has been a member of WikiProject:Military History since 2015 and a member of the Society for Military History since 2017. His Good Articles include Rommel myth, HIAG, Arthur Nebe, Hitler's Generals on Trial, Mogilev Conference, and others. K.e.coffman can be reached at User talk:K.e.coffman or via email wiki.coffman-at-gmail.com.
Related community discussions from WP:MILHIST archives:
- Report from German Wiki (2011)
- Helden der Wehrmacht (Heroes of the Wehrmacht) (2013)
- WWII content: Otto Kittel, other GA/FA articles (2016)
- GA / FA articles (2017)
- * Smelser, Ronald; Davies, Edward J. (2008). The Myth of the Eastern Front: The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-521-83365-3.
- Headquarters Gazette, Society for Military History, Winter 2018, p. 10.
- See AfD:List of Stuka aces and 2015 version of the Panzer ace article.
- "...the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub)..." in Otto Weiß (pilot).
- "His jovial, caring attitude towards his troops resulted in him being granted the affectionate nickname Papa Scholz" in Fritz von Scholz, cited to a hagiographic source.
- "Opposition of the Nazi Party" (section), in Wilhelm Bittrich (uncited).
- Edit summary: "It is a firm fact, was Marseille rabidly anti-Nazi" in Der Stern von Afrika.
- "The Cardinal left notes in his diary praising Bayerlein for his humanitarianism", in Fritz Bayerlein (uncited).
- "Humanitarianism" (section), in Erwin Rommel. See also: "Humanitarian actions" (section) and "humanitarian actions" (body), both in Wehrmacht.
- "On September 19, 1944 Police Battalion 287 had a clash in Klooga concentration camp with members of the German Sonderkommando, who tried to execute prisoners in the camp", in Estonian Auxiliary Police, cited to a fan site. See also: Talk:36th Estonian Police Battalion#Novogrudok.
- As detailed on Talk#Use of source, in Arthur Nebe.
- Problematic WII content: Selection of diffs on my user page.
- See for example: Talk#Sources, in Hans-Ulrich Rudel; Talk#Propaganda origins, in Helmut Wick; and Talk#Tags, in Erich Hartmann. All three are GA / MilHist A-class articles.
- See for example: Talk#Leeb and Einsatzgruppe A, in Wilhelm von Leeb, and Talk#Commissar order, in Erich Hoepner.
- Note: Before submitting my draft to SMH, I approached each historian for quote approval. My email was: "I reached out to the U.S. based Society of Military History http://www.smh-hq.org/, who invited me to submit an article for their newsletter. I'd like your permission to quote you in the article, which is attached as a Word document." Sample responses were: "I have no objection to my inclusion as quoted in your piece for the SMH newsletter" and: "You have permission to quote me. In fact, you can say: this is fascinating and quite disturbing".
- Baker, Lee (2008): "Review: The German Defeat in the East, 1944-1945 by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr". Journal of Slavic Military Studies. Jul-Sep 2008, Vol. 21 Issue 3, pp. 593-594. DOI: 10.1080/13518040802313985.
Indy beetle has been a Wikipedia contributor since 2016. His main focus is on content related to history, politics, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Anyone who has been staying informed on the Wikipedia community's affairs by now surely heard of it: our problem of systemic bias. Special attention is often given to the gender gap in our content and the diverging proportion of female and male contributors. In fact, it would seem that is all the people hear about – or that the media cares about. Leafing through Google News results, one can find countless articles on our gender bias issues and the many, many edit-a-thons and other methods meant to alleviate them:
- "Why Wikipedia often overlooks stories of women in history". PBS NewsHour. March 17, 2018.
- Carroll, Tamar; Nicosia, Lara (March 19, 2018). "Why Wikipedia Keeps Overlooking Women". YES! Magazine.
- Shih, Carol (December 14, 2017). "Wikipedia has 1.5 million biographies in English. Only 17 percent are about women". The Lily.
- Guo, Eileen (January 8, 2018). "Inside the Fight to Change Wikipedia's Gender Problem". Inverse.
- Weaver, Shaye (February 27, 2018). "Wiki history will change in worldwide edit-a-thon for Women's History Month". am New York. Newsweek.
- Anderson, Emily (March 29, 2018). "Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at Marriott Library Increases Woman Representation on the Site". The Daily Utah Chronicle. University of Utah Student Media.
- Whelan, Zuzia (April 3, 2018). "A Wikipedia Workshop Fills in the Gaps on Women Artists". Dublin Inquirer.
- Borders, Amira (April 12, 2018). "Fixing Wikipedia's gender gap: Women editors are coming together to address Wikipedia's gender trouble". Daily Emerald.
- "Women fighting for equality on Wikipedia". BBC News. March 28, 2018.
- Wendland, Brian (March 31, 2018). "More women learning to edit Wikipedia". 9news.com. KUSA-TV.
- Kerr, Emma (March 20, 2018). "Women's-Studies Students Across the Nation Are Editing Wikipedia". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- "Alumnae Host Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon". Morgridge College of Education. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
- Sayej, Nadja (March 15, 2018). "Wikipedia's forgotten women: inside the editing marathon to fix imbalance". The Guardian.
- "Sweden tries to increase gender equality on the web". The Economist. March 8, 2018.
- Somani, Sharmeen (March 4, 2018). "Queen's U hosts Wikipedia workshop to encourage female contributors". Global News.
- Millward, Kandel (March 8, 2018). "Why 'women's voices disappear' on Wikipedia and what Hamilton women are doing about it". CBC/Radio-Canada.
- Myrow, Rachael (March 3, 2018). "Wikipedia Needs More Female Artists -- So Go Add Them, Says Stanford". KQED Inc.
- Schwarb, John (January 17, 2018). "IU students boost presence of Hoosier women in STEM through Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon". Indiana University.
- "Pratt Institute Hosts Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon 2018". Pratt Institute. April 19, 2018.
Most of these news articles open with the citation of the infamously unimpressive percentage of women contributors on the site or the proportions of women biography or women's issues articles to their counterparts. Recent Wikidata statistics suggest that the gender gap remains a wide gulf to cross. There is still work to be done in this area. Between Women in Red and the Art+Feminism campaign an impressive amount of energy and effort has been directed at the issue, and no doubt it would benefit the encyclopedia for the work to continue full steam ahead.
But what about our geographical biases? They aren't given anywhere near the same attention as the gender gap—and the effect they have on our image can be just as glaring. This leads to us to doing things as embarrassing as inventing a Congolese prime minister and forgetting about it while the falsehood circulates through other language Wikipedias (). Note that there are articles on American municipal officials that are longer than those on 14-year Burkinabé presidents, and pieces on popular Western TV episodes that are more developed than a highly influential political ideology of the 1960s.
Many African WikiProjects have no Featured Articles and at most only a handful of Good Articles to their name:
- WikiProject Benin
- WikiProject Botswana
- WikiProject Burkina Faso
- WikiProject Comoros
- WikiProject Djibouti
- WikiProject Equatorial Guinea
- WikiProject Eritrea
- WikiProject Gabon
- WikiProject Gambia
- WikiProject Guinea-Bissau
- WikiProject Lesotho
- WikiProject Mauritania
- WikiProject Sao Tome and Principe
- WikiProject Seychelles
- WikiProject Somalia
- WikiProject South Sudan
The same problem exists for some of our Asian areas:
A few countries from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean also suffer:
Many of these WikiProjects are all but abandoned. WikiProject Africa, which is responsible for managing all content related to a continent home to 1.2 billion people, nominally has 179 members. An appeal to discuss the project's direction in February garnered responses from only three users. Its "Open tasks" sections hasn't been updated in four years. This project and its contemporaries may be tagged "Relevant for Countering systemic bias", but – being reduced to little more than organizational tools – they seem mostly irrelevant for seriously combating gaps in coverage. The last major push to improve Africa content was the 2016 Destubathon, which successfully brought expansions to over 2,000 articles. These additions formed the basis for The 10,000 Challenge, "aiming to reach 10,000 article improvements for Africa long term from a series of regional contests and general independent article contribution." Improvements are still listed once or twice a week, but momentum has noticeably slowed and followup contests were never organized.
Covering all topics duly and comprehensively is key to maintaining the encyclopedia's academic integrity. But it is quite clear that a mere commitment to academic integrity will not energize enough people to fill these gaps. While Wikipedia isn't supposed to be the place to right great wrongs, it is undeniable that the popular appeal of Women in Red and the Art+Feminism edit-a-thons is derived from a sense of establishing social justice. Contributors, particularly our newest female members, are galvanized to create content not because of some lofty goal to bring open knowledge together under one umbrella project in an equally weighted manner across subject matter, but because they feel like they are lifting up a marginalized group onto one of the most popular modern platforms. Maybe it's sacrificing principle for expediency, but perhaps by linking our geographical biases to a greater social cause, more users can be encouraged to correct them.
A key component of that method is that most of the users who "advocate" do it for themselves. That is, women like writing about women. Men like writing about men and Americans, Canadians, Brits, and Australians like writing about America, Canada, Britain, and Australia; that's the most common hypothesis for how Wikipedia ended up with systemic bias in the first place. So, if increased recruitment of women editors is addressing the content gender gap, will getting more African, Asian, and Latin American members alleviate geographical bias? Put simply, yes. Wikipedia is already seeing a rise in articles on Indian, Nigerian, and Zambian topics from editors in those countries. It's a functional strategy, but it does mean that the community must – as it should always – be prepared to offer assistance and guidance to new members, including having the patience to negotiate language barriers and cultural divides.
But it is not enough to simply wait and hope that others will come to pick up the slack. There may be no deadline, but the longer the community waits the longer the gap areas will languish. All editors should try and go a little outside their comfort zone. Like politics? Try the history of labor unions in Burkina Faso's public affairs. Interested in music? Perhaps Congolese rumba will pique your interests. Fancy yourself a geographer? Check out the mountains and glaciers of Central Asia. A little broadening might just be enough to get people to put their feet in the door that opens into a great new realm of possibilities. Let's show the world that we are tackling our deficiencies on all fronts.
Are portals to be open or closed?
There is an ongoing discussion about whether to eliminate the Portal namespace. Portals are lists of topics formatted similarly to the Main Page. They contain featured articles, pictures, Did You Know sections, and other content. They were first introduced in 2005 after the concept was initially used on the German and Polish Wikipedias. Portals are generally maintained by the relevant WikiProject, such as the WikiProject Mathematics that runs the Mathematics portal. The biggest portals are linked at the top of the Main Page, and articles often contain links to their associated portals. Other portals, such as Portal:Contents and Portal:Current events are not based on a specific topic; instead, they contain pages of special interest from many topic areas. There are currently 1,515 portals and 149,069 total pages in portal-space (this number includes subpages of portals).
Since this discussion started, WikiProject Portals has been re-activated with a focus on "revitalizing Wikipedia's portal system". The previously inactive WikiProject was relaunched on April 17, 2018 by The Transhumanist.
Arguments for eliminating portals
Proponents of eliminating portals point out that many are rarely edited and often contain outdated information. Supporters of elimination also claim that since Wikipedia is not a social media site the argument of connecting users with common interests is irrelevant. Galobtter, who launched the RfC, says that "In essence, portals try to straddle reader-facing and editor-facing stuff, but are terrible at both."
Arguments for keeping portals
Supporters of keeping portals mention that some portals have been designed to require little maintenance, by randomly cycling through timely featured content (such as with the Arts portal). They see this as a model that could be brought to other portals. Portal supporters also argue that they are a good way to connect users who share common interests (see the above section for the anti-portal rebuttal). In addition, they point out that the biggest portals can receive thousands of page views. Therefore, deleting them would be a disservice to the readers, whom they see as the portals' main audience.
Other users think that instead of deleting all portals, some or all of them should be marked as historical. Some believe that specific portals such as Portal:Contents should stay, with the rest removed or marked historical. Still others suggest moving portals to Wikipedia space, under the page of the relevant WikiProject.
- Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/RfC: Ending the system of portals#Discussion: Ending the system of portals
- According to this WikiProject Portals diff.
- Wikipedia:WikiProject Portals#Breaking news
- There has been extended debate on this at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/RfC: Ending the system of portals#Wikipedia is not a social network!
The case on Civility in infobox discussions concluded on March 28th; a new system of Infobox probation was established as a result of the case. No new cases have been accepted.
Two separate case requests were filed as the result of a dispute regarding the contents of WikiProject Christianity's ICHTHUS newsletter. One motion was passed in response, admonishing Future Perfect at Sunrise for edit-warring in the dispute.
A request for a case based on POV editing involving the WWII Clean Wehrmacht (described in The Signpost's Op-ed section) was filed by K.e.coffman naming LargelyRecyclable as a party. Four arbitrators have voted to accept the case, with 0 opposes and 0 abstentions. Discussion currently is about whether there is a non-content dispute to be analyzed, and whether the dispute has been discussed sufficiently at other forums.
A proposed motion requiring appeals of discretionary sanctions to first be heard at either Arbitration Enforcement or the Administrator's Noticeboard appears unlikely to pass, with a current vote total of 7 opposes to 1 support.
This week, we're checking out ways to motivate editors and recognize valuable contributions by focusing on the success of WikiProject Military History. Anyone unfamiliar with WikiProject Military History is encouraged to start at the report's first article about the project and make your way forward. While many WikiProjects provide a barnstar that can be awarded to helpful contributors, WikiProject Military History has gone a step further by creating a variety of awards with different criteria ranging from the all-purpose WikiChevrons to rewards for participating in drives and improving special topics to medals for improving articles up to A-class status to the coveted "Military Historian of the Year" award. We asked several Milhist project members for their thoughts.
- How long have you been a member of WikiProject Military History? Do you prefer working on articles related to particular subjects, people, or time periods?
- I have been involved with MILHIST for over nine years. In terms of article writing, I tend to focus on Australian infantry units and Second World War battles involving Australia as this is the area of military history I am most comfortable with (although even in this field I am still learning every day and would not consider myself anything but an amateur at best). However, working within MILHIST has provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge, and as such I have tried to branch out a little to other areas, including working on articles relating to New Zealand infantry units, and battles of the Pacific War not involving Australia. My work at MILHIST A-class review (as well as GAN and FAC), though, has allowed me to get involved in a broader range of topics also. I have really enjoyed this aspect of the project, as well as the opportunity to interact with many different people from all walks of life. AustralianRupert (talk)
- I have been with the Military History Project since December 2006. Originally I focused on articles related to technology and logistics in the Australian Army in the First and Second World Wars, the areas I wrote my master's and doctoral theses on. Since 2011, I have worked on improving the articles related to nuclear weapons. Working on a series of articles in a particular topic area allows you to re-use the sources that you have assembled. I have brought over 60 military articles to FAC. For every major, FAC-worthy article that I create, I also create a couple of lesser, GA-quality articles. These are often new articles, but I have also taken seven articles that I created all the way to FAC. Hawkeye7 (discuss)
- I've been a member of both the Military history Wikiproject and Wikipedia for over ten years, and in that time I've seen or done almost everything that can be seen or done in the Military history Project. I started off just editing articles, then worked on moving articles up to GA, A, and FA class, then switched to article reviews, and now I'm working largely within the realm of our in house newsletter The Bugle, where I've done a number of op-ed pieces commemorating the 100-year anniversary of World War I. In addition, I'm still something of a think tank, offering my suggestions and advice on milhist matters. TomStar81 (Talk)
- I've been involved with MilHist almost as long as I've been on WP, which is over a decade now. I primarily write biographies of Australian military aviators, but have branched out to do some Australian Army and Navy personnel as well; I also write a lot of RAAF unit articles. I find myself better suited to articles with a narrow but deep focus, such as bios and unit histories -- broader topics like battles and wars I tend to leave to others. I like to take the articles I edit through as many review processes as I think they can stand, from our B-Class assessment to GAN, A-Class Review, and FAC; in turn I review others' articles. I've been a coordinator of the project for most of the past several years, and also edit the Bugle newsletter with Nick-D. Ian Rose (talk)
- What sets this Wikiproject, which has remained relatively active, apart from most other projects, which have fallen into slow decline?
- To be honest, I'd argue that MILHIST is also currently in a process of decline and that this mirrors (broadly) the general trend on Wikipedia. I would argue, though, that this is normal for any organisation following a period of rapid expansion, as it finds its equilibrium. AustralianRupert (talk)
- The Military History Project has not been immune to the general inexorable decline process, and to survive in the long run Wikipedia needs to ditch some of the dogma. We have the advantage that the subject is highly accessible to the general public. We have some advantages over other projects in our subject area. Military history is amenable to eventualism. For the moment at least, historians write books, which are not subject to loss through technological changes. There is a general demand for the books. Most bookstores have a Military History section. It also means that there is a thriving trade in second hand military books, whereas the work I did for the Paralympics required the mobilisation of a workforce and the attendance at events to grab the information while it was available. Although frowned on by academia, military history has a loyal following, and the project is lucky to have a solid core of highly knowledgeable editors. It is pleasing that the Military History Project has carved out a reputation for high quality workmanship. A key part of this has been our A-class review process. It has standards comparable to FAC, but more structured and without its limitations. Like FAC, its standards have risen over time. I tried to simplify its administration by automating it with a Bot. Hawkeye7 (discuss)
- To be brutally honest, we've lost our thrusters and have been suffering a slow decline over the last few years due to an absence of new contributors to Wikipedia in general. That combined with our ever changing standards is making it harder for us to maintain the articles and reviews and such at currently acceptable levels. For the time being this is somewhat offset by our core of hardcore contributors, but there's only so much that they can do to keep us in orbit. If Wikipedia as a whole could rebound somewhat, this problem in general may resolve itself - if we could convince enough people to give the site a chance. TomStar81 (Talk)
- I tend to agree with Rupert, Hawkeye and Tom that MilHist has also slowed down, although I'd still count it as thriving in comparison to some areas of WP. Just to take an example close to my heart, while we've not always run closely to our planned schedule with the Bugle newsletter, we've never missed an issue. In terms of what sets the project apart, not being an active member of any similar projects it's perhaps difficult to say but I do think there is a good sense of community and -- generally -- a lack of conflict (perhaps ironically in light of our subject interest). As far as processes go, A-Class Review is still a very important and distinguishing aspect. Ian Rose (talk)
- Is the success transferable to other projects, by changing how they work?
- Each project has its own strengths and weaknesses, and its own challenges and opportunities. As does MILHIST. We do some things well, while other areas could be improved. Such is life. Ultimately, the key to success for any project will be to build a core of editors keen to work together for a common(ish) purpose. Achieving this, and maintaining it, is difficult, but there are certainly many ways to do so. AustralianRupert (talk)
- As is the case everywhere on Wikipedia, a small group of editors create 90 per cent of the content. Ironically, military history is a peaceful, constructive and collaborative community. But the key is always enthusiasm and a desire to spread knowledge in pursuit of our educational mission. Hawkeye7 (discuss)
- We have a particular contributor base that works with our particular model for our articles and reviews and such, so copying what we have won't automatically work for other projects. That being said, solving the larger Wikipedia related issues would (in theory) help all the projects by bringing in fresh blood, fresh perspective, and fresh ideas to projects that we can all agree we sorely need. TomStar81 (Talk)
- Is there any work that the project has done you would like to highlight as being particularly successful?
- I think our A-class review process has been quite successful over the years. The project's newsletter, The Bugle, is also an aspect that I think deserves highlighting. This is largely the result of a small group including its dedicated editors, Nick-D and Ian Rose, and some regular contributors such as Hawkeye7 and TomStar81. AustralianRupert (talk)
- Echoing Rupert, even though A-Class Review doesn't attract quite the same interest it once did, it's still going quite strong, and I think serves as a model for any project seeking to create a "pre-FAC" community assessment process. Rupert was also too modest to mention his own contributions to the Bugle, often helping with project news, contest results and so on -- this sort of effort has meant that Nick and I really do just need to edit much of the time, most of the original writing being done by other project members, as one would hope. Ian Rose (talk)
- Are there any methods you use to prevent biases and conspiracy theories from existing?
- I think site wide policies such as WP:V and WP:FRINGE say it best. AustralianRupert (talk)
- We do keep an eye on the articles for this, and in fairness we've had trouble in the past with some black project related material for which sourcing is generally fringe at best. A conscious effort to keep the pages clear of conspiracy material helps, but I personally feel that the larger problem is with the never ending amount of popular culture related appearances which people document in trivial ways in the articles. While there can be no denying that military equipment is a popular culture area, most of what we see is material that is not sourced, poorly, sourced, and generally not really needed in the articles in question. Wrangling all this into corals so it can be handled correctly can be challenging at times, especially when dealing with new or unregistered users who feel that the material should be present at any cost. TomStar81 (Talk)
- There are constant conflicts with Randy in Boise. This mostly affects the infoboxes and the lead, as Randy doesn't have the wherewithal to read the articles. As early as 1964, Richard Hofstadter warned that anti-intellectualism was a consequences of the democratisation of knowledge. There is a trend of disparaging experts, who have a record of debunking cherished beliefs. Many people think that Wikipedia means that we don't need experts anymore; they seem unaware that those experts are the very people who made the information available on Wikipedia. WP:FRINGE sounds like a reference to the tinfoil hat brigade, but as the term is defined on Wikipedia, it also covers many popular and widely-held ideas and beliefs. Biases that affect Military History often arise from the very heart of English-speaking culture. Our best defence is each other; the collective will of the project that can marshal numbers needed to fight off challenges from individuals or even small groups. Hawkeye7 (discuss)
- Anything else you'd like to add?
- The project's ongoing success will be tested in the coming years. To remain successful, we need to ensure that we welcome new editors while managing to keep our olds and bolds. New isn't always better, but the old ways also aren't always the best way either. Encouraging people to get involved in the broader processes of the project will also be a challenge. We need to ensure that our processes are simple, but also effective in producing quality content, while providing an editing environment that encourages people to participate and enables them to feel part of a community. Whether we can achieve this remains to be seen, but it will be a defining part of our Wikipedia journey as a project. AustralianRupert (talk)
- For some years now we've escaped the downward spiral of Wikipedia's dry rot but it's finally starting to catch up with us, and that should concern everyone here. If a large project as successful as ours has been is starting to feel the grasp of lady death's cold fingers then it means we've reached a point where Wikipedia is going to have to evolve if it is going to survive. New members are urgently needed, but our overall sense of community has declined in the last five or so years such that these days it seems that the site survives less on contributors and more on luck. We need to reignite that spark from the old days when this was still an exciting and cool place to be, otherwise the constant burnout is going to be the death of all of us. TomStar81 (Talk)
Ever get that itch to drop the pretense of congeniality and just let loose with how you really feel about an issue? Wish there was a place where you can vent as your internal pressure continues to climb?
Channel all that pent-up energy into the creating your own essay! They can be a great outlet when compared to ad-hominem-attacks-every-one-knows-are-true-about-an-editor-but-are-just-afraid-to-say-so. I tend to lean toward the humorous types, but others lean toward the grim. Since this is Wikipedia and I am an editor, I really don't have to create new content to be considered amusing because others have already done this for me.
I can magically read the emotions of the editor(s) who write essays. They run deep. I detect that some have really poured their heart and soul into their work. I am saddened because some emotions are not exactly positive and are actually somewhat grim. Some essays can be so grim as to make you drop you head onto your computer keyboard, break down and cry.
Essays are strangely therapeutic for me. My suffering is relieved in the act of reading (and re-reading) some essays. On dark days when all my contributions are reverted, it brings healing to my wounded heart to read the very words the essayist uses to express my own emotions. Someone finally understands my heart and my agony. It's as if the author has committed a copyvio of the words that exist within me. How could they know? How could they understand? It's as if the essayist knows exactly what I am going through in response to the cruel reversions to Open Thy Lattice Love and Feline diseases. The burden lifts. I sigh. I move on.
I have realized that an essay is the perfect environment for sarcasm and irony. These are unappreciated skills on Wikipedia. Conveying such things in writing is a very rare ability. I usually can't pull it off and admire those who can. Those who are particularly skilled can intertwine Punssee image and double meanings into their writing without you realizing it until you get to the end of their sentence. On the happier side of things, the policy on pointiness doesn't apply to essays. If it did there would be no essays. You get away with (if you're good) writing things in an essay that would get you into trouble if you 'said' the same thing on a talk page.
Finally, can we deny that many unreferenced articles and lists are really essays written by (usually) well-intentioned folks that mistake their opinions for an encyclopedia article? No listing of such article-essays are part of this piece, but you all know who you are. If you would like to confess, leave your comments after this Signpost article.
Grim and grimmer
- Though I wasn't moved to tears, I was able to force out a few sniffles. This one is disappointingly short but has great potential for getting point-i-er.
- Grim but humorous all wrapped up into a tidy package.
- This section of a policy page needs an explanatory essay written describing it further. I'll probably accept the assignment.
- ...obviously you've mistaken WP for Wiktionary. Not even two sentences make an article. But how about three? four? How about a really long sentence with five clauses?
- Essay-worthy but probably can't be understood by those active in WP:WikiProject American Idol.
Humorous (though with sometimes deadly serious purpose)
- This would mean something entirely different if it contained a comma instead of a colon. Not really about the deletionists, but an essay that is more along the lines of vandalism.
- Someone got this right.
- A little snotty/funny but the punchline is good: "Sometimes people write lengthy posts at WP:ANI in hopes of defusing a situation; however, the ensuing drama means it is diffused instead."
- Poking fun at cherished grammar and usage myths.
- Actually the next Humorous Signpost article.
- Sure it is. "Ego does not matter to Wikipedia"? Hah!
- Also debatable.
- Creating this essay is on my to-do list.
- I was really into this essay, then it got a little weird. I mean what is this supposed to mean? "Brick crystallizer: A game master can also choose to re-crystallize a brick that has been dissolved, turning it back into a normally-functional brick." Your game character probably has the special skills necessary to do things to bricks. Aren't you lucky!
Notes and dubious references
- Though the image is free, the caption can be attributed to those editors who contributed content to the Pun article. The amusing explation of the copyright status accompanying the image follows: "You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States. Note that a few countries have copyright terms longer than 70 years: Mexico has 100 years, Jamaica has 95 years, Colombia has 80 years, and Guatemala and Samoa have 75 years. This image may not be in the public domain in these countries, which moreover do not implement the rule of the shorter term. Côte d'Ivoire has a general copyright term of 99 years and Honduras has 75 years, but they do implement the rule of the shorter term. Copyright may extend on works created by French who died for France in World War II (more information), Russians who served in the Eastern Front of World War II (known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia) and posthumously rehabilitated victims of Soviet repressions"
- All people know this
And the wiki bank talks of the articles of March (March 25 to 31)
Another month closes, even if the weekly report has entries for things bound for April (#8). In the meantime, there's quite a variety of topics: it's three Google Doodles, it's movies, it's people depicted on TV shows and movies, it's a revived sitcom and its main star, it is death (the ever-present death list and 2018's most), it's saintful (a Christian holiday), it's sinful (a porn star the White House is trying to hush), it's the promise of life in your heart.
For the week of March 25 to 31, 2018, the most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:
|1||Chipko movement||1,293,097||Google celebrated the 45th anniversary of this case of literal tree huggers, namely a group of Indians who clung onto trees to prevent them from being cut.|
|2||Stormy Daniels||873,116||While the U.S. president being involved in sexual scandals isn't exactly new, porn star Stormy Daniels is currently deserving of her stage name given the fuss emerging from an affair she had with Donald Trump back in 2006, even earning a segment on 60 Minutes.|
|3||Deaths in 2018||732,054||In spite of no high-profile departures this week, still high on the list. Also, the image to left is named "Death and Matt", which sounds like a weird sitcom. Speaking of that...|
|4||Roseanne||725,404||Seems like almost every 1990s TV show is getting a revival. The ABC sitcom starring Roseanne Barr as the head of an Illinois working-class family is getting eight episodes after nearly 21 years off the air, possibly ignoring that increasingly absurd final season.|
|5||Ready Player One (film)||641,958||Ernest Cline's best-seller Ready Player One is a love letter to the 1980s and nerd culture, and as such right in the first 50 pages mentions the name of Steven Spielberg. No wonder the man himself took the job to adapt the book, in his words to prevent it from being a work overloaded on Spielberg references (at most, there is the T. rex from Jurassic Park and the DeLorean from the Spielberg-produced Back to the Future). A pretty fun adventure, Ready Player One got good reviews and has already grossed nearly 200 million dollars worldwide in its opening weekend.|
|6||Good Friday||634,107||The ever-changing holiday remembering how a man who tried to make the world a better place was instead beaten and crucified.|
|7||Hannah Glasse||525,781||Another Google entry, for the cookery writer who had a big hit back in the 18th century with The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy.|
|8||Easter||585,494||The holiday celebrating how three days after #6, the man was brought back to life – and yet the date is mostly associated with a rabbit that delivers chocolate eggs. And that this year, had the misfortune of falling right on April Fools' Day.|
|9||Black Panther (film)||598,326||The exploits of King T'Challa of Wakanda – portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, pictured – are now the (unadjusted) fourth highest-grossing movie ever in the North American box office with $652 million, and might even become #3 next week given Titanic is only $7 million away. Worldwide, it broke the all-time top 10, becoming Marvel's third biggest success behind the two Avengers. If Black Panther already made this much money, imagine the damage Avengers: Infinity War will cause later this month!|
|10||Anandi Gopal Joshi||584,196||Google for the third time, this time honoring one of the earliest Indian female physicians, who died at just 22 but even has a Moon crater named after her.|
The (Messianic Korean) Sound of Silence (April 1 to 7)
No, we aren't delivering the Report late as our way to provide an April Fools joke. Instead, it's just because the data dump that provides the basis for the list is facing a delay due to a change of server and, sadly, the news on it are as quiet as the top entry of the week, a film where real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski barely make a sound to avoid noise-seeking aliens. Hope the WP:5000 can come back like Jesus on Easter Sunday, perhaps even having some songs to accompany the return (#4). For now, we have some reminders of the last few months – Black Panther and the franchise it is a part of, a return of K-pop band Exo, the ever-present death list, an upcoming WWE event still getting a lot of views in anticipation – and one of last week, Spielberg's latest hit Ready Player One. Along the ever-expected apparition of Google Doodles, there's people enraged by a media conglomerate (#2), and – as proof that Wikipedia is not so American – the Commonwealth Games, a player from the football across the pond, and (once the list returned) the latest Bollywood blockbuster.
|1||A Quiet Place (film)||1,473,474||The less said, the better. The thriller film emulated the success of Get Out, as John Krasinski, an actor primarily known for his comedic roles transitioned to writing and directing a thriller. The film used positive word-of-mouth and strong reviews to generate massive sums at the box office, far in excess of its expected take. It has also left me nervous that the sound of my typing may endanger my very life...|
|2||List of stations owned or operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group||1,161,442||Blame it on John Oliver, who may have instigated a media tsunami against Sinclair, the owner and operator of a cornucopia of local news stations stateside. Following on from a rather excellent investigative piece last year, Oliver discussed Sinclair and its potential political propaganda on the latest episode of Last Week Tonight. Subsequently, the internet began investigating which stations they can expect to see chief political analyst Boris on, ahead of their attempted acquisition of Tribune Media. Dubious journalism abounds, so maybe fake news is more endemic than previously thought.|
|3||Exo (band)||971,006||K-pop continues its persistent penetration into Western media this week, the continuing high views are symptomatic of this. Exo are a very popular K-pop group, but they have not yet seeped into Western culture like some of their peers. However, after performing at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in their native South Korea in dramatic and entertaining fashion, they have hit the headlines in the West. Perhaps they can cross the Pacific and become superstars stateside. I may not have too much of an affinity for their lyrics, but their music cannot be worse than the supposed perfection of current compositions. I cannot speak to their musical quality, but with Wikipedia interest like they are currently receiving, I anticipate an appearance for the band on the annual report.|
|4||Jesus Christ Superstar||844,313||This famous 1970 rock opera about the Messiah saw a resurgence once NBC used it for their latest live concert broadcasts.|
|5||WrestleMania 34||771,588||It's on April 8, so expect one more list featuring this WWE event.|
|6||Ready Player One (film)||770,664||Another film entry here, and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. Spielberg's blockbuster adaptation of Ernest Cline's novel became ambling its way into cinemas worldwide last week, and it depicts a dystopian world where everyone spends the vast majority of their time in an advanced variant of VRChat, but with less Sonic characters. Parzival teams up with an electric girl, and a ragtag group of gamers, to capture something you may have eaten last week in the Oasis in an entertaining, if divisive, tentpole hit film. Still, it features memorable moments of poignancy like this, so its success is not surprising.|
|7||Deaths in 2018||725,481||People have a horrible, inevitable tendency to die – such is the circle of life (nants ingonyama bagithi Baba). As such, the list of the recently deceased is a continuing, morbid attraction for patrons of Wikipedia, and ensuring that it remains a fixture of the report. This week's iteration features many prominent figures, including Ray Wilkins (#10).|
|8||Baaghi 2||702,321||Long time no see, Bollywood. And this time with an action movie that's not only a sequel but a Tollywood remake, starring the awesomely named Tiger Shroff (pictured).|
|9||2018 Commonwealth Games||689,412||"Well, imagine the Olympic Games without the United States, China and Russia. Then imagine a track meet dominated by sprinters from Wales. And you have: the Commonwealth Games."
The 21st edition of these games between the UK and most of its former colonies started on April 4 in Gold Coast, Australia.
|10||Ray Wilkins||661,044||This week, English football, still reeling in the wake of Cyrille Regis' death, lost another legend with the death of Ray Wilkins, a brilliant bastion in midfield for both Chelsea F.C. and Manchester United. As a result, he was a bane for staunch Reds like myself, but his talent and prowess on the ball was unquestionably superb, and his transition into coaching was also admirable. Wilkins, particularly at Stamford Bridge, was a figure of mountainous proportions, and if the club's touching tribute to him is any indication, his impact will not be forgotten anytime soon. Sometimes, football transcends rivalry, and being a mere game, and morphs into something poignant, and powerful, and greater. Wilkins inspired such moments, and will be sorely missed.|
U Can't Hear Me (April 8 to 14)
Another intriguing iteration of the Report this week, one dominated once again by sports and media. There are a handful of persistent entries, while a major wrestling event (at the confluence of sports and acting) is responsible for multiple entries, and has slotted itself at the apex. However, there is diversity in the list, introduced by some Google Doodles and /r/TIL entries, which help bolster the report significantly. As such, the report was entertaining to compile and incorporated scouring sports networks, cinemas, and social media alike. I hope it is as entertaining to peruse.
Without further ado, for the week of April 8 to 14, the most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:
|1||WrestleMania 34||2,254,753||As promised in last week's report, this week kicked off with WrestleMania on April 8th. Despite WrestleMania 34 having what some are calling the "worst main event in WrestleMania history", for the third year in a row, WrestleMania took the top spot during the week in which it aired.|
Up 4 spots from last week.
|2||A Quiet Place (film)||1,995,964||In addition to barely missing out on first place in its second week on this list, this John Krasinski (#17) and Emily Blunt (#20) horror film barely missed out on taking first place in the (arguably less important) box office totals in its second week (losing to #14, Rampage (2018 film)). It may have had the best second weekend ever for a scary movie that wasn't a sequel or based on a book, but I'm still not going to see it. I like to sleep at night.|
Down 1 spot from last week.
|1,550,974||It was a good week for Vine and Instagram star-turned-rapper Cardi B. Her debut studio album Invasion of Privacy was released on April 6 and took the top spot on the Billboard 200, she became the first female artist to chart 13 entries simultaneously on Billboard Hot 100, she was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, where she announced her pregnancy, and on April 9 she became the first person to co-host The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.|
|4||2018 Commonwealth Games medal table||1,537,519||Lots of people were searching for the 2018 Commonwealth Games this week, but most of all, the question on everyone's mind seemed to be how many medals each country had won.|
|5||Patrick Reed||1,282,256||In sports that are the opposite of WrestleMania, the 2018 Masters Tournament was held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia from April 5–8. Reed won by just one stroke over #18 on this list, Rickie Fowler, earning his first major title.|
|6||India at the 2018 Commonwealth Games||1,259,010||Since more people live in India than in all other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations combined, it's no surprise that more people were interested in how India did than any other country in the Commonwealth Games.|
|7||2018 Commonwealth Games||1,222,518||As mentioned above in #4 and #6 above, the games continued this past week on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Fans of non-scripted sports will be happy to know that if you add up the pages on this list related to the Commonwealth Games, they got almost twice the views that WrestleMania 34 did.|
Up 2 spots from last week.
|8||Mark Zuckerberg||938,727||Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before the US Senate on April 10 and April 11 about the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data breach. The main conclusions of the testimony seemed to be that most senators have no idea how social media sites work.|
|9||Glenn Quinn||914,649||ABC successfully revived the sitcom Roseanne last month, but missing from the revival was Mark Healy, the character played by this Irish actor. Quinn died in 2002, and the episode that aired on April 10th ended with a title card dedicating the episode to the "loving memory of Glenn Quinn".|
|10||Omar Sharif||761,404||This Egyptian actor, known for his roles in Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and Funny Girl, was honored with a Google doodle on April 10th, his 86th birthday.|
- These lists 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 Top 25 Report talk page if you wish.
New user scripts to customise your Wikipedia experience
- SearchSuite.js (source) by User:The Transhumanist – list-friendly search results enhancer. On/Off features include sort, single-line results, wikilink formatting, etc.
- retroambox (source) by User:KATMAKROFAN - circa-2006 styles for templates using the ambox metatemplate.
- User Highlighter v2.0 (source) by User:Bellezzasolo – a modified version of Admin Highlighter, which highlights other user groups as well.
- Vote Symbols Lite (source) by User:AnAwesomeArticleEditor — modified version of Vote Symbols that removes some keywords likely to cause icons to show up at the wrong time.
- Sandbox 2 (source) by User:Anchorvale – This adds a link to an extra sandbox, if you want more.
- Sagittarius+ (source) by User:Sam Sailor – a modified version of Keφr's script with more Rcats.
- reviewSourceCheck (source) by User:Lingzhi – displays 16 errors when using Harv templates
- Recent changes
- Profiling statistics for an abuse filter tell how often edits match the filter. The statistics for the abuse filters were reset after 10,000 actions. Wikis can now decide to reset it more or less often. They can file a phabricator task to do so. 
- Abuse filters will now treat integers and floats more precisely. For example, 5/2 was rounded down to 2 but will now be 2.5 and 2*4 will be the integer 8 and not the floating-point number 8.0. Division values are the only ones changed. For the rest only strict comparisons (
!==) will be affected leaving the values unchanged. 
- All Wikipedias now have Page Previews.
- The iOS and Android apps now have synced reading lists. This means you can save articles to a private list that can be seen on your other devices if you use the apps.
- The icons in the 2010 wikitext editor have changed. 
- The visual editor and the 2017 wikitext ask you to write an edit summary after you press
Publish. This button now also shows an ellipsis. This is to show that pressing
Publishis not the last step. 
- Future changes
- The new PDF renderer could not create PDFs from books. Books are in this case collections of pages on a Wikimedia wiki. PediaPress will take over development of the books-to-PDF function. 
- Pywikibot will no longer support Python 2.7.2 and 2.7.3. 
- <mapframe> will come to most Wikipedias in May. This means that you can put interactive maps in the articles. Nine Wikipedias that use a strict version of flagged revisions will not get this feature in May. 
- The rollback function could change. This was a German community request. All editors with rollback rights can leave feedback on the proposed solution. The last day to leave feedback is 4 May (UTC).
- Copy the following code,
importScript( 'User:The Transhumanist/SearchSuite.js' ); // Backlink: User:The Transhumanist/SearchSuite.js, then paste:
- Copy the following code,
importScript( 'User:KATMAKROFAN/retroambox.css' ); // Backlink: User:KATMAKROFAN/retroambox.css, then paste:
- Copy the following code,
importScript( 'User:Bellezzasolo/Scripts/adminhighlighter.js' ); // Backlink: User:Bellezzasolo/Scripts/adminhighlighter.js, then paste:
- Copy the following code,
importScript( 'User:AnAwesomeArticleEditor/voteSymbolsLite.js' ); // Backlink: User:AnAwesomeArticleEditor/voteSymbolsLite.js, then paste:
- Copy the following code,
importScript( 'User:Anchorvale/scripts/Sandbox2.js' ); // Backlink: User:Anchorvale/scripts/Sandbox2.js, then paste:
- Copy the following code,
importScript( 'User:Sam Sailor/Scripts/Sagittarius+.js' ); // Backlink: User:Sam Sailor/Scripts/Sagittarius+.js, then paste:
- Copy the following code,
importScript( 'User:Lingzhi/reviewsourcecheck.js' ); // Backlink: User:Lingzhi/reviewsourcecheck.js, then paste:
27 featured articles were promoted this week.
- The Avenue Range Station massacre (nominated by Peacemaker67) was the murder of at least nine Aboriginal Tanganekald people, who were shot by white settlers on the Avenue Range pastoral station in the southeast of the colony of South Australia around September 1848, during the Australian frontier wars.
- Keechaka Vadham (nominated by Ssven2) is an Indian silent film produced, directed, filmed and edited by R. Nataraja Mudaliar. Released in the late 1910s, it was the first film to have been made in South India, and was shot in five weeks at Nataraja Mudaliar's production house, India Film Company. As the members of the cast were Tamils, Keechaka Vadham is considered to be the first Tamil film. No print of it is known to have survived, making it a lost film.
- Droxford railway station (nominated by Iridescent) was a small station on the Meon Valley Railway, built to a design by T. P. Figgis and opened in 1903. It served the villages of Droxford, Soberton and Hambledon in Hampshire, England. The railway served a relatively lightly populated area, but was built to main line specifications in anticipation of it becoming a major route to Gosport. Consequently, although the station was built in an area with only five houses, it was designed with the capacity to handle 10-carriage trains. It initially proved successful both for the transport of goods and passengers, but services were reduced during the First World War and the subsequent recession, and the route suffered owing to competition from road transport.
- Ice drilling (nominated by Mike Christie) allows scientists studying glaciers and ice sheets to gain access to what is beneath the ice, to take measurements in the interior of the ice, and to retrieve samples. Instruments can be placed in the drilled holes to record temperature, pressure, speed, direction of movement, and for other scientific research, such as neutrino detection.
- Beta-Hydroxy beta-methylbutyric acid (nominated by Seppi333) is a naturally produced substance in humans that is used as a dietary supplement and as an ingredient in certain medical foods that are intended to promote wound healing and provide nutritional support for people with muscle wasting due to cancer or HIV/AIDS.
- The Hogwarts Express (Universal Orlando Resort) (nominated by Dom497) is an 1,800 mm (5 ft 10 7⁄8 in) broad gauge funicular railway, people mover, and attraction within the Universal Orlando Resortin Orlando, Florida, United States. The route runs 676 meters (2,218 ft) between Hogsmeade station in the Islands of Adventure theme park and King's Cross station in the London area of the Universal Studios Florida theme park. It provides a connection between the Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade areas which together form The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed area, based on the Harry Potter film series. The Hogwarts Express soft-opened to the public on July 1, 2014 before officially opening seven days later along with the rest of the Diagon Alley expansion. The service was immediately popular and within one month of opening, one million journeys had been made.
- The Red-tailed tropicbird (nominated by RileyBugz) is a seabird native to tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. One of three closely related species of tropicbird, it was described by Pieter Boddaert in 1783. Superficially resembling a tern in appearance, it has almost all-white plumage with a black mask and a red bill. The sexes have similar plumage. Adults have red tail streamers that are about twice their body length, which gives rise to its common name.
- The Sovereign (British coin) (nominated by Wehwalt) is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of one pound sterling. Struck from 1817 until the present time, it was originally a circulating coin accepted in Britain and elsewhere in the world; it is now a bullion coin and is sometimes mounted in jewellery. In most recent years, it has borne the well-known design of Saint George and the Dragon on the reverse—the initials (B P) of the designer, Benedetto Pistrucci, may be seen to the right of the date.
- Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (nominated by Alanscottwalker) is regarded as the first permanent resident of what later became Chicago, Illinois, and is recognized as the "Founder of Chicago". A school, museum, harbor, park, and bridge have been named in his honor. The site where he settled near the mouth of the Chicago River around the 1780s is identified as a National Historic Landmark, now located in Pioneer Court.
- Battle of Warsaw (1705) (nominated by Imonoz) was fought on 31 July 1705 (Gregorian calendar) near Warsaw, Poland, during the Great Northern War. The battle was part of a power struggle for the Polish–Lithuanian throne. It was fought between Augustus II the Strong and Stanisław Leszczyński and their allies. It resulted in a decisive Swedish victory.
- The 15th Tank Corps (nominated by Kges1901) was a tank corps of the Soviet Union's Red Army. It formed in 1938 from a mechanized corps and fought in the Soviet invasion of Poland, during which it participated in the capture of the Grodno and Augustów Forest from Poland. The corps was disbanded in January 1940 at Wilno and Soleczniki. Re-formed in 1942, it first saw combat in the unsuccessful Kozelsk Offensive of late August and early September. In February 1943, the unit fought in Operation Star, achieving its objective of capturing the key city of Kharkov in eastern Ukraine. As the Soviet advance outran its supply lines, the corps was slowly worn down and was virtually destroyed after being surrounded by a German counteroffensive in the Third Battle of Kharkov during late February and early March. The corps was rebuilt and became part of the newly created 3rd Guards Tank Army, fighting in Operation Kutuzov, the Soviet counteroffensive after the Battle of Kursk, in late July. For its actions in the offensive, the corps was converted into the 7th Guards Tank Corps
- Eliza Acton (nominated by SchroCat) was an English food writer and poet, who produced one of Britain's first cookbooks aimed at the domestic reader, Modern Cookery for Private Families. The book introduced the now-universal practice of listing ingredients and giving suggested cooking times for each recipe. It included the first recipes in English for Brussels sprouts and for spaghetti, and contains the first printed reference to Christmas pudding.
- Vesna Vulović (nominated by 23 editor) was a Serbian flight attendant. She holds the Guinness world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160 metres (33,330 ft). Her fall took place after an explosion tore through the baggage compartment of JAT Flight 367 on 26 January 1972, causing it to crash near Srbská Kamenice, Czechoslovakia. She was the sole survivor of the crash, which air safety investigators attributed to a briefcase bomb. She was fired from JAT in the early 1990s after taking part in anti-government protests but avoided arrest because the government was concerned about the negative publicity that her imprisonment would bring. The final years of her life were spent in seclusion and she struggled with survivor's guilt. Having divorced, she lived alone in her Belgrade apartment on a small pension until her death in 2016.
- University of Washington station (nominated by SounderBruce) is a light rail station located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington, US. The station is served by Sound Transit's Link light rail system and is the current northern terminus of Central Link, which continues south towards Capitol Hill station and Downtown Seattle. University of Washington station is located at the intersection of Montlake Boulevard Northeast and Northeast Pacific Street, adjacent to Husky Stadium and the University of Washington Medical Center.
- Sir Osbert Lancaster CBE (nominated by Tim riley) was an English cartoonist, architectural historian, stage designer and author. He was known for over 10,000 cartoons in the British press, and for his lifelong work to inform the general public about good buildings and architectural heritage. Lancaster died in 1986 aged 77.
- Hydnum repandum (nominated by Cas Liber) is a basidiomycete fungus of the family Hydnaceae. First described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, it is the type species of the genus Hydnum. The fungus produces fruit bodies (mushrooms) that are characterized by their spore-bearing structures—in the form of spines rather than gills—which hang down from the underside of the cap.
- The Pyramid of Neferirkare (nominated by Mr rnddude) was built for the Fifth Dynasty pharaoh Neferirkare Kakai – referred to as Neferirkare – in the 25th century BC. It was the tallest structure located on the highest site at the necropolis site of Abusir – found between Giza and Saqqara – and still towers over the necropolis today. The pyramid is also significant because its evacuation led to the discovery of the Abusir papyri.
- The Carolwood Pacific Railroad (nominated by Jackdude101) was a 7 1⁄4-inch (184 mm) gauge ridable miniature railroad run by Walt Disney in the backyard of his home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, in the United States. It featured the Lilly Belle, a 1:8-scale live steam locomotive built by the Walt Disney Studios' machine shop, and made its first test run on December 24, 1949. The locomotive pulled a set of freight cars, as well as a caboose that was almost entirely built by Disney himself. It was Disney's lifelong fascination with trains, as well as his interest in miniature models, that led to the creation of the CPRR. The railroad, which became operational in 1950, was 2,615 feet (797.1 m) long and encircled his house. The backyard railroad attracted visitors to Disney's home; he invited them to ride and occasionally drive his miniature train. In 1953, after an accident occurred in which a guest was injured, the CPRR was closed to the public.
- Margarita with a Straw (nominated by Numerounovedant is a 2014 Indian drama film directed by Shonali Bose. It stars Kalki Koechlin as an Indian teenager with cerebral palsy who relocates to America for her undergraduate education and comes of age following her complex relationship with a blind girl, played by Sayani Gupta. Revathi, Kuljeet Singh, and William Moseley play supporting roles. Produced by Bose in partnership with Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Margarita with a Straw was co-written by Bose and Nilesh Maniyar and deals with themes of inclusion, self-acceptance, and human sexuality. Commercially, Margarita with a Straw grossed over ₹74 million against a production budget of ₹65 million.
- Ramesses VI (nominated by Iry-Hor) was the fifth ruler of the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt. He reigned for about eight years in the mid-to-late 12th century BC and was a son of Ramesses III and queen Iset Ta-Hemdjert. As a prince, he was known as Ramesses Amunherkhepeshef and held the titles of royal scribe and cavalry general. He was succeeded by his son, Ramesses VII Itamun, whom he had fathered with queen Nubkhesbed.
- The Moorgate tube crash (nominated by SchroCat) occurred on 28 February 1975 at 8:46 am on the London Underground's Northern City Line; 43 people died and 74 were injured after a train failed to stop at the line's southern terminus, Moorgate station, and crashed into its end wall. It is considered the worst peacetime accident on the London Underground. No fault was found with the train, and the inquiry by the Department of the Environment concluded that the accident was caused by the actions of Leslie Newson, the 56-year-old driver. In the aftermath of the crash, London Underground introduced a safety system that automatically stops a train when travelling too fast. This became known informally as Moorgate protection. Northern City Line services into Moorgate ended in October 1975 and British Rail overground services started in August 1976. After a long campaign by relatives of the dead, two memorials were unveiled in the vicinity of the station, one in July 2013 and one in February 2014.
- The Design A-150 battleship (nominated by The ed17 and Sturmvogel 66) popularly known as the Super Yamato class, was a planned class of battleships for the Imperial Japanese Navy. In keeping with the navy's long tradition, they were designed to be quantitatively superior to battleships it might face in battle, such as those from the United States or Great Britain. As part of this, the class would have been armed with six 51-centimeter (20.1 in) guns, the largest weapons carried aboard any warship in the world. Design work on the A-150s began after the preceding Yamato class in 1938–1939 and was mostly finished by early 1941, when the Japanese began focusing on aircraft carriers and other smaller warships in preparation for the coming conflict. No A-150 would ever be laid down, and many details of the class' design were destroyed near the end of the war.
- Allied logistics in the Kokoda Track campaign (nominated by Hawkeye7) During the Second World War, Allied logistics in Papua played a crucial role in bringing the Kokoda Track campaign to a successful conclusion. "The great problem of warfare in the Pacific", General Douglas MacArthur declared, "is to move forces into contact and maintain them. Victory is dependent upon solution to the logistic problem."
- Boeing CH-47 Chinook in Australian service: (nominated by Nick-D) The Australian Defence Force has operated Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters for most of the period since 1974. Thirty of the type have entered Australian service, comprising twelve CH-47C variants, eight CH-47Ds and ten CH-47Fs. The helicopters have been operated by both the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Australian Army.
- Panzer Dragoon Saga (nominated by Popcornduff) is a 1998 role-playing video game (RPG) published by Sega and developed by Team Andromeda for the Sega Saturnconsole. It departs from the linear rail shooter gameplay of the Panzer Dragoon series by introducing traditional RPG elements such as random encounters, semi-turn-based battles, and free-roaming exploration. The player controls Edge, a young mercenary who rides a powerful dragon and encounters a mysterious girl from a vanished civilization. Panzer Dragoon Saga is the most critically acclaimed Saturn game, and is often listed as one of the greatest games of all time.
- Banksia petiolaris (nominated by Cas Liber) is a species of flowering plant of the family Proteaceae native to Western Australia, where it is found in sandy soils in the south coastal regions from Munglinup east to Israelite Bay. B. petiolaris is one of several closely related species that all grow as prostrate shrub, with horizontal stems and thick, leathery upright leaves. Those of this species can be viable for up to 13 years—the longest-lived of any flowering plant recorded. It bears yellow cylindrical flower spikes, known as inflorescences, up to 16 cm (61⁄4 in) high in spring. As the spikes age, they turn grey and develop up to 20 woody seed pods, known as follicles, each.
- 2017–18 Bergen County eruv controversy: (nominated by Wehwalt) In July 2017, a controversy began when the municipalities of Mahwah, Upper Saddle River and Montvale in Bergen County, New Jersey, in the United States, began efforts to prevent the completion of an eruv within their borders. The three municipalities ordered that the eruv be taken down, as their permission had not been obtained, but it remained during the pendency of federal lawsuits filed in response, and the settlements allowed the remaining construction to proceed. After no agreement could be reached short of litigation, the eruv association brought suit against each of the municipalities. Mahwah's actions in passing a township ordinance to bar nonresidents of New Jersey from its parks, and the hostility of some residents and council members towards those who supported the eruv led to accusations of anti-Semitism, including by the successful Democratic candidate for Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy. The presiding judge in the lawsuits, John Michael Vazquez, in January 2018 made it clear he felt the municipalities did not have a strong case, and urged them to settle. The three municipalities have settled with the eruv association, allowing the eruv to remain, but Mahwah still faces a lawsuit from the New Jersey Attorney General accusing it of discrimination.
23 featured lists were promoted this week.
- List of World Heritage Sites in Montenegro (nominated by Tone)
- List of accolades received by Call Me by Your Name (film) (nominated by Damian Vo)
- List of accolades received by My Name Is Khan (nominated by Ssven2)
- Latin Grammy Trustees Award (nominated by Magiciandude)
- List of awards and nominations received by Regine Velasquez (nominated by Pseud 14)
- List of Hot C&W Sides number ones of 1959 (nominated by ChrisTheDude)
- List of Hot Country Singles & Tracks number ones of 2004 (nominated by ChrisTheDude)
- Theory of a Deadman discography (nominated by Miss Sarita)
- List of songs recorded by Regine Velasquez (nominated by Pseud 14)
- London station group (nominated by Ritchie333)
- Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award (nominated by Lizard the Wizard)
- List of international goals scored by Didier Drogba (nominated by The Rambling Man)
- List of Republic of Ireland national football team hat-tricks (nominated by Kosack)
- Mr. Show-Me Basketball (nominated by Jmnbqb)
- List of international cricket centuries by Ross Taylor (nominated by The Rambling Man)
- List of international rugby union tries by Brian O'Driscoll (nominated by The Rambling Man)
- Best Female Action Sports Athlete ESPY Award (nominated by The Rambling Man)
- Best Fighter ESPY Award (nominated by MWright96)
- List of Padma Bhushan award recipients (2000–2009) (nominated by Yashthepunisher)
- List of Missouri University of Science and Technology alumni (nominated by Jmnbqb)
- List of Tau Kappa Epsilon brothers (nominated by Jmnbqb)
- List of Governors of Arkansas (nominated by Golbez)
- List of women cabinet ministers of the Republic of Ireland (nominated by BrownHairedGirl)
Four featured pictures were promoted this week.
The Three Shire Stone is a boundary stone that marks the location where the historic English counties of Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland meet.
Triple Frontier in South America
Four Corners Monument in the United States – pick your favorite three states and get a bonus for free
Tripoint of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, located on a sandbar in the Mekong
Tripoint of The Congo, Tanzania and Zambia is in Lake Tanganyika
Beyond this gallery
Many more fine images can be found at List of tripoints.