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Time for a truce

Illustrated London News - Christmas Truce 1914.jpg

In the field of human conflict, tens of millions of people, fighters and civilians alike, have lost their lives over the millennia. Some of these conflicts have sadly been necessary in order to protect civilisation from greater evil. An article asking us to reflect on one major war reminds us that most conflict is unnecessary. Perhaps Wikipedia users could bear that in mind when hastening to be unpleasant to each other, exerting authority over others, and turning some discussion venues into a sordid mire of grave dancing and battlefield behaviour.

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Tarte pruneaux 2.jpg
Pie diplomacy via Isarra WP:WPX. Maybe I could try pizza diplomacy, salad for the health concerned. Or maybe even an Indianised version of this, umm, Kaju barfi diplomacy, or even Panipuri! Sigh, only if the pictures of the Indian stuff were more appealing! Will add to my endless Wiki to-do list. I'll stick with pie for now!
DiplomatTesterMan takes us on a journey of a new user on Wikipedia, told in their own words. You will read about what the user has been up to here so far, about how the motivations to keep editing have changed over time, what the user thinks of Wikipedia now and some deliberation on what the future aims could be. The user tries to keep it humorous (Wikipedia:Humor) here and there, so bear with them, from the pie at the beginning right till the prayer at the very end. So let's begin...
Please bite the newbies

With a global edit count reaching 3,000, and with 2,641 edits on Wikipedia, I still consider myself a newbie here. On my user page my first line still stays "I am still getting the hang of Wikipedia" and I think that’s gonna stay there now, forever, as a memory to remind myself what it was like to be a newer newbie with around just 50–60 edits ten months ago. (Yes yes edit counts matter, see Wikipedia:Edits Per Day & WP:EDITCOUNT [quality + quantity] hence all the numbers! :P) And I am also a noob since I joined after 2000AD according to Wikipedia:Please bite the newbies.

My takeaways related to Wikipedia so far

Wikipedia is an amazing example of collaborative human effort that everyone can be a part of. All Wikipedians know this, but hearing this from just one more person reaffirms the thought, always.

  • The Wikipedia community at large has amazing people and amazing editors, even if some love to create sock puppets and pick on each other every now and then.
  • Personal motivations to edit Wikipedia will keep changing for a young user like me.
  • Editing Wikipedia is a thankless job most of the time (WP:THANKLESS) This is where the community aspect that happens behind the scenes makes a difference in the long run. Simple things like sending "thanks" do work in cheering up people (WP:THANKS,WP:THANKYOU) (I guess psychologists use the term instant gratification for this, a more relatable example maybe would be cat pictures for others, oh the joy!)
  • But at the end of the day, Wikipedia does not need you aka "Get over it". If you think Wikipedia owes you something for the stress of editing articles, then no. Read this: Wikistress for getting the facts into your head such as "that you're just getting sucked into a scheme to line Jimbo's pockets" just to feel even more depressed :D :D
  • If you think you're the only one cribbing about how flawed Wikipedia is, you haven't seen sites such as Wikipediocracy.
  • Wikipedia has more strengths than flaws. The strengths clearly outweigh the faults (only if you are an optimist and you keep your own ego in check, or you like pie).
  • The parts of Wikipedia that are transparent are the best parts: being able to see page histories, user histories, talk pages, being able to see how decisions are being made, being able to see whether the core principles of Wikipedia really are honourable or just the biggest Wikipedia hoaxes of all. :D
  • Take a break from Wikipedia when your stress goes up. (WP:ENJOY) It helps. Being on Wikipedia should be rewarding, and shouldn't feel blood sucking or even worse, soul sucking! WikiVampire Slayers needed.
  • I now have a reason to pray and believe in God... to pray that Wikipedia doesn't implode or explode anytime in the near future. I am young and am so curious related to how Wikipedia will have evolved say after fifty years. (WP:ARMAGEDDON, LOL wiki essays cover it all, WP:TOOMANYESSAYS, stop, no more..... WP:FUCKIT)
Vikram Sood Ex Intelligence Chief RAW India.jpg
Among the media which I have uploaded, one of the photographs of a former intelligence chief of India which I took for Wikipedia is among the ones I am most proud of, especially because it is on the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) page which had no pictures before I stumbled along :D
Shehla Rashid Yuva Hunkar Rally New Delhi.jpg
Contributing pictures has been ever so fun. It gives added purpose to my smartphone camera other than just being used for selfies!
What I've been up to over here

On a more serious note, this year I have been consistent on Wikipedia and have managed to create 43 new articles in main space, all which still need improvement, some closer than others to "GA" status such as Delhi War Cemetery. Just recently Cwmhiraeth accepted my first DYK submission for a page I initiated and expanded: National Police Memorial (India). (The day I found out that this memorial had just been revamped and was open to public again, I actually rushed out in the morning to take pictures with my mobile phone just so that I could put it onto Wikipedia! Newbies huh!) Then I voted like a diligent Wikipedian in the Arbitration Committee Elections December 2018 and learnt of Isarra's pie diplomacy. At another level I have got into arguments with users and sock puppets here and there, but now looking back, I was at fault most of the time (WP:CLUELESS, WP:FALLIBLE) and have learnt a lot from the encouragement and guidance of various experienced editors here such as DBigXray, Kautilya3, Vanamonde, Adamgerber80 and so many others.

Changing motivations to edit Wikipedia: From my college teachers plagiarizing Wikipedia to the thrill of calculating pageviews to wanting to find the secret ingredients that makes Wikipedia tick

My first burst of motivation to start editing Wikipedia was related to creating a new article which wasn't there on Wikipedia in 2013. I had noticed that Wikipedia always kept popping up in my Google search results, somehow always managing to appear right at the top of the search results and I felt that this organisation "deserved" to have a page of its own. After a gap of four years the next burst of motivation came when I realised that some of my teachers in college were blatantly picking up matter from the lead of Wikipedia articles word for word and using it as a class presentation without any reference to where that information came from; and just to rub in their laziness even more, the final nail was when a teacher came to me asking if I could collect some matter on interpretative journalism. I soon found that probably the only reason the teacher said that was because Wikipedia didn't have a page on it at the time, which I then created.

Over time my motivations to continue editing Wikipedia have changed, one of the grandest being wanting to learn the secrets that hold the Wikipedia universe together. I wanted to understand who made the gel that keeps the hair straight and sexy, I wanted to understand the hukana to the matata, to understand who is the wife here and who is the husband and who are just the angry neighbours next door. I wanted to understand why Wikipedia editors are volunteers when the joker has clearly told us not to work for free. But trying to understand the secrets of Wikipedia and how it works was in a way like Master Po's revelation in Kung Fu Panda, when he is told there is no secret, there are no secret ingredients.

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Part of a larger set of ideas I had in mind, which I now consider a classic example of Wikipedia:Most ideas are bad

Another burst of motivation spread from knowing that edits I was making and pages I was initiating on Wikipedia were being viewed by many many people. Just how many I wondered so I even checked once – over 1.2 million views at the time of counting in August 2018. This was mainly because of Satyameva Jayate which already has crossed 2 million page views in just a few months. Now pageviews do not give me the same motivation as it did before. Pageviews also aren't a good way to decide whether to contribute to a particular page or not in the long run. This hunger for pageviews and recognition also resulted in a classic example of 'Wikipedia:Most ideas are bad' as depicted in the picture.

What lies ahead for editors like me, for me?
Atal Bihari Vajpayees Funeral Procession.jpg
A picture of a former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during his funeral procession which I took. This picture is currently on his Wikipedia page, the only picture which hasn't been uploaded via official channels. Sadly India still doesn't know enough about uploading pictures onto Wikipedia Commons.

Aims of mine in the future include:

  • Not letting my mainspace contribution fall below 60% (As if that's going to happen)
  • Help improve existing articles. (And forgetting about whether this is a never ending process or not. BTW, it is never ending)
  • Contribute and help out at The Signpost more!
  • Deletion percentage of articles I create needs to reduce and accordingly get a couple of other tags such as autopatrolled and NPR
  • Work on idea suggested at Idea Lab
  • I am an Indian Wikipedia user living in India. Utilise this to your advantage!
  • umm...
  • Help out new editors, they may just be a WikiDodo
  • Figure out whether a user is better off staying anonymous or revealing a real identity on the userpage in brief? (WP:ANONYMOUS, WP:BLESSING, WP:ANONYOVERUSE)
  • Keep sleepwalking the basements of Wikipedia for pages such as Wikipedia:Esperanza, WP:SPIDERMAN and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an MMORPG
(From most serious to least serious, for those who didn't get it. I guess that is the beauty of the humour here too, that the humour is also crowd-sourced from around the world)
As I close this article here,
I request all citizens of Wikiville to please bow your heads in prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the pages I cannot edit,
The courage to edit the pages I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
(Source: WP:HOLIC; adapted from The Serenity Prayer)[1]

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The race for the winning Top 10

One of the more successful schemes to come out of the San Fransisco stable in recent years has been the Community Wishlist Survey. Last month's issue of The Signpost, Special Report 'NPP: This could be heaven or this could be hell for new users – and for the reviewers' briefly mentioned the 'Christmas' Wish List. But what is this wish list exactly? Who runs it? Who is it for, and what does it achieve?

Begun in 2015 based on a model developed by Wikimedia Deutschland's Technical Wishes team (in English), who run a wishlist survey on German Wikipedia, the international wishlist process is operated by a Wikimedia Foundation department known as Community Tech. The Wikimedia Foundation set up this team in response to Wikimedia community requests for a mechanism to request Wikimedia Foundation staff responses to software development requests from Wikimedia editors and content maintenance volunteers of Wikimedia projects, the best known of which is the English Wikipedia.

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Toby Negrin in 2018 (photo: Myleen Hollero)
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Danny Horn in 2016 (photo: Myleen Hollero)

The team is headed by product managers Niharika Kohli and Joe Matazzoni, and managed by Danny Horn (aka Toughpigs) whose briefs as Director of Product Management encompass: Editing, Growth, Community Tech, Anti-Harassment Tools and the Language team. The team was created by Toby Negrin, Chief Product Officer. Negrin, who joined the WMF in 2013, took on the responsibility in November 2017 of leading the departments concerned with the development of software products. His tasks include "...cultivating a culture of excellence, engagement, and sustainability within the product engineering teams."


The Community Tech team's mission is "to work on projects that have a big impact". Community Tech is a Wikimedia Foundation department whose mission "is focused on meeting the needs of active Wikimedia editors for improved, expert-focused curation and moderation tools [...] For the purposes of this team, the "core community" will be defined as those editors who participate in the curatorial and administrative layers of the Wikimedia projects..."


The Community Wishlist Survey aims for development of the most wanted enhancements to the MediaWiki software package as used by the Wikimedia Foundation projects. Many of these developments have proven to be of benefit to editors and maintenance workers: "The team is a Wikimedia Foundation product team focused on meeting the needs of active Wikimedia contributors for improved, expert-focused curation and moderation tools."

"The creation of the Community Tech team is a direct outcome of requests from core contributors for improved support for moderation tools, bots, and the other features that help the Wikimedia projects succeed. The team works closely with contributors, volunteer developers, and the Community Engagement department."

Divided into 15 sections, the wish list also addresses the needs of Wikidata, Wikisource, and Wiktionary. In contrast to the Wikipedia policy, campaigning and canvassing for votes is expressly allowed.


The team mainly processes development tasks that can be resolved quickly and "that will have a direct benefit for the most active contributors who participate in the curatorial and administrative layers of the Wikimedia projects, as well as contributors who work on technical features for the projects such as templates, modules, gadgets, user scripts, and bots". While the team must decline requests–even if they reach the top ten–that are outside its scope, significant concerns have been voiced by the community that the team may be too small for some important requests that require in-depth programming or re-programming. Any proposals that do not meet the top-ten can always be submitted the following year. Occasionaly, the team will however address issues outside the wish list, such as the addidtional features for the AfC which were begun in May this year and are now reaching completion. Some of these enhancements, which also include the implementation of ORES and Copypatrol, may also prove to be of benefit to the patrolling of new articles by the New Page Reviewer group.

The team

The Community Tech team includes Niharika Kohli, Joe Matazzoni (product managers), Alex Ezell (engineering manager), Moriel Schottlender (tech lead), Leon Ziemba, Sam Wilson, Max Semenik (developers) and Prateek Saxena (UX designer), some of whom have been around on Wikipedia for a long time before joining the WMF; Max Semenik and Leon Ziemba (better known to Wikipedians as MusikAnimal) are also en.Wiki admins; Leon provided invaluable help during the set up of the New Page Reviewer right. The Tech Team has experience in both software development and a growing awareness of the development requests which community Wikimedia editors are regularly expressing.

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Suppose they gave a blog and nobody came?

What was (in my opinion, but perhaps I'm old fashioned after 25 years of the Web) a nice, clean newsletter-style blog, has, like most of the other readily accessible and commentable – and sometimes commendable – stuff, been incorporated into one of those quick-build WordPress sites that are taking over the creative art of web design; those WordPress sites are all instantly recognisable, aren't they? Content management systems have their advantages of course though, but sometimes only for those with privileged access.

The news to come out of the Wikimedia Foundation's effort to the Word Wide Web this month is an eclectic mix of essays and reports, and certainly a worthwhile browse for whatever takes one's fancy, and this is just my quick pick:

  • As if they can't give it a rest, Robert Fernandez on November 2018 brings up the issue again on Wikipedia lacking an article on Strickland, but provides some excellent advice on how to volunteer and contribute to Wikipedia.
  • Saskia Ehlers, Houssem Abida and Ed Erhart on 9 November 2018 go into compulsory heterosexuality. This concept, reported by Ed Erhart, Senior Editorial Associate, Communications Wikimedia Foundation, describes how heterosexuality is assumed, enforced and viewed as an obligation regardless of one’s own sexual preferences – something they originally discussed at an event way back in August in Stockholm, when in just two days, over 80 LGBT-related Wikipedia articles in more than 10 languages were created, translated, or improved, and added over 300 photos. Now if all editathons could be as productive as this excellent contribution by the LGBT group whose event was supported by the Germany, Swiss, and Austrian chapters.
  • Jan Gerlach on 29 October 2018 talks about the Wikimedia Foundation being honored to join the Global Network Initiative (GNI) as an observer, "an opportunity we hope will advance our efforts to champion freedom of expression and privacy for the Wikimedia community and beyond. GNI is a channel for collective action, advocating to governments and international institutions for policies and laws which promote..."

...and much, much more than I had time to read. This will probably change the shape of The Signpost's WMF blog column in future issues. Anyway, it's all out there on Wikimedia Foundation News for anyone who wants to keep abreast.

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RZ Logo Wikimedia-Summit black.svg

Wikimedia Summit 2019

The Wikimedia Summit 2019 will be in Berlin during 29–31 March 2019 and is accepting registration from Friday, 2 November 2018 to Monday, 17 December at midnight CET (UTC+1). While this is an exclusive conference which typically limits invitations to one person per Wikimedia movement affiliate, the conference broadly affects group Wikimedia engagement everywhere as this global conference seeks to include representation from most or all Wikimedia community organizations. This gathering, previously known as the Wikimedia Conference, and before that the Chapter's Conference, focuses on discussion of global Wikimedia strategy through near future planning at meta:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20 and longer term ambition of what Wikimedia should be in 2030. Anyone who is part of a Wikimedia community organization should choose and register your representative. Anyone not part of an organization can join one or start one. Anyone who does not want to be in an organization, but who wants to be part of strategic planning, can join a working group and participate online. Anyone else who does not want to join any group can say whatever they want on the talk pages of any of these projects and plans.

Amazing performance by the top-10 New Page Reviewers

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This year's award for the Reviewer of the Year goes to Onel5969. Around on Wikipedia since 2011, their staggering number of 26,554 reviews over the past 12 months makes them, together with an additional total of 275,285 edits, one of Wikipedia's most prolific users.

Top 10 from the last 365 days:
Rank Username Reviews
1 Onel5969 26,554
2 JTtheOG 15,059
3 Boleyn 12,760
4 Cwmhiraeth 9,001
5 Semmendinger 8,440
6 PRehse 8,092
7 Arthistorian1977 5,306
8 Abishe 4,153
9 Barkeep49 4,016
10 Elmidae 3,615
Cwmhiraeth, Semmendinger, Barkeep49, and Elmidae have been New Page Reviewers for less than a year — Barkeep49 for only seven months, while Boleyn, with an edit count of 250,000 since she joined Wikipedia in 2008, has been a bastion of New Page Patrol for many years. See also the list of Top 100 reviewers. The 2017 award was received by PRehse. (Data provided by Insertcleverphrasehere)

WikiCup 2018

The WikiCup

This was the twelfth edition of the WikiCup, an editing competition which has been held annually since 2007. In its first year it had twelve competitors, the only entrant from that contest who still participates regularly at Wikipedia being The Rambling Man, who came third in the Cup's inaugural year. Two years later there were 60 entrants, and in the ensuing years, contestant numbers peaked at around 150 and stayed steady for several years, although there has been some tailing off of entrant numbers recently. Originally, points were awarded for the number of mainspace edits done as well as for working on articles that were promoted to GA and FA status during the competition. The former criterion has been dropped, and now points are awarded for creating or expanding articles and improving the quality of articles; featured articles, featured lists, featured topics, and featured pictures, good articles and good topics, in the news items, did you knows and good article reviews all qualify, and bonus points are awarded for articles on important topics.

This year's contest was won by South Carolina Courcelles (submissions), largely on the back of good articles on nations competing in the Olympic Games. Second was Wales Kosack (submissions), who focused on footballers particularly from Cardiff City. Third-placed Hel, Poland Kees08 (submissions) mainly scored by improving content on astronauts and the space programme. In fourth place was Cascadia (independence movement) SounderBruce (submissions), who concentrated on articles relating to the state of Washington, and fifth-placed Scotland Cas Liber (submissions) created a range of featured content encompassing astronomy, fungi, plants, and birds.

Altogether, during the course of the ten-month competition, contestants achieved 28 FAs, 18 FLs, 463 GAs, 72 GTs, 210 DYKs, 46 ITN items and 644 GA reviews. Participants who improved featured content helped by reviewing the nominations of others, and the number of good article reviews done greatly exceeded the number of good articles for which points were claimed, and this will have contributed towards reducing the backlog of articles awaiting GA review. The number of DYKs averaged fewer than one a day, so it did not clog up the DYK process as has sometimes been claimed. The next WikiCup will start on January 1st 2019, and anyone who wishes to join in can sign up here.

Brief notes


"Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity." – Hamlet

Dr. Raymond Ward Arritt, who we knew as Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (formerly Raymond arritt), a valued member of the community since 2006, died suddenly on November 14; his last edit was shortly before. Just a sampling of the comments left on his talkpage in the wake of his passing include:

"We lost a friend ... in a rough situation, he was the one to bring me back to serenity." – Gerda Arendt
"His wit is scattered on the pages of WP. Together with his article contributions, they make for a cool monument to him." – Simon Adler
"Ray was one of the best people here. Whenever I saw he'd posted somewhere, I knew it was going to be insightful, or funny, or both." – Floquenbeam
"Absolutely one of the best people here. And people aren't just saying that now. We knew it the whole time." – Swarm
"His guidance in improving and motivating my writing and teaching will forever be appreciated. And his sense of humor, as displayed on this site, shone through in person as well." – Jason Patton
"One of the kindest yet straightest-shooters among us." – Jytdog
"One of my favorite people, which is an odd thing to say about someone whom I never met in person and only interacted with in the context of this website. He was smart, insightful, humane, and funny, and most of all I valued his sense of perspective" – MastCell
"Raymond has made a substantial contribution [to Wikipedia] and to the world at large, for which we can all be grateful and from which we can take inspiration." – EdChem

Since his death, volunteer Wikipedians have created a new article, Raymond Arritt, where readers can find out more about him, including his involvement in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Reader comments

This Signpost piece is adapted from an email that is part of a semi-regular series on Wikimedia-l and Wikitech-l. The editors of The Signpost would like to encourage those moved by this piece to review meta:Europeana/1914-18 for some of the WWI-related events, activities, and contributions that have been organised over the past few years, and consider their own ability to contribute.

The 11th of November is commemorated in some parts of the world as Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday, or Veterans Day. The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. I would like to take a moment to reflect on the subject of Armistice Day, and on the roles of Wikimedia – especially Wikipedia – in sharing knowledge of history and being a repository of our collective memory.

"Armistice Day is commemorated... to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918."[a] World War I was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, with a total of approximately 17 million civilian and military deaths.[b]

I would like to share a story.

John McCrae in uniform circa 1914.jpg
John McCrae in uniform circa 1914

John McCrae was a medical doctor and Canadian soldier during World War I. He wrote a famous poem, “In Flanders Fields". The poem refers to the red poppies that grew over the graves of soldiers who died in the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium. There are variants of the wording of the poem. I quote one of them below.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Here are a few images:

In our contemporary world where there are many disputes about history, resources are limited, and sometimes it is difficult to be optimistic about human nature, I am especially grateful for Wikipedia's aspiration to be a place to share neutral, reliable, and verifiable information with an open license.

Wikimedia has remarkable success at being a collaborative endeavor for the education and information of humanity. Wikimedia content is collaboratively developed by thousands of diverse individuals, many of whom are volunteers and never meet in person. Content that is shared on Wikimedia sites is viewed by millions of people around the world. Although we sometimes caution the public that Wikipedia is not a primary source, for many people Wikipedia seems to be a good starting point, and the references that we provide allow people to perform their own research regarding history and many other topics.

Thank you to everyone who documents history on Wikimedia, and to the people who support this effort behind the scenes. We all benefit from your generosity to our common memory. By documenting and learning about our history, I hope that we improve our understanding of ourselves and our potential, and can make wise decisions about our future.

I close with a poem by Catherine Munro:


One gateway to the wide garden
of knowledge, where lies
The deep rock of our past,
in which we must delve
the well of our future,
The clear water we must leave untainted
for those who come after us,
The fertile earth, in which
truth may grow in bright places,
tended by many hands,
And the broad fall of sunshine,
warming our first steps toward knowing
how much we do not know.

Ever onward,



Reader comments

German court orders Wikipedia to remove defamatory statements about a computer science professor

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Lobby, Landgericht (State Court) Berlin

Writing in Heise Online on 2 November, Torsten Kleinz reports that the State Court of Berlin (file reference 27 O 12/7) has ordered the German Wikipedia to remove a critical passage on language researcher Alexander Waibel. "Just how far can one go in making supposedly reputation-damaging claims without substantiating them?" Computer scientist Weibel had sued Wikipedia following a claim sourced to the MDR magazine Fakt, in which he was linked to surveillance programs of the US intelligence services. Weibel, a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, sees the allegations of being connected with espionage programs as reputation-damaging. "One needs to be very careful before claiming a scientist has connections to the secret service", recommends the presiding judge. Whether the claims were justified or not was not taken into account by the court. The Wikimedia Foundation, which admitted to not being aware of any lack of veracity in the Fakt article, has not appealed the verdict. The corresponding text has since been removed from the encyclopedia's article.

If you are famous and you die, Wikipedia will be one of the first places people will go for the most recent information

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Marty Friedman

Wikipedia 'Deaditors': The People Who Let The World Know When Famous People Die, says Antoinette Lattouf, senior reporter of 10 daily on 11 November. Revealing that Conor Crawford, a 30-year-old from Missouri who edits Wikipedia as Conman33 was the first to update the Wikipedia biography on the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, she continues by explaining that he was also involved in the reporting of the passing of Prince in 2016. According to Lattouf, "Wikipedia’s page view statistics show that the site is the first stop for many when actors and entertainers pass away". Crawford told 10 daily that " the 'era of fake news' Wikipedia needs to be more stringent".

In brief

  • Consensus: Why some Wikipedia disputes go unresolved – Study identifies reasons for unsettled editing disagreements and offers predictive tools that could improve deliberation. Rob Matheson reporting on November 6 in MIT News . More on the story of the research is published in the 6 November issue of Science Daily.
  • Paid editing: Yet another exposé, this time by Stephen Harrison in his 29 October column in Medium which includes a brief interview with admin SmartSE and David King (CorporateM) of Ethical Wiki. Entitled Wikipedia’s Top-Secret 'Hired Guns' Will Make You Matter (For a Price), it demonstrates again how hard it is to both combat undeclared paid editing, and to convince declared paid editors that despite the rules, their work is nevertheless unethical.
  • Music: In Loudwire on 31 October, Graham Hartmann claims to prove and disprove what’s written in the Wikipedia article about the Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman. Perhaps a training exercise for would-be New Page Patrollers could be to delve into the history and see who is right and who is wrong. Maybe Tina S the French teenage shred guitar phenomenon would know.
  • Wikipedia: Sportfans schiessen bei Wikipedia gerne übers Ziel hinaus (Sport fans like shooting wide of the goal posts). The Executive Director of the WMF was in Berne, Switzerland on 10 November for a ten minute interview with editor Mathias Born of the German language Swiss daily newspaper Tages Anzeiger. The questions were routine and expected, as were the well-practiced answers, emphasizing the problems with contributions from sport fans, the need for more female contributors, and reassurance that the volunteer community's wishes for support are heard by the staff.
  • Docufilm: Pitchfork's Kristen Yoonsoo Kim in a 2 November review describes the docufilm Bohemian Rhapsody about Queen as "...Basically Queen's Wikipedia entry as a biopic", "Even without all the problems attached to the production, Bohemian Rhapsody is not so much a film as it is a dramatization of a Wikipedia entry, watered down and overedited."
  • Notable vandalism: For obvious reasons, The Signpost doesn't usually cover routine vandalism, but major media have reported on a recent incident at the Donald Trump article. Administrator TheSandDoctor explained the nature of the edit warring vandal or vandals to The Verge in a story widely reprinted (USA Today, Gizmodo, Newsweek and others). The UK media The Independent and Metro also carried a story. It does show that despite our very open policy towards editing, we are fairly quick to revert vandalism.

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

Reader comments

National Archives, statue of old man with a scroll and closed book entitled "Study the Past," Washington, D.C LCCN2010630510.tif
Study the Past, at the U.S. National Archives

Wikipedians reached a consensus on the village pump to close the Mediation Committee and mark all its associated pages as historical. The closer, Winged Blades of Godric, pointed to the wide support of the proposer Beeblebrox's argument that MedCom's original purposes have been supplanted by (and are better served by) RfCs. WBG also pointed to MedCom being too opaque and bureaucratic in the eyes of many Wikipedians, and concluded that many of the "oppose" !votes were not sufficiently convincing when compared to the rebuttals. Alternative routes for content dispute resolution (as suggested by Wikipedia:Dispute resolution requests as well as commenters in the discussion) include requests for comment and the dispute resolution noticeboard.

Admin controversies lead to new RfCs

Several admin accounts – some of which were largely inactive but stayed in compliance with the policy on removing inactive admins' tools – were recently compromised to insert vandalism into articles. This led to a proposal to tighten the policy on the policy village pump. The changes would remove the requirement that admins be notified before their mop is removed, as well as requiring that a logged action be made every 12 months to keep the bit, such as a block, deletion, or page protection; not just an edit. Both changes were proposed with the intention of discouraging admins from "holding on to the bit" despite not actively editing. These vandal attacks have led to a proposal on the Administrators' Noticeboard to temporarily restrict editing the main page to interface admins.

In other admin news, after a bureaucrat desysopped an admin who removed someone else's block of their account (see the arbitration report) and several compromised admin accounts unblocked themselves (resulting in global locks for the affected accounts), an RfC was created on the village pump about whether self-unblocking by admins should ever be permitted by technical means. In addition to an outright ban (option A) and the status quo of "admins are technically capable of self-unblocking but also see the policy for whether it's acceptable" (option C), another option was offered of bureaucrats being able to self-unblock but not other admins (option B). Four days after the RfC was created, developers implemented option A, though admins will still be able to remove blocks they made on themselves.

Other discussions this month


The new silverlock icon

  1. ^ There are over two million members of Category:All stub articles as of publication date.
  2. ^ Estimated by Iridescent to be between 10,000 and 100,000 pages; in other words, up to 4.5% of all stubs.

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New case opened

One new arbitration case has been opened this month: Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fred Bauder. The case was opened after Maxim did an emergency IAR desysop of Fred Bauder after Bauder removed an edit-warring block of himself. Arbs voted 10/0/2 (accept/decline/recuse) to accept the case. A motion was introduced afterwards to accept the case while providing further clarification of Bauder's admin status in the interim, with an 8/0/1 result. P

New request

A new request was opened November 27 by administrator There'sNoTime, concerning an experienced editor contacting a new editor by telephone regarding their MEDRS-violating edits. For the Arbitration Committee, does this constitute help, or harassment? Should the case be handled privately? And what should sanctions be, if any, for the editor who has had ArbCom sanctions previously? B

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This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by Igordebraga (October 21 to 27); Rogerknots and Igordebraga (October 28 to November 3); JFG (November 4 to 10); and Stormy clouds (November 11 to 17).

October and scares rise (October 21 to 27)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (October 21 to 27, 2018).png

The Halloween holiday (#12) inspires the entertainment industry to release scary products in October, and this is reflected by Netflix topping the list with a show about a haunted house (#1, #5), adding in a series starring a teenage witch (#14) — and in an unintended case, there's the equally disturbing subject of miscarriage of the law (#10, #17), along with a fictional assassin (#13) — while Hollywood brings back the Halloween slasher movies (#3, #20, #22), and is still making money out of a questionable comic book movie that evokes more terror than justice (#23). Scares are also provided by terrorism attempts (#11), urban legends (#21), life-threatening disease (#4) and life-ending (#9) manhunts (#6). On less spooky notes, there's movies about musicians (#2, #8, #18) and actors (#19), some sports (#15, #25), video games (#5), Google Doodles (#15) and boneheaded TV moments (#24).

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 The Haunting of Hill House (TV series) Start-Class article 1,057,068
Carla Gugino.jpg
It seems like Netflix scares will be a constant close to Halloween. Last year, our report was topped by Stranger Things, and 2018 goes from teen horror to adult one, in a series that simultaneously shows Carla Gugino (pictured) as the mother of a family that, in 1992, moves into an old house during renovations to their mansion, and present day events showing their stay there was traumatic.
2 Freddie Mercury Good article 996,475
Denis Bourez - Madame Tussauds, London (8748155098).jpg
Wembley Stadium hosted iconic performances by Queen and The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, so it's only natural that Mercury's biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (which narrowly missed the list at #26) premiered at nearby Wembley Arena. Reviews have been mixed, deeming the movie too orthodox for such a groundbreaking artist, but it still topped the UK and Ireland box office. This week, Bohemian Rhapsody will Play the Game in most markets, including the U.S.
3 Halloween (2018 film) Start-Class article 977,862
Jamie Lee Curtis by Gage Skidmore 4.jpg
Taking a page from Superman Returns, the Halloween series decides to ignore most of its sequels (not the first time it's happened, as shown by this helpful graph) and instead make a movie where Michael Myers (#22) gets free after 40 years (#20) of imprisonment and again goes on a killing spree during October 31 (#12), with a deeply traumatized Laurie Strode (still played by Jamie Lee Curtis, pictured) deciding to take him down with her own hands. The back-to-basics approach results in a frightening movie approved by both audiences and reviewers.
4 Roman Reigns B-Class article 947,396 2014-04-03 18-27-55 NEX-6 DSC05660 (13900438966).jpg A few weeks before the next wrestling pantomime, one of the headliners had to back out due to real life drama: Roman Reigns revealed he has leukemia, which made a return even after it had entered remission during his 11-year private treatment.
5 Red Dead Redemption 2 C-Class article 865,220
Red Dead 2 billboard.jpg
Rockstar Games returns to their "Grand Theft Auto in the Wild West" series, which has already gotten great reviews.
6 Jamal Khashoggi B-Class article 794,298
Jamal Khashoggi in March 2018 (cropped).jpg
The brutal story which captivated the world this week revolves around Khashoggi, a journalist, famed in the West for his work with the Post, who disappeared in the Saudi embassy in Byzantium Constantinople Istanbul, leading to (now confirmed) suspicions that he had been murdered by the Saudi Arabian authorities. Of course, Saudi Arabia was ostracized internationally for their blatant brutality...jk they have liquid gold. Must have been rogue killers. Maybe #18 was involved.
7 The Haunting of Hill House Start-Class article 781,070
Stepney Dam II.jpg
Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel, a seminal cornerstone of mid-twentieth century horror literature, alongside the corpus of literary royalty, has been adapted into a popular Netflix miniseries (#1).
8 A Star Is Born (2018 film) B-Class article 754,756
Star Is Born 01 (31066431128).jpg
Bradley Cooper does basically everything in the fourth iteration of this cinematic classic: he stars as the famous musician who discovers a fledgling one played by Lady Gaga (#18), directs, co-writes, co-produces, and even helps make the songs he performs. And it works out pretty well, with a well-done and touching movie that, after critical and commercial success, is certainly expected to be an awards contender.
9 Deaths in 2018 List-Class article 684,074
Leaning Tombstones.jpg
In the immortal words of our #3:

"Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine,
Body's aching all the time
Goodbye, everybody, I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth!"

10 Steven Avery C-Class article 545,655
Making A Murderer Title.jpg
An American prisoner whose sad story of being framed by the police — after serving 18 years in prison for a sexual assault he plainly did not commit, the subsequent civil lawsuit had him charged for a murder and convicted again, this time with his underage nephew (#17) being roped along — was told in the Netflix series Making a Murderer, which had a second season released on October 19 exploring the aftermath of the conviction.

Somebody to Love (October 28 to November 3)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (October 28 to November 3, 2018).png

"Here we are, born to be kings, we're the Princes of the Universe!" Or at least of Wikipedia, as the late, great Freddie Mercury (#1) and his band Queen (#14) gather lots of views with the release of Bohemian Rhapsody (#13), starring Rami Malek (#15), in a great performance that to borrow from another musical hit, might lead to people saying "A Star Is Born" (#17). Readers are also celebrating Halloween (#2) – and on a lesser level, the Day of the Dead (#8), them who never leave this list (#12) and have two high entries (#3, #5) – by watching slasher movies (#16) and binging on Netflix shows about haunted houses (#11, #21) and teenage witches (#6, #18). The other prevalent topics are a record-breaking Indian statue (#4, #10), Western-themed video games (#9, #22), wrestling events (#7, #20), and politics, with the results of the elections in my country (#23), to borrow from that man still blaming everything wrong in the U.S. on immigrants (#24, #25), can be summed in just one word: "Sad!"

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Freddie Mercury Good article 2,090,170
Freddie Bronzestatue rueckansicht.jpg
It seems that he is the champion, indeed. The lead singer of the groundbreaking rock band Queen (#14) was played by Rami Malek (#15) in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (#13), which is currently outperforming most expectations at the box office.
2 Halloween B-Class article 1,745,391
It’s amazing how consistent this holiday’s view count has been over the years. Every October 31st, parents scramble for the last bag of candy, a trillion mouth bacteria have the best day of their lives, and roughly 1.7–2.0 million people check the Wikipedia page for some reason. I’m sure there’s some cool explanation for why this is, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what.
3 Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha C-Class article 1,529,577
LCFC lift the Premier League Trophy (26943755296) (cropped).jpg
The 5th richest man in Thailand and the owner of Leicester City F.C. (pictured) unexpectedly passed on October 27th in a helicopter crash. Srivaddhanaprabha was the founder and CEO of a chain of duty-free shops in Thailand, King Power International Group. Srivaddhanaprabha leaves behind his wife and his four children.
4 Statue of Unity C-Class article 1,271,087
Statue of Unity in 2018.jpg
The world’s tallest statue has been unveiled in India, rising up to a height of 597 feet(182 m), about twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The monument honors the Indian statesman Vallabhbhai Patel (#10), who was crucial to the unification of the Indian state.
5 Whitey Bulger C-Class article 1,185,140
James Bulger 1994.jpg
In a sequence of events seemingly straight from a gangster movie, the 89 year old mob boss was beaten to death by multiple inmates on Monday. The hit was apparently orchestrated by Mafia hit man Fotios "Freddy" Geas. Bulger was famously discovered living as a fugitive in Santa Monica in 2011.
6 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (TV series) C-Class article 1,131,510
Kiernan Shipka at PaleyFest 2014 HQ.jpg
The TV adaptation of the dark version of a comic book series spun off from a one-off in a humor anthology from a popular teenage comic series debuted to a very positive reception and strong ratings. Featuring Kiernan Shipka (pictured) as the titular character, the show explores questions of belonging, split identities, and sleep demons. In short, the perfect coming-of-age recipe.
7 WWE Crown Jewel Symbol question.svg 990,608
Hulk Hogan.jpg
The timing was terrible for this WWE event, hosted by wrestling legend Hulk Hogan (pictured): returning to Saudi Arabia just after the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi led to calls for cancellation and boycotts by some wrestlers.
8 Day of the Dead C-Class article 939,479
Ever since last year, we can celebrate the Mexican carnival of the cadaverous with this beautiful song:

Remember me
Though I have to say goodbye
Remember me
Don't let it make you cry

9 Red Dead Redemption 2 C-Class article 852,942
Red Dead 2 billboard.jpg
Rockstar Games has outdone themselves once again, creating their most expansive and visually stunning title yet. The game has earned an equally staggering amount of money, claiming the largest opening weekend in the history of entertainment.
10 Vallabhbhai Patel B-Class article 835,622
Sardar patel (cropped).jpg
The Indian statesman memorialized in colossal form by #4.

When rising stars bring down the house (November 4 to 10)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (November 4 to 10, 2018).png

This week on Wikipedia, the King of Queen (#1) meets the King of Scots (#11), opera rock (#7) meets political theater (#5), and Google heroes (#12, #15) meet Indian greatness (#23), while rising stars (#2, #9, #10, #17) keep on fighting till the end. In a nod to the simulation hypothesis winking at us, a movie focusing on election fraud in India (#21) was released in the midst of U.S. elections (#24, #25), where accusations of fraud have become routine.

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Freddie Mercury Good article 3,495,059
Madame Tussauds Amsterdam - Freddy Mercury.jpg
Thanks to the epic biopic released last week (#7), a younger generation discovers the flamboyant mores and music of Farrokh Bulsara, a native of colonial Zanzibar who so loved England that he decided Mercury would not only be a stage name but his legal one. According to a quote attributed to him in the movie, there was only space for one drama queen in the band. And drama he loved, he stirred, he moved us all to tears. The show must go on!
2 Beto O'Rourke C-Class article 1,282,137
Beto O'Rourke 113th Congress.jpg
In a week when American media were, for once, justified in being dominated by politics, Saint Beto was seen by one side as the redeeming knight in white armor who alone could defeat the Texas Rat today, and of course the Orange Monkey two years down the road. But inertia was stronger, and the former debate fiends endured the re-election challenge thanks to newfound love.
3 Diwali B-Class article 1,158,916
Diwali 2012 Bangalore IMG 6742 (8187704015).jpg
Annual splendors returned with the Hindu festival of lights, spreading blessings and good will over humanity. When Lakshmi calls, you need to answer.
4 Queen (band) B-Class article 1,129,559
Robb Queen.jpg
Welcome back to the 70s, when rock-and-roll blends with opera to make your head spin. Galileo would be proud.
5 United States elections, 2018 Symbol question.svg 1,070,138
I voted stickers.jpg
The usually apathetic American voters turned up en masse to support their preferred candidates across the country. Turnout was yuge, but results were surprisingly predictable: a swing of the House and stability in the Senate. All eyes are already on the 2020 presidential campaign, with literally dozens of potential candidates ready to fight for the right to challenge the incumbent (#14).
6 Thugs of Hindostan Start-Class article 920,854
Thugs Strangling Traveller.jpg
This epic adventure drama film, set in the late 18th century, sports the highest budget for an Indian film ever, about 300 crore (US$43 million), including hefty premiums for superstar Amitabh Bachchan (up one spot on Twitter). Critical reception was tame, but crowds still rushed to be entertained and made the movie a box office success. Such is the magic of cinema…
7 Bohemian Rhapsody (film) Start-Class article 899,168
University of West London Bohemian Rhapsody Poster.jpg
The young audience was mystified by the crazy analog tape recording equipment. Older fans marveled at the exact scenography of the Live Aid 1985 concert, down to the placement of a green sticker on Freddie's microphone. All in all, a chart topper.
8 United States House of Representatives B-Class article 786,249
Obama Health Care Speech to Joint Session of Congress.jpg
The House flipped. It does that sometimes.
For more information, see #2, #5, #10, #14, #16, #18, #24 and #25.
9 Rami Malek C-Class article 753,131
Rami Malek 2018.jpg
Rami's stupendous portrayal of Freddie Mercury (#1) earns him worldwide fame, and certainly a spot on the short list for the next Oscars. A reminder to watch or re-watch the Mr. Robot series, for which Malek won a Critics' Choice Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.
10 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez C-Class article 738,237
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during an interview with Julia Cumming at an "Anger Can Be Power" Event (cropped).jpg
The rising star of the Democratic party was comfortably elected in New York's 14th congressional district. In a strategy reminiscent of Trump's unbelievable campaign messages, she advocates free healthcare and free education for all, noting that many countries seem to manage this feat. Perhaps hospitals and universities are less greedy there?

Excelsior! (November 11 to 17)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (November 11 to 17, 2018).png

A very upsetting week for comic fans, as one of the pioneering champions of the medium died. Stan Lee was a legend, a perennial figure of respect and renown for nerds and dorks worldwide. Lee will be greatly missed. Aside from the passing of a hero, the week was evidently the domain of cinephiles, with films, film subjects, and actors galore reaching the top 25. This week's iteration of the report is strange yet intriguing, and was a joy to compile. Hopefully it is as fantastic to read as it was incredible to pen.

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Stan Lee C-Class article 5,841,113
Stan Lee DragonCon 2012 (7930360062).jpg
With the ceaseless flood of celebrity deaths, it is easy to become desensitised to the demise of those we know and love, but the marvellous comic writer was an clear exception to the rule, and immensely impactful for many fans of the media, new and old. The heroic author was responsible for the creation of many seminal characters, from Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, to Doctor Strange and the X-Men, and helped lead the Silver Age. Lee saw himself seep further into the modern zeitgeist in recent times through his frequent cameos, and it is difficult to think of one which more perfectly encapsulates what he meant to his audience than this. He was beloved by many, and will be sorely missed by all purveyors of his fantastical escapism. While creating relatable heroes for us to admire, Lee himself became one.
2 Freddie Mercury Good article 2,359,538
Freddie Mercury performing in New Haven, CT, November 1977.jpg
Freddie Mercury, even by the time of his untimely demise, was widely recognised as one of the most influential and innovative forces in the history of music, responsible, along with his royal band (#8), for a vast number of unforgettable hits, including a very potent contender for the greatest song of all time. He has been a staple of recent iterations of the report as a consequence of the biopic about his life, which ranks at #10 this week. The film has been chastised for taking very strong liberties with Mercury's mercurial life story, to the detriment of his reputation, but thankfully it has driven droves to his article where they can find more trustworthy information about the lyrical legend.
3 Robert the Bruce C-Class article 1,284,385
Battle of Bannockburn - Bruce addresses troops.jpg
Our third entry is another British monarch propelled to high view counts courtesy of the binge royals, albeit one who is slightly older. Robert the Bruce is a legendary king amongst the Scottish, as he delivered a famous victory over the old enemy at the Battle of Bannockburn, helping maintain the independence of the northern kingdom. Netflix made a film about the leader (#19), perhaps hoping to emulate the success of the flick about Bobby's lieutenant.
4 Arecibo message Start-Class article 1,105,905
An indecipherable entry rockets into the top 5 courtesy of our supreme search leaders, who devoted a doodle to the Arecibo message, the interstellar note penned by Frank Drake and Carl Sagan back in the 1970's. The message was specifically designed to convey basic information regarding humanity and our existence on Earth, and hoping that aliens who intercept the message will be capable of decoding and comprehending it. As such, the message is a scientific and linguistic marvel, and the decisions taken are intriguing and great insight into how we as humans communicate and share a common comprehension. It is also significantly more helpful than our other try, as the barrier to comprehension is lower.
5 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald C-Class article 1,007,718
Jude Law - Headshot.jpg
The latest installment in Rowling's ever-expanding Wizarding World hit multiplexes worldwide, to a somewhat subdued response. Naturally, being the Potterhead that I am, I duly booked a seat in the local cinema to witness whatever heinous crimes Willy Wonka had planned. I was, quite frankly, underwhelmed. The special effects are impressive, the intricate plotting less so. The film goes for a dramatic Shyamalan-esque twist, that doesn't land at all, and leaves even the most devoted disciples of Hogwarts confounded. It makes it truly a hard film to recommend – nonsensical for the uninitiated, irritating for the interested.
6 Thugs of Hindostan Start-Class article 860,204
Amitabh Bachchan December 2013.png
On a list which is dominated by Hollywood, our sixth entry originates from the other major movie market, the latest in a long line of Bollywood smash hits to reach the report. Hardly a surprise, given India's status as the second largest English-speaking nation. Raking in the crore at present is this film, revolving around the efforts made in Hindustan for independence, which stars the enigmatic Aamir Khan. Despite the star power, the film is reportedly going down as somewhat of a bomb.
7 Queen (band) B-Class article 854,540
Queen 1984 012.jpg
Another week, another entry for the phenomenal rock band, my personal favourite artists. For decades, they rocked audiences across the globe, truly being lethal and captivating, breaking from the shackles of all who came before them, and paving a new path for those to follow. Any self-proclaimed fan of rock and roll to not know the lyrics to a copious quantity of Queen songs is unworthy of the title, and the best consequence of the underwhelming film about the band (#10) is that it has introduced an entirely new generation to the crazy music of the magical quartet, guaranteeing that their legacy of being the greatest will persevere.
8 World War I B-Class article 811,974
Poppies Field in Flanders.jpg
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace behind the wagon that we flung him in, and watch the white eyes writhing in his face, his hanging face, like a devil's, sick of sin. If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud, of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues – my friend, you would not tell with such high zest, to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old lie – Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.
9 Deaths in 2018 List-Class article 730,213
As this week's report is topped by a prominent death, it is hardly surprising that the perusers of Wikipedia journeyed to the list of the fallen in their droves to see who else was felled by the Grim Reaper.
10 Bohemian Rhapsody (film) Start-Class article 625,118
Bohemian Rhapsody cast on MTV Movies.jpg
Once again, the biopic centred on #2 and #7 remains a firm fixture of the report, in spite of the tepid response of critics to the film. Having seen it, I can report that the critics have the right end of the stick – the soundtrack is simply the greatest, and the central performance is phenomenal, but the screenplay will leave viewers left wanting, and is more devoted to drama than historical accuracy, to the detriment of the central characters of the tale, and infuriating Queen fans worldwide. The Live Aid scene is engrossing though.


  • These lists exclude 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.

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Cyperus alternifolius, stalk, Etzold green 7.jpg
Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.Frank Lloyd Wright

Thanks to all the creators of the images above, but especially to Josef Reischig – his excellent collection was the source of several – and thanks to his heirs for contributing them to Wikimedia Commons.

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Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png
A monthly overview of recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, edited jointly with the Wikimedia Research Committee and republished as the Wikimedia Research Newsletter.

"Volunteer Retention, Burnout and Dropout in Online Voluntary Organizations: Stress, Conflict and Retirement of Wikipedians" by Piotr Konieczny

Reviewed by Bri

This paper[1] begins with a review of prior research on various reasons for editor dropout on Wikipedia, which focus on the stress of interpersonal conflict and overburdened volunteers, especially admins. It then adds the methods and findings from new research on "more experienced and active Wikipedians", the 1% contributing the most time and content. One startling perspective gained from the survey of the 300 most active Wikipedians (with a 41% survey response rate!) is a lack of recognition from the wider academic and professional community. Volunteer Wikipedia editing is not often treated as a "legitimate" volunteer activity contributing e.g. to professional development. The author also states "the current Wikimedia Foundation efforts directed at increasing positive reinforcement, developed with a focus on increasing the retention of new editors ... may be much less efficient ... when it comes to ... long-term highly active contributors" and concludes that more research on interpersonal conflict as a motivation for retirement needs to be conducted.


  • The Wikimedia Foundation's "Audiences" department (which develops and maintains software features for Wikipedia and its sister sites) has published a series of draft essays designed to inform their longer-term product development planning, each drawing heavily from existing research (much of which has been covered in this research report over the year). They focus on the topics of "Trust", "Experience", "Scale", "Augmentation", "Culture", and "Tools".

Conferences and events

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

Other recent publications

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

Compiled by Tilman Bayer

From the proceedings of OpenSym 2018:

Only 4% of students vandalize Wikipedia – motivated by boredom, amusement or ideology (according to their peers)

From the abstract:[2] "This research aims to find the extent to which a particular group of university students vandalize Wikipedia, while also exploring their perceptions of vandalism. Data is obtained from a questionnaire sent to university students in educational psychology, early and primary childhood education, and related master’s programs, as well as a focus group involving a sample of these students and interviews with editors in charge of maintaining Wikipedia. [...] it seems that students and editors have some preconceived ideas (boredom, amusement, or ideological motivations) about what pushes individuals to vandalize."

Among the 928 survey participants, only 39 (4%) reported to have vandalized Wikipedia. Younger students were vandalizing more often ("there is a meaningful difference between students under 23 (5.3 % of them vandalize) and both students from 24 to 30 (1.9 %) and from 31 to 40 (0%)"), but on the other hand there was no significant difference between male and female respondents.

Could gamification increase participation in Wikimedia Commons?

From the abstract:[3] ".... in comparison to photosharing sites like Flickr and mobile apps like Instagram, Commons is largely unknown to the general public and under-researched by scholars. We conducted an exploratory study to determine if an alternative means of contribution—a mobile application that gamifies implicitly desirable and useful behavior—could broaden awareness of and participation in Commons. Our findings from an online survey (N=103) suggest that by creating value around implicitly desirable behaviors, we can create new opportunities and alternative pathways for both increasing and broadening participation in peer-production communities such as Commons."

"Triggering" article contributions by adding factoids

From the paper:[4] "The analysis shows that the introduction of a few key terms acts as milestones for the evolution of the article. When a factoid is added, more knowledge related to that factoid is likely to be added. However, different users get triggered differently, leading to the inclusion of diversified knowledge into the articles." (compare also "Do less active participants make active participants more active?" below)

See also our earlier coverage of other OpenSym 2018 papers:

Other publications:

"Do less active participants make active participants more active? An examination of Chinese Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[5] "In this study, we probe the indirect influence of less active participants' contributing behaviors on the quality of knowledge collaboration. [...] Using the edit data of featured articles in the Chinese Wikipedia, we examine the proposed causal path. The main findings of this study are as follows: the productivity of active participants of a Wikipedia article increases when they are triggered by less active participants' editing activities; the additional edits of active participants triggered by less active participants can improve the quality of an article; and less active participants play a major role in reviving the editing work of dormant articles. These findings reveal that less active participants play a substantial role in knowledge collaboration in online communities, as their contributing behaviors sustain collaborative work and eventually improve the quality [of Wikipedia]." (compare also "Triggering" paper above)

Filling in missing Wikipedia infobox attributes

From the paper's[6] introduction: "51% of entity attributes in English Wikipedia infoboxes are not described in English Wikipedia articles. We aim to fill in this knowledge gap via a system that can take an entity as input and automatically generate a natural language description.”

"Neural Article Pair Modeling for Wikipedia Sub-article Matching"

From the abstract:[7] "Nowadays, editors tend to separate different subtopics of a long Wikipedia article into multiple sub-articles. This separation seeks to improve human readability. However, it also has a deleterious effect on many Wikipedia-based tasks that rely on the article-as-concept assumption, which requires each entity (or concept) to be described solely by one article. This underlying assumption significantly simplifies knowledge representation and extraction [...] In this paper we provide an approach to match the scattered sub-articles back to their corresponding main-articles, with the intent of facilitating automated Wikipedia curation and processing." (see also related earlier coverage: "Problematizing and Addressing the Article-as-Concept Assumption in Wikipedia")

"World Influence of Infectious Diseases from Wikipedia Network Analysis"

From the abstract:[8] "We consider the network of 5 416 537 articles of English Wikipedia extracted in 2017. Using the recent reduced Google matrix (REGOMAX) method we construct the reduced network of 230 articles (nodes) of infectious diseases and 195 articles of world countries. [...] PageRank and CheiRank algorithms are used to determine the most influential diseases with the top PageRank diseases being Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria. From the reduced Google matrix we determine the sensitivity of world countries to specific diseases integrating their influence over all their history including the times of ancient Egyptian mummies. The obtained results are compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) data demonstrating that the Wikipedia network analysis provides reliable results with up to about 80 percent overlap between WHO and REGOMAX analyses."

"Navigating the Spoken Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[9] "The Spoken Wikipedia project unites volunteer readers of encyclopedic entries. Their recordings make encyclopedic knowledge accessible to persons who are unable to read [...]. However, [these recordings] can only be consumed linearly [...]. We present a reading application which uses an alignment between the recording, text and article structure and which allows to navigate spoken articles, through a graphical or voice-based user interface (or a combination thereof). We present the results of a usability study in which we compare the two interaction modalities. We find that both types of interaction enable users to navigate articles and to find specific information much more quickly compared to a sequential presentation of the full article." (see also code on GitHub)

Participation patterns on Wikidata

From the abstract and paper:[10] "This paper builds upon previous research, where we identified six common participation patterns, i.e. roles, in Wikidata. In the research presented here, we study the applicability of sequence analysis methods by analyzing the dynamics in users’ participation patterns. The sequence analysis is judged by its ability to answer three questions: (i) 'Are there any preferable role transitions in Wikidata?'; (ii) 'What are the dominant dynamic participation patterns?'; (iii) 'Are users who join earlier more turbulent contributors?' [answer: "the earlier an user joins Wikidata, the more turbulent his/her dynamic participation pattern is"] Our data set includes participation patterns of about 20,000 users in each month from October 2012 to October 2014."


  1. ^ Konieczny, Piotr (2018-10-02). "Volunteer Retention, Burnout and Dropout in Online Voluntary Organizations: Stress, Conflict and Retirement of Wikipedians". In Coy, Patrick G. (ed.). Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change. Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change. 42. Emerald Group. pp. 199–219. doi:10.1108/S0163-786X20180000042008. ISBN 978-1787568952.
  2. ^ Sierra, Ángel Obregón; Castanedo, Jorge Oceja (2018). "University Students in the Educational Field and Wikipedia Vandalism". Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Open Collaboration. OpenSym '18. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 16–1–16:7. doi:10.1145/3233391.3233540. ISBN 9781450359368. closed access free PDF on conference website
  3. ^ Menking, Amanda; Rangarajan, Vaibhavi; Gilbert, Michael (2018). ""Sharing Small Pieces of the World": Increasing and Broadening Participation in Wikimedia Commons". Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Open Collaboration. OpenSym '18. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 13–1–13:12. doi:10.1145/3233391.3233537. ISBN 9781450359368. closed access free PDF on conference website
  4. ^ Chhabra, Anamika; Iyengar, S. R. Sudarshan (2018). "Characterizing the Triggering Phenomenon in Wikipedia". Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Open Collaboration. OpenSym '18. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 11–1–11:7. doi:10.1145/3233391.3233535. ISBN 9781450359368. closed access free PDF on conference website
  5. ^ Lin, Yan; Chen, Yan (2018-08-08). "Do less active participants make active participants more active? An examination of Chinese Wikipedia". DecisionSupport Systems. 114: 103–113. doi:10.1016/j.dss.2018.08.002. ISSN 0167-9236.closed access
  6. ^ Wang, Qingyun; Pan, Xiaoman; Huang, Lifu; Zhang, Boliang; Jiang, Zhiying; Ji, Heng; Knight, Kevin (2018-09-05). "Narrating a Knowledge Base". arXiv:1809.01797 [cs.CL].
  7. ^ Chen, Muhao; Meng, Changping; Huang, Gang; Zaniolo, Carlo (2018-07-31). "Neural Article Pair Modeling for Wikipedia Sub-article Matching". arXiv:1807.11689 [cs.IR].
  8. ^ Rollin, Guillaume; Lages, José; Shepelyansky, Dima (2018-09-24). "World Influence of Infectious Diseases from Wikipedia Network Analysis". bioRxiv 424465.
  9. ^ Rohde, Marcel; Baumann, Timo. Navigating the Spoken Wikipedia (PDF). SLPAT 2016 Workshop on Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies, 13 September 2016, San Francisco, USA. Germany: Universität Hamburg, Department of Informatics, Natural Language Systems Group. p. 5.
  10. ^ Cuong, To Tu; Müller-Birn, Claudia (2016). "Applicability of Sequence Analysis Methods in Analyzing Peer-Production Systems: A Case Study in Wikidata". In Emma Spiro, Yong-Yeol Ahn (eds.) (eds.). Social Informatics. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing. pp. 142–156. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47874-6_11. ISBN 9783319478746.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) closed access

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Originally started in January 2007 by Sloverlord, over 130 editors have contributed to Wikipedia:No one cares about your garage band as of this version; other top contributors include Iain99, OnBeyondZebrax, Orangemike, Richie333, and Fences and windows. Do you want to suggest an essay you would like republished in The Signpost? Perhaps you would like to write a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next month's edition in the Newsroom or leave a tip on the suggestions page.

If your band has only played on a street corner, and its only fan is a fire hydrant, it doesn't need a Wikipedia article.

There are a great number of subjects about which no one cares on Wikipedia. With new bands this is especially important to keep in mind, given that a relatively high proportion of new pages are about a "garage band" (so-called because of their tendency to only ever play in their parents' garage) or "Yet Another Myspace (or Facebook or YouTube) Band", "YAMB" for short.

Editors, especially new page patrollers, can learn to spot garage or Myspace/Facebook/YouTube band pages; and creators of said pages can learn why their page was speedily deleted (normally due to a lack of a credible indication of importance or being blatant advertising.) Usually, the band is unsigned, has released no albums (or only a self-produced CD), and the article about them was written by them.

Typical characteristics

Although Wikipedia articles about unknown bands are created by editors all over the world, a garage band article is often written by the band itself. Garage band articles generally share several characteristics:


Many garage bands tend to name their articles with a precise title, such as My Rock Group (band) instead of just My Rock Group, even when there is no reason to disambiguate the article title. If a new article has "(band)"—especially the incorrect capitalization style "(Band)"—in the title, there's a good chance this is a garage band article. Bad grammar can be apparent in the body of the article, as well.


  • Lack of capitalization: Those who write about a garage band generally forget that capitalization of proper nouns is an important skill when writing the English language. Contributors forget to capitalize the name of their band in the article's title (e.g., "Bringers of Darkness" will appear as "Bringers of darkness").
  • Too Much Capitalization: There Is No Need To Put A Capital Letter On Every Word, And It Is Certain Death To An Article In Addition To Being Hard To Read.
  • Lack of any formatting whatsoever: As 99.9% of garage-band-page-creators have no prior experience with Wikipedia and its formatting system, garage band pages are often devoid of the markup present in standard pages. Some common characteristics include:
    • no sectional division, sometimes putting everything in one paragraph. Even if they try to divide content into sections, they may type in the wrong number of equals signs in headers, resulting in things like == MEMBERS =;
    • no internal links, infoboxes, categories, external links (except occasionally to the band's Myspace/Facebook/YouTube page), or anything besides text;
    • using absurd and haphazard numbers of carriage returns (↵);
    • using leading spaces, causing accidental invocation of the preformatting mechanism;
    • excessive use of exclamation points; and
    • excessive bolding: Bringers of darkness rock the world!

Style and content

This band goes down well at folk festivals in Poland, but even they described themselves as "hardcore" when their lead clarinettist tried to write their Wikipedia article.
  • Use of the word "hardcore": All garage bands, even if they are not "hardcore", seem to love to describe themselves as such.
  • Use of nicknames: In hardcore or death metal bands, all or some of the band members may have nicknames (John "Bones" Smith, Tim "Crypsy" Carnoy, etc.); and, in some cases, only the nicknames will be given ("and on bass, the Deth-Hölder").
  • Mention of music equipment: There may be detailed mentions of music equipment models and numbers, as an attempt to suggest that they are paid endorsers, or under the mistaken belief that you are dying to figure out just how they created that screeching sound on the hidden track at the end of their unreleased CD.[a]
  • No albums are released: The article does not indicate that the band has released any albums, nor that such albums are forthcoming; musical compilations appear to exist only as mixtapes.
  • No neutral point of view: The article is filled with weasel words, peacock terms, and POV praise.
  • Mention of fake company or label: The article might maintain a mandatory use of fake recording company, production company, or record label.
  • Trying (and failing) to dramatize and/or praise the band or its members: Many garage band pages will include a poorly formatted list of the band's members, along with a puffery-filled list of their "accomplishments". There will also be desperate attempts to puff up any dubious, non-incidental contact with celebrities, notable bands, or record industry luminaries. In an article about an actual, notable band, an encyclopedic tone will be used and it will be free of golden praise and drama.
  • Mention of upcoming local gigs: Because, you know, My-Wikipedia-Space is a free advertising service.
  • Certain phrases:
    • "... had a dream ..."
    • "... is an up-and-coming ..."
    • "... take ... by storm ..."
    • "... there was no turning back ..."


Bringers of darkness (Band)
Shayne (Lead vocals)
Background information
Genreshard core
Years activenow
MembersKinnie Kingsworth, Shayne Tracy, Barret Lee, Wade Wilson, Whizz Perez

BRINGERS OF DARKNESS are revitalizing audiences with there legenday raw energy live show and undeniable chemistry of brotherhood. They transcend a world that is locked in genre and commercialism; though they know they can't do it alone, they are the seeds of a revolution. The band has pitched their newest CD to Sony executives,[b] played in front of the likes of Henry Rallins,[c] and the lead singer has sang onstage with Freddie Mircury[d] - they have the goods and they WILL deliver.


Tim "Kinnie" kingsworth - guitarist born to rock, tim has written many of bringers of darkness's best songs including "my love for you is swimming through the rapids like a broken arow" (Tim only plays Bingleworth guitars. Onstage, he plays a Bingleworth J-9000 7-string with a neo-chromium Foo humbuckers. For recording he uses a K-9001 with two single-coli pickups. he also exclusively uses Krankle amplifiers and Czech-Tec guitar tubes)

Shayne tracy - vocals Stunning gutteral screams, as raw and wild and hardcore as the songs

barett "binnet" lee - bass player the best, all-star bass player in idaho is barett lee, his awsome riffs bring bringers of darkness's songs together --award-winning, has played with the pro's (barett exclusively uses Klaxor titanium picks, the greatest brand in the world)

wade Wilson - drummer played everyware (even opened for Metallica!!,[e] now the pumping heart of bringers of darkness beats

antonio 'whizz' perez - keyboards (antonio uses a Hammunk J-100, Farfasi Q-7a with extended keyboard, Cazia CTK-997 workstation, small Howard k-1600 keyboard, with a Peazey 100 watt amp with 15" speaker, Audio-pro Caroidid mic, Radio Shak mic stand)

Bringers of darkness record on B.O.D. Records (c/0 Shayne's parent's house 234 Anytown St. IDaho, US) - - ---- ... Exclusive representation is through DarkNess International Media Production Industries LLC (idaho branch office)

==UPCOMING SHOWS! Catch the "Bringers" live at one of the following venues:=

  • Tuesday, Oct 9: opening for Raymond & the Wannabes at the Cracker Barrel Beer and Lobster House (in the basement room), 8 PM
  • Mon. Dec. 12: Motzey's House of Pickles...we[f] are the headlingers at this show...come on time (9 PM for B.O.D.),w/ guest openers KAǾS-SOAK
  • Sunday, Jan 15: Idaho Regional Real Estate Association picnic[g]
  • Friday night, Feb 24: Cannister Causeway Go-Kart Racetrack - (stage area is near the big windmill hole at the mini-putt)(unconfirmed)


  • htp://myspace.con/bringersofdarknessidahoband[h]
  • htttp:/ PLEASE 'LIKE' OUR PAGE[i]

How do I know if anyone cares about my band?

A good rule of thumb is: they don't. The fact that the only "sources" about your band are your webpage, your Myspace page, your brother's blog, and your mom's work newsletter, should be one indication that your band's "notability" only extends to your immediate family and friends.

However, if you must know, here are some ways to tell if your article is worth mentioning on Wikipedia. If one or more of the following apply, then no one cares. (More formal definitions can be found at the Wikipedia guidelines on notability in music, but you don't want to hurt your brain slogging through that, do you?)

  • You only exist on Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Twitter, iTunes, Bandcamp, and/or Soundcloud: Yeah, we just mentioned it at the top of this section, but it's worth repeating again. Since anyone can create content on any of these sites, adding lots and lots and lots of references to them will not pull the wool over anyone's eyes. If you're not mentioned in reliable sources like national newspapers or magazines with wide circulation, you shouldn't have a Wikipedia article.
  • You've never put out a "real" album: Putting out a real album means having the album released by a record company, or at least put into wide distribution by an independent label. Burning CDs of your songs on your computer and trying to sell them, or releasing your music onto a podcast, via iTunes or on your Myspace page doesn't count.
  • Your band is not signed: Likewise, if your band is not signed by a record company or independent label, or—as mentioned above—the article mentions a fake recording company or a made-up independent label name ("Bringers of Darkness Records"), then no one cares.
  • Your band is looking for people: A sizeable percentage of the Wikipedia pages about garage bands announce that they are "still looking for a drummer", or something similar. If your band is still looking for a member, then no one cares about it, unless this search has been the subject of an article in Rolling Stone.
  • You've never gone on a "real" tour: Like real albums, going on a real tour does not mean playing at your high school dance, city park, etc. You must be invited to play at a musical venue of real significance to count.
  • You are not making any money: Whether it's because you're just jamming with your friends instead of actually being a professional band or simply because no one will pay money to hear your music, if your band is not making any money, we do not want to hear about it on Wikipedia.
  • You just formed the band yesterday: Stop, sit back, wait a while, and see if you are actually going to make a band, because chances are, you're not. Wikipedia is for bands that are, not bands that are going to be (and it certainly isn't for bands that are, in all probability, never going to be).
  • Your only distinguishing characteristic is your placement in a Battle of the Bands competition: Battle of the Bands competitions are small local shows designed to showcase local talent, not land you a record deal. Even if you placed first, it doesn't mean anything: your band is still unknown, and there are thousands of better ones out there.
  • The cops come regularly during your practice sessions and ask you to shut up: While this may make it seem that people care about your garage band, and indeed they do, they are not caring in the right way.
  • No one else has written a Wikipedia article about you: This is one of the most direct indications that no one cares. Suffice it to say that the Wikipedia article on Pixies wasn't started by Black Francis.
  • You don't know what the band's name is: Yes, that actually happened at least once.

In userspace

Such articles often turn up or end up in userspace "while editors look for reliable independent sourcing". Frequently they are then left there indefinitely. However, they are often only written for promotional purposes, and are deleteable at WP:MFD, or per WP:CSD#G11—{{db-promo}}—if blatant.


This essay is sometimes criticized for being uncivil. However, it's important to remember that Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information and, if we relaxed standards, the encyclopedia's overall quality would deteriorate. You might think your garage band is important, but we need a significant level of the world at-large—notably music critics and music journalists published in reliable sources—to agree. Otherwise, why aren't those 250 unknown garage bands over there important, too? You should also be aware that an article about yourself isn't necessarily a good thing; if Billboard someday writes "Bringers of Darkness are unquestionably the worst noise I have ever had the misfortune to inflict upon my ears", then it can go in the article, citing Billboard as its source. Although this kind of attention might contribute to a claim of notability, is that really what you want?

See also


  1. ^ However, when the article about you has over 350 citations to reliable sources and is a featured article like Jimi Hendrix, we might let you get away with a small section about your gear... if it contributes as much to the history of music as Hendrix, that is.
  2. ^ This is likely delusional puffery. Translation: they waited in the lobby without an appointment, and then tried to harass Sony executives into taking their CD, at least until four burly security guards escorted them out.
  3. ^ Yet more delusional puffery: Mr. Rallins was having dinner at a music festival in his own security-gated compound and, while the band was being escorted to a "local stage" to do an unpaid warm-up gig, they tried to shout an impromptu acappella song through the gate, at least until six members of Mr. Rallins' security detail "moved them along" (Note: Mr. Rallins is a fictional performer).
  4. ^ Still more delusional puffery: Once, in 1987, Mr. Mircury did a charity telethon benefit show at a TV station, and the entire 7th grade class from Woodridge Junior High sang a simple backup part... including a young Shayne Tracy (Note: Mr. Mircury is a fictional performer).
  5. ^ What this unsubstantiated claim fails to tell you is that in high school in 1989, his school stage band played the national anthem at a hockey arena at 6 pm, before a major local band played a warm-up set at 7 pm for the two bands touring with Metallica as special guests, who themselves played at 8 pm and 9 pm (and then Metallica played at 10 pm).
  6. ^ Bands referring to themselves in the first-person is a tell-tale sign of autobiographical writing and a distinctly unencyclopedic tone. Even in well-written articles, slip-ups like this can give it all away.
  7. ^ Shayne's dad is head of accounting and probably doesn't know the band's new hardcore sound as of late.
  8. ^ A big indication that this band is not notable here is that they couldn't have the name "bringersofdarkness", which was already taken by a Bulgarian metal band; and "bringersofdarknessband", a thrash band from Norway; although neither of those bands is notable either.
  9. ^ This is because a band page on Facebook cannot have a distinctive name until it receives a certain threshold of 'Likes' on it, so this band is reduced to a pseudo-anonymous and hard-to-remember one.

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Hello Love!

A major carrot-teristic of our favorite orange vegetable (sorry pumpkins) is their affectionate nature. Don't be fooled. Just like the smiling family pit bull, they will eventually turn on you. While this underground root can be oddly shaped, others are heralded for their amusing appearance for obvious reasons. Carrots can kill.[1]


Carrots sometimes form mobs that can quickly get out of control. This particular group has already begun moving toward a nearby town.
In this instance a large group of carrots made it all the way into downtown Paris before dispersing.
Just before being dispersed, the members of this mob of carrots can be seen with expressions of confusion and disorientation.
Carrots will sometimes employ the use of chipmunks to form themselves into assault weapons. (Click on the image see what is really going on)
Here you can see the carrots emerging from the ground as they begin to congregate.
This dangerous carrot was ambushed in hand-to-mouth combat.
Carrots' rights lobbyist.

Not all experience the dark side of this root vegetable. Indeed, carrots have aggressively begun a successful effort to change their image. See this website to see how their public relations team has revamped their image. Carrots have also developed their own version of AI – and they have targeted humans and our tendency to expand our waistlines.[2] Carrots are well adapted in handling stress. When their taproot is growing and the tip is damaged, it can split, forming multiple roots at odd angles. During its primordium (plant embryonic development) stage, damage to the growing vegetable can cause more bizarre and extreme mutations.[3]

Carrots will naturally grow around or avoid obstacles in the soil such as small stones and other foreign objects to prevent damage to the developing root, resulting in a wide variety of different shapes.[4]

Other vegetables and fruits have been made to suffer. In Japan, farmers around Zentsūji, Kagawa found a way to grow cubic watermelons by growing the fruits in glass boxes and letting them naturally assume the shape of the receptacle. The square-shaped watermelon was intended to make the melons easier to stack and store, but because the melons must be picked before they’re ripe they are inedible; the cubic watermelons are also often more than double the price of normal watermelons.[5]


In response to the real carrot danger, the European Union attempted to introduce legislation prohibiting the sale of misshapen fruit and vegetables was defeated. The proposed "uniform standardisation parameters" would have applied to straight bananas and curved cucumbers, as well as to more extreme cases such as carrots with multiple "legs", or fused fruit. The main concern for opponents of the proposed legislation was the ethical question of the wastage it would have generated if growers were forced to discard up to 20% of their crop, produce that was nutritionally identical to more regularly shaped specimens.[6] The Fruits et légumes moches (ugly fruit and vegetables) campaign aims to encourage the purchase of more unusually shaped vegetables and fruits in France, to combat food waste.[7]


It is common in some countries to celebrate the diversity of carrots, with particularly unusual items being entered into competitions. Many of these are judged by the ugliness of the vegetable.[8] Some organisations run contests in which gardeners enter the largest vegetables that they have grown, with pumpkins being particular favourites.[9]

In popular culture

The phrase, "Kau ni tahap carrot pun tak sampai!" which means "You don't even reach the level of a carrot," has recently been used as an insult.[10] The popular BBC television programme That's Life! mixed investigative journalism with more lighthearted sections, which included items on unusually shaped vegetables.[11]

The BBC comedy television programme Blackadder contains several jokes relating to the character Baldrick and his obsession with odd-shaped turnips. The most notable example occurs in the episode "Beer", in which Baldrick discovers a turnip shaped like a phallus, giving rise to several jokes throughout the episode.

Ben Elton's novel This Other Eden is set in a future in which most aspects of life are controlled to conformity, meaning the loss of 'amusingly shaped vegetables', much to the protagonist's annoyance.

A giant vegetable competition featured in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.



  1. ^ Laurie Tarkan (May 24, 2010), "The 10 Biggest Choking Hazards", The New York Times
  2. ^ 7 Minutes in Hell Workout, Meet Carrot official website by Grailr, accessed November 19, 2018
  3. ^ Plant Answers. "Why are some of my vegetables growing into such odd and unusual shapes?". Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  4. ^ "Hints From Heloise: Hairy strings a carrot thing?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  5. ^ BBC News. 15 June 2001. "Square fruit stuns Japanese shoppers". Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  6. ^ "Wonky fruit to stay on sale in EU". BBC News. 25 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Fruits et légumes moches: moins chers et désormais disponibles partout". L'Express (in French). 16 October 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  8. ^ Cornwall County Council. 16 September 2005. "Giant Vegetable Competition and Show at Kehelland Horticultural Centre[dead link]". Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  9. ^ Cheung, Maxine. The Toronto Observer. "Stouffville grower squashes the competition at the Royal Winter Fair". Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  10. ^ Khairy whacks Papagomo for being 'lower than a carrot', The Star (Malaysia), November 11, 2018
  11. ^ "Rantzen's years in the limelight". BBC. 16 June 2006. Retrieved 29 August 2013.

External links

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We reprint this article below written by Michael Snow, in the 16 July 2007 edition of The Signpost on the creation of the Article Rescue Squadron (ARS). Snow is the founder of The Signpost, is an admin, though has not edited for many years, and has also served on Advisory Board of the Wikimedia Foundation and as chair of the Board of Trustees.

Wikipedian bloggers launch "article rescue" effort

Rescuesquad - No text.png
ARS logo

Perceived trends in the deletion of articles led to a new Wikipedia organization after a number of Wikipedian bloggers voiced concerns. Following recent arguments that substantial numbers of articles were being inappropriately deleted, the blog discussion prompted the creation last Friday of an Article Rescue Squadron, dedicated to saving articles on "perfectly notable topics" from deletion.

Ben Yates, who runs a Wikipedia blog, launched the group on the premise that many of the articles nominated for deletion are in jeopardy primarily because they are targeted as being "ill-formed", often by inexperienced Wikipedia contributors, even though the topics they cover would be appropriate subject matter for Wikipedia. A primary concern was that "making sure that articles about notable topics don't get deleted because of writing style, or because they're stubby." His idea drew on examples highlighted by Andrew Lih in a provocative blog post on Tuesday titled "Unwanted: New articles in Wikipedia".

Lih pointed to an entry he himself recently started, about PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, which was tagged within an hour for speedy deletion. The tag used was the {{db-empty}} template, even though the article consisted of a complete sentence identifying the subject, a properly formatted external link to Getler's PBS biography, and a stub template. A quick expansion explaining his background as an experienced journalist and the first ombudsman appointed at a major American television network kept the article from being deleted.

Near the same time several other Wikipedian bloggers posted about deletion issues, including Geoff Burling [1], Urpo Lankinen [2], and Kelly Martin. Martin criticized the deletion of an article on web startup Pownce, a project of entrepreneur Kevin Rose that recently received a round of publicity. Mentioning the fear that Wikipedia is being used to boost the profile of other projects, Martin commented, "Basically, any web property less prominent than Wikipedia itself may not have an article on Wikipedia under the current mindset." Pownce had been through speedy deletion along with both Deletion review and Articles for deletion before Lih stepped in to restore the article.

The Article Rescue Squadron has begun signing up members, including both Yates and Lih along with current arbitrator Matthew Brown and former arbitrator Rebecca. Examples of inappropriate deletions were being collected along with strategies for dealing with the problem. The launch also prompted an extended discussion on the English Wikipedia mailing list. Yates tried to emphasize that the effort is about improving articles that might be threatened with deletion, not mobilizing to control deletion debates, but some thought the concept still fundamentally questioned the judgment of those nominating articles for deletion.

Cultural issues with the overall deletion process, and concerns about the perceived detriment to Wikipedia, have long been fodder for debate. A previous cycle in 2005 was particularly intense, something manifested most dramatically when Ed Poor deleted the page then known as "Votes for deletion" (see archived story). After several previous alternatives stalled, early 2006 saw the introduction of Proposed deletion, a more lightweight process that relieved some of the pressure from the volume of nominations at Articles for deletion.

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