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From the editors: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#From_the_editors" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/From the editors">Getting serious about humor</a><br /><br /> News and notes: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#News_and_notes" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/News and notes">Blackouts fail to stop EU Copyright Directive</a><br /><br /> In the media: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#In_the_media" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/In the media">Women's history month</a><br /><br /> Discussion report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Discussion_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Discussion report">Portal debates continue, Prespa agreement aftermath, WMF seeks a rebranding</a><br /><br /> Featured content: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Featured_content" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Featured content">Out of this world</a><br /><br /> Arbitration report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Arbitration_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Arbitration report">The Tides of March at ARBCOM</a><br /><br /> Traffic report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Traffic_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Traffic report">Exultations and tribulations</a><br /><br /> Technology report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Technology_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Technology report">New section suggestions and sitewide styles</a><br /><br /> News from the WMF: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#News_from_the_WMF" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/News from the WMF">The WMF's take on the new EU Copyright Directive</a><br /><br /> Recent research: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Recent_research" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Recent research">Barnstar-like awards increase new editor retention</a><br /><br /> From the archives: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#From_the_archives" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/From the archives">Esperanza organization disbanded after deletion discussion</a><br /><br /> Humour: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Humour" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Humour">The Epistolary of Arthur 37</a><br /><br /> Op-Ed: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Op-Ed" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Op-Ed">Pro and Con: Has gun violence been improperly excluded from gun articles?</a><br /><br /> In focus: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#In_focus" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/In focus">The Wikipedia SourceWatch</a><br /><br /> Special report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Special_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Special report">Wiki Loves (50 Years of) Pride</a><br /><br /> Community view: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-03-31#Community_view" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-03-31/Community view">Wikipedia's response to the New Zealand mosque shootings</a><br /><br />
From the editorsGetting serious about humor
Featured content
Out of this world
 

The humour column in our February issue was controversial, with lengthy discussions ensuing at Miscellany for deletion, ANI, ArbCom, and other forums. As a result the humour page was blanked but not deleted. We were saddened that our acting editor-in-chief and two other contributors subsequently left The Signpost of their own volition.

The column's headline was “Pesky pronouns”, but was about non-neutral writing of several kinds. The column was originally written by SMcCandlish, one of Wikipedia's most productive and thoughtful editors, on a user page. With his consent we reprinted it in last month's Signpost. Some readers interpreted the pronoun-related material as an attack against the transgender community. We do not believe that any Signpost editor or contributor intended to attack the transgender community, but we also do not believe that our readers were wrong to complain about the column.

Rather, we believe that we can now use this controversy as an opportunity to inform all of our readers and staff about violence and discrimination against the transgender community and how we can all work to prevent it in our lives and online. The special report by Bluerasberry is one step towards this goal.

An apology

We apologize to all our readers who were offended by the column. As Wikipedia's internal newspaper for the community, The Signpost must be more sensitive to potential offense or insult among our diverse readership. In hindsight, we should not have published the column.

We pledge that we will never attack or mock any group whose members include those who do not have a choice about their membership in the group. Groups covered by this pledge include, but are not limited to, those based on race, nationality, sex, gender, age, disability, social or economic status, veteran status, body type, or religion.

Is it even possible to write humor that doesn't ever mock these groups? Of course it is! An excellent example is in this issue's humour column, The Epistolary of Arthur 37.

Farewells, not goodbyes

We are sad to see the departure of three contributors from The Signpost. Bri and Kudpung saved this publication a year ago after the unannounced departure of its then editor-in-chief and a hiatus in publishing. We will be grateful for as long as there is a Signpost—which we expect to be a long time. Also departing is Barbara (WVS), our long-time humour columnist who has been as funny and good-humoured as her columns.

We're sorry that contributors to The Signpost sometimes are subject to such storm and fury.

A personal note

You might know me as Smallbones, and perhaps even know something of my work about paid editing, or seen some of my photos of sites on the National Register of Historic Places. I'm The Signpost's new editor-in-chief.

I'll try not to overwhelm you with my two favorite topics—not everybody has the same interests I do. The best way to counter the problem of the EiC's interests dominating The Signpost is to submit your own articles on your own favorite topics, or just drop us a suggestion on a topic that interests you on our suggestion page.

An important part of the EiC job is to ensure that The Signpost follows Wikipedia's rules and to read every word in every article to make sure violations of our policies and guidelines do not happen. If you believe there is a violation, please politely inform us on the article's talk page. I'll take every such report seriously, even if I disagree with you. If there is no satisfactory response, please email me directly and I'll try my best to make sure that any violations are corrected. This promise is not a guarantee that I'll take the actions you request. I will not censor a contributor's opinion simply because you disagree with it.

All Wikipedia users have the right to take any further complaints to the Administrators' noticeboard for incidents or the arbitration committee, but please remember that your complaint will be against me, since I am in charge of compliance with Wikipedia's rules, and not against our writers, staff or other contributors.

Peace.



Reader comments

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Protest cartoon by Wernerhuth

The Danish, German, Czech, and Slovak Wikipedias blacked out for 24 hours on March 21 to protest before the final vote on the EU Copyright Directive. The Asturian, Catalan, Galician, and Italian Wikipedias followed with their own blackouts on March 25. Unlike the anti-SOPA blackouts of 2012, this protest did not lead to the desired result. The directive passed on March 26 by a vote of 348 in favor to 274 opposed.

Popular protests went well beyond Wiki-blackouts. A Change.org petition collected over 5 million signatures. According to Deutsche Welle, 40 street protests were organized in Germany, with 40,000 protesters in Munich and 30,000 in Berlin. Other protests were held in Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The cause of this furor, the EU Copyright Directive, contains two articles that are predicted to change the internet as we know it. Article 15 (formerly article 11) has been labeled the "link tax". Websites that aggregate news by using links to other sites will be required to pay those sites for the privilege of linking to them. Article 17 (formerly article 13) will make websites responsible for copyright violations that result from user uploads, and pay fines unless they employ adequate means to filter out the offending uploads. Opponents argue that this article will force websites to use heavy-handed filtering technology that will drastically limit the availability and free use of photos, text, and even memes online. See the analysis of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) on the directive's effects here.

The directive will be implemented by legislation in each of the 28 countries in the European Union. The process is expected to take about two years, and the WMF hopes to influence the overall effects of the directive during this period.

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How the blackouts were implemented

Coordinated political protests using Wikipedia, such as the blackouts, are always controversial. The recent blackouts were supported by the WMF and were consistent with the WMF's goals and analysis, but individual Wikipedias and their editors decided on whether and how to protest or blackout their sites.

Christian140 protested the German Wikipedia's blackout, writing "Only 139 users voted for this shutdown of 2.28 million articles and rushed this in one week.... I have ... contributed more than 500 articles and now they are abused for the political agenda of a small group." Three RFCs were conducted March 1–8. In the largest 146 (68%) out of 215 editors voted for a protest; 139 (82%) of 167 voted for a blackout instead of a banner.

For the Czech and Slovak Wikipedias the decisions were made by small, but even more determined groups. Czech editors voted 44 (85%) to 8 in favor of a blackout in a week long RFC. Slovak editors voted 18-0 in favor at the same time, according to editors Venca24 and Luky001. Most of the countries' press covered the blackout story. In the Czech Republic coverage started even before the RFC was completed. There were about 2.25 million visitors to the Czech site on the day of the blackout, equivalent to about one-fifth of the Czech Republic's 10.6 million population. There were about 500,000 visitors to the Slovak site, equivalent to almost one-tenth of the Slovak Republic's population. The majority of the Czech Members of Parliament (MEPs) voted against the directive or abstained, but the majority of the Slovak MEPs supported the directive.

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Bureaucrat updates

Early this month, the bureaucrat rights of Kingturtle were removed for inactivity. Kingturtle first became a bureaucrat back in 2004, before the current user rights log. From Wikipedia:Bureaucrat log:

16:36, 28 Feb 2004 Infrogmation set Kingturtle: +bureaucrat

With the loss of Kingturtle, the 'crat corps fell below 20 for the first time since 2004. A full timeline of Wikipedia's bureaucrats can be found at Template:Bureaucrat timeline.

This situation was quickly remedied, however; DeltaQuad nominated herself for bureaucratship in the first week of March, resulting in the first RfB since July 2017. Her RfB was closed as successful, and DeltaQuad became the newest bureaucrat on the English Wikipedia. This RfB was the first successful RfB since Xaosflux's in July of 2016.

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Compromised accounts

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Three new administrators for 2019 so far (none this month): another drought year for the crop of new administrators?

The administrator rights of Necrothesp and Bogdangiusca were both removed this month as "suspected compromised account[s]." As of writing, neither has regained their bit, though Necrothesp has regained control of their account.

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Brief notes

  • Three administrators were desysopped due to inactivity in March.
  • This month, an RfC closed with consensus to create a new noticeboard for current events. As of writing, no noticeboard has been officially opened.

D



Reader comments

An explosion of women's history

During March's Women's History Month articles on Wikipedia's role in recording this history exploded in the press. We can only give a sample:

Continuing coverage

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Mike Pompeo in Vietnam in 2019

Slate's Stephen Harrison discusses the gender gap's relation to Wikipedia's notability standards. Are the standards written in a way that allows the sexism of past generations to exclude articles on women?

Earlier this month Harrison wrote that Wikipedia has a citogenesis problem — websites copy uncited information from Wikipedia, and Wikipedia editors then cite those websites for the same information. Harrison notes that our list of citogenesis incidents includes the "facts" that Jar'Edo Wens is an Australian aboriginal god and that Mike Pompeo served in the U.S. military during the war in Vietnam.

In January Harrison wrote 'Wikipedia's Medical Content Is Superior' highlighting Doc James.

We look forward to Harrison's continuing series, Source Notes, which features Wikipedia. – R, S

Mike Vago's long-running Wiki Wormhole is a quirky column on some of Wikipedia's most quirky articles. Last week's column featured The Langley Schools Music Project about a 1976 elementary school band recording, re-released in 2001. What could be so fascinating about that? Listen to the linked YouTube video of Desperado. Vago claims the Wormhole will be a 5,664,405-week series.

Declared paid editing

Ashley Feinberg at the Huffington Post reports that "Facebook, Axios and NBC" used a declared paid editor, Ed Sussman (BC1278) from the firm WhiteHatWiki, to 'whitewash' their pages. Nevertheless she appeared to stop short of claiming that Sussman broke any Wikipedia rules, except perhaps that he badgered volunteer editors with "walls of text."

Breitbart News – which is not considered to be a reliable source on Wikipedia – repeated much of Feinberg's story and added some Wikipedia-bashing. A follow-up, which was written by banned editor The Devil's Advocate, adds some interesting details and takes a run at another declared paid editor, WWB. Breitbart links are not allowed on Wikipedia, but Donald Trump, Jr. has thoughtfully provided a link on Twitter.

In brief

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Wikipedia's page views follow the Baltimore oriole's migration



Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing 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.



Reader comments

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Portholes offer a limited viewing window into the world. So would a Portal:Portholes.

Mass creation of portals halted

The mass creation of portals on Wikipedia has come to a stop. Several discussions about how to deal with the mass-creation of portals by The Transhumanist, who created over 3,500 portals, started around mid-February and are many are still ongoing.

A discussion related to portals concluded with "overwhelming support here for a hiatus on the creation of portals using semi-automated tools". At the same time, a long (and still-ongoing) discussion at the Administrator's noticeboard concluded with "a rough consensus to formalize a moratorium on creation of new portals", and the Bot Approvals Group expanded the WP:MASSCREATION section of the bot policy to expand the restrictions on mass creation of pages via semi-automated/automated means. The restriction was previously understood to apply to articles and categories, but has now been expanded to cover any type of "content page", including article, books, categories, projects, and so on.

Ongoing discussions involve the possible creation of a speedy deletion criteria, expanding proposed deletions to cover portals, and a request for an ARBCOM case with an accompanying RFC. Independently of this, several hundred portals have been listed at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion, with nearly a hundred discussions still active as of writing.

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Macedonia naming conventions

Though North Macedonia had previously been moved from Republic of Macedonia (see move discussion here) following the Prespa agreement, a new RfC was created to determine how we should refer to Macedonia in other contexts. The main proposals are as follows:

  1. How should the republic be referred to on Macedonia (disambiguation) — should the linked text be "Republic of Macedonia" or "North Macedonia"? And in what order should the list items be listed? Likely outcome: Calling it North Macedonia on the disambiguation page.
  2. Should people from North Macedonia be called "Macedonians" or "North Macedonians"?
  3. Should the government of North Macedonia or similar entities use as the adjective (A) "of North Macedonia" only (per the Prespa agreeement), (B) "North Macedonian" or "of North Macedonia", or (C) "Macedonian" or "of North Macedonia"? Likely outcome: (B) "North Macedonian" or "of North Macedonia" are okay.
  4. In other contexts (e.g. "(North) Macedonian football team"), should Wikipedia use (A) "Macedonian" only, (B) "North Macedonian" only, or (C) both, depending on context?
  5. What should the country be called when discussing events between 1991 and 2019 — (A) no change, (B) add an optional note of "(now North Macedonia)" when the country is referenced, or (C) use North Macedonia? Likely outcome: Option B.

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Wikipedia — A Wikipedia project

The Wikimedia Foundation is conducting a community consultation on the Wikimedia/Wikipedia brand. In particular, the rebranding project proposes:

  • Using Wikipedia as the central movement brand rather than Wikimedia.
  • Providing clearer connections to the sister projects from Wikipedia to drive increased awareness, usage and contributions to all movement projects.
  • Retaining Wikimedia project names, with the exception of Wikimedia Commons which is recommended to be shortened to Wikicommons to be consistent with other projects.
  • Exploring new naming conventions for the Foundation and affiliate groups to use Wikipedia rather than Wikimedia.
  • Considering expository taglines and other naming conventions to reassert the connections between projects (e.g. “______ — A Wikipedia project”).

So far, most people in the discussion object to usurping the Wikipedia brand (a portmanteau of wiki + encyclopedia) and plastering it over projects which are not encyclopedias, like wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki + dictionary), creating a weird Wiktionary, a Wikipedia project tagline, when Wiktionary is not an encyclopedia, and Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Other projects also feel that they have strong identities of their own, such as Wikinews, which is not affiliated with Wikipedia. Broad consensus is that rebranding other Wikimedia projects as "Wikipedia projects" is both inaccurate, and creates more confusion than it solves.

Other aspects of the rebranding efforts are less opposed, with several suggestions aiming to establish more effective brands for Wikipedia, Wikimedia projects, the Wikimedia Foundation, and MediaWiki.

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In brief



Reader comments

Buzz Aldrin in space, with the Gemini 12 spacecraft and Earth
Recent promotions to featured status are, like Buzz Aldrin, out of this world.

This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted from 24 February through 28 March. For nominations and nominators, see the featured contents' talk pages.

Featured articles

Thirty featured articles were promoted this period.

Featured lists

Twenty featured lists were promoted this period.

Featured pictures

Thirty five featured pictures were promoted this period.

Featured topics

Two featured topics were promoted this period.



Reader comments

The Tides of March at ARBCOM

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While active, the ARBCOM proceedings have been more civil than certain historical events which also occured in March, all things considered.

After a fairly tame February, ARBCOM had a lot on its plate this month. Here are the highlights from March.

Amendment/clarification requests
Case requests
Portal.svg
Wikipedia portals are everywhere, including at ARBCOM
  • Portal Issues - Editors have requested ARBCOM to take up a case related to conduct issues involving portals. See our coverage of the portal situation for more background on the topic. As of writing, ARBCOM is leaning decline on whether or not to take the case.

Several other case request were made in March, including one that followed the publication of The Signpost's controversial humour article last month (see The Signpost's response in this month's issue), but all were declined as premature.

Desysops
Motions



Reader comments

This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by OZOO (February 24 to March 2), Igordebraga (March 3 to 9 and March 17 to 23), A lad insane, Serendipodous, Od Mishehu and igordebraga (March 10 to 16).

Don't blame me, I voted for Paddington 2 (February 24 to March 2)

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Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (February 24 to March 2, 2019)

This week, the viewers have been mostly focused on the 91st Academy Awards, with sixteen of the twenty-five entries linked, directly or indirectly, to the awards. Best Actor winner Rami Malek tops the charts, while there are also places for the winners of Best Original Song (Lady Gaga, #6), Best Picture (Green Book, #7), Best Actress (Olivia Colman, #9), Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Foreign Language Film (Roma) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Spike Lee). Five of the eight Best Picture nominees are included in the 25.

Away from the awards, the probably urban legend that is the Momo challenge took the second place, with Netflix's The Umbrella Academy hitting tenth place and the original comic strip, 19th. Former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and current Chelsea F.C. goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga caused difficulties for former and current bosses this week, and both make appearances in the lower reaches of the 25.

For the week of February 24 to March 2, 2019, the 10 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:


Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Rami Malek B-Class article 2,781,135
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Rami Malek, who plays Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, won the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 91st Academy Awards, wrapping up an awards season that has also seen him win acting awards at the Golden Globes, the SAG awards and the BAFTAs. Malek is the first actor of Egyptian heritage to win the Best Actor Academy Award. His next appearances will be the fourth and final series of Mr. Robot and a voice role as Chee-Chee the gorilla in the talking-animal-athon The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle.
2 Momo Challenge hoax C-Class article 2,688,438 It is alleged that a number of children and adolescents have received messages on social media, from accounts using a picture of a sculpture entitled Mother Bird, instructing them to perform a series of tasks culminating in suicide. This phenomenon was first noted by YouTuber ReignBot in July of last year, but received an increased level of attention this week after the Police Service of Northern Ireland issued a public warning about the challenge. There are no confirmed occasions of anyone actually being harmed by the challenge, and a number of organisations including NSPCC and the Samaritans say the whole thing is a complete hoax.
3 Freddie Mercury Good article 2,564,597
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Played by Academy Award for Best Actor winner Rami Malek (#1) in Bohemian Rhapsody.
4 Bradley Cooper Featured article 1,975,800
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Despite failing to snatch any of the three awards he was nominated for at the 91st Academy Awards – for producing, starring in, and writing A Star Is Born – Cooper gained attention for a performance of the Best Original Song winning "Shallow" with his ASIB co-star Lady Gaga (#6). Some speculated the duet was an indicator that the two of them were truly in love, but the duo have denied it. And in fairness, they are both actors. Good actors. Oscar-nominated actors.
5 91st Academy Awards List-Class article 1,882,127
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The Oscars were held at the Dolby Theatre (pictured) on February 24th, going hostless for the first time since the 61st Academy Awards in 1989. A viewership of 29.6 million is a 12% increase on last year.
6 Lady Gaga Featured article 1,873,614
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Gaga picked up the Academy Award for Best Original Song from her second nomination for "Shallow" for the film A Star Is Born, where she was also nominated for Best Actress.
7 Green Book (film) Start-Class article 1,422,196
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The Academy Award for Best Picture, Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly, is inspired by the story of a tour of the Deep South by African-American pianist Don Shirley and his driver and bodyguard Tony Vallelonga; and his named after The Negro Motorist Green Book (pictured), a guidebook for African-American travellers to help them find motels and resturants that would accept them at a time of racial segregation. The acting of stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen is seen as the highlight of the movie, but despite the awards, the film has been criticised by some for advancing a white savior narrative in film, and by Don Shirley's relatives, who were not contacted by studio representatives during development.
8 Irina Shayk C-Class article 1,176,991
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Russian supermodel Shayk is the current partner of Bradley Cooper (#4). Not Lady Gaga, no matter what Oscar viewers may try to convince themselves.
9 Olivia Colman Start-Class article 1,143,884
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Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Anne in The Favourite, won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 91st Academy Awards, wrapping up an awards season that has also seen her win acting awards at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. Her next big role will also see her play a British monarch, as she takes over as Queen Elizabeth II in the next series of Netflix's The Crown, a role which will almost certainly get her back in this list in a couple of months.
10 The Umbrella Academy (TV series) C-Class article 1,084,605
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Netflix's new superhero series, based on the comic book series of the same name. The ensemble cast is led by Ellen Page and Tom Hopper. The series launched on February 15, and has received mostly positive reviews.

Marvelous Musical March (March 3 to 9)

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Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (March 3 to 9, 2019)

In a way it's a week full of music – a techno singer died (#3), Freddie Mercury (#4) and his friends seem to just keep themselves in the Report, those old claims about Michael Jackson resurfaced (#8, #10), a rock star's comic is adapted, R. Kelly's image is still dirty, the Jonas Brothers reunited, and Lady Gaga is still in the spotlight. Gaga also helps a female presence in the week of International Women's Day (#9), where theaters see the release of a powerful superhero once known as Ms. Marvel (#2, #7), Google honors a female mathematician (#5) ... and on less flattering notes, there are entries with women dying or gathering attention for their love lives. Still, the top entry is another death (#1) the same day as that singer, namely of an actor. A TV host revealing an unfavorable diagnosis (#6), a holiday, a hoax and a sports event complete our list.

For the week of March 3 to 9, 2019, the 10 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Luke Perry Start-Class article 5,363,473
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Last week, he had a stroke. And now this actor, who rose to fame in Beverly Hills 90210 (which narrowly missed the list at #26) and was part of the Riverdale cast (and was also a young priest in one of my favorite movies, The Fifth Element) died at the age of 52, being survived by a fiancé and two children.
2 Captain Marvel (film) B-Class article 2,340,178
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11 months after the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War, comes the movie where Carol Danvers, a fighter pilot turned space cop, crashes on Earth in the mid-1990s and shows audiences why Nick Fury, who looks straight out of Die Hard with a Vengeance, would ask for her help to stop a giant purple bastard. Light-hearted and fun like most Marvel Cinematic Universe entries, Captain Marvel already got good reviews and opened to a whopping $456 million worldwide, in spite of the badmouthing by men's rights activists who seemingly can't accept any movie starring a strong woman.
3 Keith Flint C-Class article 1,739,259
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Got a lousy haircut, a really stupid haircut! Rave music owes much to The Prodigy and its two singers named Keith, one of whom tragically hung himself at the age of 49.
4 Freddie Mercury Good article 1,402,368
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22 straight reports with the King of Queen! "Are you happy, are you satisfied? How long can you stand the heat?"
5 Olga Ladyzhenskaya Start-Class article 1,121,525
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Google honored this Russian mathematician who in spite of a tough childhood, owing mostly to her father being jailed and executed by Soviet authorities who accused him of being an “enemy of the state”, became very prolific and recognized in her field.
6 Alex Trebek B-Class article 1,039,358
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The long-tenured Jeopardy! host announced he is battling pancreatic cancer, but will continue on the show.
7 Brie Larson Featured article 997,779
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Call me Captain Marvel (#2), eternal light
These gravely digs of mine
Will surely prove a sight.
8 Michael Jackson Featured article 981,146
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In June, it will be ten years since the shocking and Wiki-breaking death of the King of Pop. And so apparently it's time to again ignore his awesome music and just claim he was a molester, if Leaving Neverland and its claims by Wade Robson (#10) have a say.
9 International Women's Day C-Class article 973,486
Women’s Day March (1975).jpg
With women still struggling to get properly recognized, this year had many women forgoing being congratulated on March 8. Hope they at least appreciated that in that same day, a woman was shown to be the most powerful being of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (#2).
10 Wade Robson Start-Class article 948,495
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In 2005, this choreographer who worked with Britney Spears and NSYNC testified in favor of Michael Jackson (#8), claiming he never abused him during Robson's childhood friendship with MJ. 8 years later, he changed his mind, as documented in Leaving Neverland.

So many reasons for me to run and hide (March 10 to 16)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (March 10 to 16, 2019).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (March 10 to 16, 2019)

Captain Marvel is in the lead this week, bringing in its star (#4). And while Leaving Neverland has dropped below the top 25, the King of Pop (#10) who is the subject – and even once owed something to the other royal of the Report, the King of Queen (#8) – is still here. There are some major news events making it into the top 25: airplanes crashing (#2, #19), two actresses who were accused of bribing colleges to accept their children (#3, #5), and a politician declaring his candidacy (#6). A Google celebration of a major anniversary this week (#7) completes the list.

For the week of March 10 to 16, 2019, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Captain Marvel (film) B-Class article 2,391,725
SDCC 2018 - Captain Marvel cosplay (43613622091).jpg
I'm not sure if it was intended, but it seems the controversy over this film (spearheaded by some fairly innoccuous comments made by star Brie Larson, which were then twisted out of all recognition by Internet trolls) has given it a massive boost in recognition, with this formerly obscure Marvel Comics character seeing her grosses approach the magic $1 billion number. I haven't seen it myself (the trailers didn't wow me) but from all accounts it seems like a fairly bog-standard Marvel origin story, which, had it not received the "attention" it had, likely would have been regarded as such. Sometimes the Streisand effect is the only antidote to Internet vileness.
2 Boeing 737 MAX C-Class article 2,123,234
AC YYC 737 MAX.jpg
The tragic crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (#20) and Lion Air Flight 610 led to a mass grounding of this aircraft across the world, even, eventually, in the US, home to the company that manufactures them. Boeing later acknowledged that the causes might include a fault in the aircraft's computer system.
3 Lori Loughlin B-Class article 1,821,735
Lori Loughlin.jpg
The first of several articles on this list related to the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, arrests having been made this week. (would be #79, if the list went that long). This actress and her husband were both arrested on suspicion of having sent $500,000 to the University of Southern California (disguised as a charity donation) so that the admissions committee would be led to believe that their two daughters would be joining the school's women's rowing team. She got nearly double the views as her fellow TV star Felicity Huffman (#5), no doubt due to the cringe-inducing tweets from Youtube star Olivia Jade, Laughlin's silver-spooned spawn whose entry into said college may have been enabled by the bribes. Li'l Liv doesn't seem to have appreciated her mother's efforts, describing her feelings toward the ultra-exclusive college thusly: "I HATE SCHOOL OH MY GODDDDDDD!"; "I'm too tired; my eyes hurt and I don't want to b at school", and the admirably succinct, "It's so hard to try in school when you don't care about anything you're learning". Thing is, Olivia is a Youtube and Instagram celebrity. She's already successful (for a given value of success) and likely didn't benefit at all from her time at college. So why did she need to go?
4 Brie Larson Featured article 1,089,646
Captain Marvel trailer at the National Air and Space Museum 5 (cropped).jpg
The star of #1, whose past experiences include dating a superpowered vegan, being kept captive by a rapist (and winning an Oscar for it) and lending a hand to a giant ape. Also the unwitting instigator of a massive Internet backlash thanks to some perhaps ill-judged but ultimately harmless comments.
5 Felicity Huffman C-Class article 1,084,725
Felicity Huffman in Oscar de la Renta (2) (cropped).jpg
Like #3, another actress suspect in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal (though a much more acclaimed one, holding an Emmy and an Oscar nom to her name), with the accusation being that she paid $15,000 for someone to take the SAT for her daughter.
6 Beto O'Rourke C-Class article 980,971
Beto O'Rourke in Austin 2 (cropped).jpg
An American politician from the Texas Democratic Party and former punk rocker, who announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2020, and raised $6 million in campaign funds in just a few days. Still, the fact that he lost his Texas Senate race to the distinctly un-charismatic Ted Cruz and said, when asked by Vanity Fair why he wanted to be President, "I want to be in it; man, I'm just born to be in it," has led to some backlash from the true opposition, late night comedians.
7 World Wide Web C-Class article 978,963
200x144px-WorldWideWebAroundWikipedia.png
30 years ago this week, on March 12th, Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal for "a large hypertext database with typed links", which became the World Wide Web. Without it, there would be no Wikipedia, nor Google, whose homepage Doodle tradition sent droves over to this article. This week, Sir Tim took the opportunity to lament how his dream of free information for all had been hijacked by anonymous trolls.
8 Freddie Mercury Good article 927,775
Freddie Mercury performing in New Haven, CT, November 1977.jpg
The King of Queen rocks the list once again this week, for reasons most likely well drilled into your head by now. But just in case they weren't: there was a movie last November. Then it won a few Oscars. Now people are reading the article about the person the film was about.
9 Deaths in 2019 List-Class article 842,579
Calavera artístico.jpg
The ever-morbid inclinations of Wikipedians reveal themselves once again, this week's casualties featuring a cartoonist and a guitarist.
10 Michael Jackson Featured article 749,518
Jackson live in Lisbon.jpg
In a world rocked by seemingly constant #MeToo accusations, a documentary entitled Leaving Neverland (which has fallen off this list since its release, but its subject remains here) detailing the alleged sexual abuse of two boys by the King of Pop certainly struck a sensitive note, with many rallying behind the film as an accurate portrayal of the effects of sexual abuse, yet still accessible to the outsiders fortunate enough never to have suffered that way. This type of documentary is bound to produce controversy, though, and produce controversy this did: the directors have received death threats from a few overzealous fans, and critics are split between "this was a necessary movie to the #MeToo movement" and "this is far too biased to qualify as a documentary." The Jackson estate has issued an official release condemning the film, citing a lack of independent evidence and the boys' testimony under oath; a month later they sued HBO for a million dollars, citing a contract from 1992. This entire mess shows (to me) that humans are drawn to scandal and controversy, but what's new?

Us and them, and after all we're only Wikipedian Men (March 17 to 23)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (March 17 to 23, 2019).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (March 17 to 23, 2019)

New movies helming the Top 25 Report, no surprise, as the horror film Us pushes down Captain Marvel, which is still bringing along its leading star (#19), its franchise (#15) and the next movie (#21). Theatrical releases only bring one more entry for an upcoming release (#14), as TV and streaming bring along their movies and limited series, regarding people doing stuff that God only knows it's not what we would choose to do, such as kidnapping (#2), fraud (#6), murder (#10), heist (#17), and self-destructive hedonism (#12, #18, #20, #22, #23). The views go up and down, with returning entries on the terrorist attack in New Zealand (#7, #8, #25) and an aspiring presidential candidate (#13), and in the end it's only round and round for topics such as recent deaths (#9), India (#4, #16), holidays (#5), wrestling (#24), and in the latest months, Freddie Mercury (#11), which will appear on the list no matter what.

Out of the way, it's a busy day, I've got things on my mind. For the week of March 17 to 23, 2019, the 10 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Us (2019 film) Start-Class article 1,632,199
Couponschaar van Landry & van Till.JPG
Comedian Jordan Peele is still strong in his shift to horror, following Get Out (whose script won Peele an Oscar) by writing and directing the story of a family being visited by doppelgängers clad in red with murderous intentions. This intriguing premise managed to beat the sophomore slump, earning an impreessive 95% critic approval on Rotten Tomatoes, while attracting droves of filmgoers – including this here writer, who approves the film even if Get Out was better – to make it #1 in the box office with $71 million.
2 Disappearance of Madeleine McCann Good article 1,338,648
Tributes2.jpg
In 2007, a British family vacationing in Portugal had three year old daughter Madeleine suddenly vanish from her room. Everything is still unsolved to this day, as detailed by a Netflix eight-part documentary series, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Hope one day this mystery gets a conclusion, instead of finishing the most depressing way possible.
3 Captain Marvel (film) C-Class article 1,280,692
Brie Larson, December 2018.jpg
Us took the top spot of both the U.S. box office and our Report from the 21st Marvel Cinematic Universe film, and first female-fronted. Just like Wonder Woman, it's a period piece centered around a superpowered woman discovering the human world. The success has also been comparable, if not bigger, as the adventures of Carol Danvers should break $1 billion in the worldwide box office very soon.
4 Manohar Parrikar C-Class article 1,124,518
160829-D-SK590-691.JPG (29035467270) Crop.jpg
Been a while since an Indian subject brought so many views, and the cause is a sad one: the Chief Minister of Goa died at the age of 63 from a pancreatic cancer.
5 Saint Patrick's Day C-Class article 1,024,573
Les Gilets Jaunes (46675434654).jpg
17 March is the feast day of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, leading people all over the world to celebrate the Emerald Isle by overusing the color green and buying some Guinness.
6 Elizabeth Holmes B-Class article 946,669
Nuclear nonproliferation discussion 130417-D-NI589-107 cropped.jpg
HBO released documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, about this entrepreneur who seemed to be the female Steve Jobs in that she emerged from Silicon Valley wearing black turtlenecks and was raising billions for revolutionary technology – only instead of computers, it was health care, with the most lauded breakthrough of Holmes' Theranos being blood tests that only needed very small amounts of blood. But all turned out to be a huge fraud, leading Holmes to lose her money and her reputation, and now she might even be sentenced to jail.
7 Christchurch mosque shootings C-Class article 910,872
Canterbury Mosque 12 June 2006 (adjusted levels).jpg
An armed maniac broke into a New Zealand mosque and killed 50 people, showing that for all the bad Muslim extremists have caused, that's no excuse for other followers of this faith to be targeted by White supremacy and Islamophobia. The country's Prime Minister has been praised for how she's handled the aftermath, announcing a period of national mourning, visiting Christchurch to meet first responders and families of the victims, and promising to introduce stronger firearms regulations.
8 Jacinda Ardern B-Class article 859,105
Jacinda Ardern in Dunedin.jpg
9 Deaths in 2019 List-Class article 737,293
A woodcutter shows Death his pile of wood. Mezzotint. Wellcome V0042169.jpg
If we lose love and self respect for each other,this is how we finally die
10 Murder of Dee Dee Blanchard C-Class article 720,909
Joey King on KidsPickFlicks.jpg
Hulu released The Act, where Joey King (pictured) plays Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who back in 2015, along with an online boyfriend, murdered her abusing mother (portrayed by Patricia Arquette), who spent 24 years fabricating illness and disabilities on Gypsy Rose, subjecting her to unnecessary medication and surgery.

Exclusions

  • 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.



Reader comments

Automated article section recommendations

Annotated screenshot
Automated section suggestions for the article Amedei in the recommendations testing tool (B). Also shown are the lead, existing sections (A), feedback form (C), and a template for providing specific feedback on-wiki (D).

The Wikimedia Research team is creating a new tool to suggest sections to add to articles. This could be useful for suggesting improvements new editors could make to stub articles. Machine learning would be used to recommend sections to add, based on what sections other similar articles have.

Before actually building the tool, the developers need to test the quality of the suggestions. Experienced editors can help by evaluating recommendations and providing feedback using the testing tool (instructions).

Further questions and feedback can be left on the Meta-Wiki talk page.

Sitewide CSS

A new site-wide CSS page was activated this month: MediaWiki:Group-checkuser.css. At the same time, an increasing number of CSS classes are being removed from MediaWiki:Common.css as the community takes advantage of the TemplateStyles extension. This month, the styles for portals and the Letterhead template migrated to individual style pages.

In brief

New user scripts to customise your Wikipedia experience

Bot tasks

Admin bots
Recently approved tasks
Current requests for approval
Admin bot.png
Admin bots are bots with mops.

Latest tech news

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community: 2019 #10, #11, #12, & #13. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available on Meta.

Mobile
  • The mobile website will use the standard fonts on your computer or phone instead of a generic font. This will make it easier to read text in many scripts. [1][2]
  • There was a problem with editing with Safari on iOS. When you wrote an edit summary you couldn't save the edit. This has now been fixed. [3]
  • The editing toolbar sometimes disappears when you scroll on iOS devices. This will be fixed soon. [4]
Maps
Recent changes
  • There is now an EventStream to see when links are added or removed on Wikimedia wikis. You can read the discussions and plans.
  • When you use rollback you will be able to get a confirmation prompt on most wikis. It asks you if you wanted to do the rollback. This is to avoid misclicks. You will have to opt in to get it. On German Wikipedia it will be an opt-out feature from 28 March. [7][8]
  • Admins will be able to block someone from editing a page or a namespace. This already works on a few Wikimedia wikis. You can read more. If your wiki wants to be an early tester of this, you can tell the developers. [9]
  • Advanced item Toolforge will shut down the Ubuntu Trusty job grid. This will happen the week of 25 March. Tools that use this grid needs to be moved to the new Debian Stretch job grid. If they haven't, they will be taken offline. Maintainers can restart the tools later. Users may not be able to use them in the meanwhile. You can see a list of affected tools.
  • The new version of the content translation tool will be used for all new translations. The older version will still be used for translations that were started with it. Most users won’t see any change. More than 80% of the published translations are already using the new version. [10]
Problems
  • Editors who use Firefox to edit with the visual editor had a problem with copying text. When they tried to select text that included footnotes, templates or block images in the middle they would often only get part of the text. This has now been fixed. [11]
  • Wikis can over-ride interface messages on-wiki. A problem meant that sometimes an old versions of any changed messages were shown instead. This included the sitenotice and other important parts of the interface. This was fixed at around 2019-03-22 16:00 (UTC). Logged-out users may still get the wrong message. Purging the page should fix it for them. [12]
Meetings
  • Recurrent item Advanced item You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting takes place every Wednesday from 4:00–5:00 p.m. UTC. See how to join here.

Installation code

  1. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    {{subst:iusc|1=User:PAC2/chouette.js}}
  2. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    {{subst:iusc|1=User:PAC2/justaclickaway.js}}
  3. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    {{subst:iusc|1=User:Begoon/addUploadsLink.js}}
  4. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    {{subst:iusc|1=User:DannyS712/Easy-link.js}}
  5. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    {{subst:iusc|1=User:Zackmann08/unwatch deleted.js}}



Reader comments

European Parliament limits internet freedom in controversial copyright vote

External image
Vote breakdown: 348 for, 274 against, 36 abstentions

Today, the European Parliament voted 348–274 to pass a new copyright directive that includes problematic rules that will harm free knowledge. They did so after years of discussions, revisions, and more recently street protests. We believe that this is a disappointing outcome, the impacts of which will certainly be felt for years to come.

As Articles 15 and 17 (formerly 11 and 13) of the directive will take effect across the European Union (EU), we expect to see direct repercussions on all online activities. Article 15 will require certain news websites to purchase licenses for the content they display. As a result, many websites that helped people find and make sense of the news may choose not to offer this type of service, making it harder to find high-quality news items from trusted sources online. Article 17 will introduce a new liability regime across the EU, under which websites can be sued for copyright violations by their users. This will incentivize websites to filter all uploads and keep only "safe" copyrighted content on their sites, eroding essential exceptions and limitations to copyright by making platforms the judges of what is and isn't infringement.

Still, there are elements to celebrate in the new directive. A new safeguard for the public domain will ensure that faithful reproductions of public domain works remain uncopyrighted, even as they are digitized. Museums, archives, and libraries will now be able to provide digital access to out-of-commerce works that have not yet fallen into the public domain. Research organizations and cultural heritage institutions will be able to engage in text and data mining on works they have lawful access to.

While we are disappointed, the fight is not over. The impact of the copyright directive will be determined by how lawmakers in each country choose to implement it. As the copyright directive is implemented into national law over the next two years, it presents an opportunity for Europeans to proactively engage with policymakers and ensure national copyright protects internet freedom and empowers everyone to participate in knowledge. Many countries will be opening up their copyright law for amendments for the first time in years. Now is the time to advocate for the good and try to mitigate the harmful parts of the new EU Copyright Directive, and Wikimedia is committed to this task.

Although Articles 15 and 17 remain in the directive, Wikimedians are already working to ensure that they are implemented safely and interpreted in the best possible light in national law, while also pushing for safeguards that benefit the public like freedom of panorama or user-generated content exceptions.

It is disappointing that, in the end, the majority of members of the European Parliament chose not to listen to the millions of voices in Europe concerned about the direction this directive has taken. We look forward to making sure that national lawmakers in the EU member states will understand how their actions in future national legislation will affect internet freedom. Stay tuned to our blog and our public policy portal for future updates and ways you can help.

Jan Gerlach, Senior Public Policy Manager, Legal
Allison Davenport, Technology Law and Policy Fellow, Legal
Wikimedia Foundation



Reader comments

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


"Purely symbolic" barnstar-like awards increase retention of new editors on German Wikipedia

We hereby present
[User Name]
with the award
Edelweiss-Auszeichnung 1 Stern.png
Edelweiss with Star
of the Portal Switzerland
for contributions to the German language Wikipedia.
sgd. The Project Edelweiss-Award


Example award (author's translation, from the paper)

New editors who received the award (right) were 20% more likely to remain active during the following month, compared to the control group who didn't receive it

In a large-scale randomized experiment on the German Wikipedia,[1] new editors who were presented with a barnstar-like award on their user talk page were 20% more likely to remain active during the following month. This statistically significant increase in the number of users coming back to contribute more persisted for a full year (four quarters). The effect also appeared when only considering article (mainspace) edits.

The "Edelweiss-Auszeichnung" (Edelweiss with Star) was awarded in a monthly process. All users who had just made their first article edit and at least one other edit, with at least five days between their first and last edit, were considered initially eligible for the award. This was followed by a semi-automated screening process, "developed in consultation with experienced community members", to remove e.g. blocked users, corporate accounts and "advertisers". Apart from this, the award (in its lowest level) was not based on an assessment of the quality of the user's contributions. Its "description does not contain any explicit performance criteria for getting the award, other than that the editors have made their first contributions to the German language Wikipedia in the previous month; it is mentioned that there were more than 4,000 newcomers as potential candidates in a given month." The award was handed out by the author, using a role account, to around 150 users per month. She notes that

"... randomly bestowing awards seems to be an almost impossible endeavor, because awards are designed to be given to individuals who excel in their tasks. However, this experiment shows that it can succeed if two important conditions are fulfilled. First, a basic preselection has to exclude obviously undeserving candidates, such as vandals. Second, subjects who by chance do not receive the award should be an unidentifiable group who ideally are ignorant of the award’s existence."

The screening process seems to have been reasonably effective in weeding out bad-faith contributors, with only 2% of the awarded users and 3% of the control group having been blocked after more than two years.

The paper also emphasizes that close coordination with the editor community, and the attachment to a thematic portal (Portal Switzerland, similar to a WikiProject on the English Wikipedia) were important to the award's success:

"... practitioners' endorsement is most likely to be vital for any such endeavor. The backing and trust of several highly reputable community members were central to this experiment. These contacts were established via telephone calls, which were followed up by regular roundtable meetings with a group of editors willing to tackle the retention problem with the help of the experiment. They became official founding members of the project, which was thus institutionalized under the umbrella of the Swiss national Wikipedia portal, providing the award with considerable repute and a formal character ..."

In contrast, a team of Carnegie Mellon researchers recently withdrew a similar research project proposal on the English Wikipedia due to community opposition. See previous coverage from The Signpost.

See also our earlier coverage of related research: "A Preliminary Study on the Effects of Barnstars on Wikipedia Editing", "Recognition may sustain user participation"

Conferences and events

See the research events page on Meta-wiki for upcoming conferences and events, including submission deadlines, and the page of the monthly Wikimedia Research Showcase for videos and slides of past presentations.

Other recent publications

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

"A Historical Perspective on Information Systems: A Tool and Methodology for Studying the Evolution of Social Representations on Wikipedia"

"... we draw on the theory of social representation to build an analytical tool, WikiGen ["Wikipedia Genealogy Generator", available at http://wikigen.org/ ], and develop a methodology for examining the evolution of collective knowledge on Wikipedia. We demonstrate the usefulness of the tool and methodology by applying it to an illustrative case study, the Wikipedia article on cloud computing." (from the abstract[2])

Simulation find that admins and instant reverts are the key to Wikipedia's reliability

"The surprisingly high reliability of Wikipedia has often been seen as a beneficial effect of the aggregation of diverse contributors, or as an instance of the wisdom of crowds phenomenon; additional factors such as elite contributors, Wikipedia's policy or its administration have also been mentioned. We adjudicate between such explanations by modelling and simulating the evolution of a Wikipedia entry. The main threat to Wikipedia's reliability, namely the presence of epistemically disruptive agents such as disinformers and trolls, turns out to be offset only by a combination of factors: Wikipedia's administration and the possibility to instantly revert entries, both of which are insufficient when considered in isolation." (from the abstract[3])

Editing persistently is fun, but editing a lot is not

"We combine motivational data from two surveys of Wikipedia newcomers with data of two periods of editing activity. We find that persistence in editing is related to fun, while the amount of editing is not: individuals who persist in editing are characterized by higher fun motives early on (when compared to dropouts), though their motives are not related to the number of edits made. Moreover, we found that newcomers' experience of fun was reinforced by their amount of activity over time: editors who were initially motivated by fun entered a virtuous cycle, whereas those who initially had low fun motives entered a vicious cycle." (from the abstract[4])

See also earlier coverage of a related paper by some of the same authors: "Emergent Role Behaviours in Wikipedia – The 'How' and 'Why'".

"Can deep learning techniques improve classification performance of vandalism detection in Wikipedia?"

"... we study the applicability of a leading technology as deep learning to the problem of vandalism detection. The first set is obtained by expanding a list of vandal terms taking advantage of the existing semantic-similarity relations in word embeddings and deep neural networks. Deep learning techniques are applied to the second set of features [...]. The last set uses graph-based ranking algorithms to generate a list of vandal terms from a vandalism corpus extracted from Wikipedia. These three sets of new features are evaluated separately as well as together to study their complementarity, improving the results in the state of the art." (from the abstract[5])

"Improving New Editor Retention on Wikipedia"

"...we model whether a new user will become an established member of the community based on their initial activity. ... we are primarily interested in determining positive and negative impacts to new user retention." (From the abstract[6])

"'Anonymous calling': The WikiScanner scandals and anonymity on the Japanese Wikipedia"

"The Wikiscanner tool, which traced the origin of edits on Wikipedia, stirred media scandals throughout the world. Relying on a 'trace ethnography' method, following the discussion on Wikipedia articles, this article deals with the Japanese edition reaction to the scandals. I argue that this reaction represents a unique form of online publicity that facilitates anonymous normative discussion. In addition [...], the article contends that Wikipedia enables a rare model of anonymous public debate which bridges earlier Japanese conceptions of anonymity and publicity." (from the abstract[7])

"Feature Analysis for Assessing the Quality of Wikipedia Articles through Supervised Classification"

"... the problem of automatically assessing the quality of Wikipedia articles is considered. In particular, the focus is on the analysis of hand-crafted features that can be employed by supervised machine learning techniques to perform the classification of Wikipedia articles on qualitative bases. [... This approach] produced encouraging results with respect to the considered features." (from the abstract[8])

"Towards Compiling Textbooks from Wikipedia"

"we explore challenges in compiling a pedagogic resource like a textbook on a given topic from relevant Wikipedia articles, and present an approach towards assisting humans in this task. We present an algorithm that attempts to suggest the textbook structure from Wikipedia based on a set of seed concepts (chapters) provided by the user. We also conceptualize a decision support system where users can interact with the proposed structure and the corresponding Wikipedia content to improve its pedagogic value. The proposed algorithm is implemented and evaluated against the outline of online textbooks on five different subjects. We also propose a measure to quantify the pedagogic value of the suggested textbook structure." (from the abstract[9])

"Let's Talk About Refugees: Network Effects Drive Contributor Attention to Wikipedia Articles About Migration-Related Topics"

"... we propose relational event models to analyze dynamic network effects explaining the allocation of contributor attention to Wikipedia articles about migration-related topics. Among others, we test for the presence of a rich-get-richer effect in which articles edited by many users are likely to receive even more contributions in the future and uncover which users start working on less popular articles. We further analyze local clustering effects in which pairs of users tend to repeatedly collaborate on the same articles ..." (from the abstract[10])

References

  1. ^ Gallus, Jana (2016-09-30). "Fostering Public Good Contributions with Symbolic Awards: A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment at Wikipedia". Management Science. 63 (12): 3999–4015. doi:10.1287/mnsc.2016.2540.
  2. ^ Gal, Uri; Riemer, Kai; Chasin, Friedrich (2018-12-01). "A Historical Perspective on Information Systems: A Tool and Methodology for Studying the Evolution of Social Representations on Wikipedia". Communications of the Association for Information Systems. 43 (1): 711–750. doi:10.17705/1CAIS.04337.
  3. ^ Lageard, Valentin; Paternotte, Cédric (2018-11-29). "Trolls, bans and reverts: simulating Wikipedia". Synthese: 1–20. doi:10.1007/s11229-018-02029-0. closed access
  4. ^ Balestra, Martina; Zalmanson, Lior; Cheshire, Coye; Arazy, Ofer; Nov, Oded (2017). "It was Fun, but Did it Last?". Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction. 1: 1–13. doi:10.1145/3134656. closed access Author's copy
  5. ^ Martinez-Rico, Juan R.; Martinez-Romo, Juan; Araujo, Lourdes (2019-02-01). "Can deep learning techniques improve classification performance of vandalism detection in Wikipedia?". Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence. 78: 248–259. doi:10.1016/j.engappai.2018.11.012. closed access
  6. ^ Hollenbeck, Jonathan; Miyaguchi, Anthony. "Improving New Editor Retention on Wikipedia" (PDF) (Student project report). Stanford University. (Code.)
  7. ^ Reis, Omri (2018-12-01). ""Anonymous calling": The WikiScanner scandals and anonymity on the Japanese Wikipedia". First Monday. 23 (12). doi:10.5210/fm.v23i12.9184. ISSN 1396-0466.
  8. ^ Bassani, Elias; Viviani, Marco (2018-12-06). "Feature Analysis for Assessing the Quality of Wikipedia Articles through Supervised Classification". arXiv:1812.02655 [cs.CL].
  9. ^ Mathew, Ditty; Chakraborti, Sutanu (2018). "Towards Compiling Textbooks from Wikipedia". In Tanja Mitrovic; Bing Xue; Xiaodong Li (eds.). AI 2018: Advances in Artificial Intelligence. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing. pp. 828–842. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-03991-2_75. ISBN 9783030039912. closed access
  10. ^ Lerner, Jürgen; Lomi, Alessandro (2019). "Let's Talk About Refugees: Network Effects Drive Contributor Attention to Wikipedia Articles About Migration-Related Topics" (PDF). In Luca Maria Aiello; Chantal Cherifi; Hocine Cherifi; Renaud Lambiotte; Pietro Lió; Luis M. Rocha (eds.). Complex Networks and Their Applications VII. Studies in Computational Intelligence. Springer International Publishing. pp. 211–222. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-05414-4_17. ISBN 9783030054144. closed access



Reader comments

Last month, I selected "Esperanza group" by Flcelloguy for historical analysis. One year and two months after the piece ran, Esperanza was closed for good. The following Signpost article, by Ral315, originally appeared in the 2 January 2007 edition as "Esperanza organization disbanded after deletion discussion".

Esperanza, a Wikipedia community organization formed in August 2005, was declared 'inactive' this week, after a deletion discussion on the organization. The discussion, which followed a prior discussion in November, attracted 600 edits and over 200 users.

In the nomination, made on Thursday, Dev920 noted that despite reform proposals introduced after the first discussion, "as I had predicted, the momentum of change died and many of the overhaul discussions have been effectively abandoned without ever reaching a consensus. Little reform of the kind promised at the MfD has happened, and now seems unlikely to, with many members of Esperanza now having left." She further noted the bureaucracy of the organization:

Discussion has since now intensively focused on the creation of the new charter. This brings up another impetus for my nomination for deletion: Esperanza is thoroughly unwikipedian in its desire for endless bureaucracy. At the time of the MfD, Esperanza has a seven member council who held closed meetings on IRC that made binding decisions about Esperanza. Any contentious decision was to be passed up to them. There was no consensus building, no discussion, nothing. This has been a problem from Esperanza’s founding, and it seems to be a intrinsic part of Esperanza that cannot be removed. When these points were raised in the overhaul, it was repeated over and over again by virtually every Esperanzan that they needed the leadership, that bureaucracy was needed and that Esperanza would collapse into a mess without it. ... One person even said "I just believe that we cannot all decide policies, we need leadership."[1]

Dev920 also attempted to rebut the common objection from the first MfD discussion, that Esperanza's programs made it worthy of inclusion:

Several users have pointed out that Esperanza has useful programs, like Collaboration of the Month. To quote Quadell, "The Esperanza CotM is a marginally good thing, I suppose, but it's the only collaboration type that is defined by who edits the article, not by what article is about, and I don't see that as a good precedent." The same goes for the Esperanza barnstar, only awarded to good Esperanzans. This simply sets the Esperanzan community further apart from the rest of us, for no reason. It works by who people are, not what they do, which goes utterly against Wikipedia’s principles. The Tutorial drive is creating and keeping helpful information that would be easier to find if it were placed in the Help articles for the rest of us. This highlights a perennial and worrying problem about Esperanza: that they constantly set themselves apart. They say they give Wikipedians hope – but who has any interaction with Esperanza who isn’t Esperanzan? ... Esperanzans, at least the active ones, see themselves as Esperanzans first and foremost. We have to delete Esperanza for their own good, to show them what Wikipedia is like outside the wall of their sub-culture.[1]

The discussion attracted a flurry of editors, and generated 313 kilobytes of discussion on the MFD and its talk page. Among those who believed the organization should be kept were Ikiroid:

I agree with the central reason of this MFD, which condemns the cabalistic attitude of having a members-only club on Wikipedia. It is frusterating to see so many beliefs that this program is out to perfect or destroy wikipedia. There is nothing in Esperanza which could possibly destroy wikipedia. Some people in it have particularly aggressive attitudes toward it, but Esperanza is not built on anything malicious. ... I want to say that I really like what Esperanza has done, and I still like the idea, despite the thoughts put out here. There have been a lot of good ideas, like coaching, support, and recognition programs which reinforce the community. In my mind, the only reason these programs were really that lacking was because we didn't expand them beyond the members. If anything, us members should be the ones managing these programs, and we should reach out and help those who deserve it but haven't specifically asked it. It will be quite a loss when esperanza disappears because it has done a lot of good for people.[2]

and Yuser31415:

Esperanza is a collaboration to help and motivate users. Their goal, to make Wikipedia a friendly and helpful place, is not impossible, simply hard to reach and forever growing. While it will never be gained, their one small effort works wonders for our encyclopedia, which is essentially community-based. Without wishing to discount the nominator(s) for their reasons for requesting deletion, I do think Wikipedia seriously needs a group of editors whose goal is to promote harmonious editing and community. In an ideal world, both Wiki and real, if everyone was warm and helpful to other users, there would be no use for Esperanza.[3]

The debate weighed overwhelmingly toward closing the organization, with many current and former members and leaders endorsing its end; however, much of the debate was about how the closure should take place. While some favored outright deletion of all Esperanza pages, others felt that simply marking the organization as inactive was enough. A compromise that gained steam was the "Messedrocker solution" (named after its creator, Messedrocker), to redirect the subpages to the main page, but keep the pages for their edit history. The discussion was closed on Monday, January 1, by Mailer diablo. The decision was made to close the organization, and replace the organization's main page with an explanation of the organization's history and demise, while retaining most of its pages per the Messedrocker solution. In his closure, Mailer Diablo wrote:

The result of the debate was to decentralize Esperanza. I see this as the only viable way to minimize the pain between all parties involved, and understanding that this MfD will have wider, serious implications for other similiar organisations in future. What do I mean by decentralization? The one main concern brought up in this MfD is the membership, the structure of this organisation. Its programs are good-intentioned, and they are supposed to be avaliable to any editor on Wikipedia. This is also the cause of the perceived "better than thou" and "cabalism" claimed by members, and the lack of consensus building. This means as from now, the membership, council and associated pages are to immediately go. They will be salted. This is a warning to all editors that existing projects must be open and transparent to all editors at all times, not to be overly hierarchical lest they are to meet a similiar fate as Esperanza.

All programs will be migrated to its associated projects and shall be open to every editor on Wikipedia. The existing program pages should be redirected to its new project page rather than Esperanza itself. ... They are allowed to survive in their new forms and may be MfD-ed seperately if nessecary. Messedrocker Solution will be applied to the rest of the pages; deletion not required. Esperanza is too big to be deleted without leaving many red-links and making newcomers wonder. A new essay page describing its history, philosophy and its fate is to replace the existing main Esperanza page. Its talkpage and archives should be clearly marked that its subsequent discussion is only about the essay only. I do not expect the organisation to revive, but hopefully this result will be something that is progressive and less controversial.[4]

The organization was founded in August 2005 by JCarriker, who has since expressed his opinion that Esperanza had 'failed', due to incivility within its membership as well as within Wikipedia as a whole.[5] He noted that "Wikipedia can easily survive without Esperanza, but it cannot survive without civility and the sense of community cooperation that the building of this encyclopedia is founded on." This lack of civility was part of the reason behind the organization's creation. (see archived story). Even early in Esperanza's history, there were worries about the organization's bureaucracy. Gadfium noted, "I think this is a bad idea. Wikipedia does not need a cabal." In response, a message was posted on the Esperanza page: "One of the most brought up reasons for not joining Esperanza is that there's too much bureaucracy. Please note that most of the government things are for fun- it's not really a true authority."[6] After internal struggles, and continued questions over the group's intended goals, it was nominated for deletion in November 2006; while the discussion was closed by Kim Bruning as "no consensus", members of Esperanza began examining the group's projects. Some, including the coffee lounge, and the user page award, were deleted during this time in other deletion discussions.[7] After the reforms planned for the organization were not implemented, the second MfD was instituted last week.

Esperanza did have some positive contributions; pages split from Esperanza to their own project pages included administrator coaching, stress alerts, and reach out. The calendar of birthdays and other events was merged to the Birthday Committee, and the Esperanza Collaboration of the Week was simply superseded by the existing Article Creation and Improvement Drive. All other programs have been disbanded, along with the organization itself.

References

  1. ^ a b Nomination by Dev920, December 28, 2006.
  2. ^ Comment by Ikiroid, December 28, 2006.
  3. ^ Comment by Yuser31415, December 29, 2006.
  4. ^ MfD closure by Mailer Diablo, January 1, 2007.
  5. ^ Comment by JCarriker, December 29, 2006
  6. ^ Flcelloguy. "New group aims to promote Wiki-Love", Wikipedia Signpost, September 19, 2005.
  7. ^ Coffee lounge MfD, user page award MfD. The latter was moved to userspace.



Reader comments

Signpost exclusive: The National Archives is expected to announce an astounding discovery of a cache of 19th century e-mails stored on an early-format CD which was previously thought to be unreadable. A sample of the e-mails from a pioneer Wikipedia editor, Arthur37, follows.



My Dearest Brunhilde,

I write to you now that I am finally settled in the mines of the New Pages Feed. My accommodations are humble, but sufficient here at the reviewer's village. The work is long, but we have been making good progress ever since we got through the cluster of lists about events that occurred to various branches of the Armed Forces of the United States of Central America (1821). The pay is abysmal and not worth mentioning. I miss you with all my heart, and cannot wait for the day that we are reunited.

Sincerely,

Arthur37 (talk) 23:17, 7 February 1876 (UTC)


Mine No 8 Va explosion.png
Aftermath of the Wiki Education class on the topic of off-Broadway productions by first time directors

My Dearest Brunhilde,

Things have become more difficult since I wrote you last. We were drilling deep into the bedrock of the Feed when suddenly a series of articles about individual startups in Serbia collapsed onto us. They each had exactly one source that wasn't blatantly promotional, and we had to search in both Cyrillic and Latin. Three reviewers haven't been seen since, and the Feed has grown a thousand pages in the meantime. We have been forced into double shifts to compensate. Despite all of these hardships, my love for you endures.

Sincerely,

Arthur37 (talk) 21:09, 10 March 1876 (UTC)



My Dearest Brunhilde,

I am afraid that this has been a difficult two months. Two reviewers got in a fight about something inconsequential at the village and ended up both getting slapped with temporary blocks. The work has piled on so high that it now takes me at least forty minutes just to clear my watchlist at the beginning of each day. Still, we approved a wonderful group of well-written articles about women who fought against slavery in the 1850s. The Feed is an unpredictable place. It is bright moments like this that bring a shine to the otherwise dull life that I have had to lead since your father banished me to this place.

Sincerely,

Arthur37 (talk) 6:44, 11 May 1876 (UTC)

Mine No 6 Va explosion.png
I swear that was a totally justifiable use of the draft tool



My Dearest Brunhilde,

Forgive me for being so long since your last missive, I assure that I have read every one of them and treasure them dearly. You are a far better writer than I could ever hope to be. These months have been terrible, and the Feed has been long and cold. Some idiot kept swapping the content of articles about North Africa with articles waxing nostalgic about the Roman Empire and the Garibaldi era before accusing everyone of being anti-Italian and Maltese on the talk page. Then I had to spend weeks cleaning up in the AfD because an editor kept sending sockpuppets to blank discussion pages for articles they started but then it turned out that actually it was their little brother all along. The editor says that their brother is an orphan and is trying very hard to learn English, but despite these assurances I have yet to see any improvement in their writing abilities. Rations have been cut and several reviewers appear to have caught scurvy. The backlog is piling up so high that some of the editors have confessed that they don't always search for coverage in languages other than English before applying PROD. Your love is my only light in these darkest caverns.

Sincerely,

Arthur37 (talk) 11:23, September 1876 (UTC)



My Dearest Brunhilde,

Earwig's Copyvio Detector has gone down. May God have mercy on our souls.

Sincerely, Arthur37 (talk) 22:40, November 1876 (UTC)



Reader comments

Content disputes on Wikipedia can sometimes seem to drag on forever. The debate about including material on the criminal use of guns in articles on the guns themselves has lasted a decade. Much of the debate has centered on an essay in WikiProject Firearms and the weight that it should be given.

On this page two editors debate whether criminal use has been improperly excluded from firearms articles. Dlthewave gives the pro side, Springee gives the con side.

Smallbones

Pro: Criminal use was inappropriately excluded from firearms articles

"But on Wikipedia, as in the real world, the users with the deepest technical knowledge of firearms are also the most fervent gun owners and the most hostile to gun control. For critics, that’s led to a persistent pro-gun bias on the web’s leading source of neutral information at a time when the gun control debate is more heated than ever."

The Verge, 6 March 2018

By Dlthewave (adapted from User:Dlthewave/Firearms essay)

Weapons used in mass shootings often make headlines, and readers flock to Wikipedia to learn more about them. Despite this interest, many of our articles about guns excluded negative information such as "criminal use" due to an extremely restrictive WikiProject Firearms advice page that was enforced as policy for many years. Editors resisted change by corralling all discussion to the project page, citing "long-standing consensus" as if it were infallible and, when concerns were raised at community venues, dismissing the project advice as a harmless, unenforceable essay. The effort stretches back to 2007 and was finally curtailed in 2018 when an RfC established community consensus to decide mass shooting coverage on a case-by-case basis.

While editing US current events articles in early 2018, I became curious about "The AR-15", a weapon that had received extensive media coverage for its prevalence in shootings in the United States. I was surprised to find that our AR-15 article, which at the time was titled with the "modern sporting rifle" euphemism, did not make any mention of mass shootings. As I dug deeper, I found talk page archives filled with comments from editors similarly surprised by the lack of "criminal use" coverage across numerous firearms articles. These concerns were almost always rebutted by a small group of WikiProject Firearms members who made accusations of POV-pushing and cited the "WP:GUNS guideline". Editors who challenged the validity of this were directed to the WikiProject Firearms talk page, where any proposal to change the criminal use advice was quickly shot down by project members.

A typical example occurred when an editor tried to add mentions of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to Bushmaster Firearms International: "Sorry, that dog won't hunt. WP:GUNS#Criminal use is quite clear on this issue; this incident, unfortunate as it was, does not meet the criteria for inclusion."

A 2011 challenge to the criminal use advice received a fair number of responses pointing out that WP:GUNS is non-binding, and one editor helpfully added an "Essay" template to the advice page. Paradoxically, the advisory status of the page gave it a certain level of immunity: uninvolved editors felt that the advice was not problematic because it was clearly labelled as "just a recommendation." This consensus was ignored by project members who continued their strict enforcement.

In February 2018, I opened an RfC which proved to be a turning point: "Should articles about firearms include information about mass shootings?" The discussion was well-attended and reached clear consensus to decide inclusion of criminal use on a case-by-case basis.

Despite strong resistance at WikiProject Firearms, I added this is determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with WP:WEIGHT to the essay, and removed Therefore, the addition of said information should be limited to a simple link in the "See also" section.

Although the changes seem fairly minor, they made the project advice far less prescriptive. Combined with the outcome of the RfC, this means that any editor who tries to enforce a blanket ban on Criminal Use inclusion is acting against community consensus and is subject to Discretionary Sanctions under the Gun Control ARBCOM case. Recent article-level discussions have focused on the relationship between the weapon and the crime: There is often consensus for inclusion when the weapon's specific characteristics have received extensive media coverage, such as AR-15 style rifle, while passing mentions usually do not merit inclusion. However, criminal use is often held to a higher standard than other sections of the article: At the Smith & Wesson M&P15 talk page, there have been numerous discussions about criminal use and current consensus is to exclude this content, while there seems to be little concern that the official users section (a list of police departments and agencies that use the weapon) is similarly sourced and arguably trivial.

Although the situation has improved significantly over the past year, our normal processes failed to swiftly address the disruption at WikiProject Firearms and allowed it to continue for years even after it was brought to the attention of the community through noticeboards and RfCs. This phenomenon can happen anywhere on Wikipedia, particularly when a small group of editors stakes claim to a relatively obscure topic that attracts little outside attention. There are a few ways to ensure that these articles are written to reflect broader community consensus:

  • Talk page conduct matters. Consensus determines article content and talk pages are where consensus is built. Problematic article-space edits often trigger admin action by crossing a hard line such as WP:3RR, but false consensus achieved through filibustering and misapplication of policy tends to receive far less scrutiny even though it has the same effect. Walls of text and personal attacks are not part of our consensus-building process; they are behavioral issues which should be addressed promptly.
  • Project space content matters. Concerns about Wikiproject Firearms guidance were often dismissed because it was "just an essay" with no formal standing. The fact is that advice which goes against our policies and guidelines does not serve a valid purpose and should not be tolerated. A project's interpretation of a guideline should reflect community consensus, not prescribe it, and project pages should never be used to host the opinions of project participants.
  • Consensus should not be based on a majority vote. When closing a discussion, editors almost always announce that it is not a vote before proceeding to count up the !votes and declare the side with the most !votes the winner. In Project space, project members can easily win the vote due to higher turnout. We need to do a better job of assessing policy-based arguments even if they come from the "losing" side. In the few cases where a closer actually evaluated the arguments made in a criminal use discussion, it turned out that many of the !votes on the majority "do not include" side were counter to policy.
  • Diversity is important. Often, the folks who are the most interested in and knowledgeable about a topic are also be the ones who push a certain POV. Firearms articles in particular are full of descriptions and statistics that are boring and bewildering to the average editor, and the few outsiders who dared to dip their toes in the water were often asked not to edit in this area due to their lack of specialized knowledge. However, experienced editors can usually recognize and call out policy and guideline violations in any area without having an in-depth knowledge of the topic. Long-term ownership behavior should have been obvious to anyone who gave these articles more than a cursory look.

Con: Criminal use content has not been improperly excluded

By Springee

Politically charged topics on Wikipedia are ripe for content disagreements where each side will use claims of WP:WEIGHT and where some will see the other side as engaging in unjust conspiracies to keep content in or out of articles. In most cases, including this one, we are simply dealing the gray area within WP:WEIGHT. In this gray area two editors, acting in good faith, can disagree and both believe they are following policy.

The pro thesis above is that over a decade, a group of editors excluded due material on mass shootings from articles about specific firearms such as the AR-15. It doesn't say why this information was excluded. The excluded information was almost always part of other articles about particular crimes and crime in general. The exclusion, it is argued, was accomplished by using a single paragraph located on the WikiProject Firearms page as a talisman to ward off all objections. Only the 2018 "turning point" Village Pump RfC broke the spell thus allowing WP:DUE content to flow, according to the pro view.

Like any good conspiracy theory there is some truth here. Some editors strive to add criminal use content to firearms articles, others see it as only tangentially related or as a coatrack for gun politics. This difference of views results in content disputes, but not the systematic, gross violations of WP:WEIGHT the pro view alleges. In virtually all cases content was decided by local consensus, not by a paragraph on the WikiProject Firearms page. Without discussing the question, the pro opinion highlights the real issue, WP:WEIGHT is simply not clear in such situations. Editors who are acting in good faith and in compliance with WP:WEIGHT may not come up with the same results.

The pro view is a stool that stands on three legs. The first is the "turning point" RfC. The need for an RfC was discussed by many editors on both sides. A pro side editor took the initiative but didn't get enough input from involved editors. The resulting RfC question was convoluted, resulting in a lost opportunity to get sound guidance on the issue. The result was an insignificant change to the project recommendation which had remained little changed for about a decade.

The pro view of the essay's content change - one phrase was added and another removed - is misleading. It starts with a version of the text that lasted less than a year. It ignores the largely stable version of the text that had been around for almost a decade. When compared to other versions of the text over a decade, the difference is almost exclusively in one sentence reminding that local consensus is the ultimate decider.

Criminal use
In order for a criminal use to be notable enough for inclusion in the article on the gun used, it must should meet some criteria. For instance, legislation being passed as a result of the gun's usage (ex. ban on mail-order of firearms after use of the Carcano in JFK's assassination would qualify). Similarly, or if its notoriety greatly increased (ex. the Intratec TEC-DC9 became infamous as a direct result of Columbine). This is determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with WP:WEIGHT. As per WP:UNDUE, editors "should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject”. "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources.” Differences between the October 2008 version of the essay and the April 2018 version as changed by User:Dlthewave. Additions shown in bold, removals striken

The net result was an understanding, which had already been in place, that local consensus was ultimately going to decide these issues. It's too bad that the question didn't help editors understand the broader question of WP:WEIGHT.

The stool's next leg is the idea that the RfC broke a logjam and now WP:DUE material will no longer be held out against policy. The pro view implies that prior to the 2018 RfC, criminal information never made it into a firearms article. Earlier article level RfCs disagree. Sometimes content was kept out by consensus such as in the 2017 Smith & Wesson M&P15 RfC. The pro view sees these outcomes as the result of editors citing the project firearms paragraph. In fact, in 2018 a small local consensus used that exact argument to ignore the 2017 RfC and a new RfC was the result. The conclusion? Same as before. Many previous examples of exclusion were just consensus working as it is meant to.

The last leg of the stool supporting the pro is the assumption that all the excluded material should have been included per WP:NPOV's subsection on WP:WEIGHT. Is that a valid assumption? WP:WEIGHT says that we should treat aspects of a topic in proportion, "to its treatment in the body of reliable, published material on the subject." Note that last part, published material on the subject. In almost all cases the subject of the cited source is the crime and that source mentions the gun. Rarely do articles about the firearm mention crimes committed with that firearm. So, if we follow WP:WEIGHT, according to this argument, we have to assume a reciprocal relation. We have to assume that weight to include mention of the crime in an article about the gun is established because articles about the crime mention the gun. Is that following WP:WEIGHT?

Some editors will intuitively say that is correct and follows WP:WEIGHT. But how do editors feel about the same relationship in a different context, automobiles? A 2016 RfC with over two dozen participants offers an idea. That RfC asked if the Ford F-650 and Chevrolet Caprice articles should include discussions of the Oklahoma City bombing and D.C. sniper attacks respectively. In both cases the automobiles played a very significant part in the conduct of the crimes and reliable sources clearly established weight to include discussions of the vehicles in the articles about the crimes. The outcome of that RfC was overwhelmingly a consensus to exclude. So, when the subject was "automobiles", not "guns", there was a clear consensus that a reliable source about the crime does not establish WP:WEIGHT to include the crime in an article about the automobile.

Some editors argue that when the topic is firearms, rather than automobiles, WP:WEIGHT should be viewed differently. That view can be debated. That's my point. If WP:WEIGHT was clear on this matter, we wouldn't have a debate and cases like the Smith & Wesson M&P15 would include (or exclude) gun crimes every time. The pro view just doesn't acknowledge the possibility that local consensus and WP:WEIGHT might not support inclusion of material on gun crimes.

The pro view has a bit of the smell of sour grapes.

  • Examples don't prove the rule. Yes, there may be examples of material improperly excluded, just as there are examples of material properly excluded.
  • Consensus changes. Local consensus can change and is unpredictable.
  • Don't ignore advice from a Wiki project. Yes, people have cited the Project Firearms style guide improperly but that doesn't prove the guide's intent is wrong or that the guide should be ignored.
  • A lost opportunity. The landmark RfC was little more than a lost opportunity to get better community consensus on how to handle WP:WEIGHT in these cases.
  • Content disputes and WP:WEIGHT. Ultimately this was and likely will continue to be a content dispute, due in part to the question of reciprocity in WP:WEIGHT, mixed with the ebbs and flows of article content, and promoted to into a grand conspiracy... but not much more.



Reader comments

A new project to find unreliable sources cited by Wikipedia

A few years back, while working on WikiProject Academic Journals' Journals Cited by Wikipedia (JCW) compilation, I realized we could harness the power of bots to identify a variety of unreliable sources which are cited by Wikipedia. I've dubbed the project The Wikipedia SourceWatch (or just The SourceWatch), as it aims to identify and combat unreliable sourcing, similarly to Quackwatch, which aims to identify and combat medical quackery and Retraction Watch, which reports retracted research in scientific journals.

For context, the JCW compilation takes the various |journal= parameters of {{cite xxx}} templates found in articles, and compiles them into various lists. For example, in the following citation

  • {{cite journal |last1=Yager |first1=K. |year=2006 |title=Wiki ware could harness the Internet for science |journal=Nature |volume=440 |issue=7082 |pages=278–278 |doi=10.1038/440278a}}

a bot would find |journal=Nature and then report it at WP:JCW/N7.[a][b] The compilation is organized in many ways (alphabetically, by citation count, and so on) and is typically updated a few days after the 1st and 20th of each month, when database dumps are generated. Those who want a bit of history and technical details can check the main JCW page or this talk I gave in Montreal for Wikimania 2017.

DOAJ logo.jpg
The Directory of Open Access Journals does not allow predatory journals to be listed on its directory. As such, several journals will lie about being included in DOAJ to appear more legitimate. Predatory journals will also lie about having impact factors or about being included in high-reputation databases like Scopus or Web of Science. The DOAJ advises "to ALWAYS check at https://doaj.org that a journal is indexed in DOAJ even if its web site carries the DOAJ logo or says that it is indexed [in DOAJ]". This is good advice, which applies equally to the other indexing services.

The idea of using the JCW compilation to fight unreliable sourcing stewed in my mind for a while, until I finally decided to take action in August 2018. I contacted JLaTondre, which runs the bot, and together we began laying down the first bricks of The SourceWatch. The bot would look for the various |journal= parameters of citation templates and cross-check them against Beall's List, a list maintained by librarian Jeffrey Beall to identify predatory journals and publishers until it was taken down in 2017. Beall's List is not perfect by any means, especially if you want a list that only identifies journals that are definitely predatory, rather than journals that range from questionable to definitely predatory, but it was a good start. Since there are other efforts beyond Beall's List to identify unreliable sources in general, I expanded The SourceWatch to draw from a variety of additional sources, including circular references to Wikipedia, deprecated or generally unreliable sources, journals lying about being included in the Directory of Open Access Journals, Quackwatch's list of non-recommended periodicals, self-published sources and vanity publications, and sources from notoriously unreliable fields (which are broadly speaking the subcategories of Category:Pseudo-scholarship and a few others). While journals from Cabell's blacklist could not be included as of writing due to the exorbitant paywall, they might get included in the future.

Two main ways of using The SourceWatch exist:

  1. Browsing WP:SOURCEWATCH directly. If 5 or fewer articles cite a specific publication, the links to these articles will be given. If more than 5 articles cite it, you will have to search Wikipedia to find where it is cited. This is useful to find articles which need to be updated with reliable sources, or where unreliable sources need to be removed.
  2. Using Special:WhatLinksHere on an article and looking for links from Wikipedia:WikiProject Academic Journals/Journals cited by Wikipedia/Questionable1 (or .../Questionable2, .../Questionable3, ...). This won't directly tell you which potentially unreliable publication is cited, but it will let you know that some potentially unreliable citation is cited. This is useful when you edit an article and want to make sure you are not citing bad sources. However, this method only works if 5 or fewer articles cite a specific publication.

For example, as of writing, the article on Heinrich Albert cites Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German newspaper published from 1861 to 1945, which is categorized in Category:Propaganda > Category:Nazi propaganda > Category:Nazi newspapers. This does not mean that citing Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung is necessarily inappropriate – the newspaper did not exclusively publish Nazi propaganda over the 84 years of its existence – but it is good to verify that we are not citing Nazi propaganda inappropriately. This can be found either by browsing WP:SOURCEWATCH, which features Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung under the 'Propaganda' category, or through Special:WhatLinksHere/Heinrich Albert, which shows a link from Wikipedia:WikiProject Academic Journals/Journals cited by Wikipedia/Questionable1.

Get me off your fucking mailing list.png
A figure from the famous "Get me off Your Fucking Mailing List" paper by David Mazières and Eddie Kohler, accepted in the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology.[1] The journal's 'review' process deemed the paper "excellent". Figure 2 in the paper shows even more rigorous data on why Mazières and Kohler should be taken off from the aforementioned mailing list.

Of course, due to the inherently subjective nature of what constitutes an unreliable source, The SourceWatch includes sources that range from questionable to definitely unreliable, but it also has a few false positives. For the questionable we have, for example, journals and publishers which may merely engage in questionable practices such as sending spam emails to researchers, but which nonetheless remain committed to scientific and academic standards. For the definitely unreliable, we have journals that literally accept anything, even SCIgen papers, if you pay them. For false positives, we have hijacked journals, which are fraudulent publications designed to have identical or similar names to established publications.[c] Other false positives can include members of categories such as Category:Paranormal magazines, which may set out to debunk hoaxes and nonsensical claims, rather than perpetuate them. Yet another cause of false positives is that the algorithm used to find those unreliable sources is not perfect. It is designed to find typos and similar names (Journal of Science vs Journal of Sciences), but will sometimes pick up journals that are obviously (to humans) unrelated (African Journal of ... vs American Journal of ...). However, false positives can be manually identified, and the compilation will be updated accordingly in future bot runs. And lastly, The SourceWatch is heavily based on third party lists and will to an extent reflect the opinion of those lists' compilers, which could be inaccurate or outdated in certain cases.

I want to emphasize here just how much work JLaTondre has done on this and JCW over the nearly 10 years of the compilation. The original JCW compilation and The SourceWatch may be my ideas, but JLaTondre is the one responsible for the heavy lifting and making them a reality since 2011.[d] I must also acknowledge the contributions of several people: Ronhjones's for their help managing the configuration pages,[e] Tokenzero's for their help with the creation of several redirects useful to The SourceWatch,[f] as well as the help of many people at Village Pump (technical) over the years with various matters, Galobtter in particular. Hundreds of citations were cleaned up using The SourceWatch during development, but it was only known to a handful of people due to its unpolished state. The compilation was at times plagued with a staggering number of false positives and poor presentation structure. Now, after several iterations, The SourceWatch is something that should be usable by the community at large. While there likely is still room for improvements and debates on what should or should not be listed, one no longer needs to be familiar with the intricate workings of the bot to make sense of The SourceWatch lists, or spend months playing Whac-A-Mole against false positives.

The SourceWatch does not definitely answer whether a source is unreliable. Even if a source were unreliable, it does not definitively answer whether it is appropriate to cite it either. However, The SourceWatch is a good starting point to find unreliable sources, at least those which make use of citation templates. Once they are found, the community can then critically evaluate whether or not they should be cited, leading to a better, more reliable, Wikipedia. Whether a source should be cited can be discussed at the reliable sources noticeboard, or alternatively at a relevant WikiProject's talk page, such as WikiProject Medicine for medically dubious sources, or WikiProject Physics for sources claiming to have proven aether theories.

Suggestions on how to improve The Wikipedia SourceWatch can be made at WT:SOURCEWATCH. Particularly welcomed would be suggestions for additional sources that The SourceWatch could draw from, like lists of journals lying about being indexed by reputable databases. Other efforts to identify and prevent unreliable sourcing can be found in the "other efforts" section of the WP:JCW navbox.

Notes and references

Notes
  1. ^ As of writing. If you are reading this at a later date, Nature may be reported at a different location.
  2. ^ Non-templated citations like
    • Maddox, J.; Randi, J.; Stewart, W. W. (1988). "'High-dilution' experiments a delusion". ''Nature''. '''334''' (6180): 287–290. {{doi|10.1038/334287a0}}.
    are completely ignored by the bot.
  3. ^ For example, the perfectly respectable journal Wulfenia's web presence has been hijacked (with the fake websites www.wulfeniajournal.at / www.wulfeniajournal.com / www.multidisciplinarywulfenia.org), while the real website is hosted by the Regional Museum of Carinthia. As of writing, the bot will report Wulfenia, out of concern it may be a citation to one of the fraudulent websites, even though in all likelihood those citations will be to the real website. This behaviour may change in the future.
  4. ^ From 2009 to 2011, ThaddeusB coded WikiStatsBOT to take care of JCW.
  5. ^ Specifically, Ronhjones coded RonBot (Task #10), which sorts and organizes WP:SOURCEWATCH/SETUP (upon which The SourceWatch is based) and WP:JCW/EXCLUDE (which removes false positives).
  6. ^ Specifically, Tokenzero coded TokenzeroBot (Tasks #5 and #6 especially), which creates redirects of the type Predatory JournalPredatory Publisher, including the ISO 4 abbreviations of such journals. It also puts appropriate disambiguation notes in articles, when relevant.
References



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Wiki Loves Pride 2019 prepares to commemorate 50 years of LGBT+ activism

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2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which inspired the first Pride parades

The Wikimedia community invites friendly people everywhere to participate in Wiki Loves Pride, the annual campaign to improve the scope and quality of our LGBT+ content. Edit articles, share photos, recruit your friends, and help your local LGBT community centre to organize a wiki editing party! Even though Pride Month is in June, the Wikimedia community starts celebrating early to publish content, prepare events, and to be ready to have discussions in 2 months when the celebration month starts.

2019 is special as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the inciting event for the first Pride march. Pride marches now happen every year in many cities around the world. This anniversary is an occasion to reflect on what LGBT+ activism has done and what is still left to do. Older retellings of the Stonewall protest understated the contributions of trans people of color in being the first to speak out against oppression and the demographic which carried the burden of some of the worst discrimination. It is still true that in many places transgender and nonbinary people experience discrimination more often and more harshly than other demographics. For this 50th anniversary, consider that every city and every demographic has its own history of LGBT+ culture and activism, and edit Wikipedia to bring forward more of these stories and narratives.

The Signpost invites diversity

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You can edit or write for The Signpost!

The Signpost published a misguided humor column in the February 2019 issue. The people involved in writing and publishing the article had good intentions and reputations for being advocates for the LGBT+ community. Because of this, the answer is not to discourage anyone from being bold in making news submissions, but rather to encourage our diverse contributor base to better respect all parts of our community. For people who want to discuss that column more, and how The Signpost can do better, there are channels for this. But another way to make your voice heard is to contribute to The Signpost. It always seeks contributors who will write journalism, interviews, and opinions on topics of interest to Wikipedia's community of editors. If you understand some segment of Wikipedia which is less known to others, then uncover the process in journalism to educate and entertain your fellow editors. Anyone who knows nothing about Wikipedia but who is willing and able to conduct and write an interview may contact editors in the usual channels, ask a few questions, and report their stories. Share the kinds of stories which you would want to read! Start by proposing your idea in the Signpost newsroom.

Anyone can edit!

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Discuss anything Wiki LGBT+ at WikiProject LGBT Studies

Participate in Wiki Loves Pride by editing Wikipedia, submitting photos of your local pride parade, or improving the scope and quality of Wikipedia's LGBT+ coverage in whatever way is most interesting to you.

Discuss articles at WikiProject LGBT Studies

Anyone with questions about editing Wikipedia's LGBT+ articles can find peer to peer assistance at WikiProject LGBT Studies, which is the primary forum for curating LGBT+ content on English Wikipedia. Anyone who has ideas for better ways to present articles can do so there. If you are new to Wikipedia and you write some content, you can join the WikiProject by participating in conversations and sharing your edits on the talk page.

Anyone can organize your own outreach!

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The theme for the March 2019 Art + Feminism campaign is "Gender + The Non Binary".

Consider organizing a wiki editing event at your local LGBT community centre or other queer-friendly space. At a typical event, a group of people meet for 1-2 hours in a place with computers and Internet access. The event host chooses a topic, such as "LGBT history in this community", and everyone in attendance shares information on that topic in Wikipedia. See WP:Meetup for some instructions. Consider replicating the outreach model of the Art + Feminism project, which set its 2019 Wikipedia editing theme as "Gender + The Non Binary". Consider using the instructions that Art+Feminism uses for their events, and if you organize an event, leave a notice of it on the Wiki Loves Pride 2019 page.

Anyone can join wiki governance and policy writing!!

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Just as Wikipedia's articles come from the community of editors, so do its administrative committees and policies. You can join!

Aside from being an encyclopedia which people read, Wikipedia is also a place where writers, researchers, experts, and readers meet to collaborate in producing that encyclopedia. Part of making the encyclopedia is establishing the culture and guidelines that enable everyone to enjoy creating articles together. Just as anyone can edit Wikipedia articles, anyone can also participate in community organization and edit Wikipedia's rules and guidelines. Consider joining a Wikimedia community organization for developing outreach plans, strategies, writing guidelines, and policies of interest to the LGBT+ community!

Our major challenge is not countering abuse, but rather providing better educational resources and guidance to people for constructive collaboration on Wikipedia. One part of making things better is showcasing projects in the theme of the gender nonbinary through Wiki Loves Pride and other community groups that have positive things to offer. But just as everyone is invited to write Wikipedia's articles, so is everyone able to write policies which teach a culture through which we show respect to each other and foster diversity and inclusion. If you do not see yourself represented, then please speak up and represent yourself.

Community conduct

Everyone agrees that Wikipedia should be a place for friendly collaboration. On occasion, the great diversity of Wikipedia matches together people of different understanding and culture. Although they mean well, the conduct and interaction policies we establish either resolve or prevent anyone from causing or feeling offense or attack. Some people have behavior which is incompatible with community collaboration and Wikipedia best serves this demographic by encouraging them off-wiki and where they can find outlets where their contributions are a better fit.

Many projects have a non-discrimination policy or a code of conduct. English Wikipedia has neither of these. Should it? Share your thoughts on these experimental proposals which could use your feedback.

Manual of style

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The Guild of Copy Editors is a community of people who apply Wikipedia's Manual of Style to articles

The Wikipedia:Manual of Style is a collection of guidelines which the Guild of Copy Editors and other editors use to support uniform clarity and respect in Wikipedia's articles.

Develop English Wikipedia's gender identity guideline at MOS:GENDERID or review related discussion at "Manual of Style/Gender identity".

Increasingly, Wikipedia relies on structured data to categorize and report its content. Off-wiki devices, including personal assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google products, use Wikipedia and Wikidata content as the foundation of the general reference information which they provide in response to user requests. Learn about the issue and share your opinion with others in developing the Wikidata policy for gender tagging with structured data.

Join Wikimedia LGBT+

You are invited to join Wikimedia LGBT+, a Wikimedia community organization, to organize and promote LGBT+ wiki programs and events! Like many wiki organizations, this one is scrappy and volunteer run with no budget or particular administration. Anyone who wishes to join may, and anyone can organize LGBT+ wiki programs. There's more! The Wikimedia Foundation is currently organizing the conversation around the movement-wide strategy. If anyone wishes to represent Wikimedia LGBT+ in the Strategy Liaisons Organized Group, then please volunteer to be the individual who represents all LGBT+ people who use or feel the influence of Wikimedia projects. Such representative opportunities in global conversations regularly occur both in Wikimedia and other international organized calls for comment, so join the group if you want to be heard.



Reader comments

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Crying Kiwi by Shaun Yeo

During Jumu'ah (Friday Prayer) on 15 March 2019, a gunman went to two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and killed 50 Muslims, injuring dozens more. It was one of the worst mass shootings of modern times, and the worst in New Zealand since the 19th century New Zealand Wars. The Wikipedia article on the mosque shootings was created an hour and a half after the gunman began shooting, and had hundreds of edits in the first two hours as information trickled in. Twenty four hours and a thousand edits later it was a 1,300 word article; currently it's 5000 words with 320 references, written by 624 editors. Debate raged on the Talk page: should footage from the attacker's rampage be included? What about links to the (inevitable) manifesto? Do we make a Wikipedia page about it? (A resounding no.) When do we call the gunman a terrorist? Should we give him a Wikipedia page, since we have pages for Hitler and Stalin? (Another no.) Bizarrely, there was a huge debate over whether Queen Elizabeth II is "New Zealand's head of state" or "Queen of New Zealand".

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The photo of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern donated by Kirk Hargreaves and Christchurch City Council, where he is employed as photographer

After a mass shooting like this, we're often shocked and angry and want to know what we can do to help. Giantflightlessbirds is currently on a one-year grant-funded contract as New Zealand Wikipedian-at-large. Based at the National Library of New Zealand, he began photographing Wellington examples of the aftermath of the attacks: flags at half-mast, floral tributes, posters and graffiti in support of the Muslim community. There were only four photos in the relevant Commons category so he put out a call for people to donate their own photos. As of this writing, there are now 136 images, almost all from volunteers who'd never uploaded to Commons before.

Schwede66's photos are yet to come; the whole experience is still very raw for him. He was a volunteer marshal in Cathedral Square looking after 2,000 peaceful School strike for climate children ("easy job", he thought) when Police informed the marshals to get the Square emptied because "there is a gunman on the loose". The marshals knew this was happening at Al Noor Mosque, just 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the Square.

The artist Shaun Yeo drew the Crying Kiwi cartoon shortly after the attack, and reproductions of it began appearing in the floral tributes laid outside mosques all over the country. It was widely shared online, seen by over 3.4 million people in the first two days after the attacks. When approached, Yeo was happy to donate the cartoon to Commons under an open license; he said he "never intended to make money out of it".

The Christchurch City Council photographer Kirk Hargreaves took an incredible photo of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meeting with the Muslim community. After some negotiation they agreed to release the photo to Commons; in the last ten days it's had over 3 million views. It's a treasure to have at Commons; The Guardian has even published an article about the photo.

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Floral tributes at Kilbirnie Mosque

One problem has been over-vigilant Commons editors, trying to speedily delete photos of children's hand-drawn tributes and clip-art posters of support, claiming they're copyright violations. An uncleared EXIF cache in one new uploader's camera led to her receiving a stream of messages accusing her of copyright violation and threatening her with blocking. It's important we realise that during tragedies like this many newbies will arrive, wanting to do what they can to add images to the historical record. Many of them will be sad, angry, or grieving. We need editors to be patient, aware of Freedom of Panorama and de minimis, and willing to work with photographers to secure clearances for any derivative works rather than simply flag them for deletion.

Images are important. They will define these attacks to people around the world, to our descendants, to the history books. Too often the only images repeated after a tragedy are ones of anger and fear and hatred, and because these generate clicks they propagate through the media. As editors we have to be aware of this bias and work harder to tell the whole story, because Wikipedia is the first draft of history.



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