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News and notes: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#News_and_notes" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/News and notes">Documenting Wikimania and our beginnings</a><br /><br /> In focus: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#In_focus" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/In focus">Ryan Merkley joins WMF as Chief of Staff</a><br /><br /> In the media: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#In_the_media" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/In the media">Many layers of fake news: Fake fiction and fake news vandalism</a><br /><br /> Discussion report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#Discussion_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/Discussion report">Meta proposals on partial bans and IP users</a><br /><br /> Traffic report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#Traffic_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/Traffic report">Once upon a time in Greenland with Boris and cornflakes</a><br /><br /> Op-Ed: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#Op-Ed" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/Op-Ed">We couldn't have told you this, but Wikipedia was censored</a><br /><br /> Opinion: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#Opinion" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/Opinion">The Curious Case of Croatian Wikipedia</a><br /><br /> Community view: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#Community_view" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/Community view">Chinese Wikipedia and the battle against extradition from Hong Kong</a><br /><br /> News from the WMF: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#News_from_the_WMF" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/News from the WMF">Meet Emna Mizouni, the newly minted 2019 Wikimedian of the Year</a><br /><br /> Recent research: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#Recent_research" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/Recent research">Special issue on gender gap and gender bias research</a><br /><br /> On the bright side: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-08-30#On_the_bright_side" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-08-30/On the bright side">What's making you happy this month?</a><br /><br />
 


Wikimania 2019

Wikimania 2019 was held in Stockholm from August 16 to 19, attracting about 900 conference goers, and holding over 200 events including presentations and panels. For those of us who missed it, we can still see many of the presentations online, including 25 recorded by the Wikimedia Foundation available on YouTube. Popular sessions include:

But the video offerings are not limited to those produced by the WMF. At Commons there are 153 other videos that were produced by volunteers known as the Knowledge Savers. These small session videos are not as slick as the WMF-recorded presentations, but you should be able to find the presentation that you really wanted to see. – S

What ever happened to the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC)?

It disappeared. Following up on a discussion at User talk:Jimbo Wales, The Signpost asked for comment from the WMF. Greg Varnum stated "The FDC's role is currently under review as FDC members, the board and staff await the Movement Strategy outcomes and recommendations, particularly as they relate to Resource Allocation. For FY19/20, the APG-FDC grant amounts and process remain the same as last year: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/2018-19_Annual_Plan/Temporary_changes_to_grants_programs. The Board will review the FDC's role once Movement Strategy outcomes and recommendations are ready." – S

Earliest surviving Wikipedia edits imported

Earliest known Wikipedia edit.png
Contribution history of office.bomis.com showing the oldest surviving Wikipedia edit, made on January 15, 2001

On July 29, Graham87 (one of the few non-stewards with import rights) manually imported 419 revisions of HomePage (the original title of the Main Page) from 2001. The edits were manually restored from an August 2001 database discovered in 2010 by Tim Starling, which can be found here (warning: clicking the link will download the file). Of particular note is this edit, the oldest surviving Wikipedia edit, reading, in full: "This is the new WikiPedia!". (This title was previously held by an edit of the (list) article UuU.) The January 15th edit was made by office.bomis.com, which, according to Wikipedia:Wikipedia's oldest articles, is likely Jimbo Wales.

After these events were pointed out to Jimbo, he responded with some clarification:

For the record, these are the earliest edits that have been found, but not the earliest edits. In the early days of Usemod wiki, I did a lot of deleting things *on the hard drive* (as this was the only way to really do that). Those will never be found of course. The first words, soon deleted, were "Hello, World!"--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:20, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

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Brief notes



Reader comments


Ryan Merkley will join the Wikimedia Foundation on September 16 as Chief of Staff to the office of the Executive Director. His extensive experience includes five years as the CEO of Creative Commons (CC), and three years at Mozilla, moving from Director of Programs and Strategy to Chief Operating Officer to Chief Strategy Officer.

A man and a woman talking
Merkley with Executive Director Katherine Maher in April 2018

Merkley listed ten accomplishments in his five years at CC, including

  • developing and implementing a 5-year strategy,
  • developing CC Search, which indexes 300 million CC-licensed images
  • redesigning an affiliate program Creative Commons Global Network
  • helping to run four CC Summit conferences
  • raising money, and
  • hiring a diverse workforce "with a majority of both leadership and staff who are women."

You can watch his presentation at Wikimania (starting at 36:00) as he explains his work at CC, how copyright works, and how CC works with the UN’s sustainable development goals.

His new role at the WMF "is designed to be both operational and strategic," Merkely told The Signpost. "I’ll serve as an advisor and partner to the ED and support leadership and the Board," as well as working on "special projects like the Movement Strategy."

He’ll work from his home in Toronto, where he lives with his young daughter, wife, and a dog. "My wife Kelsey and I started a small wine club, where we focus on natural and biodynamic wines. I’m a musician — drums, percussion, guitar — and I sometimes get out to play with friends and their bands."

The editing community is central to Merkley’s view of Wikipedia, "everything at the Wikimedia Foundation connects to community in one way or another." His message to the community is

I love the idea of work we can only do together — of collective acts. I get energized from meeting people and having them tell me about their work and their interests. Too often people treat leadership in an organization like characters in a soap opera, not as real humans who struggle and sometimes fail. I hope people will reach out, and connect so we can get to know each other and accomplish great things.



Reader comments


Fake news comes in many varieties, and the fakers use Wikipedia to spread it. This month's examples include a fake plot summary of a fictionalized film retelling the story of the very real Charles Manson, and a reporter anonymously vandalizing a Wikipedia article to start media coverage on a politician he doesn't like. The simple censorship of a town's history of racial violence almost looks benign, or at least honest, in comparison.

  • Edit warring over a made-up plot summary, complicated by spoilers: The Verge, Esquire, and other media reported on an edit war over the Wikipedia article about the film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The Quentin Tarantino production is about the real-life Charles Manson, albeit with a wildly a-historical ending. The source of the conflict? A plot summary with an ending as wildly divergent from the film as the film is wildly divergent from the actual events. It seems that rather than reveal spoilers, an editor simply made something up. Editors who had seen the screening at the Cannes Film Festival objected that the content was bogus, yet did not wish to reveal the true ending as the film had not yet been released in theaters. The resulting edit war which saw the false summary removed and restored, the section of the article removed entirely and then restored, died out once the film was released in theaters and editors who had not seen the advance screening could confirm that the erroneous summary was indeed erroneous.-3f
  • John Delaney, RIP 2019?: On July 30, 2019, at the second round of 2020 Democratic presidential debates, former U.S. Representative and presidential candidate John Delaney was excoriated by Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren after he criticized progressives, including Warren, for proposing policies that he deemed "dead on arrival." Later that night, an anonymous vandal edited Delaney's biography on the English Wikipedia declaring that Delaney died, slain by Warren. The edit was reverted within three minutes and the article protected the next minute. A reporter for The Young Turks finished tweeting a screenshot of the vandalism the minute after. The vandalism and the tweet were reported by several seemingly reliable news sources, including USA Today, Mashable, and WKYC. When asked by The Signpost about the vandalism the reporter did not deny that he vandalized the article stating "I thought it was funny. Presidential debates are largely substance-free spectacle so no, I don’t think there’s much more to report."-S
  • The right to forget?: Wikipedia entries won't let Harrison shed unsavory past. Representatives and residents of the town of Harrison, Arkansas, removed material on its history of racial violence which goes back more than a century. They believe that the material doesn't reflect the current reality of the town. Mayor Jerry Jackson was quoted saying "I believe Harrison is probably the most non-racist small town in America because we have had this image to deal with for so long." This type of censorship results in fake history rather than fake news, but the results are much the same. We prefer the standard view of historians, the right to remember, over the right to forget.-S
  • Propaganda lives on as history: Dalton Delan describes a cold war propaganda battle about Yellow rain in The Unspin Room: A story lost to history – or at least to Wikipedia in The Berkshire Eagle. At this late date it may be impossible to determine which version of events is correct. Was the yellow rain chemical warfare or bee poop? The Wikipedia article, strangely enough, clearly favors the bee poop hypothesis.-S

Some real news

With so much fake news around, it's good to see that some reporters can actually find real news.

  • European court weighs in on the Turkish ban of Wikipedia: The European Court of Human Rights has set a deadline of the end of October for Turkey to prove that its ban of Wikipedia in the country is within European human rights standards, reports Ahval and Deutsche Welle (latter article in Turkish).
  • On Chinese Wikipedia, a bitter battle rages to define the Hong Kong protests: Wired UK gives a history of this summer's conflicts both on the streets and online. See Community view in this issue of The Signpost for more details.
  • Welsh Wikipedia Gives Me Hope: by Stephen Harrison in Slate describes the value of "smaller language" versions of Wikipedia in giving a foothold for those speakers to promote cultural diversity. Welsh Wikipedia has over 100,000 articles, which may account for a recent dramatic increase in the presence of Welsh in the tech world, such as increased quality in Google Translate.
  • Wikimania to the Rescue: another piece by Stephen Harrison in Slate gives a galloping overview of the first day of Wikimania 2019. He covers topics including a WMF partnership with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the conference's theme of the UN's 17 sustainable development goals, international camaraderie, reducing the carbon footprint of both the WMF and Wikimania, freely licensed textbook images, gender inequality, and harassment. And all in less than 800 words.
  • Meet Émna Mizouni, the Wikimedian of the Year yet another piece by Stephen Harrison, but this time published in One Zero. The interview with Mizouni details her work in Tunisia. See News from the WMF for further details.
  • "Detention" or "concentration"? : Gizmodo reports on the year-long dispute over whether the locations where the US government warehouses asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants qualify for Wikipedia's list of concentration and internment camps.
  • Fogcam is closing down after 25 years: The early webcam at San Francisco State University showed – what else? – a foggy campus scene. SFGate, BBC, Gizmodo, NPR, and Engadget, all covered the closure but did not refer to Wikipedia. Rather they linked to the www.fogcam.org website, which will stay open without the webcam. Fogcam.org referenced two articles on Wikipedia to show that they were the oldest operating webcam on the internet.

Odd bits


For further coverage of Wikipedia in the news see List of articles about Wikipedia
Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next week's edition in the Newsroom or leave a tip on the suggestions page.





Reader comments


Two major Meta proposals

Two global proposals were drafted this month with wide impacts for many Wikimedia projects. One is a planned community consultation (à la the talk pages consultation—remember when that seemed really controversial?) to open up to the community the question of how partial and temporary office actions should be applied, if at all. This consultation was created in response to the controversial decision to use office actions to temporarily ban a user from English Wikipedia only (summary of the events here and a previous Signpost Discussion report).

The drafting page lists the following planned questions for the consultation:

  1. How should partial and temporary Foundation bans be used (if at all)? On all projects, or only on a subset?
    1. Large ones with an elaborate conflict resolution body as the ArbCom on the English language Wikipedia
    2. Medium-sized ones with a working process for conflict resolution but not elaborate or fully formal
    3. Small ones where neither follow up on all edits is done nor a proper conflict resolution mechanism exists within the community
  2. Can the Office Actions policy on partial and temporary bans, as written (circa June 2019), be used? If not, what changes need to be made to its text?
  3. How should partial and temporary Foundation bans ideally be implemented, if they should be?
    1. For what types of behavior should the Foundation issue partial or temporary office actions?
    2. Should partial and temporary office actions be appealable?
    3. What duration(s) should be available for partial and temporary office actions?
    4. What other considerations should be taken into account when using partial or temporary office actions?
    5. To what extent should the community be allowed to participate in the discussion about temporary Office Actions? What if the temporary Office Actions were challenged by the local community?

Discussion of the draft is currently closed, and the consultation is expected to begin soon.

The other consultation draft concerns Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) plans to hide IP addresses at some point in the future, replacing them with identifiers like "Anonymous 12345". The WMF cited concerns regarding user privacy in making this plan, noting that unregistered users actually have less privacy than registered users (for example, IPs can be geolocated). At this time, it is unclear whether users such as administrators, CheckUsers, or other users with advanced permission will still be able to see IP addresses. The page says IPs "should be exposed to as few people as possible", but that they will be provided where necessary. Many users have expressed opposition to this plan because it would make it harder for wikis to fight abuse. The WMF is still working on ways to hide IPs without creating this issue.

In brief

  • As a follow-up to the move of the years 1–99 to "AD 1", etc. (as well as some higher-numbered pages with special significance, like 911 and 404), it has been proposed that all the other years up to 999 be moved according to the same pattern.
  • The appropriateness of private hearings, particularly whether evidence must be disclosed to accused parties, is being discussed on the village pump. This request for comment came up as a result of the Fram arbitration case.
  • Strategic recommendations from WMF working groups have been released here.



Reader comments


This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by Igordebraga (July 28 to August 10), FoxyGrampa75 (July 28 to August 3), Hugsyrup (August 11 to 17), and Stormy clouds (August 18 to 24).
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (July 28 to August 3, 2019).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (July 28 to August 3, 2019)

Once Upon a Time in Wikipedia (July 28 to August 3, 2019)

After big views for a high point of 1969, the Moon landing, attention is drawn to a low one, the Tate murders (like when the mastermind behind the crimes died). Thanks to the bloody revisionist take present in the latest Quentin Tarantino movie, the murders top the list. There are other film entries (#6, #7), many of which involve superheroes (#9) — and there's also a subversive take on superpowered people in The Boys (#2, #14). Completing it, there's political (#5, #8), entries propelled by our friends in India (#4), and the oft-present Lady Death (#3).


For the week of July 28 to August 3, 2019, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood C-Class article 1,299,670
Leonardo Dicaprio Cannes 2019 2.jpg
Leonardo DiCaprio (pictured) and Brad Pitt star in the latest movie by Quentin Tarantino. The movie is an alternate history period piece, set in 1969 Los Angeles, where the Tate murders take a bloodier route. Critics liked it, and audiences are also intrigued by Once Upon a Time in Hollywood even if other movies (#6, #7) kept it from the top of the box office.
2 The Boys (2019 TV series) Start-Class article 1,141,847
Karl Urban (26512273984).jpg
Karl Urban stars in this comic book adaptation about vigilantes fighting back against mean-spirited superheroes, currently available on Amazon Prime Video.
3 Deaths in 2019 List-Class article 1,063,857
Christian Rohlfs - Tod mit dem Sarg, Holzschnitt 1917.jpg
The Grim Reaper manifests once again. It takes a nation of billions to take it down.
4 V. G. Siddhartha Start-Class article 1,019,648
Cafe Coffee Day in Salt Lake Kolkata 05.jpg
Speaking of the recently deceased, the founder of cafe chain Café Coffee Day was found dead on July 31.
5 Tulsi Gabbard B-Class article 952,510
Tulsi Gabbard (32704509047).jpg
The 2020 Democratic Party presidential debates and forums have started, showcasing potential candidates such as this Samoa-born Representative for Hawaii.
6 The Lion King (2019 film) C-Class article 852,681
Disney-Animal-Kingdom-Lion-King-Simba-8466.jpg
The most successful Disney animated classic, held dear by anyone who grew up in the 90s (myself included, I even made sure it has a Good Article here) got a remake. The only purpose must be to stuff the studio's coffers, as it's basically the same movie stretched to two hours with few good changes and many bad ones (e.g. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" during the day and whatever this was). And The Lion King surely is doing that!
7 Hobbs & Shaw Start-Class article 768,918
Jason Statham 2.jpg
"How come there are nine The Fast and the Furious movies?", asked my mom upon hearing about the ninth, a spin-off centered around the other two bald men in the cast, Jason Statham (pictured) and Dwayne Johnson. Reviews were OK and the movie topped the box office, and should be proof that the "actual ninth" must also make a killing next year.
8 Boris Johnson B-Class article 749,040
Boris Johnson at Culham SC.jpg
As described by John Oliver, “a clownish figure with silly hair and a passing relationship with the truth" has been selected by his party to be the leader of United Kingdom, something that certainly brings to mind someone from across the Pond. Though at least Johnson was a politician before, garnering a bad reputation for what he did as both mayor of London and Foreign Secretary.
9 Avengers: Endgame B-Class article 682,848
Gamora and Nebula (15650128632).jpg
A movie where Thanos (whose "daughters" are seen to the left) dies twice. Made a boatload of cash and is currently the most viewed article of the year.
10 Sharon Tate B-Class article 614,199
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23 Margot Robbie arrives at the Australian Premiere of 'I, Tonya' on January 23, 2018 in Sydney, Australia (25980780178) (cropped).jpg
Margot Robbie (pictured) portrays this actress in our #1.
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (August 4 to 10, 2019).png
Most viewed articles of August 4 to 10, 2019

Sure as the articles that float high in August, when movin' through Kashmir (August 4 to 10)

It's yet another week where India pushes the top entries, both related to politics, no less: a controversial territory reorganization (#1, #8, #10) and a politician's death (#2). The only topic as present are two of those tragic and sadly very common mass shootings that the United States endures (#4, #5, #9). Otherwise, the year's deaths (#13) have had the addition of a convict (#3) and an acclaimed writer (#6), and for some lighter\escapist topics, there's movies (#7).

For the week of August 4 to 10, 2019, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Article 370 of the Constitution of India C-Class article 3,772,745
Alignment Official Pakistan map 1962.jpg
Jammu and Kashmir had a special status in India, thanks to this 1947 law which aimed to reconcile the Muslim majority region with Indian rule. It has now been revoked, leaving the population under a curfew and lockdown enforced by the military despite widespread unrest.
2 Sushma Swaraj C-Class article 2,389,395
Sushma Swaraj - 2018 (45124842302) (cropped).jpg
We're not leaving India yet, as this politician and Supreme Court lawyer, who had served as Minister of External Affairs prior to deciding not to run for this year's elections, died at 67 following a heart attack.
3 Jeffrey Epstein C-Class article 1,891,850
J.e.epstein.png
A wealthy, connected, convicted criminal, and a pedophile no less, who hanged himself in prison. Wasn't a good time to have the same name as him.
4 List of mass shootings in the United States in 2019 List-Class article 1,384,533
Century Arms WASR-10.jpg
Says something about how bad the gun culture/control in the United States is when a whole yearly list can be done with gun massacres. And of the two that sadly opened August, more views given to the first, where a white nationalist opened fire at an El Paso, Texas Walmart, killing 22 — including eight Mexicans and a German — and injuring 24.
5 2019 El Paso shooting C-Class article 1,038,183
6 Toni Morrison B-Class article 920,193
Toni Morrison 2008-2.jpg
This American writer, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for a career that included works such as Song of Solomon and Beloved, died at the age of 88 from complications of pneumonia.
7 Hobbs & Shaw Start-Class article 902,248
Jason Statham 2.jpg
Jason Statham (pictured) and Dwayne Johnson (who barely missed the list at #26) star in the first spin-off of The Fast and the Furious franchise, which has led the box office for two straight weeks.
8 Jammu and Kashmir B-Class article 841,886
Kash.jpg
The Indian-administered part of an oft-disputed region bordering Pakistan and China, now going through territory status changes (#1, #10, #14), and being reorganised to split the territory of Ladakh (#21)
9 8chan C-Class article 826,346
8chan.png
Before going on a shooting spree in Texas (#5), the shooter posted a white nationalism manifesto on this infamous imageboard. It was the final straw to ensure 8chan become a downright deep web site, unavailable for people without onion-flavoured browsers.
10 Article 35A of the Constitution of India C-Class article 810,162
Jammu and Kashmir Flag (1954-2019).svg
If #1 stated Jammu and Kashmir had special status, this article defined who were the permanent residents there. Both have been revoked by the presidency.
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (August 11 to 17, 2019).png
Most viewed articles of August 11 to 17, 2019

Heroes and villains (August 11 to 17)

There are some interesting contrasts in this report. Villains (#1 and #12) appear alongside their victims (#7 and #11 respectively), while two of our film and TV entries, #2 and #22 also feature #12. At the same time, there's a film (#17) and a TV series (#8) about superheroes, with very different perspectives on them, while our usual mix of Indian topics sees both a celebration of independence (#25) and concerns about a loss of independence #15). Other than that, the list sees entries related to events in Hong Kong at #9 and #13 and a dose of the surreal at #10 and, arguably #19.

For the week of August 11 to 17, 2019, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Jeffrey Epstein C-Class article 3,899,509
Jeffrey Epstein mug shot.jpg
With an ongoing flow of stories, revelations and speculation about the convicted pedophile who killed himself in jail, it's not surprising he's at the top of this week's report. This week's #7 has been pulled into the spotlight along with him.
2 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood C-Class article 954,131
Quentin Tarantino Django 1.jpg
Positive reviews are rolling in for Tarantino's 10th film (and the first not associated with disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein), pushing it up to second place in this week's list.
3 SummerSlam (2019) Start-Class article 953,509
Scotiabank Arena - 2018 (cropped).jpg
A professional pay-per-view wrestling event that took place in Toronto on the 11th of August and was attended by 16,904 people, while even more have come to read about it on Wikipedia.
4 Peter Fonda C-Class article 807,332
Peter Fonda 2009.jpg
The star of Easy Rider and Ulee's Gold died on August 16th at the age of 79 of lung cancer. "He went out laughing", said his sister Jane.
5 Sacred Games (TV series) B-Class article 721,703
SG-02.jpg
This popular series based on a book by Vikram Chandra is the first original Indian series commissioned by Netflix. Its second season hit the platform on the 15th of August, and it's rocketed above American series like #8, #20 and #22 below.
6 Deaths in 2019 List-Class article 718,841
Romano-Brithish skull, used for a foundation burial. Wellcome M0014563.jpg
Death is never far from our minds and this week is no exception, even as #4 was added to the list.
7 Ghislaine Maxwell Start-Class article 696,761
Ghislaine Maxwell.jpg
She's the daughter of famous publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, but it's Ghislaine's association with #1 in this week's list that has brought her back into the public eye. It seems unlikely that this is the last we'll see of her.
8 The Boys (2019 TV series) C-Class article 675,306
6.1.19GarthEnnisByLuigiNovi17.jpg
Violent, dark, subversive and funny — this Amazon Prime adaptation of the comic book by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson has stayed popular.
9 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests B-Class article 556,665
June9protestTreefong01.jpg
Protests in Hong Kong have continued to grab headlines and, with concerns about a military invasion of the island by China, those headlines aren't ending any time soon.
10 Corn flakes C-Class article 554,828
Cornflakes in bowl.jpg
An old story about the origins of this ubiquitous breakfast cereal circulated on social media this week, leading people to look online for confirmation...


Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (August 18 to 24, 2019).png
Most viewed articles of August 18 to 24, 2019

Mindhunters, Murderers, and Mugshots (August 18 to 24)

I have a confession to make, Agent Groff. I have yet to make time to watch the second series of Mindhunter, caught up instead as I was with The Boys. I'd like to apologise, your highness, for this lapse in my binge-watching judgement, as it has caused me severe difficulties with regards to writing this report, which focuses very heavily on the David Fincher-produced series. On the plus side, preparing this week's report has given me insight into the crimes of some of the most depraved individuals in American history. However, to my detriment, preparing this week's report has given me insight into the crimes of some of the most depraved individuals in American history. Aside from the pervasive presence of Mindhunter, however, the report is rather diverse, and was a joy to compile, composed as it is with entries from silver screen both Eastern and Western, animalistic curiosities, and political intrigue/idiocy. Enjoy.

Without further ado, for the week of August 18 to 24, 2019, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Mindhunter (TV series) Start-Class article 1,210,366
Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.svg
Netflix never ceases to dominate the Top 25 Report when any of its behemoth series release new content, from Black Mirror to Stranger Things. However, even with its remarkable consistency at the apex of the report, it is difficult for me to recall a week when one series captured the Wikipedia zeitgeist to quite as dramatic an extent as Mindhunter evidently has this week. Barring the untimely demise of an Indian politician, the customary shenanigans of The Donald, and a film tangentially related to the series, Joe Penhall's incredibly engrossing series would have a complete stranglehold (delectable pun absolutely intended) on the top entries of the report.

The second series of the striking show sees the FBI's Behavioural Science Unit attempt to unravel the psyche of serial killers to put an end to a string of murders, specifically targeting children, in Atlanta. While the lead characters of the series are fictional historical inserts (get used to the concept, as they are just like Quentin's duo in #6), the criminals, and crimes, depicted are steeped in actual fact. At least 28 victims are believed to have met their demise in the three year span in Georgia, at the hands of the ultimately apprehended (spoiler alert, I guess) Wayne Williams, who was only ever convicted of the murder of two adults during the same timeframe. Williams maintains his innocence, sighting an elaborate plan to frame him and avert a race war (get used to the concept, as it is the same as #7's concocted and contrived scheme).

While the series is framed around the police pursuit of Williams, there are several vignettes set in Park City, Kansas depicting the murderous activities of sexual sadist Dennis Rader, whose malicious machinations ran concurrently with Williams, but who would chronologically evade capture and detainment for his crimes for a further two and a half decades, following his inexplicable series of communications with local media that saw the then decades old cold case pinned on him. Fans of the show can expect this to transpire in the future, I guess.

The primary takeaway from the dominance of Mindhunter over Wikipedians' interest speaks both to Netflix's power, and to the number of people using Wikipedia on a second device to research real-life events as they unfold onscreen — something that detracts from the lustre of the show, for me personally, but a phenomenon that we will doubtless observe at full strength yet again come November.

2 Atlanta murders of 1979-1981 C-Class article 1,140,526
Midtown HDR Atlanta.jpg
3 Wayne Williams C-Class article 1,134,108
Wayne-Williams-Mugshot.jpg
4 Dennis Rader B-Class article 964,775
Martin link belly chain.jpg
5 Arun Jaitley C-Class article 931,315
The official photograph of the Defence Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley (cropped).jpg
The former Minister for Finance in the Modi government died during the week, leading droves of Indian Wikipedians to his article to recall his political achievements, which built to a crowning achievement of the implementation of an indirect tax on the purchase of goods and services that lines the vaults of the Indian exchequer with billions of rupees each month. The public perception and memory of his tenure will perhaps be softened by his controversy-embroiled predecessor (#22)
6 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood C-Class article 912,368
Cielo.Drive,Benedict.Canyon.jpg
The latest film from violent visionary Quentin Tarantino, following on from his Nazi-torching flick, spaghetti western, and Bonanza-inspired western, depicts an actor who stars in a Nazi-torching flick, spaghetti western, and Bonanza-inspired western, and is somehow still one of the most inventive and creative releases of the year. An enjoyable and slow-paced romp, which derives its pervading tension by the looming spectre of our malevolent #7 and #21, portrayed by the same actor as in #1, the film is paradoxically either the least or most Tarantino film which Tarantino has ever produced. Irrespective of this, and the admittedly lengthy build-up, the explosive third act is gloriously satisfying, reveling in near gleeful bloodshed, and the film is one of the better cinematic experiences of recent times, an experience just recently made available to those on the other side of the Atlantic.
7 Charles Manson B-Class article 859,306
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8 Deaths in 2019 List-Class article 742,779
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The reaper never ceases to claim souls for the underworld, and the denizens of Wikipedia never cease to be captivated by the list of his latest wretched and reluctant recruits, a list headlined this week by our #5.
9 Greenland C-Class article 690,827
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Seriously? Are we serious here? Every week that passes in our increasing world of political insanity makes me less convinced that our existence is not some elaborate, comical simulation. It turns out, as 690,000 or so Wikipedians discovered, that you can not claim sovereign territory of another nation, much less one with a burgeoning independence movement, with stacks of freedom francs, regardless of how much you would like to. Not anymore, anyway. Can't wait until the next episode of this riveting, Room-esque disasterclass of a show, when the Commander-in-Chief will presumably attempt to hire Iron Man as part of the Space Force.
10 Edmund Kemper Good article 671,237
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This delightful individual, propelled towards the pinnacle of the report by his appearance in #1, fits securely within the rogues' gallery of the show, infamous as he is for the murder of his grandparents while still a teenager. Following his release for these crimes, the so-called "Co-ed Killer" embarked on a brutal killing spree in California in 1973, targeting young women who he would (reader discretion advised), decapitate, before engaging in various depraved acts of necrophilia with the corpses. His terrifying and torturous crimes culminated in the matricidal slaughter of his mother, who psychologists ultimately surmised was the target of his misogynistic malfeasance. Cheery stuff.

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.



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Cardinal George Pell in 2012

A high official of an unnamed religious organisation had a negative result in a court proceeding involving some young men in a land known as Downunder or Oz.

No, The Signpost is not practising how to say as little as possible in as many words as possible, but several Australian news sources had to invent even more ridiculous text and headlines to try to inform their readers of major news they were blocked from publishing. Wikipedia was cited, but not charged, for contempt of an Australian court's gag order. Thirty-six non-Wikipedian individuals and organisations were actually charged.

Since February, we have been free to say that, on 11 December 2018, a jury unanimously found George Pell guilty of raping and sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys in the 1990s. This was big news, not just in Australia but internationally; sexual abuse of women and children by Catholic clergy has been a scandal on four continents, and Pell is a cardinal, one of the highest-ranking bishops in the church. And not just any cardinal; at the time of his conviction, Pell was a member of the Council of Cardinal Advisers, and the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, a post akin to the Vatican's treasurer. He was not just the senior Catholic in Australia, but one of the highest-ranking in the world.

Pell was still facing charges in another case involving teenage boys, so to avoid the jury in that second case being influenced by the verdict in the first, Victorian County Court chief judge Peter Kidd placed a non-publication order on all of the evidence and the verdict in Pell's trial. The use of these orders is more common in the state of Victoria than the rest of Australia; some 443 were issued there in 2018, compared with 456 in the rest of the country. The suppression order applied "in all Australian states and territories" and "on any website or other electronic or broadcast format accessible within Australia". This clearly included Wikipedia.

In Australia there is no constitutional right to free speech. The High Court ruled that there is a right to political free speech (although it recently ruled that it is not a personal right, and that government workers can be fired for anonymously criticising government policies online), but other forms of speech are not covered. In particular, commercial speech is not covered. Even countries that do have sweeping freedom of speech provisions often have protections for a defendant's right to a fair trial that can override the right to free speech; courts worldwide are attached to the fair-trial principle.

The court's gag order left news media organisations understandably frustrated. Some international media organisations, including The Washington Post and The Daily Beast, went ahead and published the story online, regardless. Neither had reporters on the scene.

On Wikipedia, an IP user in Canada made an edit of 12 December changing Pell's description to add "and convicted sex offender", with a reference to the Daily Beast article. This sparked a flurry of edits, and within four hours the article was protected for "violations of the biographies of living persons policy". There was a weird discussion on the WikiProject Australia talk page in a section titled "Article about a topic covered by a suppression order" that left some people scratching their heads wondering what those in the know were talking about. Wikimedia Legal was informed. We left an audit trail for prosecutors to follow if they wished.

Editing was not restricted to the English-language Wikipedia. The French was updated on 17 December, noting that a jury had found the cardinal guilty. This edit was reverted as "non fiable" (unreliable). Not so on the German language Wikipedia, where the edit remained. That the story was up on Wikipedia, at least for a while, was noted by the court, and by Pell's defence lawyers (hoping perhaps to get the second trial thrown out on those grounds).

Some media organisations, including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, responded by reporting on the gag order, saying that there was a big story about a prominent Australian convicted of a heinous crime, and that they couldn't report on it. The Melbourne Herald Sun ran a black front page with the headline "CENSORED" in bold type. The court was not amused by this either. At the time, I simply googled "big story about a prominent Australian convicted of a heinous crime" and up it came, complete with links to The Washington Post and Wikipedia. The George Pell article's talk page erupted with the heading "Conviction of Sexual Offences Against Children and Suppression Order in Victorian County Court".

As already noted, our BLP rules were not violated, as Pell was indeed convicted of a crime. Nor was there a problem with the sources, which were reliable and had indeed correctly reported the case. But "using the services in a manner that is inconsistent with applicable law" is a violation of our terms of use. So Wikipedians posting about the case could, theoretically, have been facing a ban from the site.

Fortunately, although Wikipedia was among the organisations cited for contempt, neither Wikimedia nor individual editors were charged. Some 23 individuals and 13 media organisations were not so lucky. Organisations included the The Herald and Weekly Times, Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment. Individuals included Deborah Knight, Michael Bachelard and Ray Hadley

The second case never went ahead, and the gag order was lifted on 26 February 2019. All the while, the English Wikipedia had the story on the article page. With the official news release, the article recorded 150,249 page views in February and 231,295 in March 2019, more than double the 104,231 in December 2018. So while suppression orders are easily circumvented in the internet age, they are not completely ineffective.

Pell lost his appeal against his conviction in August 2019. His legal team is currently preparing an appeal to the High Court of Australia. If unsuccessful, he is likely to be transferred to the Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat, Victoria, where many paedophile priests are currently held.

What can we take away from this? It isn't the first time something like this has happened, and it won't be the last. Recall the case of Rémi Mathis, who was compelled to delete a Wikipedia article under threat of detention and criminal charges in 2013. We cannot assume that the law will not come after Wikipedians as individuals or WMF as an organisation. There are signs around the world of an impending crackdown on social media sites, given the recent behaviour of Facebook and Twitter.

We need to heed this as a wake-up call and put appropriate procedures and guidelines in place.



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After more than a decade as a Wikipedia editor, I still feel excited, even proud, when I see Wikipedia being covered by mainstream media. That coverage sometimes seems sparse to me but you might find the coverage of Croatian Wikipedia is not that sparse, and the feeling is definitely not pride.

On 26 March 2018, a Balkan Insight article titled "How Croatian Wikipedia Made a Concentration Camp Disappear" noted that "with its nationalist sentiments, factual mistakes, lack of academic references and omitted facts about World War II history, Croatian Wikipedia is not a reliable source".[1] Days later, Croatian writer and columnist for Jutarnji list daily, Miljenko Jergović, stated that "since quite a long time ago, one could describe Croatian Wikipedia, without being unjust or exaggerating, as an Ustasha Wikipedia",[2][3] and Jurica Pavičić echoed this sentiment, remarking that the "local [i.e. Croatian-language] Wikipedia is an organ of the Neo-Nazis".[4] Finally, in May 2018, a comprehensive article in Novosti titled "Endehapedia" ("NDH-pedia") argued that, under the leadership of right-wing administrators, Croatian Wikipedia has become "a major source of revisionist mythomania". The article accused the administrators of "using shady sources, falsified quotes, fake accounts, and blocking those who try to fix the content".[5]

This is not the first time serious accusations were leveled against Croatian Wikipedia: there was a major controversy over similar issues in 2013. Back then, the Croatian media provided a number of concrete examples of far-right and grossly unencyclopedic content, but probably the best illustration is the entry on anti-fascism. On 27 August 2013, an IP editor inserted a sentence in the article's intro which translated to English as follows:

The modern-day Croatian word "anti-fascism", in the former Yugo-communist meaning, and in the modern meaning of the Croatian new ideological neo-communist groupthink, actually represents several notions: struggle for communism and Marxism, struggle against capitalism, Titoism with Yugo-Bolshevik genocide against the opponents, development genocide of profitable knowledge, culturocide, genetic, spiritual, moral, and creative disorder, curtailment of all basic human freedoms.

Regrettably, we must warn [Croatian students] that a large part of content of Croatian-language Wikipedia is not only dubious, but clearly falsified, so we therefore urge them to use more reliable sources of information, such as Wikipedia editions in English and other major languages.

Željko Jovanović, Croatian Minister of Science, Education and Sports, September 2013[6]

It came with an inline reference to hkv.hr, a far-right website. (Actually, the entire sentence was copied verbatim from there, including typos.) An edit war ensued, in which one editor repeatedly tried to remove the above content, while the other kept inserting it back. The article was soon fully protected by "Z", an admin. However, "Z" left the problematic content in. The editor who proceeded to complain about this in the article's talk received a snide, single-sentence response from "Q", another admin: "Workers of the world, unite!". "Z" continued editing the fully protected article, even correcting a typo in the above-quoted contentious sentence. That sentence stood for weeks, and was rather unceremoniously removed shortly after Jutarnji list published the article that showcased this example, along with a number of others, and thus initiated a nationwide media controversy.[7]

It did get removed in the end, so Wikipedia's values ultimately prevailed? Apparently not. According to Novosti, "Q" happens to be a contributor to hkv.hr, the source for the quote.[5][Note 1] When he was later asked what he thought about the insertion of the "genetic disorder" sentence in the article on anti-fascism, his reply was:

[...] there is no reason to hide the true state of affairs.

The dissenting editor ended up getting indefinitely blocked, and his removal of the above-quoted paragraph was explicitly listed by "K", the blocking admin, as one of the reasons.

Fast forward to 2018 and entries on Josip Broz Tito and Ante Pavelić, which are examples analyzed in the Novosti article.[5] While Broz is described in his article's intro as "communist leader and dictator [...] 13th in the list of greatest criminals of the 20th century", Pavelić is described merely as "leader and founder of the Ustasha movement and poglavnik of the Independent State of Croatia". In the intro on Pavelić, a number of unsuccessful attempts (some of them reverted by "Z") were made to describe him as "fascist" or "war criminal". Meanwhile, in Tito's entry, an editor tried to change "dictator" to "autocrat", with an inline reference provided. For this, he was given a 30-day block by "Q", with the following explanation:

Something can be factually true, but where there is a number of facts, choosing the less important ones and omitting the more important ones tends to lead to wrong conclusions. According to sources, Tito was both an autocrat and a dictator, and stating only the milder qualification is an unacceptable act, an act of vandalism.

In the block log, the reason given was "vandalism". A similar thing happened when an inline-referenced mention of the World War II Glina massacres was added to the "History" section of the entry on Glina. "Q" removed it, then immediately protected the article. The reason he gave was "frequent vandalism" – once again, a blatantly false statement.

Ante Pavelić was, obviously, not a fascist (at least according to Croatian Wikipedia).

"Z"'s on-wiki quotes include:

Ante Pavelić was not a fascist

There is no tangible evidence of mass executions [taking place in the Jasenovac concentration camp]

and

[Slovenian writer] Roman Leljak announces the publication of documents [...] about the real number of victims in Jasenovac [concentration camp]. According to him, that number is 1,654, natural deaths included. So much for the accusations by the so-called anti-fascists, the Serbian side, and some random historians who want to smear Croatia and hold it hostage with their lies.

When the claim of 1,654 victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp ended up in the article itself, an editor expressed his disagreement with it in "Z"'s talk page. For this, "Z" gave him a 30-day block. His conclusion:

We have an exact list of people in the camp (which is 18,600), and how many of them died (which is 1,654). All other so-called sources are fabrications and lies.

The trouble here is, of course, that Leljak is a self-styled "researcher" with no academic background or recognition, who is widely associated with Holocaust revisionism.[8][9] Reputable modern-day sources put the number of Jasenovac victims at 80 to 100 thousand.[10][11]

One more rather extreme example of right-wing POV is provided by "K", who added the following content into the Croatian Wikipedia entry on Milan Tepić:

[The Presidency of SFRY] did not consider the fact that he caused the deaths of Yugoslav People's Army conscripts, whom he did not ask if they wanted to die, nor did he look into the eyes of parents, friends and family of these conscripts, whose deaths were caused by his terrorist, lunatic act.

All attempts to remove this text have been reverted – some of them by "K" himself – so the above sentence is still present in the article, more than a year later. Again, voicing disagreement with things like these may not be advisable. In one instance, an editor tried to file a formal complaint against two admins, "Z" and "K", but "K" immediately responded to the complaint by deleting it and giving the editor an indefinite block.

The situation right now is an end result of a decade-long process in which a small group of administrators drove out or silenced all dissenters, either by blocks or attrition. Many editors, including some of the dissenting admins, have left Croatian Wikipedia. Those who haven't abandoned Wikipedia altogether are resigned to edit elsewhere, chiefly at Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia. Since there is no opposition left, change has become impossible without outside intervention. It isn't coming from the WMF, though. They know about the issue, but reportedly have no comment.[12] Back in 2013, Jimbo Wales seemed to be interested,[13] but nothing of substance has changed since.

It is necessary to face the reality: just as there is nothing inevitable about democracy,[14] there is nothing inevitable about Wikipedia's values. Is the Croatian Wikipedia "the sum of all human knowledge," or just a digital dictatorship?

Notes

  1. ^ After the publication of this article, "Q" has publicly denied any involvement with hkv.hr content.

References

  1. ^ Milekic, Sven (26 March 2018). "How Croatian Wikipedia Made a Concentration Camp Disappear". Balkan Insight.
  2. ^ Jergović, Miljenko (27 March 2018). "Nazi Wikipedia i Hitlerov napad na Poljsku: kako je moguće da se u hrv. Wikipediji nađe teza da je Hitler Poljsku napao zbog genocida nad Nijemcima" [Nazi Wikipedia and Hitler's attack on Poland: how it is possible for Croatian Wikipedia to claim that Hitler attacked Poland because of genocide against Germans]. Jutarnji list (in Croatian).
  3. ^ Milekic, Sven (29 March 2018). "Croatian Wikipedia Removes 'Polish Genocide of Germans' Claim". Balkan Insight.
  4. ^ Pavičić, Jurica (31 March 2018). "Hrvatska 2018. kao Srbija 1965. Kako je moguće da ta žena plati tu sumu vračari? Još kad sam vidio koga je trebala začarati ta tarot majstorica..." Jutarnji list (in Croatian).
  5. ^ a b c Krnić, Lovro (28 May 2018). "Endehapedia". Novosti (in Croatian).
  6. ^ Tomičić, Tihana (13 September 2013). "Jovanović: Djeco, ne baratajte hrvatskom Wikipedijom jer su sadržaji falsificirani" [Jovanović: kids, do not use Croatian Wikipedia because its content is falsified]. Novi list (in Croatian).
  7. ^ Penić, Goran (10 September 2013). "'NDH nije bila totalitarna, a žrtve u Jasenovcu pobili su partizani': Desničari preuzeli uređivanje hrvatske Wikipedije" ['The Independent State of Croatia was not totalitarian, and Jasenovac victims were killed by the Partisans': Editing of Croatian Wikipedia taken over by right-wingers]. Jutarnji list (in Croatian).
  8. ^ Milekic, Sven (27 September 2018). "Croatian-language Wikipedia: when the extreme right rewrites history". balcanicaucaso.org. Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso.
  9. ^ Zebić, Enis (21 September 2018). "Hrvatska turneja za negiranje Jasenovca" [Croatian Jasenovac-denial tour]. slobodnaevropa.org (in Croatian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. According to [Roman Leljak's] media annoucements, he denies that Jasenovac was also a death camp, and reduces the number of victims to several thousand. A book by this denialist and revisionist, which is how reputable scientists call him, will receive promotion in, among other locations, places owned by the Catholic Church [...]
  10. ^ "Jasenovac". The Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  11. ^ "FAQ's". jusp-jasenovac.hr. Jasenovac Memorial Site.
  12. ^ Milekic, Sven (23 April 2018). "Wikipedia Ignores Concerns about Croatia Concentration Camp". Balkan Insight.
  13. ^ Wales, Jimbo (30 September 2013). "User talk: Jimbo Wales". English Wikipedia. The things [about the situation in Croatian Wikipedia] that I'm most interested in are allegations of extreme bias and rewriting of history, and of people being blocked for holding opinions different from administrators.
  14. ^ Harari, Yuval Noah (October 2018). "Why Technology Favors Tyranny". The Atlantic.



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Hong Kong has been in crisis over the past few months. The spark was a bill proposed by the Hong Kong government that would have allowed Beijing to extradite accused people from Hong Kong to mainland China, weakening the protections of Hong Kong's originally British system of justice. The huge protests that followed the introduction of the bill have raised the hopes and fears of Hongkongers, who have lived under the "one country, two systems" principle since the 1997 handover of power from the UK to China — a principle that China guaranteed it would retain until 2047.

A Wired UK article on August 2 documented how the Chinese-language Wikipedia interacted with the protests against the controversial bill and showed some of the infighting among editors at the Chinese Wikipedia. Wikipedia has been blocked throughout mainland China since April. This Signpost article updates the Wired report, and is written by members of the Hong Kong editing communities, with some sources provided by others in the Chinese community. However, due to the tense situation among Chinese Wikipedia editors, we cannot claim to represent the entire community.

The protests

March 31 protest

The protests in Hong Kong streets against the extradition bill started in late March. Originally, there were not many participants in the protests and street demonstrations. At that time, the numbers showed no signs of a mass movement with the potential to undermine Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong (designated as a "special administrative region").

A major escalation began with the June 9 million march. The suicide of Hong Konger Leung Ling-kit on June 15, protesting against the government, sparked a two million march one week later, prompting the government to announce it would stop further advancement of the bill.

June 12 protest

The protestors demanded the government completely withdraw the bill and to refer to the events of June 12 as a "protest" instead of a "riot". Weekly protests then followed, their locations moving from the typical route, from Victoria Park to the Central Government Complex, to multiple local and regional routes, such as those in Tuen Mun, Sha Tin, Tai Po, and Tsim Sha Tsui.

On July 21, members of triads, believed to be pro-Beijing, were observed in Yuen Long attacking protesters on the underground who were on their way home from the protest, and even passers-by who had not participated in the demonstrations. When Junius Ho, a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, was seen supporting the aggressive actions of the triad groups on site, it prompted another wave of mass protests, and led to the August 5 city-wide strike and the emergence of non-cooperation movements on public transport. According to police numbers, more than 1,000 cans of tear gas were used on that day alone. There was evidence that the police used expired canisters of tear gas, which are believed to be more dangerous.

The protests continue and are likely to carry on into September.

The effect on Wikipedia

Opinion from the pro-democracy camp about the police underestimating the number of demonstrators in their protests, with support from local commentators and evidence from other estimates, led to a Chinese Wikipedia page 毅進制 ("yijinecimal"), named for a slogan chanted by protestors that describes how police figures differ from the organizers’ figures for the number of participants. It originated as a joke user page but has since developed into a well-structured mainspace article.

Movement affiliates have expressed their concerns as well. Wikimedia Community User Group Hong Kong passed a resolution on May 16 and also multiple later statement updates requesting the government to temporarily withdraw the bill so as to properly consult concerned parties. Wikimedia Taiwan even requested conference organizers not to arrange Taiwan participants' travel through Hong Kong in their statement released on June 18.

Unlike articles on the umbrella movement and the related 2014 Hong Kong protests, the articles on the protests against the extradition bill have forked and developed into multiple independent pages in different language versions, particularly due to the nature of the protests, where it had evolved from waves of protests to different forms of demonstrations, such as strikes, surrounding points of interest, and blocking major road junctions. These articles also sparked fierce discussions within the Chinese Wikipedia, some discussing whether or not to keep the separate articles.

China and the Chinese Wikipedia

By April, the Chinese government, controlled by the Communist Party of China (CCP), had blocked all versions of Wikipedia and sister projects. Normal citizens in China, consequently, have had no access to Wikipedia as a source of information. Those who are politically motivated use VPNs (virtual private networks) to access the uncensored, or free, internet. At the same time, Beijing's Great Firewall inevitably redirects traffic to online encyclopedia sites such as the well-known Baidu Baike that has a strong pro-Beijing pro-CCP bias.

Apart from stopping the Chinese silent majority from obtaining uncensored information, the operation of the Great Firewall has the unintended result of attracting political fanatics, both pro- and anti-CCP, to edit pages such as Falun Gong, the Hong Kong Independence Movement, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests on the Chinese Wikipedia. Inevitably, this has included edits related to the current Hong Kong protests. This has led to long, fruitless discussions, personal attacks, and sockpuppetry. Socks are especially hard to detect due to the high proportion of editors who use VPNs to edit Wikipedia, and their knowledge of bypassing the CheckUser system.

Some editors bypass rules by manipulating CheckUser system loopholes or by other actions that would normally lead to an outright ban on the English Wikipedia and other major language versions. As these actions are not dealt with as they are on other Wikipedias, there has been a snowballing effect: pro-China editors have felt justified in bypassing other rules, and civility has begun to break down.

This has resulted in name-calling, the release of personal information on underage users, and even death threats. These inappropriate actions from some editors of the Chinese editorial community, believed to be closely connected to the Wikimedians of Mainland China working group, has itself discouraged other community members from contributing to Wikipedia, or contributing in community discussions.

Through meat-puppetry and misinformation, they have successfully silenced voices from the other side of the spectrum within the community, and tried to promote one ideology over another. These actions have led to the rise of biased administrators carrying out personal attacks. As de-adminship processes are impossible due to silenced voices, an unintended exaggeration of voices from one side has harmed not only the community itself but also the core values of civility within Wikipedia.

The fact that so many people in the Chinese-speaking community are citizens of the People’s Republic of China further weakens the already fragile self-correction mechanism within the Chinese Wikipedia.

Office actions at the Chinese Wikipedia

The WMF Office account has exercised its power several times during the past few years at the Chinese Wikipedia. WMFOffice banned User:守望者愛孟 in December 2017, removed all local CheckUsers in March 2018 and banned User:Galaxyharrylion in August 2018. These actions created serious backlashes locally, particularly among users with close connections with, or members of, the Wikimedians of Mainland China working group.

All of the banned users had a close connection to the Wikimedians of Mainland China working group, which was founded by those not supporting the WMF-recognized Wikimedia User Group China (WUGC). Unfortunately, WUGC’s offline activity is completely restrained by local laws in China, which has suppressed its offline activity since 2015, and let the working group gain momentum in offline activities.

What it reveals

The protests have revealed only a small part of the deeply rotten state of the Chinese Wikipedia. Office actions carried out against individuals on the site did not have much effect, since there were many more members, and even administrators prepared to selectively manipulate guidelines for ideological ends.

This situation has led to users violating policies and not receiving warnings or punishment and admins not explaining their actions when these actions created doubts within the Chinese community. Instead of developing a healthily growing community, the Chinese Wikipedia is now collapsing under the weight of factional infighting: the rule of law is fast disappearing from the site, and is significantly compromising the whole purpose of constructing a free and open encyclopedia.



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Emna WikiIndaba.jpg

Today, Tunisian free knowledge advocate Emna Mizouni was named the 2019 Wikimedian of the Year. The award was given in recognition of her inspiring leadership within the global Wikimedia movement, especially within Arab and African communities, and for her tireless work in raising awareness of Tunisia’s extensive history and culture.

Emna is a life-long resident of Tunis, Tunisia’s capital and largest city. Historically, Tunis’ strategic position between the western and eastern Mediterranean Seas led to it being the capital of the Carthaginian Empire, a nation whose settlements dotted the coastline from Spain to Northern Africa and Corsica. It was destroyed in 164 BCE, but rose again under the Umayyad Caliphate, during which much of the old town that exists today was constructed.

Centuries later, Emna traveled around her country in the wake of the Arab Spring  and found that there was a startling lack of knowledge about this extensive history. To combat this, Emna joined with several others to found Carthagina, a non-governmental organization, in 2013. “Through it, we aim to contribute to preserving, protecting, and promoting our national heritage and history for current and future generations,” Emna says.

With goals like that, Wikimedia was a natural partner for the Carthagina team. Emna began contributing in 2013 with that year’s Wiki Loves Monuments, an international photography competition that focuses on the cultural infrastructure previous generations have bequeathed to us. She added some of her own photos and asked others to donate theirs.

Over the next few years, Emna fell farther and farther into the rabbit hole that is the Wikimedia movement—the global community of people and organizations which help further our shared vision. With her background in communications and marketing, she found herself drawn to the increasingly complex work that was required behind the scenes, out of the public eye.

“I believe in the concept of the invisible leadership,” she told me. “Every one of us in this world has the potential to help boost the work of the powerful Wikimedia community. I did no different by using my potential and skills to do offline work.”

These roles included helping organize several major conferences, including the first-ever WikiArabia conference, held by and for volunteer members of the Arabic Wikipedia in 2015; and the second edition of the same conference, held in 2017 in Cairo; and co-chairing Wikimania 2018’s program committee, which oversaw and organized all of the keynotes, sessions, and gatherings of the five-day conference. She also joined the Affiliations Committee in 2016 and became its vice-chair in 2018. The committee, comprised of a couple dozen voting members and non-voting advisers, manages the formal affiliations process for organizations in the Wikimedia movement by making recommendations to the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Today, Emna has continued her work in putting on edit-a-thons, workshops, and other in-person Wikimedia events in and around Tunisia. She remains the president of Carthagina and has expanded upon its vision to found Digital Citizenship, a non-profit organization that is addressing digital literacy and online safety for marginalized groups and the media.

“I will be discovering new areas other than culture and history where I could contribute,” she says, “including areas where we lack content and resources.”

Ed Erhart, Senior Editorial Associate, Communications
Wikimedia Foundation

The annual Wikimedian of the Year award is presented by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales at Wikimania, the conference that celebrates Wikipedia, the Wikimedia projects, and the volunteers who contribute to them. This year, he was joined on stage at the closing ceremony of Wikimania 2019 by Farhad Fatkullin, the 2018 Wikimedian of the Year.
• • •
Ed Erhart is a Senior Editorial Associate at the Wikimedia Foundation. This article was published on the Wikimedia Foundation's website on August 18, 2019, and edited for publication in the Signpost. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.




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


This month's edition focuses on recent research about Wikipedia's gender gaps and potential gender biases.

Female and nonwhite US sociologists less likely to have Wikipedia articles than scholars of similar citation impact

Reviewed by Aaron Shaw

In "Who Counts as a Notable Sociologist on Wikipedia? Gender, Race, and the 'Professor Test'",[1] Julia Adams, Hannah Brückner, and Cambria Naslund analyze articles about contemporary U.S. sociologists on English Wikipedia to investigate whether demographic gaps in coverage exist. The paper, published in the open access journal Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, reports evidence of race and gender-based coverage gaps, even among similarly accomplished faculty in terms of seniority, institutional status, publication count, and H-index. The authors analyze a sample of nearly 3,000 sociology faculty in elite ("R1") research universities in the United States in 2014. They then gather demographic, institutional affiliation, and citation data for all of these individuals and match the names of as many as they can to articles in the "living sociologists" category on English Wikipedia as of October 2016. In supplementary analysis, the authors also collect data on "articles for deletion" (AfD) decisions impacting any matches they can identify from their sample. They compare coverage and deletion rates across categories of race, gender, and other variables.

The results indicate that female and nonwhite scholars are disproportionately less likely to have articles covering them than scholars of similar seniority, prestige, or citation impact who are male and/or white. The analysis finds no evidence of differential deletion across male and female sociologists, indicating that any coverage gaps (at least along the lines of gender) derive from different rates of article creation. The authors offer two potential explanations for these findings, which they describe as "supply" and "demand" side explanations respectively. On the supply side, Adams and colleagues argue that differential coverage patterns may reflect broader patterns of underrepresentation of women and people of color in the world. According to this perspective, Wikipedia's gaps in coverage could derive, at least partly, from inequities that originate elsewhere. On the demand side, however, Adams and colleagues note that some portion of the coverage gaps also seem likely to derive from issues with gatekeeping and exclusionary behavior within the community. Specifically, they identify Wikipedia's "professor test" notability policy as one of "the factors that transmit existing inequalities into the encyclopedia and magnify them informationally":

The Wikipedia criteria for notability of academics include references to making a 'significant impact on the field' and being an 'elected member of a highly selective and prestigious scholarly society or association' or the 'highest-level elected or appointed administrative post at a major academic institution,' [...] There are gendered and racialized patterns and criteria already embedded in these judgments. Some of the highly prestigious academic societies overwhelmingly elect white men into their ranks [...] for example ...

While the paper points to some evidence in support of both supply and demand perspectives, the authors conclude that some elements of both explanations seem likely and leave it to future work to disentangle them.

This article is one of only a few studies published in an American Sociological Association affiliated journal that focuses on Wikipedia as an empirical context. It breaks new ground in the understanding of content coverage gaps on Wikipedia by focusing on a specific profession for which relatively clear indicators of notability exist. While, as the authors point out, measures like citation count and H-index and classifications of institutional status are limited in many ways, they provide clear empirical grounds upon which to compare scholars who may or may not have received coverage on Wikipedia. The evidence points clearly to persistent and disproportionate inequities, suggesting that initiatives to support more equitable coverage may be important correctives.

See also related Signpost coverage from 2014: "Wikipedia study cited as example of government waste [by a Republican politician]"


"Mapping and Bridging the Gender Gap: An Ethnographic Study of Indian Wikipedians and Their Motivations to Contribute"

Reviewed by Lucie-Aimée Kaffee

In the extended abstract,[2] the authors Anwesha Chakraborty and Netha Hussain investigate what barriers occur for women editors to contribute to Wikipedia, with a focus on Indian editors. In their ethnographic study, they interview 5 editors (4 female, 1 male editor), and identify challenges and suggest solutions to the problem of the gender gap in the Indian editors.

The authors identify a set of barriers, particularly for Indian women editors, which they describe as “socio-cultural challenges which hinder participation of women not only from contributing to Wikipedia but also accessing the internet”.

Among the motivations to contribute are to democratize the knowledge, share knowledge in the editors’ native language, increase the number of articles about India in the Wikiverse and bridging the gap between oral and written knowledge.

The suggestions to increase the number of Indian women editors include in-person meetings for new and existing editors, sensitization to be a more inclusive, the outreach to mothers and simplifying the editor interface for people with lack of access to devices.


"Investigating the Gender Pronoun Gap in Wikipedia"

Reviewed by Khandaker Tasnim Huq

This article[3] is about addressing the issue of gender bias in Wikipedia from a quantitative perspective. It proposes a simple metric, known as "Gender Pronoun Gap", which is the ratio between the number of times the pronouns "he" and "she" are used in any given article. It investigates simply whether the word "he" occurs more in any article and vice versa. There is a firm motivation for this study: Wikipedia has become an important source of data for artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms development. These data driven algorithms will badly suffer from stereotype reinforcements if the data source is at risk of biases. For investigation, the research scientists from Qualcomm Institute at the University of California, San Diego used two Wikipedia corpora: (a) 25,951 articles verified as "Good" or "Featured" by editorial scrutiny on Wikipedia, provided by "The WikiText Long Term Dependency Language Modeling Dataset" by MetaMind (Merity, Xiong, Bradbury, & Socher, 2016), (b) 463,820 English Wikipedia articles with 20 or more daily page views from "The Unknown Perils of Mining Wikipedia" by Lateral (Wilson, 2017).

The study revealed that the articles contain biases towards "he" words. The authors write:

... the bias increases (that is worsens) as we change our corpus from general popular Wikipedia articles (captured by Lateral) to the 'Good' and 'Featured' articles captured by MetaMind. This further suggests that the editor process of an article to be 'Good' or 'Featured' introduces additional bias...

That means the "Featured" category contains significantly less "Equal" or unbiased articles than "All" category. One reason suggested by the researchers is that unbiased articles tend to focus more on abstract ideas or technical topics, e.g., scientific developments or mathematical theorems, than on individuals and their background. General audiences have a harder time reading these articles. This makes it less likely for these articles to be included in the "Featured" list.

The researchers also applied a topic modeling method, called "Latent Semantic Indexing" or LSI, to study which pronoun tends to be seen in which particular topics, by visualizing the distribution and organization of the topics among the articles. The study suggests some interesting facts. In musician- and music-related articles, for example, although there are less "she"-heavy articles (containing more "she” pronouns) than "he"-heavy ones (vice-versa), the editors use very similar language and vocabulary for both. But for athlete-related articles, there are far less articles about female athletes than males, hindering the fair representation of the female in the athletic world. The researchers also found an outlier in "she"-heavy articles, due to articles related to battleships, which are often referred to as "she" instead of "it" in naval vernacular. This finding indicates that some articles, especially "she"-heavy ones, are about objects yet still contain a pronoun that is primarily used to refer to a person, which could be undesirable and misleading. The researchers acknowledge some limitations of their proposed model: for example, the analysis of the pronouns was projected only on English Wikipedia and the articles which are structured with the binary gender pronouns. They admit that one metric is not enough to capture the bias as a whole as the gender bias is far more complex to quantify in terms of only the usage of pronouns in articles. Therefore, the author suggests more studies on the quest for more quantifiable and efficient metrics which may provide a better understanding of gender bias in Wikipedia.


Safety and women editors on Wikipedia

Reviewed by Isaac Johnson

In the CHI 2019 paper "People Who Can Take It: How Women Wikipedians Negotiate and Navigate Safety" by Amanda Menking, Ingrid Erickson, and Wanda Pratt,[4] the gender gap is examined through interviews with 25 experienced women editors on Wikipedia (purposefully including several women who were more dismissive of a relationship between their gender identity and experience on-wiki). Menking et al. approach the gender gap not from the standpoint of skills or abilities but how a lack of safety within Wikipedia spaces for women creates barriers to participation. By interviewing experienced editors, they are able to not just identify issues, but also highlight coping strategies that these women have created to deal with issues of safety on Wikipedia.

A couple of excellent points made by this paper:

  • They highlight the importance of studying not just Wikipedia namespaces but all of the communication and spaces outside of Wikipedia that inform one's relationship with the rest of the community (IRC, edit-a-thons, conferences, mailing lists, etc.). This may be a less salient point for those studying new editors but is an incredibly important to remember when considering the experiences of more long-term editors.
  • Many of the women interviewed had found ways to cope with any lack of safety they felt on-wiki, but many of these strategies are not sanctioned. This highlights that though many women do stick around and edit, this continued participation does not necessarily indicate that the design and norms within Wikipedia are supportive of them.
  • The lack of safety can lead women to choose to avoid certain spaces (e.g., editing articles that are particularly contentious). This clearly could have unfortunate consequences regarding the diversity of voices that contribute but also is a reminder to researchers to not interpret behavior on-wiki as purely self-selection. It is a product of the environment too and, at least for women editors, might look much different if the spaces were perceived as being safer. From the paper:

[t]heir decision not to edit has less to do with the content of the articles themselves and their skills and knowledge in relation to those topics, but rather to do with the culture of Wikipedia and their sense of safety.

  • The paper closes with three provocations for design – noting that designers of online and offline spaces need to be intentional about 1) designing for safety, 2) creating tools that allow individuals to create safe spaces within these communities, and 3) not putting the burden of creating safety on those who are facing these barriers.

I highly encourage reading this paper in full though – I have only highlighted a few of the points contained within. Notably, it has a very well-written summary of the gender gap on Wikipedia and the vignettes are much much richer than my summarization can be.

"Hacking History: Redressing Gender Inequities on Wikipedia Through an Editathon"

Reviewed by FULBERT

The authors of this study[5] focused on a 2015 editathon that occurred at the University of Edinburgh on the topic of the Edinburgh Seven, the first group of women who studied medicine at the university. They wanted to understand how this editathon, as an informal event, still constituted professional learning. Social network analysis of the 47 members of the editathon, with limited qualitative interviews of some of the participants, presented an evolving picture of how historical narratives can be constructed. Moving from consumers of information to producers of it, the researchers explored the participants' awareness of the non-neutral construction of knowledge.

The paper's literature review explored how user-generated content contains systemic and structural biases, and the implications of this for the representation of women on Wikipedia, both as subjects and as contributors, helping to understand the dominant discourse along with "continued marginalization of traditionally excluded voices and histories" (p. 4). This re-examination of the initial editathon experiences, previously published, resulted in a broadened perspective of how a group of Wikipedia editors understood their roles as representing history, one that was not neutral and one whose voice had the power to fill historical gaps in knowledge. This led to an awareness of the gendered role of male-dominated discourse on the Internet, one which could be balanced with active participation within editing Wikipedia articles from more theoretically critical perspectives. As a result, personal learning journeys could have powerful implications for what is experientially learned through participating in editathons that include materials, technology, and social relations combined through Wikipedia engagement.


"'(Weitergeleitet von Journalistin)': The Gendered Presentation of Professions on Wikipedia"

Reviewed by FULBERT

The authors explored the existence of gender bias on German Wikipedia through looking at articles about professions, exploring gender titles and images that were used.[6] They used Google hits and labor market indicators to compare this information with how men or women are actually represented within the professions. Their findings include far more representation of male titles, images, and names on Wikipedia than would be expected from labor market statistics for the corresponding professions. As the methodology was computational, the authors did not seek to explain why this strong gender imbalance exists, yet they did propose this study as a useful starting point when raising the issue and seeking ways to address it through future writing and editing efforts.

"Striking result": No bias against contributions by female editors in quality assessment

Reviewed by Tilman Bayer

There is no gender or race bias in readers' rating of the quality of Wikipedia article text (when led to believe its author is male/female/black/white). This is the result of an experimental study[7] that had Mechanical Turk workers rate the quality of simulated "gig work" (as typical for platfoms such as Upwork), with the Wikipedia texts being one of four such examples. Student essays (submissions to the SAT) formed the basis of the other three experiments.

In more detail, the researchers "sampled 100 Wikipedia articles from the Musician Biography Wiki-Project (a project focused on editing musician biographies in Wikipedia). [...] we selected four ‘Stub’ class articles and four ‘Start’ class articles as our low and high-quality deliverables (respectively). [....] To manage the workload for our participants, we also ensured that each article was between 1,000 and 10,000 bytes of body text. We also made sure these pieces of writing did not look too similar to a Wikipedia article. We did so by scraping the body of these pages and removing all links (retaining the text) and styling."

The result was then presented to raters (without mentioning Wikipedia as the source) alongside a prominent portrait of the purported author, with gender and race being conveyed through a portrait photo ("On the advice of an ethnic studies scholar, we sought to control for potential biases apart from race and gender through a standardized image selection process"), and, for the former, also via a demographically valid first name. The Wikipedia rating task was added after "none of our first three studies found that participants showed race- or gender-based rating bias. To help understand these results, we sought advice and insight from a Gender Studies scholar. She suggested that the task of evaluating writing critique [the students' essay task] might be too abstract or unnatural", leading to the choice of Wikipedia content as a rating object instead.

The authors call their results "striking" in light of "previous work showing race and gender bias". They emphasize their "statistical confidence in the overall finding", which included an "absence check" using Bayesian methods that allowed them to place an upper bound on the size of the effect of any such bias. Like other efforts to detect biases or their absence, their methodology still suffers from various limitations - e.g. the raters came only from the United States, leaving open the question whether a gender or racial bias could still exist in other countries. Also, of course, the population of Mechanical Turk workers may differ in some characteristics from that of the Wikipedia editors who review most Wikipedia contributions in real life. (However, among the various hypotheses offered by the authors as possible explanations for their results, they argue that "the familiarity of crowd workers with crowdwork incentives and work practices distinguishes them from the general population and [possibly] makes them less likely to show race or gender-based bias when doing a rating task".) Still, the fact remains that the results of a series of statistically rigorous experiments were at odds with widespread assumptions often taken for granted in discussions about Wikipedia's biases.


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.

Compiled by Tilman Bayer


"Unexpected forms of bias" on Wikipedia favor female over male CEOs

From the abstract:[8]

"Comparison of Wikipedia profiles of Fortune 1000 CEOs reveals that selection, source, and influence bias stemming from structural constraints on Wikipedia advantage women and disadvantage men. This finding suggests that information developed by open collaboration communities may contain unexpected forms of bias."


English Wikipedia biased against conservative and female topics, at least when compared to US magazines

From the abstract and paper:[9]

"We illustrate the method by investigating how well the English language Wikipedia addresses the content interests of four sample audiences: readers of men’s and women’s periodicals [e.g. Cosmopolitan vs. Esquire ], and readers of political periodicals geared toward either liberal or conservative ideologies [e.g. Mother Jones vs. National Review ] ... We found that 73.8% of the randomly selected 400 keywords from conservative-oriented periodicals were covered, and 81.5% of the randomly selected 400 keywords from liberal-oriented periodicals were covered. This represents a 7.7% difference in topical coverage. ... We found that 67.6% of 'women's' topics and 84.1% of 'men’s' topics were covered. This represents a 16.5% difference in the topical coverage of Wikipedia as it is represented from periodicals targeted to a specific 'gendered' readership."


"Gender and deletion on Wikipedia"

From the conclusions of this blog post:[10]

  • We know the gender breakdown [of biography articles on English Wikipedia]: skewed male, but growing slowly more balanced over time, and better for living people than historical ones.
  • We know the article lengths; slightly longer for women than men for recent articles, about equal for those created a long time ago.
  • We know that there is something different about the way male and female biographies created before ~2017 experience the deletion process, but we don’t have clear data to indicate exactly what is going on, and there are multiple potential explanations.
  • We also know that deletion activity seems to be more balanced for articles in both groups created from ~2017 onwards [...]

"Deleted gender wars"

From the blog post:[11]

"After reading the excellent analysis of AfD vs gender by Andrew Gray [see above], where he writes about the articles that faced and survived the 'Article for Deletion' process, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the articles that were not kept, that is, where AfD was 'successful'. ... Of the (male+female) articles, 23% are about women, which almost exactly matches Andrew’s ratio of women in BLP (Biographies of Living People). That would indicate no significant gender bias in actually deleted articles."

"Gender gap through time and space: A journey through Wikipedia biographies via the Wikidata Human Gender Indicator"

From the abstract:[12]

"... we investigate how quantification of Wikipedia biographies can shed light on worldwide longitudinal gender inequality trends, a macro-level dimension of human development. We present the Wikidata Human Gender Indicator (WHGI), located within a set of indicators allowing comparative study of gender inequality through space and time, the Wikipedia Gender Indicators (WIGI), based on metadata available through the Wikidata database. Our research confirms that gender inequality is a phenomenon with a long history, but whose patterns can be analyzed and quantified on a larger scale than previously thought possible. Through the use of Inglehart–Welzel cultural clusters, we show that gender inequality can be analyzed with regard to world’s cultures. We also show a steadily improving trend in the coverage of women and other genders in reference works."

See also https://wigi.wmflabs.org/

Special issue of the "Nordic journal for information science and dissemination of culture"

From the introduction:[13]

"Despite-or perhaps because of-the controversies the Wikipedia gender gap offers valuable lessons for understanding the problems of archival bias, not only in Wikipedia but in crowdsourced archives more generally.This special issue of NTIK argues that archival and activist theory provides a productive theoretical framework for critiquing such bias. The issue originates from a two-day event held in Copenhagen on March 8 and 9, 2015, on the topic of gender and Wikipedia"

Article titles: "Wikipedians' Knowledge and Moral Duties", "Neutrality in the Face of Reckless Hate : Wikipedia and GamerGate", "Biases We Live By", "Wikipedia and the Myth of Universality", "From Webcams to Wikipedia: There Is An Art & Feminism Online Social Movement Happening and It Is Not Going Away", "Archival Biases and Cross-Sharing", "The Gift of Mutual Misunderstanding"

"Breastfeeding, Authority, and Genre: Women's Ethos in Wikipedia and Blogs"

From the abstract:[14]

"... the authors examine how Wikipedia’s generic regulations determine that women’s often experiential ethos is unwelcome on the site. Thus, women are often unable to construct knowledge on the 'breastfeeding' entry; their epistemological methods are ignored or banned by other contributors. This chapter also examines six breastfeeding-focused mommyblogs, proposing blogs as an alternative genre that welcomes women’s ethos. However, the authors also recognize that such blogs are not a perfect epistemological paradigm."

"Cyberfeminism on Wikipedia: Visibility and deliberation in feminist Wikiprojects"

From the English abstract (paper is in Portuguese, but about English Wikipedia):[15]

"The theoretical discussion starts from two concepts of the literature about the public sphere to analyze the case of organized groups (WikiProject Women's History and WikiProject Feminism) that seek to use the collaborative encyclopedia as (a) a platform that produces public visibility and, consequently, (b) that supports online debate about politics producing an exchange of reasoning and consolidating social representations. Based on the analysis, it is evaluated the capacity of Wikipedia to configure itself as a communicational environment that establishes new methods of construction of social representations."

"Women and Wikipedia. Diversifying Editors and Enhancing Content through Library Edit-a-Thons"

Book chapter[16]

"Similar Gaps, Different Origins? Women Readers and Editors at Greek Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[17]

"Consistent with previous studies, we found a gender gap, with women making up only 38% and 15% of readers and editors, respectively, and with men editors being much more active. Our data suggest two salient explanations: 1) women readers more often lack confidence with respect to their knowledge and technical skills as compared to men, and 2) women's behaviors may be driven by personal motivations such as enjoyment and learning, rather than by 'leaving their mark' on the community, a concern more common among men."

"Writing Women in Mathematics into Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[18]

".. I reflect upon the problems connected with writing women in mathematics into Wikipedia. I discuss some of the current projects and efforts aimed at increasing the visibility of women in mathematics on Wikipedia. I present the rules for creating a biography on Wikipedia and relate my personal experiences in creating such articles."

"How do students trust Wikipedia? An examination across genders"

From the abstract:[19]

"The results confirm that information accuracy, stability, and validity are significantly related to users’ intentions to adopt information from Wikipedia, but objectivity is not. Meanwhile, moderating role for gender on some of these effects is confirmed."

"Breaking the glass ceiling on Wikipedia"

From the paper:[20]

" ... gender is a complex issue on Wikipedia, which the realisation that articles on topics relevant to feminist and gender studies or others related to minorities rights movements may be more likely to be removed from Wikipedia (Carstensen, 2009) makes visible. To understand the background and reasons for this phenomenon, I present a fieldwork account of an incident related to a gender-related topic (Wikipedia article on ‘Glass ceiling’). The described non-fictional incident was a part of my seven-year anthropological fieldwork project on Wikipedia."

Using Wikipedia for "Analyzing Gender Stereotyping in Bollywood Movies"

From the abstract and paper:[21]

"We analyze movie plots and posters for all movies released since 1970 ... We have extracted movies pages of all the Hindi movies released from 1970- present from Wikipedia. We also employ deep image analytics to capture such bias in movie posters and previews."

Contrary to expectations, "no evidence of discrimination of female users based on their usernames"

From the abstract and paper:[22]

"As an example of [Wikipedia's gender participation] gap, posts by women on talk pages are slightly less likely to receive a reply than posts by men. [...] One of the only cues available to Wikipedia users for guessing the author of a talk page post’s gender is their username, i.e. their pseudonym on the platform. We therefore examined whether users with obviously female names receive fewer replies than users with obviously male names. [...] Contrary to our expectations, we find that users with clearly female names are slightly more likely to receive a reply than users with clearly male names. We also find that the fraction of users with a female name is much lower than the fraction of female users, suggesting that, unlike men, women using Wikipedia do not include contain [sic] obvious gender markers in their usernames. [...] This result is important for the Wikipedia community because it implies that we found no evidence of discrimination of female users based on their usernames, unlike what other studies have found in offline and online correspondences in male-dominated fields."

Some informative non-research overview publications

References

  1. ^ Adams, Julia; Brückner, Hannah; Naslund, Cambria (2019-01-01). "Who Counts as a Notable Sociologist on Wikipedia? Gender, Race, and the "Professor Test"". Socius. 5: 2378023118823946. doi:10.1177/2378023118823946. ISSN 2378-0231.
  2. ^ Anwesha Chakraborty and Netha Hussain: Mapping and Bridging the Gender Gap: An Ethnographic Study of Indian Wikipedians and Their Motivations to Contribute (extended abstract). http://wikiworkshop.org/2018/papers/wikiworkshop2018_paper_5.pdf
  3. ^ Yazdani, M. (2017). Investigating the Gender Pronoun Gap in Wikipedia. WikiStudies, 1(1), 96-116.
  4. ^ Menking, Amanda; Erickson, Ingrid; Pratt, Wanda (2019). "People Who Can Take It: How Women Wikipedians Negotiate and Navigate Safety". Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM: 472:1–472:14. doi:10.1145/3290605.3300702.
  5. ^ Hood, Nina; Littlejohn, Allison (2018-11-27). "Hacking History: Redressing Gender Inequities on Wikipedia Through an Editathon". The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. 19 (5). doi:10.19173/irrodl.v19i5.3549. ISSN 1492-3831.
  6. ^ Zagovora, Olga; Flöck, Fabian; Wagner, Claudia (2017-06-12). ""(Weitergeleitet von Journalistin)": The Gendered Presentation of Professions on Wikipedia". Proceedings of the 2017 ACM on Web Science Conference. ACM. pp. 83–92. arXiv:1706.03848v1. Bibcode:2017arXiv170603848Z. doi:10.1145/3091478.3091488. ISBN 978-1-4503-4896-6.
  7. ^ Thebault-Spieker, Jacob; Kluver, Daniel; Klein, Maximilian A.; Halfaker, Aaron; Hecht, Brent; Terveen, Loren; Konstan, Joseph A. (December 2017). "Simulation Experiments on (the Absence of) Ratings Bias in Reputation Systems" (PDF). Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 1 (CSCW): 101:1–25. doi:10.1145/3134736. ISSN 2573-0142.
  8. ^ Young, Amber; Wigdor, Ari; Kane, Gerald (2016-12-11). "It's Not What You Think: Gender Bias in Information about Fortune 1000 CEOs on Wikipedia". ICIS 2016 Proceedings.
  9. ^ Menking, Amanda; McDonald, David W.; Zachry, Mark (2017). Who Wants to Read This?: A Method for Measuring Topical Representativeness in User Generated Content Systems (PDF). CSCW '17. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 2068–2081. doi:10.1145/2998181.2998254. ISBN 9781450343350.
  10. ^ Gray, Andrew (2019-05-06). "Gender and deletion on Wikipedia". generalist.co.uk. (blog post)
  11. ^ Manske, Magnus (2019-05-08). "Deleted gender wars". The Whelming. (blog post)
  12. ^ Konieczny, Piotr; Klein, Maximilian (2018-12-01). "Gender gap through time and space: A journey through Wikipedia biographies via the Wikidata Human Gender Indicator". New Media & Society. 20 (12): 4608–4633. arXiv:1502.03086. doi:10.1177/1461444818779080. ISSN 1461-4448. closed access
  13. ^ Ford, Heather; Mai, Jens-Erik; Salor, Erinc; Søgaard, Anders; Adler, Melissa; Washko, Angela; Ping-Huang, Marianne; Ørum, Kristoffer (2016). "NTIK, Tema: Køn & Crowdsourcing". Nordisk Tidsskrift for Informationsvidenskab og Kulturformidling. 5 (1). ISSN 2245-294X.
  14. ^ Alison M. Lukowski, Erika M. Sparby: Breastfeeding, Authority, and Genre: Women's Ethos in Wikipedia and Blogs. In: Moe, Folk; Shawn, Apostel (2016-11-09). Establishing and Evaluating Digital Ethos and Online Credibility. IGI Global. ISBN 9781522510734., p. 329 ff. closed access
  15. ^ Matos, Eurico Oliveira; Acker, Isabel de Souza. "Cyberfeminism on Wikipedia: Visibility and deliberation in feminist Wikiprojects". Cuestiones de Género: De la Igualdad y la Diferencia: 20. Nº. 12, 2017 – e-ISSN: 2444-0221 - pp. 365-384
  16. ^ Therese F. Triump, Kimberly M. Henze: "Women and Wikipedia. Diversifying Editors and Enhancing Content through Library Edit-a-Thons". In: Gender Issues and the Library: Case Studies of Innovative Programs and Resources, ed. Lura Sanborn, McFarland, 2017, ISBN 9781476630342, p. 155 ff. closed access
  17. ^ Protonotarios, Ioannis; Sarimpei, Vasiliki; Otterbacher, Jahna (2016-04-16). Similar Gaps, Different Origins? Women Readers and Editors at Greek Wikipedia. Tenth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media.
  18. ^ Vitulli, Marie A. (2017-10-30). "Writing Women in Mathematics into Wikipedia". Notices of the AMS. 65 (3): 330–334. arXiv:1710.11103. Bibcode:2017arXiv171011103V. doi:10.1090/noti1650.
  19. ^ Jun Huang; Si Shi; Yang Chen; Wing S. Chow (2016-09-27). "How do students trust Wikipedia? An examination across genders". Information Technology & People. 29 (4): 750–773. doi:10.1108/ITP-12-2014-0267. ISSN 0959-3845. closed access
  20. ^ Jemielniak, Dariusz (July 2016). "breaking the glass ceiling on Wikipedia". Feminist Review. 113 (1): 103–108. doi:10.1057/fr.2016.9. ISSN 0141-7789. closed access Author's copy
  21. ^ Madaan, Nishtha; Mehta, Sameep; Agrawaal, Taneea S.; Malhotra, Vrinda; Aggarwal, Aditi; Saxena, Mayank (2017-10-11). "Analyzing Gender Stereotyping in Bollywood Movies". arXiv:1710.04117 [cs.SI].
  22. ^ Ross, Björn; Dado, Marielle; Heisel, Maritta; Cabrera, Benjamin (2018). "Gender Markers in Wikipedia Usernames" (PDF). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)




Reader comments


There are many opportunities to discuss bad news, problems, and concerns in the Wikiverse, and I think that having candid discussions about these issues is often important. Many days I spend more time thinking about problems than about what is going well. However, also I think that acknowledging the good side and taking a moment to be appreciative can be valuable.

I encourage you to add your comments about what's making you happy this month to the talk page of this Signpost piece.

Week of 4 August 2019: ¿Qué te está haciendo feliz esta semana?

Content

The English Wikiquote of the day for 8 August is from American poet Sara Teasdale. The quote is a poem, "Alchemy," from her collection Rivers to the Sea that was published in 1915. A few years later and for another poetry collection, Teasdale received a Pulitzer prize.

The Commons picture of the day for 2 August was of a butterfly, a spotted fritillary (Melitaea didyma) in Galichica National Park, Republic of Macedonia (now North Macedonia), by photographer Charles J. Sharp from Scotland.

Products and technologies

"There is a Phabricator task for that!" Sticker version 2A.svg

The oldest “unbreak now” task on Phabricator as of 1 August was 0 days. (This could mean that there were no unbreak now tasks at the time that the Phabricator report was generated, which would be good news.)

Cross-posting thanks from Legoktm on Wikitech-l:

  • “Daimona, bawolff, and sbassett for their work on v2.0 of the phan-taint-check-plugin, which has been instrumental in catching real security issues.
  • “James_F for picking up a lot of CI maintenance
  • “MatmaRex for seeing through a patch to allow skins to have custom OOUI themes, 2 years after beginning work on it!”

Wikidata

Wikidata logo en flag.gif

A summary of interesting links, adapted from Wikidata Weekly Summary #376:

Affiliate organizations

Wikimedia movement affiliates.svg

Legal topics

European Commission flags.jpg

"The European Commission chooses truly free licenses for its content", by Dimitar Dimitrov, Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU.

Week of 11 August 2019: 这个星期让您感到开心的是什么?

Advanced mobile contributions feature set

The Advanced mobile contributions feature set is live on all wikis. I haven't tried this yet but I think that this looks promising.

ESEAP Strategy Summit

Video regarding the ESEAP Strategy Summit meeting

A report and video from this summit are available. Participants in the summit included people from or members of affiliates of Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

Vlog regarding the City of Miami Fire-Rescue Department

Miami fire truck off duty at waterfront cropped.jpg

This vlog isn't related to Wikimedia directly, but it is related to public service, which many of us do here in the Wikiverse in our own ways. The Miami Police Department posted a vlog of a visit and ride-alongs with Miami's fire and emergency medical services. This vlog is interesting, educational, sometimes fun, and sometimes serious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d8zjbLGI_E

Week of 18 August 2019: Apa yang membuatmu senang di minggu ini?

Meta issues

Content highlights

  • The "Selected anniversaries" section of English Wikipedia for 16 August noted that the day was the anniversary of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt setting the world record for the 100 meter sprint in 2009.
  •  This is a photo of one of two 17 meter (56 foot) high sculptures named Skyhooks at the east end of Trafford Park, Greater Manchester, England. Trafford Park was the English Wikipedia Article of the Day for 18 August. The photo is a featured picture on Commons. I feel that the sculpture is thought provoking.
  • The English Wiktionary Word of the Day for 16 August was neroli, which Wiktionary defines as "More fully neroli oil or oil of neroli: an essential oil distilled from the blossoms of the bitter orange or Seville orange (Citrus × aurantium subsp. amara) used to make perfumes." The etymology is interesting: "Borrowed from French néroli (“neroli”), from Nerola, a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Rome, Lazio, Italy. Marie Anne de La Trémoille, princesse des Ursins (1642–1722), Princess of Nerola but originally from France, is thought to have made neroli popular as a fragrance in her country of birth around 1670. The word is cognate with Italian nerola (obsolete), neroli."
  • I appreciated this English Wikiquote of the Day for 13 August from German-American philosopher Felix Adler: "The condition of all progress is experience. We go wrong a thousand times before we find the right path. We struggle, and grope, and hurt ourselves until we learn the use of things, and this is true of things spiritual as well as of material things. Pain is unavoidable, but it acquires a new and higher meaning when we perceive that it is the price humanity must pay for an invaluable good."

Off wiki

The New York Times published an opinion piece by Agnes Callard, who is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago, titled "Why Philosophers Shouldn't Sign Petitions". In the context of reflecting on how we make decisions in the Wikiverse, I feel that the distinction between petitioning and arguing is a good topic for reflection. Hopefully in the Wikiverse we make collective decisions that are largely based on rational consensus.

Week of 25 August 2019: Що робить вас щасливими цього тижня?

Wikidata milestone

Wikidata passed the one billion edit milestone. The milestone edit, by User:Stevenliuyi, created the item “The band structure in microwave frequency for quasi-1-D coaxial photonic crystals (Q66665412)”.

Some butterfly wings contain photonic crystals


Anti-disinformation research

There was a meetup regarding disinformation at Wikimania 2019. Thanks to Leila for the notes from the session. I am glad that that there is interest among WMF and community members regarding this topic.

Humor

"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine."
— Abraham Lincoln

(For anyone who does not understand the joke: Abraham Lincoln’s life preceded the existence of the Internet by approximately a century.)

Google and Mozilla take steps to limit mass surveillance in Kazakhstan

See Mozilla’s blog post at https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2019/08/21/mozilla-takes-action-to-protect-users-in-kazakhstan/.

Content

From English Wikipedia’s “Selected anniversaries” I learned that on 18 August 1877, “American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Phobos, the larger of Mars's two moons, six days after his discovering Deimos, the smaller one.” This image of Phobos is featured on Commons and on the Arabic, English, Spanish, and Persian Wikipedias. I enjoyed reading the description of how the image was made. Also of note is that when Asaph Hall was learning mathematics, he studied under an instructor who was two years ahead of him, Angeline Stickney. “During their days together as teacher and student, Hall and his classmates would devise questions and problems that they were convinced Miss Stickney could not solve, yet she never failed to solve them.” The two of them later married. Stickney encouraged Hall to search for the Martian moons. Hall said, "The chance of finding a satellite appeared to be very slight, so that I might have abandoned the search had it not been for the encouragement of my wife." The largest crater on Phobos is named Stickney in her honor.

The Commons Picture of the Day for 23 August 2019 was “Khotyn Fortress under the light of the full moon”. According to the article about the fortress on English Wikipedia, “The Khotyn Fortress (Ukrainian: Хотинська фортеця...) is a fortification complex located on the right bank of the Dniester River in Khotyn, Chernivtsi Oblast (province) of western Ukraine... Construction on the current Khotyn fortress was started in 1325, while major improvements were made in the 1380s and in the 1460s.”



Off wiki

Related to Wikimania 2019’s focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, I sometimes think about what happens to recycled materials. This article from The New York Times Magazine reports that “The recycling of scrap metal is a $32 billion business in the United States, according to IBISWorld.” The article discusses the business of scavenging for metals and recycling them.

Regarding translations

Skillful translations of the sentence "What's making you happy this week?" would be very much appreciated. If you see any inaccuracies in the translations in this article then please {{ping}} User:Pine in the discussion section of this page, or boldly make the correction to the text of the article. Thank you to everyone who has helped with translations so far.

Your turn

What's making you happy this month? You are welcome to write a comment on the talk page of this Signpost piece.




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