Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Single/2019-12-27

From the editors: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#From_the_editors" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/From the editors">Caught with their hands in the cookie jar, again</a><br /><br /> News and notes: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#News_and_notes" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/News and notes">What's up (and down) with administrators, articles and languages</a><br /><br /> Special report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#Special_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/Special report">Are reputation management operatives scrubbing Wikipedia articles?</a><br /><br /> In the media: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#In_the_media" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/In the media">"The fulfillment of the dream of humanity" or a nightmare of PR whitewashing on behalf of one-percenters?</a><br /><br /> Discussion report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#Discussion_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/Discussion report">December discussions around the wiki</a><br /><br /> Arbitration report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#Arbitration_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/Arbitration report">Announcement of 2020 Arbitration Committee</a><br /><br /> Traffic report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#Traffic_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/Traffic report">Queens and aliens, exactly alike, once upon a December</a><br /><br /> Technology report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#Technology_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/Technology report">User scripts and more</a><br /><br /> Gallery: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#Gallery" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/Gallery">Holiday wishes</a><br /><br /> Recent research: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#Recent_research" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/Recent research">Acoustics and Wikipedia; Wiki Workshop 2019 summary</a><br /><br /> From the archives: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#From_the_archives" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/From the archives">The 2002 Spanish fork and ads revisited (re-revisited?)</a><br /><br /> On the bright side: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#On_the_bright_side" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/On the bright side">What's making you happy this month?</a><br /><br /> Op-Ed: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#Op-Ed" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/Op-Ed">Why we need to keep talking about Wikipedia's gender gap</a><br /><br /> WikiProject report: <a href="//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2019-12-27#WikiProject_report" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-12-27/WikiProject report">Wikiproject Tree of Life: A Wikiproject report</a><br /><br />
Technology report
User scripts and more
 


Our regular Editor-in-Chief, Smallbones, has been taking a well-deserved holiday around publishing time. Staffer Bri has filled in this month, and has approved the content of much of the December issue. Smallbones approved the content of this column.

In the latest addition to the long series of Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia incidents, The Wall Street Journal has written an article showing how a public relations firm has operated for years "cleaning" articles for paying clients. We have covered this WSJ article briefly at In the media, and examine their claims more closely in a Special report provided by Newslinger.

The community has faced this issue before, as documented in the article Wiki-PR editing of Wikipedia. Several community discussions about paid editing were held, including the 2014 Terms of Service change which required paid editors to declare their status for proper community oversight of their contributions.

Wiki-PR and its successor companies are community banned. The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) sent them a cease-and-desist letter in 2013,[1] yet the activity of Status Labs on English Wikipedia has continued; can we now consider those avenues to be ineffective? What is the WMF's next step?

This issue also has more reports of the use of Wiki pages as a battlefield for political viewpoints between UK newspapers. Other credible reports in the media this month are related to the biography for a US presidential candidate by one or more possibly connected people. Some of these details have been suppressed from our In the media report while under development, and we can't provide our readers as much information as we would have preferred. We wonder if the seemingly accelerating pace of these incidents will merit more changes in the future, by the community, the WMF, government regulators, or all three in concert.

In addition to the above, we have regular coverage of new content, readers' interests, on-Wiki discussions and debate, tech and research – as well as a touch of whimsy for a lighter side of the community. We hope you enjoy all of it and look forward to hearing back from you in the reader comments.




Reader comments


CHVRCHES @ Lincoln Hall, Chicago, 6-11-2013 (9073406100).jpg
English Wikipedia's active administrators could fit in Lincoln Hall (balcony not shown) with a few seats left over.

A sad milestone for English Wikipedia

For deeper background, see "Administrator cadre continues to contract" from the July issue, or other items in the Reforming RfA series.

This December, for the first time since the list was established in its current form in 2014, the tally of active administrators has been under 500 for the entire month.[2] It does not appear likely to rise above 500 again, unless there is a major change in trend.

WereSpielChequers sent us this commentary on the request for adminship process:

Turkish Wikipedia block lifted

Censored wikipedia logo for trwiki.svg
Censored no more

Just before we went to press, the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled the block of Wikipedia in Turkey invalid. We will have to cover the full implications of this in more detail in a future issue. Suffice to say that we (Wikipedians) think that it is important for people to be able to access our content, and the fact that a national court agreed is significant. To our knowledge, this is the first time any court has found there exists a constitutional right to read Wikipedia specifically.

Brief notes

General distribution of indigenous people in Taiwan.svg
Indigenous groups in Taiwan include the Sakizaya people who now have their own Wikipedia.
  • New language: Sakizaya Wikipedia (szy.wikipedia.org) launched in November.[3] The Sakizaya people are one of sixteen Taiwanese tribes recognized by the Council of Indigenous Peoples. One of the prerequisites for the new wiki was the January registration of an ISO 639-3 language code for Sakizaya by SIL International.
  • Administrators:
    The Signpost welcomes the English Wikipedia's newest administrators, Dreamy Jazz (December 2); and Rosguill and Newslinger (December 23). All had approvals above 90%. Adminship was procedurally restored to Spartaz, Deor, and Xeno (a bureaucrat). This year saw a total of 22 new sysops by RfA compared to only 10 in 2018. 22 new sysops in one year is below replacement levels, but the highest annual total since 2014.
    Angusmclellan passed away in November. He is missed.
    Edgar181 was desysoped by Committee motion. clpo13 and Athaenara both requested the voluntary removal of their admin rights while NCurse and Matthewedwards were dysysopped under inactivity rules in December.
  • Article milestone: The English Wikipedia will reach six million articles by January 15, according to our estimate. Previous milestones were noted in last month's news and notes.
  • Wikispecies milestone: In early December, Wikispecies exceeded 700,000 articles. Good work: its editors created the last 100,000 pages during about 13.5 months.

References

  1. ^ See WMF blog and Signpost
  2. ^ Probably for the first time since 2005, see User:Widefox/editors
  3. ^ meta:Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Sakizaya



Reader comments

Five and a half years have passed since the Wikimedia Foundation changed its terms of use to prohibit undisclosed paid editing on Wikipedia and most of its sister projects – a measure enacted in response to the infamous Wiki-PR's alleged use of 300+ sockpuppets to "directly edit your page" for a starting price of $500 to $1,000. Recently, The Wall Street Journal ran into Wiki-PR's successor, a Texas firm known as Status Labs.

Meet Status Labs

Wiki-PR managed to keep itself out of the public eye after being banned by the English Wikipedia community in 2013 and being involved in a bizarre piñata store demolition in 2015. That changed on 13 December 2019, when The Wall Street Journal published a report titled "How the 1% Scrubs Its Image Online". The story implicated several notable figures, including U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and billionaire financier Kenneth C. Griffin, as well as the fraudulent blood testing company Theranos.

Former employees of Status Labs, a reputation management firm closely connected to Wiki-PR, shared their insight into the companies' operations with The Wall Street Journal. After establishing Wiki-PR in 2010, two of the co-founders launched Status Labs in 2012 with a third partner. These executives of Status Labs became embroiled in controversy in the company's home city of Austin, Texas: in 2015, they demolished the family-run Jumpolin piñata store – including all of the inventory inside – to the consternation of the local Hispanic community, inflaming tensions related to gentrification. The CEO was subsequently ejected from the company, which led to a round of legal infighting. Despite the conflicts, Wiki-PR and Status Labs continued to operate without attracting the attention of Wikipedia editors; the most recent investigation of the Wiki-PR sockpuppet ring is dated 20 July 2013, but both firms have continued to offer services online for the past six years.

Individual clients and specific tactics are mentioned in The Wall Street Journal's story. Status Labs has a broader scope than Wiki-PR: in addition to whitewashing Wikipedia articles, Status Labs uses search engine poisoning to conceal negative news coverage of their clients. When financier Jacob Gottlieb wanted to hide his connections to Visium Asset Management LP, a hedge fund that was destroyed by an insider trading scandal, Status Labs created a network of fake news websites – including "Medical Daily Times" – to flood search engines with press releases of Gottlieb that were disguised as news articles. When Betsy DeVos wanted to distance herself from Blackwater (now Academi), the military contractor founded by her brother whose employees shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007, Status Labs constructed blogs like "Enable Diversity" to bury negative coverage of DeVos under a mountain of puff pieces in search engine results pages.

Status Labs charges substantially higher rates than Wiki-PR, with Gottlieb paying $4,000 to $5,000 monthly. In comparison, Wiki-PR demanded less than $1,000 per month for article "management" in 2013.

Today, we take a deep dive into the editing history of one of the articles mentioned in the Journal's latest report: Theranos.

Whitewashing Theranos

Theranos was a healthcare company that sold blood tests that it claimed would need only a fraction of the blood volume that was needed in existing lab tests. Following a 2015 Journal exposé which revealed that Theranos' in-house technology simply didn't work, the company faced heavy media scrutiny. Thrust into a crisis, Theranos scrambled to defend its image: the company threatened to sue the Journal's sources, and issued a statement labeling them as "inexperienced and disgruntled former employees and industry incumbents". As part of Theranos' public relations strategy, Status Labs was contracted to alter the Wikipedia article on Theranos; 26 edits were performed by Jppcap, an account operated by Status Labs.

April 2016

Jppcap's first edit to the Theranos article appeared six months after the Journal story and one month after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it would revoke Theranos' lab certification. The edit notes that the company established a medical advisory board.

Time (UTC)20:40, 15 April 2016
Edit summaryupd w/ fortune

While two physicians have subsequently been named to the board, and published reference has been made to a "deep medical advisory group,"[1] as of January 2016, no scientific or medical advisory board information appears in the company's public information. In April 2016, Theranos announced its medical advisory board which included past presidents or board members of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.[2]

  1. ^ Marco della Cava, 2014, "Change Agents: Elizabeth Holmes wants your blood, USA Today (online), July 26, 2014, see [1], accessed 28 January 2014
  2. ^ Parloff, Roger (7 April 2016). "Theranos Adds Startlingly Well-Qualified Medical Board". Fortune. Retrieved 14 April 2016.

May 2016

The account rested for a month before making a series of six edits that scrubbed a pair of mentions of COO Ramesh Balwani from the article. At the time, Balwani was in a personal relationship with founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, which was not initially known to the company's investors. According to the Journal, the couple "enforced a corporate culture of secrecy and fear".

Time (UTC)19:20, 17 May 2016
Edit summaryct kp& other non mos, founder 2x
Key people Elizabeth Holmes
Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani (left the company in May 2016)[1]
  1. ^ Carreyrou, John. "Theranos Executive Sunny Balwani to Depart Amid Regulatory Probes". wsj.com. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
Time (UTC)19:21, 17 May 2016
Edit summaryrmv 2x, mentioned in hist.

Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani left Theranos in May 2016.[1]

  1. ^ Carreyrou, John. "Theranos Executive Sunny Balwani to Depart Amid Regulatory Probes". wsj.com. Retrieved 12 May 2016.

The May 2016 edits also added Theranos' then-current board of directors, and removed a sentence that described the company's operations as "secretive".

Time (UTC)19:28, 17 May 2016
Edit summary1st pass cu of gov (edited with ProveIt) +1

As of May 2016, the Theranos board of directors are:[1]

  1. ^ Abelson, Reed (11 May 2016). "Embattled Blood Lab Theranos Makes a Bid to Regain Confidence". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
Time (UTC)19:29, 17 May 2016
Edit summaryct pov/spec. intro

While other aspects of its operations remain secretive,[1] Theranos corporate governance has been the subject of various press disclosures and subsequent news reports.

  1. ^ Ron Leuty, 2013, "Theranos: The biggest biotech you’ve never heard of" San Francisco Business Times (online), Aug 30, 2013, accessed 28 January 2014. Quote: "Theranos continues to move stealthily. Requests to speak with Holmes or other executives, board members and the company’s financiers were consistently rebuffed, and the company declined to provide any answers to written questions."

Jppcap then reorganized the article, moving the "Controversies" subsection into the "Governance" section, which was further down the article. "Controversies" was previously inside the "History" section.

Time (UTC)19:30, 17 May 2016
Edit summarymv gov from contro
History

[...]

Controversies

[...]

Governance

[...]

Controversies

[...]

October 2016

The remaining 19 edits were performed five months after the previous batch. These edits constitute the most blatant neutrality violations, and the sheer volume of removed content speaks for itself. Jppcap tended to use innocuous edit summaries, thinning out embarrassing facts by labeling them as "dupes" and "quotefarms".

Jppcap began by reducing coverage of the Walgreens pharmacy chain's discontinuation of Theranos' blood test offerings. Walgreens was Theranos' most significant business partner.

Time (UTC)14:38, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryrmv dupes

On June 12, 2016, Walgreens announced it would no longer offer Theranos services at any of its stores and would sever its relationship with Theranos.[1]

[...]

Subsequently, a key metric of Theranos valuation was notably called into question when Walgreens suspended further expansion of Theranos Wellness Centers.[2]

Time (UTC)15:55, 23 October 2016
Edit summarymv walgreens susp. (edited with ProveIt)

Walgreens suspended its plans to add Theranos' testing services in its stores, and later removed Theranos' testing from all existing locations.[1][2]

[...]

Walgreens suspended plans to expand blood-testing centers in their stores following the report.[3][4] At that time, the Cleveland Clinic announced that it would work to verify Theranos technology.[5]

[...]

Three days later, Walgreens, which had partnered with Theranos to provide its blood testing services in stores, ceased all testing at a Palo Alto location, and ordered the company to process all of its other tests from Walgreens locations at its Arizona laboratory instead of the California lab.[6]

  1. ^ "Walgreens Terminates Relationship with Theranos; Will Be Closing Operations at All 40 Theranos Wellness Centers in Arizona". Business Wire. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  2. ^ http://www.businessinsider.com/timeline-of-theranos-controversy-2016-10
  3. ^ "Walgreens halts expansion of Theranos centers". Fortune Magazine. 24 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-25.
  4. ^ Rosenbloom, Micah (21 November 2015). "In Defense Of Theranos". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  5. ^ DiChristopher, Tom (30 October 2015). "We'll test Theranos tech: Cleveland Clinic CEO". CNBC. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Theranos Sounded Too Good to Be True—and It Is". Daily Beast. February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.

During the fallout of the Journal story, Theranos was forced to cancel its test for the Zika virus, the pathogen responsible for an international fever epidemic in 2015–16. Jppcap strongly de-emphasized the Zika test cancellation and removed board member James Mattis's conflict of interest, while reinterpreting mandatory Food and Drug Administration restrictions as "voluntary". The Status Labs editor described the deleted content as a "pov" (point of view).

Time (UTC)15:33, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryrd pov (edited with ProveIt)

On October 28, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also reported major shortcomings in the company's practices and ordered Theranos to stop using its Edison device, which it had neither tested for accuracy nor approved, contrary to the company's previous claims.[1] The Arizona Department of Health Services reported issues in the company's other laboratory.[2] Several clinical pathologists and other medical experts also expressed skepticism about Theranos's technology. A week later, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that the company's miniature blood containers were unapproved for any test other than the herpes test. Subsequently, Theranos was ordered to limit the use of its proprietary technology to only one of the 200 tests offered by the company.[3][4]

The Food and Drug Administration received a formal inquiry to look at Theranos blood test devices by the Department of Defense in 2012 before the devices were commercially available and did not require FDA approval.[5] FDA inspection reports from 2014 and 2015 stated that its containers for blood collection were "not validated under actual or simulated use conditions" and "were not reviewed and not approved by designated individual(s) prior to issuance."[6] After the inspection, Theranos announced that it would voluntarily suspended its tests apart from the FDA approved herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) test.[7]

Additionally, after an FDA inspection, Theranos reported it had voluntarily suspended use of its flagship micro or low volume blood testing technique except for Herpes virus testing.[8]

Subsequent articles have called into question previous statements by Theranos regarding the nature and source of its income.[9] Though Theranos has often claimed to have FDA approval for its laboratory tests, FDA inspection reports from 2014 and 2015 suggest that the government has noted significant concerns.[10] On August 31, 2016, Theranos withdrew its Zika virus test due to a finding by federal inspectors of a lack of essential safeguards during the testing process.[11]

[...]

U.S. military

On December 2, 2015, The Washington Post reported that the exploration of a partnership with the US military had led to issues being found with the Edison device and a request that the FDA investigate. This request was denied by United States Marine Corps General James Mattis after Holmes's intervention. After retiring, Mattis joined the board of directors of Theranos.[5]

  1. ^ Carreyrou, John. "FDA Inspectors Call Theranos Blood Vial 'Uncleared Medical Device'". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  2. ^ "Arizona inspectors find Theranos lab issues". USA TODAY. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  3. ^ "The Narrative Frays for Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes". The New York Times. October 30, 2015.
  4. ^ Dan Primack (October 15, 2015). "Theranos controversy has little to do with 'unicorns'". Fortune.
  5. ^ a b Carolyn Y. Johnson (2 December 2015). "E-mails reveal concerns about Theranos's FDA compliance date back years". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  6. ^ "The FDA's notes from its visit to Theranos' labs don't look good". Business Insider. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  7. ^ Derla, Katherine (22 October 2015). "Blood-Testing Start-Up Theranos Is In 'Pause Period', Says CEO Elizabeth Holmes". Tech Times. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Theranos suspends micro blood tests to allow FDA review". AZ Central. October 25, 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  9. ^ Duhaime-Ross, Arielle (2015-10-26). "Theranos didn't work with the huge drug company it supposedly made money from, drug company says". The Verge. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  10. ^ "The FDA's notes from its visit to Theranos' labs don't look good". Business Insider. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  11. ^ "Troubled Theranos hits another wall as Zika test withdrawn". Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
Time (UTC)15:34, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryrmv dupe
FDA

On August 31, 2016, Theranos withdrew its Zika virus test due to a finding by federal inspectors of a lack of essential safeguards during the testing process.[1]

  1. ^ "Troubled Theranos hits another wall as Zika test withdrawn". Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
Time (UTC)17:02, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryrmv dupe &ce

In August Theranos announced, and then later withdrew its request, for emergency clearance of a new Zika-virus blood test. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to unnamed sources, federal regulators had found that the company didn’t follow proper patient safeguards in a study for the test. Theranos’s vice president of regulatory, quality and clinical affairs Dave Wurtz stated: “We hope that our decision to withdraw the Zika submission voluntarily is further evidence of our commitment to engage positively with the agency.” [1]

[...]

On August 25, 2016, Theranos announced its plans to appeal the decision by regulators to revoke its license to operate a lab in California, among and other penalties sanctions, because of unsafe practices.[2] On August 31, 2016, Theranos The company withdrew its request for emergency clearance of a Zika virus blood test due to a finding by federal inspectors of after a lack of essential safeguards during the testing process was found by federal inspectors in August 2016.[3][1] On October 5, 2016, Theranos announced that it would close its laboratory operations, shutter its wellness centers and lay off around about 40 percent of its work force, while henceforth focusing on an initiative to create to work on miniature medical testing machines in October 2016.[4][5]

  1. ^ a b Carreyrou, John; Weaver, Christopher (30 August 2016). "Theranos Halts New Zika Test After FDA Inspection". Retrieved 6 October 2016 – via Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ "Theranos to Appeal Regulatory Sanctions" Wall Street Journal,Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Troubled Theranos hits another wall as Zika test withdrawn". Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Theranos to Close Labs and Lay Off 340 Workers". New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  5. ^ "An Open Letter From Elizabeth Holmes". Theranos Newsroom. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.

Theranos eventually became the poster child of "Silicon Valley excess", and the company's notoriety damaged the prospects of female CEOs in the startup sector for years to come. Status Labs decided to remove some financial details from the article, which had the effect of smoothing out the contrast between Theranos at its zenith and its nadir.

Time (UTC)15:39, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryrmv spec. pov & mv forbes

[...]

Wired asserted that the company may have succumbed to Silicon Valley pressures of trying to "spin hype into startup gold" and promising more than they could deliver.[1] Theranos has claimed to have partnerships with GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, which both companies have denied.[2] Theranos also claimed the successful venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson had invested in them, but company principal Steve Jurvetson clarified that it had provided the company's first $500,000 seed investment and nothing more.[3]

Although Theranos was valued at $9 billion by some of its investors, which would have valued Holmes's stake at $4.6 billion, The Economist noted that startups of this nature can wind up being valued as a "fantasy" rather than based upon present reality.[4] [...]

  1. ^ Lapowsky, Issie (2015-10-15). "Theranos' Scandal Exposes the Problem With Tech's Hype Cycle". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  2. ^ Duhaime-Ross, Arielle (2015-10-26). "Theranos didn't work with the huge drug company it supposedly made money from, drug company says". The Verge. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  3. ^ Caroline Chen (19 October 2015). "Early Theranos Investor Stands by Blood Testing Startup". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  4. ^ "The fable of the unicorn: A much-hyped medical startup is suddenly plagued with doubts". The Economist. October 31, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.

The Journal report was too significant for Jppcap to remove at this point, but that did not prevent the editor from massaging the language of the coverage to redirect blame away from Theranos.

Time (UTC)15:46, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryce & pull rev. 745827142 in prop. place

On In October 16, 2015, The Wall Street Journal, quoting many unnamed current and former employees, reported that Theranos was using traditional blood testing machines, such as Siemens, to run its tests and that Theranos's flagship the company's Edison testing device machines might provide inaccurate results.[1] The alleged discrepancies in Theranos' proficiency testing and reporting to regulators led to a formal complaint filed with the New York State Department of Health that was forwarded to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).[1] Moreover, the bulk of the blood tests being performed by Theranos were reported to be conducted on traditional machines of competitors' companies, such as Siemens, rather than its own Edison machines.[2] Theranos attacked the Journal, but did not refute any of the allegations. Theranos claimed that the allegations were "factually and scientifically erroneous and grounded in baseless assertions by inexperienced and disgruntled former employees and industry incumbents."[3][4]

  1. ^ a b Carreyrou, John. "Hot Startup Theranos Has Struggled With Its Blood-Test Technology". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  2. ^ Lapowsky, Issie (2015-10-15). "Theranos' Scandal Exposes the Problem With Tech's Hype Cycle". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  3. ^ "Report Claims Theranos Struggling With Blood Test Tech". Fortune. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  4. ^ Dawn Chmielewski. "Theranos Attacks Wall Street Journal (Again) in a Rebuttal You'll Need a Medical Degree to Understand". Re/code. Retrieved 26 December 2015.

Theranos also embarked on an extensive legal campaign that affected former employees, generating a conflict of interest when the company positioned its new general counsel, David Boies, on its board of directors. The legal maneuvers were unpalatable enough for Jppcap to prefer restoring a mention of the Walgreens discontinuation, on balance. In one of the edit summaries, the word "sythn" is presumably a misspelling of "synth", which is an abbreviation for improper "synthesis" of sources.

Time (UTC)16:04, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryrmv sythn
Board of directors appointment of David Boies

Famed litigator David Boies was hired by Theranos after it failed a federal laboratory inspection.[1] The company’s general counsel is a former partner at Boies Schiller and Theranos had hired Boies in the past.[1] Theranos attracted controversy however, by also granting Boies a seat on the board of directors.[1] While the 2013 adopted high-vote stock structure gives Holmes total control of the company, business ethics insiders, reporting to the New York Times, argued that, while it has been done before, having Boies serve both on the board and as the company’s attorney would be difficult as he would have to represent both the Company (as lawyer) and the Investors (as a Director), and that this could in some circumstances result in making a choice between the two.[1]

  1. ^ a b c d Solomon, Steven Davidoff (2 February 2016). "David Boies's Dual Roles at Theranos Set Up Conflict". The New York Times' Dealbook. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
Time (UTC)16:39, 23 October 2016
Edit summary+lab susp. &withdraw, rmv nn suits (edited with ProveIt)

Walgreens and Capital BlueCross announced a suspension of Theranos blood tests from the Newark laboratory.[1] In May 2016, Theranos announced that it had withdrawn all blood test results run on its Edison machine from 2014 and 2015.[2]

[...]

Litigation

In 2007, Theranos filed suit in Santa Clara, California, accusing former employees of breaching company secrecy.[3] In 2011 the company filed suit against Fuisz Pharma LLC, accusing them of stealing Theranos' patent files from McDermott Will & Emery. The suit was settled in 2014.[4] Another case, in Washington, D.C. against McDermott Will & Emery itself, was dismissed in August 2013.[5][6]

[...]

Theranos is facing class-action complaints alleging misrepresentation of its testing services.[7]

  1. ^ Ramsey, Lydia (29 January 2016). "Another partner just asked Theranos to stop running blood tests". Business Insider. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  2. ^ Carreyrou, John (2016-05-19). "Theranos Voids Two Years of Edison Blood-Test Results". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  3. ^ Leuty, Ron (30 August 2013). "Theranos: The biggest biotech you've never heard of". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  4. ^ Beth Winegarner (March 17, 2014). "Patent Theft Trial Over McDermott Docs Settles". Law360.
  5. ^ Overly, Jeff (5 August 2013). "McDermott Ducks Health IT Client's IP Theft Suit". Law360. LexisNexis. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  6. ^ Tillman, Zoe (5 August 2013). "Malpractice Suit Against McDermott Dismissed". ALM. pp. The Blog of Legal Times. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  7. ^ Rappleye, Emily (2016-06-03). "Third Theranos lawsuit brings Walgreens into the mix". Becker's Hospital Review. Retrieved 2016-07-02.

The word "quotefarm" is a dubious term for the article's coverage on Theranos' failed regulatory inspections. Jppcap removed the auditor's description of the company's questionable operating practices, replacing it with language that incorrectly limited the scope of the failure to a test related to the warfarin anticoagulant. The cited article from The Verge does not mention warfarin.

Time (UTC)16:12, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryrd quotefarm+intro letter
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Certification

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported issues with the company's Scottsdale, Arizona laboratory meeting regulations in October 2015.[1]

A report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released in 2016 detailed a number of deficiencies with Theranos procedures and testing results.[2] The inspection report indicates that 29% of the quality control checks performed on the Edison devices produced results outside an acceptable range.[3] In addition, federal inspectors also cited Theranos for "doing tests with unqualified personnel, for long delays in notifying patients of flawed test results and for storing blood samples at the wrong temperatures."[3]

On In January 25, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a strongly-worded letter to Theranos following based on an inspection of the company's its Newark, California laboratory, conducted in November in the fall of 2015. "[I]t was determined that the deficient practices of the laboratory pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety," the letter noted.[4] CMS gave Theranos a deadline of 10 business days to prove that the laboratory was complying with hematology-related and other lab requirements. The inspection found that the facility did not "comply with certificate requirements and performance standards" and caused an "immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety" due to a test to determine the correct dose of the blood-thinning drug warfarin.[5]

  1. ^ "Theranos suspends micro blood tests to allow FDA review". AZ Central. October 25, 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  2. ^ "Theranos Scandal Widens on Scathing Report". Fox Business. April 4, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Theranos Devices Often Failed Accuracy Requirements". Wall Street Journal. March 31, 2016.
  4. ^ "Regulators warn testing startup Theranos over lab conditions". Associated Press. January 27, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  5. ^ "US government says Theranos lab poses 'immediate jeopardy to patient safety'". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-01-27.

Jppcap's most significant edit affected the lead section of the article, serving as a smoking gun for the entire whitewashing operation. Virtual assistants such as Alexa quote extensively from the lead section of Wikipedia articles, and the first couple of sentences have an outsized impact on our audience's perception of any given subject. Thus, it is unsurprising to see Status Labs remove the criminal investigation from the beginning of the article.

The editor also sharply reduced coverage of a U.S. House of Representatives committee investigation and removed a lawsuit from a corporate investor, describing the deletions as a "reorg". As a finishing touch, Jppcap included an opinion column from the San Francisco Chronicle that attempts to explain away Theranos' fraudulent operations by pointing the finger at other startups.

Time (UTC)16:50, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryreorg gov. investigations &ce lede (edited with ProveIt)

Theranos is an American privately held consumer health-technology health technology company based in Palo Alto, California.[1] It is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission.[2]

Theranos developed a blood-testing device named Edison. The company said the device uses a few drops of blood obtained via a finger-stick, rather than vials of blood obtained via traditional venipuncture,[3] utilizing microfluidics technology.[4] The company has been recognized for its fingerstick and microfluidics technology. It was founded in 2003 by Elizabeth Holmes at the age of 19.[3] By the summer of 2014, its founders Theranos had raised over more than $400 million from investors, valuing the company at in funding with an estimated value of $9 billion.[5][6]

[...]

U.S. House of Representatives Committee Investigation

It was reported on July 1, 2016, that a U.S. House of Representatives committee investigation was being undertaken into Theranos' past practices. The Committee on Energy and Commerce requested information on what Theranos was doing to correct its testing inaccuracies and adherence to federal guidelines. In the letter sent to founder Elizabeth Holmes, a response was requested by July 14.[7] Theranos said in a statement that it looked forward to responding to the inquiry with an explanation of its improvements, including “new operational leadership, best practices in our laboratories, continuing and constructive engagement with our regulators and ongoing communications with physicians and our patients.”[8]

Theranos is currently under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission.[2]

Theranos is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly misleading investors and government officials about its technology.[2] The case is considered "extremely unusual" by a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Justice Department.[9] The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce requested information on what Theranos was doing to correct its testing inaccuracies and adherence to federal guidelines.[7][8]

On August 25, 2016, the company said it plans to appeal the decision by regulators to revoke its license to operate a lab in California, among other penalties, because of unsafe practices. [10]

A suit accusing Theranos of securities fraud was filed in October, 2016 by Partner Fund Management, which invested $96.1 million in the company in February 2014. The suit demands return of investment and damages. The company released a statement asserting "The suit is without merit, the assertions are baseless, and the plaintiff is engaging in revisionist history."[11]

  1. ^ "Theranos". Manta.com.
  2. ^ a b c Stross, Randall (27 April 2016). "Don't Blame Silicon Valley for Theranos". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b Rago, Joseph (2013-09-08). "Elizabeth Holmes: The Breakthrough of Instant Diagnosis". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  4. ^ Scott, Cameron (8 November 2013). "Small, fast and cheap, Theranos is the poster child of med tech — and it's in Walgreen's". Singularity Hub. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  5. ^ Parloff, Roger (2014-06-12). "This CEO is out for blood". Fortune. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  6. ^ Johnson, Carolyn Y. (2015-10-15). "The wildly hyped $9 billion blood test company that no one really understands". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  7. ^ a b Lagasse, Jeff (2016-07-01). "Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes asked by Congressional committee to detail company's compliance efforts". Healthcare Finance News. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  8. ^ a b Tracer, Zachary. "Theranos Queried on Blood Test Failures by House Democrats". Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  9. ^ Lee, Thomas (11 May 2016). "Federal criminal probe of Theranos rings hollow". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Theranos to Appeal Regulatory Sanctions" Wall Street Journal,Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  11. ^ O'Brien, Sara Ashley (October 11, 2016). "Theranos investor: We want our $96 million back". CNN. Retrieved October 11, 2016.

Theranos withheld its apology from the article. Sorry, not sorry.

Time (UTC)16:55, 23 October 2016
Edit summaryrmv company response

In July 2016, Theranos announced that it had received notice from the CMS regarding the revocation of had revoked its CLIA certificate. Sanctions include a prohibition of the as well as sanctions prohibiting its owners and operators from owning or operating a lab for two years, suspension of approval to receive Medicare and Medicaid payments, and a civil monetary penalty. Theranos' CEO Elizabeth Holmes responded in a statement: “We accept full responsibility for the issues at our laboratory in Newark, California, and have already worked to undertake comprehensive remedial actions. Those actions include shutting down and subsequently rebuilding the Newark lab from the ground up, rebuilding quality systems, adding highly experienced leadership, personnel and experts, and implementing enhanced quality and training procedures. While we are disappointed by CMS’ decision, we take these matters very seriously and are committed to fully resolving all outstanding issues with CMS and to demonstrating our dedication to the highest standards of quality and compliance.” Theranos announced it was discontinuing The company discontinued testing at its Newark location while attempting to resolve the issues identified.[1]

  1. ^ Carreyrou, John; Siconolfi, Michael; Weaver, Christopher (2016-07-08). "Theranos Dealt Sharp Blow as Elizabeth Holmes Is Banned From Operating Labs". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-07-09.

Unfortunately for Theranos, attempting to rewrite history did not compensate for the fundamental deficiencies in the company's product. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated Theranos in late 2015; the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission followed in 2016. Theranos began laying off employees in late 2016, and was liquidated in late 2018.

The author of the 2015 Journal exposé, John Carreyrou, later documented Theranos' collapse in a book titled Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. Forbes named Holmes as the wealthiest self-made woman in America with a net worth of $4.5 billion in 2015; that figure was revised to $0 in 2016. Holmes and Balwani were indicted for fraud later that year.

Other articles

The Journal's latest report referenced other articles that were affected by paid editing:

Further details are listed in a conflict of interest noticeboard discussion.

Reporting incidents

Our investigation covered only 26 of Jppcap's 3,000+ edits. The edit counter reveals that the Theranos article received the sixth-highest number of edits from the Status Labs associate. The top five articles edited by Jppcap are:

To the reader, if you ever encounter undisclosed paid editing – including but not limited to operations associated with Wiki-PR and Status Labs, please report the incident on the conflict of interest noticeboard. Happy editing!



Reader comments


A Nobel lecture, "we are not capable of bearing this enormity of information"

Olga Tokarczuk, 2018 Nobel laureate in literature, gave her Nobel Lecture, The Tender Narrator, on December 7, 2019 . Her references to Wikipedia, both to the promise of Wikipedia and the "disappointing" fulfillment of that promise, are close to the heart of the lecture's message. Extracts of the passages are given below. Wikilinks added.

John Amos Comenius, the great seventeenth-century pedagogue, coined the term “pansophism,” by which he meant the idea of potential omniscience, universal knowledge that would contain within it all possible cognition. This was also, and above all, a dream of information available to everyone. ... Will not knowledge within easy reach mean that people will become sensible ... ?

When the Internet first came about, it seemed that this notion would finally be realized in a total way. Wikipedia, which I admire and support, might have seemed to Comenius ... the fulfillment of the dream of humanity — now we can create and receive an enormous store of facts being ceaselessly supplemented and updated that is democratically accessible to just about every place on Earth.

A dream fulfilled is often disappointing. It has turned out that we are not capable of bearing this enormity of information, which instead of uniting, generalizing and freeing, has differentiated, divided, enclosed in individual little bubbles...

S

Firm accused of whitewashing articles for one-percenters

See this month's Special report for more analysis of the claimed article whitewashing by Status Labs.

The Wall Street Journal published a 2,000 word article by Rachael Levy on December 13 titled "How the 1% scrubs its image online" (paywall) detailing efforts of Status Labs to control media and Wikipedia coverage of its clients. The subtitle was "Prominent figures from Jacob Gottlieb to Betsy DeVos got help from a reputation management firm that can bury image-sensitive Google results by placing flattering content on websites that masquerade as news outlets". The article named specific Wikipedia editor or editors.

According to The Wall Street Journal, articles edited by Status Labs operatives included bank executive Omeed Malik,[1][2] biomedical company Theranos,[3] and hedge fund Citadel LLC.[4]

An account named in the WSJ report as a related operative, Jppcap is now indefinitely blocked for "advertising or self-promoting in violation of the conflict of interest and notability guidelines". The publishing of this article by the Journal also led to the opening of a discussion on the Conflict of Interest Noticeboard. B

Business Insider has reported on a less nefarious instance of editing on behalf of a wealthy and powerful individual, namely technology businessman Elon Musk. After perusing the Wikipedia article about himself "for 1st time in years", Musk took to Twitter to suggest some edits, including the removal of the label "investor" from the short description, since he insisted "I do basically zero investing." Musk also apparently jokingly supported the replacement of the word with the term "business magnet"—as opposed to business magnate. User:TechnologicalScribe subsequently altered the short description accordingly and added in the edit summary that the changes were made "as requested by Elon Musk". The phrase "business magnet" has since been removed from the short description.

Did ... ?

You be the judge.png
We wanted to show you this, instead.

The Signpost story occupying this space cited The Washington Post which linked to another reliable source. We were essentially accused of outing for linking to The Washington Post and thus threatened with censorship by some oversighters. Rather than put our existence at risk, we have withdrawn the story and will pursue the matter via ArbCom in the New Year S

It's alright, Ma. I'm only bleeding.

Mother Jones lists Heroes and Monsters of the 2010s including Wikipedia – but only as a hero.

Perhaps the 2016 Nobel Laureate in Literature can explain this choice. S

Wikipedia and Women in STEM

BBC Radio interviewed British physicist Jess Wade on her efforts to create more articles on women experts in science, math, and technology, with specific focus on the sudden, recent tagging of many articles she has edited for notability concerns by an IP address editor (the portion of the broadcast relevant to Wikipedia begins at 9:30). Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher was also reached for comment. She expressed concern about the gender imbalance in Wikipedia's content and editing community, but praised the community response to the taggings, including the blocking of the IP editor. More details at this issue's Op-Ed by Wade. Ib

Block of Wikipedia in Turkey unconstitutional

Reported by virtually all major media including BBC, Reuters, The New York Times, Le Monde, etc. – just before we went to press, the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled the block of Wikipedia in Turkey to be unconstitutional. B

In brief

Canada NORAD Jet Fighters Santa 2008.jpg
CF-18 Hornet fighter jets – O Canada, we stand on guard for thee – in an image released for NORAD Tracks Santa

References

  1. ^ "Former Bank of America Corp. executive Omeed Malik also received services from Status Labs, according to people familiar with the matter." – WSJ
  2. ^ "A Wikipedia page about Mr. Malik also became the first result in a Google search of his name, displacing news articles. Following a Journal query, Wikipedia removed Mr. Malik's page." – WSJ
  3. ^ "Disgraced blood-testing startup Theranos Inc. also received services from Status Labs, according to former employees. An editing account used by Status Labs ... according to people familiar with the matter ... made several favorable edits to Theranos' Wikipedia page. One edit removed a reference to an article in the Journal reporting Theranos devices often failed accuracy requirements." – WSJ
  4. ^ "The hedge fund of billionaire Ken Griffin, Citadel LLC, hired Status Labs to edit information on Wikipedia in 2015 about the fund's investments and Mr. Griffin's art collection, according to a person familiar with the matter." – WSJ



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



Reader comments


Several discussions have transpired (or are underway) regarding the integrity of information presented by Wikipedia as well as the processes and people who ensure it remains trustworthy.

Resysop criteria for administrators

Requests for comment were open during October–November concerning possible resysop criteria for administrators and a proposed binding desysop procedure. Results are visible at those pages and summarized below:

  • New RfCs were endorsed around resysop
    1. Before restoring the administrator flag a bureaucrat should be reasonably convinced that the user has returned to activity or intends to return to activity as an editor.
    2. Should there be doubt concerning the suitability for restoration of Admin permissions, the restoration shall be delayed until sufficient discussion has occurred and a consensus established through a bureaucrat discussion (also called "crat chat").
    3. If an editor has had at least two years of uninterrupted inactivity (no edits) between the removal of the admin tools and the re-request, regardless of the reason for removal, the editor will need to instead request through the WP:RFA process.
  • No conclusion has thus far emerged regarding the proposed binding desysop procedures.

Active discussions

An RfC at Meta proposes serious actions on the Croatian Wikipedia. The RfC was begun by GregorB (talk · contribs) in October. Gregor also wrote The Curious Case of Croatian Wikipedia last August for The Signpost. Activity on the case has continued, up to within a few days of Christmas. A proposal to close has been made, but is not expected to be adopted soon.

PR whitewashing by operatives linked to Wiki-PR is under discussion at the conflict of interest noticeboard (permanent link) (also see this issue's "In the media" section and the "Special report").

Discussion of how to notify the community about mainstream media reporting on identified Wikipedia editors is ongoing at venues including the oversight mail list, the village pump and Wikipedia talk:Harassment. Suppression has been invoked on The Signpost in connection with this issue, and this is part of the discussion.

Closed discussions

Other notable discussions included:




Reader comments


ArbCom election results

Results of ArbCom election at Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee_Elections_December_2019#Results - 8 2-year terms, 3 1-year terms. S

User:Worm That TurnedUser:RickinBaltimoreUser:CallaneccUser:Premeditated ChaosUser:KrakatoaKatieUser:Opabinia regalisUser:BU Rob13User:Alex ShihUser:Worm That TurnedUser:XenoUser:SoWhyUser:NewyorkbradUser:KrakatoaKatieUser:David FuchsUser:BeeblebroxUser:CasliberUser:MaximUser:BradvUser:DGGUser:SilkTorkUser:Joe RoeUser:GorillaWarfareUser:MkdwUser:CourcellesUser:AGKUser:NewyorkbradUser:Ks0stmUser:EuryalusUser:DeltaQuadUser:MkdwUser:DGGUser:Doug WellerWikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2019Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2018Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2017Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2016

Portals case accepted

The Portals case was accepted unanimously[1] by the Arbitration Committee on November 26. B

New requests

Administrator TonyBallioni requested a new case concerning administrator RHaworth on 19 December 2019. As of writing deadline, it is on course for being taken up by the Arbitration Committee, with six accept votes to zero opposed or abstaining.

There are over 40 uninvolved editors commenting on the request as of writing deadline. Probably due to the case involving review of controversial deletions, only visible to administrators, many of the comments are from other administrators.

Frequency analysis of the words used involved in the case shows these uncommon words appeared most frequently: "deletion", 49 times; "checkuser" 47 times; "speedy" 42 times; "csd" 40 times. B

Footnotes

  1. ^ with one recusal



Reader comments


This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by Igordebraga (November 24 to 30, December 8 to 14); Hugsyrup and Igordebraga (December 1 to 7).

Kingpins and queens and alien thieves, taking lives denied (November 24 to 30, 2019)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (November 24 to 30, 2019).png
Most viewed articles of November 24 to 30, 2019

The Disney+ show that led for the past two weeks has been ousted by a release in the bigger streaming service, as Netflix got Martin Scorsese's latest crime epic The Irishman, and the historical figures there also get entries, including the top one. Netflix also brought in recent history from across the pond, with all the views for British royal family members who come along with The Crown. Movies in actual theaters also have royals (Anna and Elsa of Arendelle in #5) and re-enactments of real events (#6, #9). Thanksgiving (#10) and wrestling (#8) close off the list.

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Jimmy Hoffa B-Class article 2,238,665
Jimmy Hoffa.jpg
Martin Scorsese makes yet another Mafia epic, only this time with a limited theatrical release before it hit Netflix. The movie itself is sandwiched between two of the main characters, the famed labor union leader who mysteriously vanished, Jimmy Hoffa (played by Al Pacino), and the protagonist, a truck driver turned hitman, Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro, who was a guarantee in a Scorsese movie in the old days).
2 The Irishman (2019 film) C-Class article 2,139,328
Martin Scorsese Tribeca 2007 Shankbone.jpg
3 Frank Sheeran C-Class article 1,658,531
Robert De Niro Cannes 2016 3.jpg
4 The Mandalorian B-Class article 1,550,932
The Mandalorian.svg
The Star Wars streaming sensation, making all of us foreigners who can't get Disney+ the more jealous that is not possible to legally watch it yet.
5 Frozen II[1] C-Class article 1,353,343
Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire (27126369453).jpg
You only see what your eyes want to see / How can life be what you want it to be... Sorry. It's not like I can discuss Elsa and Anna's return, my country only gets this movie in January!
6 Richard Jewell Start-Class article 1,151,435
Atlanta Olympic Park Bomb Aftermath.png
The film about how the hero of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing was then vilified by the media only comes out in December, but had its festival premiere and good reviews.
7 Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon B-Class article 1,071,519
Princess Margaret 1965b (cropped).jpg
The Crown is back, and so are a lot of British royals to our report. The biggest views aren't for the show's main star, but her deceased younger sister.
8 Survivor Series (2019) Start-Class article 1,040,807
Shayna Baszler.jpg
From crowns to belts, as the latest WWE pantomime was held and had the main card won by Shayna Baszler.
9 Elizabeth II Featured article 905,531
Queen Elizabeth II in March 2015.jpg
Back to the monarchs with the Queen of the United Kingdom (and many more places), now played in The Crown by Oscar winner Olivia Colman.
10 Thanksgiving C-Class article 855,382
TraditionalThanksgiving.jpg
The annual holiday that reunites families for feasting. Hopefully there are very few cases of turkeys thrown out windows.

Every week is exactly the same (December 1 to 7, 2019)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (December 1 to 7, 2019).png
Most viewed articles of December 1 to 7, 2019

I believe I can see the future, 'cause I repeat the same routine. Or at least readers do, given half the subjects of last week have returned, including the whole top 4 and most of the top 10, including two entries that had been #13 and #16 in the extended list. The only thing that is brand new is an Asian multisport events (#5), showing the sizeable amount of English-speaking Filipinos can push an entry here.

I can't remember how this got started, but I can tell you exactly how it will end.

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Jimmy Hoffa B-Class article 2,289,492
Manglehorn 07 (15085911640).jpg
The top three spots this week are dominated by one film, and the two main characters in that film; played by Al Pacino and Robert de Niro respectively. Notable for using CGI technology to both age and de-age the two leads to portray them at different times in their lives, it's also notable for being based almost entirely on the questionable account of one of those two individuals. The one that didn't famously disappear, obviously.
2 The Irishman (2019 film) C-Class article 1,835,586
Martin Scorsese Tribeca 2007 Shankbone.jpg
3 Frank Sheeran C-Class article 1,752,309
Robert De Niro Cannes 2016 3.jpg
4 The Mandalorian B-Class article 1,406,893
LBCE 2014 - SR71 HABU FETT (14365120632).jpg
The first ever live-action Star Wars TV series has received mixed reviews so far, but it's a bold experiment and probably the only good reason to sign up for yet another streaming subscription, since it's exclusive to Disney+. Featuring Pedro Pascal in the title role, alongside an eclectic cast that includes Werner Herzog and Carl Weathers, it's now up to episode five with three more to come.
5 2019 Southeast Asian Games C-Class article 877,811
2019 Southeast Asian Games opening Philippines parade.jpg
The 30th Southeast Asian Games took place from the 30th November to 11th December, in the Philippines, which took over as host last minute (well, in 2015) after Brunei withdrew from the role.
6 Richard Jewell Start-Class article 804,072
Fountains Centennial Olympic Park.jpg
This entry's story is one that will make you both sad and angry. A genuine hero whose actions at the Centennial Olympic Park bombing saved lives, he was then hounded by press and law enforcement and treated as a suspect on the flimsiest evidence. What brings him back into the public consciousness this week is the release, on 13th December, of Richard Jewell the film about his story.
7 Elizabeth II Featured article 747,579
Koningin Elizabeth II van Groot-Brittannië per koets op weg naar de opening van…, Bestanddeelnr 918-4239.jpg
Like the other royals on this list, it's a little hard to tell how much of the UK Head of State's appearance in Wikipedia's searches is down to her reappearance in Netflix's The Crown (this time played by Olivia Colman), how much is down to the amusing moment when she appeared to tell off her daughter for refusing to meet Donald Trump, and how much is down to her position as mother of the man now best known for coming up with some of the world's least convincing alibis.
8 Deaths in 2019 List-Class article 726,230
Bush Arbor (3364545519).jpg
It'll never stop being interesting, will it. And, with only a handful more weeks for late additions to this article, perhaps it's more interesting than ever.
9 Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon B-Class article 721,341
Helena Bonham Carter.jpg
Another The Crown-based appearance on the list. Princess Margaret, recast for season 3 along with the rest of the cast, was portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter. And at least we can be sure she's mainly here due to the popular Netflix show and not for how she dealt with either Donald Trump or Jeffrey Epstein.
10 Knives Out (film) Start-Class article 633,007
Ana de Armas - Black Dress (48699236332) (cropped).jpg
After a dark sci-fi actioner and the bleakest Star Wars ever, Rian Johnson went for a lighter route with Knives Out, a comedic murder mystery starring Ana de Armas (pictured) as the caretaker of the victim, Christopher Plummer, among stars such as Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis and Toni Collette. Following much critical praise to the writing and acting, Knives Out is also keeping itself strong at the box office, with two straight weeks as runner-up to a certain Disney behemoth.

And a report someone writes, Once upon a December (December 8 to 14)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (December 8 to 14, 2019).png
Most viewed articles of December 8 to 14, 2019

The year is ending, and in some good news the topics here are renewing. Even if the ever-present death list (#10) is responsible for the top entry with a dead rapper. There is also a TV event (#3), a British election (#5), a beauty pageant (#9), and people finding a way to escape religious persecution (#7) to counter the return of a biopic subject (#2), a streaming series (#4) and film (#6, #8).

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Juice Wrld B-Class article 3,659,287
Juice Wrld VMAs.png
Jarad Anthony Higgins, aka Juice WRLD, who last year broke out with "Lucid Dreams", tragically had a fatal seizure at just 21 due to a pill overdose.
2 Richard Jewell Start-Class article 1,879,643
Clint Eastwood J. Edgar Premier, November 2011 (cropped).jpg
Clint Eastwood (pictured) is approaching 90, and doesn't seem ready to stop making movies. This time it was a biopic of this security guard who tried to contain the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, which has gathered some criticism for simplification of the events and controversial portrayal of a reporter, and opened at 4th place in the box office (behind two sequels and Knives Out).
3 Crisis on Infinite Earths (Arrowverse) C-Class article 1,679,639
Tom Welling 2010 Comic Con.jpg
Every year, those DC Comics shows on The CW do a massive crossover. And 2019 had one inspired by the first DC event comic, bringing all heroes together to prevent the destruction of the multiverse. The event also had the return of two Supermen, Brandon Routh and Tom Welling (pictured).
4 The Mandalorian B-Class article 1,093,421
Yoda chase.jpg
The first live-action Star Wars TV series, exclusive to Disney+ and thus widely pirated, if only to see where that adorable Baby Yoda came from.
5 2019 United Kingdom general election C-Class article 1,019,906
Results of the 2019 General Election in the UK v2.png
The lack of a Brexit withdrawal agreement led to a snap election, where the Conservative Party again got the majority of Parliament seats.
6 Jimmy Hoffa B-Class article 952,929
Manglehorn 07 (15085911640).jpg
A labor union leader who famously disappeared in 1975, Hoffa had already been the subject of an eponymous biopic starring Jack Nicholson, and now has been portrayed by another acting legend, Al Pacino, in our #8.
7 Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 Symbol question.svg 873,457
Human Development Index of Indian states and union territories 2018.png
India has now made it easier for persecuted religious minorities from the neighboring Muslim majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get naturalized, with over 30,000 migrants expected to be immediate beneficiaries. The Act is controversial for its exclusion of Muslims, with the UN describing it as "fundamentally discriminatory", some states refusing to implement it, and protests leading to several deaths, thousands detained, and internet access cut off in several regions.
8 The Irishman[2] C-Class article 839,331
Martin Scorsese Tribeca 2007 Shankbone.jpg
Film award season has started to recognize Martin Scorsese's crime epic, so viewer interest remains high.
9 Miss Universe 2019 Start-Class article 814,087
Miss Universe Sash.jpg
Even if some people question the relevance of beauty pageants in this day and age, they still gather attention. The winner was South African Zozibini Tunzi, leading to many congratulatory chants of "Wakanda Forever!" (to the disapproval of some).
10 Deaths in 2019 List-Class article 802,040
Damascus Cemetery (491901860).jpg
Cracked eggs, dead birds
Scream as they fight for life
I can feel death
Can see its beady eyes...
  1. ^ Combined views with Frozen 2, as the article got renamed during that week
  2. ^ Combined views with The Irishman (2019 film), as the article got renamed during that week

Exclusions

  • These lists exclude the Wikipedia main page, non-article pages (such as redlinks), and anomalous entries (such as DDoS attacks or likely automated views). Since mobile view data became available to the Report in October 2014, we exclude articles that have almost no mobile views (5–6% or less) or almost all mobile views (94–95% or more) because they are very likely to be automated views based on our experience and research of the issue. Please feel free to discuss any removal on the Top 25 Report talk page if you wish.



Reader comments


In brief

New user scripts to customise your Wikipedia experience

Bot tasks

Recently approved tasks

Approved requests

Bots that have been approved for operations after a successful BRFA will be listed here for informational purposes. No other approval action is required for these bots. Recently approved requests can be found here (edit), while old requests can be found in the archives.


Current requests for approval

Latest tech news

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community: 2019 #49, #50, & #51. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available on Meta.

Recent changes
  • Mix'n'match is a tool to connect Wikidata items to information in other databases. It can be used to find subjects that are missing in a Wikipedia. It now has more than 3000 datasets. Before it was closer to 2000
  • Wikimedia projects use Translatewiki to translate the wiki interface. You can now use WatchTranslations to watch projects there. You would get an email if there are missing translations to your language. [2]
  • Advanced item There is a new dataset you can use. It shows the number of editors per country per month for a number of countries. You can read the documentation and download the dataset.
Future changes
  • Advanced item There will be a new schema for XML dumps. Scripts and apps that use them will need to be updated. If they are not updated they will no longer work. [3]
  • Advanced item The {{REVISIONID}} magic word will no longer work in the content namespaces. This is for performance reasons. When you preview a page it returns "" (empty string). When you read a page it returns "-" (dash). In the future this will also affect other namespaces. The next ones are file and category namespaces. [4]
  • You can test a new reference tool. It makes it possible to reference different parts of a source without repeating all information. You can test it on the beta cluster. You can see an example article. [5]
  • The partial blocks feature is now stable. It will come to most wikis on 6 January. Your wiki can ask to wait. Contact NKohli (WMF) if you don't want it now.
Meetings
  • Recurrent item Advanced item You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting takes place every Wednesday from 4:00–5:00 p.m. UTC. See how to join here.

Installation code



Reader comments

Have you forgotten to send your holiday wishes to all your friends on Wikipedia? Feel free to borrow these cards sent to you by the staff of The Signpost.

Eight year old newsboy in a black and white photograph with a bundle of newspapers under his arm
Assistant editor Bri joins the delivery staff of The Signpost in wishing our readers a happy holiday



Reader comments


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


"Using Wikipedia to promote acoustics knowledge for the International Year of Sound 2020"

Reviewed by Bri

This online presentation hosted by the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America[1] discusses Wiki4YearOfSound2020 (at meta-wiki), co-sponsored by Acoustical Society of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and others. The Year of Sound is an attempt "to make content in acoustics one of the better-developed areas within Wikipedia". The presentation lauded Wikipedia's scope and reach, comparing NIOSH's 150,000 web pages and 8 million visits per year to English Wikipedia's 5.5 million articles and 260 million views per day. The presentation referenced the results of an engagement for World Hearing Day 2019 in which hearing-related topics garnered tens to hundreds of thousands of views, with the article tinnitus receiving over 340,000 views. It also discusses NIOSH's many other engagements with Wiki Ed since 2015 in which students expanded occupational safety and health content.

Wiki Workshop 2019

Overview by Tilman Bayer

The fifth annual "Wiki Workshop", a section of The Web Conference, was held in San Francisco in May this year. Wiki Workshop 2020 will take place in Taipei, Taiwan in April. The call for papers closes on January 17.

Papers presented at Wiki Workshop 2019 included:

"Thanks" feature has "strong positive effect on short-term editor activity"

From the abstract:[2]

"The Thanks feature on Wikipedia [...] is a tool with which editors can quickly and easily send one other positive feedback [....] We study the motivational impacts of “Thanks” because maintaining editor engagement is a central problem for crowdsourced repositories of knowledge such as Wikimedia. Our main findings are that most editors have not been exposed to the Thanks feature (meaning they have never given nor received a thank), thanks are typically sent upwards (from less experienced to more experienced editors), and receiving a thank is correlated with having high levels of editor engagement. [...] We empirically demonstrate that receiving a thank has a strong positive effect on short-term editor activity across the board and provide preliminary evidence that thanks could compound to have long-term effects as well."

See also research project page on Meta-wiki

"What’s in the Content of Wikipedia’s Article for Deletion Discussions? Towards a Visual Analytic Approach"

From the paper:[3]

"we retrieved about 40,000 deletion discussion content from Wikipedia web pages, cleaned and stored the content of 39,177 discussions into a structured discussion database. With this cleaned and structured dataset, the automatic processing and analysis of the discussion content becomes more manageable to the researchers. With this database, we developed interactive visualizations that offer insights on how the outcomes of the articles are related to different aspects of the discussions, including the types of votes, the mentioned policies, and the categories of the articles (e.g., art, people, sport, etc.). [...]

According to Wikipedia's AfD policy, the decision regarding a proposed article should be based on the participants' rationales in their votes, as opposed to simply following the majority vote based on the total number of different opinions in the discussion. Curious to find out whether the actual decision-making of AfD discussions follows this policy, we visualized the AfD discussion outcomes and the number of keep/delete opinions in the discussions through an interactive heat map. [...] This interactive visualization is accessible at http://www.mandanemedia.com/afd/view/diagram1.php . [... The resulting figure] indicates that the outcome of an AfD decision is in general consistent with the majority vote rule: the more keep votes than delete votes a discussion has, the more likely its outcome is to keep the article. [... However, part of the diagram] illustrates that the decision is not made simply by majority vote in the discussion. [...]

To better understand the distribution of the AfD discussions according to the number of keep and delete votes, we developed another interactive heat map that paints the color of the cell according to the total number of the discussions in the cell (http://www.mandanemedia.com/afd/view/diagram2.php ). [...]

We developed an interactive visualization to offer an overall understanding about the policies that the participants mentioned during the AfD discussion (http://www.mandanemedia.com/afd/view/diagram3.php ). Specifically, we used a sunburst diagram to represent the policies mentioned in the discussion content and their relative frequencies. [...]

Interested in the distribution of various categories in the proposed articles, we developed another sunburst diagram that shows the categories of the articles proposed for delete (http://www.mandanemedia.com/afd/view/diagram4.php ) [...]

We developed an interactive visualization to offer an overall mapping between the articles' categories and the policies mentioned in their AfD discussions (http://www.mandanemedia.com/afd/view/diagram5.php )."

See also video of a related presentation by one of the authors at the July 2019 Wikimedia Research showcase


A video promoting awareness of Hindi Wikipedia, which gathered millions of viewers but was not found to have a significant effect on Wikipedia traffic

An awareness campaign in India did not affect Wikipedia pageviews, but a new software feature did

From the abstract:[4]

"Understanding how various external campaigns or events affect readership on Wikipedia is important to efforts aimed at improving awareness and access to its content. In this paper, we consider how to build time-series models aimed at predicting page views on Wikipedia with the goal of detecting whether there are significant changes to the existing trends. We test these models on two different events: a video campaign aimed at increasing awareness of Hindi Wikipedia in India and the page preview feature roll-out—a means of accessing Wikipedia content without actually visiting the pages—on English and German Wikipedia. Our models effectively estimate the impact of page preview roll-out [as independently determined via A/B tests], but do not detect a significant change following the video campaign in India."

"How Partisanship and Perceived Political Bias Affect Wikipedia Entries of News Sources"

From the abstract:[5]

"Whether political bias affects journalism standards appears to be a debated topic with no clear consensus. Meanwhile, labels such as “far-left” or “alt-right” are highly contested and may become cause for prolonged edit wars on the Wikipedia pages of some news sources. In this paper, we try to shine a light into this phenomenon and its extent, in order to start a conversation within the Wikipedia community about transparent processes for assigning political orientation and journalistic reliability labels to news sources, especially to unfamiliar ones, which users would be more likely to verify by looking them up."

See also our coverage of a related recent paper involving one of the authors: "The Importance of Wikipedia in Assessing News Source Credibility"


"A Graph-Structured Dataset for Wikipedia Research"

From the abstract:[6]

"While [Wikipedia is] a scientific treasure, the large size of the dataset hinders pre-processing and may be a challenging obstacle for potential new studies. This issue is particularly acute in scientific domains where researchers may not be technically and data processing savvy. On one hand, the size of Wikipedia dumps is large. It makes the parsing and extraction of relevant information cumbersome. On the other hand, the API is straightforward to use but restricted to a relatively small number of requests. The middle ground is at the mesoscopic scale, when researchers need a subset of Wikipedia ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands of pages but there exists no efficient solution at this scale.

In this work, we propose an efficient data structure to make requests and access subnetworks of Wikipedia pages and categories. We provide convenient tools for accessing and filtering viewership statistics or “pagecounts” of Wikipedia web pages. [...] The dataset and deployment guidelines are available on the LTS2 website https://lts2.epfl.ch/Datasets/Wikipedia/ "

See also coverage of an earlier paper by the same authors

"Searching News Articles Using an Event Knowledge Graph Leveraged by Wikidata"

From the abstract:[7]

"News agencies produce thousands of multimedia stories describing events happening in the world that are either scheduled such as sports competitions, political summits and elections, or breaking events such as military conflicts, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, etc. When writing up those stories, journalists refer to contextual background and to compare with past similar events. However, searching for precise facts described in stories is hard. In this paper, we propose a general method that leverages the Wikidata knowledge base to produce semantic annotations of news articles."

"Inferring Advertiser Sentiment in Online Articles using Wikipedia Footnotes"

This paper[8] presents a method to automatically identify online articles (e.g. in news media) that report negatively about a brand, by starting from the dataset of citations in the "Criticism" section of the Wikipedia article about that brand (e.g. Uber#Criticism). The stated purpose is to use "an online user’s history of viewed articles" (which, as the authors observe, is typically accessible to "online advertising platforms [which are] in partnerships with media companies") to target ads to those users who have been exposed to negative sentiment about the brand.


"Learning to Map Wikidata Entities To Predefined Topics"

From the abstract:[9]

"Given a piece of text, [an entity disambiguation and linking system (EDL)] links words and phrases to entities in a knowledge base, where each entity defines a specific concept. Although extracted entities are informative, they are often too specific to be used directly by many applications. These applications usually require text content to be represented with a smaller set of predefined concepts or topics, belonging to a topical taxonomy, that matches their exact needs. In this study, we aim to build a system that maps Wikidata entities to such predefined topics. [...] we propose an ensemble system that effectively combines individual methods and yields much better performance, comparable with human annotators."

The resulting tool is part of a "system for information extraction from noisy user generated text such as that available on social media" by the company Lithium Technologies (now Khoros), the authors' employer at the time the research was done.


English Wikipedia's medical articles are of higher quality than those of Portuguese Wikipedia

From the abstract:[10]

"... we evaluate and compare the quality of medicine-related articles in the English and Portuguese Wikipedia. For that we use metrics such as authority, completeness, complexity, informativeness, consistency, currency and volatility, and domain-specific measurements [...]. We were able to conclude that the English articles score better across most metrics than the Portuguese articles."

"Understanding Travel from Web Queries Using Domain Knowledge from Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[11]

"... we are interested in extracting specific Wikipedia entities associated with hospitality and travel along with relevant metadata. [...] For a hotel, that would mean, we extract the parent company, say ‘Wyndham’, and then the list of establishments owned by the parent such as ‘Days Inn’, ‘La Quinta’, ‘Ramada’, ‘Super 8’ and ‘Wyndham Grand’. For each of these, we extract their tier of service such as ‘upscale’, ‘mid scale’, ‘boutique’, and ‘economy’. [...] We start with the Wikipedia page: ‘List of lists of lists’, which points to several other lists. [...] In addition to the lists, we also used the Category pages such as ‘Category:Vehicle rental companies’ [sic] and ‘Category:Travel and tourism templates’ as secondary starting points [...]. These pages yield the company names and the brand names. Next, we derive info such as the tier of service and the locations, where appropriate, using the sections, info boxes and subcategories within the pages for each of the brands we extracted. [...] Remarkably, the travel activities annotated using Wikipedia extractions agreed with [human] editorial review over 65% of the time."

"Open Personalized Navigation on the Sandbox of Wiki Pages"

From the abstract:[12]

"we present a proof-of-concept of a visual navigation tool for a personalized “sandbox” of Wiki pages. The navigation tool considers multiple groups of algorithmic parameters and adapts to user activity via graphical user interfaces. The output is a 2D map of a subset of [the] Wikipedia pages network which provides a different and broader visual representation – a map – in the neighborhood (according to some metric) of the pages around the page currently displayed in a browser."


See also previous coverage of other papers from Wiki Workshop 2019:

Briefly

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

In its war coverage, "Wikipedia shows greater conciliatory potential" than museums

From the "Conclusion" section:[13]

"This article has found that the Wikipedia entries on the war between China and Japan in the 1930s and 1940s differ substantially from the narratives in traditional technologies of memory, such as museums, in that they do not focus to the same extent on particular experiences or episodes. In this sense, Wikipedia shows greater conciliatory potential as it apparently fulfils the first of the two steps necessary for reconciliation, namely that the two sides remember more or less the same events and episodes."

"The Global Popularity of William Shakespeare in 303 Wikipedias"

From the abstract:[14]

"... for a plurality of Wikipedias, almost fifty, Romeo and Juliet is number one in pageviews, while in many, but fewer others, it is Hamlet. In seven Wikipedias, on the other hand, Macbeth is number one, while Julius Caesar is first in still several others. Othello, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, and Antony and Cleopatra are the only other rare leaders in specific Wikipedias. In short, this article will present the basic popular global reception information about all of Shakespeare’s works, filling a lacuna in critical research ..."

"Mapping the backbone of the Humanities through the eyes of Wikipedia"

From the "Highlights" section:[15]

"We analyze how scientific knowledge is established in the field of the Humanities. ...

The citation average to Humanities articles in Wikipedia is lower than the general. ... Of the 25 most cited journals on Wikipedia, none is open access."


References

  1. ^ Murphy, William J. (2019), "Using Wikipedia to promote acoustics knowledge for the International Year of Sound 2020", Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 146 (2907), doi:10.1121/1.5137087 Slides (PDF)
  2. ^ Goel, Swati; Anderson, Ashton; Zia, Leila (2019). "Thanks for Stopping By: A Study of "Thanks" Usage on Wikimedia". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1208–1211. doi:10.1145/3308558.3316756. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access Freely available version
  3. ^ Javanmardi, Ali; Xiao, Lu (2019). "What's in the Content of Wikipedia's Article for Deletion Discussions?". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1215–1223. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316750. ISBN 9781450366755. Freely available version
  4. ^ Chelsy Xie, Xiaoxi; Johnson, Isaac; Gomez, Anne (2019). "Detecting and Gauging Impact on Wikipedia Page Views". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1254–1261. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316751. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access Freely available version
  5. ^ Umarova, Khonzodakhon; Mustafaraj, Eni (2019). "How Partisanship and Perceived Political Bias Affect Wikipedia Entries of News Sources". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1248–1253. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316760. ISBN 9781450366755. closed accessFreely available version
  6. ^ Aspert, Nicolas; Miz, Volodymyr; Ricaud, Benjamin; Vandergheynst, Pierre (2019). "A Graph-Structured Dataset for Wikipedia Research". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1188–1193. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316757. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access Freely accessible version
  7. ^ Rudnik, Charlotte; Ehrhart, Thibault; Ferret, Olivier; Teyssou, Denis; Troncy, Raphael; Tannier, Xavier (2019). "Searching News Articles Using an Event Knowledge Graph Leveraged by Wikidata". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1232–1239. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316761. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access Freely available version
  8. ^ Mishra, Shaunak; Pappu, Aasish; Bhamidipati, Narayan (2019). "Inferring Advertiser Sentiment in Online Articles Using Wikipedia Footnotes". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1224–1231. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316752. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access Freely available version
  9. ^ Bhargava, Preeti; Spasojevic, Nemanja; Ellinger, Sarah; Rao, Adithya; Menon, Abhinand; Fuhrmann, Saul; Hu, Guoning (2019). "Learning to Map Wikidata Entities To Predefined Topics". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1194–1202. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316749. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access Freely accessible version
  10. ^ Domingues, Gil; Teixeira Lopes, Carla (2019). "Characterizing and Comparing Portuguese and English Wikipedia Medicine-related Articles". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1203–1207. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316758. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access
  11. ^ Iyer, Chander J; Ravindran, Srinath (2019). "Understanding Travel from Web Queries Using Domain Knowledge from Wikipedia". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1212–1214. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316759. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access Freely available version
  12. ^ An, Chuankai; N. Rockmore, Daniel (2019). "Open Personalized Navigation on the Sandbox of Wiki Pages". Companion Proceedings of The 2019 World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 1173–1179. doi:10.1145/3308560.3316755. ISBN 9781450366755. closed access Freely accessible version
  13. ^ Gustafsson, Karl (2019-07-18). "International reconciliation on the Internet? Ontological security, attribution and the construction of war memory narratives in Wikipedia". International Relations: 0047117819864410. doi:10.1177/0047117819864410. ISSN 0047-1178.
  14. ^ Blakesley, Jacob (2018). "The Global Popularity of William Shakespeare in 303 Wikipedias". Memoria di Shakespeare. A Journal of Shakespearean Studies (5). doi:10.13133/2283-8759/14509. ISSN 2283-8759.
  15. ^ Torres-Salinas, Daniel; Romero-Frías, Esteban; Arroyo-Machado, Wenceslao (2019-08-01). "Mapping the backbone of the Humanities through the eyes of Wikipedia". Journal of Informetrics. 13 (3): 793–803. doi:10.1016/j.joi.2019.07.002. ISSN 1751-1577. closed access



Reader comments


This issue brings with it the work of HaeB, Strange Passerby, and Ohconfucius; presented is a snippet of an article which originally ran back in 24 January 2011. A chapter of the long running Jimbo–Larry feud is well-documented with this piece concerning the origins of Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español. It stands perfectly timeless, so it always makes for good reading.

Concerns about ads, US bias and Larry Sanger caused the 2002 Spanish fork

A recent interview has shed new light on the 2002 fork of the Spanish Wikipedia and the influence it may have had on the development of Wikipedia as a whole, and ignited a controversy between Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales about the stance on advertising in the early phase of the project.

Edgar Enyedy, an early activist on the Spanish Wikipedia who describes himself as "some sort of unofficial leader together with Javier de la Cueva" of the fork Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español, was interviewed by Nathaniel Tkacz of the "Critical Point of View" (CPOV) Wikipedia research initiative, on whose blog the interview was first published on January 15 ("'Good luck with your WikiPAIDia': Reflections on the 2002 Fork of the Spanish Wikipedia". See also the recent Signpost interview with Tkacz and fellow CPOV member Johanna Niesyto).

Concerns about possible plans to use advertising on Wikipedia are often named as the main reason for the fork. Enyedy confirmed that remarks about ads in a February 2002 announcement by Larry Sanger triggered the exodus of the Spanish Wikipedians ("Bomis might well start selling ads on Wikipedia sometime within the next few months, and revenue from those ads might make it possible for me to come back to my old job"), but insisted that several other issues played an important role, including concerns about the insufficiently international nature of Wikipedia – an "American shadow [that] marked the first point of contention between myself and Sanger and Wales." As examples, he named the fact that "the basic pages ('what Wikipedia is not', 'be bold', 'how to start', 'sandbox', etc.) were all in English; we had the American logo in English and so on", but also referred to issues that are in some form still relevant today, such as the internationalization of the interface: "The software, for example, was not translated at all and it cast an English (language) shadow over the entire project", and cultural differences between Europe and the US regarding sexual images ("Former AOL users used to remind me that explicit biology images are widely accepted among us, but would be considered inappropriate on the American version"). The Spanish Wikipedians also differed from their English counterpart by introducing a stylebook, and an index based on the Universal Decimal Classification.

A main reason for the fork was objections to the leadership of Wikipedia's chief organizer Larry Sanger:

Also contributing to the decision to fork was a distrust of Jimmy Wales' intentions, who to Enyedy seemed reluctant to steer Wikipedia into a non-profit direction.

Asked by Tkacz how the right to fork (granted in principle by the Wikipedia's free license) looked in detail in this case, Enyedy said that the activists had to download and transfer the articles one by one. (The accessibility of timely Wikipedia dumps continues to be a point of debate today.)

Enyedy said that the Enciclopedia Libre, while still active today, "was not intended to last. It was merely a form of pressure. Some of the goals were achieved, not all of them, but it was worth the cost", and emphasized its continuing influence:

According to Tkacz, Enyedy said "that he has been approached several times a year since 2002, but has never shared his story because the people contacting him were either mainstream journalists or people from wikimedia and he wasn't convinced they would let him tell his version of the story".

The abstract of a talk about the fork given at Wikimania 2005 also mentions issues that led to its creation.

Reactions by Wales and Sanger

On January 20, Wired UK published an abbreviated version of the interview ("The Spanish Fork: Wikipedia's ad-fuelled mutiny"), which included reactions by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.

Sanger objected sharply to Enyedy's statements, saying that "the only sort of person who could seriously describe my role as an Orwellian "Big Brother" is a radical anarchist, for whom even the slightest possible exercise of authority is outrageous oppression. To be sure, Wikipedia had quite a few of such vocal characters in its early days. The story has not yet been fully told just how they essentially took over with the blessing of Jimmy Wales". But Sanger agreed that the fork "might well have been the straw that finally tipped the scales in favor of a 100% ad-free Wikipedia."

Jimmy Wales issued a much shorter statement:

Sanger objected even more sharply to Wales' statement, questioning the veracity of the first sentence, first on Twitter ("He was long in favor; I long opposed. Apologize, pls!"), then on his personal blog, recalling or citing various statements by Wales about ads from 2000 to 2002 ("From the beginning, Wales let me know in no uncertain terms that, once it garnered enough traffic, Nupedia would become ad-supported"). Sanger said that in December 2001 (when all other Bomis employees had to be laid off and his own position appeared to hinge on possible advertising revenue), he "was still uncomfortable with the idea of ads being run to support me, even in a non-profit context". The discussion then continued on Jimmy Wales' user talk page, where Wales said that "I don't see what the discrepancy is supposed to be", and Sanger accused him of lying.



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.

The content of this Signpost piece is adapted from email threads titled "What's making you happy this week?" that are sent to Wikimedia-l.

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 1 December 2019

A mail coach in an historic town in Arizona. This photo was uploaded as a part of the Wiki Loves Monuments 2018 campaign.


There was no regular content for this week. There was a discussion on Wikimedia-l regarding the design of WMYHTW emails that took place during the last week of November.

Week of 8 December 2019:
Что вас радует на этой неделе?

Aniva lighthouse, on a rocky promontory on the island of Sakhalin in Russia, with a flock of gulls circling in the surrounding mists. This was the Commons Picture of the Day for 9 December 2019. The photo was taken by Commons contributor Yaroslav Shuraev.


In the light of recent suggestions that these emails become shorter (see the discussion from the last week of November 2019 in the Wikimedia-l archives), this week I will share only two comments of my own.

  • I am thankful for useful feedback regarding these emails.
  • I am thankful to someone who did a random act of kindness for me. Their action felt like gentle sunshine amidst many challenges.


Week of 15 December 2019:
这个星期让您感到开心的是什么?


I recently visited the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The museum opened a new building this year. Although I wish that the exhibits were larger, I enjoyed seeing the museum staff at work and talking with them.

Also, I happened to see a piece of art that I liked, called Early Autumn on English Wikipedia. The piece was made in the 13th century by 钱选 (on English Wikipedia: Qian Xuan).

Week of 22 December 2019:
Co sprawia, że jesteś szczęśliwy w tym tygodniu?


For those who celebrate these occasions, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

I am happy to learn about holidays from diverse origins, and I would welcome people sharing information about holidays that they celebrate.

Wikimedia Commons hosts several audio recordings of Christmas carols that have Polish or German associations. Here are a few selections. Any corrections to English translations would be appreciated.


"El desembre congelat II" / "December Frozen II"; organ solo performance by User:Metzner
"O Tannenbaum" / "O Christmas Tree", sung in German and English by the U.S. Army Band. According to the English Wikipedia article for the carol, the lyrics to the modern version were written in 1824, and the history of the lyrics can be traced to a 16th century folk song.
"Wśród nocnej ciszy"/ "The Silence of the Night"; produced in association with Wikimedia Polska (the Wikimedia Poland chapter). Vocal performances by Magdalena Wasylik, Natalia Piotrowska, Wiktor Korszla, Kuba Jurzyk, and Marta Rytter. Musical arrangement by Marcin Kuczewski. Direction and implementation of recordings, mixing and mastering by Bartłomiej Kozielski of Studio Accantus. According to the article on Polish Wikipedia, the original authors of the lyrics and tune are unknown, and the carol was first published in the year 1853.

Requesting a new lead writer for "On the Bright Side" and "What's making you happy this week?"

I'm happy with the generally positive effect that I think that WMYHTW emails have in Wikimedia-l and that "On the bright side" has in The Signpost. I would like these publications to continue. As we approach the new calendar year, and mindful that the Lunar new year starts on the 25th of January, I respectfully request that someone replace me as the main writer for these pieces. Maybe more than one person would like to volunteer. I can continue to contribute periodically while someone else has the lead writer role. So, colleagues and friends, please consider volunteering to replace me as the lead writer for WMYHTW emails and for "On the bright side". (I intend to continue with two other initiatives, NavWiki and the Wikimedia Café.) If you would like to volunteer for WMYHTW and "On the bright side", then please leave a message at The Signpost's newsroom talk page.


A "thank you" sign. In your case, thank you for reading this publication.


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.




Reader comments

We invited the Op-Ed presented here from Jess Wade (Jesswade88), a working physicist, award-winning "ambassador for STEM" and one of Nature's 10 people who mattered in 2018. You can read more about the incident described below at this month's In the media report. – Ed.

The weekend after Thanksgiving (November 30, 2019) I headed over to my Wikipedia Watchlist, excited to check out my unread notifications. I've been editing Wikipedia for almost two years, creating articles everyday about women scientists and engineers. Usually my notifications are to alert me about the latest activity over on WikiProject Women in Red, or to let me know a page has been nominated for Did You Know, or to make suggestions about people who need biographies. But this time the notification was different – an anonymous editor, using only their IP address, had tagged 50 of my recent articles as not meeting Wikipedia's notability guidelines. The user had, at a rate exceeding 1 biography per minute, deemed this group of professors, award-winning journalists, best-selling authors and well-respected policy makers as not notable.

The notability criteria for academics to be worthy of a Wikipedia page are pretty self-explanatory – and if you've written a biography before, they won't be new to you. Researchers who have had a big impact on their academic discipline, hold a prestigious academic award, are an elected Fellow of a prestigious learned society, hold a named chair, serve as Editor-In-Chief of an important journal or have contributed to the world in their academic capacity are all deemed worthy of a spot on the site. Of course; thanks to academia's own built-in bias (white Western men are more likely to be interviewed and quoted by the press, more frequently cited in academic literature and more often awarded important fellowships or prizes), these notability criteria contribute to Wikipedia's gender gap. But even when women fulfil them, it's hard to substantiate with independent reliable sources – often the only place that writes about them is their employer. When Professor Donna Strickland won the Nobel Prize she didn't have a Wikipedia page – not because she hadn't been notable before winning, but because the only place that wrote about her being President of the Optical Society of America was the Optical Society of America, and that was deemed as not an impartial enough reference to prove she had held this position.

I made the mistake of tweeting a screenshot of the tagged pages, and for a week or so, Twitter was a frenzy of animated discussion, spurred by Wikipedia's apparent sexism. Whilst several misinterpreted the problem (after all, we all know that Wikipedia content is created and deleted by a network of volunteers, and that other than training and supporting new editors, the Wikimedia Foundation are not involved), plenty replied to say this was why they had given up. To the untrained editor, interactions like the ones I found in my notifications the weekend after Thanksgiving can sting. To beginners from underrepresented groups, the encyclopaedia can feel less like a team effort and more like an elitist members club, where those with experience throw their weight around – their opinions and power dictating what stays online and what doesn't.

We should all be doing more to tackle Wikipedia's gender and knowledge gaps. We should all be more active in editing, training and supporting new editors. We should all be encouraging journalists to cover more stories from and about those from minority groups, helping awarding bodies to recognise the outstanding work of scientists and engineers who are traditionally underrepresented and unearthing the stories of those who are all too often overlooked. We should all make more effort to edit and improve articles rather than deem them not notable. Wikipedia's a gift to the world – the whole world – and the information on here should reflect the diverse communities who benefit from it.




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Wikiproject Tree of Life has been active since the early days of Wikipedia while working on articles related to biology. They recently began a newsletter that goes out to members of the WikiProject which highlights accomplishments, goals, and general WikiProject news. To highlight their work, we interviewed five members of the WikiProject: Enwebb, AddWittyNameHere, Plantdrew, Starsandwhales, and FunkMonk. Here are their answers to our questions.

Interview

What motivated you to join WikiProject Tree of Life? Do you have any degrees or experience in biology? Are you a member of a kingdom/genus/species sub-project?
Enwebb: I have a MS in wildlife ecology and my thesis was about a species of bat. I learned how to edit Wikipedia through a Wikipedia writing assignment in a graduate-level biology course. While completing my assignment, I noticed that a lot of bat articles are underdeveloped. I thought, someone should fix those, but realized that not a lot of people have the knowledge, time, and willingness to do so...so here I am. I'm very active at Bats Task Force.
AddWittyNameHere: I've spent a fair portion of my childhood looking for moths and butterflies with my father, so joining WikiProject Lepidoptera was a natural extension of that. Joining WikiProject Tree of Life was a practical decision: it's the easiest way to stay in contact with folks working on other taxa. When you want to figure out how to make a taxonbar work or what parameters to use to get a taxobox to display the information you want it to, it doesn't really matter whether the article subject is a moth, a spider or a plant. Better to share our knowledge than to each separately try to invent the wheel.
Plantdrew: I have a life-long interest in plants, an MS in botany and work as a botanist. I started editing Wikipedia to fix issues I noticed when reading articles, and became more involved over time. I mostly work on plant articles but dabble in other organisms from time to time, which led to join ToL. I can do the most good working on topics where I have interest and expertise.
Starsandwhales: There used to be an event in Science Olympiad called herpetology, where students had to create a field guide of every single animal on a given list. This field guide had to include distribution, behavior, etc., pretty much everything a good Amphibians and Reptiles article is supposed to have. Wikipedia was always our starting point, and whenever I noticed that some of this information was missing, I would add it in. I'm still in high school (also still in SciOly), and I'm still a member of the subproject for amphibians and reptiles.
FunkMonk: I have been interested in animals, and particularly extinct ones, since I was a kid. Though I don't deal with them professionally (unless I have to draw or animate them), I like reading about them, and always wanted to make books about them. Wikipedia was the perfect place to realise this, as I can write about them and illustrate their articles. So I have been active in a few ToL related projects, such as the bird, dinosaur, and palaeontology projects, contributing articles, text, and images, but I also like reviewing articles (at GAN, FAC, or peer-review) about organisms I don't really know that much about, and thereby learning more about them.
Does the project's scope differ from other large umbrella projects? If so, how? Does WikiProject Tree of Life have a relationship with the numerous biological sub-projects?
Enwebb: I think of Tree of Life as a central watering hole for all the descending subprojects. A lot of editors have a particular niche they're interested, but TOL is how we stay connected to each other for making decisions. Ultimately a species article should look the same and be categorized the same, whether it's a mollusc or moth. I try to keep the subprojects connected via writing the Tree of Life Newsletter.
AddWittyNameHere: It's probably the closest thing to a central noticeboard and help desk for everything taxonomy-related, especially if it involves matters that impact more than a single subproject (e.g. templates, categories & MOS) or if the relevant WikiProject has few or no active members.
Plantdrew: I'm not aware of any other umbrella WikiProject that is as successful in serving as a hub for discussion. Some of the subprojects never really got of the ground, so ToL is a good place to get discussion from a larger number of people than may be watching the talk page of an inactive project.
Starsandwhales: I feel that Tree of Life is the centralized location for information on things such as templates (like the speciesboxes on every article), resources for research, and what an ideal article looks like. It also how the community of all of the subprojects is kept united-- with the newsletter and occasional contests. ToL is also the most visible, and the page itself has a massive diagram showing how the subprojects are all related. It's a good starting point for people to find their niche; whether you're interested in turtles or pterodactyls, there's probably a project or taskforce under ToL for it.
FunkMonk: As touched on above, we strive for shared standards across taxonomy articles, therefore discussions about changing various conventions should be held at the most centralised and all-encompassing venue, which is the ToL. Here, people writing about insects, plants, or dinosaurs, have a common ground to coordinate their efforts.
Do you think that there is a bias towards particular kingdoms/species within the project (or more generally, on Wikipedia?) If so, towards what kindom(s)/species?
Enwebb: Oh, absolutely. People self-select for their interests, which often happen to be charismatic megafauna or birds rather than bats and bugs. In the June 2019 issue of the Tree of Life Newsletter I looked at relative WikiWork across subprojects, and it's about what you expect: higher quality is found in articles about cats and dogs than about beetles and spiders.
Plantdrew: Assuming "bias"=has better/more articles, Wikipedia as a whole is biased towards charismatic mammals and birds, but reader interest is also biased the same way. I don't think there's any great mismatch between the taxa that Tree of Life editors (collectively) are interested in editing and readers are interested in reading.
Starsandwhales: There is definitely a bias towards mammals, birds, and extant organisms. Non-dinosaur extinct organisms have very little coverage. People also tend to write many stubs about individual species, rather than improving more general articles. For example. Turtles is only C class despite being one of top importance.
FunkMonk: Yes, birds and fungi are probably over-represented when it comes to quality articles, for example, simply because we have more editors interested in those groups. But there are a few editors who write about very diverse groups, and take on some pretty challenging articles about higher level taxa, and I think we're all thankful someone is doing that.
One of the goals of Wikiproject Tree of Life is to get more editors writing more articles about living things. How close is Wikipedia to providing a stub about every known creature? What will be the next step once that goal is achieved, if the goal is achieved?
Enwebb: Very far. There are 400,000 described species of beetle, for example, but only ~36,000 articles tagged as WikiProject Beetles. I don't know how many decades it would be to have an article on every described species. I focus more on usefulness for the articles I work on. I find stubs very unsatisfying. I think I'd rather have concurrent goals of simultaneously writing missing articles and improving existing ones rather than sequential goals of one and then the other.
AddWittyNameHere: Please no. WikiProject Lepidoptera has traditionally had a fairly strong focus on stub creation over article expansion. The result of that is that we currently have ~100k stubs around that no one can manage to keep up with for maintenance, much less actual expansion. Let's focus on getting our existing stubs to something remotely resembling useful before focusing on adding several hundreds of thousands of additional stubs ToL-wide.
Plantdrew: I don't think that is achievable; we're not even keeping pace with the rate at which new species being described. Wikipedia added about 10,000 articles on taxa from June 2018 to June 2019. Around 18,000 new species are described each year. About 9,000 of those are insects and 2,000 are plants. New plant articles are been written at about the same rate that new species are being described, but less than 20% of plant species have articles. Insect article creation is running far behind the rate of species descriptions. Wikipedia has essentially complete coverage for birds, mammals and dinosaurs. There are articles for more than half of the species of the other vertebrates (fish, reptiles, amphibians), as well as gastropods, and the pace of article creation for these seems to be outpacing the rate of species description.
I'd rather see more effort in improving existing articles than creating more stubs. Most species lacking articles are pretty niche topics mostly of interest to people with a solid taxonomy background. We have some articles of high interest to the general public that are pretty terrible (taro is basically a list of recipes popular in different parts of the world).
Starsandwhales: I don't think that is or should be the goal of Tree of Life. Yes, it's a noble idea to someday eventually cover every known species, but it is better to have 1,000s of high quality articles than 100,000s of stubs. Few people need information on obscure species with very little research, and if they do, should probably just read the research instead. Because Wikipedia is so well known, on search engines like Google, articles are often promoted above other websites that may have more/better information. If, if, this goal is achieved, I suppose the next goal would be to have images and recordings of every organism.
FunkMonk: Unless we get bots to do some of the work, I am unsure we will get articles about every living species any time soon. As for every described species, when it comes to the palaeontology project at least, it is preferred that prehistoric species are covered at the genus level, since such species are often named on pretty shaky grounds, and little can usually be said about them individually that doesn't apply to all species in their respective genera.
Does the Project face any problems today? If so, is there a solution?
Enwebb: We have much more garden than gardeners. The volunteers we have are phenomenal, but there's just a lot of work to do. I'd love it if we had more new editors with the enthusiasm to revive some of the defunct subprojects. I'm not sure where to find these would-be Wikipedians, though.
AddWittyNameHere: Let me echo everyone else here: we could really use more editors.
Taxobox example rorquals.png
Example of a taxobox template
Plantdrew: The article:editor ratio continues to grow. There are many microstubs that have gone years without being expanded. Taxonomy isn't fixed; new studies lead to updated classifications. I've become very enthusiastic about replacing manual taxoboxes with automatic taxoboxes as a partial solution for the need to update classifications. With the {{Taxobox}} infobox that was established in 2004, if a genus is transferred to a different family, every species article will need to be updated to reflect the new classification. With the automated taxobox system, a single edit to a template for the genus will update the classification for every species.
FunkMonk: Yes, we simply need more editors. While those we have are very enthusiastic about the subjects they work on, there is only so much a few people can do. But that also means there are plenty of very high profile subjects that need to have their articles expanded and improved, so it is a bit of a playground right now, where editors can pick between whatever they want to write about.
How can a new/inexperienced editor help out with the project?
Enwebb: Ultimately, however they want. We have room for content creators who want to get articles started or expanded. We have lots of taxoboxes that could be replaced with speciesboxes. Lots of articles are missing images. Several of our subprojects are dormant and waiting for someone to come along and get the ball rolling. I think we're a welcoming community. There's not a lot of conflict and I feel we're inclusive (or at least I have never felt excluded).
Plantdrew: So many ways. There are plenty of task for gnomish editors to work on, and many red-links and stubs for content creators.
Starsandwhales: Tree of Life is very friendly to new editors. People can start however they want: starting/expanding articles, working on rating articles, reviewing good article nominees, etc. There's many links to accurate resources on the project and subproject pages, and people are always willing to help look over an article. There is a bit of a knowledge gap with all of the rules and bureaucracy of Wikipedia, but there's always someone willing to help. ToL (other than the occasional but heated taxonomy debate) is relatively conflict free, since no one's going to delete a species because it isn't notable enough.
FunkMonk: An easy way to contribute would be to simply create missing articles for taxa, and what's missing can be found in the various lists of taxa within higher level groups which are often full of red links. But yeah, anyone can do whatever they want, since there is so much left to do, there should be plenty of tasks of any kind for anyone.
Do you have any last words you would like to share with our readers?
Enwebb: Put Tree of Life on your watchlist! We've started having more contests lately, which have been a lot of fun to coordinate and participate in. We had one for Halloween and we're currently doing one for winter holidays. You can work on articles like Christmas emerald dove, Santa Claus melon, Candycane pygmy goby, and more!
Starsandwhales: Subscribe to the Tree of Life Newsletter for updates on the project! It is very satisfying and motivating to see how many DYKs and Good Articles the project has every month. Also, anyone can join the ToL wikiproject, you don't need to be a professional field biologist or have an ecology degree.
FunkMonk: I'd like to thank Enwebb for making the project more like a community by starting the ToL newsletter and organising contests!

We asked these same questions eight years ago to a different group. You can view their answers here. To join Wikiproject Tree of Life, click here and add your name to the list.




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