A future with a for-profit subsidiary?
Wiki Loves Monuments
Wikimedia LLC and disinformation in Japan
Google isn't responsible for Wikipedia's mistakes
What else can we say?
Open letter to the Board of Trustees
Wanda, Meghan, Liz, Phil and Zack
For-profit subsidiary started by WMF
The non-profit Wikimedia Foundation has incorporated a for-profit subsidiary, Wikimedia LLC in order to make money from Big Tech companies like Alphabet Inc.'s Google and YouTube subsidiaries, as well as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. These companies are intensive users of Wikipedia content for products such as the Google Knowledge Graph, Amazon Alexa, and Apple's Siri. Wikimedia LLC plans to offer a service called Enterprise API to provide these and similar companies with speedy tailored access to Wikipedia data. Wikipedians and the WMF have long called for Big Tech to donate more money to the WMF to support the production of the freely licensed content they use. Some Big Tech companies do make occasional donations, but the total appears to be less than $5 million per year.
Big Tech and other paying customers would benefit by having more business-like service-level agreements (SLAs), getting clean timely data that meets their specific needs. Other users would benefit from having full, but less timely, access to the same data that Big Tech uses. The WMF would benefit by getting more, and more consistent, revenues that they can use to fund the aggressive growth plans described in the strategic plan. The overall Wikipedia movement would benefit by having broader and more timely distribution of our freely licensed content, with our content licensing requirements respected.
It's common in the U.S. for non-profit organizations to own for-profit subsidiaries. For example, non-profit museums may own book stores and restaurants designed to support their cultural mission and raise cash. Almost any type of for-profit business can be owned as long as the business supports the overall mission of the non-profit, even if that is only by raising cash. For example the non-profit Hershey Trust Company, a charity that helps educate disadvantaged children, effectively controls the Hershey Company, a multinational food and chocolate company, and owns Hersheypark and several other tourism related companies. Taxes must be paid on the for-profits' earnings.
The WMF has discussed the project with Big Tech to determine that they have potential customers and the general areas of their interest, but no agreements have been reached. The WMF is also consulting Wikipedians on the project. Currently the most convenient place to ask questions and give feedback is on the meta talk page for Wikimedia Enterprise. More structured consultations will be scheduled. WMF spokesperson Liam Wyatt says the timing of the consultations was set in order to ensure that enough solid information is available to allow meaningful discussion, while still having the input be useful for determining the overall shape and many details of the proposed project.
Wikipedians' reactions to the announcement, as usual, are quite varied. Many Wikipedians are happy that Big Tech will be paying their fair share of WMF's expenses. Administrator meta.states "An enterprise API as a fee-for-service is desirable and long-term funding would be good". Others seem surprised that the WMF can take on such a project. From legal, practical, and historical perspectives, it can and already has taken on a similar project. Strategic, ethical, and financial points of view may lead to more productive discussions. The principles that the WMF has laid out for the project are described on
The earlier project was described to The Signpost by the WMF's first employee, Brion Vibber. Leaving out the technical details, Vibber wrote "The start year was 2004. It didn't scale super well because you either had to parse the wikitext yourself or hook it up to a MediaWiki instance and all that entails... Eventually the potential clients found their own workflows... And then eventually they came back and decided they wanted us to make a better workflow, and the Enterprise API was born!"
Long-time Wikipediannotes that Wikipedia and Google have had a long and mutually beneficial relationship.
We would be less reachable by the public without the traffic that comes from them, but they would be much less valuable without having at least some fairly decent content, a great deal of which comes from us. Possibly this degree of relatedness is worth preserving: If we look at ultimate value to the general public, having our content on Google improves the amount of somewhat reliable information available there, especially on topics they wouldn't otherwise have any content-- in that sense, they act as a co-distributor. As an illustration, Google content derived from WP might be available in countries that prohibit access directly to WP.
A 2005 Signpost story illustrates the sometimes close relationship well. Wikipedia was having trouble keeping up with the load on its servers and Google offered to host some of Wikipedia for free on its servers. As Jimmy Wales recalled to The Signpost he was a guest lecturer at Stanford and ran into Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. They offered the use of Google’s servers but there were unforeseen technical difficulties, so they donated money instead to the WMF.
Still DGG is very skeptical about the WMF's need to raise more money and fears "commercial entanglement". Userhas similar views, believing that raising more money only distracts from the needed focus on the volunteer community. When asked if the WMF could do anything to earn his support, he answered.
Do it without any money from donors or employee time paid for by donors. Every other for-profit LLC has to secure funding somehow; why should this one be different? Make a pitch to Google, Amazon, and Apple. If they are willing to pay for the service in the future they should be willing to invest in completely funding the creation of the service now.
Lockdown continues – uptick in Wikipedia editing
As the world comes to 12 months of lockdowns, we recall sofa surfing, socially distanced dating and for many the great declutter. Wikipedia editing has joined the ranks of indoor speleology, gardening, baking and mask making as one of those activities that people have resorted to because they still can. Early signs are that 2021 has started with an editing frequency that the community hasn't seen since 2010 (apart from one spike when we moved the interwiki links to Wikidata). – W
Wiki Loves Monuments announced their 2020 winners this month, with some understandable delay. Congratulation to the organizers and to all participants. Having a photo contest this size in pandemic conditions is itself a major achievement. There were an extraordinary number of winners this year from Middle Eastern and North African countries. So much the better! The encyclopedia needs photos from many countries. See commons:Wiki Loves Monuments 2020 winners for more complete results.
First through third places
Two of the top three places – and an additional eight in the top 15 – featured sites in the Middle East and North Africa.
Four through fifteen
A few of our favorites
Not all of our favorites placed in the top 15. In no special order these are:
Wikipedia Is Finally Asking Big Tech to Pay Up by Noam Cohen in Wired broke the biggest story of the month about Wikimedia Foundation's for-profit subsidiary Wikimedia, LLC and its intended product, Wikimedia Enterprise, more commonly known as Enterprise API. While there are now over 100 news stories on the topic, Cohen is almost the only journalist who directly quotes WMF staffers.
Google and Wikipedia, according to Cohen, have long had an unspoken partnership. Google provides Wikipedia with readers, Wikipedia provides Google with content. The idealists on Wikipedia, according to Cohen, have been providing the content for free to the "rapacious capitalists" at Google and other Big Tech firms. Now the WMF is trying to charge Big Tech for faster access to the content. This more business-like relationship should result in more money to the WMF, and better service to Big Tech. Other users of the data dump of all articles, which can be downloaded every two weeks, and of the recent changes "fire hose", will still be able to use those formats for free. Those companies who need faster access, better service, or customized data feeds will pay for the privilege.
Big Tech's money should stabilize the WMF's cash inflows and allow it to pay for expected expansion in the global south. But there's a problem in getting too much money from Big Tech – the WMF could become dependent on that cash. Wikipedians will be exposed to commercial influences from our new business partners and will need to trust that they don't take advantage of us. Cohen concludes "One can only hope that [the community] finds partners worthy of such faith."
Disinformation on Japanese Wikipedia
Non-English Editions of Wikipedia Have a Misinformation Problem by Yumiko Sato in Slate The Japanese Wikipedia gets the second most page views after the English Wikipedia, but its coverage of some topics, especially those related to World War II, is lacking according to Sato. The systemic problems are exemplified by the coverage of well-documented human experimentation by Unit 731 during the 1930s and 1940s, which are described as "a theory". The Nanking massacre is described as the Nanking incident. That article contains few period photographs, with none of horrific ones that are displayed on the English Wikipedia.
The Japanese article on comfort women – women held in sexual slavery by the Japanese army – uses the Japanese word for "prostitution". Sato states the "article is not designed to inform the readers but to confuse them and cast a seed of doubt in their minds." She proposes several causes for the systemic problem, including Japanese cultural and linguistic isolation, but stresses the relatively few Japanese administrators, and the strong control they exercise.
Videos and podcasts
- Wikimedia CEO Katherine Maher on disinformation, Wikipedians and Wiki policies (video 58:45): Maher takes a dive into disinformation issues and explains how Wikipedia works to the Canadian Centre for Journalism.
- The Future of Wikipedia, Breaking Your Filter Bubble, Werewolves, Alabama, and Why it is Important to be Nice to People, with Jimmy Wales (podcast) in Irish Tech News: Jimmy lets folks know that almost everything is different between London and Alabama. He also gives a concise and informative overview of the issues involved in the Enterprise API proposal.
- Making sure Wikipedia shows that Women Do News (podcast 25:11). It's All Journalism interviews Angilee Shah and Jareen Imam about the project Women do news which helps write and edit articles on women journalists.
- Wikipedia turns 20 (podcast) on Australian ABC featuring Heather Ford.
- Episode 10: Veni Vidi Vicipéid: Building an Irish Wikipedia' in The World According to Wikipedia
- The Tensions Behind Wikipedia’s New Code of Conduct by Stephen Harrison in Slate concentrates on the problem of harassment. He interviews ArbCom member and Meg Wacha, President of Wikimedia New York City. See Arbitration report for a new development related to this story.
- Fact Check-CPAC Wikipedia page was temporarily edited; not evidence of bias by Google in Reuters. Vandals inserted material into Wikipedia saying that CPAC is "attended by conservatives, QAnon symphesizers (sic), Neo Nazis, KKK members, rapists, insurrectionalists (sic), Trumpists and fraudulent elected officials." The material was quickly removed, but not before somebody took a screen shot of a Google search result and posted it online. There's no indication in Reuters on who vandalized Wikipedia or why, but they conclude "These posts are not evidence that Google or Wikipedia workers described CPAC using these words." See a related article in this issue Google isn't responsible for Wikipedia's mistakes.
- From English to Arabic: Are Wikipedia’s Egalitarian Values Getting Lost in Translation?: Egyptian Streets reports on WikiGap.
- If you want impact, why aren’t you writing for Wikipedia?: by Piotr Konieczny in THE, encourages academics to edit Wikipedia and their employers to give career-enhancing recognition for it.
- Bad education: A mathematician, astrophysicist, publisher, and Wikipedia director respond to Russia’s draft law on ‘educational activity’ that could force new regulations on popular science and more Meduza, our favorite Latvian website that publishes in both Russian and English, reports that the Russian State Duma has passed a bill placing as-yet-undefined restrictions on educational websites. The bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by President Putin before it becomes law, Stanislav Kozlovsky, executive director of Wikimedia-Russia, says he expects the law to fail.
- Microsoft Edge gets a special Wikipedia reader mode in Windows Central.
- Adora Svitak is a writer, public speaker, activist, and former child prodigy. She is also a Communications Specialist at the Wikimedia Foundation. This article was originally published March 8, 2021, in the Wikimedia Foundation News (CC By-SA)
Think of a historical event, one you learned about in school. Maybe an expedition, a treaty, or a speech. How about a years-long atrocity, or a record-breaking achievement? When you picture this event, who are the central characters?
Now, ask yourself if you know the women's side of the story.
For as long as written history, women have far too often been left out of the record. And in a world that tells us to stay quiet, telling women’s stories is a radical act.
Many women have led the way: from Urvashi Butalia, who founded a feminist publishing house and shared the history of the Partition of India through the eyes of women and marginalized groups, to Nawal El Saadawi, who linked women’s medical ailments to social conditions of oppression and faced imprisonment for her publication of feminist texts. Flora Nwapa became one of the first African women publishers in 1970, educating the world about the lives of women in Nigeria.
Through Project Rewrite, we are calling attention to the persistent gender gaps on Wikipedia — missing information about cis and transgender women — and calling on everyone to help close them. We are also recognizing through the initiative that BIPOC women, in particular, have been most often left out of history.
While the problem exists on Wikipedia, the solution involves changes outside of it.
In particular, we are encouraging journalists, academics, thought leaders, and individuals and organizations in the information landscape to increase their coverage of women, particularly women who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) — building out the ecosystem of secondary literature that Wikipedians rely on to create and improve content.
The information landscape comprises the universe of resources we turn to when we’re looking for knowledge, including books, academic journals, newspapers and magazines, television shows, podcasts, conferences, and, of course, Wikipedia. In each of these places, women are missing, and it's part of a vicious cycle.
Here’s how it plays out on Wikipedia:
New information can be added to Wikipedia if, and only if, it is supported by a citation from a published, reliable source. For example, a factual statement about the subject of an article, such as "In 1977, Wangarĩ Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement," must include a reference. (That’s why you see the small numbers in brackets everywhere in Wikipedia articles!)
To create a new biography on Wikipedia requires even more reliable sources to meet Wikipedia's notability requirements. The basic criteria for a person to be considered "notable" enough for their own Wikipedia article is "if they have received significant coverage in multiple published secondary sources that are reliable, intellectually independent of each other, and independent of the subject."
But what happens when a Wikipedia contributor is looking for sources and comes up empty?
On March 2, Angilee Shah wrote in Poynter about the struggles she and other Women Do News volunteers face when trying to create new Wikipedia articles for prominent women journalists, especially women journalists of color.
... women journalists who are clearly 'notable' simply have not been written about or credited for their vital work well enough to support a Wikipedia entry.... What starts as discrimination, being given the wrong title or not included in a byline — heck, even an ignored email or application — bubbles up into systematic erasure of the contributions of many people.
Women are less than a quarter of the people heard; read about; or seen in newspaper, television, and radio news. BBC has written about the phenomenon of the all-male conference panel, or “manel,” and the blog that emerged to document them. On Twitter, an average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman.
As Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher puts it, "Wikipedia mirrors the world’s biases. It doesn’t cause them." On English Wikipedia, fewer than 20% of biographies are about women, and fewer than 20% of editors identify as women — stats that undoubtedly worsen when considering articles by and about Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color.
This is a reflection of a bigger problem.
The information landscape is an uneven playing field for women because women have been written out of history. Numerous women's talents and contributions went shamefully unrecorded or celebrated by their contemporaries. Alice Ball, for example, developed the most effective treatment for leprosy during the early 20th century, but her findings were stolen by a male chemist. It took years to correct the injustice and bring light to Ball’s contributions.
There are superheroes who we will never get to know because of the opportunities denied to them on the basis of gender identity. When we learn only one half of history, everyone loses. We perceive more narrowly where humanity can go and what we can achieve as individuals and as a collective.
To fix the gender gaps on our knowledge projects, we need to fix gender gaps in the literature and media that volunteers cite. Let's change the conversation, take back the canon, and give credit where credit is due.
It’s time for a rewrite!
There is progress already being made. Wikipedia turned 20 this year, and the strength and diversity of its contributor base has improved with age. Over the past year, the movement has achieved major change by increasing women editors by more than 30 percent. There are efforts from the Wikimedia Foundation and global volunteer movement to improve diversity and welcome new contributors into the movement. We’re seeing promising signs from around the world: sub-Saharan Africa, for example, saw a 500 percent increase since 2014 in the number of organized Wikimedia volunteer affiliates. This is important because there are knowledge gaps within knowledge gaps — not only along gender lines, but also geography, race, religion, class, and other facets.
Throughout the month of March, Project Rewrite partners posted profiles of notable women on their blogging and news channels, and we shared interviews with women leaders, as well as opportunities to get involved in edit-a-thons and other initiatives organized by Wikimedia communities around the world.
In late March, the Wikimedia Foundation will be hosting a virtual event to discuss solutions for gender disparity in the information landscape and learn more about the important relationship between journalistic sources and content on Wikipedia.
How can you be part of the solution?
- If you are a writer, journalist, or media personality:
- Cover women’s stories. Profile them in your newsletter, blog, magazine, newspaper, YouTube channel, TikTok, etc.
- Seek women’s expertise. Do you need an expert to interview for your segment on a specific topic? Look to women researchers, innovators, and academics.
- Make it easier for others to reuse and reshare your work. Upload content with a Creative Commons license, and where it makes sense — for instance, if you have a treasure trove of photographs of a notable woman that you took yourself — you can upload those resources directly to Wikimedia Commons so that other volunteers can use them across various Wikimedia projects.
- Register for a late March Wikimedia Foundation event. (Sign up here to be notified as soon as event registration becomes available, or monitor the Wikimedia Foundation News for updates.)
- Do you have a blog, podcast, or other communication channel? Sharing women’s stories there helps elevate them in the wider information landscape. You never know the ripple effect sharing story can have. If you would like to create content profiling women for Project Rewrite, please contact the WMF at email@example.com.
- Do you know of women who aren’t yet on Wikipedia but should be? Share their stories and links to more information with the hashtags #WikiGap and #ProjectRewrite on social media. Wikimedia Sverige and the Wiki Gap team will be collecting these suggestions from social media and distributing to volunteers who want to create articles.
- Do you want to edit? Join an event! You can find a list of gender equity-focused campaigns taking place around the world during the month of March here.
- Follow the Wikimedia Foundation on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow along with the campaign throughout March.
- Help promote #ProjectRewrite on social media using these resources.
The erasure of women’s achievements, and systematic oppression of many people on the basis of gender identity, is a huge problem. We can’t solve it in a single day or a single month. But what we do have is an opportunity to add to the first draft of history, to create a better record, one that more fully depicts the way women have moved the world.
"Generating Architectural Landmark Descriptions" from Wikipedia, DBpedia and image analysis
This paper describes a process to automatically generate descriptions of architectural landmarks using Wikipedia article text, Wikimedia Commons images, and DBpedia triples. The paper lists some examples on how this approach can go awry (see below), noting that "these descriptions cannot compete, in general, with more comprehensive well-written descriptions as encountered in Wikipedia. Still, it needs to be taken account that by far not all architectural landmarks that are of interest from the professional or cultural viewpoint are covered by Wikipedia. Fused content descriptions are then a welcomed solution".
|Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with French engineer Albert Caquot. Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida fashioned the face. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue is 30 metres (98 ft) high, excluding its 8-metre (26 ft) pedestal. The arms stretch 28 metres (92 ft) wide.|
|Christ the Redeemer (statue), which was built of Soapstone, is a Statue in Brazil.|
|Fused [with descriptions based on image recognition, incorrect content in red]|
|Christ the Redeemer (statue), which was built of Soapstone, is a statue in a zen garden environment in Brazil. Its architectural style is Hellinistic. Christ the Redeemer (statue) has similarities with a windmill and a beach house. There is an elevator shaft in it.|
- See the page of the monthly Wikimedia Research Showcase for videos and slides of past presentations.
Other recent publications
Other recent publications that could not be covered in time for this issue include the items listed below. Contributions, whether reviewing or summarizing newly published research, are always welcome.
"10%–30% of Wikipedia’s contributors have substantial subject-matter expertise"
From the abstract:
"we carefully crossed information from individual Wikipedia editor pages with external sources such as Google Scholar to reliably identify editors who are credentialed experts. Matching these credentialed experts with their Wikipedia editing patterns, we used this dataset to train a machine learning classifier that we then employed to identify additional expert editors and assess the nature and the scope of their work across Wikipedia. Our results suggest that the scope of expert involvement is substantial, albeit with considerable differences across topics. We estimate that approximately 10%–30% of Wikipedia’s contributors have substantial subject-matter expertise in the topics that they edit."
See also coverage of an earlier conference presentation: "Evidence of Dark Matter: Assessing the Contribution of Subject-matter Experts to Wikipedia"
A paper from last year's "7th Workshop on Linked Data in Linguistics"  presented descriptive statistics about the lexemes of Wikidata, showing that there are still relatively few multilingual links as of 2020 (i.e. around two years after the project's launch).
Wikidata's "sustainable integration into library operations remains a challenge"
From the abstract:
"The review revealed that Wikidata in libraries is generally described as an open and reusable knowledgebase of structured data capable of linking local metadata with a network of global metadata. Libraries have started experimenting with Wikidata to improve the global reach and access of their unique and prominent collections and scholars. While Wikidata holds great potential to become the repository choice for authority data disambiguation and linking, its sustainable integration into library operations remains a challenge."
"On Altpedias: partisan epistemics in the encyclopaedias of alternative facts*"
From the abstract:
"We consider a selection of Altpedias that reject Wikipedia’s celebrated ‘neutral point of view’ as an artefact of liberal consensus politics whilst regarding their own epistemics as inherently partisan. As opposed to disregarding objectivity or truth, Altpedias’ ‘alternative facts’ may thus be understood as the product of competing normative standpoints concerning the use value of knowledge. In competing with Wikipedia, Altpedias ultimately attempt to give their partisan viewpoints universal standards, both in tone and in their very nature as wiki platforms. Empirically, the article uses visual network analysis and natural language processing in order to represent the vernacular worldviews of several far- and extreme-right Altpedias: Metapedia, Infogalactic and Rightpedia. Theoretically, the article frames these Altpedias’ fractious approach to the study of knowledge in relation to Lyotard’s ‘general agonistic’ and his speculations concerning the impact of computation on epistemics in the postmodern condition. "
- Mille, Simon; Symeonidis, Spyridon; Rousi, Maria; Felipe, Montserrat; Stavrothanasopoulos, Klearchos; Alvanitopoulos, Petros; Carlini, Roberto; Grivolla, Jens; Meditskos, Georgios; Vrochidis, Stefanos; Wanner, Leo. A Case Study of NLG from Multimedia Data Sources: Generating Architectural Landmark Descriptions (PDF). com3rd International Workshop on Natural Language Generation from the Semantic Web (WebNL). Dublin, Ireland (Virtual).
- Yarovoy, Alex; Nagar, Yiftach; Minkov, Einat; Arazy, Ofer (2020-10-16). "Assessing the Contribution of Subject-matter Experts to Wikipedia". ACM Transactions on Social Computing. 3 (4): 21–1–21:36. doi:10.1145/3416853. ISSN 2469-7818.
- Finn Arup Nielsen: "Lexemes in Wikidata: 2020 status". Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Linked Data in Linguistics (LDL-2020), pages 82–86. PDF
- Tharani, Karim (2021-03-01). "Much more than a mere technology: A systematic review of Wikidata in libraries". The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 47 (2): 102326. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2021.102326. ISSN 0099-1333.
- Keulenaar, Emillie V. de; Tuters, Marc; Kisjes, Ivan; Beelen, Kaspar (2019-07-11). "On Altpedias: partisan epistemics in the encyclopaedias of alternative facts*". Artnodes (24).
- Zarasophos published this opinion piece in the June 2018 edition of The Signpost. While many of his opinions relate to the current proposals for an Enterprise API, please remember that this article predates those proposals. The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signpost or its staff.
If you type "Rizaeddin bin Fakhreddin" into Google, Google will give you a list of links and a small box to the right. The first link will probably be to the English Wikipedia article on bin Fakhreddin, created and written by me; this can easily be checked by going into the page history of the article. But most likely you'll never bother to actually click on the article because of that small box to the right. "Rizaeddin bin Fakhreddin was a Tatar scholar and publicist that lived in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union", it reads.
I typed that sentence. I also put the birth and death dates onto Wikipedia. I uploaded the picture to Wikimedia Commons and put it into the article – or articles, actually, because I also created the article on the German Wikipedia. But now I find this information directly on Google. There is a link to the Wikipedia article, but that may as well be a result of Father Google's omniscient mercy. Nowhere does the box state that it presents the work of an unpaid volunteer next to Google advertisements. The effect is obvious: In a 2017 study, half of the participants attributed what they found in the Knowledge Graph, which is the name of that small box, not to Wikipedia, but to Google.
Only good enough to blame
The Knowledge Graph has recently been in the news for saying that California Republicans are Nazis. The scandal was reported, discussed, closed, opened again and finally forgotten. Conservatives still think Google is biased against them; Google says the whole thing wasn't its fault.
We regret that vandalism on Wikipedia briefly appeared on our search results. This was not the the result of a manual change by Google.
— Google press release
No, obviously it wasn't. None of the content you presented there was. That was all Wikipedia's.
But the interesting thing is that in the public eye, this was still Google's fault. Read through the Twitter thread; none of the enraged commenters there seem to believe that this wasn't an action by a Google employee. "Google: Republicans are Nazis", read the headline on the Drudge Report article exposing the issue, and Wired magazine made a whole story out of making clear that the vandalism itself happened on Wikipedia. And all of that while more Wikipedia editors quickly did the dirty work; they hunted down the specific edit that caused the problem, corrected the vandalism and placed the page under semi-protection to prevent copycats. Meanwhile, the Knowledge Graph is still humming along, the ideology section removed, the rest still filled with Wikipedia data, and Google can be happy until the next scandal.
And we are left with a question: Why do we let this happen? Why do we let a multi-billion dollar company exploit us as uncredited mules – as long as there isn't a need for someone to shift the blame to? Where is the organization that should be responsible for protecting the rights of its volunteer editors – where is the WMF? Traditionally, Google is one of the biggest sponsors of the Foundation; for example, they chucked Jimmy Wales a $2m grant in 2010, more than they donated the whole last year. A few months later, they acquired the knowledge base Freebase, which was to form the basis for the Knowledge Graph, for an undisclosed sum.
Exploiters of free content should give back
After the recent scandal surfaced, the Foundation took an apologetic stance. "We're sorry", its statement seems to say, "and no, online encyclopedias still aren't a bad thing." But on 15 June, WMF executive director Katherine Maher, writing an opinion piece in Wired, saw the other side: "If Wikipedia is being asked to help hold back the ugliest parts of the internet, from conspiracy theories to propaganda, then the commons needs sustained, long-term support", she says, "The companies which rely on the standards we develop, the libraries we maintain, and the knowledge we curate should invest back. And they should do so with significant, long-term commitments that are commensurate with our value we create."
This is a step in the right direction. At the very least, the platform economies of the world should give something back to the largest source of the information they feed their algorithms with. As Maher concludes, "we shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for our value", but maybe it is time we see Google – and Facebook, and Amazon – not only as partners, but also as the ones making huge profits sustained by our unpaid labor.
- This essay was created on August 2, 2008, by Wikipedia:The Free Encyclopedia. It contains the advice and opinions of 52 Wikipedia contributors and has been translated into 12 languages. It is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints. and has been edited by 51 other editors since that time. You may edit it, but please edit at the essay's original location,
|This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia is "free" as in "free software" and "free culture", not necessarily "free beer" and "free speech".|
The subtitle of Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
The main meaning of "Free"
The Encyclopedia Britannica says the following about the history of dictionary publishing:
The next important dictionary to be published was an English–French one by John (or Jehan) Palsgrave in 1530 [...] and a letter has survived showing that he arranged with his printer that no copy should be sold without his permission, lest his proffit by teaching the Frenche tonge myght be mynished by the sale of the same to suche persons as, besids hym, wern disposed to studye the sayd tongue.— "dictionary". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
The English word "free" has several meanings. The word "Free" in "The Free Encyclopedia" refers first and foremost to the licensing terms of Wikipedia's content. Text is contributed to Wikipedia under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)—copyleft licenses for free content. It mainly means that the rights on the text belong to its authors, but the text may be freely read, distributed and modified as long as the modified versions are distributed under the same licenses. Read the full text of the licenses for the precise legal terms.
The goal of such licensing is producing reference material free to all people—a collection of human knowledge, which cannot be limited or controlled by restrictive use of copyright law and which, under most reasonable conditions, can be used and shared by everyone without any hindrance. Thus Wikipedia reverses the restrictive trend set by Mr. John Palsgrave half a millennium ago.
Uploading to Wikipedia of information whose copyright terms are not compatible with CC-BY-SA or GFDL is not allowed. If uploaded, such data will be promptly deleted. The only exception to this is that the English Wikipedia allows limited uploading of some images and media files under "fair use" terms; see Wikipedia:Non-free content for details. Wikipedias in some other languages, for example Spanish, do not allow "fair use" content at all and include nothing but free content.
The other meanings of "Free"
Some people misunderstand the subtitle "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", often because of the different meanings of the word "free" in the English language. Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales said the following about the ambiguity of the English word "free":
[W]e probably run into the problem of the word 'free' in English, which means both "gratis" (free of charge) and "libre" (liberty). We mean primarily the 2nd meaning, but it will depend on the particular language as to whether "libre access" is a concept which can be smoothly expressed. Since we also mean "gratis" as a secondary meaning, that can be used.
Some of these meanings happen to apply to Wikipedia in whole or in part, but they do not necessarily reflect the intention of Wikipedia's existence and must be precisely understood.
"Free Encyclopedia" does not mean "zero price encyclopedia"
In practice, any person who has access to the World Wide Web may read the content of Wikipedia on the website wikipedia.org without paying any money. This, however, does not mean that Wikipedia content is fully non-commercial. Copies of Wikipedia content can be sold. The CC-BY-SA and GFDL licenses allow charging money for distributing content that they cover. Indeed, parts of Wikipedia were copied to optical media (such as DVD) and printed on paper, and these copies were distributed for money.
Furthermore, it is forbidden to upload to Wikipedia any content whose copyright terms allow only non-commercial use, as this is not compatible with the meaning of "free" as defined by CC-BY-SA and GFDL.
"Free Encyclopedia" does not mean "anyone can edit it however they like"
"An encyclopedia that anyone can edit" does not refer to the legal or ethical right of any editor to contribute content supporting their own point of view. Some editors understand the "anyone can edit" part of "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" as an extension of the word "free". This is wrong, as the sentence encompasses two separate concepts. "Free" refers to licensing, as explained above; "anyone can edit" refers to the fact that Wikipedia is a wiki, a website that nearly anyone with access to the web can edit without asking for permission. However, Wikipedia strives to be a reliable encyclopedia that presents to the reader verifiable information written from a neutral point of view. Anyone can boldly edit Wikipedia as long as they do it in line with these goals, but edit actions that contradict these rules will be reverted and in extreme cases editors who perform them may be blocked.
"Free Encyclopedia" does not necessarily refer to "Free Speech"
A common definition of Free Content and Free Software is that it is "free as in free speech, not free beer". But yet again, this refers to the licensing of Wikipedia. Wikipedia respects Freedom of speech, but it is not a content policy. For more on this, see Wikipedia:Free speech.
- Wikipedia:Free encyclopedia
- About Wikipedia
- What Wikipedia is not
- Copyrights in Wikipedia
- Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License – the legal license as it applies to Wikipedia
- GNU Free Documentation License, an encyclopedic article about the history of the license and the related movements of Free software and Free content
- Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks
- The Free Software Definition by the Free Software Foundation
Yoninah's final edit was on 18 January 2021, an abrupt end to a long and prolific tenure on Wikipedia. At the time, she was among our 400 most active editors. She was especially active at Did you know (DYK), where she mentored new contributors, reviewed nominations, and prepared sets of "hooks" to be published on the Main Page. Over the years, there had been offers to nominate her as a Wikipedia admin, but Yoninah politely refused each time, saying she was happy just being an editor. She was so omnipresent on the DYK project that her sudden absence was felt immediately among the community. Several editors began to post on her talk page on 28 January, ten days after her final edit, to wish her well and hope for her speedy return. Sadly, she never did.
Yoninah was an editor since 3 July 2005, first interested in Roots: The Saga of an American Family. She resided in Jerusalem and identified as a Jewish professional editor, writing articles for Wikipedia about (in her order) rabbis, Breslov personalities, Jewish personalities, Hasidic dynasties, yeshivas, streets, neighborhoods, landmarks, cemeteries, Jewish themes, books and films. She might have also included food and women biographies among her contributions. Some of her articles reached Good Article status, including Birds' Head Haggadah, Chaim Topol, Chavrusa, Downtown Triangle, Schwester Selma and The Precious Legacy. Yoninah, who enjoyed photography, was also active on Commons, where she contributed several images related to Jewish holidays and themes, along with photos of people and places in Jerusalem.
She became the soul of DYK. Yoninah assembled diverse and interesting sets of DYK "hooks", brought her knowledge of a wide array of topics to the project, and always put our readers' interests at the forefront of her work. She contributed hundreds of articles to DYK; among her last was Psalm 148, written in collaboration. She added Hebrew text and facts about use in Judaism to almost sixty of the Psalms. She was known as someone who could find high-quality, visually intriguing images to use for DYK. As one editor noted, it's not an overstatement to say that "Yoninah has touched the lives of almost every English-speaking person in the world with access to the internet—not primarily because of the articles she wrote, but the huge positive effect she had in our community."
Her death was announced to the community at Wikipedia talk:Deceased Wikipedians on 17 March 2021, and confirmed privately by various editors. However, out of respect for Yoninah's privacy, additional information about her real-life identity and her death have since been suppressed. We never knew what she looked like, or any other personal information that did not relate directly to DYK and Wikipedia. Yoninah's gift to the world was what Wikipedia was created for—a sharing of knowledge that renders invisible the boundaries of geography and politics.
Over 60 Wikipedians have left testimonials on her talk page, including:
- "Losing her not only left a pretty noticeable gap at DYK, but her death also makes me feel like a cherished friend has vanished."
- "Yoninah just quietly got on with the work and made a huge contribution to the project that will be truly missed."
- "Yoninah's contributions to Wikipedia were immense, and she was an exceptionally collaborative and helpful colleague."
- "תהי נשׁמתה צרורה בּצרור החיים." ("May her soul be bound up in the bond of life.")
- "Yoninah was a true guiding light in Wikipedia."
- "What a wonderful, generous spirit she held inside her earthly vessel."
- "You were always there for us on DYK, you were a rock, Yoninah."
- "She will be missed, and we will have big shoes to fill to continue her work."
- "Her commitment to the tidiness of the DYK section was magnificent."
- "Yoninah was a god-send when it came to images. Terrific lady, she was."
- "נר ה' נשמת אדם" ("The spirit of a woman is the candle of the Lord.")
- "The DYK community will feel less without Yoninah."
- "A true Wikipedian, the likes of which I'd never seen before on Wikipedia."
- "What a shattering loss. How tremendously valued she was in life."
Yoninah was beloved by many and will be remembered. May her memory be a blessing.
Last week the Arbitration Committee made an unusual decision involving the policy on outing. An editor was topic-banned based on an article published in The Daily Dot which apparently outed the long time editor. The unusual part was that ArbCom specifically allowed editors to link to that article in discussions about conflict-of-interest editing. Some editors were delighted that an offender of our COI rules had been caught. Others fear that ArbCom was unilaterally changing a major protection against harassment. A discussion at WT:Harassment seems to indicate that the editors there don't like the idea of allowing linking to a reliable source that both names an editor's real name and their username. But it looks like they'll accept links to the Daily Dot article now since ArbCom has given special permission. The Signpost has a different take on the controversy.
We've been trying for years to report serious COI and paid editing problems while staying within the outing policy. We believe that it is outrageous that accused sex offenders like Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, and Peter Nygard were apparently able to edit Wikipedia, either as COI editors or through paid editors, though we recognize that administrators were successful in catching or at least slowing down these editors.
We linked to The New York Times where they gave a username that they state was named by Epstein in an official document as an account that he used. Since we also had on-Wiki evidence of paid editing including the following edit summary, we believe we were following the current outing policy.
To be clear, the policy, as written, is convoluted, at times self-contradictory, and just poorly written. Violating the policy has dire consequences – up to an immediate ban that can be imposed by any administrator. We just wish that the community would write an easy-to-understand policy that would apply to everybody. We don't want to ask ArbCom for exemptions for specific stories, which would look like submitting our stories to pre-publication censorship.
Last month we reported that accused sex offender Peter Nygard apparently used paid editors to edit Wikipedia. The evidence included a story in The Guardian, which we linked to, that documented a UK court order requiring that the Wikimedia Foundation release the identities of editors. The court order could not be enforced, but there was strong evidence on-Wiki that Nygard, or more likely, his paid representatives, edited Wikipedia.
The essence of the outing policy is that an editor's username should not be connected to "personal information [including] legal name, date of birth, identification numbers, home or workplace address, job title and work organisation, telephone number, email address, other contact information, or photograph, whether such information is accurate or not," unless the editor has stated that information themself on the English Wikipedia.
When discussing COI or paid editing "workplace address, job title and work organisation", can be tricky but we believe that simply establishing a strong possibility that the editor behind a username is a paid editor does not out their workplace address or work organization. For example a COI or paid editor may work for an individual person, a company that is the subject of an article, or their lawyer, or a paid editing company. Or they may just be a friend or relative editing from their own home or workplace.
We request that the community – and ArbCom if they wish – take another look at some of the articles we've written in this series, and let us know what, if anything, they think violates the letter or spirit of our policy on outing. Then the community will have an idea of what needs to be clarified – or possibly changed – in the policy for us and other editors to be able to seriously discuss possible paid or COI editors inserting disinformation into Wikipedia. Not having a clear policy on outing will prevent Wikipedia from addressing these matters in a world full of disinformation.
Please review the following Signpost articles and let us know in the comments section below whether you believe we have violated the letter or spirit of Wikipedia's outing policy
Please note that we are not asking for a special rule for The Signpost. Outing policy should apply to all editors, whether they are editing at WP:COIN, at a sockpuppet investigation, on an article talkpage, and even in mainspace articles.
Given a clear rule The Signpost can continue to report on COI and paid editing, albeit in a somewhat less informative way if the rule is extremely strict. Really? What if the policy prohibited mentioning any real-world names, usernames, anything related to a specific workplace or even location, as well as the current prohibitions?
The following section presents a story, using the above super-strict rules, that we were going to report in the normal way in this issue. Please let us know in the comments section whether you think that a story presented in this way is useful and informative, or whether it violates the dignity of a fellow human being and shouldn't be allowed even under such strict rules.
The case of the boss's father's article
A high-level government official who is married to a very well-known legislator was recently reported to have ordered government employees on January 6, 2018, to edit the official's father's Wikipedia article. The report was made by a high-level investigating office who forwarded it first to prosecutors, and then to the national legislature, who then released it to the public. At least two reliable national news organizations then reported the Wikipedia connection. Two news sources posted the slightly redacted investigative report online.
The government employees told the investigators that their boss had told them to perform many possibly illegal actions, with editing Wikipedia – which is just an infraction of WMF's terms-of-service ban on undeclared paid editing – a minor part of the report. An employee told the investigator that editing their boss's father's Wikipedia article was legal because it was important for the boss to present themself to the public as a dutiful son or daughter. Almost like clock work, an editor made a minor edit, their first and last edit, to the rarely edited article about the father on January 6, 2018.
From there the case of the boss's father's article gets a bit murky. While there were multiple new editors cleaning up the article from time to time, there's only a small amount of evidence that these editors were sockpuppets or had been banned for conflict-of-interest editing. Most of the edits were related to a slow moving edit war involving naming conventions in a country other than the one where the high government official served.
Similarly the article on the boss's mother, and the article on the boss's father's company showed only a few signs of conflict-of-interest editing.
What is clear is that the article about the boss was heavily edited by apparent COI editors, who were likely undeclared paid editors. Long, fairly unimportant material that appeared to be government press releases about the boss were inserted a dozen times by single-purpose accounts. This press release material was reverted by other Wikipedians as often as it was added. The single-purpose editors were questioned about their editing but did not respond and simply disappeared. About twenty accounts were blocked as sockpuppets, meatpuppets or COI editors; a couple of them had also edited the father's or mother's articles.
We're asking you
The apparent COI editing in this story has been discussed on talk pages, WP:COIN, and in a sockpuppet investigation. All of these discussions at least implicitly referred to the high official's name and their spouse's name, the government agency where they formerly worked, as well as the COI or paid editors' likely place of work in the government.
Is there any reason that this publicly available information can't be brought to a wider audience at The Signpost or elsewhere on Wikipedia? Is there any benefit to anybody if this publicly available information couldn't be reported here or elsewhere on Wikipedia? Is there any substantive reason that a reliable media source or the official investigator's report couldn't be linked to document the facts?
What is the cost to Wikipedia and its readers of not reporting this information?
Please just let us know in the comments section below.
What else can we say?
An open letter
- The following open letter was published on meta on Friday, March 26. it was signed by members of 9 Arbitration Committees, including the Czech (3 signatories), German (7), English (12), French (4), Polish (6), Russian (2), and Ukrainian (3) ArbComs
Dear Board of Trustees,
This is an open letter from arbitrators and arbitration committees from across the Wikimedia movement.
We have followed closely the process of the creation of the Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC). We know that many small communities do not have a basic set of rules, so it's hard for new editors to have a good sense of what is allowed and what not. Additionally, we encourage the creation of basic rules of conduct for all wikis to ensure that nobody gets treated poorly. Editors in our communities wish to have an environment conducive to creating high quality content. We do not want to see editors discriminated against based on opinion, culture, sexuality, etc. Editors should be judged by their editing. In our experience, the global community and our projects will generally endorse rules that ensure no individual is a victim of discrimination or hounding.
However, we are concerned about the enforcement of the UCoC and concerned about how that enforcement will be viewed on our projects. The lack of formal consultation with projects before the board approved the UCoC means it risks being seen as imposed by the Wikimedia Foundation from above, rather than being seen as a legitimate community endeavor. Several of our projects have seen major damage and harm done when the communities have come into conflict with the Wikimedia Foundation (for instance dewiki with SUPERPROTECT and enwiki with FRAMGATE). We do not want that to happen with the Universal Code of Conduct as that could undermine the benefits it has to offer for projects without well-developed policies, systems, and experience for dealing with editor behavior. Recent changes to the timeline to allow for more consultation and discussion are a positive step.
It is therefore vital that projects with more sophisticated governing systems, like ours, be formally involved in the next step of the UCoC process. We note the recent call for a new committee to draft the second phase. At least one person with experience as an arbitrator, or similar experience dealing with complex and difficult behavior issues, should be added as a member of the drafting committee, and at least one additional person with this experience, or experience as a Steward, should be added as an advisor.
We understand that individual projects cannot be given a veto over the implementation of the UCoC. However, we hope that you understand that individual projects must feel committed to whatever enforcement mechanisms arise. Without this sense of investment and partnership the UCoC will ultimately fail. Mere consultation is insufficient. A formal process for ratifying the UCoC enforcement system is necessary.
The UCoC must also be a living document. The community is changing and evolving and so has universal behavior. We know that this is a different document than if it had been created 10 years ago, and we feel that universal norms will be different in 10 years. A way to amend the Universal Code of Conduct must be added, and this amendment process should build on lessons learned to date to ensure that communities and individuals have a chance for meaningful input before any amendment is adopted.
Wikipedia and other projects are only possible because of the hard work of editors at communities to create and maintain the incredible store of knowledge available. This path is longer, but hasty decisions and decisions that lack legitimacy in the eyes of the volunteers they effect could cause real damage to our communities and the work we do. In the words of the Wikimedia Foundation values, "Collaboration is not always easy. Sometimes we struggle. Working together is hard, but it’s worth it. We do it because it makes us stronger." We ask you to be stronger together with us.
2021 discretionary sanctions review
Community consultation on the 2021 discretionary sanctions review is invited through April 25. As announced,
The consultation provides an opportunity for editors to both answer general questions about their experiences of discretionary sanctions in everyday editing and provide feedback on specific sections of the discretionary sanctions procedure. Both types of feedback are highly valuable and will be considered by the Committee in the revision process. As of Signpost's deadline, the Arbitration Committee's comments are few. One is a request by L235 to discuss the first-mover advantage potentially conferred by discretionary sanctions. – B
As a result of the recently closed case, administrator privileges were removed from RexxS on March 26. Although there is no formal retirement announcement at the userpage, the account has been inactive since February 25.
- This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by Igordebraga and Mcrsftdog.
Now it's officially a year since the start of the lockdown that won't end, specially for those unfortunate enough to not have expectations for when to get vaccinated or see businesses open again because the guys in charge are incompetent idiots. The end of this "new normal" can't come soon enough, as all the top articles in this Report relate to television and streaming programmes!
I will sit right down, waiting for the gift of WandaVision (February 28 to March 6)
|1||WandaVision||1,730,441||This Disney+ original series released its finale on Friday. While WandaVision started out as a mysterious "Lynchian" sitcom, it eventually devolved into an MCU action film – but what were you really expecting?|
|2||Coming 2 America||1,108,191||Prince Akeem returned to Queens after 32 years on Prime Video (another victim of the goddamned pandemic taking movies out of theaters). Reviews were mixed, but at least better than other decades-apart-sequel comedies such as Dumb and Dumber To, Zoolander 2 and Bad Santa 2|
|3||Deaths in 2021||948,195||Goodbye my friend it's hard to die|
When all the birds are singing in the sky...
|4||Dr. Seuss||786,863||Seuss drew a few racist caricatures in his day, which led a Virginia school district to not program its Read Across America Day (which is held on his birthday, March 2) around his works. Soon after that, Seuss's publisher announced that it was dropping 6 titles – none too significant in the Seuss "canon," but all containing racist caricatures – from its catalog. The American right wing, presumably bored out of their mind, has turned Seuss getting "cancelled" into a several day controversy.|
|5||Andrew Cuomo||721,171||New York's governor earned a reputation during the early stages of lockdown as a strong leader and a truth teller, in contrast to whatever Trump was doing that day. While journalists were busy proposing to him, Cuomo was sending 4,500 COVID patients into nursing homes. Oddly enough, allegedly killing thousands of old people and then allegedly covering up the numbers isn't why he's on the list – this week, he's on the receiving end of three sexual harassment allegations. While some New York Democrats have called on him to resign, he might be able to, Northam-like, moonwalk his way out of this.|
|6||Billie Holiday||710,997||Andra Day got a Golden Globe for Best Actress for playing Holiday in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.|
|7||Ginny & Georgia||636,585||In one scene of this Netflix show, one character says "You go through men faster than Taylor Swift." Swift fired back, calling the joke "deeply misogynistic" (debatable) and outdated by a decade (obviously true.)|
|8||78th Golden Globe Awards||613,356||One of many annual TV and film award shows was held remotely on Sunday night. Among the winners was Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (pictured when he won the prize for the first movie).|
|9||Raya and the Last Dragon||566,784||You thought Mulan charging a bonus on Disney+ was a one time deal? No, because Disney's newest animated feature offered alongside the sadly still limited theatrical release a streaming alternative for $30! Which is why in spite of the positive reviews this here writer chose to wait to watch the princess (well, chieftain's daughter, like Moana) who befriends a dragon until he wasn't being gouged for it.|
|10||Elizabeth Olsen||566,636||People who watched films like Ingrid Goes West already knew the Scarlet Witch was a good actress, but #1 had an emotional journey that really showcased her skills. Lizzie certainly beat Mary-Kate and Ashley in many regards!|
And we'll never be royals (March 7 to 13)
|1||Meghan, Duchess of Sussex||3,328,817||Meghan married Harry (sixth in line to the British throne) in 2018; by 2020, the couple was making plans to leave the royal family and move to America. On Monday, a tell-all interview with Oprah aired, with Meghan and Harry detailed the racism faced from the British press and the royal family itself. As expected when the monarchy enters the news, lots of its members earned entries on the Report, including the previous highly publicized case of problems within the royal family, Harry's mother – but when Diana left, she went alone, without Charles.|
|3||Diana, Princess of Wales||1,692,599|
|4||Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex||1,605,555|
|5||Charles, Prince of Wales||1,240,394|
|6||Coming 2 America||1,145,665||Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are back as two members of an African royal family (plus a lot of extra roles!) in the sequel to 1989's Coming to America, which hit Amazon Prime Video and has had a divisive reception.|
|7||WandaVision||1,011,725||The final episode aired last week, which means that the Report has a brief respite from weekly Marvel movies (brief being the operative word – The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs its first episode next week).|
|8||Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh||957,570||The Commonwealth's prince consort has been in the hospital for nearly a month; currently, he's recovering from a successful heart operation. His spot on this list probably owes more to #1 than anything else.|
|9||Deaths in 2021||891,714||The game of life is hard to play|
I'm gonna lose it, anyway...
|10||Piers Morgan||858,927||The controversial TV personality was formerly a friend of #1. After the interview, he went on air doubting her claims; he refused to apologize, and was soon forced off Good Morning Britain.|
Unite the League (March 14 to 20)
|1||Zack Snyder's Justice League||3,110,374||All the cries of #ReleaseTheSnyderCut were filled, at the asking price of an HBO Max subscription and 4 hours to kill. Reviews were positive, even if the indulgent nature of this superhero project (again: the thing lasts 4 hours!) is a contentious point.|
|2||Death of Sarah Everard||1,160,636||A vigil in memory of Everard, who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a Metropolitan Police officer earlier this month, was met with police violence. One proposed government policy was placing undercover cops in clubs to protect women from sexual assault – which would not have helped Everard, who wasn't at a club and was (allegedly) murdered by a police officer. Another associated news story is a proposed bill that would criminalize protests that cause a "serious annoyance."|
|3||Saint Patrick's Day||1,103,560||The goddamned pandemic that just won't leave escalated last year in time to cancel festivities for this Irish-themed celebration. And now it's time for St. Paddy's Day again, only people are still asked not got to the pub and aren't needing further excuse to get drunk.|
|4||Elizabeth II||1,069,456||Her Majesty continues to endure crisis meetings following Oprah with Meghan and Harry, and also had a videoconference with the Royal Voluntary Service to thank for their contributions during this chaotic year.|
|5||Justice League (film)||994,058||One of the most chaotic productions in recent memory, with Zack Snyder leaving once his daughter killed herself, Joss Whedon being brought in to finish the movie (and clashing with some of the cast along the way), Henry Cavill having his mustache erased with dodgy CG, the studio interfering a lot – including the executives not changing the release date so they'd still receive their cash bonuses... no wonder that when Justice League arrived in theaters in 2017, it had mixed reviews (though this here writer felt it was OK, specially considering it tried to be straightforward and fun, instead of a joyless mess like Batman v. Superman) and managed the feat of grossing $657 million worldwide and still be considered a failure. Snyder was given $70 million to finish his previously intended cut, and it was just released (#1).|
|6||Deaths in 2021||916,076||I won't stay quiet, I won't stay quiet|
Cause staying silent's the same as dying
|7||Marvelous Marvin Hagler||861,762||This boxer died suddenly on March 13. Conspiracy theories spread that the death was caused by a COVID vaccine, but his widow refuted these claims.|
|8||The Falcon and the Winter Soldier||835,851||After WandaVision, it's time for another Marvel show on Disney+, this time focusing on Captain America's biggest friends who even took on his name for a while, the pilot who doesn't fly aircraft, and the amputee centenarian who doesn't look a day over 35.|
|9||63rd Annual Grammy Awards||783,965||The annual music awards were held with a different approach, featuring both pre-recorded and live performances, nominees actually at the Los Angeles Convention Center or attending virtually, etc. Beyoncé took home four awards, Taylor Swift had Album of the Year for Folklore and a standout of the night was English singer Dua Lipa, who got Best Pop Vocal Album for Future Nostalgia and had a show-stopping, sensuous performance.|
Fight like a brave, don't be a slave (March 21 to 27)
|1||Zack Snyder's Justice League||2,122,456||On one hand, the film is more consistent and the added content fleshes out characters such as Cyborg and Steppenwolf. On the other hand, it's also consistently too grim (the washed colors and moody soundtrack help) and the amount of slow motion is abusive. Still, a valid if overlong effort. Now let's see what lies ahead for the DC Extended Universe, no matter if fans now gripe #RestoreTheSnyderverse.|
|2||Suez Canal||1,503,169||The canal, connecting the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, has been an important shipping route since its construction in the 19th century. Also, somebody got a really big boat stuck in the middle of it on Tuesday, costing the world economy billions of dollars for every day it's stuck.|
|3||Aimee Challenor||1,349,333||Challenor used to be an activist working with England's Green Party and later the Liberal Democrats, but left the country after two separate controversies concerning pedophilia. She later got a job at Reddit, where a user revolt got her fired on Wednesday.|
|4||Godzilla vs. Kong||1,272,483||The most important kaiju crossover since 1962 was released in non-American theatres on Wednesday. Its domestic theatrical release – coupled with a release on HBO Max – will be on March 31.|
|5||Deaths in 2020||983,582||See you in heaven if you make the list.|
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...
|6||Aretha Franklin||978,815||A season of Nat Geo's Genius, telling the life story of Franklin, wrapped up on Wednesday.|
|7||Jessica Walter||943,339||Walter, best remembered for playing Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development, passed away on Wednesday.|
|8||The Falcon and the Winter Soldier||833,165||Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes still arrive with their show every week on Disney+. And in sad news for Marvel fans, Natasha Romanoff's movie was postponed to July and will also be available in that service for a $30 surplus for those unwilling to attend a theatrical exhibition.|
|9||Ever Given||804,348||The big boat that got stuck in #2.|
|10||George Segal||789,529||This actor with a long career in both TV and film died at the age of 87 due to complications from bypass surgery.|
- 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.