Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Single/2021-09-26

News and notes: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/News and notes">New CEO, new board members, China bans</a><br /><br /> In the media: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/In the media">The future of Wikipedia</a><br /><br /> Opinion: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/Opinion">Wikimedians of Mainland China were warned</a><br /><br /> Op-Ed: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/Op-Ed">I've been desysopped</a><br /><br /> Disinformation report: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/Disinformation report">Paid promotional paragraphs in German parliamentary pages</a><br /><br /> Discussion report: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/Discussion report">Editors discuss Wikipedia's vetting process for administrators</a><br /><br /> Recent research: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/Recent research">Wikipedia images for machine learning; Experiment justifies Wikipedia's high search rankings</a><br /><br /> Community view: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/Community view">Is writing Wikipedia like making a quilt?</a><br /><br /> Traffic report: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/Traffic report">Kanye, Emma Raducanu and 9/11</a><br /><br /> News from Diff: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/News from Diff">Welcome to the first grantees of the Knowledge Equity Fund</a><br /><br /> WikiProject report: <a href="//" title="Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2021-09-26/WikiProject report">The Random and the Beautiful</a><br /><br />

Wikimedia Foundation office at One Montgomery Tower - reception area display (4601).jpg
Wikimedia Foundation offices

Maryana Iskander new Wikimedia Foundation CEO

On September 14th, the Board of Trustees announced that they have picked Maryana Iskander as the new CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, replacing Katherine Maher. She will begin work on January 5th, 2022. Since 2013 she has been the CEO of the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in South Africa. Before that, she was COO for Planned Parenthood in the United States.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Iskander said she planned to be mostly "on a screen and on airplanes", with presence in the United States "a lot". Mentioning an issue which has been on the mind of many Wikipedians, another article states that "while Wikimedia has ballooned in size over the past decade, Iskander said she’s wary of any expansion that could endanger the culture the organization has built." It goes on to quote her as saying “Scaling people and departments and tasks and activities, lots of people do that. I think how you scale culture alongside that is much harder."

The Signpost hopes to interview Iskander for our next issue. If you have a question you'd like to ask her, please note it in the Comments section below. Please keep the questions short enough to answer in two paragraphs. We may combine or simplify them, and hope to ask her at least four reader questions.

See related American, South African and other international media coverage at this issue's In the media. – G, B

Wikimedia users "physically harmed"; WMF bans or desysops nineteen in Mainland China-Hong Kong row

The Wikimedia Foundation banned seven users and desysopped a further 12 on September 13 after a year long investigation centering on the unrecognized Wikimedians of Mainland China (WMC) user group. The foundation called the case "unprecedented in scope and nature". Their concerns included "community capture" by WMC via infiltration of the corps of administrators enabled by off-wiki canvassing during admin elections on the Chinese Wikipedia ( and possible extortion of editors holding advanced permissions. Without releasing any details, Maggie Dennis, the foundation’s Vice President of Community Resilience & Sustainability stated that "we know that some users have been physically harmed" and that they "have no choice but to act swiftly and appropriately in response."

Some users affected by the ban had checkuser rights before 2018 when these rights were removed on Checkusers can see IP addresses and other technical information related to logged-in editors. Six of the banned users and 7 of the desysopped users are members of WMC, which describes itself as a politically diverse group representing "most currently active mainland Chinese Wikimedians". It was previously the center of controversies involving possible Chinese government editing which was covered by the BBC, as well as threatening to name pro-democracy editors in Hong Kong to the National Security Police. Two editors involved in the National Security Police controversy, users Walter Grassroots and Techyan, were among the banned editors and were interviewed at length in our July Special report. Techyan denies that he was involved in the controversy.

The WMF also expressed concerns on election irregularities. In response, the community has suspended all requests for adminship elections for three weeks while an improved election process is devised. While the concerns about community capture seem to have pointed some journalists and outside observers to questioning the role of the government of the People’s Republic of China in this affair, Dennis states, "I am not in position to point fingers at the Chinese State nor in possession of information that would lead me to do so."

Mainlanders' reaction

The WMC responded at length (4,800 words) on their website in Cast Away Illusions, Prepare For Struggle — WMC's First Open Letter on the Recent Office Action. A second open letter is expected to be published soon. They say that the bans were made hastily, instigated by a small group of Chinese Wikipedians, without proper investigation or community input. They believe that the foundation has done nothing for mainlanders, providing no money, legal advice, or encouragement.

The authors of the open letter say they do not understand how they, as a small part of the about one-third of the Chinese editing community that is from the mainland, could accomplish "community capture". They believe the process of making the bans was done without warning and without input from those banned, with no real appeals allowed and was thus grossly unfair. The letter does not address the WMF accusation of "physical harm" caused to other Wikipedians.

The mainland group say that, if it is subordinate to the foundation, the Wikipedia movement is dead in mainland China. But they plan to make a hard-fork of located in the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China, perhaps supported by a university or donations. It should be clear that a wiki hosted in the PRC would have to be exempted from the government's block of all Wikipedia sites, and thus would be subject to censorship.

User:Super Wang was not banned or desysopped on September 13. He is still an editor in good standing, who was recently warned for canvassing on and has now chosen to retire as an editor. He is a member of WMC. He has attended a few meetups sponsored by WMC – paying for his own lodging and transportation. There was no rule against canvassing on until a guideline – not a policy – was passed in 2020. He looks forward to editing Wikipedia again – on the hard-fork. For the views of another WMC member, see this month’s Op-ed.

The views of Hongkongers and other non-mainland Chinese so far seems fairly muted or even shocked. The Hong Kong Free Press earlier this summer had extensive contacts with Wikipedians in Hong Kong, but in their most recent story only had one comment from a Hong Kong Wikipedian. He was surprised that the blocks were so far reaching, but still wished to remain anonymous for his own safety. Two Hongkongers report at Opinion on their reactions, which focus on how the mainlanders should have known that their actions were wrong, and how they received many warnings. – A, B, S

WMF board election results

Four candidates have been selected by a record turnout of 6,873 voters to three year terms in the Wikimedia Board of Trustees election. In the order they were selected in an 18 step single transferable vote procedure, they are Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, Victoria Doronina, Dariusz Jemielniak, and Lorenzo Losa. Two of the seats are newly created. Dariusz was re-elected having served since 2015. Doc James, who did not run for re-election, will be leaving the BoT as soon as the new board members are confirmed by the old board, which he hopes will occur by early October. He then plans to spend more time with the projects MDWiki and NC Commons, an invitation-only effort to collect Creative Commons NonCommercial license (CC NC) medical imagery. – S

Russian ArbCom election scandal may be resolving

The legitimacy of the voting in the latest Russian Arbitration Committee election (AK-32) has been challenged. Because of allegedly irregular or "coordinated" voting, bureaucrats overseeing the election "refused to certify a candidate that passed an electoral threshold only with help of the votes of the alleged 'plotters', but at the same time we have declined to reinstate a candidate that failed due to the voting of the 'plotters'". according to one of the three deciding bureaucrats, Levg.

An unofficial report authored in part by the losing candidates has been released at ru:ВП:ДАТАПУЛЬТ. While the report is unofficial, its authors are widely respected and the report appears to have some weight. According to Levg "there is a probability that AK–32 will be asked to investigate it, or more likely – to establish a kind of 'Investigation commission'."

The report alleges that:

  • Sergei Nesterovich, who had run a paid-editing service to insert articles into helped coordinate the voting. He has been blocked for many years
  • `Videos and screenshots of the site controlled by Nestorovich show groups of accounts with the names C01, W01, W02, W03, W101, G01, F01, etc. which appear to be paid-editing, sock puppet or meat puppet accounts on controlled by Nesterovich
  • In the video of the publication "Project", lists of members of groups C01 and W01 appear. "Project" video (in Russian)
  • Members of the C01 group of accounts were accused of coordination in the election.

One editor has since been blocked after apparently outing one of the six remaining arbs to two other arbs, who then resigned due to a conflict of interest. With only four arbs left on the panel, activity in the case seems to have subsided. – S

Another look at requests for adminship

Another look at requests for adminship (RfA) has begun at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/2021 review. Titled a "review", it is in phase 1 to identify issues, scheduled for August 29 to September 28. As of publication, the discussion encompasses issues A through W and runs about 50 pages long if printed. A future phase 2 will address solutions.

The discussion was initiated by Barkeep49, one of the 22 administrators selected in 2019. He gave the following reasons, when asked by The Signpost:

We're on pace to end the year with the fewest number of new admin ever – less than 10. And it didn't seem to be from a lack of trying on the part of people who were ready to be nominators. For at least the last 15 months or so, and arguably much longer than that, there have been regular discussions at WT:RFA and elsewhere about problems with RfA and possible solutions. It had also been six years since the last time the community comprehensively thought about RfA. It felt like we had made as much progress as we could with pre-discussion and also from those discussions it wasn't clear exactly what problem needed to be addressed with many people offering different (and sometimes contradictory) ideas. So it was time to see if the community agreed that changes were needed at RfA and if so what problems we should attempt to solve. And quite honestly I will admit that I decided that this had the chance to produce more new administrators than investing time looking through the editing records of one of the half dozen or so editors currently on my "maybe RfA" list only to be turned down by the ones who I think would make good admins and have a good chance of passing RfA.

As far as results of the discussion, Barkeep had this to say:

So far I've been very pleased with the discussion which has been thoughtful and robust in the best spirit of Wikipedia. Assuming that some of the suggest problems are deemed to have consensus by the closers, we'll then move to a second phase where possible solutions are discussed and considered. I expect that some changes will be made, though I also think it likely that some problems will not have any solutions which have community consensus behind them. I modeled much of the format of this RfA review on the great work Biblioworm did in 2015 in a similar process.

The last round of serious rejiggering of the process by which the community selects administrators was the 2015 administrator election reform, referenced by Barkeep49 just above. The resulting RfC closed in December of that year with procedural changes including more RfA notices, a limit on the number of questions for a candidate, and an expanded discretionary range.

See prior Signpost coverage at 2015 op-ed, "Wikipedia needs more administrators".

Further comprehensive coverage of this important discussion can be found at this month's "Discussion report". – B

Brief notes

Reader comments

This month we learned a great deal about the near term future of Wikipedia. It's not all scary! Two of the stories here appear in News and notes, Opinion, or Op-Ed with the extensive news coverage links parked here for your convenience.

Maryana Iskander – new WMF CEO

Wikimedia Foundation's selection of a new CEO was noted by several major media, after it was announced mid September:

You can find out more about the CEO's background and plans for the Foundation at this issue's News and notes. – B

A Wikipedia editor shines in the spotlight

Wired focuses the spotlight on the efforts of Wikipedian-in-good-standing K.e.coffman. The article, called "One Woman's Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia", notes her longstanding efforts as part of Wikiproject Military history, one of the largest and most active projects. Describing her journey down the rabbit hole, we come across a paragraph many editors might relate to: "At first, Coffman stuck to tentative, sporadic suggestions. But then she was making edits nearly every day; there was so much to fix. She liked the site’s intricate bureaucracy—the guidelines on etiquette and reliable sourcing, the policies on dispute resolution and article deletion, the learned essays and discussion pages that editors cite like case law. “Wikipedia is very regimented,” she says. “I am good with instructions.” Coffman is also responsible for an important essay on WikiProject Military History – which we reprinted in a 2018 Signpost Op-ed – about rooting out the Myth of the clean Wehrmacht, one edit at a time.

Also: Boing Boing, "How one woman took on Wikipedia's Nazi fancruft"G

The future of Wikipedia is the future of the world!

Dive Into A Murder Mystery On This Creepy, Cyberpunk Wikipedia with video here. There are lots of other reviews of this game that seems to be designed to freak out Wikipedians. But Kotaku says "The writers do a great job of simulating a megacorp-sponsored, brand-safe Wikipedia." How frightening can that be? – S

China: Infiltration, physical harm, and bans

International coverage of the WMF's decision to ban seven users on the Chinese Wikipedia and to desysop a dozen others was extensive.

  • Selina Cheng (14 September 2021). "Wikipedia bans 7 mainland Chinese power users over 'infiltration and exploitation' in unprecedented clampdown". Hong Kong Free Press. The HKFP took the lead in reporting the conflict between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese editors back in July and were the first and most complete in covering the banning. Details on the WMF statement and on the response of the Wikipedians of Mainland China (WMC) were included.
  • Simon Sharwood (15 September 2021). "Wikipedia bans seven Chinese users amid concerns of 'infiltration, physical harm': Removes sysop privileges for another dozen, warns more about doxing, frets about preserving freedom to edit in the face of hostile regimes". The Register. The Reg focused on the WMF statement by Maggie Dennis, as well as statements by users in Taiwan. They did not have reaction from mainlanders.
  • Chris Vallance (16 September 2021). "Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans". BBC. The BBC was quite aggressive reporting "infiltration" of the site and the WMF's "rapid response" to it. They also quoted Maggie Dennis saying "I am not in position to point fingers at the Chinese state."
  • Lam, Oiwan (22 September 2021). "Behind Chinese Wikipedia user ban: threats, verbal attacks and election canvassing". Global Voices. Not to be confused with the Chinese Communist Party organ Global Times, Global Voices is a publication of the Berkman Center at Harvard. They interview an anonymous veteran editor from mainland China who gives one of the most neutral analyses of the situation.

Other coverage included:

See related coverage at this issue's News and notes. – S


The complete Jimbo? #528: Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, on Homeschooling, Atheism, Understanding Financial Markets, Ayn Rand, Favorite Books, and More, with transcript. Tim Ferriss interviews Wales for almost one hour and 49 minutes – skip the first 4:45 minutes of adverts – covering almost every question you'd want to hear him answer. Some news coverage of the interview stressed that Jimmy spent a month incognito in Buenos Aires – except that he had to take a trip to Korea during that time. Perhaps the most interesting section is how Bomis, his internet startup, suddenly started working under contract with the NBC television network, then just as suddenly stopped, leading into the founding of Wikipedia, 9/11, and the financial crash of the internet. – S

More women journalists, more African women

  • Why we need more biographies of women journalists on Wikipedia at covers a speech by Jareen Imam at a Hacks/Hackers event in London. She stresses the need to increase the visibility of women journalists. "Visibility is necessary to help gender parity in journalism leadership, and it also affects women journalists’ safety, credibility, recognition, inclusion and income." Imam works with the group Women Do News. Though it was not reported in the story, Women Do News has received a $2,000 rapid grant to fund editathons to help write more articles about women journalists.
  • Last month Global Citizen posted a list of seven African women that they thought deserved Wikipedia articles. Before we even published the list the red links turned to blue thanks to Abishe, Victuallers and Indy beetle. We then challenged other publications to send us similar lists and let us know on our suggestion page. Quartz did not mention Wikipedia or leave a message on the suggestion page, but sent a list of 24 notable African women innovators to my inbox. Six of them were already blue links. The full list is:
Jihan Abass, Miishe Addy, Diarra Boussou, Héla Cheikhrouhou, Amira Cheniour, Farah Emara, Maya Horgan Famodu, Regina Honu, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Neema Iyer, Fara Ashiru Jituboh, Xaviera Kowo, Berita Khumalo, Tomilola Majekodunmi, Moky Makura, Cathye Moukoko, Catherine Nakalembe, Nanjala Nyabola, Marie-Alix De Putter, Mmamontsheng Dulcy Rakumakoe, Jasmine Samantar, Kalista Sy, Mariam Bintou Traoré, Seynabou Dieng Traore, Indira Tsengiwe, Wanjiru Koinange and Angela Wacuka. - S

In brief

Gesture fist with thumb through fingers.jpg
See Boing Boing about this, or ask a parent
Not to be outdone, Alex Pasternack in Fast Company wrote How 9/11 turned a new site called Wikipedia into history’s crowdsourced front page.

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

This month the Wikimedia Foundation took swift action in banning multiple editors to protect other editors on the Chinese Wikipedia,[1] The 2-step move was unprecedented. First the WMF protected editors' privacy by removing all data access which required non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in both Farsi and Chinese Wikipedias. This move affected a steward, some Volunteer Response Team (formerly OTRS) personnel, and oversighters on both language versions. Some editors criticized the foundation's action, but within two weeks of the WMF's removal of such "NDA only access", a more drastic step was taken. Seven users were globally locked, 12 users had their administrator rights removed, and another 12 were warned.[2] The scale of the bans and the unprecedented nature of the 2-step action makes it impossible to call this another Fram Case. When such action against the Wikipedians of Mainland China (WMC), an unrecognized user group, was executed, some members of the community supported the ban and even proposed more drastic measures, though at least one of them has already been denied through a community process.

After the foundation's actions, the WMC claimed the actions were a blatant attack by the foundation colluding with outside authorities. The WMC published a letter to encourage fellow Wikimedians to leave Wikipedia. They even addressed the public through a Chinese tabloid (Global Times), controlled by the communist party, against the "atrocious" act by the foundation.

Some WMC concerns will still need to be addressed. But, when the authors read the WMC's joint statement ("Open letter" posted on their website), it shows that they are still attempting to spread disinformation, still spreading false information against members of the community.

WMC protests mostly concern two aspects of the action – the "no notice" nature of their ban and the bitter fact that they were banned even though they were considered to be in good standing at the time of the ban. Thus, we address the questions: Were they warned, and were they in good standing?

The WMC knew of the possibility of quick bans during the Framgate incident. One of the now-banned users, Techyan, made a lengthy comment at the time.[3] It involved two foundation-bans against two individuals (守望者愛孟 and Galaxyharrylion), with a third person receiving a warning. Techyan omitted mentioning one more foundation action (that seemed to be directed at the WMC), an outright removal of CheckUser permissions from the Chinese Wikipedia in 2018.[4]

The two bans and the conduct warning were directed against individuals who were connected to WMC.

Techyan said that one of the users was in good standing, and received no warnings nor bans in the Chinese Wikipedia. But why? Because individuals connected to the Chinese User Group had been blocking any process to address their own issues from outsiders. In fact, previous deadlocks stemming from the removal of the CheckUser permission was done at a time when Techyan, a now-banned user, tried running for CheckUser position. However, within a month of his run, another desysop poll took place to address Techyan's own controversial acts that he had never explained until the vote. Even with voting, canvassing seems to have completely derailed any attempts of making Techyan accountable, as shown from this voter statistics table.[5]

Why are people afraid to stand up against these tactics?

User:1233, the main author of this article, tried to initiate discussions to bring administrators in check through a motion saying that Techyan had abused his administrator powers in blocking/unblocking users.[6] 1233 also tried placing a meta Request for Comment for the ongoing issues within the Chinese Wikipedia. What happened after that? WMC users started labeling 1233 as both “pro-Hong Kong independence” – making him an easy target for mainland editors – and saying that he “has malign intentions to hamper the development of the WIkimedia community in mainland China". Techyan never properly addressed the concerns in the two desysop attempts, evading all attempts to make him accountable for over 180 days.[7]

Even with a warning the foundation placed against the individual and the subsequent calls by local users to conform to civility, at least two users got banned in this round of foundation actions who had very uncivil user pages.

Walter Grassroot, who was introduced to readers of The Signpost through the 2019 protests and recent threats against Hong Kong users, had written, on their user page that people having different opinions from him were shabi (傻逼) – roughly, "backbiting idiots". Other similar terms on his page (白癡/弱智) refer to supposed mental deficiencies in an editor in good standing who did not agree with Walter Grassroot.[8]

Another user, 尤里的1994, had openly called himself a "fascist, nazi, and Nazbol Wikipedian" in The user page was nominated for deletion, but a snowball keep made the deletion attempt impossible. Have they been warned? Definitely, serious attempts were made on-wiki. Those who were merely desysopped or warned in the latest round of bans, had given them at least tacit support by disregarding these attempts to warn those who violate our rules on civility.[9]

Perhaps the foundation never warned them directly – we don't really know – but it was the banned, desysopped, and newly warned editors who disregarded local attempts to remind them of their civility violations. Their harsh rebuttals and name-calling made attempts to enforce civility rules impossible. After the foundation ban, we suspect that they have publicly doxxed and shamed a specific user through external media, calling them anti-Chinese and a supporter of Taiwan Independence who betrays China and the Chinese people as a whole (漢奸). Bitter replies against their ongoing calls for civility, are added to ultra-nationalist rhetoric, where outsiders call their efforts "Chi-nazi-fication".[10]

Attempts had been made both on-wiki and off-wiki to correct the problems of some mainland editors.[11] Other parties hope to take note of concerns from Hong Kong and Taiwanese communities. Did that work? No. It did not.[12] These malign actors had effectively paralyzed any attempts to resolve civility problems and place the whole community into gridlock.

After the office actions there was an overwhelming majority of users on voting to remove any links to websites controlled by the WMC user group. This is proof that the WMC user group hijacked the community at large, and demonstrates the idea of "community capture", used in the foundation's open letter explaining the office actions.

So, the question is: were they really in good standing according to Wikipedia standards? The answer is no. Were they warned, or at least, reminded of their actions? The answer is yes.

This explains why the foundation calls this a "community capture". It is not the community being controlled by someone or captured by a party purely based on political means, but it is the outright disregard of civility by a small group of users that placed the Chinese Wikipedia in a deadlock, which rendered local attempts to resolve disputes impossible.

Are they really that innocent? Even after the WMF bans, WMC public statements sought not to address the harassment that led to WMF action, but rather had the audacity to critique that the WMF "never considered whether the appellants had conflicts of interest and whether they held radical pro-Hong Kong independence, pro-Taiwan independence, or anti-communist views",[13] and that WMF "acted like a propaganda organ of Washington".[13] It is clear those in charge of WMC are not here to build a global knowledge movement but to impose the Chinese Communist Party's ideology of information warfare onto Wikimedia. This runs counter to WMF's Terms of Use, the Friendly Space Policy, the Universal Code of Conduct, and just about every policy that the Wikimedia movement has to regulate participant's behaviour and the WMF is absolutely right to ban any editor propagating such intolerance.

For too long, Wikimedians have turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of ultra-nationalist editors in the hope for widened participation from behind the Great Firewall of China. This has unfortunately been turned into complicity with authoritarian abuse. Wikimedia Foundation's recent actions are a step in the right direction: a red line must be drawn, open knowledge must be a two-way conversation, and we will need continued vigilance from the global Wikimedia community to ensure all editors can participate safely regardless of creed, ethnicity, or nationality.


  1. ^ Office Actions September 2021
  2. ^
  3. ^ Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram/Archive 2#Two similar bans & one "conduct warning" on Chinese Wikipedia
  4. ^ Notification of Wikimedia Foundation actions regarding local CheckUser
  5. ^ w:zh:User:AT/Techyan罷免案統計 (table); OA2021 WMC response
  6. ^ First serious attempt to remove Techyan’s Administrator Tag
  7. ^ w:zh:Wikipedia:管理員解任投票/Techyan/第3次
  8. ^ The last version of WG's user page before the ban: w:zh:Special:Permalink/63696705
  9. ^ Last version of 1994's user page before the ban: w:zh:Special:Permalink/67304211
  10. ^ The content of this doxxing is in the Weibo Public Accounts. It consists of content that would violate the Terms of Use if placed on Wikipedia with regards to doxxing.
  11. ^ m:Requests_for_comment/Ongoing_issues_at_Chinese_Wikipedia
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b w:zh:Wikipedia:2021年基金會針對中文維基百科的行動/中國大陸維基人用戶組聲明#丢掉幻想,准备斗争——一评基金会全域锁定中文维基人及玛吉·丹尼斯的“声明” (The WMC struggle). The English version of this article is cached in an online website run by one user who is banned by the WMF.
    [a] 基金會絲毫不考慮在背後舉報和遞交所謂證據的人跟WMC是否存在利益衝突,他們的政治思想是否極端「港獨」「台獨」「反共」,以至於存在需要打壓在政策上政治中立,但編者隊伍實際偏向支持北京的WMC的動機。
    [a] 基金会丝毫不考虑在背后举报和递交所谓证据的人跟WMC是否存在利益冲突,他们的政治思想是否极端「港独」「台独」「反共」,以至于存在需要打压在政策上政治中立,但编者队伍实际偏向支持北京的WMC的动机。

    [b] 在我們看來,「維基媒體基金會」在這件事上,倒更像是聽從華盛頓當局的政治喉舌。我們不得不懷疑:未來涉及美國、歐洲、港台及世界其他地方的一些華盛頓當局不喜歡的條目、內容及觀點會不會漸漸消失,不附會其利益,而被「維基媒體基金會」和美國政府視為眼中釘肉中刺的編者會不會逐漸被排擠打壓——那不如還是改名叫「美國國務院百科」甚至「美國大百科全書」、「反華百科全書」比較好。
    [b] 在我们看来,「维基媒体基金会」在这件事上,倒更像是听从华盛顿当局的政治喉舌。我们不得不怀疑:未来涉及美国、欧洲、港台及世界其他地方的一些华盛顿当局不喜欢的条目、内容及观点会不会渐渐消失,不附会其利益,而被「维基媒体基金会」和美国政府视为眼中钉肉中刺的编者会不会逐渐被排挤打压——那不如还是改名叫「美国国务院百科」甚至「美国大百科全书」、「反华百科全书」比较好。

Reader comments

The Signpost firmly believes that the views of all sides in the recent banning and desysopping of editors from the Chinese mainland should be presented. We asked an editor currently in good standing on both en.Wiki and zh.Wiki to explain what he and some of his fellow mainland Chinese think about the current situation. We thank him for his courage in expressing his views. These views are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of The Signpost or of other Wikipedians. This piece was edited for length and grammar and a minor reordering of a section.

I am one of the administrators desysopped on the Chinese Wikipedia on 13 September 2021 by the WMF Office account.

First, I would like to introduce myself. I come from mainland China and have been living abroad for several years. I only write articles, anti-vandalism, patrol new articles on Wikipedia. I never edit the disputed articles and never edit warred with others. I am a hardworking Wikipedian. I think these are the reasons why dozens of users supported me to become a sysop a few years ago.

I also care about Wikipedia's community development. I have joined two Wikipedia introductory meetups in China. As I have long lived abroad so I attended a few Wikipedia meetings where I live. At the same time, I also help new users in the Chinese community. It doesn’t matter which community I work with. And I have to say, the community or user group are not political parties. Anyone may join or leave without disclosing their political views.

I was shocked on 13 September by the WMF Office action which desysopped me and other admins, and banned 7 other editors. I don’t know what my guilt is. When another sysop sent an email to to ask for details, the WMF replied that they don’t want to explain the reason now, and won’t accept an appeal. So the sentence "Questions can be directed to" in the log is just dark humour. When Maggie Dennis published her statement on Meta she said, her statement contained "ambiguity". "The security risk relates to information about infiltration of Wikimedia systems, including positions with access to personally identifiable information and elected bodies of influence", Dennis claimed. I really don’t understand how a sysop can influence personal security. We are not CheckUsers. The BBC published a report saying "Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans". Does that mean the WMF Office action has a political purpose? So our articles about Chinese history, culture, ancient architecture, are a type of "infiltration". That’s ridiculous.

I am extremely disappointed with the WMF now. Sysops on the Chinese Wikipedia who do the most work, got the most scolding, and finally were desysopped and even banned by the WMF Office. This terrible action is unprecedented and unbelievable. I won’t trust WMF anymore, today they desysopped me, tomorrow they may globally ban me as well.

I’d like to return to my off-Wiki life now and don’t want to attract attention.

What do other mainland Chinese think about the bans? We're a diverse group, so there may be many opinions. But there is a very long published open letter from WMC [Wikimedians of Mainland China – ed.]. I'll summarize what I consider to be the most important parts that I most agree with.

Many people may know, Wikipedia cannot be accessed normally in Mainland China. So when I first accessed Wikipedia via a VPN, I worried about it. But nothing happened. No Wikipedian I know has been admonished by the Chinese government. And the government never declared our meetings illegal. The government must know that we are just a group of volunteers who contribute knowledge. WMF banned 7 users and desysopped 12 administrators in an office action, WMF has accomplished something that the Chinese government didn’t manage to do. We try to enable more people to participate in editing in Wikipedia, we built mirror sites, we created tutorials, we develop communities. The Foundation has never shown compassion or support for us. Now we have to believe WMF wants to abandon China, they don’t care about us. I had free pizza because WMF pays for communities outside China, but when I was in China, everyone paid for their own food. When we were developing the community, we spent everything out of our own pocket, the WMF paid nothing, from VPN to coffee. But we were still happy because we weren’t here for politics, we were here to write actual articles and have fun. China has ⅕ of the world’s population, WMF’s budget was 100 million dollars a year, but WMF spent nothing and cared nothing about us. They were willing to pay for mobile data for Wikimania attendees, but not VPN for us.

They found a nonsense excuse, "canvassing", to take action against us. In their eyes, it’s only democratic when the vote goes their way; when a candidate they dislike won the election, they want to "stop the steal." These sysops either are good at writing articles, or good at anti-vandalism. They do practical things, they don’t gossip in the village pump. WMF never asked us for information before the bans, why do they trust the informer, how do they determine that this is not framed? Most admins who were desysopped had their RFAs years ago. How could these RFAs be fine for years, while the WMF just now announce that they were rigged?

WMF banned or desysopped 14 admins, this takes up one-third of all active admins on zh.Wiki. Does WMF insist that a third of all admins who were recently active on zh.Wiki were all "infiltrated" by the Chinese government? This is a crazy view. The most active admin on was banned. Four of the top 10 admins were either banned or desysopped. This is ridiculous and they don’t care if there will be maintenance work backlogs or vandalizers and long-term abusers celebrating one-third of all admins are suddenly gone.

This leaves a huge gap for maintenance work on zh.Wiki, since a third of all admins are absent now. Because newbies from mainland China use VPNs to edit and suffered IP blocks because Wikimedia’s policy to block proxies, they have to apply for IPBE (IP block exemption) to edit and they can’t register a new account on their own, they have to write an email to an admin to have them register an account for the newbies. However, I have heard from newbies that many of them haven’t heard back from the admins for weeks, because the admins who were working on registering new accounts and assigning IPBE for newbies were desysopped, too. Unless you think all mainland Chinese editors are "infiltrators", this disproportionate office action hurts the mainland users.

Maggie Dennis has no vision for developing Wikipedia in China. She mentioned nothing for future community development, saying she wanted to connect to the "international Chinese community". Other WMC members also share their emails with WMF and AffCom to me, and they often complained to me that WMF and AffCom rarely write back, and a reply usually takes more than a week. WMF and AffCom never contacted us asking if we need any help considering Wikipedia’s blockade in China or if we had any trouble with the government, and they only contact us when something very bad happened.

There is also a bug that only happens when someone is editing on VPN. This bug logs out the person’s account whenever they click the “save changes” button, so they can’t save any changes unless they change their device. Mainland Chinese admins had reported this bug to Phabricator over a year ago, but WMF still hasn't fixed it [Phabricator:T244635 – ed.]. IPBE and the bug are burdens that WMF can solve from their side, and it can improve mainland Chinese’s editing experience, but they still refuse to do them.

After this office action, there will be almost no pro-Beijing or okay-with-Beijing admins and bureaucrats on zh.Wiki. Its neutrality is going to suffer a huge hit, because the balance between the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan admins are broken. WMF didn't consider that the people who gossip to them had a political motivation to attack pro-Beijing and okay-with Beijing admins. WMF is calling a normal political view "infiltration" and voting blocs as "vote canvassing".

I know it was the Chinese government who blocked Wikipedia in China and I should express my dissatisfaction to them. But I think many of the points I made are irrelevant to the Chinese government. They didn’t send police to disturb our meetings, didn’t arrest anyone (anti-Beijing editors included), and VPN is cheap and convenient to use. However, WMF didn’t help us with money, didn’t fix bugs, didn’t improve the MediaWiki system, didn’t reply to our emails, didn’t ask if we are okay after Wikipedia was blocked, and they finally banned us and desysopped us. That is why I am angry with the WMF.

Reader comments

We get to have a little bit of fun with our disinformation this month.
What do some German politicians, a bad actor, and a fake-bacon maker have in common? They all pay people to put disinformation into Wikipedia.

An investigation by German news website (in German) and TV show ZDF Magazin Royale (in German) found several cases of paid and promotional editing on dewiki articles about members of the Bundestag (the federal parliament of Germany).

In the run-up to today's German federal election, the outlets investigated the edit histories of the biographies of all current Bundestag representatives. The main finding was that for nearly 90 of them, more than half of the article content came from a single account, often seemingly tied to the office of the article’s subject. This was sometimes made transparent, sometimes not. In many cases, the editing was mainly restricted to improving articles formerly lacking in scope.

Bayerischer Rundfunk quotes comedian Jan Böhmermann on the ZDF Magazin Royale program as saying "There is more manipulation on ... Wikipedia than on Elon Musk's hairline."

The German Wikipedia uses a system of account verification, where a person or organization that is the subject of an article can confirm that an account is theirs, by sending an email to the German Wikipedia's Volunteer Response Team. The article about MEP Margit Stumpp was edited by her verified account "Stumppma" (operated by "Team Margit Stumpp") several times. In one edit, it described her as an "expert on digital infrastructure" not one, not two, but three times.

Sylvia Kotting-Uhl edited her own article with the account "SKU". When asked her about this, she said she hadn't been aware that there were proper identification procedures for politicians in place. The account that edited Andrej Hunko's article wasn’t quite so transparently named, being called "MikeMuller1973".

The investigation also uncovered several accounts that had potentially broken rules. For example, the dewiki account "Office Steffen Bilger" deleted a passage from the article for Steffen Bilger several times, eventually causing the article to be temporarily protected.

Bilger eventually solved his wiki problem without edit-warring, according to a quote in "My office contacted the organizer of the Wikipedia Bundestag project in 2014, Mr. Olaf Kosinsky. After his own research, he edited the article. The edits he made are still in the article to this day."

Olaf Kosinsky and Wiki Loves Parliaments

Wikipedians in European Parliament 2014 5 février 21.jpg
Kosinsky (right) at the "Wikipedians in European Parliament 2014" event (in conversation with an unidentified person, likely unrelated to his paid editing activities) Photo by Claude TRUONG-NGOC
Logo of Wiki Loves Parliaments
Volunteers taking photos of a state minister at the first parliaments event in 2009

ZDF Magazin Royale devoted particular attention to the undisclosed paid editing of User:Olaf Kosinsky, an experienced member of the German Wikipedia community. Kosinsky had been active in Wikipedia for over a decade on both English and German editions. According to his user pages, he had been an (or the) organizer for the "Wiki Loves Parliaments" events since their launch in 2009, where volunteer Wikimedians visit a legislative body to create freely licensed photographs of politicians. From 2012 to 2014 he was paid as a project manager for these efforts out of a WMDE grant, including the organisation of an event at the Bundestag. A 2014 event at the European Parliament that he helped run had a budget of 38,650 euros, including 10,000 euros paid directly by the WMF. The required final report for the project appears to be still overdue as of 2019, along with the return of 4,261 euros in unspent funds.

As noted back in 2009 in the Signpost coverage of the inaugural Wiki Loves Parliaments event - which took place at the state parliament of Lower Saxony, Kosinsky's home state - besides the main purpose of generating freely licensed photos, "the Wikipedians had many conversations with the politicians about Wikipedia and free content, fielded some reports of small errors in their Wikipedia biographies, and gave live demos of editing Wikipedia."

As pointed out by ZDF Magazin Royale, it appears that in Kosinsky's case, such helpful demos and corrections of "small errors" morphed into a full commercial business of helping politicians and businesses to influence Wikipedia to their liking. On the website of his company "Wikiberatung Kosinsky" ("Wiki consulting Kosinsky", now deleted), he described himself as being "among the TOP 30 editors worldwide" and claimed to have references from numerous business areas such as banks, chemistry companies, tourism companies or book publishers. Earlier this year, according to ZDF Magazin Royale, Kosinsky founded a separate PR agency called "PIWAC" ("Political Wikipedia Mentoring").

In 2019, other dewiki editors had already highlighted his consulting business, calling on Kosinsky to disclose any paid editing activities and to clarify whether his clients included politicians or parties that he had met as part of Wiki Loves Parliaments, with no response. After ZDF Magazin Royale reported how it had paid Kosinsky to add nonsensical terms to the article about a small political party (at 100 euros apiece), a checkuser case confirmed that Kosinsky had used a sockpuppet account to carry out those edits, in violation of policies. This swiftly led to his indefinite ban from the German Wikipedia (expanding a block Kosinsky had requested himself shortly after the launch of the checkuser request). A wider investigation uncovered further problematic edits on dewiki. He was also blocked on various other Wikimedia projects including English Wikipedia (where he had reviewed several hundred submissions to "Articles for creation"), Commons, French Wikipedia and Wikisource. Kosinsky had already been removed from the Volunteer Response Team earlier this year.

Wikimedia Germany reacted to the ZDF Magazin Royale report by clarifying that while Olaf Kosinsky had been on the chapter's board (Vorstand) from March to November 2011, as treasurer, WMDE had "ceased any support for Olaf Kosinsky by 2014 already. We are currently looking into member expulsion proceedings."

Public reaction in Germany

The reception of the investigation by the wider public is notable. Instead of generally blaming Wikipedia for being unreliable, easily manipulated and totally corrupt, at least the YouTube comments on ZDF Magazin Royale's video had quite a positive bent.

Whoever rejects the project itself does not honour the many authors, who, sometimes for years, contribute voluntarily and without false interests. Anger over inconsistencies should be converted into motivation to contribute. Wikipedia is a giant chance for society – we should use it!
— YouTube user commenting under ZDF Magazin Royale video

"With Wikipedia, it's like with democracy: Both live off contribution", writes another YouTube user.

Ongoing reform proposal

Meanwhile, discussion is ongoing inside the German Wikipedia on how to improve the systems that sometimes failed with the articles highlighted in the investigation. Sometimes, the systems in place worked: In the article about Margit Stumpp, a large part of the additions by her verified account had been deleted within an hour by another user, with the comment "PR out". MikeMuller1973, the dewiki account that edited Andrej Hunko's article, now states on their user page that they had been paid by Hunko for these edits, in order to satisfy the disclosure requirements of the Wikimedia Foundation's terms of use.

Some dewiki users have identified the lack of a complete ban on paid or PR editing as the root of the problem. In response, they have started a RfC ("collection of opinions") on a potential complete ban on the German Wikipedia. The current proposed wording is as follows:

The German-speaking Wikipedia community has, in a binding collection of opinions, decided to declare edits made by PR service providers for pay to be not permitted. Ceding a verified account to a PR service provider to this end is not permitted either. This is valid for all namespaces. Rule breaches will lead to a permanent ban of the used accounts upon becoming known. PR service providers means persons or organisations that offer the creation or editing of a Wikipedia article for pay as a service to customers.
— dewiki RfC on prohibiting paid contributions by PR agencies

Like all things bureaucratic in Germany, the process is extremely complicated. As far as I can tell, the process has lost quite a bit of steam in the last few weeks but may yet come to a vote. – Z with additional reporting by H

Bad actor to plead guilty to Ponzi scheme, biographer with 20 socks indeffed

Zachary Horwitz, screen name Zach Avery, made an agreement on September 1, to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud for a Ponzi scheme where he took in $650 million, and failed to repay $231 million. He had lured 250 victims into financing non-existent film distribution agreements with Netflix and HBO by promising returns of 20–45 percent within a year. Five other counts will be dropped, according to the plea deal, which is expected to be completed at an October 4 hearing. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

According to the indictment, Avery spent about $125,000 of his ill-gotten gains on trips to Las Vegas, $1,843,000 on American Express credit card bills, $165,000 on automobiles, $137,000 for flying on private jets, and $54,600 on a "luxury watch subscription service". He also bought a house for $5.5 million.

Make no mistake about it, Avery is a real bad actor. He’s played bit parts in about a dozen movies, cast in roles such as “basketball player” and “Demon 3”. Vice and the Star put him on their D-lists.

So why was there a Wikipedia article on Avery before he was indicted? There is little indication of notability in early versions of the article. There was however a paid editor who declared his paid status after he was caught. Then he was indefinitely blocked with about 20 sockpuppets. He agreed to be interviewed via email by The Signpost if we promised not to publish his real world or user names or contact details. Let’s call him Tom for convenience.

Tom outlines the paid editing process as follows:

  1. New clients contact the company through their website, email or through personal references.
  2. Then, I checked new clients profiles and researched to see if they had potential to qualify for a new article
  3. If they had potential, they were asked to fill a questionnaire with the information they would like to be on the article and their press (this part almost never helped at all but ok).
  4. Then I wrote the article and sent it to AfC.
  5. Approval meant payment and decline meant retry part 4. Many times I could never get them on the wiki.

Tom seldom if ever spoke to a client and doesn’t know anything about Zach Avery that’s not in the article. It took him 2 to 4 hours to write an article, but there was also a lot of time spent at AfC or in discussions with admins. He published about 12 articles in article space and received $200–$400 per article, but only $200 for the Avery article. About 10 articles were never accepted, so he received nothing for them. Tom’s boss at the paid editing company told him he was their best employee and they didn’t want him to leave. Take this all with a grain of salt, but it's an interesting look at the flip side of our anti-promotional work. – S

Peddling fake news and fake bacon

This!, a British plant-based meat replacement company, vandalized the bacon article with pictures of its bacon replacement product, then advertised their stunt on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Readers may remember a similar case of an advertiser inserting brand photos in violation of Wikipedia’s rules and then boasting about it online. The North Face was caught doing this in 2019. They soon stopped their related advertising campaign and publicly apologized.

The Signpost emailed Andy Shovel, co-founder of This! and asked him to comply with our paid editing disclosure requirements. We told him that, for commercial gain, he was vandalizing an educational website run by a non-profit. We also asked him if he would like to apologize to Wikipedians.

The reply did not come from Shovel, but from a "Team Member". The text reads

Thanks so much for getting in touch – we're sorry it didn't hit the mark with you. We do however, believe it was harmless fun, and are of the view that cynical people in Russia – who pedal [sic] fake news – won't feel enabled or inspired by the plant-based bacon pic swap. I'm afraid we won't be apologizing for our actions at this time.
I hope you have a great rest of the week,
— email to Smallbones, September 2021


Reader comments

Requests for adminship (RfA), the process by which potential administrators are vetted by the community, is undergoing a comprehensive review—the first of its kind since the administrator election reform of 2015. The first phase of the review, which seeks to identify problems in the RfA process, opened August 28 and will close September 28. Once this phase is completed, a "one-to-two week" brainstorming period will be undertaken to develop solutions for these problems. After the brainstorming period is completed, editors will have thirty days to discuss whether or not to implement any resulting proposals.

The ongoing first phase has discussed over twenty potential problems with the process. Several dozen editors have participated thus far to provide their insights.

To what extent are editors concerned about the RfA process?

There has been a sharp drop in the number of individuals requesting to become administrators. As of September 11, 2021, a mere nine editors had entered into the RfA process this year, with seven candidates approved, setting a pace for the lowest number of new administrators in any year. This drew concern from several editors who argued that the decreasing number of administrators cannot be sustained.

A minority of editors have stated their belief that there are no issues with the RfA process itself that require addressing. "Currently, it seems like we are mostly keeping up with demand," Jo-Jo Eumerus wrote, and Chetsford wrote that, "while the current uptake of new admins may become an issue, and may become an issue soon, and while this may not be sustainable, I agree that there is no issue."

A majority of editors in the discussions, however, believe that the RfA process has issues that need to be addressed. "We have only 24 admins whose first edit was since the start of 2015, that is not good for community cohesion, especially as many from a decade before that were becoming admins in months," wrote WereSpielChequers, "We also lose the editor retention benefit of appointing people as admins – new admins do tend to stay here long term. As for sustainability, if we appoint ten new admins in a year, to maintain a pool of a 1,000 admins half of whom are active at any time, we need the average new admin to remain an admin for 100 years and be active for half of them. Given current human longevity this is an unrealistic scenario."

Goszei agreed. "Our admin population is well below replacement rate, as evidenced by Wikipedia:Desysoppings by month," the editor wrote, "and the pool of admin tasks is not getting smaller."

What are the problems within the RfA process that editors have described?

Throughout the discussion, there were several issues that editors generally found to be of concern, including the community atmosphere at RfA and the scrutiny faced by prospective admins.

Is a corrosive atmosphere at RfA to blame?

Many editors agreed that the current RfA atmosphere is deeply corrosive. Vami IV, who withdrew his candidacy for adminship earlier this year, described his experience at RfA thusly:

My RfA constitutes the worst four days and several more thereafter of my now six years on Wikipedia. It was absolutely miserable. Aside from being told that you have problems that you need to work on, which is of course never pleasant, but my RfA was also dominated by running battles between the entire planet and Joe Roe for a now-redacted edit desc and his general attitude towards me, stupid opposes that were then badgered to death by my camp, zealot partisans of me, emotional injury to friends of mine, several of which were those zealot partisans. My experience on the whole was that I felt rejected, of course, but also like a humiliated, mistrusted vagrant. It has led me to think that whatever takes as much of the conversation about an RfA out of a candidate's earshot is the best and should be pursued.

— Vami IV, 00:33, 4 September 2021

Editors also debated over the benefits and drawbacks of moving to a secret ballot system over the current format, a debate which may carry over into the next phase of the comprehensive review. On this question, the discussion was rather split. Some participants, such as Andrew Davidson, argued that the current format requires editors who oppose the nomination to state their reasons publicly, leading to acrimony. Others, such as Nosebagbear, argued that moving to a secret ballot would make the vetting process worse: he wrote that doing so would make it "harder to identify reasons for failure, inherently eliminates Cratchats, would require people who were opposing for a non-obvious feature to note the reason so that others could be aware of it, or risk it going unnoticed."

Are standards for prospective admins too high?

Many editors expressed concerns that the level of scrutiny applied to editors requesting the admin toolset is too high. Ivanvector wrote that "RfA commenters have a pattern of treating any transgression as fatal, no matter how minor or how far in the past, and nobody who has any experience on this project knows if they put themselves forward, what someone is going to dig up from years in their past and frame in a way that fails their RfA. Most editors actually don't find it very enjoyable to have to defend every action they've ever made, just for the privilege of then having to defend every action they subsequently make."

A few editors argued that the level of scrutiny applied in requests for adminship is generally appropriate. L235 stated that "certainly there have been overly scrutinized RfAs, but in my experience, most RfAs face about the right amount of community scrutiny – we have to have some; adminship is now, under our present policies and norms, a big deal."

Standards for admins are also rising, according to most editors, who say that not enough editors qualify by the current standards. Valereee wrote that "[s]tandards have risen. Many very reasonable voters want to see at least some content creation, which I understand -- some of these editors have had interactions with admins who have no experience creating content and felt those admins didn't understand what content creators sometimes have to deal with. And many voters want to see an extremely high level of civility; I'm one of those voters. Those things weren't necessary in 2007."

Which aspects of the RfA process are leaving the community most divided?

The community has highly divergent views on several aspects of the RfA process. In particular, editors expressed a wide variety of opinions on whether or not the lack of standardized RfA criteria is part of the problem, the extent to which long-term editors are disadvanaged by the notion that mud sticks, and the extent to which the admin toolset should be unbundled.

Should RfA be the only road to adminship?

Over two-thirds of participating editors expressed a desire for an alternative path to adminship other than RfA.

"There are several other possibilities for mechanisms to get new admins," Rhododendrites wrote, "there's also the possibility of setting up recall/desysop procedures which would only apply to people who received their rights through that alternative mechanism. Perhaps more than all of the rest, this seems like it's worth an experiment at least."

Since WMF Legal requires community review as a condition of adminship, there was some skepticism among editors for the feasibility of this concept. Worm That Turned stated his agreement that editors should be "pushing for an alternative, as the public opinion of RfA is so low, and has been for so long."

"A completely new process - which meets the WMF scrutiny requirements and which has community buy in", Worm said, "is like to gain potential good candidates who are refusing to run RfA simply because it is RfA."

L235, a member of the Arbitration Committee, argued that these efforts were unlikely to yield fruit. "Adminship isn't just some buttons these days", the administrator argued, "we can't deny that adminship comes with a substantial grant of social capital and influence, and far-more-than-technical authority (e.g. DS authority). As long as that's the case, a pre-adminship community review seems like the only acceptable system that I can think up. I would love to be convinced otherwise, though."

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.

"Announcing WIT: A Wikipedia-Based Image-Text Dataset"

Reviewed by Bri and Tilman Bayer

Researchers from Google AI describe[supp 1] a new dataset for machine learning[1] composed of annotated images ("multimodal visio-linguistic model") scraped from Wikipedia. It's not quite the largest image dataset the authors compared to prior work, but has by far the largest amount of accompanying text, with more than 37M image-text associations. Text was derived from the article title and description, and other contextual information and metadata such as image captions, alt-text and title of the section an image appeared in. Interestingly, "hate speech" articles were ruled out for the dataset (exactly how was not defined), perhaps to head off future problems with machine learning bias.

The Google AI researchers also announced that "we are hosting a competition with the WIT dataset in Kaggle in collaboration with Wikimedia Research and other external collaborators." In its own announcement,[supp 2] the Wikimedia Foundation's research team explained that it is hosting this competition with the aim of "foster[ing] the development of systems that can automatically associate images with their corresponding image captions and article titles. [...] you will be providing open, reusable systems that could help thousands of editors improve the visual content of the largest online encyclopedia".

"Evolutionary pathways of articles"

Ecology of Wikipedia figure 5.png
Visualization of the evolutionary pathways of articles, from "Ecology of the digital world of Wikipedia"
Reviewed by Bri

In a new Scientific Reports paper titled "Ecology of the digital world of Wikipedia",[2] the authors define the metrics "scatteredness" of editors and "complexity" of articles, then use the metrics to show how Wikipedia articles tend to improve over time. The metrics are defined in an recursive but computable way:

"...we define the scatteredness Di of an editor i, as the harmonic sum of the article complexities he or she edits. The complexity of an article is then naturally defined as a harmonic sum of the scatteredness values of the editors who edited the article..."

When plotted against each other, then tracked over time, the data suggest an evolutionary "flow" in which articles trend toward greater quality during their life (shown in accompanying graphic).

Experiment on the search engine DuckDuckGo reveals that "Wikipedia is ranked highly because people are looking for it"

Reviewed by Tilman Bayer

A blog post[3] by the Wikimedia Foundation reports on the results of an experiment conducted in collaboration with the search site DuckDuckGo. The A/B test examined effects of the presence or absence of "Information modules, also referred to as 'knowledge panels' or 'information boxes,' [which] are the boxes on search result pages, generally to the right of the blue links. They often include a short summary of information from Wikipedia alongside images, facts, and links to relevant websites, including Wikipedia". When Google introduced them back in 2012, they soon gave rise to concerns that relieving (some) surfers of the need to click through to Wikipedia - by already excerpting some of its information onto the search engine results page - might be "killing Wikipedia", which derives a large majority of its traffic from Google (or at least substantially decrease its pageviews, edits and donations).

In contrast to these concerns, when the box was removed in the A/B test on DuckDuckGo, "95% of the clicks that would have gone to the Wikipedia information module instead went to Wikipedia blue links [in the standard search results list on the left]". Wikipedia's click-through rate (per SERP view) was actually higher when the information module was present (15.9%) than when it was missing (15.0%). "This indicates that the vast majority of people are not choosing Wikipedia just because it happens to be ranked high in Search and prominently in the information module but because they are explicitly looking for Wikipedia."

This increase in clickthrough rates is not entirely surprising, given that the box usually contains at least one prominent additional link to Wikipedia (example). But it is in stark contrast to the earlier fears that it would decrease traffic. A 2017 study by McMahon, Johnson & Hecht[supp 3] had actually observed a decrease when removing the box in a lab experiment. But as the coauthor of a followup study pointed out, "a big limitation of this kind of [lab] study is that researchers have to select 'important' queries. But this very recent collab study from Wikimedia + DuckDuckGo bypasses that limitation."

Besides the A/B test, which was conducted on users from the US and Germany, the Foundation also analyzed existing aggregate data from DuckDuckGo from these countries, finding among other results that "Wikipedia is the most common result across all DuckDuckGo searches. It shows up either as a module or one of the top five blue links in more than 15% of searches in the United States, more than any other website."

Alongside other results, the post concludes that

"Wikipedia is central to the success of Search, and, in turn, Search is core to how people find Wikipedia. Wikipedia is ranked highly because people are looking for it."


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

"How are encyclopedias cited in academic research? Wikipedia, Britannica, Baidu Baike, and Scholarpedia"

From the abstract:[4]

"This study investigates trends from 2002 to 2020 in citing two crowdsourced and two expert-based encyclopedias to investigate whether they fit differently into the research landscape: Wikipedia, Britannica, Baidu Baike, and Scholarpedia. [...] Scopus searches were used to count the number of documents citing the four encyclopedias in each year. Wikipedia was by far the most cited encyclopedia, with up to 1% of Scopus documents citing it in Computer Science. Citations to Wikipedia increased exponentially until 2010, then slowed down and started to decrease. Both the Britannica and Scholarpedia citation rates were increasing in 2020, however. Disciplinary and national differences include Britannica being popular in Arts and Humanities, Scholarpedia in Neuroscience, and Baidu Baike in Chinese-speaking countries/territories."

"What an Entangled Web We Weave: An Information-centric Approach to Time-evolving Socio-technical Systems"

From the abstract:[5]

"... we applied a string matching function to the text associated with each Wikipedia revision entry. The matching function uses a regular expression to identify trigram noun phrases to match entities like ‘The White House’, ‘Barack Hussein Obama’ or ‘Empire State Building’ for example. In this situation Transcendental Information Cascades form a network of article edits, linked together by the shared trigrams found within the edit revision text. By enriching the article edits with contextual knowledge about article categories from DBpedia ( it was possible to find that this cascade network represents meaningful article relationships not available within the explicit network of linked Wikipedia articles. [... For example,] a burst of activity was observed featuring a series of edits made within a short duration of time beginning with identifiers found in edits on the article about Edward Snowden. The cascade then branched out to span across many other articles incorporating various identifiers related to Edward Snowden’s life. A detailed inspection of the time frame when the cascade emerged showed that it coincided with a presentation given by him at the SXSW conference. In other words, a relationship between an external phenomenon and a short, bursty cascade of edits within Wikipedia, which would not have been available to a more contextualized investigation, was uncovered using the method."

"Individual-driven versus interaction-driven burstiness in human dynamics: The case of Wikipedia edit history"

From the abstract:[6]

"In this paper we [are] analyzing the Wikipedia edit history to see how spontaneous individual editors are in initiating bursty periods of editing, i.e., individual-driven burstiness, and to what extent such editors’ behaviors are driven by interaction with other editors in those periods, i.e., interaction-driven burstiness. We quantify the degree of initiative (DoI) of an editor of interest in each Wikipedia article by using the statistics of bursty periods containing the editor’s edits. The integrated value of the DoI over all relevant timescales reveals which is dominant between individual-driven and interaction-driven burstiness. We empirically find that this value tends to be larger for weaker temporal correlations in the editor’s editing behavior and/or stronger editorial correlations [...]"

"Framing and social information nudges" on German donation banners

From the abstract:[7]

"We analyze a series of trials that randomly assigned Wikipedia users in Germany to different web banners soliciting donations. The trials varied framing or content of social information about how many other users are donating. Framing a given number of donors in a negative way increased donation rates. [e.g. "Our donation banner is viewed more than 20 million times a day, but only 115.000 people have donated so far" (negative) vs. "... Already 115.000 people have donated so far" (positive).] Variations in the communicated social information had no detectable effects. "


  1. ^ Srinivasan, Krishna; Raman, Karthik; Chen, Jiecao; Bendersky, Michael; Najork, Marc (2021-07-11). "WIT: Wikipedia-based Image Text Dataset for Multimodal Multilingual Machine Learning". Proceedings of the 44th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval. SIGIR '21. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 2443–2449. doi:10.1145/3404835.3463257. ISBN 9781450380379.
  2. ^ Ogushi, Fumiko; Kertész, János; Kaski, Kimmo; Shimada, Takashi (2021-09-15). "Ecology of the digital world of Wikipedia". Scientific Reports. 11 (1): 18371. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-97755-w. ISSN 2045-2322.
  3. ^ Johnson, Isaac; Perry, Nicholas; Gordon, Kinneret; Katz, Jon (2021-09-23). "Searching for Wikipedia: DuckDuckGo and the Wikimedia Foundation share new research on how people use search engines to get to Wikipedia". Diff.
  4. ^ Li, Xuemei; Thelwall, Mike; Mohammadi, Ehsan (2021-09-09). "How are encyclopedias cited in academic research? Wikipedia, Britannica, Baidu Baike, and Scholarpedia". Profesional de la Información. 30 (5). doi:10.3145/epi.2021.sep.08. ISSN 1699-2407.
  5. ^ Luczak-Roesch, Markus; O'hara, Kieron; Dinneen, Jesse David; Tinati, Ramine (2018-12-01). "What an Entangled Web We Weave: An Information-centric Approach to Time-evolving Socio-technical Systems". Minds and Machines. 28 (4): 709–733. doi:10.1007/s11023-018-9478-1. ISSN 0924-6495. closed access Freely available preprint version: Luczak-Roesch, Markus; O'Hara, Kieron; Dinneen, Jesse David; Tinati, Ramine (2018-04-15). What an entangled Web we weave: An information-centric approach to time-evolving socio-technical systems. PeerJ Preprints.
  6. ^ Choi, Jeehye; Hiraoka, Takayuki; Jo, Hang-Hyun (2021-07-26). "Individual-driven versus interaction-driven burstiness in human dynamics: The case of Wikipedia edit history". Physical Review E. 104 (1): 014312. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.104.014312.
  7. ^ Linek, Maximilian; Traxler, Christian (2021-08-01). "Framing and social information nudges at Wikipedia". Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. 188: 1269–1279. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2021.06.033. ISSN 0167-2681. closed access, Author's copy
Supplementary references and notes:
  1. ^ Srinivasan, Krishna; Raman, Karthik (September 21, 2021), "Announcing WIT: A Wikipedia-Based Image-Text Dataset", Google AI blog, Google Research
  2. ^
  3. ^ McMahon, Connor; Johnson, Issac; Hecht, Brent (2017). "The Substantial Interdependence of Wikipedia and Google: A Case Study on the Relationship Between Peer Production Communities and Information Technologies". Eleventh International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. AAAI. pp. 142–151.

Reader comments

Mary Mark Ockerbloom is the co-host of Philadelphia WikiSalon and Wikipedian in Residence for Annual Reviews. Dilettante Army is an Art+Feminism organizer. Pharos is long time member of Wikimedia New York City.
Pieced Quilt, c. 1979 by Lucy Mingo, Gee's Bend, Alabama.JPG
A 1979 quilt by Lucy Mingo of Gee's Bend, Alabama, with a nine-patch center block surrounded by pieced strips

Information about craft is almost nonexistent in Wikipedia and Wikidata. With a view to stitching up that gap, Wikimedia New York City members have started Wikipedia:WikiProject Craft, hosting Craft+Wikipedia Roundtable sessions with the Textile Society of America. Putting together a new WikiProject involves piecing together many different contributions—much like piecing together a quilt. We hope you'll contribute and explore the world of craft!

Craft is the creation of objects using human hands. It is practiced by professional artists, tradespeople, amateurs and enthusiasts with a spectrum of skills and vision. Craft artists work with traditional craft materials and practices in fields such as glassblowing, pottery, jewelry, textile arts, woodworking and metalworking. The studio movement is part of a broader world of craft where boundaries blur between hobbyists, makers, specialists, and artists.

With one hand, craftspeople hold firmly to tools, techniques and traditions that have been practiced for generations to create practical, usable objects. With the other hand, they reach for inspiration and imagination. They may make objects that are both beautiful and utilitarian, like the quilts of Gee's Bend, or that only reference utility, like a spun-glass wedding dress displayed at the Corning Glass Museum.

The invisibility of craft on Wikipedia

Craft has historically been defined in opposition to both industry and fine art. The Arts and Crafts movement in Britain began in response to the Industrial Revolution, as craftspeople sought to maintain control and authority over their work. Craft is often divided from fine art because of its utility and the class status of its practitioners. Objects made in a domestic context have been gendered as women's work. Craft's roots often have been categorized in folk art, naïve art, and primitive art. The work of non-European cultures has a long history of treatment as craft rather than fine art, reflecting bias in European and North American anthropology. Contemporary craftspeople and artists draw on these histories, often reclaiming the pride and skill of handwork, the value of domestic labor, and art forms developed by non-white cultures.

All this may help to explain why there is an information gap around craft on Wikipedia and Wikidata. That lack of information perpetuates the field’s invisibility.

Craft Horizons cover 1949 by Emile Norman.png
Craft Horizons cover, Emile Norman, 1949, No copyright renewal

One way to find out more is to look at craft publications. American craft developed in the early 1900s as a successor to European craft movements. Aileen Osborn Webb founded the American Craft Council in 1943 and published the magazines Craft Horizons (1941-1979) and American Craft (1979-). More specialist publications include Studio Potter. Metalsmith, The Journal of Modern Craft, Studio: Craft and Design in Canada, Selvedge, Surface Design Journal, Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, Threads, Textile Research Journal, Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, Journal of Glass Studies, Art Jewelry Forum, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramic Review, and Glaze magazine.

There are Wikipedia articles on American craft as a movement and Craft Horizons, but almost none for other magazines. Coverage of craft artists remains sparse. Category:Women in craft has 12 sub-categories. Wikipedia knows about 297 “Women textile artists” (down from 310 last year) and 201 “Women potters” but only 44 “Women metalsmiths”, 48 "Women silversmiths"‎, 16 “Women woodcarvers” and 8 “Women stone carvers” (down from 10) worldwide.

Mariska Karasz.jpg
Mariska Karasz, from Craft Horizons, 1949, No copyright renewal

Craft journals are a rich source of information on the history of craft. They can be used to identify, expand, and create Wikidata entities and Wikipedia articles about artists, techniques, tools and other subjects. Some of them, including Craft Horizons (1941-1979) and American Craft magazine (1979-1990) are freely available online. You can also find sources through the Wikipedia Library. (See Introduction to the Wikipedia Library c/o Philadelphia WikiSalon.) Older magazines may not have renewed their copyrights, making them a potential source of images for Wikimedia Commons.

Getting started

The goals of Wikiproject:Craft are to increase visibility and usability of information about craft, to fill content gaps and create a long-lasting framework of basic information about craft.

Identifying topics

What craft information would you like to find on Wikipedia? Since this is a new project, we've just started to create templates for categorizing articles. You can help tagging topics. Search Wikipedia for a topic that you think is important to craft, like a publication, organization, artist, movement, technique or tool. If there is a Wikipedia article on the topic, paste {{WikiProject Craft}} at the top of the article's talk page. You can rate an article to indicate how well developed it is, how important it is, and whether it needs photographs, e.g. {{WikiProject Craft |class=Start |importance=Low |needs-image=yes }} If you don't find a Wikipedia article, suggest one at Wikipedia:WikiProject Craft or create a Wikidata item.

Expanding Wikidata

Wikidata supports description as structured data, computer-readable statements that identify and connect people, places, things and ideas. Wikidata can be searched and queried, but it only knows something if we describe it. You can develop your skills on Wikidata much like a craftsperson, with each object you create.

Wikidata entities can be created for almost anything you can think of and connected together and to references. WikiProject sum of all paintings has done an excellent job on a traditionally-valued fine art, but much of craft remains undefined and underdeveloped. Relevant properties for craft on Wikidata include product or material produced (P1056), practiced by (P3095) and intangible cultural heritage status (P3259). Craft information on Wikidata can be used to generate lists of topics, to find craft artists, and to improve or create new Wikipedia articles.

Quilting on wikidata.png
Screenshot from the Wikidata entity Quilting. Consider the cultural assumptions behind this photo.

Partnerships and events

Wikipedia projects and others often generate lists of topics from Wikidata for use as worklists and in research. Adding craft information to Wikidata will help WikiProject Craft to partner with other groups to organize events, either online or in person.

Existing project groups on Wikipedia like Wikipedia:WikiProject Textile Arts, Art+Feminism, and Women in Red are good candidates for event partners. Many art institutions, libraries, galleries and museums are interested in craft, and som have partnered with Wikipedia in the past, such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Smithsonian and others have even hired Wikipedians in residence. Talk to people at your local institutions about ways to improve Wikiproject Craft.

If you're a teacher, consider whether this could be relevant to a class. WikiEdu works with teachers and university classes to expand Wikipedia and Wikidata.

Images! Images! Images!

It's incredibly difficult to convey an idea of a visual object without a visual image. Images can be saved on Wikimedia Commons (where Wikipedia stores its images) under either of two conditions. First, an image can be in the public domain, no longer under copyright. Second, it can be released with the permission of the copyright holder under a copyright license that allows others to freely reuse the image in any way they wish, including commercially.

Freely released images

If you've taken a photograph yourself, you own the copyright of that photograph, and you can release it on Wikipedia. See Adding your own photo to Wikimedia Commons.

You can't take a photograph of someone else's artwork and release it without their permission. They hold a copyright in the underlying work. Some artists, like Jan Yager, have released images of their own works, or of works in progress, on Wikimedia Commons. It would be very exciting to see more artists photographing and releasing images of their tools and process!

It can be hard to take a good photograph of yourself even if you're an artist. If someone else takes a photograph of you, they own the copyright, not you. Black Lunch Table has brought their own photographers to events to take and release photographs of artists who attend, with their permission. This would be great for future in-person craft artist events!

Black Lunch Table photobooth at High Line 15

Public domain images

Copyright law differs for each country, and United States copyright law is complicated. That said, as of January 1, 2021, books and magazines published prior to 1926 entered the public domain in the United States. Each year on Public Domain Day, another year is released. Also, books and magazine issues published in the United States up to December 31, 1963, had to register renewals to retain their copyrights. Works that did not renew have also entered the public domain. The images below are in the public domain.

Various projects are making copyright renewals easier to check. You can see if a journal renewed its issues via The Online Books Page first renewals list (up to 1950) and Penn Libraries deep backfiles, which uses Wikidata to track renewals of journals. View Adding a public domain photo to Wikimedia Commons or attend the WikiSalon workshop on Demystifying Copyright at WikiConference North America 2021.

Everyone is welcome!

We hope you'll contribute and share this Signpost article! Please help us to fit the pieces of Wikipedia:WikiProject Craft together to create something both beautiful and useful.

We also hope to have a session at the upcoming WikiConference North America October 8-10.

Reader comments

This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by Igordebraga (August 29 to September 18), SSSB (August 29 to September 18), Benmite (August 29 to September 5 and September 12 to 18), Mcrsftdog (September 5 to 11, 2021).

And I know it aches, and your heart it breaks (August 29 to September 4)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (August 29 to September 4, 2021).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (August 29 to September 4, 2021)
Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Sidharth Shukla B-Class article 2,897,546 Bigg-Boss-OTT-Sidharth-Shukla-looks-dapper-Shehnaaz-Gill-keeps-it-vibrant-in-Patiala-suit-6 (cropped).jpg India (and the world) lost this actor, most recently seen in the series Broken But Beautiful, at just 40 of a heart attack. Shukla also won the local version of Big Brother.
2 Donda C-Class article 1,618,776 Donda West.jpg Donda. Donda. Donda. Donda. Donda. And so on and so forth.

It's hard to know exactly what to expect when it comes to Kanye West, but it was nearly impossible to peg down what would come of Donda. Named after his late mother, (pictured) whom the majority of this overlong album has very little to do with, West's tenth studio album suffered from several delays, changing tracklists, and his own presidential campaign back in 2020. The third and final of West's listening parties for the album, each of which was held in packed stadiums across the country, was another dizzying ingredient to the mess: it depicted West standing in a replica of his childhood home and ended with West setting himself ablaze while his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, reenacted the couple's 2014 marriage. Finally, the album came out, and, while fans seem to be worshipping it, critics have been less than enthusiastic. Many noted that the album isn't nearly as artful as West's previous work, and its nearly two hours worth of music could have benefitted from some editing. One thing's for sure: We miss the Old Kanye.

3 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings C-Class article 1,482,258 Simu Liu (48469082216) cropped.jpg If Marvel Studios made a hit out of Guardians of the Galaxy, it's safe to say they can pull out just about everything right. Now it's another formerly obscure superhero, a "Master of Kung Fu" who is reinforced by villains that in the comics are of two other heroes, Iron Man's archnemesis and a beast that confronts Doctor Strange. An entertaining mystical martial arts movie, Shang-Chi got great reviews and – given that, unlike Black Widow, there is not an option to watch it at home for a surplus – should be making lots of money.
4 Cristiano Ronaldo B-Class article 1,343,274 Cristiano Ronaldo (cropped).jpg Two months ago I reported that Ronaldo had failed to beat the record for most international goals (settling for joint record). Well, following two goals on September 1, the record is his.

Ronaldo's viewership is further boasted as fans eagerly anticipate Ronaldo's first appearance back in the Premier League with Manchester United after the international break against Newcastle United.

5 Ed Asner C-Class article 1,083,478 Ed Asner (7284218664).jpg Ed Asner died at the age of 91, leaving behind quite the legacy in many fronts, television (Lou Grant in two shows, Roots), film (El Dorado, Elf) and voice acting (Up, Freakazoid!).
6 Deaths in 2021 List-Class article 897,511 A gravestone with a gateway, St Maur's Glencairn Churchyard, Ayrshire, Scotland.jpg You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead
7 India at the 2020 Summer Paralympics Start-Class article 797,885 Shri Sumit Antil Javelin medalist.jpg Indian athletes with disabilities are performing better at an international level than abled ones, it seems. In the delayed Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the country had 19 medals, 5 of them gold (to the left is one of them, amputee javelin thrower Sumit Antil), nearly 3 times the 7 (only one golden) from last month. Standout performances included one of the country's most popular sports, badminton, plus athletics and shooting.
8 Money Heist Good article 659,009 La casa de papel en Halloween.jpg Netflix brought back the Spanish thieves from The House of Paper for a fifth go, the first part of the last season.
9 Kanye West B-Class article 651,691 Jay-Z Kanye Watch the Throne Staples Center 15.jpg He might be a jackass, he might be a gay fish, but what's relevant here is that he released #2.
10 Shehnaaz Gill C-Class article 639,227 Photos-Shehnaaz-Gill-snapped-in-Andheri-4.jpg During Bigg Boss, #1 became very good friends with this actress who finished in third place, and they were rumoured to be in a relationship. Whether or not she can be considered his widow is unclear, the sure thing being that Gill was heartbroken by his death.

Do you remember, 11th morning of September? (September 5 to 11)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (September 5 to 11, 2021).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (September 5 to 11, 2021)
Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Emma Raducanu C-Class article 3,031,991 Emma Raducanu (49810111052) (cropped).jpg She lives in and represents Great Britain, was born in Canada, has Romanian and Chinese parents, and had her moment of glory in the United States: two months after a strong Wimbledon showing, this tennis player won the US Open at just 18! And it is even more impressive considering Raducanu is the first Grand Slam champion who came from the qualifiers, and did not lose a single set in the whole tournament.
2 Michael K. Williams C-Class article 2,910,373 Michael K. Williams Harvard University (headshot).jpg Williams, known for playing Omar Little in The Wire, died on Monday.
3 September 11 attacks Good article 2,143,825 September 14 2001.jpg The deadliest terrorist attack of all time (which claimed 2,977 lives, excluding the 19 terrorists, and injured 25,000 others) had its 20th anniversary on (well, you can guess the date). The death toll would have been considerably higher if #10 had not been taken back from the terrorists. The 20th anniversary saw numerous commemorations and special programs around the entire globe.
4 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings C-Class article 1,878,697 Shang-chi 01.jpg This film was released on September 3 and continues to make a lot of money, with positive reviews (which don't always go together), showing that Marvel Studios going on a martial arts route was a good decision (certainly better executed than the Marvel Television attempt Iron Fist).
5 Leylah Fernandez C-Class article 1,801,202 Fernandez RG21 (47) (51376940739).jpg #1's opponent in Flushing Meadows was this equally young Canadian, who along the way ran over seeds two, three, and five, plus former number one Angelique Kerber. (And one of the writers confesses he was more interested in a compatriot of hers in the doubles, at least until an unfortunate injury struck the reason why.)
6 Steve Burns C-Class article 1,341,515 Steve Burns.jpg For the 25-year anniversary of Blue's Clues, the show's host started posting videos in-character, sending many people into a nostalgia frenzy.
7 Sarah Harding B-Class article 1,021,689 GirlsAloudOOCLive Sarah (cropped).jpg Harding, one fifth of the British girl group Girls Aloud, died on September 5 aged 39 of breast cancer. Girls Aloud had 22 top 10 UK hits, as well as six top 10 albums.
8 The Matrix Resurrections C-Class article 902,599 The.Matrix.glmatrix.2.png The first trailer for the upcoming Matrix film was released on Thursday. The film, scheduled for release on December 22, will see the return of only one Wachowski (Lana) as director. As for the cast, Keanu is still Neo, Carrie-Anne Moss is still Trinity, but Morpheus is now portrayed by Candyman reboot star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
9 Deaths in 2021 List-Class article 888,376 Image050h.jpg Given this week Google homaged someone from the 2018 iteration of this list:
I wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes...
10 United Airlines Flight 93 Featured article 835,230 United Airlines 93.jpg As documented in a 2006 movie, #3 almost ended up worse, as al-Qaeda had hijacked a fourth plane, only the passengers fought to take back control, leading to everyone dying as it crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

All that you feel, all this you can leave behind (September 12 to 18)

Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (August 29 to September 4, 2021).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (September 12 to 18, 2021)
Rank Article Class Views Image Notes/about
1 Norm Macdonald Start-Class article 2,793,630 Norm MacDonald (26378045703) (cropped).jpg The iconoclastic, incisive comedian who first made his mark on Saturday Night Live as its Weekend Update correspondent, died this week at 61 from leukemia. To quote Norm himself: "I'm pretty sure if you die, the cancer also dies at exactly the same time. So that to me is not a loss, that's a draw."
2 Emma Raducanu C-Class article 2,255,534 Emma Raducanu Fed Cup 2020.jpg Fresh off the heels of her undeniably impressive win at the US Open finals, this 18-year-old British tennis sensation continues to game the system and set herself up as the sport's next superstar, even if she almost met her match while going up against Leylah Fernandez. (What? We can't all be as clever as Norm.) Raducanu also made an appearance at #8.
3 September 11 attacks Good article 1,348,074 Sept 11 Victims Mural DC RIP.jpg This week's Report started the day after 9/11, so the Twin Towers appear on our list for a third consecutive week.
4 Deaths in 2021 List-Class article 862,819 Calaveras skulls.jpg And once you're gone, you can't come back
When you're out of the blue and into the black.
5 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings C-Class article 832,188 Simu Liu (48469127391).jpg Back again – Simu Liu of Kim's Convenience fame plays its title character. It's proving to be a hit with critics, viewers, and, in a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, at the box office, bringing moviegoers back to theaters and bringing AMC out of its pandemic-imposed darkness. The only place it hasn't made waves is the one place it spends most of its runtime paying tribute to: Marvel still has yet to receive clearance to even show Shang-Chi in Chinese theaters, though not for lack of trying. In any case, Shang-Chi went to great lengths to fix the source material's blatant stereotyping, and it seems that East Asian audiences outside of China have responded well to the film's representation.
6 Michael Schumacher Good article 782,282 Graffiti de Michael Schumacher.jpg The impressive life and times of the Formula One racer were chronicled in a Netflix documentary released on September 15.
7 United Airlines Flight 93 Featured article 772,146 Flight-93-victim-angels.jpg #3 could have been even worse if the members of Al-Qaeda who hijacked Flight 93 hadn't been thwarted by the plane's passengers, who attempted to take back control of the plane before it was crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania, killing all 44 people on board.
8 Met Gala C-Class article 758,821 KDV2009UncleSamBarrells.JPG After losing a year of being able to watch unfathomably rich people strut down the red carpet in clothes that remind us that we're inching closer and closer to living in The Hunger Games, we've returned to Anna Wintour's magical fashion land. The theme this year was "In America", but based on most of the outfits, attendees must have been told it was "On Jupiter". Some of the more "American"-themed outfits weren't even worn by Americans (see: Lupita Nyong'o's denim outfit, Nikkie de Jager's Marsha P. Johnson tribute, Maluma's cowboy getup) and at least we got some actual American representation through the appearance of Alaskan Quannah Chasinghorse. Other outfits followed the American tradition of dominating the headlines simply by being opaque (like this) or memeable (like this).
9 Malignant (2021 film) Start-Class article 613,660 James Wan 2018.png This polarizing, James Wan-directed horror flick, about a woman who starts having visions of people getting murdered before realizing that they're actually getting murdered, was released to theaters and HBO Max on September 10, 2021. And yes, there's a tumor involved.
10 Lil Nas X C-Class article 591,454 191125 Lil Nas X at the 2019 American Music Awards.png Montero Lamar Hill has continued to run strong ever since he took his horse to the Old Town Road. He appeared at the #8 looking like a character from Saint Seiya, released his debut album, and had "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" win the Video of the Year at the VMAs, proving flamboyancy and controversy are no big deal for him, and probably even help.


  • 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

This article was originally published in Diff on September 8, 2021. The author is Chief Advancement Officer, Wikimedia Foundation.

On September 8, the Wikimedia Foundation announced the first round of grantees for the Knowledge Equity Fund, a pilot program created by the Wikimedia Foundation in June 2020 to address the barriers to free knowledge experienced by Black, Indigenous, and communities of color around the world. The Equity Fund is a new approach to support external organizations that are working at the intersection of racial equity and free knowledge in ways to increase access to knowledge for all.

In order to achieve the movement’s vision of a world in which all people can freely participate in the sum of all knowledge, we must work towards knowledge equity, one of the two core pillars of the movement’s strategic direction. Knowledge equity is about welcoming the knowledge and communities that have been excluded by historical structures of power and privilege, structures that are often directly connected to systems of racial oppression.

However, the work of addressing racial injustice is not something that our movement alone can solve. Our projects can only do so much when, for example, academic and mass media representation of marginalized communities remains insufficient, which in turn limits citations and primary sources for us to build from. The Equity Fund will help us to build a robust ecosystem of free knowledge partners working to address the barriers to knowledge equity.

The Equity Fund complements existing grants programs such as the new grants funding strategy. With this new strategy, Wikimedia Community Funds are available for individual volunteers and affiliates within our movement in a variety of areas. The Wikimedia Foundation also provides grants for external organizations that have a direct tie to our movement and are working to support underrepresented communities under the Wikimedia Alliances Fund. The Equity Fund will target organizations that are working towards racial equity but who are not yet working directly with the free knowledge movement.

In order to identify grantee organizations, we assembled a Committee of Wikimedia Foundation staff and community members to manage the fund. Over the past several months, the Committee has been meeting weekly to define the scope of the Equity Fund, ensure that the work will be representative of the global nature of our movement, and discuss and select potential grantees for our first round of funding. Each grantee was required to align to one or more of five areas of focus that were identified as areas that are most beneficial to the larger ecosystem of open knowledge.

Today, we are announcing the inaugural round of grants from the Equity Fund. We have chosen six grantees across the Middle East, Africa, and North and South America that focus on issues of access, education, and equity within the regions they support. Each grantee supports an established organization with a track record of success in their field. Each is also new to the Wikimedia movement, and we are excited by the prospects of closer collaboration with groups throughout the free knowledge movement.

These grantees are:

  • Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism: The Arab Reporters in Journalism (ARIJ) is a nonprofit investigative journalism organization based in Jordan. ARIJ has built an expansive network of journalists across the Middle East and North Africa and has supported over 650 investigative projects on topics ranging from threats to freedom of expression, to systemic patterns of bias and discrimination. This grant will support ARIJ’s continued work in training and coaching media on how to report on issues of equity and institutional accountability, with dedicated workshops that tackle the skills, tools, and knowledge required for Arab journalists to address racial inequity in the region. Through their work, ARIJ will continue to grow the breadth of investigative journalism about inequity throughout the Arab World based on journalistic principles of facts, research, and multiple sources.
  • Borealis Racial Equity in Journalism Fund: Borealis is a philanthropic intermediary that takes a community-led approach to addressing injustices and driving transformative change across the United States. This grant will be provided to their Racial Equity in Journalism Fund, which invests in local news organizations led by people of color that have built long-standing relationships and trust with the diverse communities they serve. With this investment, Borealis will invest in local community-based journalism with a focus on improving how communities of color are represented and reported on throughout the media. Through this work, they will increase the amount of citable articles about leaders of color and community issues and further knowledge equity.
  • Howard University and the Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice: The Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice (IIPSJ) is a nonprofit organization that was established to promote social justice in the field of intellectual property law. IIPSJ is led by professors from and graduates of the Howard University School of Law (HUSL), the oldest historically black college or university law school in the United States and a leading institution in civil rights and social justice advocacy. IIPSJ advocates for equity and inclusion throughout the intellectual property (IP) ecosystem, including shaping IP law, policies, and initiatives to promote awareness of IP protections and possibilities among communities of color. With this grant, IIPSJ will create a two-year fellowship at HUSL led by a Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellow to explore how systemic racism and injustice impacts how marginalized communities can participate in free knowledge (including in the intellectual property ecosystem), recommendations to address these gaps in knowledge, and how knowledge can be used to advance racial equity and empowerment.
  • InternetLab: InternetLab is a nonprofit think tank focused on internet policy and research around critical digital issues of inclusivity and equal rights, based in São Paulo, Brazil. With this grant, InternetLab will create a two-year fellowship led by a Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellow that will produce scholarly writings and publications, as well as educational programming on the intersection between racial equity and free knowledge in Brazil. The Fellow will conduct research on topics including what barriers impact the participation of Black and Indigenous peoples in online knowledge, and identify national and local policy solutions across the fields of intellectual property, access to technologies, education and research, affirmative action, funding and incentives, among others. This fellowship will expand the available research about how racial inequity has impacted communities of color in Brazil.
  • Media Foundation for West Africa: The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is a non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting and defending the right to freedom of expression, particularly for media and human rights defenders, throughout the 16 countries in West Africa. This grant will support the MFWA’s continued work to protect the public’s right to access information and advocacy for equitable policies throughout the region. MFWA will promote investigative journalism on issues of equity and injustice as part of their focus on freedom of expression and access to information. The grant will also support the organization’s press freedom and independent journalism advocacy to help build a favorable and enabling environment for in-depth investigative reporting that encourages transparency and accountability — the lack of which often result in injustices and marginalisation of the poor, underrepresented, and minority groups.
  • The SeRCH Foundation: The STEM en Route to Change Foundation (SeRCH Foundation) is a non-profit organization based in the United States that focuses on the intersection of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as a tool for social justice. This grant will be used to support their flagship program, #VanguardSTEM, which asserts the value of non-traditional knowledge alongside technical expertise and uses storytelling as a means of cultural production to amplify the contributions of Black, Indigenous, women of color and non-binary people of color in STEM fields. With this investment, #VanguardSTEM will grow their collection of featured BIPOC STEM creatives, adding multimedia to each profile to enhance the storytelling capacity. This collection of open and freely licensed audio, video, and written content about women and non-binary innovators and inventors of color will expand the repository of rich content in the Commons centering the experiences and expertise people of color in STEM and support non-traditional methods of storytelling.

Our work does not end with the selection of these grantees. We will be doing check-ins with each grantee over the course of the next 12 months to see how their work is progressing. Each grantee is expected to share their impact annually through a read-out of activities completed throughout the year. This will vary based on each grantee – for some, it may be producing original research and written materials; for others, it may be training journalists on addressing issues of racial equity and producing media focused on communities that have been underrepresented in traditional media sources.

Moving forward, the Equity Fund will provide one more round of grants in the Wikimedia Foundation’s fiscal year, likely in early 2022. Our plan is to identify, evaluate, and select these grantees among ideas from the Wikimedia movement, and we welcome recommendations through this form. (If you have already submitted suggestions, thank you!) We will be exploring options for new grantees over the next six months.

We will also be looking at the gaps we have in terms of capacity, awareness and skills on the Equity Fund Committee, and opening it up to additional community members to get involved working with the Committee on choosing future grantees. Our goal is to create a fund that is more participatory and more inclusive of the communities that we wish to impact with this work. We will be sharing more about ways to get involved with the Committee as we approach our next round of funding.

Reader comments

Most WikiProjects are organized around topics – military history, India, classical music. But a few are different – and one of them is the Random Page Patrol. WP:RANPP is a group of Wikipedians who dedicate themselves to improving the quality of Wikipedia's content purely by chance. They click the random article button and see what awaits them. We interviewed several members of the Random Page Patrol about what they do, how they came across it, and what they've found out as custodians of the unplanned.

  1. As an early member, do you remember how the Random Page Patrol came to be?
    • Floydian: As far as I know, it was around from the beginning.
  2. How did you come across the Random Page Patrol?
    • Rodney Baggins: I think I just noticed the random article link on the left-hand link bar (Main page - Contents - Current events - Random article, etc.) but I can't remember how I actually found the Special:Random page. From there, I eventually followed the link to Wikipedia:Random page patrol, which is when I realised there was a project dedicated to it. There was a gap of maybe 18 months or so between first discovering the random article link to finally joining the RPP project.
    • WildStar: I first started to copy/edit articles on familiar topics, and then joined Wikipedia:Cleanup. At the time it was quiet there, so I decided to join similar Wikipedia projects and found Random Page Patrol.
    • Onel5969: I came across it as part of New pages patrol (NPP).
    • Souravdas1998: I joined Wikipedia in 2016 when I got my first internet connection after passing high school. That was an overwhelming experience for me. I never knew that anybody can edit Wikipedia articles. I always thought that there are some highly qualified staff who write articles. Could just anyone really edit the articles? Then I slowly started editing myself and came to know the whole process. Then I stumbled across the "Random Page Patrol".
  3. Why did you decide to become a random page patroller? What do you find valuable about the project?
    • Rodney Baggins: The fact that it's a random process really appeals to me. I love spontaneity and sometimes find it hard to make decisions so am happy to be guided in an unpredictable direction. It's probably the same reason that many people like using the random function when playing music. I love Wiki-editing but sometimes can't decide where to look and what to edit, so when I'm being indecisive the random article is a good way to direct my attention onto something I wouldn't otherwise have thought of. There are so many millions of articles in Wikipedia that you could never hope to visit every single one. RPP gives the opportunity to explore and improve the encyclopedia without the constraints of personal choice and bias. It's a good way to discover a new subject that you never knew existed – how could you ever expect to find its Wikipedia page otherwise?
    • WildStar: Random page patrollers are important in maintaining the integrity of the entire encyclopedia.
    • Onel5969: As part of NPP, it is sometimes a welcome change from reviewing at the back of the queue.
    • Souravdas1998: Initially, most beginner Wikipedians may dream of becoming an administrator. But, the real goal is to create new articles following Wikipedia policies, maintain the articles by preventing acts such as vandalism, and strengthen the community as a whole, involving tasks such as welcoming newcomers, etc. One day, I decided to patrol random pages and do corrections of any grammatical mistakes, errors, citations. That's when I became a Random Page Patroller. Becoming a Random Page Patroller is very valuable, since there may be an article buried deeply out of sight of regular Wikipedians, but many errors may remain present in the article. Randomness will make sure that such articles are also patrolled by Wikipedians.
    • Floydian: I was bored and wanted to wander down the rabbit hole. Random page patrol allows us to find those obscure articles that may have skipped by new page patrol.
  4. How often do you randomly page patrol? Do you use it mostly as a break from other Wikipedia contributions, or is it a major part of how you spend your time here?
    • Rodney Baggins: Whenever I have the time. Maybe a couple of times a week unless I'm involved in something else on Wikipedia that I want to get on with. I use it as a break, a sort of relaxation exercise if you will. I'm involved with the Olympics and Snooker projects and have interests in a few other specific areas, but I like to have a diversion when I'm not in the mood for anything too heavy-going.
    • WildStar: All the time, and yes, sometimes it does provide a much needed break when more intensely engaged in other project areas.
    • Onel5969: As I said above, I have definitely used it as a break from my normal NPP routine, while still contributing to reducing the reviewing queue. How often varies from week to week. But I used to review about 50-60 articles a week that way.
    • Souravdas1998: In the earlier years of mine as a Wikipedian, I was mostly a Random Page Patroller. After that, I learned that vandalism is a very serious problem in Wikipedia. That's why I started using Huggle, and was a very busy Wikipedian preventing vandalism. But keeping watch on vandalism becomes hectic most of the time. Whenever I want less stress, I do Random Page Patrolling.
    • Floydian: Once every few months. I do use it as a break.
  5. Are there any articles you have edited as part of the Random Page Patrol that particularly stand out in your memory?
    • Rodney Baggins: Yes lots, e.g. Chicago Pile-1, Valhalla train crash, Heterodyne, Maidie Norman, Adele Addison, Patricia Frolander, Alexander Wienerberger, all of which I contributed to. These are all unrelated, diverse subjects that I wouldn't normally have come across (and I've learnt a lot).
    • WildStar: Yes. Just recently RPP took me to a copyright violation. What was particularly striking there was that the heading for the copyvio included the words "Taken directly from site", and that the copyvio went unnoticed for almost 3 years.
    • Onel5969: Wow, not that I can remember, but you have to understand I've reviewed a couple of hundred thousand articles or thereabouts in the last 5 years.
    • Souravdas1998: Yes, I found the list article List of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize recipients which had some outdated information and statistics. I updated the list and the statistics. It stands out in my memory because I am also a physicist in the making.
  6. What would you say to someone considering joining the Patrol?
    • Rodney Baggins: It's fun, a nice diversion, something different to do, and can be incredibly interesting. You never know what you might find! If you're well versed in Wikipedia's MOS and style guidelines, you could make a real difference to some articles that are just sitting there unnoticed and unloved.
    • WildStar: Feel free to join... like me, you may find that there is much to learn in doing so.
    • Floydian: If you click "random page", give it the full patrol. Check the references, tag it as necessary.
    • Souravdas1998: I will suggest the newbies to take advantage of randomness, which is a very powerful tool, not only in Wikipedia but throughout the world. People may get life partners through random encounters. Wikipedians may also come across neglected Wikipedia articles, and it will be a nice opportunity to improve the article and add their contributions.
  7. Is there anything else you'd like to add that I haven't asked you?
    • Rodney Baggins: I was very surprised when I added my name to the RPP list because I realised there are only 138 names on it. We need more editors to get involved!! Someone needs to put an advert on the main page!!
    • Souravdas1998: I will just add that don't run behind various roles in Wikipedia, otherwise, the goal to maintain such a project won't fulfil. Just contribute as you like and apply for the roles as required. Also, always behave well with other Wikipedians, especially the amateur ones, who do unintentional mistakes.
    • WildStar: As mentioned here, Random Page Patrol can be fun, rewarding, and make you the first to discover "treasure" in the form of a wonderful article or page!

That's it for this month; please feel free to suggest a WikiProject for an interview (or interview a WikiProject yourself!) here.

Reader comments

If articles have been updated, you may need to refresh the single-page edition.