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Just a reminder about today's office hours with Sue Gardner. Just as a
note, we're planning alternating the Friday 22:30 UTC office hours with
Thursday 16:00 UTC, which is much easier on our European participants.
As a result of the success of the Strategy planning office hours and the
recent "meet the board" presentation on the #wikimedia channel on IRC,
we've decided to do regular office hours featuring a Wikimedia
Foundation staff member.
And to kick things off, this Friday, September 25, 2009, between 15:30
and 16:30 PDT (UTC 22:30 to 23:30), Sue Gardner, the Wikimedia
Foundation's Executive Director, will be online to answer your questions
and talk about her role in the Foundation and plans for the future.
The IRC channel that will be hosting Sue's conversation, and all future
WMF staff office hours, will be #wikimedia-office on the Freenode
network. If you do not have an IRC client, you can always access
Freenode by going to http://webchat.freenode.net/, typing in the
nickname of your choice and choosing wikimedia-office as the channel.
You may be prompted to click through a security warning. It's fine.
Volunteer Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation
Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
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I wrote a bit about information planted in reliable sources by
intelligence agencies a little while ago. Check this out:
Why would we treat this any different from a press release by Wal-Mart?
It is rather transparently a message whispered in a parrot's ear and
intended to influence public opinion.
> Message: 3
> Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 18:13:13 +1000
> From: Steve Bennett <stevagewp(a)gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Jimmy Wales post on Huffington Post
> To: English Wikipedia <wikien-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 6:06 PM, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
> <cimonavaro(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> If however the actual result is a shift in editing cultural
>> attitudes (measured for instance in the rate of non-BLP
>> articles being semied or protected after the introduction
>> of FR) towards a stricter and more defensive attitude
>> towards addition of new information, there clearly are
>> metrics to evaluate that, and that will be proof of the
>> other sort.
> Yep. I, for one, am quite apprehensive about what this will mean in
> practice. My real fear is that anonymous editors will become even more
> marginalised and the rate of new editors will slow further. However, I
> have no concrete basis for thinking this, so I'm keeping quiet about
I'm quite keen both on the idea of allowing IP edits on semiprotected
articles via flagged revisions; and on the idea of protecting more
biographies of living people either by semi protection or flagged
revisions. But I agree that we will need to be able to analyze what
I'm pretty sure that the number of semi protected articles is on the
rise; So to meaningfully measure the impact of flagged revisions we
will need to compare the number of articles protected this way against
a projection of how many would have become protected via semi
protection if flagged revisions had not come along. We also need
baseline figures for the number of edits on semiprotected pages that
are currently achieved by IP editors requesting them on talkpages,
against the future number of IP edits to currently semi-protected
articles that will be flagged as OK by other users and go live.
On Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 6:18 PM, Charles Matthews
> I don't ski. You are partly arguing that there should not be a
> notability guideline for skiing sites. And partly that a specialist
> skiing encyclopedia should be a directory of just about all skiing
> sites. I'm not really in a position to argue, since I'm not familiar
> with that sector of reference literature. The usual test is that there
> is such a book and it does include Kettlebowl.
I seem to recall that in the notability policy there is also scope for
comprehensiveness. That is, if a certain number of a given category of
entities is denoted "notable", then we include articles about *all* of
them, for comprehensiveness.
I really wish I'd fought harder years ago against framing the scope of
Wikipedia in terms of "notability". Notability is only part of the
picture: there are other reasons for including articles. There are
questions about how much should be written about a topic. There are
questions about whether all notable subjects should have entries. Etc.
> I would certainly argue that
> - Kettlebowl the hill as geographic feature is probably a topic to
> include, just that it should be treated as such without the promotional
> overlay this guy wants about it;
> - If the material on Kettlebowl had been placed in [[Bryant,
> Wisconsin]], we would have had one better article, not two scrappy ones.
IMHO, short is not synonymous with "scrappy". Look at a traditional
encyclopaedia. Is every article three pages long? No. Most are very
short, a paragraph or two. IMHO it's better to have two articles with
clearly defined defined scopes (in this case, a ski area, and a town),
than one article with a fudged scope (a town and, uh, any notable
nearby tourist attractions, of which in this case there is one major
one). I don't think information about the town would enhance the ski
area article. Information about the ski area would slightly enhance
the town article.
> I think skiing fans should not be allowed to chip away at minimum
> standards for inclusion just because they are, well, fans of skiing.
Of course. But all rules are subject to change, and we certainly
shouldn't be in a "you can't have that article about that ski area
because I didn't get this article baout my pokemon character"
> WP:NOT says WP is not a directory, after all.
I think Wikipedia has progressed far enough and become unique enough
that WP:NOT is really not relevant anymore. Wikipedia is not
*anything* else. It's not an encyclopaedia, it's not a directory, it's
not a website, it's not a project...it's just totally sui generis. It
combines aspects of many of the above. There are directory-like
aspects, there are how-to-like aspects, there are cookbook-like
aspects etc etc etc.
The question is how to get all of these aspects in a balance that
maximises their utility to the greatest number of people at the lowest
cost. Describing a few thousand ski areas around the world is probably
ok. Describing hundreds of thousands of primary schools around the
area is not going to work.
The interesting thing is that we don't really need hard rules. If
there's one area where it works and makes sense to go into more detail
and have a lower bar for inclusion than another, that doesn't hinder
the mission. If it works.
Hey kids! Sort out those BLOODY INSANE <ref> tags in the text!
(Something to add to AutoWikiBrowser for sure ...)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steve Bennett <stevagewp(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] Article metadata separation from main wikitext
To: Wikimedia developers <wikitech-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
On Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 8:46 AM, Andrew Garrett <agarrett(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> A fix for this went live today. You can now put your <ref name="">
> tags into the <references> tag, and then reference them by name.
Oh, so it did. And it works!
What's great about this kind of improvement is that it lets you see
where the next possible improvements could be:
- Separate out infoboxes
- Separate out images
Anyway, I look forward to a new era of editing without massive cite
templates in my face!
(And yes, a bot should go through and move them all...or at least ones
where the definition > X characters)
Wikitech-l mailing list
Question for the copyright experts. See this image:
It's over 100 years old, and there is no clear copyright statement
(ie, the photographer isn't listed). Yet they say "Any other use
requires permission from the State Library of South Australia."
1) On what basis can they demand that users ask permission?
2) In what circumstances can Commons or Wikipedia ignore such a
demand, and assert that the image is public domain or copyright
3) What is the status of an image which is probably copyright, but no
one knows who owns the copyright?
I realise that this case might be a bit borderline, so if you prefer,
imagine that the image was old enough that we could reasonably assume
the photographer has been dead more than 70 years.
Over in the recondite if productive arena of WikiProject Mathematics,
fresh eyeballs have been looking over articles in areas that retain a
structure imposed up to five years ago, and not much liking what they
see. Basically there were POV forks introduced in areas, to calm down
edit wars, at a time when the "POV fork" concept was not so well
understood. I remember well the relief with which User:Kevin Baas was
given a sandbox for his treatment of tensors.
So now it doesn't all look so good any more. This cuts to fundamentals,
because mathematicians feel that the topic sentence in an article should
serve as a definition. For comparison, I looked at [[quantum field
theory]] for a comparison: reads "Quantum field theory (QFT) provides a
theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of
systems classically described by fields or of many-body systems." So it
tells you what QFT does, not what it is (unsurprising, with the jury
still out). The mathematicians' take is clearly limited to areas where
you can say definitely what something is (i.e. the domain of axiomatic
That being said, there seems to be the scope for clarifying how an area
that is axiomatic should be organised according to our revered
principles of summary style (WP:SS). There are numerous instances, it
seems, where we have "menu style" in place of "summary style", i.e.
different treatments according to taste. The foundational issue does
seem to need addressing, and could cause quite some upheavals (such as
we have got out of the habit of living with). It could be that we now
accept articles with titles like [[introduction to string theory]], as
pedagogic stepping stones. But neutrality means, surely, that treatments
that are really "introduction to X from the POV of Y" are out of place,
or at least to be seriously deprecated.