I'm taking part in an images discussion workshop with a number of
academics tomorrow and could do with a statement about the WMF's long
term commitment to supporting Wikimedia Commons (and other projects)
in terms of the public availability of media. Is there an official
published policy I can point to that includes, say, a 10 year or 100
If it exists, this would be a key factor for researchers choosing
where to share their images with the public.
Guide to email tags: http://j.mp/faetags
In the discussion of the Wikinews fork (may they thrive), I picked up
some comments predicting the death of Wiktionary and Wikiquote,
referring to the low numbers of regular contributors.
I don't think that means the projects are dying: I'm an infrequent
contributor to both of those projects, and every time I go there,
they're better. Wikiquote is continually improving in coverage and
accuracy, and Wiktionary has recently gotten new features (e.g. a
separate citations tab) and is also going forward. People are
checking recent changes: last time I edited Wiktionary, I was adding
citations to an article where the current list was in reverse
chronological order, and I was too lazy to change it, thinking
"someone else can fix this". Before I got to the third citation,
someone had fixed the sequence.
The fact that progress is slowing isn't a sign of impending death. As
long as the wikis don't stagnate to the extent that they start to get
taken over by spammers and trolls, I'm not going to hold a wake.
As for Wikiquote being one of our less useful projects, that's
possibly true, but only because the other projects are so awesome!
The web is awash with crap quotation websites of with the same
misattributed quotes being incestuously copied around - Wikiquote is
one beacon of sanity in that whole mess.
There is a request for a Wikipedia in Ancient Greek. This request has so far
been denied. A lot of words have been used about it. Many people maintain
their positions and do not for whatever reason consider the arguments of
In my opinion their are a few roadblocks.
- Ancient Greek is an ancient language - the policy does not allow for
- Text in ancient Greek written today about contemporary subjects
require the reconstruction of Ancient Greek.
- it requires the use of existing words for concepts that did
not exist at the time when the language was alive
- neologisms will be needed to describe things that did not
exist at the time when the language was alive
- modern texts will not represent the language as it used to be
- Constructed and by inference reconstructed languages are effectively
We can change the policy if there are sufficient arguments, when we agree on
When a text is written in reconstructed ancient Greek, and when it is
clearly stated that it is NOT the ancient Greek of bygone days, it can be
obvious that it is a great tool to learn skills to read and write ancient
Greek but that it is in itself not Ancient Greek. Ancient Greek as a
language is ancient. I have had a word with people who are involved in the
working group that deals with the ISO-639, I have had a word with someone
from SIL and it is clear that a proposal for a code for "Ancient Greek
reconstructed" will be considered for the ISO-639-3. For the ISO-639-6 a
code is likely to be given because a clear use for this code can be given.
We can apply for a code and as it has a use bigger then Wikipedia alone it
clearly has merit.
With modern texts clearly labelled as distinct from the original language,
it will be obvious that innovations a writers needs for his writing are
This leaves the fact that constructed and reconstructed languages are not
permitted because of the notion that mother tongue users are required. In my
opinion, this has always been only a gesture to those people who are dead
set against any and all constructed languages. In the policies there is
something vague "*it must have a reasonable degree of recognition as
determined by discussion (this requirement is being discussed by the language
subcommittee <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_subcommittee>)."* It
is vague because even though the policy talks about a discussion, it is
killed off immediately by stating "The proposal has a sufficient number of
living native speakers to form a viable community and audience." In my
opinion, this discussion for criteria for the acceptance of constructed or
reconstructed languages has not happened. Proposals for objective criteria
have been ignored.
In essence, to be clear about it:
- We can get a code for reconstructed languages.
- We need to change the policy to allow for reconstructed and
We need to do both in order to move forward.
The proposal for objective criteria for constructed and reconstructed
languages is in a nutshell:
- The language must have an ISO-639-3 code
- We need full WMF localisation from the start
- The language must be sufficiently expressive for writing a modern
- The Incubator project must have sufficiently large articles that
demonstrate both the language and its ability to write about a wide range of
- A sufficiently large group of editors must be part of the Incubator
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Year: 2011 Week: 39 Techflash
An independent internal news bulletin
for the members of the Wikimedia community
[Wikimedia servers upgrade] - Wikimedia servers are in the process of
upgrading. You may experience difficulties in reading and/or editing
o Upgrade timeline:
+ [19 September] - Monday, September 19, 23:00-01:00
UTC -- Production test: test2.wikipedia.org – this stage will ensure
that 1.18 is compatible with the rest of our production
infrastructure. There’s a small chance that changes here could affect
+ [21 September] - Wednesday, September 21,
23:00-03:00 UTC -- Stage 1: simple.wikipedia.org,
strategy.wikimedia.org, mediawiki.org, he.wikisource.org
+ [26 September] - Monday, September 26, 23:00-03:00
UTC -- Stage 2: meta.wikimedia.org, en.wikiquote.org,
en.wikibooks.org, beta.wikiversity.org, eo.wikipedia.org,
+ [4 October] - Tuesday, October 4, 23:00-03:00 UTC --
Stage 3: remaining wikis.
@@@@@@@@ Wikizine seeks editors @@@@@@@@@
@@@@@@@@@ Wikizine seeks editors @@@@@@@@
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Please pass the word to anyone you think might be interested.
Let me again say that it's great that the foundation actually asked editors
what they thought. Clearly the actual design of the survey left much to be
desired - people wanted a question along the lines of "is this filter a good
idea (y/n)," and didn't get one. I'm a bit disappointed that for as major a
change in direction as this, ten trustees decided it was such a good idea
that they didn't need to ask the community if they agreed; only for some
details as to the scope of the technical tool. I think this is why we got
the worst of all possible results; a stalemate with no clear answer one way
or the other.
Anyway, I'd like to see some of the trustees weighing in with their thoughts
on the results of this referendum, since it's clear that we can argue until
the sun goes dark but our opinions mean precisely nought with regards to the
question of whether an image filter should be implemented.
> From: Stephen Bain <stephen.bain(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Personal Image Filter results announced
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
On Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 6:23 AM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton(a)gmail.com>
> That's only true if there is general agreement that the feature would be
> nice to have and there is just a question of whether it is worth the
> That it not the case here.
The referendum was pretty clearly predicated on the basis that the
feature was going forward:
"The Board of Trustees has directed the Wikimedia Foundation to
develop and implement a personal image hiding feature."
"[The referendum was held] to gather more input in to the development
and usage of an opt-in personal image hiding feature".
And from the resolution:
"We ask the Executive Director, in consultation with the community, to
develop and implement a personal image hiding feature..."
(not "We ask the Executive Director, so long as the
crowd gives their blessing, to develop and implement...")
The questions are all relating to the development of the feature, save
for the 'culturally neutral' question: the first is about how to
prioritise it, and the others are about setting out the specs for the
Re David Gerrard's inquiry about publicity plans.
I don't know if anyone has prepared a publicity plan for the image filter,
afterall we don't yet know if this can either be made to work or can get
consent for implementation.
But if it does go ahead this is how I'd suggest handling the publicity:
Trial it as an option for registered logged in users on some of the projects
which are most strongly in favour. I'd anticipate this would include Arabic,
Indonesian and Aceh but obviously not DE and probably not EN.
Tell the community what you are doing through Signpost, Wikizine, mailing
lists and site notices on Commons and the wikis in the trial.
Be very clear in the communication that this is a trial of a new feature,
and at this stage we want to make sure the buttons work - it should enable
you to say you never want to see a particular picture again, but avoiding
stuff that you haven't seen yet is more difficult.
If the press ask tell them the truth. We are trialling a new feature on
certain wikis, and no we haven't set an official launch date yet. But yes on
those wikis in the trial it has already got to the point where you can
decide you never want to see a particular image again.
On participating wikis shift the way you handle complaints about
inappropriate images to encourage such complainants to join the image filter
Once any teething troubles are resolved and those who use it report that it
is better than not having a filter; Either allow any wiki that wants it to
join the trial, or if we as a movement decide to make a movement wide
decision on this, allow any registered user to join the trial.
Keep tabs on the effectiveness of it and I'd suggest keep Signpost updated.
So that if the press ask you can say yes the trial continues and we now
??? editors trialling it
on ??? language versions of Wikipedia ?? language versions of wikinews ??
language versions of Wikiquote etc etc.
and according to our latest survey of users in the trial it is now xx%
effective - up from xx% 12 months ago.
If they want to know why IPs are not in the trial and only registered users
can use it; Explain that creating an account is free, but we can't implement
this for IP editors as we have no way of doing that without allowing one
person using an IP address to censor what others at that IP address see.
Continue the trial per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:TIND
Obviously if any journalist wants a demonstration then anyone handling press
relation needs to be able to demonstrate what you see with an account that
has opted to not to see cockroaches and what you see otherwise.
On a highly interrelated aside, if we implement this we need to decide what
information to collect about it. I would hope it would be uncontentious to
collect statistics on:
1. Number of users of this feature per project
2. Number of times per project per month that this blocked an image
3. Number of times per project per month that a user chose to block an
image and not see it again
4. Number of times per project per month that a user chose to override
the filter and look at an image anyway
On 19 September 2011 06:28, David Levy <lifeisunfair(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > Additionally, if and when the WMF proudly announces the filters'
> > introduction, the news media and general public won't accept "bad luck
> > to those using the feature" as an excuse for its failure.
> Oh, yes. The trouble with a magical category is not just that it's
> impossible to implement well - but that it's fraught as a public
> relations move.
> What is the WMF going to be explicitly - and *implicitly* - promising
> readers? What is the publicity plan? Has this actually been mapped out
> at all?
> - d.
English Wikinews is in a market with many, many professional
competitors. Competitors with a paid staff that steadily create
reliable news output quick and in most cases _for free_. While good
encyclopedias were still sold for thousands of dollars in 2001, news
were already available for free back then. So there's no big advantage
for the reader in using Wikinews instead of some other news resource.
A further point is steadiness. A Wikipedia doesn't loose much value if
you leave it unedited for some days because of contributor shortage.
On Wikinews on the other hand most readers will leave forever if there
are no current news since days. It's very hard to build a userbase if
you cannot guarantee a continuous flow of new news.
And it's hard to gain authors if you have no readers because the texts
will only be of interest for a few days. If you write a news article
and noone reads it you have wasted your time. On Wikipedia however, if
you write an article you can rest assured that people will read your
text. If not today then in a year.
Other than a Wikipedia where even a single person can build an
increasingly useful resource over time, Wikinews has a critical mass.
If it doesn't reach the criticial mass of steady contributions, the
project will never lift off.
It's my opinion, that Wikimedia should try to support a Wikinews by
paying a editor in chief and a core team of reporters to secure that
the project always stays above the critical mass.
Ideally that isn't done in the oversaturated market for English
language news but in a language that doesn't have any native language
news outlets. Pick the language with the biggest number of speakers (I
guess that'll be in rural Africa or Asia) that has no own media and
hire an editorial team. Send them out to make contacts into the
diaspora of the language and into the countryside to find volunteer
reporters and correspondents. Let them do a mix of world news and
original local news reporting. Go into print. A few newspapers per
village will probably suffice if you distribute it to the right places
and propagate sharing.
Provide free and open news to people who haven't had access to native
That of course means spending some money. Perhaps it won't work. But I
think it is worth actually exploring it further and trying it out. At
least that would be a form of Wikinews that could actually _make a
difference_. The current model of "give them a wiki and don't do much
else until six years later the project crumbles to dust" does not lead
to anything making a difference.
Now that the the WMF summer research program in the Community Department has
come to a close, I wanted to point interested parties to the body of
findings we've produced.
We covered a lot of territory so to save you the trouble if you just want to
browse, we collected our most salient results into one wiki page.
- Relevant blog post here:
- Summary of findings on Meta, with links to further documentation:
Next steps are twofold for this program:
1. We'll be working with the Global Development team and some volunteers
from the local community to extend these analyses to cover Portuguese
Wikipedia, specifically to support Global Dev's work in Brazil.
2. We're choosing and implementing a platform to release not just our
code, but the datasets we compiled over the summer. You'll hear more about
this soon, but we're taking our time in order to decide on a solution that
will work in the long term for sharing open data beyond the dumps.
Last but not least, if anyone would like to have a more in-depth discussion
about these findings and the research that produced them, I'm definitely
open to hosting an IRC office hours with some members of the team. Just let
me know if you're interested (on or offlist) and I'll set something up soon.
Fellow at Wikimedia Foundation