(this is an announcement in my capacity as a volunteer.)
Inspired by a lightning talk at the recent CEE Meeting by our colleague
Lars Aronsson, I made a little command-line tool to automate batch
recording of pronunciations of words by native speakers, for uploading to
Commons and integration into Wiktionary etc. It is called *pronuncify*, is
written in Ruby and uses the sox(1) tool, and should work on any modern
Linux (and possibly OS X) machine. It is available here, with
I was then asked about a Windows version, and agreed to attempt one. This
version is called *pronuncify.net <http://pronuncify.net>*, and is a .NET
gooey GUI version of the same tool, with slightly different functions. It
is available here, with instructions.
Both tools require word-list files in plaintext, with one word (or phrase)
per line. Both tools name the files according to the standard established
in [[commons:Category:Pronunciation]], and convert them to Ogg Vorbis for
you, so they are ready to upload.
In the future, I may add OAuth-based direct uploading to Commons. If you
run into difficulties, please file issues on GitHub, for the appropriate
tool. Feedback is welcome.
For a few months now, 15 French-speaking Wikipedia editors, supported by
Wikimédia France, have been working to design a Massive Online Open Course,
to learn how to contribute to Wikipedia and discover more about the way it
The WikiMOOC lasts for 5 weeks (with 2,5h of work/ week, including the
duration of the courses). You can check out the project page on Wikipedia
The registration for this WikiMOOC opens today, on the FUN  platform
(powered by the Ministry of Education and Research, in France) !
The courses will start on February 22nd, 2016.
Do not hesitate to share this information to all French-speaking
communities you might know of. Please, note that it is possible to stay
tuned via WikiMOOC's Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Here is a short trailer about the WikiMOOC in French :) Enjoy ! 
Please, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions,
Jules Xénard jules.xenard(a)wikimedia.fr
There’s an excellent profile of Magnus Manske in the Wikimedia blog today.
It’s hard to think of people more important to the movement than Magnus has
been since 2001.
Selected quotes: "...we have gone from slowdown to standstill; the
interface has changed little in the last ten years or so, and all the
recent changes have been fought teeth-and-claw by the communities,
especially the larger language editions. From the Media Viewer, the Visual
Editor, to Wikidata transclusion, all have been resisted by vocal groups of
editors, not because they are a problem, but because they represent
change... all websites, including Wikipedia must obey the Red Queen
hypothesis: you have to run just to stand still. This does not only affect
Wikipedia itself, but the entire Wikimedia ecosystem... if we wall our
garden against change, against new users, new technologies our work of 15
years is in danger of fading away... we are in an ideal position to try new
things. We have nothing to lose, except a little time.”
in case you don't know, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeCell is a
single-player card game, that became popular after being included in
some versions of Microsoft Windows. Now, the English Wikipedia entry about it
used to contain during at least two times in the past, some relatively short
sections about several automated solvers that have been written for it.
However, they were removed due to being considered "non-notable" or
Right now there's only this section -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeCell#Solver_complexity which talks about the
fact that FreeCell was proved to be NP-complete.
I talked about it with a friend, and he told me I should try to get a
"reliable source" news outlet/newspaper to write about such solvers (including
I should add my own over at http://fc-solve.shlomifish.org/ , though the
sections on the FreeCell Wikipedia entry did not exclusively cover it.).
Recently I stumbled upon this paper written by three computer scientists, then
at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev:
* There's some analysis of this paper in this thread in the fc-solve-discuss
The solver mentioned in the paper can solve 98% of the first 32,000 Microsoft
FreeCell deals. However, several hobbyist solvers (= solvers that were written
outside the Academia and may incorporate techniques that are less fashionable
there, and that were not submitted for Academic peer review) that were written
by the time the article published, have been able to solve all deals in the
first MS 32,000 deals except one (#11,982), which is widely believed to be
impossible, and which they fully traverse without a solution.
Finally, I should note that I've written a Perl 5/CPAN distribution to verify
that the FreeCell solutions generated by my solver (and with some potential
future work - other solvers) are correct, and I can run it on the output of
my solver on the MS 32,000 deals on my Core i3 machine in between 3 and 4
Now my questions are:
1. Can this paper be considered a reliable, notable, and/or Encyclopaedic source
that can hopefully deter and prevent future Deletionism?
2. Can I cite the fc-solve-discuss’s thread mentioning the fact that there are
hobbyist solvers in question that perform better in this respect - just for
"Encyclopaedic" completeness sake, because the scientific paper in question
does not mention them at all.
Sorry this E-mail was quite long, but I wanted to present all the facts. As you
can tell, I've become quite frustrated at Wikipedia deletionism and the hoops
one has to overcome in order to cope with them.
[Verification] - one note is that all these programs were not verified/proved
as correct by a proof verifier such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coq , so
there is a small possibility that they have insurmountable bugs. Note that I
did write some automated tests for them.
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
What Makes Software Apps High Quality - http://shlom.in/sw-quality
The three principal virtues of a programmer are Laziness, Impatience, and
Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
Recent events have made me curious to learn more about the Wikimedia
Foundation's origins and history as a membership organization. The
revelations about the Wikimedia Foundation Board elections being a
recommendation for appointment rather than a direct vote seem to have been
a surprise to many of us, and almost ten years after membership was
eliminated, we see strongly suggestive "directly elected" language still
being fixed on the Foundation's own Board elections page.
It turns out that this history is colorful, the Foundation was a membership
organization from 2003-2006 and Board seats were indeed, originally,
intended to be directly elected by member-Wikimedians. It seems that the
membership issue was never quite resolved. I've put some of my notes on
metawiki, please forward to any wiki historians who might be interested in
throwing their weight on a shovel.
As a current WMF staff member, and having received a formal scolding two
weeks ago for expressing my professional and personal opinions on this
list--that a hierarchical corporate structure is completely inappropriate
and ineffectual for running the Foundation--I don't feel safe
editorializing about what membership could mean for the future of the
Wikimedia movement. But I would be thrilled to see this discussion take
place, and to contribute however I am able.
A note to fellow staff: Anything you can say about this history is most
likely protected speech under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, since we're asking
whether state and federal laws were violated.
Today the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees voted to remove one of the
Trustees, Dr. James Heilman, from the Board. His term ended effective
This was not a decision the Board took lightly. The Board has a
responsibility to the Wikimedia movement and the Wikimedia Foundation to
ensure that the Board functions with mutual confidence to ensure effective
governance. Following serious consideration, the Board felt this removal
decision was a necessary step at this time. The resolution will be
This decision creates an open seat for a community-selected Trustee. The
Board is committed to filling this open community seat as quickly as
possible. We will reach out to the 2015 election committee
to discuss our options, and will keep you informed as we determine next
Chair, Board of Trustees
Just copying part of Andreas's comment from another thread:
"...can the board now please come to a decision on whether the Knight
Foundation grant letter and grant application documents will be posted on
Meta, and if not, provide an explanation to the community why they cannot
be made public?
"To recap, Jimmy Wales said over two weeks ago on his talk page that in
his opinion the documentation should be posted on Meta, to clear the air
around this issue. However, nothing appears to have happened since then."
(Note: I'm creating a new thread which references several old ones; in the
most recent, "Profile of Magnus Manske," the conversation has drifted back
to Wikidata, so that subject line is no longer applicable.)
Andreas Kolbe has argued in multiple threads that Wikidata is fundamentally
problematic, on the basis that it does not require citations. (Please
correct me if I am mistaken about this core premise.) I've found these
threads illuminating, and appreciate much of what has been said by all
However, that core premise is problematic. If the possibility of people
publishing uncited information were fundamentally problematic, here are
several platforms that we would have to consider ethically problematic at
* Wikipedia (which for many years had very loose standards around citations)
* Wikipediocracy (of which Andreas is a founding member) and all Internet
* All blogs
* The Internet itself
* The printing press
Every one of the platforms listed above created opportunities for people --
even anonymously -- to publish information without a citation. If we are to
fault Wikidata on this basis, it would be wrong not to apply the same
standard to other platforms.
I'm addressing this now, because I think it is becoming problematic to
paint Wikidata as a flawed project with a broad brush. Wikidata is an
experiment, and it will surely lead to flawed information in some
instances. But I think it would be a big problem to draw the conclusion
that Wikidata is problematic overall.
That said, it is becoming ever more clear that the Wikimedia Foundation has
developed big plans that involve Wikidata; and those big plans are not open
THAT, I believe, is a problem.
Wikidata is not a problem; but it is something that could be leveraged in
problematic ways (and/or highly beneficial ways).
I feel it is very important that we start looking at these issues from that