I was asked by a volunteer for help getting stats on the gender gap in
content on a certain Wikipedia, and came up with simple Wikidata Query
Service queries that pulled the total number of articles on a given
Wikipedia about men and about women, to calculate *the proportion of
articles about women out of all articles about humans*.
Then I was curious about how that wiki compared to other wikis, so I ran
the queries on a bunch of languages, and gathered the results into a table,
(please see the *caveat* there.)
I don't have time to fully write-up everything I find interesting in those
results, but I will quickly point out the following:
1. The Nepali statistic is simply astonishing! There must be a story
there. I'm keen on learning more about this, if anyone can shed light.
2. Evidently, ~13%-17% seems like a robust average of the proportion of
articles about women among all biographies.
3. among the top 10 largest wikis, Japanese is the least imbalanced. Good
job, Japanese Wikipedians! I wonder if you have a good sense of what
drives this relatively better balance. (my instinctive guess is pop culture
4. among the top 10 largest wikis, Russian is the most imbalanced.
5. I intend to re-generate these stats every two months or so, to
eventually have some sense of trends and changes.
6. Your efforts, particularly on small-to-medium wikis, can really make a
dent in these numbers! For example, it seems I am personally
responsible for almost 1% of the coverage of women on Hebrew Wikipedia!
7. I encourage you to share these numbers with your communities. Perhaps
you'd like to overtake the wiki just above yours? :)
8. I'm happy to add additional languages to the table, by request. Or you
can do it yourself, too. :)
 Yay #100wikidays :) https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/100wikidays
Wikimedia Foundation <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
Being put together by Eliezer Yudkowsky of LessWrong. Content is
cc-by-sa 3.0, don't know about the software.
Rather than the "encyclopedia" approach, it tries to be more
pedagogical, teaching the reader at their level.
Analysis from a sometime Yudkowsky critic on Tumblr:
(there's a pile more comments linked from the notes on that post,
mostly from quasi-fans; I have an acerbic comment in there, but you
should look at the site yourself first.)
No idea if this will go anywhere, but might be of interest; new
approaches generally are. They started in December, first publicised
it a week ago and have been scaling up. First day it collapsed due to
load from a Facebook post announcement ... so maybe hold off before
announcing it everywhere :-)
This is probably of interest to this list.
Delegation of policy-making authority
This was approved on December 13, 2016 by the Board of Trustees.
Whereas, the Board of Trustees has traditionally approved certain global
Use) as requested during the July 4, 2004 Board meeting
Whereas, the Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director has authority to
conduct the affairs of the Wikimedia Foundation, which includes adopting
and implementing policies;
Resolved, the Board hereby delegates the authority to adopt, alter, and
revoke policies to the Executive Director, who may further delegate such
authority to Wikimedia Foundation staff as they deem appropriate;
Resolved, the Board may continue to review and approve policies for the
Wikimedia Foundation upon request to the Executive Director or as required
Christophe Henner (Chair), Maria Sefidari (Vice Chair), Dariusz
Jemielniak, Kelly Battles, Guy Kawasaki, Jimmy Wales, Nataliia Tymkiv,
and Alice Wiegand
I wonder how much of this resolution is formalizing what was already
happening and how much of this is moving the Wikimedia Foundation in a new
direction. After a very tumultuous year at the Wikimedia Foundation, this
is certainly a notable development.
I also wonder in what ways this abrupt change will alter the relationship
between the editing communities and the Board of Trustees. The Wikimedia
Foundation Board of Trustees seems to be committing itself to downsizing
its role and responsibilities. The concern is that a change like this will
reduce accountability when policies are set, unset, and changed by someone
overseeing a large staff that regularly comes in conflict with an even
larger set of editing communities. The Executive Director, of course, is
unelected and has been a central point of repeated controversies recently.
It's been less than a year since the previous Executive Director resigned
after being forced out by her staff. In the context of the recent history,
this resolution is all the more puzzling.
(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.
I was very glad that the Foundation decided to extend the fundraiser.
I think adding projects outside of the lengthy, formulaic,
overly-committee laden, but necessary in part FDC funding process and
getting a head start on the endowment is essential for retaining the
soul of the Foundation's traditional agility and creativity. Sure, it
made a liar out of Jimmy and other officials this year, and they
should be commended by those of us who think the effective
non-sacrifice to their reputations is worth it.
Accordingly, I propose the following $2.5 million-range projects for
further extension of this year's fundraiser:
1. A study of systemic bias in economics articles on the English Wikipedia;
2. An extension of the (in the interest of full disclosure: my student
and my) Accuracy Review of Wikipedias Google Summer of Code Project
into a general computer-aided educational system including authentic
intelligibility remediation of spoken language skills, as proposed at
3. A study of the top five endowment-grade mutual funds available for
general Foundation investments, their prospects, and opportunities for
divestments and strategic investments consistent with the Mission
4. A study of the social implications of copyright law and regulation
changes in relation to the Foundation's Mission for the Public Policy
That's about $10 million. What other ideas are there?
Some of you would have become aware of a project in Perth Western Australia
that has been ongoing since 2014. The ultimate aim is have nys.wikipedia.org
currently its at https://incubator.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wp/nys with 500
While everyone has been focused on enjoying the holiday break the people
facilitating this project have been busily writing a report on the project
and it was publish last night.
It looks at working with an Indigenous cultural/language group in the
southwest of Western Australia, the first chapter covers this detail.
The project has been working on a number of very specific challenges facing
minority and Indigenous cultures in contributing to the projects. It
discusses what worked how that evolved, we investigated intangible
knowledge sources and even challenged the methods of collecting the
statistics behind the conclusion that Noongar language is a threatened
The project has worked with multiple generations of Nyoongar people in
differing environments, its worked with students from the early years of
primary school 6,7 8 years old through to post graduate students.
Wikimedia Australia is currently organising opportunities to discuss with
facilitators of the project, the first event is in Darwin in March and
later in Perth during October. As always if you find yourself in Perth let
me know we are always ready to have yarn. In the mean time enjoy reading
about Noongarpedia and we hope it offers insights
President Wikimedia Australia
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com
I was reading Sherry Arnstein's 1969 paper "A Ladder of Citizen
Participation" (JAIP, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1969, pp. 216-224)
or at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01944366908977225 and found it remarkably
relevant to the issue of the engagement beween the volunteer community and
the formal structures of the WMF (Board and executive).
The analysis proposes eight stages or rungs to the ladder:
7. Delegated Power
8. Citizen Control
They are grouped as 1-2: Non-participation; 3-5: Tokenism; 6-8: Citizen
Reading "volunteer" for "citizen" throughout, I thought it instructive to
map some of the WMF activities onto the scale, with quotes from the
1. Manipulation "In the name of citizen participation, people are placed on
rubberstamp advisory committees or advisory boards for the express purpose
of "educating" them or engineering their support. Instead of genuine
citizen participation, the bottom rung of the ladder signifies the
distortion of participation into a public relations vehicle by
2. Therapy "under a masquerade of involving citizens in planning, the
experts subject the citizens to clinical group therapy."
3. Informing. "the emphasis is placed on a one-way flow of information -
from officials to citizens - with no channel provided for feedback and no
power for negotiation"
4. Consultation. "People are primarily perceived as statistical
abstractions, and participation is measured by how many come to meetings,
take brochures home, or answer a questionnaire. What citizens achieve in
all this activity is that they have 'participated in participation.' And
what powerholders achieve is the evidence that they have gone through the
5. Placation. "An example of placation strategy is to place a few
hand-picked 'worthy' poor on boards [...] If they are not accountable to a
constituency in the community and if the traditional power elite hold the
majority of seats, the have-nots can be easily outvoted and outfoxed."
6. Partnership. "At this rung of the ladder, power is in fact redistributed
through negotiation between citizens and powerholders."
Can there be aby doubt that the majority of WMF group meetings world-wide
falls under the heading of 1 and 2? Or that the communications strategy
and product development strategy of the WMF falls under 3? Or that 4 is a
desciption of the WMF approach to community consultation? Or that 5 is an
uncannily exact description of the way the community nominates (under the
guise of "electing") a minority of board members who may be removed if they
ask impertinant questions? Or that there is precisely zero substantiative
activitity that has risen to level 6?
It is clear that on this analysis the WMF/Community engagement is still at
best "Tokenism" -- discussion is invited.
I am interested to learn if WMF management or the board has discussed
taking legal action against companies that offer services to edit Wikipedia
and that have no on-Wiki presence disclosing their edits (in en-WP at
where they use the Wikipedia name, etc. I have looked and never found
disclosure by any of those companies in en-WP. I have looked and found no
public evidence of WMF legal engaging with these companies, other than
Some en-Wiki editors recently identified a long-term paid editor and
brought the matter to ANI: thread is here
This brought this whole thing to mind, and is something I have been wanting
to ask about.
Has this been discussed, and if so, what has/have the outcomes been?
Also, is there budget for WMF legal to take action against such companies?
If not, would you all please consider that?