(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
Applications for Annual Plan Grants are accepted twice each year and
assessed by the volunteer Funds Dissemination Committee. Initial
eligibility has been assessed for the five organizations submitting Letters
of Intent for 2015-2016 Round 2 of the APG process. 3 of 5 organizations
are immediately eligible, and 2 may become eligible if gaps are met prior
to 15 March 2016.
The following organizations are immediately eligible:
*Centre for Internet and Society (CIS)
*Wikimedia Armenia (WMAM)
*Wikimedia Italia (WMIT)
The following organization may be eligible:
*Wikimédia France (WMFR)
*Wikimedia Norge (WMNO)
If your organization needs to submit documents in order to fill an
eligibility gap, please notify FDC staff at <FDCSupport(a)wikimedia.org>, and
they will make the appropriate adjustments to this page. *Eligibility will
be confirmed by 15 March 2016, and applications will be due by 1 April
Thanks to the five organizations who submitted letters of intent!
Winifred & Katy
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.”
I think there are many different interpretations of what it means to "be a
high-tech organization", which makes it a difficult label to base arguments
around; readers will interpret it very differently depending on their
personal experiences and biases.
One view might concentrate on notions of "innovation", "excellence", or
"return on investment" achieved through super-smart people creating unique
technology -- this view associates "high-tech" with success, competitive
advantage, brand awareness/marketshare, and money (profit for traditional
corporations, or investment in the mission for non-profits).
Another view might concentrate on other features considered common to
"high-tech" companies such as toxic work environments, lack of diversity,
overemphasis on engineering versus other disciplines, disconnection from
users' needs, and a laser-focus on achieving profits at the expense of
long-term thinking. This view associates "high-tech" with social and
economic inequality and exploitation of employees and users for their labor
& attention to the detriment of their physical and emotional health.
And there are many, much subtler connotations to be found in between.
I believe a high-tech organization should invest in smart people creating
unique technology. But I also think it should invest in people, period.
Staff and volunteers must be cultivated and supported -- that's how loyalty
and passion are developed, and I believe they pay dividends in productivity
Absolutely Wikimedia Foundation needs to build better technologies --
technologies to serve the needs of our editors, our readers, our
photographers, our citation reviewers, etc. This means Wikimedia Foundation
needs a good relationship with those people to research, brainstorm, plan,
develop, test, redevelop, retest, and roll out software successfully. The
people who represent Wikimedia Foundation in those relationships are its
staff, so it's important for management to support them in their work and
help them succeed.
It is my sincere hope that when the current crises are resolved, that the
Board of Trustees and the executive can agree on at least this much as a
shared vision for the Foundation.
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.
Patricio, thanks for the update.
I appreciate you and Lila informing the wikimedia movement now, before all
of the details of the transition plan are complete.
As the BoT works on a transition strategy and plans for hiring a new ED,
perhaps a member of the Board can take on the role of Chief Communicator.
Understandably, it is not always easy to know when to make announcements
and updates to the wikimedia movement especially when plans are incomplete.
At this moment in time, a good communication strategy that keeps everyone
regularly informed will help build a stronger bond between the WMF Board
and the rest of wikimedia movement.
My thoughts are with you and the rest of the Board as you work through this
Wikipedian in Residence
at Cochrane Collaboration
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 1:50 PM, Patricio Lorente <
> Dear friends,
> This week, the Board of Trustees accepted Lila’s resignation. Her last day
> will be March 31, 2016.
> I would like to thank Lila for her efforts over these past two years, and
> her passion for our shared mission. Together, we wish her the best in her
> future endeavors and accomplishments.
> The Board of Trustees is meeting regularly to determine next steps. Our
> top priority is to develop a clear transition plan that seeks to build
> confidence with community and staff, appoint interim leadership, and begin
> the search for a new Executive Director. We will continue working closely
> together over the coming days, and will share an update next week.
> This work will require extensive collaboration by the Board over the next
> few weeks. Although we know you’ll have questions, it is likely we’ll be
> very focused on planning the next steps. We appreciate your patience and
> understanding during this time.
> TRANSLATION NOTE: This message is also posted on Meta at the Board
> Noticeboard for for translation. You can find it here:
> Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately
> directed to Wikimedia-l, the public mailing list of the Wikimedia
> community. For more information about Wikimedia-l:
> WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list
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