This paper (first reference) is the result of a class project I was part of
almost two years ago for CSCI 5417 Information Retrieval Systems. It builds
on a class project I did in CSCI 5832 Natural Language Processing and which
I presented at Wikimania '07. The project was very late as we didn't send
the final paper in until the day before new years. This technical report was
never really announced that I recall so I thought it would be interesting to
look briefly at the results. The goal of this paper was to break articles
down into surface features and latent features and then use those to study
the rating system being used, predict article quality and rank results in a
search engine. We used the [[random forests]] classifier which allowed us to
analyze the contribution of each feature to performance by looking directly
at the weights that were assigned. While the surface analysis was performed
on the whole english wikipedia, the latent analysis was performed on the
simple english wikipedia (it is more expensive to compute). = Surface
features = * Readability measures are the single best predictor of quality
that I have found, as defined by the Wikipedia Editorial Team (WET). The
[[Automated Readability Index]], [[Gunning Fog Index]] and [[Flesch-Kincaid
Grade Level]] were the strongest predictors, followed by length of article
html, number of paragraphs, [[Flesh Reading Ease]], [[Smog Grading]], number
of internal links, [[Laesbarhedsindex Readability Formula]], number of words
and number of references. Weakly predictive were number of to be's, number
of sentences, [[Coleman-Liau Index]], number of templates, PageRank, number
of external links, number of relative links. Not predictive (overall - see
the end of section 2 for the per-rating score breakdown): Number of h2 or
h3's, number of conjunctions, number of images*, average word length, number
of h4's, number of prepositions, number of pronouns, number of interlanguage
links, average syllables per word, number of nominalizations, article age
(based on page id), proportion of questions, average sentence length. :*
Number of images was actually by far the single strongest predictor of any
class, but only for Featured articles. Because it was so good at picking out
featured articles and somewhat good at picking out A and G articles the
classifier was confused in so many cases that the overall contribution of
this feature to classification performance is zero. :* Number of external
links is strongly predictive of Featured articles. :* The B class is highly
distinctive. It has a strong "signature," with high predictive value
assigned to many features. The Featured class is also very distinctive. F, B
and S (Stop/Stub) contain the most information.
:* A is the least distinct class, not being very different from F or G. =
Latent features = The algorithm used for latent analysis, which is an
analysis of the occurence of words in every document with respect to the
link structure of the encyclopedia ("concepts"), is [[Latent Dirichlet
Allocation]]. This part of the analysis was done by CS PhD student Praful
Mangalath. An example of what can be done with the result of this analysis
is that you provide a word (a search query) such as "hippie". You can then
look at the weight of every article for the word hippie. You can pick the
article with the largest weight, and then look at its link network. You can
pick out the articles that this article links to and/or which link to this
article that are also weighted strongly for the word hippie, while also
contributing maximally to this articles "hippieness". We tried this query in
our system (LDA), Google (site:en.wikipedia.org hippie), and the Simple
English Wikipedia's Lucene search engine. The breakdown of articles occuring
in the top ten search results for this word for those engines is: * LDA
only: [[Acid rock]], [[Aldeburgh Festival]], [[Anne Murray]], [[Carl
Radle]], [[Harry Nilsson]], [[Jack Kerouac]], [[Phil Spector]], [[Plastic
Ono Band]], [[Rock and Roll]], [[Salvador Allende]], [[Smothers brothers]],
[[Stanley Kubrick]]. * Google only: [[Glam Rock]], [[South Park]]. * Simple
only: [[African Americans]], [[Charles Manson]], [[Counterculture]], [[Drug
use]], [[Flower Power]], [[Nuclear weapons]], [[Phish]], [[Sexual
liberation]], [[Summer of Love]] * LDA & Google & Simple: [[Hippie]],
[[Human Be-in]], [[Students for a democratic society]], [[Woodstock
festival]] * LDA & Google: [[Psychedelic Pop]] * Google & Simple: [[Lysergic
acid diethylamide]], [[Summer of Love]] ( See the paper for the articles
produced for the keywords philosophy and economics ) = Discussion /
Conclusion = * The results of the latent analysis are totally up to your
perception. But what is interesting is that the LDA features predict the WET
ratings of quality just as well as the surface level features. Both feature
sets (surface and latent) both pull out all almost of the information that
the rating system bears. * The rating system devised by the WET is not
distinctive. You can best tell the difference between, grouped together,
Featured, A and Good articles vs B articles. Featured, A and Good articles
are also quite distinctive (Figure 1). Note that in this study we didn't
look at Start's and Stubs, but in earlier paper we did. :* This is
interesting when compared to this recent entry on the YouTube blog. "Five
Stars Dominate Ratings"
I think a sane, well researched (with actual subjects) rating system
well within the purview of the Usability Initiative. Helping people find and
create good content is what Wikipedia is all about. Having a solid rating
system allows you to reorganized the user interface, the Wikipedia
namespace, and the main namespace around good content and bad content as
needed. If you don't have a solid, information bearing rating system you
don't know what good content really is (really bad content is easy to spot).
:* My Wikimania talk was all about gathering data from people about articles
and using that to train machines to automatically pick out good content. You
ask people questions along dimensions that make sense to people, and give
the machine access to other surface features (such as a statistical measure
of readability, or length) and latent features (such as can be derived from
document word occurence and encyclopedia link structure). I referenced page
262 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to give an example of the
kind of qualitative features I would ask people. It really depends on what
features end up bearing information, to be tested in "the lab". Each word is
an example dimension of quality: We have "*unity, vividness, authority,
economy, sensitivity, clarity, emphasis, flow, suspense, brilliance,
precision, proportion, depth and so on.*" You then use surface and latent
features to predict these values for all articles. You can also say, when a
person rates this article as high on the x scale, they also mean that it has
has this much of these surface and these latent features.
= References =
- DeHoust, C., Mangalath, P., Mingus., B. (2008). *Improving search in
Wikipedia through quality and concept discovery*. Technical Report.
- Rassbach, L., Mingus., B, Blackford, T. (2007). *Exploring the
feasibility of automatically rating online article quality*. Technical
I have asked and received permission to forward to you all this most
excellent bit of news.
The linguist list, is a most excellent resource for people interested in the
field of linguistics. As I mentioned some time ago they have had a funding
drive and in that funding drive they asked for a certain amount of money in
a given amount of days and they would then have a project on Wikipedia to
learn what needs doing to get better coverage for the field of linguistics.
What you will read in this mail that the total community of linguists are
asked to cooperate. I am really thrilled as it will also get us more
linguists interested in what we do. My hope is that a fraction will be
interested in the languages that they care for and help it become more
relevant. As a member of the "language prevention committee", I love to get
more knowledgeable people involved in our smaller projects. If it means that
we get more requests for more projects we will really feel embarrassed with
all the new projects we will have to approve because of the quality of the
Incubator content and the quality of the linguistic arguments why we should
approve yet another language :)
NB Is this not a really clever way of raising money; give us this much in
this time frame and we will then do this as a bonus...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: LINGUIST Network <linguist(a)linguistlist.org>
Date: Jun 18, 2007 6:53 PM
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831. Mon Jun 18 2007. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
Moderators: Anthony Aristar, Eastern Michigan U <aristar(a)linguistlist.org>
Helen Aristar-Dry, Eastern Michigan U <hdry(a)linguistlist.org>
Reviews: Laura Welcher, Rosetta Project
The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University,
and donations from subscribers and publishers.
Editor for this issue: Ann Sawyer <sawyer(a)linguistlist.org>
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 12:49:35
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
As you may recall, one of our Fund Drive 2007 campaigns was called the
"Wikipedia Update Vote." We asked our viewers to consider earmarking their
donations to organize an update project on linguistics entries in the
English-language Wikipedia. You can find more background information on this
The speed with which we met our goal, thanks to the interest and generosity
our readers, was a sure sign that the linguistics community was enthusiastic
about the idea. Now that summer is upon us, and some of you may have a bit
leisure time, we are hoping that you will be able to help us get started on
Wikipedia project. The LINGUIST List's role in this project is a purely
organizational one. We will:
*Help, with your input, to identify major gaps in the Wikipedia materials or
pages that need improvement;
*Compile a list of linguistics pages that Wikipedia editors have identified
"in need of attention from an expert on the subject" or " does not cite any
references or sources," etc;
*Send out periodical calls for volunteer contributors on specific topics or
*Provide simple instructions on how to upload your entries into Wikipedia;
*Keep track of our project Wikipedians;
*Keep track of revisions and new entries;
*Work with Wikimedia Foundation to publicize the linguistics community's
We hope you are as enthusiastic about this effort as we are. Just to help us
get started looking at Wikipedia more critically, and to easily identify an
needing improvement, we suggest that you take a look at the List of
Many people are not listed there; others need to have more facts and
added. If you would like to participate in this exciting update effort,
respond by sending an email to LINGUIST Editor Hannah Morales at
hannah(a)linguistlist.org, suggesting what your role might be or which
entries you feel should be updated or added. Some linguists who saw our
on the Internet have already written us with specific suggestions, which we
share with you soon.
This update project will take major time and effort on all our parts. The
result will be a much richer internet resource of information on the breadth
depth of the field of linguistics. Our efforts should also stimulate
students to consider studying linguistics and to educate a wider public on
we do. Please consider participating.
Editor, Wikipedia Update Project
Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831
According to the recent Independent Auditors' Report of the WMF , at
some point prior to the end of June 2020, an entity called the "Wikimedia
Knowledge Equity Fund" was established, and $8.723 million was transferred
to it by the WMF, in the form of an unconditional grant. The Fund is
"managed and controlled by Tides Advocacy" (a 501(c)(4) advocacy nonprofit
previously led by the WMF's current General Counsel/Board Secretary, who
served as CEO, Board Secretary, and Treasurer there). Given that a Google
search for "Wikimedia Knowledge Equity Fund" yields zero results prior to
the release of the report, it is clear that the WMF kept this significant
move completely secret for over five months, perhaps over a year. The
Report FAQ additionally emphasizes that the WMF "has no right of return to
the grant funds provided, with the exception of unexpended funds."
The WMF unilaterally and secretly transferred nearly $9 million of movement
funds to an outside organization not recognized by the Affiliations
Committee. No mention of the grant was made in any Board resolutions or
minutes from the relevant time period. The amount was not mentioned in the
public annual plan, which set out rather less than this amount for the
entire grantmaking budget for the year. No application was made through any
of the various Wikimedia grants processes. No further information has been
provided on the administration of this new Fund, or on the text of the
I am appalled.
-- Yair Rand
Earlier this year when we decided to cancel Wikimania 2020, many of us were
hopeful that we would be able to postpone it a year to 2021. I was looking
forward to connecting with all of you in Bangkok in August for our first
ever Wikimania in Southeast Asia.
However, as we look forward, in spite of promising developments in vaccine
research it seems unlikely that we will all be able to travel freely and
convene together by August 2021. Over the past several months, the
Wikimedia Foundation Events team has been meeting with the Wikimania
Steering Committee and the ESEAP Core Organizing Team (East, South East
Asia and Pacific regions) to discuss how we can move forward with
Wikimania in 2021. Together, these stakeholders have decided that next
year’s Wikimania will be a virtual event. Instead of being hosted by the
ESEAP Core Organizing Team, this virtual Wikimania will be hosted by a
wider group of community members. Since there still is a strong wish to
host Wikimania in the future from the ESEAP team, they will remain the
hosts for the next in-person edition of Wikimania.
For many of us, hearing that we won’t be gathering in person at Wikimania
in 2021 is disappointing news. But I am encouraged by the success and
creativity of all of the recent virtual movement events, from regional
events like itWikiCon to the Wiki 20 event in Asia Pacific event to
celebrate Wikipedia’s 20th birthday and the Movement Strategy Global
Conversations held in December. I have gotten to hear from more of you over
the past months than I could have imagined at the beginning of this
pandemic. As always, Wikimedians have adapted and found new ways to connect
with each other.
We believe that this new virtual format will create opportunities for more
people within our movement to be involved in putting together a movement
event than ever before. We will further build on the collaborative, open
process for creating a Wikimania program that we started during Wikimania
in Sweden last year. Since this is our first virtual Wikimania, we will
also be able to learn from this experience and hopefully include options
for virtual participation in future in-person Wikimanias as well. Wikimania
2021 may not happen as any of us initially imagined, but it will still be
an opportunity for celebration, especially as Wikimania 2021 will happen
during Wikipedia’s 20th birthday year.
We welcome ideas for this virtual Wikimania and in January, we plan to
share more information about how you can get involved in the planning
process. We will also be able to share more information in the coming
months about what this means in terms of invitations, submitting sessions
and scholarships. In the meantime, please share your thoughts, ideas and
suggestions with the Wikimania Steering Committee on Meta.
As a movement, we value those opportunities to connect together in person,
and look forward to when we can all gather in person again. Until then,
stay safe and take care!
Janeen Uzzell, on behalf of the
- ESEAP Core Organizing Team
- Wikimania Steering Committee
- Wikimedia Foundation Events Team
Chief Operating Officer
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>
Join the Research Team at the Wikimedia Foundation  for their monthly
Office hours next week on 2021-02-02 at 17:00-18:00 PM UTC (9am PT/6pm
To participate, join the video-call via this Wikimedia-meet link . There
is no set agenda - feel free to add your item to the list of topics in the
etherpad  (You can do this after you join the meeting, too.), otherwise
you are welcome to also just hang out. More detailed information (e.g.
about how to attend) can be found here .
Through these office hours, we aim to make ourselves more available to
answer some of the research related questions that you as Wikimedia
volunteer editors, organizers, affiliates, staff, and researchers face in
your projects and initiatives. Some example cases we hope to be able to
support you in:
You have a specific research related question that you suspect you
should be able to answer with the publicly available data and you don’t
know how to find an answer for it, or you just need some more help with it.
For example, how can I compute the ratio of anonymous to registered editors
in my wiki?
You run into repetitive or very manual work as part of your Wikimedia
contributions and you wish to find out if there are ways to use machines to
improve your workflows. These types of conversations can sometimes be
harder to find an answer for during an office hour, however, discussing
them can help us understand your challenges better and we may find ways to
work with each other to support you in addressing it in the future.
You want to learn what the Research team at the Wikimedia Foundation
does and how we can potentially support you. Specifically for affiliates:
if you are interested in building relationships with the academic
institutions in your country, we would love to talk with you and learn
more. We have a series of programs that aim to expand the network of
Wikimedia researchers globally and we would love to collaborate with those
of you interested more closely in this space.
You want to talk with us about one of our existing programs .
Hope to see many of you,
Martin (WMF Research Team)
Following up on recent news  that was shared in regards to the Events
Refresh  ,we are continuing our efforts to improve our processes,
systems, accessibility and reevaluate our strategy.
We are launching our first survey* and we are looking for your ideas,
inputs and suggestions!
With this survey we are zooming in on 4 areas of focus:
Newcomer strategy for first time event participants
Events team office hours
In this survey you will be asked to identify and prioritize capacity
building practices, identify needs and tools you believe are most needed
for your local community’s development. The information you'll provide will
provide a basis for new tools, training processes, services and resources
we will build in the coming months.
We would like to invite you to participate by completing our survey by *January
31st, 2021* at the latest . The survey has 20 questions and should not
take more than 10-12 minutes. If you wish you could also choose to
participate in Focus Group Interviews, which are scheduled to take place
during the first quarter of 2021. An option to self-select has been
included in the survey.
Please feel free to send this survey through to anyone you think would be
Thank you so much for your participation!
On behalf of the Community Events Team,
*This survey will be conducted via a third-party service, which may subject
it to additional terms. For more information on privacy and data-handling,
see the survey's privacy statement 
*Jo**ël Letang* (he/him)
Senior Strategist Events
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>
As recently announced, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is
organizing a call for feedback about community-and-affiliated seat
selection processes between February 1 and March 14. You can find all the
information on Meta:
We are offering multiple channels for questions and feedback. With the help
of a team of community facilitators, we are organizing multiple
conversations with multiple groups in multiple languages. I am the
community facilitator for English language communities and Meta discussions
about the Board Governance updates.
During this call for feedback we will publish weekly reports and we will
draft the final report that will be delivered to the Board. With the help
of this report, the Board will approve the next steps to organize the
selection of six community seats in the upcoming months. Three of these
seats are due for renewal and three are new, recently approved.
We are looking for a broad representation of opinions. We are interested in
the reasoning and the feelings behind your opinions. In a conversation like
this one, details are important. We want to support good conversations
where everyone can share and learn from others.
*How to participate*
You can choose your preferred language and way of participation. A team of
facilitators is watching multiple channels and capturing the outcome of
conversations in weekly reports (see below).
- Discuss in the Talk page for each idea, or in this Talk page  for
general comments. Translated pages welcome discussions in their respective
- Discuss in the WM Board Governance Telegram  group created for this
call for feedback.
- Join a conversation or an online meeting near you. We are organizing
multiple conversations on wiki projects, with affiliates, and other groups.
If there are no conversations or meetings organized for your project or
your affiliate, contact us here, on Telegram, or via email at
community-board-seats-cff(a)wikimedia.org. A facilitator will contact you to
Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything you suggest to
better help me connect and gather feedback from your community. Thanks for
taking the time to participate in this process.
Communication Facilitator, Board Governance
*English language communities and Meta*
Dear fellow Wikimedians,
Today I am informing you that I will not be renewing my contract with
Wikimedia Deutschland, which runs until January 2022. This decision was not
easy for me because Wikimedia has been such an important, even central,
part of my life in the past nine years. After thorough introspection, I
feel that this step is the right one for me and for our organisation.
This means that a successor will have to be found for the position of the
Executive Director. The search is managed by our Supervisory Board and me
with support of an external executive search firm. The search process has
been well prepared in recent weeks and I am working closely with our board
on each of the steps.
Together, we will ensure a good handover and transition to my successor.
This point is very important to me, as is the fact that we will continue to
work without losing focus on achieving our goals, on working with the
entire movement, and on collaborating very closely on movement strategy
implementation. That's why I don't want to say a big goodbye right now.
In cooperation with the external executive search firm Kienbaum, we have
developed a search profile and a job posting that will go online shortly.
We strive to have someone on board well before the end of my term in
January 2022. As we have commenced the procedure so early, we are on a very
I also consider it essential to be available for a comprehensive
transition and onboarding of a new Executive Director.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Geschäftsführender Vorstand / Executive Director
Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. | Tempelhofer Ufer 23-24 | 10963 Berlin
Tel. (030) 219 158 26-0