Form 990 released
A piece in The Register written by former Signpost co-editor Andreas Kolbe, “Golden handshakes of almost half a million at Wikimedia Foundation“, reported the amounts of severance pay revealed on the recently released Form 990 for the 2015-2016 fiscal year for former VPs of engineering Erik Möller and Damon Sicore as well as former executive director Sue Gardner.
Trump photo copyright issues
Donald Trump’s official portrait was briefly deleted on Commons, after a copyright claim, then restored, then removed again after a deletion discussion. The file at this point remains deleted, and Trump’s Wikipedia article is now illustrated with a photo taken by Jette Carr at a Pentagon event. The current image was originally lightened, but after a discussion on the talk page describing the image as “uncharacteristically pale”, the original colorization was restored.
Research: WP censorship in China, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Turkey
Berkman Klein Center released a study on internet censorship titled “Analyzing Accessibility of Wikipedia Projects Around the World” conducted by the Internet Monitor project at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society that examines the changes in censorship after Wikipedia’s switch to HTTPS in 2015. They concluded that the change was largely successful in curtailing censorship, since a country can no longer censor individual Wikipedia pages. The main countries that still censor Wikipedia are China, Thailand, and Uzbekistan, with China being completely blocked at the moment. Previously, the Chinese government would block Wikipedia during the anniversary of the Tienanmen Square protests. In 2015, Russia briefly blocked Wikipedia after editors refused to censor a marijuana-related article. Harvard Magazine noted that researchers found that after the study concluded, China blocked Wikipedia in additional languages, and Turkey blocked Wikipedia in all local languages.
Research: pre- and post-HTTPS censorship
Also from the Berkman Klein Center’s Internet Monitor, a study titled “An Uptake in Communications Encryption Is Tempered by Increasing Pressure on Major Platform Providers; Governments Expand Content Restriction Tactics” looked at content restriction practices in 75 countries, including the blocking of individual Wikipedia pages. Since encrypted (HTTPS) connections means that governments can no longer selectively block individual Wikipedia pages without blocking the whole site, the report notes that all of Wikipedia is now available in Iran, while none of Wikipedia is available in Turkey. In 2011, Saudi Arabia was blocking specific Wikipedia pages, such theory of evolution, however there is no evidence that Saudi Arabia is currently blocking any Wikipedia content. In 2013, nearly 1,000 Persian-language articles were blocked, but since the switch to HTTPS, those articles now have increased traffic, an indication that censorship has been unsuccessful.
Legislator uses Wikipedia as a reference
State Rep. Ramon Perez brought his colleagues printouts of a Wikipedia article to discuss a bill, but did not notice the printout showed open tabs of a porn website. Perez apologized and brought new printouts of the Wikipedia article without the porn references. But commenters at the Fox News Facebook page ignored the porn question and left dozens of complaints about using Wikipedia as a reference. “This idiot uses Wikipedia to support legislation,” said one. “Wow.”
Vandalism in the news
- Donald Trump’s name was added to the article for obstruction of justice during the testimony of former FBI director James Comey to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The edit was made from inside the congressional building, and reported by @Congressedits, a bot that automatically tweets edits from congressional IP addresses.
- Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, had his Wikipedia page briefly vandalized with racist comments. He also received racist comments on his Twitter account–since deleted–back in February, after endorsing Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.
VPNs to bypass the Turkey block
Jimmy Wales comments on the i-phone
Wired magazine asked a number of tech personalities, including Jimmy Wales, how the i-phone had changed their lives. Wales revealed, “I love Apple products so, of course, I’m using a Mac and an iPad, but …I’ve always been an Android man…”
Paid editing backfires
In a July 6 interview with Entrepreneur, Nathan Chan described how he decided his magazine Foundr needed a Wikipedia article, and hired someone to write it. He agreed to pay $1,300 for articles about himself and his company. On July 7, the article for Foundr was nominated for deletion, and a sockpuppet investigation was started on the article’s author. The AfD ended in deletion and the sockpuppet investigation confirmed eight socks related to each other, including the author of the Foundr article.