Inside Wikimedia: ACTRIAL trial, fundraising, and Jimbo writes an article

ACTRIAL begins

ACTRIAL, or “autoconfirmed article creation trial” is a research project that prevents new users from starting articles.   The research project began in September and is scheduled to continue for six months, to March 2018.  The proposal is based on an RFC from 2011, and was recently approved by Jimmy Wales on his talk page.  The stated purpose of the research is for “determining whether the intervention affects Wikipedia”.  User accounts must now be four days old and have ten edits before they can start a new article. If a new user does create an article, it is changed into a draft with the prefix “Draft:” appended to the front of the title.

This means that new users who attend editathons will not be able to start articles unless they register their new user names four days in advance of the event. The effect that this will have on the editathon model is unknown.  Editathons have become increasingly common in recent years, the upsurge starting around 2015, with the New York chapter alone increasing its number of events from 12 in 2011 to 63 in 2016.

Wikimedia NYC event graph

The “Keilana effect”

The editathon model has also been instrumental in narrowing the diversity gap in articles, as research into the “Keilana effect” has shown with Wikipedia’s coverage of women scientists.  Some editathons have grown into annual events, with some women preferring to edit at these events on a yearly basis–since they usually have a “code of conduct”–in order to limit their exposure to potential harassment. It is not known whether the research will attempt to measure the effect of any changes on gender diversity.

It is also not known what effect the entry of some 300 librarians into the project from the “Wikipedia + Libraries” initiative in September will have on this research, or whether the librarians will be excluded from the research results.

A request for funding to hire a data analyst contractor for the project was made in July 2017, and an update expected by August 2017 but the proposal on Meta is not complete.

Jimbo writes an article

Jimmy Wales has written his first article in seven years. The article, Mike Brown (transport executive), is of a London transport commissioner.  Does London have no editing group that tracks such politicians? The article was quickly expanded by other Wikipedians, but in spite of now having 6 paragraphs and 12 references, the article is still classified as a stub.

Jimmy’s last article, the AIDS awareness documentary The Lazarus Effect (2010 film) was not created in main space but was submitted to Articles for Creation, at 06:56 on 11 June 2010‎, and 90 minutes later promptly rejected with the notation “This draft has not been edited in over six months and qualifies to be deleted per CSD G13.” Jimmy’s latest article was created directly in main space.

Fundraising Report

The WMF has released the 2016-2017 Fundraising Report. A record $91 million was raised.

India women editathon

An editathon in New Delhi sponsored by Feminism in India and the Khoj International Artists Association has produced articles for thirty women artists. Every month, Feminism in India sponsors an editathon with a different theme. They provide a list of notable women with missing articles, and participants write short biographies using the style guidelines.

Street breakfast in Egypt

Katherine speaks

Executive Director Katherine Maher is answering questions from readers on Quora. A sample answer from the question “What are the most important life lessons you learned from traveling and living abroad?”:

“Eat the street food, but only at the places with the long lines.”

For those who have not heard her speak, her June 2017 talk at Google has been highly recommended.  For something more geeky and less rehearsed, and that might be of more interest to insiders, she was interviewed by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro for a Source Code Berlin podcast during the May 2016 Berlin conference.

Veyshnoria has never lost a war

Three imaginary countries, Veyshnoria, Vesbaria and Lubenia, were created for Russia’s “Zapad 2017” war games, but only Veyshnoria or Viejšnoryja resonated enough with the public to make it into Wikipedia, possibly because it corresponds to the historical Black Russian or Black Ruthenian area in western Belarus.  The English and Ukranian language articles expanded, as the fictional country acquired a flag, a coat of arms and a national anthem.  Veyshornia now has its own currency and passport, which some 7000 individuals have applied for, not to mention t-shirts, magnets, and beverages, thanks to the hashtag #Вейшнорыя.  There is also a Twitter account for a fake foreign ministry which promised “stew, honey, bread, and lard” for Belarussian soldiers who surrendered. There was also a more serious side, as some pointed out that the invasions of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 were preceded by military exercises.

The Zaparozhye Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan

Another writer described Veyshnoria as a symbol of east-west conflict between a “European” western and Minsk-aligned Belarus as opposed to a Russian eastern alignment, adding somewhat surrealistically, “In the nearest future, the armed forces of Veyshnoria will back the eastern cities of the country, which will rebel against the occupants. Zaporozhean Cossacks and Texas rangers will assist them in this, as well as the marines of the Republic of California, and the military navy of Zhamoits.”

Initially there was also a Russian language Wikipedia article, but it was quickly deleted and the Veyshnoria information merged with the Zapad 2017 article, although there still seem to be a few somewhat mean-spirited parody sites in Russian. While the Ukrainian article continued to grow, the English article started to shrink as soon as it was unprotected.  First the population was removed, the original population number being 1,488,666.  This number is a deliberate troll, being a combination of the white supremacist memes 1488 and the Satanist 666. The article then lost its flag and coat of arms with the edit summaryrv nonnonable joke“.

Mirror site for Turkish Wikipedia

A pirate Wikipedia has sprung up at www.turkcewikipedia.org.  Wikipedia is banned in Turkey.  The clandestine site is in Turkish, with an English link at the top that takes you to an article about “home”. The pirate site is said to contain the material that was objected to by the Turkish government.

Community Engagement Insights Report

The Community Engagement Insights Report for 2016-2017 has been released. A video of the live-streamed presentation is available. Some of the visuals are also available on the Wikimedia blog.

Internet-in-a-Box for medical info

Internet-in-a-Box has started to ship.  The project provides a local WIFI hotspot for a local internet that can be used to provide access to Wikipedia medical articles in areas without internet connection.  For those who tried to log into it at Wikimania and were disappointed, you can now see what the content looks like at http://medbox.iiab.me/home/ . The software for this is Kiwix; there is an interview with the Kiwix developer at the Wikimedia blog.

Community health initiative update

The Anti-Harassment Tools team has written a half-page summary of their quarterly progress.  Development of anti-harassment tools will focus on blocking sockpuppets, blocking emails from specific user groups, and blocking proxies.  Their goal for the year: “Our primary metric for measuring our impact for this year is ‘admin confidence in resolving disputes.'”

One Montgomery Tower

Ongoing strategy consultation

The “direction” portion of the strategy consultation has been published and endorsements are invited.

Wikipedia Zero in Iraq and Afghanistan

Wikipedia Zero has launched in Iraq, with publicity videos in both Arabic and Kurdish. Later this month it will be introduced in Afghanistan. Wikipedia Zero gives cellphone users free access to Wikipedia without extra charges for data usage. The WMF has partnerships with some 60 mobile service providers.

Wikipedia + Libraries

Webjunction is offering a course for librarians: “Wikipedia + Public Libraries: Better Together”.

New WMF address

As of Oct 2, the WMF is moving from its old San Francisco location at 149 New Montgomery to One Montgomery Tower a few blocks north.

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