Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

2018-12-29 Thread Frederick Noronha
> However, as a general guideline, it is not so
> much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have been
> already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia -
> or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first
hit
>  they are likely to find what they need with more than 99% chance.

Yaroslav, Which world are you talking about? North America and Europe?

When it comes to Asia (which I'm part of) and Africa, possibly Latin
America too, we haven't even written down 1% of the diversity of these
places. Leave aside getting it up onto the Wikipedia!

Of course, I agree with the suggestion for new approaches (if I read you
right). This is particularly true in a part of the world where much of the
discussion is still in the oral domain, is often not in print; when it's in
print, it is not digitised. Even when digitised, chances are that it's in a
non-English language, which is very hard to find very search engines. (No
wonder that some of the prominent people from our regions are continually
getting dismissed as non-notable, which I see as another form of 'systemic
bias').

Give it a thought, please.

Frederick Noronha
Goa

On Sun, 30 Dec 2018 at 03:05, Yaroslav Blanter  wrote:

> I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
> this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
> that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want to
> comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The target
> audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
> Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the first
> several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
> apologize in advance.
>

-- 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Update and feedback results from the Wikimedia's chairpersons retreat

2018-12-29 Thread Pine W
Hi Itzik, Frans, and Vojtěch,

I am very behind on email but I wanted to say thanks for sharing this
report from the chairpersons' meeting.

I am wondering whether, for the purposes of (1) increasing the cost
effectiveness of travel expenses, (2) reducing the negative environmental
effects from travel, and (3) increasing the number of chairpersons who
participate, if future meetings could be scheduled immediately before or
after Wikimania or the Wikimedia (WMF + Affiliates) Summit. Alternatively,
future meetings could be held online so that travel is not necessary. What
do you think?

Thanks again for sharing this report. I get the impression that the
chairpersons found the meeting to be valuable, and I hope that similar
meetings will happen in the future. My guess is that being a chair of a
Wikimedia affiliate can require significant time and involve difficult
conversations. I'm grateful for those who volunteer their time to serve.

Regards,

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )


On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 8:31 PM Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <
it...@wikimedia.org.il> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> For four years now, since Wikimania 2014 in London, the chairpersons of the
> recognized chapters have met as a group twice a year, during Wikimania and
> the Wikimedia Conference (now the Wikimedia Summit), usually for 1 - 2
> hours during one of the lunch breaks.
>
> I started to arrange these meetings as an opportunity for the chairpersons
> to meet, and the concept of these meetings at the beginning was to host
> every time a different person from our movement.
>
> Later on, Tim Moritz Hector (WMDE) and Frans Grijzenhout (WMNL) joined to
> help me arrange and plan these meetings, and as result also from the
> feedback of the other chairs, we changed the concept to discussions and
> presentations format in order to speak about issues related to the
> organizations we represent and our movement in general. We also created a
> mailing list as a place to get updates but also to raise questions and
> share information (such as questions related to the organization's
> policies, ED, board issues and other).
>
> About half a year ago, Frans and me thought we had to take these meetings
> to a higher level, and, for the first time, we proposed to organize a two
> days meeting, where we can have a dedicated time, without interruptions
> (and lunch on our tables...) in order to focus on bigger issues.
>
> We already have board trainings for new board members, but we don’t have
> any program which supports the chairpersons as leaders of their boards and
> their organizations. So we decided to focus on improving the interpersonal
> skills and leadership competencies of chairpersons and give them other
> tools to become better and more effective in their roles.
>
> In order to achieve this, we decided to contract an experienced external
> trainer & facilitator.
>
> In the beginning, we planned to have this meeting with all the
> chairpersons, from the big and from the small chapters. But as the WMF’s
> grants program were temporarily not accepting new grants requests, we
> weren't able to get support to finance the participation of the small
> chapters which didn’t have the budget to cover the costs.
>
> So in the end, we hold a smaller meeting a week ago (hosted by WMCZ in
> Prague), with 17 chairpersons which could cover the travel and meeting
> costs (with a small grant from the WMF to help to support part of the
> facilitator's fee).
>
> During the meeting (or you can also call it a retreat) we had workshops and
> sessions to know each other better, to speak about effective and
> accountable boards, team dynamics, failures (and how to continue) and work
> on interpersonal skills and more.
>
> We decided to share with you the results and feedback we received, which
> may be used by other groups or similar events:
>
> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MOBru_m1wQu-IESItb5IWjWp9mVVdRuG/view?usp=sharing
>
> You can read more about the meeting on Meta:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Affiliate_Chairpersons_meeting_November_24_-_25,_2018
>
> And also the notes of some of the session:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Affiliate_Chairpersons_meeting_November_24_-_25,_2018
>
> We felt this information will be valuable to share with the rest of the
> movement.
>
> Yours,
> Itzik, Frans, and Vojtěch (WMCZ)
>
>
>
> *Itzik Edri*
> Chairperson
> it...@wikimedia.org.il
> +972-54-5878078
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

2018-12-29 Thread MZMcBride
Yaroslav Blanter wrote in part:
>This is a paradigm shift. Currently, the editors generally consider that
>it is good to have long Wikipedia articles - because long means more
>complete. Sometimes there are even proposals (fortunately isolated and
>without followup) to delete all short articles even if they describe
>notable topics and contain verified information. Clips are almost not in
>use.  Of course they still need to be made, but this is not such a big
>problem - there are plenty of school students who have their own youtube
>channel, if they can make clips, everybody can.
>
>[...]
>
>I envision it differently. Ideally, we have the Wikipedia as it is now,
>but on top of this, every article has a collection of shorter companion
>articles, simple and a paragraph or two long, so that each of them can be
>read in half a minute, They should not have excessive markup, references,
>categories or anything else which can be found in the main article if
>needed. References in Wikipedia are required not for the sake of having
>references, but as a means to ensure that the information is verifiable -
>and if the main article does it the companion articles do not need to.
>Some of these companion articles can be in fact clips - there is a
>difficulty that clips can not be edited collaboratively, but I am sure
>this one can be solved. If anybody wants to solve it.

Regarding your subject line, I think
 very
clearly applies. :-)  No, the death of Wikipedia is not imminent.

I agree with a few of your points. For example, I agree that it should be
easier to edit from a mobile device or tablet. (Though the simple
counter-argument has often been that doing research sometimes does require
a physically larger working space and that's not really a fact to be
ashamed of.) I also agree that we need more and better multimedia within
wiki projects. In particular, we need better videos, better animations,
and better images.

That said, I'm not sure I understand what your concern is with long
articles or lots of text. As your post here and my reply hopefully
demonstrates, it's possible to have a long text and only interact with a
piece of it. In terms of user interface, it is trivial to hide or collapse
text if we want to. The default mobile view on Wikipedia collapses most
sections of an article and only the introductory paragraphs are expanded.
If readers find the default desktop view too overwhelming, we could hide
or not even load every paragraph on the initial view.

I think we want to be in a position where we have too much information and
can hide some of it or filter out the "noise" as needed, instead of being
in the opposite position of not having enough content and not being able
to adequately serve our readers' needs.

Or put more directly, if we have 50,000 words about the early life of
Britney Spears, someone who's interested in researching where she was born
does not need to read 50,000 words, they hopefully only need to read a few
words in an infobox or in the relevant paragraph in a section of an
article. Using Wikipedia and Wikidata as sources, we can also expand
interactions such as query/answer services that would allow a user to
simply ask "Where was Britney Spears born?" and get a direct, sourced
answer. The content is still the centerpiece, while we create and adapt
how the content is accessed.

A large part of what has made Wikipedia successful has been its open
license. Readers and editors enjoy and can embrace free content. If a
successor project comes along and can use the same free content in a
better way, we should welcome that. That isn't the death of Wikipedia,
that's a continuation and evolution of it, in my opinion.

And we should be open to a better future. The current model of having a
very top-heavy Wikimedia Foundation Inc. headquartered in San Francisco is
bad. While we never want to conflate change with improvement, there's
plenty of room for the latter.

MZMcBride



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[Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

2018-12-29 Thread Yaroslav Blanter
I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want to
comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The target
audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the first
several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
apologize in advance.

Cheers
Yaroslav
_
I currently have a bit of time and can write on the future of Wikipedia.
Similarly to much of what I write it is probably going to be useless, but
someone may find it interesting. For simplicity, I will be explicitly
talking about the English Wikipedia (referring to it as Wikipedia). I am
active in other projects as well, and some of them have similar issues, but
there are typically many other things going on there which make the picture
more complicated.

Let us first look at the current situation. Wikipedia exists since 2001,
and in a couple of weeks will turn 18. Currently, it has 5.77 million
articles. I often hear an opinion that all important articles have already
been created. This is incorrect, and I am often the first person to point
out that this is not correct. For example, today I created an article on an
urban locality in Russia with the population of 15 thousands. Many articles
are indeed too short, badly written, or suffer from other issues, and they
need to be improved. There are new topics which appear on a regular basis:
new music performers, new winners of sports competitions or prizes, and so
on. As any Web 2.0 project, Wikipedia requires a regular cleanup, since
there are many people happy to vandalize the 5th website in the world in
terms of the number of views. However, as a general guideline, it is not so
much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have been
already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia -
or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first hit
 they are likely to find what they need with more than 99% chance.

In this sense, Wikipedia now is very different from Wikipedia in 2008 or
Wikipedia in 2004. Ten and especially fifteen years ago, everybody could
contribute something important. For example, the article on the 1951 film
"A Streetcar Named Desire", which won four Academy Awards, was started in
2005, as well as an article on Cy Twombly, at the time probably the most
famous living artist. This is not possible anymore. This is why the number
of active editors is currently dropping - to contribute to the content in a
meaningful way, one now has to be an advanced amateur - to master some
field of knowledge much better than most others do. Or one can be a
professional - but there are very few professionals contributing to
Wikipedia in their fields, and there are very few articles written at a
professional level. Attempts to attract professionals have been made for
many years, and, despite certain local success, generally failed. They have
been going now for long enough to assume they will never succeed on a large
scale. Wikipedia is written by advance amateurs for amateurs. However,
despite the decline in the number of editors, there are enough resources to
maintain and to expand the project. It does not mean there are no problems
- there are in fact many problems. One of the most commonly discussed one
is systemic bias - there is way more information on Wikipedia on subjects
pertaining to North America than to Africa, and if a topic is viewed on
differently in different countries, one can be sure that the American view
dominates. But it is usually thought - and I agree with this - that these
drawbacks are not crucial, and Wikipedia is atill a useful and sustainable
project. Wikipedia clearly has its ecosystem, there are no competitors to
talk about, and all attempts to fork it were unsuccessful. There is a
steady development, and everybody is happy.

Does this mean that everything is fine and we do not need to worry?, just
to wait until missing articles get written, or even to help this by writing
them ourselves?

Absolutely not. To understand this, we can look again at the editor base.
There are detailed studies, but, for a starter, it is a nightmare to edit
Wikipedia from a cell phone. It is possible but not much easier to edit it
from a tablet. The mobile version is different from a desktop one, and it
is not really optimized for editing. This is a known problem, but one
aspect of it is clear. Most Wikipedia editors actually own a desktop and a
laptop. This brings them into 18+ category. There are of course exceptions,
but the fact is that the editor base gets older, and this is a problem. The
problem is not so much at this point that we all die and there will be
nobody to edit Wikipedia. The problem is that the next generation (18-) has
very different ways of 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

2018-12-29 Thread Yaroslav Blanter
Hi Frederick.

sure, I know. I am mostly writing about Russia, and I know there are a lot
of topics which are not covered. I am usually the first one who says that
there are many topics to even start an article on, and way more to improve.

But let us face it - if an English-speaking person looks for something in
the English Wikipedia they are most likely to find it. The articles I
create are definitely useful, but they get dozens of views per year.This is
one of the reason we lose editors.

But my point is that we are about to lose most of our editors - at least in
the first world countries which produce the most contribution in the
English Wikipedia, USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New
Zealand. I guess India is different, but the trend is global, I think it is
just a matter of time when it comes to that in India as well. And if
Wikipedia would die in these countries, it will die in India as well.

Cheers
Yaroslav

On Sat, Dec 29, 2018 at 11:14 PM Frederick Noronha <
fredericknoro...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > However, as a general guideline, it is not so
> > much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have been
> > already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia -
> > or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first
> hit
> >  they are likely to find what they need with more than 99% chance.
>
> Yaroslav, Which world are you talking about? North America and Europe?
>
> When it comes to Asia (which I'm part of) and Africa, possibly Latin
> America too, we haven't even written down 1% of the diversity of these
> places. Leave aside getting it up onto the Wikipedia!
>
> Of course, I agree with the suggestion for new approaches (if I read you
> right). This is particularly true in a part of the world where much of the
> discussion is still in the oral domain, is often not in print; when it's in
> print, it is not digitised. Even when digitised, chances are that it's in a
> non-English language, which is very hard to find very search engines. (No
> wonder that some of the prominent people from our regions are continually
> getting dismissed as non-notable, which I see as another form of 'systemic
> bias').
>
> Give it a thought, please.
>
> Frederick Noronha
> Goa
>
> On Sun, 30 Dec 2018 at 03:05, Yaroslav Blanter  wrote:
>
> > I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
> > this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
> > that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want to
> > comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The
> target
> > audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
> > Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the first
> > several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
> > apologize in advance.
> >
>
> --
> FN* फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या * فريدريك نورونيا‎ +91-9822122436
> AUDIO: https://archive.org/details/@fredericknoronha
> TEXT: http://bit.ly/2SBx41G PIX: http://bit.ly/2Rs1xhl
> Can't get through on mobile? Please SMS/WhatsApp
> ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

2018-12-29 Thread Joseph Seddon
A it's always nice to quote someone other than Mike Godwin and it seems
Betteridge's law of headlines is alive and well. [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge%27s_law_of_headlines


On Sat, Dec 29, 2018 at 10:26 PM Yaroslav Blanter  wrote:

> Hi Frederick.
>
> sure, I know. I am mostly writing about Russia, and I know there are a lot
> of topics which are not covered. I am usually the first one who says that
> there are many topics to even start an article on, and way more to improve.
>
> But let us face it - if an English-speaking person looks for something in
> the English Wikipedia they are most likely to find it. The articles I
> create are definitely useful, but they get dozens of views per year.This is
> one of the reason we lose editors.
>
> But my point is that we are about to lose most of our editors - at least in
> the first world countries which produce the most contribution in the
> English Wikipedia, USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New
> Zealand. I guess India is different, but the trend is global, I think it is
> just a matter of time when it comes to that in India as well. And if
> Wikipedia would die in these countries, it will die in India as well.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
> On Sat, Dec 29, 2018 at 11:14 PM Frederick Noronha <
> fredericknoro...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > > However, as a general guideline, it is not so
> > > much incorrect to state that all important things in Wikipedia have
> been
> > > already written. Indeed, if someone looks for information in Wikipedia
> -
> > > or, more precisely, uses search engines and gets Wikipedia as the first
> > hit
> > >  they are likely to find what they need with more than 99%
> chance.
> >
> > Yaroslav, Which world are you talking about? North America and Europe?
> >
> > When it comes to Asia (which I'm part of) and Africa, possibly Latin
> > America too, we haven't even written down 1% of the diversity of these
> > places. Leave aside getting it up onto the Wikipedia!
> >
> > Of course, I agree with the suggestion for new approaches (if I read you
> > right). This is particularly true in a part of the world where much of
> the
> > discussion is still in the oral domain, is often not in print; when it's
> in
> > print, it is not digitised. Even when digitised, chances are that it's
> in a
> > non-English language, which is very hard to find very search engines. (No
> > wonder that some of the prominent people from our regions are continually
> > getting dismissed as non-notable, which I see as another form of
> 'systemic
> > bias').
> >
> > Give it a thought, please.
> >
> > Frederick Noronha
> > Goa
> >
> > On Sun, 30 Dec 2018 at 03:05, Yaroslav Blanter  wrote:
> >
> > > I have written a long text today (posted in my FB) which the readers of
> > > this mailing list might find interesting. I copy it below. I understand
> > > that it is very easy to critisize me for side issues, but if you want
> to
> > > comment/reply I would appreciate if you address the main issue. The
> > target
> > > audience I was thinking about was general (not necessarily
> > > Wikimedia-oriented), and for the readers from this mailing list the
> first
> > > several paragraphs can sound trivial (or even trivial and wrong). I
> > > apologize in advance.
> > >
> >
> > --
> > FN* फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या * فريدريك نورونيا‎ +91-9822122436
> > AUDIO: https://archive.org/details/@fredericknoronha
> > TEXT: http://bit.ly/2SBx41G PIX: http://bit.ly/2Rs1xhl
> > Can't get through on mobile? Please SMS/WhatsApp
> > ___
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > 
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-- 
Seddon

*Community and Audience Engagement Associate*
*Advancement (Fundraising), Wikimedia Foundation*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?

2018-12-29 Thread Benjamin Lees
You paint the problem as being about us adapting to changing
demographics.  I'm not so sure--if only because the notion of
attention-impaired millennials appears to be one of those
self-propagating ideas whose supposed statistical support turns out to
be fabricated.[1][2]  If the concern is about getting more _readers_,
by providing a digestible version of articles, Google already attempts
to do that, and I'm sure we'll see better efforts down the line.

I think the bigger problem, and I'm not breaking any new ground here,
is that our vectors for bringing people into the editing fold may be
shrinking.  Short versions of articles, whether we provide them or
Google does, do not readily lend themselves to participation by
outsiders.  Mobile devices are inherently challenging to edit with:
the WMF rightly has great people working to make it easier, but at the
end of the day, I don't know if I would have ever started editing if
I'd had to do it on a phone. (I hope my millennial brethren are
hardier than I am.)  And, as Frederick notes, even if someone gets to
the point of editing, finding sources that we consider acceptable is
going to be hardest for the areas in which we're most lacking
coverage.  These are hard problems, and I don't claim to have the
solutions, but I don't know if your proposals would help on this
front.

In any event, "slowly d[ying]" doesn't quite seem "imminent".  Call it
a side issue, but I'd prefer not to be clickbaited on this list.

Emufarmers, editor, a few edits

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/health-38896790
[2] There's gotta be some Person's Law I can cite here, right?

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