Re: [Wikimedia-l] New essay on the ambiguity of NC licenses

2020-08-08 Thread WereSpielChequers
I can see a problem in making a site that contains non free information
freely available to the public. Even if you restricted it to NC and ND
licenses, you risk getting flak from both the reusers and the uploaders
when there are disputes as to whether a particular use is commercial, or
such a poor copy of a work that it counts as derivative. And anything less
free than NC or ND licensed material would be a copyright violation to post
on the internet.

But there is I think a project sized niche that would be a good fit with
the community. A not yet free project.

WikiNotYetFree would hold but not make available, works that are not yet
free, list them, categorise them even build metadata for them, and every
year a new tranche of them would be migrated to WikiSource or Wikimedia
Commons as appropriate. You could even have planned uses or deferred edits
"when this image becomes public domain, use it with this caption to replace
this image on Wikidata or Wikipedia".  One of the key bits of data with
each item would be the date or criteria when its copyright lapses and it
becomes public domain.

OK those who cherish the instant gratification of your edit immediately
going live to humanity will probably not be tempted to work on a project
where some of the material will be marked "migrate to Commons in 2090". But
some of us rather like the idea of leaving a digital legacy that will
persist for generations after we have been composted.

A commercial organisation could not take on such a project where most of
the benefit won't be seen for decades to come. But a charity can think long
term. Of course some of these materials will be available in decades to
come and could be loaded to Commons as and when they come out of copyright,
but just because we can get a digital copy of something now we cannot be
certain that digital copies will be available in decades to come - unless
of course we have archived them into a repository such as  WikiNotYetFree

Deletion processes on Wikimedia Commons and elsewhere would be radically
changed if one of the options was now "move to WikiNotYetFree until it
comes out of copyright".

Anyone could access the metadata, but only admins and the individual
uploader would be able to access the files that someone had actually

It also raises the possibility of an outreach campaign to creatives such as
photographers, asking them to preserve their legacy by  putting a clause in
their wills to release their intellectual property under CC-BY-SA once
they've died. "You can't take it with you, but you can make sure your work
is not forgotten"

Now that Wikipedia is almost twenty years old, and the WMF has an endowment
fund, we can start to plan and talk long term with a credibility that
younger organisations and those that lack an endowment fund lack.

I have started a project request at


> Today's Topics:
>1. Re: New essay on the ambiguity of NC licenses (Erik Moeller)
> --
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2020 23:50:57 -0700
> From: Erik Moeller 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] New essay on the ambiguity of NC licenses
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> On Sun, Aug 2, 2020 at 3:52 PM Samuel Klein  wrote:
> > I don't think we should mix NC with free-knowledge licenses .
> > I do absolutely think we should maintain an archive, visible to the
> public
> > with at most a simple hoop to jump through, of material that is offered
> to
> > us in any legal way but not yet free.
> Such an archive would _unavoidably_ "mix NC with free-knowledge
> licenses" -- because all collaborative and transformative work
> happening in the archive itself would be released under free knowledge
> licenses. Worse, any meaningful transformations of the archived works
> would result in derivative works that remain nonfree, directly
> enlisting volunteers in the creation of nonfree knowledge.
> In any event, why create an archive for works under borderline terms,
> while ignoring more restricted works that could be plausibly released
> under a free license tomorrow? Works that are nonfree for simple
> economic reasons (e.g., some old but useful textbook) may often be
> easier to "set free" than those which are nonfree for reasons of
> longstanding policy (e.g, the WHO example). Why amass the latter and
> ignore the former? I don't see how this would strengthen Wikimedia's
> free knowledge commitment, but I can easily see how it could weaken it
> considerably and very quickly, whether or not that's the intent.
> To be clear, I think creating free summaries and descriptions of
> nonfree works (from traditional textbooks and scientific papers to
> Khan Academy videos) is very much in line with the Wikimedia mission.
> I don't think it requires hosting the works. To the extent that there

[Wikimedia-l] Online Wiki meetups

2020-07-26 Thread WereSpielChequers
For the avoidance of doubt, the London meetup has moved online, and become
a bit more of a skillshare/clinic type of event.

Meeting 157 is on the 9th August.

We have always been open for attendees from beyond zone 6, in the past we
had visitors from as far afield as the south coast, Barnstaple, Australia,
Coventry and even Tipton. But prior to Covid you had to be physically in
London for the afternoon.

Now you only have to aspire to be in London at some point, that and have
access to the internet (which I suppose limits access to zones 1 to 12)..


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> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 15:51:38 -
> From: Lifeingenso 
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Digest of Wikimedia Clinic #004; Wikimedia
> Clinic #005 happening in a couple of hours
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> Just curious, when will the next English Wikimedia Clinic be? I read
> "twice or three times" on its introduction page, I don't know if this
> Spanish section counts -- shall I expect the next Wikimedia clinic in
> August?
> Lifeingenso
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New essay on the ambiguity of NC licenses

2020-07-12 Thread WereSpielChequers
Doc James raised the issue of pragmatism v idealism and that essay is
indeed rather focussed on the idealistic arguments against NC.

EmuFarmers has touched on the pragmatic side of the debate, and I think it
worth reminding ourselves about that dimension as well. So here are some
pragmatic arguments against us hosting NC content:

1 For some users NC content and the ambiguity about it is a commercial
opportunity. There is minimal cost to distributing emails threatening
takedown notices and other legal sanction, and for many small resusers the
cost of checking their case with a lawyer is less than the cost of paying
to use what they thought was free to use and maybe writing a letter of
complaint to the media library that let them down. Few of our volunteers
are going to be keen to volunteer to handle such complaints, whether or not
the use was clearly NC, clearly commercial or down right ambiguous.

2 We have been hosting openly licensed material for nearly two decades and
we now have a lot of it. If we now change to allowing NC on Commons, some
of our contributors, institutional or individual, will want to shift their
material  from an open licence to NC. Whether or not we allow this, the
disruption and complications are not something that the Commons volunteer
community is geared up to handle.

3 Ideally when we choose an image to illustrate a Wikipedia article we are
choosing the best image available to us on Commons. OK there are people
whose ego gets in the way and prefer to use the images they have taken, and
occasionally there are other arguments, but it is rare for anyone to have a
commercial incentive to choose one image over another. Once you allow NC
imagery you make Wikipedia a shop window for content from image libraries
and others who are prepared to forego the genuinely non commercial uses,
and the uses in parts of the world where copyright is hard to enforce, in
return for revenue from the unwary in parts of the world where they can
charge for any use they can argue is "commercial". Wikipedia has enough on
its hands combatting spammers and reputation managers who want our content
to promote their business, Opening up a whole new front in that conflict,
against a group of editors "upgrading" images to ones they strongly assert
are "better quality" without necessarily disclosing their conflict of
interest re those images is not something that the Wikipedia volunteer
community is geared up to handle.

Those are three pragmatic reasons why it would be a mistake for us to allow
NC images on Commons and the English Wikipedia. This is one of those areas
where pragmatism and idealism both push us in the same direction.



> Message: 3
> Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2020 18:31:54 -0600
> From: James Heilman 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] New essay on the ambiguity of NC licenses
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Yes one of the stronger reasons to reject all use of the NC license is that
> it increases incentives for other organizations to actually adopt open
> licenses. I simply wish that such a position would convince more
> organizations. WHO has repeatedly told me that we, as a non-profit, are
> already free to use their work and if we chose not to, that is on us.
> James
> On Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 6:19 PM Erik Moeller  wrote:
> > Hi James :)
> >
> > (This is my last reply for today, given the recommended posting limit
> > on this list.)
> >
> > > We all agree that NC licenses are exceedingly poor due to the reasons
> > > listed, yet we leave a lot of useful content (such as Khan academy
> > videos)
> > > less accessible to our readers because we disallow any such use.
> >
> > I completely agree. I'm wondering if efforts have been made at the WMF
> > or chapter level to partner with these organizations on new
> > initiatives, where a more permissive license could be used? This could
> > perhaps help to introduce CC-BY-SA/CC-BY to orgs like Khan Academy,
> > and help lay the groundwork for potentially changing their default
> > license.
> >
> > > This is a balance between pragmatism and idealism.
> >
> > I disagree with your framing here. There are many pragmatic reasons to
> > want to build a knowledge commons with uniform expectations for how it
> > can be built upon and re-used. It's also pragmatic to be careful about
> > altering the incentive structure for contributors. Right now,
> > Wikimedia Commons hosts millions of contributions under permissive
> > licenses. How many of those folks would have chosen an "exceedingly
> > poor" (your words) op

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Board update on Branding: next steps

2020-06-28 Thread WereSpielChequers
Dear Natalia,

I wouldn't say that it was a badly designed survey, more that it was a
survey designed to constrain responses to three specific options. The
problem is with the choice of those options and that the survey seems to be
designed to push the community into a particular direction, rather than
find out what direction if any the community wanted to go in.

"No name change is necessary" is not the only missing option. I'm sure I am
not the only person who accepts that Wikipedia and Wikimedia are
sufficiently similar that it causes confusion, or who knows that some
people assume that we are connected to WikiLeaks. Changing the name of the
WMF to something that is a suitable parent for all the projects, not just
Wikipedia, and that reduces confusion with WikiLeaks should be a relatively
harmless thing for the WMF to do. There are only a limited number of
projects that the WMF can take on at any time, and this wouldn't have been
my priority. But if you are going to rebrand, then doing so without
differentiating yourselves from WikiLeaks, and without maintaining some
sense of being a parent for multiple projects not just one favoured child,
does seem to me to be a mistake. So "if you want to change your name, don't
change it to Wikipedia, Wiki or to something you can't trademark" is also a
position, I suspect it is stronger than "no name change is necessary".



Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2020 02:27:11 +0300
> From: Nataliia Tymkiv 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Board update on Branding: next steps
> Message-ID:
> <
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Dear all,
> I want to share with you the next steps of the Wikimedia Foundation Board
> of Trustees about the Brand Project.
> Originally the Board meeting dedicated to the brand project was supposed to
> happen no earlier than October. The expected outcome from the project were
> the recommendations on what the rebranding should look like - from changing
> fonts/logos to renaming. And if there is going to be a renaming - to what.
> Of course, the Board’s role is not in approving a change in fonts, but if a
> recommendation to rename was to be made - the Board’s role would have been
> to make a decision on that recommendation. The timeline has now been
> changed, and the renaming part of rebranding will be discussed in our
> August meeting.
> Moreover, the Board will meet in early July to receive a briefing about the
> project and talk about the process between June 2018 - June 2020. The
> consolidated materials on what the brand project team has been working on
> for a while now will be presented to the Board, and these materials are
> also going to be posted publicly. The more-strategic conversation is
> planned for the August meeting. Time to prepare the materials is needed,
> and the ongoing conversations need to be summarised, so the Board can have
> an in-depth discussion about this, before making any kind of decision.
> We would like to continue with the survey [1] - we have discussed the
> possibility of technical changes to the survey with an additional option
> like “no renaming is needed” (not the exact words, mind you), but with more
> than 700 respondents it is not methodologically sound to change the survey
> now. Staff have confirmed to the Board that responses to the survey will
> not be calculated as support for a change. The survey was only designed to
> collect feedback on the possible renaming options, not as a yes/no vote on
> whether to adopt them.
> Thus the timeline on rebranding for the next 6-7 weeks is as follows:
> * Early July - special Board meeting with the Brand project team to review
> and discuss the process so far, and for the Board members to receive the
> briefing on discussions happening;
> * July - consolidated materials prepared for the July meeting will be
> posted publicly after the meeting;
> * August 5th - the Board meeting on renaming part of the rebranding, not
> about the process. The Board will make the decision about whether to stop,
> pause, or continue the work on this, within the framework of a discussion
> on strategic goals, tensions and tradeoffs, and potential next steps.
> * August (after the meeting) - the Board statement on the next steps about
> the Brand project.
> I also want to acknowledge receiving the Community open letter on renaming
> [2] that was posted this week. Thank you for this statement on the position
> of those of you who signed. I know there are other perspectives, and that
> some would agree with it who have not signed it, and that there are also
> some who woul

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Annoying ads

2020-05-05 Thread WereSpielChequers
Given the large reserves that the WMF carries, and the savings from
cancelling events such as Wikimania 2020, I would have thought that the WMF
was one organisation that could afford to pause its fundraising for a few
months. At least in countries where the economy is in freefall.

In a few months time lots of people will still be in a financial mess. But
the large number of people who are currently going to be worried about
their financial future will hopefully be divided into those who have kept
their jobs. or got new ones and those who were right to be worried.
Hopefully some of those who come through this financially OK will be in a
position to donate.


On Tue, 5 May 2020 at 11:25, 

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> Today's Topics:
>1. Annoying ads (John Erling Blad)
>2. Re: Annoying ads (Benjamin Ikuta)
>3. Re: Annoying ads (Robert Fernandez)
>4. Re: Annoying ads (Pierre-Yves Beaudouin)
>5. Re: Annoying ads (Nick Wilson (Quiddity))
>6. Re: Annoying ads (Samuel Klein)
>7. Re: Annoying ads (Paulo Santos Perneta)
>8. Re: Annoying ads (Paulo Santos Perneta)
> --
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 4 May 2020 16:55:50 +0200
> From: John Erling Blad 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Annoying ads
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Often I surf Wikipedia without being logged in, and so I did right now. I
> got the usual banners, but this time they popped up repeatedly in several
> locations. This quickly gets extremely annoying, and I find it unwise.
> Create one banner, and stick with that. Several banners are simply way over
> the top.
> /jeblad
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[Wikimedia-l] Practical implications of Coronavirus

2020-03-10 Thread WereSpielChequers
At last Sunday's London Meetup we discussed the situation and while not
wanting to seem over cautious (we were of course the dozen who'd decided to
attend). We realised that there was a good chance that the April and even
May meetings might need to go virtual.

Is there a recommended software solution for video/audio conferencing a
dozen to twenty people?

I took part in some not the wikipedia Weekly podcasts almost a decade ago,
but i'm assuming the technology has progressed since then.



On Tue, 10 Mar 2020 at 13:27, 

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> than "Re: Contents of Wikimedia-l digest..."
> Today's Topics:
>1. Re: 2020 Wikimania Scholarships now open (Dariusz Jemielniak)
>2. Re: 2020 Wikimania Scholarships now open (Gnangarra)
> --
> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2020 08:48:48 -0400
> From: Dariusz Jemielniak 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] 2020 Wikimania Scholarships now open
> Message-ID:
> <
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Hi,
> I believe it likely is too early to make a decision. We have a professional
> team at the WMF monitoring the situation, but the date is still 5 months in
> the future.
> It is reasonable to expect that we may need to make adjustments to the
> situation as it develops and in 2-3 months it will be much clearer where we
> stand.
> For now, I think it is already fair to say that the WMF leadership is not
> shying away from difficult decisions (the summit cancellation, closing down
> the office, canceling international travel for staff) and clearly
> prioritizes our safety.
> I trust the judgment of our staff when they communicate clearly that they
> are considering all options and will.make a decision in due time.
> Best,
> Dj "pundit"
> On Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 00:45 Rehman Abubakr 
> wrote:
> > I too have cancelled all personal/work/wiki travel plans. The risks are
> > far too great.
> >
> > A single infection at the conference, depending on who/where, has the
> > potential to cause significant damage to the Movement.
> >
> > I understand the sheer effort that has already been put, but I strongly
> > hope the Foundation will postpone the conference or cancel this year's
> > conference for the safety of the volunteers, and to prevent the risk of
> > spreading it to more parts of the world.
> >
> >
> >
> > Yours truly,
> >
> > Rehman
> >
> > 
> > From: Wikimedia-l  on behalf of
> > James Heilman 
> > Sent: 09 March 2020 22:51
> > To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] 2020 Wikimania Scholarships now open
> >
> > From a personal perspective, I have cancelled all future travel plans and
> > have requested that everyone I work with do the same. I am of course in
> > healthcare. Please note that this is not official advise.
> >
> > James
> >
> > On Mon, Mar 9, 2020 at 5:48 AM Toni Ristovski 
> > wrote:
> >
> *
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Which script oral language will use anyway?

2019-09-04 Thread WereSpielChequers
Most of the Wikis in the Wikimedia family are organised by language, not
just script. If you load something that is in the wrong language for a
particular wiki it is liable to be deleted as out of scope. That's before
people get into discussions as to whether this is oral history or something
someone has just made up.

I would suggest Wikibooks is your best bet, it already exists in 120
languages, and unlike  Wikisource it allows for original publications.

If we don't yet have that language supported and you have a small team that
wants to work in that language  you can request a new language be added. If the request
is approved, the WMF has an internationalization team who can do things
like create new scripts, though I suspect one of your first tasks will be
to translate the various user messages etc for mediawiki.

Alternatively you could look at the incubator

More broadly, the 2019 Strategy recommendations are still being consulted
with the community, there is an assumption by some and a fear by others
that the whole lot, or at least the ideas that have previously been
rejected by the community, will be adopted by acclamation /imposed on the
community. At the least, I would suggest not jumping the gun, particularly
on something that is liable to be deleted under current policy.

At present it isn't even clear that the Foundation is committed to upping
language support from the current 300 or so languages to potentially
several thousand, and if they do adopt that as an aspiration, it may take
some time for the staff to make that a reality.



> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2019 11:58:26 +0100
> From: Jeff Hawke 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Which script oral language will use anyway?
> Message-ID:
> <
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Suhashih
> You are right that this could be a controversial choice -- indeed it is
> inherently political and there is no way of avoiding that fact.  So where
> will the decision be taken, on what grounds and by what athority?
> Jeff
> On Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 8:26 PM Subhashish Panigrahi <
> wrote:
> > Dear Wikimedians,
> >
> > Some of you might be recovering from the Wikimania fatigue. Those of you
> > who have already recovered, I wanted to pick your brain about something
> > that came up multiple times during discussions but none really seem to
> have
> > a clear answer.
> >
> > Which script (writing system) an oral language speaker would use for
> > creating an entry on (gateway [1]) projects like Wiktionary or Wikibooks
> or
> > even uploading a list of words on Commons using a tool like Lingua Libre?
> > Will it be the script used for the official language of the region where
> > the former language is from?[2] This is a bit controversial as native
> > speakers of many indigenous languages would see this as a form of
> > colonization. Will it be the w:International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)?
> This
> > is probably the least controversial but a common and average user might
> not
> > be able to read IPA as the latter was created by linguists and was
> created
> > for linguistic and scholarly studies rather than for everyday use.
> >
> > Wikimedians who are native speakers of languages with less
> written/recorded
> > documentation and individuals who work on such languages are more
> > encouraged to share their inputs based on past experience.
> >
> > 1. Gateway project: This is a made-up term to define the Wikimedia
> projects
> > that are more welcoming to newbies and do not require stringent citation
> as
> > almost all oral languages would lack that. It was fascinating to see Amir
> > challenging that it only takes about 30 seconds to add an entry to
> > Wiktionary (
> >
> >
> > )
> >
> > Subhashish
> > ___
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> Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2019 13:42:02 +0200
> From: "Peter Southwood" 
> To: "'Wikimedia Mailing List'" 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Which script oral language will use anyway?
> Message-ID: <005301d56315$c7c0c4e0$57424ea0$>
> Content-Type: text/plain;   charset="utf-8"
> Perhaps this is something that should be left as the choice of the

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fram en.wp office yearlock block

2019-07-04 Thread WereSpielChequers
Agreeing/asserting that the English Language Wikipedia has a toxic editing
environment is easy. Defining the problem and suggesting solutions has
historically been rather more difficult. Just watch the latest threads at for examples.

On the English Wikipedia this is clearer than on some projects because we
have annual Arbcom elections, and a candidate can always criticise the
sitting arbs by saying "of the cases accepted and rejected over the last
year or two, ignoring those where we know there was private information,
these are the cases where I would have differed from the existing arbs. I
would have voted to accept cases , and  and
these are the ones where i would have supported a stricter sanction ,

Alternatively you can make suggestions as to how you would change the
community to make it a less toxic environment, in the past I have argued
for, among other things:

   1. A different way of handling edit warring that doesn't go so quickly
   to blocks.
   2. A pause in the speedy deletion process for goodfaith article
   creations so G3 and G10 would still be deleted as quickly as admins find
   them but A7s could stick around for at least 24 hours
   3. Software changes to resolve more edit conflicts without losing edits.

None of these have been rejected because people actually want a toxic
environment. But people have different definitions of toxicity, for example
some people think that everyone who loses an edit due to an edit conflict
understands that this is an IT problem, and are unaware of incidents where
people have assumed that this is conflict with the person whose edit one
the conflict. Others just don't see deletionism as toxic, some deletionists
even consider inclusionism toxic and get upset at editors who decline
deletion tags that are almost but not quite correct.

My suspicion is that the intersection of "everything you submit may be
ruthlessly edited" a large community where you frequently encounter people
you haven't dealt with before, cultural nuances between different versions
of English and a large proportion of people who are not editing in their
native language makes the English Wikipedia less congenial than some other
Wikis. For example, someone who comes from a straight talking culture might
think me as euphemistic and possibly sarcastic, even when I think I'm being
nuanced and diplomatic.

Specifically in the case of the Fram ban, the WMF should have communicated
before their first 12 month block the specific behaviours that the WMF
would no longer tolerate on EN Wikipedia. At least part of their problem
was that their first 12 month ban was for undisclosed reasons. Some
Wikipedians didn't want the WMF setting new behavioural rules on Wikipedia.
But other Wikipedians might have agreed with  the WMF if only we knew what
the new rules were. It is a bit like enforcing speed limits, I might
support lowering the speed limits where I live, but I wouldn't support
empowering a traffic cop to issue traffic fines for an undisclosed reason
where I and other motorists were having to speculate whether there was now
an invisible but enforced stop sign at junction x, or an invisible but
enforced parking restriction on street y. It is deeply ironic that in
trying to combat toxic behaviour the WMF itself behaved in a  toxic way.


> > Hoi,
> > I am astounded that you write as if the WMF is at fault in this. What I
> > find is that in stead of pointing to the WMF, it is first and foremost
> the
> > community of the English Wikipedia who accepted the unacceptable and
> > finally has to deal with consequences. True to form, no reflection on
> en.wp
> > practices and the blame is conveniently put elsewhere.
> > Thanks,
> >  GerardM
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Introducing Wikimedia Space: A space for movement news and conversations

2019-06-27 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Quim,

I have tried it out and created a calendar entry for the London meetup.

A few comments.

It isn't in the Single User Login (SUL). If I was there I wouldn't be
getting notifications from Wikimedia wikis, and if someone pinged me or
edited something I was interested in I wouldn't get pinged if I was on
another wiki.

It isn't in MediaWiki, the interface is unfamiliar and different. That
probably counts as an advantage for a small proportion of geeky types who
tend to be over-represented in software departments. But for most people it
is a disadvantage, I suspect for non English speakers the barrier is
greater, one of the reasons why I am comfortable doing the occasional edit
in many non English Wikipedias is that the look and feel of the site is
very familiar even if I don't speak the language.

At a time when the WMF and the volunteer community seem to be drifting ever
further apart, it seems perverse to replicate a whole bunch of stuff that
belongs on the meta and outreach wikis and put it somewhere outside SUL.

The wisdom of crowds is vulnerable to subdivision of those crowds. Any
crowd ceases to be a crowd after a certain amount of subdivision. With the
community now broadly stable, a more sensible strategy would be to
consolidate some things together such as outreach, meta, phabricator and
various chapter wikis, not to further divide.

At a time when at least one chapter has realised that having its own wiki
outside of SUL is a de facto barrier between them and the community that
they aspire to serve, Creating non wiki rivals to meta and outreach looks
to me as big a mistake as the WMF decision to communicate with the
community through blogs rather than the Signpost and to hive off the
interface with IT to phabricator..

There is never enough IT resource to do all the things that the community
thinks it needs. But WMF projects like this just feed the perception that
there is always budget for WMF initiatives, rarely if ever for community
ones. I'm sure the effort that went into this could have been used to
change mediawiki to reduce edit conflicts or to give the Georgian Wikipedia
an interface that allows those with Latin keyboards to type in Georgian.

Apologies if that comes across as negative, I'm sure the intention is
sensible, just that the direction of travel is illadvised.

> Today's Topics:
>1. Re: Introducing Wikimedia Space: A space for movement news
>   and conversations (Quim Gil)
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2019 18:46:27 +0200
> From: Quim Gil 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Introducing Wikimedia Space: A space for
> movement news and conversations
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Hi, thank you for your feedback about Wikimedia Space.
> So far, there have been many comments focusing on _who_ has released _what_
> and _how_. Let me tell you _why_ we are proposing Wikimedia Space. People
> agreeing on _why_ can agree on the rest way easier.
> Wikimedia Space is all about Wikimedia growth. If you are supporting
> newcomers or you are contributing to the growth of the Wikimedia movement
> in other ways, we are very interested in your opinions, your suggestions,
> your needs. And we are especially interested in hearing from you if you are
> a promoter of movement diversity and/or part of any kind of group
> underrepresented in Wikimedia.
> Why Wikimedia Space, in more detail:
> >From the Wikimedia movement strategic direction -
> * Knowledge equity
> >From the Wikimedia Foundation medium-term plan -
> * Grow participation globally, focusing on emerging markets
> * Thriving movement
> * Support to newcomers
> * Strong, diverse, and innovative communities that represent the World
> * Strong and empowered movement leaders and affiliates
> * Safe, secure spaces and equitable, efficient processes for all
> participants
> I hope this explains our _why_. About some of the points mentioned...
> Wikimedia Space is a proposal to the movement in the form of a prototype
> We believe it will generate interest, feedback, criticism and contributions
> in a number of ways that a text-only proposal in (say) Meta Wiki wouldn't
> achieve.
> For instance, while we discuss here in a black & white and text-only
> environment, more than 60 colorful users have signed up already and
> Wikimedia Space and are getting their own impressions about it.
> .
> Or for instance, several event organizers just signed up and added their
> event to the Wikimedia Space map, which, if you ask me, after just one day
> already looks fresh, beautiful and interesting:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] America may go bizarro, but Wikipedia has a choice to make

2019-01-09 Thread WereSpielChequers
I would suggest Iceland. But there are several other possibilities, Ireland
and New Zealand for starters.

But Iceland is a nice green location for server farms. Cheap cooling, green
electricity a small enough economy that they wouldn't want to upset the WMF
if it located there, and a government that doesn't hesitate to defend its
economic interests even if technically they don't have armed forces.

As others have pointed out there are worse choices we could make than the
US, but there are also much better choices.


> --
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2019 09:52:41 -0500
> From: Risker 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] America may go bizarro, but Wikipedia has a
> choice to make
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Without in any way suggesting that David's and Fae's question is
> inappropriateI suspect that the people most likely to have used/tested
> the backups are not people who follow this list; they're much more likely
> to participate on technical lists.
> It's actually a pretty good question, and Ariel Glenn of the WMF may be the
> best person to ask since they seem to be managing the process of making the
> files available.
> Risker/Anne
> On Wed, 9 Jan 2019 at 06:44, Fæ  wrote:
> > Location: This is a tangent, one that has been raised before as a
> > /non-answer/ to the issue of actually getting on with contingency
> > planning. Realistically I would start by looking at the potential
> > matches of Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands (where servers already
> > are used for WMF operations), or lastly and for very different
> > reasons, Peru.
> >
> > What I find weird, or bizarro, is that the responses so far are vague
> > dismissals for non-good fantastic reasons, at the level of "let magic
> > blockchain technology solve it for free", rather than taking on board
> > that preparing a hot switch for Wikimedia operations in a welcoming
> > host country, is a highly cost effective disaster contingency plan,
> > whether due to natural disasters in San Fran / Florida / Amsterdam, or
> > due to national government using its legal authority to freeze, switch
> > off or tamper with content due to politically inflated "security" or
> > "emergency" issues. The risks are real and predictable, and as a
> > globally recognized charity with plenty of money in the bank, the WMF
> > should have contingency plans to ensure its continued existence, as
> > any professional business actuary would advise.
> >
> > As a past IT auditor, what also made the hairs prick up on the back of
> > my neck, was David Gerard's sensible question "So ... when did someone
> > last test putting up a copy of the sites from
> > the backups" - Could someone give a real answer to that please? If
> > it's never, then wow, we all have to ask some hard questions of the
> > WMF Board of exactly how they hold senior management to account.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Fae
> > --
> >
> >
> > On Tue, 8 Jan 2019 at 23:05, Nathan  wrote:
> > >
> > > Hi Fae,
> > >
> > > I'm curious what nation you have in mind for your stable Plan B. Is it
> > > Brexit Britain? France of the Yellow Vests and Front National? Perhaps
> > > Orban's Hungary, Putin's Russia, or Germany with its recent right-wing
> > > resurgence?
> > >
> > > Maybe you'd prefer Jair Bolsonaro's Brazil? I suppose in Italy we'd
> worry
> > > about Beppe and criminal libel statutes, while BJP would hardly seem
> > > welcoming in India and I can't imagine you'd suggest a home on the
> other
> > > side of the Great Firewall.
> > >
> > > Maybe you're hinting at Canada, but otherwise, I'd love to understand
> > what
> > > island of liberal stability and legal safeguards you think is safe from
> > the
> > > vagaries of electoral politics or rigid authoritarianism.
> > >
> > > The countries I list above have their own flaws (although in each
> case, I
> > > believe, many desirable traits as well) as does any other alternative.
> > > Anyone could reasonably argue it's unfair to stigmatize any of them by
> > > glaringly public flaws.
> > >
> > > To my mind Steve Walling has it right - the very nature of Wikipedia is
> > > maybe the best protection there could be, even against the absurdly
> > > unlikely circumstance of a United States government takeover of
> > Wikipedia.
> > >
> > > Nathan
> > >
> > > On Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 12:17 PM Fæ  wrote:
> > >
> > > > Dear fellow Wikimedians, please sit back for a moment and ponder the
> > > > following,
> > > >
> > > > For those of us not resident in the US, it has been genuinely
> alarming
> > > > to see highly respected US government archives vanish overnight,
> > > > reference websites go down, and US legislation appear to drift to
> > > > whatever commercial interests have the loudest current political
> > > > voices. Sadly "populism" is happening now, 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] The fact-checked encyclopedia

2018-04-15 Thread WereSpielChequers
Dear Anthony,

I share your concern that "fact checked" is over promising people in a
dangerous and irresponsible way.

"The encyclopaedia anyone can edit" is closer to the truth and the downside
of getting it wrong is much less bad. "My unsourced edit was rejected" or
"my new article on my client was deleted as spam" are easier complaints to
deal with than "your fact checked encyclopaedia that I trusted included
this howler that had sat there for over a year and relying on it has cost
me x". In the last few days I spotted and reverted a blatant vandalism that
had lasted for over two years, and when I'm patrolling for typos I'm not
fact checking plausible but well written content in a subject I know
nothing of. Most of the time I'm checking newish edits for typos I've
patrolled before, so I'm only picking up ancient vandalism when I patrol a
typo, grammatical mistake or risky word I haven't looked at before. Yet it
isn't unusual for me to pick up blatant vandalism that has persisted for

Things are I understand much better on DE where we have flagged revisions,
but on English some edits are not even looked at by a single vandalfighter.
Most of course are looked at and some are looked at by many many eyes. But
the random nature of recent changes patrolling means that some edits are
not patrolled by anyone.

I don't know what proportion of the content is fact checked, but on English
we can't even honestly claim that all newbie and IP edits are currently
checked for vandalism on any meaningful timescale.

At some point I may start an RFC to up our game on EN so that we can at
least promise that "every edit has been screened for blatant vandalism", a
less impressive promise than "the fact-checked encyclopedia" but one that I
think we could and should move to. Draft at


> On Sun, Apr 15, 2018 at 8:53 AM, Anthony Cole <> wrote:
> > > I just googled “wikipedia” and the first result was a Google ad linking
> > to
> > >[1] It calls Wikipedia the fact-checked encyclopedia. We
> > used
> > > to call it the encyclopedia anyone can edit. The latter seems more
> honest
> > > than this new formulation which to me implies a degree of reliability
> and
> > > oversight I'm not sure we can ethically assert. I missed the discussion
> > > about this new self-description. Did it happen on meta? Is anyone else
> > > uncomfortabe with this?
> > > --
> > > Anthony Cole
> > > ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Amazon Echo' use of Wikipedia; CC license compliance?

2018-04-05 Thread WereSpielChequers
Yes of course the WMF can contact those who are detected reusing our
content without fully complying with licenses and encourage them to comply.

If a case were to go to court it would need to have one or more
contributors who were willing to cooperate with WMF legal in the case. But
I doubt there would be a shortage of contributors who were keen to do so.

As for why the WMF should do so, here are three reasons:

Each of our wikis is a crowd sourced project. Crowd sourcing requires a
crowd, if a crowd settles down and stabilises it becomes a community. The
community is broadly stable, but we need a steady flow of new wikimedians,
and our only really effective way of recruiting new Wikimedians is for them
to see the edit button on our sites. An increasing shift to our content
being used without attribution is an existential threat to the project and
hence to the WMF.

Our communities are made up of volunteers with diverse motivations. For
some of us the BY-SA part of the licensing is important, personally I feel
good when i see one of my photos used by someone else but attributed to me.
If the de facto policy of the WMF was to treat volunteer contributions as
effectively CC0 this would be demotivating for some members of our
community. I'm also active on another site where every member regularly
gets stats on their readership, something I very much doubt would happen if
it wasn't an effective mechanism to encourage continued participation.

Every organisation needs money, the WMF gets most of its money by asking
for it on wikipedia and other sites. Again, encouraging attribution back to
Wikipedia etc tackles the existential threat of other sites treating
wikipedia et al as CC0.


On 5 April 2018 at 08:04,  wrote:

> Hi,
> On 04/04/2018 08:36 PM, Anthony Cole wrote:
> > I'm curious also. I release my articles under "attribution, share alike"
> > and rely on WMF to preserve those rights.
> Why are you relying on the WMF? Wikipedia contributors (like yourself)
> are the ones who own copyright to the articles - the WMF doesn't. Unless
> you've granted/transferred copyright to the WMF (or some other license
> enforcement agreement), I don't think they can pursue legal action for
> you or other Wikipedians. (IANAL, etc.)
> -- Legoktm
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Time to simplify the Bureaucracy ?

2018-03-06 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Zubin and welcome.

The discussions about declining editor levels started to go quiet in mid
2015 after we noticed that numbers had started to rally at the end of 2014.

Here is the signpost article that covered part of this in 2015
That focussed on the very active, but the raw edit count shows the same
pattern on English wikipedia, a decline from 2007 to 2014, then a rally and
the last couple of years being broadly stable.

"Wikipedia in terminal decline" was an interesting story for journalists
and others, "maturing organisation is broadly stable on several measures"
sounds just a tad boring.

As for your concern about bureaucracy and philosophical rants. Many of the
policies are complex, and there are even examples of things that contradict
each other. But it is a very very complex system, and some of the
complexity comes from hard won compromises between people with very
different views. A commercial organisation could have done some things more
simply, but a volunteer organisation can't simply tell people to do what
they are paid to do. I suspect that many reforms are possible and may even
be necessary, but it really helps when you are changing something to
understand the different perspectives that lead to that compromise.


> --
> Message: 5
> Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2018 21:42:32 +0800
> From: Zubin JAIN <>
> To:
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Time to simplify the Bureaucracy ?
> Message-ID:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Paid translation

2018-03-04 Thread WereSpielChequers
Pine, there is one possible way to fund such translation in the future; The
Foundation is building up an endowment. When that endowment has grown to
the point where the annual return is sufficient to fund the Foundation,
then you could re-purpose the annual fundraiser from collecting money to
host Wikipedia, to collecting money to make Wikipedia available in other

If I'm correct in thinking that part of the problem for many of our widely
spoken languages with weak wikipedias is that the more educated people who
speak those languages are more likely to contribute edits in what is to
them a  higher status or more language or one more useful to their career,
then maybe we should test using fundraiser  type advertising to ask our
English readers in places like India to translate articles from English to
Indic languages.

In some parts of the world where incomes are generally very low and
financial donations reflect that perhaps we have little to lose by shifting
now from asking for funds to asking for content donations, especially in
the language of that area.


> --
> Message: 2
> Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2018 18:13:38 -0800
> From: Pine W <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Paid translation
> Message-ID:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Women in red

2017-10-16 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Gnangarra

I've heard bad things about the articles for creation process, but a
minimum of either 1.5 kb  or 2,000 bytes of prose is a new one on me. Can
you link to that part of the AFC rules? I have reread things such as
Reviewing_instructions and found one perfectly sensible comment about
deleting single sentence "articles". But 1,000 bytes would be a jolly long
sentence. AFC has its flaws, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but is
it really as flawed as you assert?

As for the women in red contest, you might want to read the rules, and if
you have concerns there is a currently redlinked talkpage.

I've made a couple of bold tweaks to the competition rules myself, but they
did already cover notability and of course copyvio. Though a contest aimed
at existing editors is less likely to hit problems in those areas as an
outreach editathon targeted at new editors - there we do need to explain
our notability rules and sadly often teach people about copyright and

As for criticising a project for aiming for 100,000 articles when they only
have 4 judges and 108 participants, it is two weeks until it starts and
they have a watchlist notice up to recruit more people either as
participants or judges note
-* "If you want to help judge the contest or help out with running it
please ensure that you add your name in the judges section on the main
page"* I could understand at the end of a project having that sort of
criticism if they had got ambitious but not tried to recruit enough
participants. However at this stage such criticism is premature and
probably misdirected. A more nuanced view would be to look at the end and
check whether they succeeded in their objective and whether they achieved
sufficient participation both of editors and judges. Criticising a project
that doesn't start for another two weeks for having insufficient judges and
participants when it currently in a major site wide recruitment drive for
judges and participants seems premature to me.

Alternatively one could look at the objective and ask whether creating
100,000 articles on women was sufficient, insufficient or excessive to deal
with the known gender gap in our coverage. The 100,000 target looks about
right to me and it will be interesting to see how much progress people can
make on it in a one month contest, but if someone is uncomfortable about it
it would be sensible to go through the figures and check if that is an
appropriate target for the problem. Treating such an ambitious target as a
problem without acknowledging that Wikipedia has coverage gaps on that
scale comes across almost as denial of the problem.

> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2017 22:02:50 +0800
> From: Gnangarra 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Women in red
> Message-ID:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding the endowment

2017-08-25 Thread WereSpielChequers
I haven't taken part in discussions about the endowment for several
years, not least because the argument appears to have been won and an
endowment is being established. But if things have changed so much
that people are arguing that there is a choice between long-term
stability and short-term content contribution, then perhaps it is time
that I restated two of the arguments for an endowment.

For some of us who volunteer our time for these projects long term
stability or at least survival of content is itself a motivation. I
have put tens of hours of my time into sites that have sputtered and
then died. I have put far far more time into Wikimedia sites, and part
of my motivation is that my small contributions are part of something
much bigger that will probably help people for a long long time to

There is also an important incentive re short term contributions from
digital curators in the GLAM sector. One of the positives that we
offer our GLAM partners is the increased probability that their
digitisation will persist and still be available for the foreseeable
future if they upload a copy on commons. An endowment increases the
credibility of that offer. What I'd like to see coming from the WMF re
the endowment is communication as to when the endowment has reached
the point where the WMF can commit to hosting Wikimedia Commons for
the foreseeable future. Ideally both as a blogpost for external
audiences and a contribution to the GLAM newsletter for internal


Jonathan / WereSpielChequers

> On 23 Aug 2017, at 07:44, wrote:
> Send Wikimedia-l mailing list submissions to
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>   2. t (Rogol Domedonfors)
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2017 07:25:23 +0100
> From: Rogol Domedonfors <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding the endowment
> Message-ID:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Quality assurance of articles

2017-04-17 Thread WereSpielChequers
A few years ago I suggested  comparing Wikipedias and producing lists
of biographies of people who were alive on your version of Wikipedia
but dead on another. A bot writer went away, wrote a bot and at one
point we had reports running in 11 languages using data from 80
language versions.

Sadly the bot writer retired and the project is on hiatus. But it
might resume if another bot writer comes forth.

We fixed thousands of errors, mostly when long retired people were
logged as dead in their own language but not in other languages. But
we also fixed a bunch of anomalies ranging from intrawiki links
combining different people of the same name, category errors where
someone had put the year of birth into a year of death category, and
an assortment of other errors and even use of a fake news site; one of
my few French edits had an edit summary of "death was a hoax" and a
link to a site where the agent assured the fans that the chap was
still alive. French wasn't one of the eleven languages we produced
reports for, but some cross wiki working resulted in edits in a lot of

Three things I remember:

first the error rate was actually quite low, and mostly sins of omission.

Secondly, quality of referencing varies a lot by language. Hence some
ongoing anomalies where we can't change the English version because we
don't have a source to cite, but we weren't confident changing the
other language version either, and judging from the age, the English
version saying the person is still alive might well be the wrong one.

Thirdly there was an interesting cultural difference re assumptions
about the very old. Different projects have different cut offs to
decide whether a sportsperson who hasn't troubled the global press
since they were thirty has shuffled off the mortal coil.


>>> 2017-04-16 9:44 GMT+02:00 Gerard Meijssen :
 How can you check for consistency when you are not able to appreciate
>> if
 certain facts (like date of death) exist and are the same? What can you
>>> say
 about sources when some Wikipedias insist on sources in their own
>>> language
 and sources in other languages you cannot read? How do you check for
 consistency when we have over 280 Wikipedias with possible content?

 Do know that only Wikidata approaches a state where it knows about all
>>> our
 projects and we have not, to the best of my knowledge, assessed what"
 quality of Wikidata is on interwiki links.. Case in point, I fixed an
>>> error
 today about a person that was said to be dead because a Commons
>> category
 was not correctly linked.

 When you study the consistency of English Wikipedia only, you only add
>> to
 the current bias in research.

 When you want to know about the half life of an error, you can find in
>>> the
 history when for instance a date was mentioned for a first time and
>> find
 the same date in another language. This is not trivial as the format
>> of a
 language is diverse think Thai for instance.

> On 16 April 2017 at 02:08, John Erling Blad  wrote:
> This is more about checking consistency between projects. It is
> interesting, but not quite what I was asking about. It is very
> if it would be possible to say something about half-life of an error.
>>> I'm
> pretty sure this follows number of page views if ordinary logged-in
> is removed.
> On Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 12:08 AM, Gerard Meijssen <
>> wrote:
>> Hoi,
>> Would checking if a date of death exists in articles be of interest
>>> to
> you.
>> The idea is that Wikidata knows about dates of death and for
>> "living
>> people" the fact of a death should be the same in all projects.
>> When
>> date of death is missing, there is either an issue at Wikidata (not
>>> the
>> same precision is one) or at a project.
>> When a difference is found, the idea is that it is each projects
>> responsibility to do what is needed. No further automation.
>> Thanks,
>>   GerardM
>> On 15 April 2017 at 23:50, John Erling Blad 
>>> wrote:
>>> Are anyone doing any work on automated quality assurance of
>>> articles?
> Not
>>> the ORES-stuff, that is about creating hints from measured
>>> features.
> I'm
>>> thinking about verifying existence and completeness of citations,
>>> and
>>> structure of logical arguments.
>>> John
>>> ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] a second commons, prevent cease and desist business

2017-03-06 Thread WereSpielChequers
Different people are going to have very different views as to how
diplomatic we should be when we find people who are using our work but not
complying with the license. As long as the movement doesn't invest in
enforcing the relatively minor conditions involved in CC-BY-SA and we leave
enforcement to the individual, we can expect that responses to people who
don't respect our copyrights will range from very diplomatic to the
reverse. With those of us like myself who never write to people who use my
work without attribution being at least partially protected by those who
take a much stricter view of copyright breaches.

If we want more consistency in the way we deal with people who breach our
copyrights, one possible solution is to get the WMF to employ some people
to defend our Intellectual Property rights. It would be difficult to insist
that people who want stricter enforcement leave the issue to WMF IP
enforcement, though I suspect some would. But unless we start insisting
that all contributions are dual licensed CC0 as well as any other license
we shouldn't complain about people who don't consider that their
contributions were dual licensed CC0.

I suspect the main effect of the WMF writing to organisations that use our
work without attribution would be for more attribution and more links back
to Commons. Sometimes there may be an offer to pay what a stock photo site
would charge, I suspect that many of us would be happy to donate such fees
to the WMF. I can understand reluctance on the part of the WMF and some of
its detractors to set up a new department and take on a new role. But
getting more attribution to our sites and our contributors isn't just an
opportunity to get some money and encourage more traffic to our sites. Many
of us are at least partly motivated by seeing our work in use and
attributed to us. Investing in encouraging more organisations to comply
with CC-BY-SA when reusing our contributions may be better thought of as an
editor retention program not an IP defence program.

In the spirit of being bold I have started a submission on this for a
roundtable discussion at Montreal. I hope that others on this list will be
equally bold and put themselves down as speakers.


> Message: 4
> Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2017 07:06:35 -0700
> From: Todd Allen 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] a second commons,prevent cease and desist
> business
> Message-ID:
>  com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Thanks for the specific examples.
> I'm not a German speaker, and I know context and nuance can be lost in
> machine translation. That being said, the one about someone who was
> offering attribution and then got slapped with a bill for a simple
> technical error is very disturbing. Especially since as brought up before,
> a direct link would always lack the attribution contained on an
> accompanying page.
> The simple fact that it's legal doesn't change anything. It would be legal
> for me to create a website that doxxes editors. But I still would likely be
> banned if I did that. If the best defense you can offer for your actions is
> "It's not actually illegal!", that's a pretty lame defense.
> I don't know if either de.wp or Commons have the idea of "bringing the
> project into disrepute" being a reason to exclude someone from the project.
> But if they do, using legal demands rather than polite requests as a first
> resort and a trap to make a buck seem to qualify.
> I have no issue with editors asserting their legal rights if someone fails
> or refuses to accede to a request to bring material into license
> compliance, or if someone is acting in bad faith and their noncompliance is
> clearly deliberate. But the request should always be the first step, and if
> they do what was asked, that should be the end of it. That's especially
> true for those who made a good faith effort to comply and simply made a
> mistake in doing so.
> Todd
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] More politics: "WMF Annual Report"

2017-03-02 Thread WereSpielChequers
Like SJ I love the imagery and and style. As for the rest, I come here to
get away from politics, so it is a little unsettling to see the WMF get so
overtly political even though part of me revels in the sentiments. I too
worry how unsettling that would be for those who don't share the politics

I care about visa and migration rules, I cared about the subject before I
wound up with an 18 month delay from my wedding to when I was able to get
my wife a visa to join me in London, but that's irrelevant to this
movement. The concern about the Trump travel ban is a stark contrast to the
level of fuss the WMF has made in the past about the many people who have
been unable to get visas to attend Wikimania. I don't know how many WMF
staff were caught by the travel ban, but several dozen Wikimedians have
been unable to attend Wikimanias in the last few years due to visa
restrictions. It wouldn't surprise me if more Wikimedians were refused
visas to attend Wikimania in DC whilst Obama was President than are known
to have been caught by the Trump ban. If so it either looks like the WMF is
being political, or that it cares more about staff than volunteers; neither
would be a good message. One of the good things about South Africa as the
2018 venue is that it is possibly our most visa friendly venue since Buenos
Aires. If as a movement we are going to make a fuss about travel, I would
like to see that lead by a commitment to at least host every other
Wikimania in countries where almost any Wikimedian could get a visa.

Otherwise, I haven't fact checked the whole thing, but one problem with the
second sentence:

*Across the world, mobile pageviews to our free knowledge websites
increased by 170 million <>.*
This needs a time element, otherwise it comes across as not really in the
same league as most stats about Wikipedia. The previous sentence was about
a whole year's activity and the following one about monthly activity. So it
reads like an annual figure or an increase on an annual figure. But the
stats it links to imply something closer to a weekly figure. From my
knowledge of the stats I suspect it could be an increase in raw downloads
of 170m a day or week or unique downloaders of 170m a week. Any of those
would actually be rather impressive.

Can I suggest that for next year there be a more community based process to
write the next version of this.


> Message: 3
> Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2017 00:51:04 -0500
> From: Risker <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] More politics: "WMF Annual Report"
> Message-ID:
> <CAPXs8yQdJ+X+QwE3LB2XRuuKerSgMD5OKKhJJn1opLA9yyFj+w@mail.
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Okay, so I'll say what Sam said, except in stronger language, and with some
> additional emphasis.
> This is a very obviously liberally biased document --  and I say that as
> someone who lives in a country so liberal that it makes Californians look
> like they're still back in the early 1960s. Maybe it takes an outsider to
> see this.
> If you're going to try to play the "facts" game, you have to have your
> facts bang on - and you have to admit that there is more than one side to
> the story. This "report" reads as though the authors chose their favourite
> advocacy positions and then twisted and turned and did some more
> contortions to make it look as though it had something to do with the
> Wikimedia family of projects. (Seriously. Refugees and global warming don't
> have anything to do with the WMF.) It is so biased that most of those
> "fact" pages would have to be massively rewritten in order to meet the
> neutrality expectations of just about every Wikipedia regardless of the
> language.
> And that is my biggest concern. It is not neutral by any stretch of the
> imagination. And if the WMF can't write neutrally about these topics in its
> annual report, there is no reason for the average reader to think that
> Wikipedia and other projects will be written neutrally, fairly, based on
> references, and including the significant other opinions.  This document is
> a weapon that can be used against Wikimedia projects by any tinpot dictator
> or other suppressive government because it "proves" that WMF projects are
> biased.  It gives ammunition to the very movements that create "alternative
> facts" - it sure doesn't help when the WMF is coming up with a few of its
> own.
> That does a huge disservice to the hundreds of thousands of editors who
> have worked for years to create accurate, neutral, well-referenced
> educational material and information.  It doesn't do any good to those
> editors contributing f

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Very good news!

2017-02-20 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Milos, You might want to read this signpost article from 2015
that talked about the rally in very active editors from EN wiki's 2014
nadir. Another interesting measure of the rally, *Time between ten million
edits * <>was
hitting 73 days in late 2014 and is now back down to about 60.

Of course what we don't know is how much of the perceived decline was down
to the edit filters and therefore how much of the increase in the last
couple of years is simply because the easy wins for edit filters have been
achieved; Or how much of the decline was due to the rise of smartphones and
tablets where Wikipedia is much more of a broadcast medium with
comparatively few editors.


Message: 2
> Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2017 03:32:24 +0100
> From: Milos Rancic <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Very good news!
> Message-ID:
> <CAHPiQ2GZdSg7vGYGwKdRqrPcn9+_2BcYcWHGfoXHenUujVeYGA@mail.
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> This is an extraordinary news for us! For almost 10 years I was hoping
> to see that and, finally, I've seen it!
> In short, it seems that we reached the bottom in participation in 2014
> and that we are now slowly going upwards.
> My claim is based on the analysis [1] of the Eric Zachte's
> participation statistics on English Wikipedia [2], but I am almost
> sure that the rest of the projects more or less mirror it. But,
> anyway, I encourage others to check other projects and other relevant
> factors and see if their results correlate with what I have found. The
> reasons for the change in trends should be also detected.
> If we are looking Eric's statistics from 2010 onwards, it is not
> immediately obvious if we are going up or down. We reached the peak in
> 2007 (German Wikipedia somewhat earlier, other projects later, but
> English Wikipedia is approximately 50% of our activity and its weight
> is too strong for other projects to balance our overall activity).
> After that peak, we went down as quickly as we reached the peak. Then,
> in 2010, the trends flattened.
> However, it was not a stagnation, but barely visible recession.
> However, that "barely visible recession" removed approximately 20% of
> the very active editors in the period from 2010 to 2014, while the
> "visible one" -- from 2007 to 2010 -- was also approximately 20%. At
> that point of time, in 2014, the next 10 years would for sure drive
> Wikipedia and Wikimedia movement into insignificance.
> Comparing such data is also tricky. It's not just necessary to compare
> the same months (January 2010 with January 2011, 2012 etc.), but there
> could be "freak" months, which are not following general trends.
> That's why I used two methods: One is coloring the months by place in
> comparison to the months of the previous years. The other is average
> number per year.
> There are at least a couple of important conclusions:
> 1) Negative trends have been reversed.
> 2) Both 2015 and 2016 were not just better than 2013 and 2014, but
> even better than 2012, while 2016 is just a little bit worse than
> 2011!
> 3) December 2016 was even better than December 2010!
> 4) I could guess that the period June-November 2016 was worse than the
> same period in 2015 because of the political turbulence. Without them
> -- as May and December 2016 likely show -- 2016 would be not just
> better, but much better than 2015 and maybe even better than 2010.
> I would say that the reversal is still fragile and that we should do
> whatever we've been doing the last two years. Yes, detecting what
> we've been doing good (or bad) is not that easy to detect. But, yes,
> better analysis of all of all of the processes should be definitely
> done.
> I hope that this shows that we are at the beginning of our
> Renaissance, Wikimedia Renaissance and that the Dark Wikimedia Age is
> behind us! So, please join me in enjoying that fact, even I could be
> wrong. It definitely sounds definitely amazing, even it could be just
> my imagination! :)
> [1]
> D3V67KWTHuoEAh6540/edit?usp=sharing
> [2]
> --
> Milos
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Early Update - Fundraising

2016-12-08 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Seddon,

I can understand a few anomalies where people give when they don't have
funds to cover it, and for a difference between estimated exchange rates
and the actual exchange rate that applied when the transaction was
processed (currencies float and are quite capable of moving between the
moment you are aware of a donation and the moment it is converted into one
of the currencies you bank in).  But I'd expect such anomalies to be a tiny
fraction of a percent. OK one of these days we will have a record breaking
donation day in a currency that then devalues by half before we convert
that money into dollars, but I don't recall any spectacular devaluations in
the last two weeks.

Is it worth checking to see why these numbers in the frdata dump are only a
rough guide?

If its something as innocent as our estimates still working on say 2012
currency conversions and the actual currency conversions are based on the
day rate, then meh. But if one set of figures is gross before credit card
and other transaction costs and the other figures are net, or one set
assumed a UK Gift Aid sign up as high as Wikimedia UK could have got and
the reality was much lower, then  I'd be alarmed at such a difference.


> > > Hey Andreas
> > >
> > > A very quick email just noting I don't know the method by which
> > > that
> > frdata
> > > dump is created (its very old and not maintained) but it would
> > > seem
> that
> > > numbers in the frdata dump are only useful as a rough guide.
> > >
> > > We are basing our numbers on internal accounting figures which is
> > > more representative of the actual cash flow since it is more
> > > closely based
> on
> > > actual cleared payments.
> > >
> > > Seddon
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Personal Update

2016-11-02 Thread WereSpielChequers

Welcome to Quora!

More seriously I was thinking of putting together a submission for Montreal
along the lines of  "Cultural Learnings of Quora for Make Benefit Glorious
Website of Wikipedia." Any one who wants to get involved in that please
contact me off list.


On 2 November 2016 at 12:00, 

> Send Wikimedia-l mailing list submissions to
>1. Re: Personal Update (Asaf Bartov)
>2. Re: Personal Update (Todd Allen)
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 02 Nov 2016 01:46:24 +
> From: Asaf Bartov 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Personal Update
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Congratulations, Ms. Battles!
> I recommend updating your biographical sketch on this page to reflect this,
> so that the information is available to future readers not currently
> subscribed to this mailing list:
>  A.
> --
> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2016 20:00:22 -0600
> From: Todd Allen 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Personal Update
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Yeah, there just might be a few of us around here who participate on
> Wikipedia and Quora both. Not that I'd know anyone like that. :)
> Congratulations on the new position.
> Todd
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Fwd: Improving search (sort of)

2016-08-04 Thread WereSpielChequers
At Wikimania in Gdansk someone from Google gave an interesting if somewhat
controversial presentation on search improvements this way.

From my memory of the presentation - it was a few years ago; For several
languages including some Indic ones, I think Bangla and Telegu, Google had
listed the 500 most common search terms that didn't have a Wikipedia

They had then paid some translators to translate articles from English into
those languages.

This had become controversial because it resulted in a number of articles
on Hollywood film stars, and at least one of the editors in those wikis
didn't think that people who spoke his language were interested in
Hollywood filmstars. Also the people writing those articles didn't behave
as if cooperating with the community was part of their remit. One language,
it may have been Bangla, actually blocked the translators.

But logically the less complete a Wikipedia the more likely it is to have
search terms that we could create articles for.

I could even buy the idea that few of the unsuccessful searches on English
have an obvious article.

But for smaller Wikipedias this would be a useful tool to promote growth
and to be more reader focussed.

If the list was only made available as a deleted list so only admins could
read it then that should resolve the issues of some searches being terms we
wouldn't want to publicly list.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New Elections Committee

2016-07-26 Thread WereSpielChequers
Pine has a point. We all know that the founder seat will go eventually.
Whether it goes on the death or incapacity of the founder or earlier is a
valid question for the board and the community. I'm not convinced that an
elections committee should be deciding which posts to elect, and even if
such governance issues do fall into its remit they should probably focus on
how to elect first. So I'd say this should be a board decision.

As for the arguments to retain a founder seat for the next few decades, I
suggest that those who favour such a position try to couch their arguments
in terms of institutional knowledge, the value of an element of continuity
and the positives for the community to still retain such a link with our
founder. Then hope that the incidents of a few months ago fade in memory
and are not repeated. There is a case to be made for a founder seat, but as
with any argument in this community there are ways to argue respectfully
and effectively, and there are arguments that undermine your cause and
weaken your reputation.


On 26 July 2016 at 06:39, <> wrote:

> Send Wikimedia-l mailing list submissions to
> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
> You can reach the person managing the list at
> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
> than "Re: Contents of Wikimedia-l digest..."
> Today's Topics:
>2. Re: New Elections Committee (Pine W)
>3. Re: New Elections Committee (Gerard Meijssen)
> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2016 21:53:59 -0700
> From: Pine W <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] New Elections Committee
> Message-ID:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [discovery] Fwd: Improving search (sort of)

2016-07-15 Thread WereSpielChequers
I use search to find typos and misused words, so I'm guilty of some of the
gibberish looking searches

If we are concerned that some common searches could have Privacy
implications, why not create it as a deleted page and announce its
(non)existence on the admins noticeboard?


On 15 July 2016 at 19:25,  wrote:

> Send Wikimedia-l mailing list submissions to
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> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
> You can reach the person managing the list at
> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
> than "Re: Contents of Wikimedia-l digest..."
> Today's Topics:
>1. Re: [discovery] Fwd: Improving search (sort of) (Dan Garry)
>2. Re: [discovery] Fwd: Improving search (sort of) (James Heilman)
>3. Re: [discovery] Fwd: Improving search (sort of) (James Heilman)
>4. Re: [discovery] Fwd: Improving search (sort of) (Robert Fernandez)
>5. Re: [discovery] Fwd: Improving search (sort of) (Nathan)
> --
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:05:54 -0700
> From: Dan Garry 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Cc: A public mailing list about Wikimedia Search and Discovery
> projects , Trey Jones
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] [discovery] Fwd: Improving search (sort of)
> Message-ID:
> <
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> On 15 July 2016 at 08:44, James Heilman  wrote:
> >
> > Thanks for the in depth discussion. So if the terms people are using that
> > result in "zero search results" are typically gibberish why do we care if
> > 30% of our searches result in "zero search results"? A big deal was made
> > about this a while ago.
> >
> Good question! I originally used to say that it was my aspiration that
> users should never get zero results when searching Wikipedia. As a result
> of Trey's analysis, I don't say that any more. ;-) There are many
> legitimate cases where users should get zero results. However, there are
> still tons of examples of where giving users zero results is incorrect;
> "jurrasic world" was a prominent example of that.
> It's still not quite right to say that *all* the terms that people use to
> get zero results are gibberish. There is an extremely long tail
>  of zero results queries that
> aren't gibberish, it's just that the top 100 are dominated by gibberish.
> This would mean we'd have to release many, many more than the top 100,
> which significantly increases the risk of releasing personal information.
> > If one was just to look at those search terms that more than 100 IPs
> > searched for would that not remove the concerns about anonymity? One
> could
> > also limit the length of the searches displaced to 50 characters. And
> just
> > provide the first 100 with an initial human review to make sure we are
> not
> > miss anything.
> >
> The problem with this is that there are still no guarantees. What if you
> saw the search query "DF198671E"? You might not think anything of it, but I
> would recognise it as an example of a national insurance number
> , the British
> equivalent of a social security number [1]. There's always going to be the
> potential that we accidentally release something sensitive when we release
> arbitrary user input, even if it's manually examined by humans.
> So, in summary:
>- The top 100 zero results queries are dominated by gibberish.
>- There's a long tail of zero results queries, meaning we'd have to
>reduce many more than the top 100.
>- Manually examining the top zero results queries is not a foolproof way
>of eliminating personal data since it's arbitrary user input.
> I'm happy to answer any questions. :-)
> Thanks,
> Dan
> [1]: Don't panic, this example national insurance number is actually
> invalid. ;-)
> --
> Dan Garry
> Lead Product Manager, Discovery
> Wikimedia Foundation
> --
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2016 10:19:08 -0600
> From: James Heilman 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Cc: A public mailing list about Wikimedia Search and Discovery
> projects , Trey Jones
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] [discovery] Fwd: Improving 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Sweden loses copyright suit

2016-04-06 Thread WereSpielChequers
The blog still uses a whited out example of an 1854 statue, yet the discussion 
is supposedly about the sculptor's copyright.

Is the Swedish court trying to imply that artists and their heirs have a near 
indefinite copyright period for sculpture on display in Sweden? Or is this a 
modern statue of a chap who died in 1854? The blurb describes the statue as 
being public domain, so I suspect it is just a misleading picture, it would be 
better to use a picture with a whited out statue that is still in copyright. 

Those journalists and lawyers who support this judgment will try to spin this 
as being about the rights of living artists. So I'd suggest using the example 
of the oldest statue you can find in the database that is still in copyright, 
especially if the initial heirs are also long dead. A sentence in the blog post 
along the lines of "copyright in Sweden lasts for x years after the artist 
dies, so some of the artworks that the court is trying to restrict public 
access to are over y years old".

It might also be worth adding that Wikimedia Commons, wikimedia's main media 
library operates under US law. Though individuals who add or use material also 
need to comply with the law where they are.




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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikiwand

2016-03-31 Thread WereSpielChequers
I don't know about the WMF's position re Wikiwand, but I see Wikiwand as a
more reader friendly way to view Wikipedia. We have far more readers than
editors so in some sense this is a good thing. I can understand a reader
being more interested in seeing the table of contents in the left hand
margin than a bunch of links to "recent changes" and even "what links
here". But the more you hide the various functions that are of interest to
editors the more difficult it becomes to recruit editors from amongst our
readership, and in the long run without new editors we can't maintain the
site. Despite many attempts we don't yet have a viable alternative way of
recruiting new editors other than the edit buttons on our sites, so any
attempt to make the editing features less obvious is a threat to our future

The problem is that most designers don't like clutter, and to a non editor
many of the bits of the interface that are most useful to editors are
clutter. I'm not sure what the solution is to this. One possibility would
be a more gradualised interface, one that always shows you one or more
editing options than you have used, and ideally different ones or in
different form so you notice them. I seem to remember some successful tests
a while back that simply modified the edit button to make it more prominent
or even just different. In theory simply changing the edit button to so
that for a month IPs see it as  "fix this" or "correct an error" should
stop people mentally blanking the edit button out as part of the furniture.

We also have a problem that some of our metrics value visits to Wikimedia
sites above viewing Wikimedia content on mirrors such as WikiWand. We've
had a similar problem in the GLAM program trying to convince museums etc
that such a view is illogical and if your mission is to make content
available to all humanity you should value hits to your content on mirrors
equally to hits to that same content on your own website. Hopefully it is
just a historic problem that will recede as it becomes easier to get
metrics that include mirrors, but it is a barrier that prevents some GLAMS
from sharing media onto Wikimedia Commons and hugely ironic that we have
the problem ourselves in our own metrics.

Jonathan / WereSpielChequers

> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:39:46 +0200
> From: Anders Wennersten <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Wikiwand
> Message-ID: <>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
> What is WMFs position on Wikiwand [1]?
> is it a complement or a commercial run interface that is  better that we
> can offer?
> Anders
> [1]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikipedia Zero mass effect on Wikimedia projects

2016-03-21 Thread WereSpielChequers
Is much of the problem about differing varieties of Portuguese? Last I
heard the Portuguese language Wikipedia allowed multiple versions of
Portuguese in a similar way to English - i.e. standardised at the article
level not the project level; Though the editing base is much more skewed to
Brazil than EN is to the US. Assuming Angolan Portuguese is closer to the
Portuguese spoken in Portugal, then just as in EN you are likely to get
some goodfaith newbies "correcting" spelling to the version they know. If
so perhaps edit filters might work. Alternatively, would it be possible to
do something similar to the Chinese Wikipedia and display different
versions of Portuguese according to user preference/IP geography?

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Executive transition planning

2016-03-09 Thread WereSpielChequers
Don't be so hasty to rule out Donald.

With Computers coming down in price and Artificial Intelligence programs
steadily improving  it should be perfectly possible to  train an AI program
with the decision making power needed to make CEO style decisions; Remember
Chess has long had better computer players than human ones.  And having the
CEObot trained to adopt the personality, communication style and persona of
a much loved and highly successful comic artiste means they would be
something of a known and trusted quantity.

Indeed it would temporarily put us at the leading edge of technology,
though in a few years everyone will be using CEObots.

The only slight problems are that if we wanted to hire an AI CEO the
community would object to one that wasn't open source. And as a high
profile organisation we wouldn't want to be using the same licensed CEObot
as thousands of other organisations, especially if we had to pay a license
fee to Disney.


> On 3/5/16 8:28 AM, Chris Sherlock wrote:
> >> In it's decision making capacity, the Board should:
> >>
> >> * Select, evaluate and (if necessary) remove the Executive Director;
> >
> > Whilst I'm sure that C-level managers are up to the task, that's rather
> abrogating the responsibility of the Board.
> I think you are misunderstanding.  The Board will meet to discuss and
> approve the recommendation of the C-level managers.  In order to
> properly carry out the Board's supervisory duties, we can and should
> take advice from those who are best situated.  We have not transferred
> the legal right and responsibility onto the C-level managers - we have
> indicated to them that we trust that they will make a reasonable
> recommendation.
> If, contrary to all expectations, they came back with a recommendation
> for Donald Duck or Donald Trump or some other cartoon character, we'd
> obviously refuse their recommendation as would be our fiduciary duty.
> --Jimbo
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimediauk-l] Free as in beer

2016-02-29 Thread WereSpielChequers
Well they definitely aren't adding either NC or ND, but they might be implying 
SA with all that sharing is caring stuff.

You could ask before migrating to wiki source, my guess is they are choosing 


Jonathan / WereSpielChequers 

> On 29 Feb 2016, at 15:19, Richard Symonds <> 
> wrote:
> So...
> BrewDog, a Scotland-based "hipster brewery" - for want of a better phrase - 
> have just "open-sourced" their entire recipe collection. 
> You can
> It's not entirely clear what "licence" they're using but they say:
> "copy them, tear them to pieces, bastardise them, adapt them, but most of 
> all, enjoy them. They are well travelled but with plenty of miles still left 
> on the clock. Just remember to share your brews, and share your results. 
> Sharing is caring."
> I guess "free as in beer" has a slightly different meaning now!
> Richard Symonds
> Wikimedia UK
> 0207 065 0992
> Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and 
> Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513. Registered 
> Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT. 
> United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a global Wikimedia 
> movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the Wikimedia Foundation (who 
> operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
> Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal control over 
> Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.
> ___
> Wikimedia UK mailing list
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Are we too rigid?

2016-02-26 Thread WereSpielChequers
As a former techie I find phabricator a difficult environment to bug
report in or lobby for a change. I sympathise with anyone as technical
than me or less who ventures there. Sometimes I'm left scratching my
head and wondering whether the closing of a bug or request and
redirecting to one that seems to me unrelated is an honest mistake, a
technically correct but buried in jargon move, or just vandalism.
Relations between techie and non techie are an important area for the
movement to work on. Whether the perceived improvements of the
Tretikova era were down to Lila, to others arriving, departing or
passing through; I hope that in future we try to do better there,
despite the loss of key people and the halving of the frequency of

On the broader issue of being tech led and narrowing focus; Arguably
one of our biggest problems is that Google, Firefox et al are finding
ways for people to access the content we create without the clutter of
edit buttons, and in some cases attribution and legalese. Think
Mediaviewer for everything, threatening the secret sauce that fuels
our movement. The Knowledge Engine may have been an attempted tech
response to that problem, but whether or not that could have succeeded
with a few extra tens of millions, it was a very expensive tech hammer
for a problem best approached by diplomacy backed up with lawyers. In
narrowing the WMFs focus we wound up using the wrong tool. I've
drafted an alternative approach here:


Jonathan / WereSpielChequers

> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2016 01:38:31 +0300
> From: Yuri Astrakhan <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Are we too rigid?
> Message-ID:

> Oliver, thanks!
>> In other words, the litmus test for me is: what happens when the socially
> and politically weakest person in the organisation has an idea?
> If we speak of a "product" idea, we have two groups of people - those who
> can implement the idea, and those who would need to convince others to do
> it.  They use fundamentally different, scarcely overlapping skill-sets. An
> engineer might go via the "hackathon + demo" route, implementing something
> simple and showing it to gain traction. A non-engineer would start with the
> social aspect first - talking to others if the idea is worth pursuing, how
> hard is it to do, and eventually - convincing others to allocate their
> time/resources to do it. Sometimes an engineer may go the social route
> instead, but it would be very hard for a non-engineer to engage in
> development. Lastly, the "designer" group has an amazing skill-set to
> visually present their full vision rather than the demo, thus often having
> easier time of conveying their thoughts.
> In a sense, the barrier of entry for the person in the "weakest position"
> would not be as high for the "doer" as for the "inspirer". So I think the
> real challenge is how do we capture and evaluate those ideas from the
> second group? Also, no matter how hard we try, it would be either very
> hard, or very expensive (and not just financially) to force the
> implementers to do an idea they do not believe in. So in a sense, doers
> need to be persuaded first and foremost.
> As with any explanation, a picture == 1000 words, so we could promote "idea
> visualizers" - designers who are easily approachable and could help to draw
> up a few sketches of the idea.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] US Copyright Law Forces Wikimedia to remove Public Domain Anne Frank Diary

2016-02-16 Thread WereSpielChequers
I may have an unpopular view here, but when an author has been murdered, 
especially one so young, I find it distasteful to try to make that a test case 
re copyright. If Anne Frank hadn't been murdered she might well still be alive 
today, and presumably her work would still be in copyright.

By all means we should be encouraging people to freely license things openly, 
and arguing for open licensing against those who claim copyright on faithful 
copies of out of copyright work, and for freedom of panorama in countries less 
open about such things than Armenia or the UK.

I'm sort of OK about as Michael Maggs put it  using it to "increase awareness 
of the excessive length (95 years) of some US copyright terms." Though I'd hope 
there are other examples where we don't look like taking advantage of the 
murder of a child. I'm also OK with using this as an example of us taking 
copyright seriously.

But though it is an important work, is it really one we should be trying to 
force into the open against the wishes of a charity set up by her relatives?



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

2016-02-03 Thread WereSpielChequers
I can see the logic in trying for a different funding source, fundraising 
banners and their messaging have been a cause of tension between the WMF and 
the community; and asking our readers for money relies on our readers coming to 
our desktop sites directly and is at risk in a world where our data becomes 
ubiquitous, but increasingly repackaged and presented by others.

But there are a couple of alternate strategies which I think would serve us 

Firstly evolution is better than revolution, and in our case that could mean 
shifting the emphasis from annual one off donations to signing people up for 
recurring donations. Here in the UK many people open a bank account in their 
teens and keep it for life. So if you sign people up for a regular payment by 
direct debit you have a revenue stream that will persist for decades. Short of 
financial disaster or death people rarely cancel direct debits to charities. I 
know WIkimedia UK had a lot of success at signing people up for direct debits 
back in 2011 when they were part of the fundraiser, there has also been some 
work done on asking former donors to give again. Shifting from a strategy of 
asking our readers for donations to one of asking new and past donors to sign 
up for a regular contribution would give us more financial security, less 
dependence on people using our sites directly and hopefully open the way for 
less intrusive messaging that is more mission aligned and doesn't scare people 
into thinking that Wikipedia is under financial threat. It would also be a much 
smaller step from our current strategy than one of asking big corporates and 
grant givers for money. When a donor who gives 0.0001% of the WMF's income 
threatens to stop donating you can ignore the threat and treat their complaint 
on its merits. When a donor who gives 0.1% of the WMF's income is upset they 
are likely to have inside contacts whose job it is to keep such donors donating.

Secondly having CC-BY-SA contributions repackaged and reused as if they were 
CC0 is a trend that the WMF could resist, first with diplomacy and if necessary 
with lawyers. Remember in most languages we aren't currently under threat from 
someone creating a rival to Wikipedia, our threat is from mirrors that present 
Wikipedia in more attractive ways. Attribution would undermine the business 
model of those mirrors who aim for the ads they wrap our content in to be less 
intrusive than WMF fundraising, legalese and editing options. It would keep a 
proportion of the really interested and the really grateful clicking through to 
Wikimedia sites where they can be recruited as donors of either time or money. 
It would also realign the strategy of the WMF with the aspirations of a large 
part of the community, those whose motivation comes in part from contributing 
under CC-BY-SA rather than CC0.



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Was the Wikimedia Foundation's removal of membership in 2006 legal?

2016-01-27 Thread WereSpielChequers
Whether or not the decision against having a membership system was legal, 
reversing that decision would be a timely and practical way for the WMF to 
start to reengage with the community.

Past concerns that a membership system would require staff are now moot - we 
have staff.

Past concerns as to where one sets the membership fee are now moot - we can 
afford to waive the fee for those who contribute time. I'm not really keen on 
the idea of selling any memberships, but it would be good if we could award 
membership to some of the professors, museum curators, librarians, archivists 
and others who help our mission without necessarily editing much themselves.

Past concerns about privacy are easier to resolve as we now have a structure of 
chapters and they include ones in countries with very strict privacy laws. So 
we can have a federal membership system with chapters holding the membership 
details in specific countries, and anyone suing the WMF to get the membership 
details of someone who'd blocked them for spamming would then find that all the 
WMF knew was someone's username - membership details would be held by an 
independent legal entity in a country with strict privacy laws.

A Membership based system would give more protection for community elected 

A membership based organisation would formally be a global not for profit at 
the intersection of education, culture, free knowledge and open licensing; not 
a Silicon Valley tech entity.

A membership based organisation would have better defences against being 



>> Dear friends,
>> 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.[1]
>> 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.
>> In solidarity,
>> Adam Wight
>> [[mw:User:Adamw]]
>> [1]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Monetizing Wikimedia APIs

2016-01-16 Thread WereSpielChequers
If we are running dedicated services for free on behalf of a major search
engine as  part of our symbiotic relationship with them, then kudos to Lila
for putting it on the trustees agenda and getting some discussion in the

I can understand how we get into a situation where a known major search
engine is allowed a level of web crawling that would be treated as a denial
of service attack if it came from elsewhere.

Echoing Andreas and Denny I can see the case for asking for some
contribution to cost recovery when we do something extra for a major reuser
of our data. But I would prefer this to be couched as part of a wider
strategic dialogue with those entities.

My particular concern is with attack pages, and if we are providing the
service that crawls all edits including new pages then I think we can do
what has in the past been dismissed as impossible or outside our control:
Shift the new page process to one where unpatrolled pages are not crawled
by search engine bots until after someone has patrolled them.
Treat "flagged for deletion" as a third status in addition to patrolled and
If we do this then when someone creates an article about their high school
prom queen and her unorthodox method for getting good grades from male
teachers, we should be able to delete it without it being mirrored for
hours by search engines.

Others might want the dialogue to be more about how much content can be
shown in an uneditable unattributed way by being treated as simply
extracted facts and thereby public domain.

I'm keen that the WMF board has oversight of these arrangements,  I
appreciate that some data about crawl frequencies and algorithms will be
confidential to the commercial entities involved, So I could understand if
some discussions or  briefing papers to the board were confidential.

What I don't want is for cost recovery to be the first item on the agenda
when we talk about these relationships. Less mirroring of vandalism and
attack pages, better compliance with CC-BY-SA and other licenses and more
opportunities for readers to edit are more important to me, and considering
our current financial health should be to us all..

This does of course bring us back to the discussion about conflicts of
interest and the need for staff and trustees to recuse, not just when their
employer's crawler is being discussed, but also when making decisions about
entities in which they own any shares. I think we should also add when the
trustees are discussing their employer's direct competitors. It might also
help if more of the trustees had the detachment and neutrality of say a
Canadian Medic as opposed to a silicon valley insider whose future
employers could easily be other tech giants.


Message: 3
> Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2016 18:11:51 -0800
> From: Denny Vrandecic <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Monetizing Wikimedia APIs
> Message-ID:
> <
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> I find it rather surprising, but I very much find myself in agreement with
> most what Andreas Kolbe said on this thread.
> To give a bit more thoughts: I am not terribly worried about current
> crawlers. But currently, and more in the future, I expect us to provide
> more complex and this expensive APIs: a SPARQL endpoint, parsing APIs, etc.
> These will be simply expensive to operate. Not for infrequent users - say,
> to the benefit of us 70,000 editors - but for use cases that involve tens
> or millions of requests per day. These have the potential of burning a lot
> of funds to basically support the operations of commercial companies whose
> mission might or might not be aligned with our.
> Is monetizing such use cases really entirely unthinkable? Even under
> restrictions like the ones suggested by Andreas, or other such restrictions
> we should discuss?
> On Jan 16, 2016 3:49 PM, "Risker" <> wrote:
> > Hmm.  The majority of those crawlers are from search engines - the very
> > search engines that keep us in the top 10 of their results (and often in
> > the top 3), thus leading to the usage and donations that we need to
> > survive. If they have to pay, then they might prefer to change their
> > algorithm, or reduce the frequency of scraping (thus also failing to
> catch
> > updates to articles including removal of vandalism in the lead
> paragraphs,
> > which is historically one of the key reasons for frequently crawling the
> > same articles).  Those crawlers are what attracts people to our sites, to
> > read, to make donations, to possibly edit.  Of course there are lesser
> > crawlers, but they're no

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Monetizing Wikimedia APIs

2016-01-16 Thread WereSpielChequers
If an API license raised a meaningful amount of money then whoever bought
it would have some influence over the organisation, and if it didn't raise
a meaningful amount of money I  doubt it would be worth doing.

There are other options that should be less contentious:

Emailing donors, explaining that we have now launched an endowment fund and
inviting them to mention Wikimedia in their will. We currently email donors
annually - a mid year endowment fund email should not conflict with that.

License the logos for some merchandising aimed at the public. I would
happily buy a couple of Wikimedia calendars to give as Christmas/New Year
gifts, and yes I appreciate that for timing reasons that would mean using
the Wiki Loves Monuments 2015 winners to illustrate a 2017 calendar.

Shift from asking for one off donations to asking people to sign up for a
regular donation. I don't know about other countries, but this would be an
easy move in the UK - it's what every efficient charity fundraiser would do.

Where you can take legally advantage of the tax man, go for it.  In the UK
if you have registered charity status as WMUK does, then under the Gift Aid
system the Taxman will add 25% to every donation where the donor confirms
they are a UK taxpayer. I would be disappointed if WMUK couldn't get a
clear majority of UK donors to tick the box  if they took over fundraising
in the UK. But having looked at the current WMF system  I seriously doubt
the WMF gets even a quarter of UK donors to go through Gift Aid.


> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2016 21:59:50 +1000
> From: Craig Franklin <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Monetizing Wikimedia APIs
> Message-ID:
> <
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> On 16 January 2016 at 19:23, Pete Forsyth <> wrote:
> > I'm interested to hear some perspectives on the following line of
> thinking:
> >
> > Lisa presented some alternative strategies for revenue needs for the
> > Foundation, including the possibility of charging for premium access to
> the
> > services and APIs,
> Brace yourselves...
> > expanding major donor and foundation fundraising,
> > providing specific services for a fee, or limiting the Wikimedia
> > Foundation's growth. The Board emphasized the importance of keeping free
> > access to the existing APIs and services, keeping operational growth in
> > line with the organization's effectiveness, providing room for innovation
> > in the Foundation's activities, and other potential fundraising
> strategies.
> > The Board asked Lila to analyze and develop some of these potential
> > strategies for further discussion at a Board meeting in 2016.
> > Source:
> Looking for additional revenue sources isn't a bad idea, but charging for
> premium access is likely to annoy the community to a degree that will make
> the great Visual Editor revolt look like some quiet and polite murmuring.
> Cheers,
> Craig
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikipedia's 15th BD

2016-01-15 Thread WereSpielChequers
A few hours ago I had the pleasure of celebrating Wikipedia's fifteenth
birthday here in Tbilisi

with Wikimedia Georgia. Press and Television were both in attendance.

We had some interesting discussions - there may be an application coming in
for internationalisation to deal with the problem that many Georgians can
only edit in the Latin script.

I then went on to take some photos in the Georgian National Museum, though
it may be a few days before I organise and upload those. I tried to get
better photos of this bracelet
I have photos of another Georgian diadem

> Jonathan
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[Wikimedia-l] WMF Conflict of Interest Policy

2016-01-10 Thread WereSpielChequers
Recent threads query whether it is or should be a conflict of interest for
a board member to support the appointment of someone who used to work at
the same company, and whether multiple board members have shares or stock
options with a particular company. So I have read the Conflict of interest
policy <>,
which from my lay person's reading does not appear to have been breached.

I have taken the opportunity to propose a couple of changes
to that policy. Note I have not first tried to find out how long it is
since a certain new trustee left the same company that an existing trustee
works for, nor  have I asked any board member how many Google shares that
they own. But I am making the assumption that no individual member of the
WMF board currently owns 10% or more of Google, so I would be very
surprised if any of them have managed to break the current conflict of
interest policy as I understand it.

To be clear I am not proposing any sort of retrospective change that would
mean a past decision was void because a trustee voted despite having an
interest according to these new rules. Any change to the rules could only
apply to decisions made after the rules were updated.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing new Wikimedia Foundation Trustees

2016-01-06 Thread WereSpielChequers
Dear Anthony,

The community elected Denny knowing that he worked at Google


If this was an additional conflict of interest taken on after his election
then things might be different, but this looks to me something better
resolved by declaring the interest and recusing from relevant votes and

I'm not entirely happy with the current board and especially the loss of
Doc James. Unless I've missed it neither the GLAM nor Medical sectors now
have an advocate on the board, but removing an elected board member for a
conflict of interest that was declared in his election statement would not
make sense to me.

There is a wider issue that we also have people who have previously been
connected to various other organisations whose strategies might impinge on
ours. Do we or should we have some sort of break requirement such
as requiring directors to recuse from decisions involving recent former

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Pierre-Selim asked: "Are you suggesting the removal of another communitee
> selected board member?"
> I'm sure Denny would make a fine adviser. But having a voting board member
> who is paid by Google, who in turn is almost the (and would like to be the)
> monopoly commercial vendor of knowledge to the world, strikes me as wrong.
> That's much too close an embrace.
> Anthony Cole
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

2015-12-02 Thread WereSpielChequers
A big advantage of having an endowment would be in conversations with our
GLAM partners.

- An organisation funded by an endowment can more credibly make longer-term
commitments than one that is not. This would be particularly attractive to
some of our current and potential GLAM partners; "Entrust us with a copy of
your images and metadata and we have the funding to keep it on the Internet
for the foreseeable future" would be a very attractive commitment for us to
be able to make. 

We don't need an endowment large enough to keep the organisation going as
is, or even the pedias being still open to edit, before we can commit that
"the media library on Wikimedia Commons has an endowment that should
suffice to keep it on the web or on whatever replaces the internet for the
foreseeable future" . In a world of budget cuts and short term thinking
this would be a very positive thing for us to be able to say to museum
curators and similar custodians of cultural heritage. That doesn't mean we
commit to keeping everything in a particular image release, we might well
delete some images because our policy on copyright risk will be different
to theirs. But if you want to keep things in existence longterm then the
strategy used by the writers of the domesday book still works. Make several
copies and place them with organisations that intend to be around
for millennia to come. An endowment could mean that we become such an
organisation. I would hope that the WMF board aims for an endowment that
allows us to make such a commitment.

An endowment so large that we no longer need an annual fundraiser would be
a very much larger sum and harder in my view to justify. Why should this
generation pay so that people can edit Wikipedia in 2050 without there
being a fundraising banner?

> Message: 3
> Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2015 02:39:59 +0330
> From: Mardetanha 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion
> Message-ID:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wiki-research-l] Quality issues

2015-11-20 Thread WereSpielChequers
My experience is that pretty much all Wikimedians care about quality,
though some have different, even diametrically opposed views as to what
quality means and which things are cosmetic or crucial.

My experience of the sadly dormant death anomaly project
 was that people
react positively to being told "here is a list of anomalies on your
language wikipedia" especially if those anomalies are relatively serious.
My experience of edits on many different languages is that wikipedians
appreciate someone who improves articles, even if you don't speak their
language. Dismissing any of our thousand wikis as a "black box" is I think
less helpful.

One of the great opportunities of Wikidata is to do the sort of data driven
anomaly finding that we pioneered with the death anomalies report. But we
always need to remember that there are cultural difference between wikis,
and not just in such things as the age at which we assume people are dead.
Diplomacy is a useful skill in cross wiki work.

On 20 November 2015 at 07:18, Gerard Meijssen 

> Hoi,
> At Wikidata we often find issues with data imported from a Wikipedia.
> Lists have been produced with these issues on the Wikipedia involved and
> arguably they do present issues with the quality of Wikipedia or Wikidata
> for that matter. So far hardly anything resulted from such outreach.
> When Wikipedia is a black box, not communicating about with the outside
> world, at some stage the situation becomes toxic. At this moment there are
> already those at Wikidata that argue not to bother about Wikipedia quality
> because in their view, Wikipedians do not care about its own quality.
> Arguably known issues with quality are the easiest to solve.
> There are many ways to approach this subject. It is indeed a quality issue
> both for Wikidata and Wikipedia. It can be seen as a research issue; how to
> deal with quality and how do such mechanisms function if at all.
> I blogged about it..
> Thanks,
>  GerardM
> ___
> Wiki-research-l mailing list
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WLM Brasil 2015 - Winners / Numbers

2015-10-31 Thread WereSpielChequers
Maybe it is time to reconsider some of our standard metrics for wiki loves 

One of the big gains in several countries has been to get a list of monuments 
into Wikipedia maybe in future direct into wikidata. I think that the standard 
metrics should reflect that, OK it is metadata, but our metrics should put more 
value on the metadata we achieve.

Sometimes wiki loves monuments gives us lots more images of something we 
already have reasonable pictures of. Sometimes it gives us images of notable 
monuments that we don't yet have articles about. Or it gives us interior shots 
of a building that already have a featured photo of the exterior.

I suggest we think of three metrics here:
How many monuments have we gone from no images to images?
How many monuments do we have better quality images for?
How many monuments do we have images for more of their features?

Number of images used is an over hasty metric, perhaps five years after the 
contest we could measure this and get a very different statistic. Sometimes we 
need much more patience to see how wikipedians will use materials over time. 
This is likely to be especially true in countries where we don't currently have 
much coverage in terms of articles.

Another way to tell the story is to give us examples of gaps that we have 
filled. For example, the article on *** church explained that it was listed 
as a national monument because of the quality of the frescos inside it, as a 
result of WLM we now have photos of those frescos available for the article.

> Message: 5
> Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2015 16:23:45 -0200
> From: Rodrigo Padula 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Enc: Re:  WLM Brasil 2015 - Winners / Numbers
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> I see a lot of good results and contributions here and as pointed by Ilario, 
> we reached great part of our measures of success 
> WLM 2015
> - 4.453 photos
> - 411 uploaders
> - 325 new users registered on commons 
> WLM 2014+2015
> - 20 095 photos
> - 2866 uploaders
> - 2727 new users registered on commons
> Only to complete, the first place on WLE 2014 was elected the second place on 
> the WLE 2014 International and that same picture was selected in 7# place 
> during the picture of the year on commons.
> Now in 2015 we have more pictures selected in the WLE international contest.
> Including all the media coverage and all impact on social media, for a small 
> User Group approved in 2015, it's huge!!!
> Rodrigo Padula
> Coordenador de Projetos
> Grupo Wikimedia Brasileiro de Educação e Pesquisa
> 21 99326-0558
>  Em Sáb, 31 Out 2015 15:43:49 -0200 Ilario 
> escreveu  
> Again, and again.
> "Success for whom"?
> The section "measure of success" reports:
> at least 400 participants uploading one photograph or more;
> at least 5,000 photos uploaded;
> at least 15% of photos used on Wikipedia;
> at least 50% of new users engagement during the contest;
> at least 10 new articles about natural heritage sites in Brasil;
> at least 10% of new user retention after 2 months of the contest.
> Rodrigo reports:
> Pictures uploaded: 4.443
> Uploaders: 411
> New users registered on Commons: 325
> New users engagement: 79%
> Pictures user on Wikipedia: 86 (2%)
> Are the goals reached? Basically yes. When the project has been financed 
> it was clear that the definition "success" was based on those measures.
> There is no success for a specific person on an individual and personal 
> criteria.
> The user group of Brazil has not asked nothing special, this is a normal 
> budget for any WLM or WLE in several countries.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Next step in the development

2015-10-29 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Romaine,

Having bots that list tasks that need  doing is a great way to get things
done. But you need to think carefully who you target this work at. We do
have bots that tell editors when they've linked an article to a
disambiguation page, there is some logic in that as the person who added
the information is more likely to understand it and know which other
article it really should be added to. But for general gnomish work like
categorisation adding wikilinks and now migrating to wikidata, better I
suggest to create some category and try to recruit gnomes to do that work
en masse. Someone who creates a few dozen articles might not fancy learning
about wikidata, but a gnome who specialises in it might do many times that
amount of migration.

Remember the essence of crowd sourcing is to get lots of people to take on
the parts of the task that they want to do.


> Message: 7
> Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:04:58 -0700
> From: Raymond Leonard 
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
> Cc: Wikidata mailing list 
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Next step in the development
> Message-ID:

[Wikimedia-l] Increase in size of the core editing community

2015-09-10 Thread WereSpielChequers
A quick follow up to the signpost article of a couple of weeks ago
now have the August figures
<>, and August has
continued what we might reasonably start calling the new trend. The English
Wikipedia has more editors with 100 or more live edits in mainspace than
for any August since 2010. Across all Wikipedias combined the figures are
up almost as steeply with a near 10% increase on August 2014, though this
doesn't quite get us back to 2012 levels.

We aren't out of the woods yet as other metrics are still declining, for
example both new accounts and editors making 5 or more saves are both down
across Wikipedia generally when comparing August 2015 with 2014.

But it's nice to have one metric be positive.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [[wikimedia-I] Wiki Loves Monuments] Wiki Loves Monuments in Italy largely blocked by WMF fundraising

2015-09-06 Thread WereSpielChequers
Craig has a good point, but this is a lovely example of two projects planning 
on very different timescales. The most important countries for a future Wiki 
Loves Monuments campaign are some of the very countries that fundraising could 
have had this September, the ones where there has not yet been a WLM but where 
a group of volunteers will emerge in the next few months. How can one predict 
where they will be?


>   3
> Message: 3
> Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2015 13:39:25 +1000
> From: Craig Franklin <>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wiki Loves Monuments] Wiki Loves Monuments
>in Italy largely blocked by WMF fundraising
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Firstly, I'm delighted to see that a mutually acceptable compromise has
> been reached here.  Well done everyone in coming together with the best
> interests of the entire movement in mind.
> If I can make a suggestion though, I'd suggest that the fundraising team
> and the community, particularly the WLM crew, get together *now* and try to
> work out how those campaigns are going to be coordinated so that this
> doesn't happen again next year, while there are still good vibes in the
> air.  Something we're all really bad at as a movement, is procrastinating
> on these sort of issues, but if there is a bit of forward planning there's
> no reason that everyone can't have their cake and eat it too.
> Cheers,
> Craig

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Harald bischoff advertising to make images for the wikimedia foundation and then suing users

2015-07-28 Thread WereSpielChequers
 I don't know whether this is a mistranslation in the title thread, but if this 
wikimedian is advertising to make images for the wikimedia foundation and 
then suing users that would seem to me a different thing to taking images for 
himself but releasing a CC-BY-SA version on Wikimedia Commons. That wouldn't 
make any difference if he was taking photos of mountains or wildlife, but if he 
is using the foundation's name to get access to celebrities then that would be 
different. Taking photos for himself but releasing a copy on Wikimedia Commons 
under CC-BY-SA is slightly different and someone who speaks his language might 
need to suggest that to him.

I would also be interested to know whether he is suing people who are taking 
the same interpretation of the CC licenses that Wikipedia uses, or only those 
who are not following the reuse guidelines in Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons.

It isn't clear to me at present whether he is:

1 insisting on his undisputed licence rights
2 strictly enforcing licence rights which we acknowledge on at least one 
Wikimedia project and don't ourselves breach as a movement
3 enforcing licence rights which we acknowledge on at least one Wikimedia 
project but breach on another.

I and perhaps others whose German skills are like mine barely adequate to order 
a beer, would be grateful if a German speaker on this list could clarify this.



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Cebuano and Waray-waray Wikipedias among Top 10

2015-07-06 Thread WereSpielChequers
These are fascinating experiments, I hope that the Waray-waray and Cebuano
communities will at some point report back to the wider community as to how
this worked out. My fear is that too fast a growth rate could overwhelm
whatever community we have in those languages leading to burn out of
existing editors dealing with too many newbies at once, my suspicion is
that this will vary by language depending on such variables as the ratio of
PC users to smartphone users, and the ease with which editors can access
the necessary character sets.

We have long known that bot creation of stubs that are of interest to
speakers of a language is a way to recruit readers, and that some readers
become editors. What I think we don't yet know is the maximum growth rate
that a wiki community can cope with.

There is also a sustainability angle, though hopefully we can mitigate that
by bot replacing of articles where the source has changed but they haven't
been edited on the Cebuano or Waray-waray Wikipedias. Otherwise within a
decade we could have pedias that look very dated, for example various
record holders whose articles in other languages show their records have
been surpassed, and villages

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Can Wikipedia Survive? op-ed

2015-06-22 Thread WereSpielChequers
I agree with Jane that it is great that one of us gets to write in the NY 
Times. But I would slightly disagree with Andrew. Yes smartphones are becoming 
ubiquitous, and for smartphone users Wikipedia is a broadcast medium not an 
interactive one. That's not great, especially for those languages where 
Wikipedia is far less written than in English. But I'm not seeing this as an 
existential threat. I'm sure the WMF has some clue full people trying to make 
the site as mobile friendly as possible, I'd put money on the smartphone 
industry trying to cram yet more PCfunctionality into their hardware, I know 
that the smartphone generation are capable of doing things with their phones 
that I can barely comprehend - and that the kids growing up with smartphones 
will be more proficient still; and whilst we are seeing PC and Laptop sales 
fall, an element of that is market stabilisation and commodification - why 
worry that PC sales are falling if that just means people are replacing their 
PCs less frequently? 

If ownership of PCs was falling, people were moving all their internet activity 
to the smartphone, and Wikipedia was pretty much the only bit of the Internet 
left behind when you migrate to smartphone, then I would be worried.

As it is I just see this as a change to the environment we are in, a change 
that makes things more difficult for us, but not one that threatens our 



 Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2015 11:59:25 +0200
 From: Jane Darnell
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Can Wikipedia Survive? op-ed
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
 What I absolutely *love* in this piece is that it's by our own GLAM-Wiki
 podcast host Andrew Lih and it's in the New York f***ing Times! Yay!
 Plus I totally agree with his lead point, which holds for all languages: One
 of the biggest threats it faces is the rise of smartphones as the dominant
 personal computing device. If I had to pick the one thing that would stop
 me editing Wikipedia projects, then yes, this *is* that thing. Though I
 truly love Wikidata and I do feel strongly about the Gendergap, I agree
 with him and feel that the biggest threat to the Wikiverse is the demise of
 the desktop.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] CAPTCHA issues discouraging new editors

2015-06-19 Thread WereSpielChequers
I'm tempted to point out that this mainly affects new editors who cite their 
edits, other new editors will get bitten in other ways. But the internet is not 
the best venue for irony.

More practically, if you have a tame admin on tap then you can reduce this and 
other problems at editathons by setting those new accounts as confirmed. And 
yes I know we also have a shortage of admins, and also that it is likely that 
only a tiny proportion of the editors we lose through this are at editathons.

Earlier this year as a result of the glam organisers event in Paris I made a 
proposal at bugzilla for an event organisers useright. This would have allowed 
us to circumvent this problem at those editathons that are targeted at newbies, 
and it got widely endorsed by GLAM editors from several languages. Sadly it got 
marked as resolved because there was something that looked similar to 
developers, though not of course to potential users. If anyone here knows how 
to bypass phabricator or how to mark a phabricator request as unresolved and 
still much wanted, then the link is 
alternatively perhaps we could persuade the education community to endorse it, 
it should be just as useful to them and they seem to have more clout with the 
WMF than the GLAM community.

As for whether the capcha is useful in keeping out spammers, remember there are 
two capcha steps, one when you open a new account and the other when you use 
that to add links. Presumably any spam program that can pass the first hurdle 
can pass the second. But for new good faith human editors each capcha is a 
possible lost edit/editor. It would be good to test dropping the capcha 
requirement for adding new links, alternatively perhaps we could whitelist 
certain domains as likely to be reliable sources and unlikely to be spam. 



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wiki-research-l] Community health (retitled thread)

2015-06-05 Thread WereSpielChequers
Yes, but may I also point out that one of our biggest problems on EN wiki is 
that even good faith newbies will often have their edits reverted. If you add 
uncited facts to a page you are now much more likely to have your edit reverted 
than to have someone add citation needed so I would suggest a metric that 
includes persistence v reversion of edits that are not vandalism.

Another issue worth measuring is the number of edit conflicts and the frequency 
that having an edit conflict triggers a newbies departure. This would require 
WMF help as I don't think that edit conflicts are publicly logged. But some 
research on this might resolve the divide between those who consider this a 
minor issue deserving only the lowest priority at bugzilla, and those such as 
myself who suspect this is one of the most toxic features of the pedia and 
reducing edit conflicts the easiest major improvement that could be made.

By contrast commons is a relatively lonely place. From my experience you can do 
hundreds of thousands of edits there without ever needing to archive your 
talkpage. It would be interesting to see some community health metrics that 
looked at how many interactions people have with other editors, whether thanks 
or talkpage messages. My suspicion is that editor retention will vary by 
interaction level, and there will be a sweet spot which is best for retention, 
above this interaction level some people finding things distracting, and below 
this level people leave  because they feel ignored.

Another metric, and probably one best derived from polling organisations who 
survey the general public would be to identify how many of our readers would 
fix an error if they spotted it. One of the arguments that our perceived 
decline in editor recruitment is a cost of quality is the theory that readers 
who are willing to fix obvious errors are finding fewer errors per hour of 
reading Wikipedia. I know that casual readers are less likely to spot typos and 
vandalism than they were a few years ago, but  I'm not sure the best way to 
measure this phenomenon


Jonathan Cardy

 On 5 Jun 2015, at 02:27, Stuart A. Yeates wrote:
  Here's a list of possible metrics that we could use for measuring community 
 That's a great list, with some great metrics. I'd be included to add some 
 silo-breaking metrics which measure activity across projects or across silos 
 within projects:
 * Number of editors with actions/edits on more than N wikis (N=2, N=3, etc)
 * Number of editors with actions/edits on more than N namespaces on the same 
 wiki (N=2, N=3, etc)
 ...let us be heard from red core to black sky
 Wiki-research-l mailing list

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] While Election committee counts the votes...

2015-06-04 Thread WereSpielChequers
In the UK lists of voters marked with who did and did not vote are called 
marked registers. They are available to political parties and can be used to 
check that no-one has voted on behalf of people who don't vote for religious or 
other reasons.

In a system where there are no ID checks on voters I don't see how else you can 
prevent impersonation of voters - obviously that isn't needed in our elections 
because you can only vote when logged in.

 Message: 6
 Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2015 23:42:16 +0100
 From: Michael Peel
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] While Election committee counts the
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
 By the way, my understanding is that the practice of generating a public
 list of voters who cast ballots, while keeping the nature of their votes
 private, is relatively common in election processes in general. In the
 United States, political parties use this information for their get out
 the vote campaigns so that they know which of their likely supporters have
 yet to vote.
 In UK political elections I think that would be illegal...{{citation needed}}

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New financing model for editations

2015-03-19 Thread WereSpielChequers
Wikimedia UK certainly doesn't have a veto power on editathon's in the UK,
we do try to coordinate in order to minimise clashes, but all we can do
there is to request that people not have multiple editathons in the same
city on the same day.  There are things that we have that make editathon's
easier to do or more inclusive - trained trainers, spare laptops, mobile
Wifi and a hearing loop for starters, though the price for that support is
that we do need to collect data for metrics. When someone independently
organises an event in the UK we are likely to get in touch and offer spare
laptops and other support.

Spare laptops in particular are very frequently used at UK editathons, and
I believe bring a laptop or book one of ours is a much more inclusive way
to run an event. Than bring a laptop, and when someone discovers that
they don't have a power lead or they weren't given the password for the
laptop they brought it is really nice to be able to just hand them a
laptop. So I always try to have one more than was ordered.


Jonathan Cardy

GLAM Organiser Wikimedia UK

 after that it started to become impossible to organize an editathon
 without first having an employee agreeing it

That seems...  wrong.

For one, that experience may be WMUK's but it's certainly far from
universal.  WMCA organizes monthly editathons in Montréal, at the very
least, at zero cost.  (They are organized/moderated by volunteers and
the venue is provided at no cost by the Bibilothèque et Archive
Nationale du Québec).  I've never attended, but I'm told that they are
fairly popular and well-liked.

If WMUK /chose/ do have a more structured (and more expensive) framework
to organize similar events themselves, it in no way prevents volunteers
or other organisms to do so without a penny of Foundation (or chapter)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Ciritical level for addiction to Wikipedia

2015-03-05 Thread WereSpielChequers
On the English language Wikipedia we definitely have a phenomenon that editors 
with high edit counts will stay until a major event drives them away.

But the the threshold may not be 38,000 edits, we have 1,444 editor accounts 
that have achieved that, and that may no longer be enough to commit you to the 

The 14 editors with 500,000 or more edits are all currently active, some are 
still among the most active editors on the site. Though the active definition 
on [[:en:WP:EDITS]] is merely one or more edits in the last 30 days.

Of the 215 most active editors, 32 are inactive for various reasons and 7 have 
anonymised themselves on the list of most active editors (though they may be 
active). So 80-85% of our most active editors are still around. Possibly more 
when you allow for the fact that at least one of those 32 has closed that 
account and now edits from another one.

Sadly our admins have not been so likely to stay with us, only 579 are still 
active as admins, though of the 1500 or so former admins quite a few still edit.

Of course the length of tenure for both groups is likely to be unusual. The 
vast majority of en wiki admins were appointed more than 7 years ago and it 
takes time to accumulate a really high edit count. Though we have fewer editors 
with over 100,000 edits than we have active admins, at current rates that will 
change in 2016, in recent months we are seeing more editors  do their 100,000th 
edit than become admins. I suspect one of our problems is that we have fewer 
ways for newish editors to feel they have become an established member of the 
community. To some extent GLAM, the chapters and the education program do this, 
and of course the good and Featured article processes. But we shouldn't be 
surprised that fewer people are staying on after their 100th or 1000th edit, as 
that is the stage in their wiki career where they are likely to think that they 
will never become a full member of the community.



 On 4 Mar 2015, at 19:19, wrote:
 Send Wikimedia-l mailing list submissions to
 To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
 or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
 You can reach the person managing the list at
 When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
 than Re: Contents of Wikimedia-l digest...
 Today's Topics:
  2. Ciritical level for addiction to Wikipedia (Anders Wennersten)
  3. Re: Ciritical level for addiction to Wikipedia (Gerard Meijssen)
  5. Re: Ciritical level for addiction to Wikipedia (Ricordisamoa)
 Message: 2
 Date: Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:44:30 +0100
 From: Anders Wennersten
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Ciritical level for addiction to Wikipedia
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
 On svwp there has over the years been 45 individuals who have each made 
 more then 38000 edits.
 Of these 45, 44 are still active, only one has  left (in 2009) making 
 97,7 still around. For the users with less then 38 000 edits, only about 
 6 out of 10 is still active.
 Is this a global valid number, that when you have made 38000 edits you 
 are fully addicted to Wikipedia (until death do us part)?
 Message: 3
 Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2015 18:05:42 +0100
 From: Gerard Meijssen
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Ciritical level for addiction to Wikipedia
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
 I hope not.. If it were I am a basket case. Hmmm not Wikipedia ... does
 Wikidata count ? What number of edits would be sufficient ??
 On 4 March 2015 at 17:44, Anders Wennersten
 On svwp there has over the years been 45 individuals who have each made
 more then 38000 edits.
 Of these 45, 44 are still active, only one has  left (in 2009) making 97,7
 still around. For the users with less then 38 000 edits, only about 6 out
 of 10 is still active.
 Is this a global valid number, that when you have made 38000 edits you are
 fully addicted to Wikipedia (until death do us part)?
 Message: 5
 Date: Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:19:24 +0100
 From: Ricordisamoa
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Ciritical level for addiction to Wikipedia
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
 Il 04/03

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding bot maintenance

2015-02-24 Thread WereSpielChequers
Thanks for your replies, and for John's very kind offer. As this involves 
various inactive and semi inactive bot operators I will give John an off list 
response re that.

On MzMcBride's points, I don't know the relative costs of employing programmers 
in San Francisco v other parts of the world. I am more familiar with the huge 
contrast in relative labour costs of London v Tbilisi. My point was that Python 
programming could be done pretty much anywhere so if we launched such a team we 
might as well do it where movement money would go furthest.

As for the idea that we want scalable, sustainable, and secure tools, I agree 
and think my suggestion would contribute to that. We still want volunteers to 
write bots that do useful things. Some of those will be deemed so useful and 
essential that they need to be incorporated into mediawiki, some will be 
transient things that might run for a few years but only be needed by their bot 
operator. Having a bot adoption resource would be useful for things that fit in 
between, ones where the wiki can live without them for a weekend whilst their 
bot operator needs their server for something else. But which if they don't run 
for months leave a loophole in our quality improvement programmes. So more 
scale able and sustainable than bots are today, but not as much as things that 
need to be added into the mediawiki code.


Jonathan Cardy

 On 22 Feb 2015, at 21:04, wrote:
 Today's Topics:
  1. Funding bot maintenance (WereSpielChequers)
  2. Re: Funding bot maintenance (John)
  6. Re: Funding bot maintenance (MZMcBride)
 Message: 2
 Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2015 11:53:53 -0500
 From: John
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding bot maintenance
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
 I am a dev and am willing to replace a tool when it dies. I have a fairly
 large infrastructure of code that makes it fairly easy
 On Sunday, February 22, 2015, WereSpielChequers
 One of the areas that I would like to see the foundation putting in money
 is for the running and maintenance of wanted orphan bots. Wanted in the
 sense that editors are using them or would if they were still running, and
 orphan in the sense that the original developer isn't around or available
 to run them/migrate them to the latest platform.
 If we work on the premise that community funds should go for things that
 volunteers want to have happen but aren't volunteering to do, then this is
 a classic and uncontentious niche. Programmers like to write new code and
 solve new problems, but the person with the idea or who writes new code
 doesn't always have the time and motivation to keep maintaining and running
 that code, let alone creating slightly bespoke version for scores of our
 thousand wikis.
 Now it may be that we are in an unusual situation that the migration from
 toolserver to labs has cost us a number of bots that would otherwise have
 continued for years. But there will always be demand to localise existing
 bots for wikis where they don't currently run, and in the long run all of
 our volunteer bot writers are likely to move on.
 Employing a python programmer or two somewhere cheap like India or South
 America would not be a huge investment for the foundation, but it would be
 a valuable service to the community, and unlike mediawiki development this
 could be completely volunteer driven with wikimedians deciding which bots
 are worth maintaining and their relative priority.
 Disclosure: whilst I'm not pitching for the money for this, I would be
 front of the queue to ask such a maintainer to take on bots that I used to
 use the results of and in at least one case which I designed.
 Message: 6
 Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2015 16:04:31 -0500
 From: MZMcBride
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding bot maintenance
 Content-Type: text/plain;charset=UTF-8
 WereSpielChequers wrote:
 One of the areas that I would like to see the foundation putting in money
 is for the running and maintenance of wanted orphan bots.
 I think specific examples might help here. If we're talking about category
 renaming bots or talk page archiving bots, I wouldn't mind if they died.
 The key is having suitable replacements in place first, of course.
 Employing a python programmer or two somewhere cheap like India or South
 America would not be a huge investment for the foundation, but it would
 be a valuable service to the community, and unlike mediawiki development
 this could be completely volunteer driven with wikimedians deciding which

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Benchmark of Versions

2015-02-02 Thread WereSpielChequers

Sounds like an interesting test, but what were the home ranges of the six bird 
species? If they are not native to China or Japan but native to Catalonia and 
the Basque Country then it is a little more understandable that they are in 
some Wikipedias and not others. I can appreciate that ultimately all bird 
species might merit an article in every version of Wikipedia, but clearly we 
have a long way to go in many languages and it would not be unreasonable to 
start with birds that are likely to be seen by people who speak that language. 
Atomic elements, planets and parts of the human body might be more culturally 
neutral topics for a benchmark.


Jonathan Cardy

 On 2 Feb 2015, at 16:01, wrote:
 Send Wikimedia-l mailing list submissions to
 To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
 or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
 You can reach the person managing the list at
 When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
 than Re: Contents of Wikimedia-l digest...
 Today's Topics:
   1. Benchmark of versions (Anders Wennersten)
   2. Re: Its not goodbye, but au revoir (Richard Symonds)
 Message: 1
 Date: Sun, 01 Feb 2015 16:53:42 +0100
 From: Anders Wennersten
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Benchmark of versions
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
 As a test of our status of the different language versions of Wikipedia, 
 I have done a small survey of that status of Birds. There exist just 
 over 1 species, very well documented and there are people interested 
 of birds all over the world, so it should be be possible for all 
 versions to have complete set of articles for all bird species.
 I used a small sample of just 6 species and gave article a mark between 
 1-5, where 1 is substandard, 2 extremely elementary, 3 OK, 4 good, 5 
 Versions which seems to have all species
 *en  4 of 6 botgenerated and stubmarked given  mark 2,5 by me. The other 
 two were created manually and were given mark 4,5 and 5 by me
 *nl 4 or 5 of 6 bot, given 2,5  the sixth given 4
 *sv  5 of 6 bot, given  2,5 , the sixth given 3
 *vietnamese all bot given 2
 *bg all bot given 2
 *basque all bot given 2
 versions with 5 out of 6 species
 *es all manully created, given 2-5
 *fr all manually created, given 2,5-4
 versions with 3-4 out of 6
 *fi 3 manually created, given 2-2,5
 *pt 4 where of two bot, bot given 2,5, the manual given 1,5 and 4
 *farsi 3 all bot, given 2
 *catalan 3 all bot, given 2
 of the rest can be mentioned
 *punjabi   croatia who had 1 botgenerated, given 1-1,5
 *esperanto botgeneted the only one not direct from source but from otehr 
 language version
 *germany who had only one specie manually created but that given 5 from me
 ( 1-2 manually created also was found from it, pl, hungary, russia, 
 serbocroatia, africaans and malay)
 It is also worth mentioning that a little over 50% have pictures in 
 Commons, used by all, but one bird had only a picture locally uploaded 
 on Malay and Finnish Wikipedia
 I also wonder why Japanse and Chinese wre all missing out, are they not 
 fond of birds or are their interwiki not working?
 it gives me a total of 11 verions who have used bots to generate (and 
 Cebuano and Winary which I did not include). Is not a combination of 
 botgenerted ones manually checked and complemented a preferred option 
 besides the one who will be extensively written all manually

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] proportion of wiki size to what?

2015-01-26 Thread WereSpielChequers

Hi Amir,

Some variables that you might also want to look at are:

Relative status of language - I have heard from more than one source that part 
of the Indic language problem is that people who can write in English and an 
Indic language usually prefer to edit English.

Different types of Internet access. Despite the best efforts of our mobile team 
wikipedia is basically a broadcast medium on smartphones. So the ratio of PCs 
to tablets to mobiles is going to be crucial, a language where smartphones are 
the main way to access the Internet will all things being equal support far 
less editing than a language where a substantial proportion of speakers have PC 

My suspicion is that as with purchasing over the Internet, editing wikipedia is 
not a year one activity, so the level of editing is more likely to be related 
to last year's level of Internet use than this year's.

Policies on article creation vary between different language versions of 
wikipedia and this is bound to have an effect.


Jonathan Cardy

 On 26 Jan 2015, at 02:05, wrote:
 Send Wikimedia-l mailing list submissions to
 Message: 7
 Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 17:57:55 -0800
 From: Amir E. Aharoni
 To: wikimedia-l
 Subject: [Wikimedia-l] proportion of wiki size to what?
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
 It is well-known that the size of a Wikipedia in a given language is not
 proportional to the number of people who speak that language. By size I
 mean the article count and the active editor count.
 This begs the question: Is it proportional to anything else?
 I can think of a bunch of possible things (to most items you can add ...
 in the countries where this language is spoken):
 * Penetration of Internet access
 * Quality of education
 * Number of people who know other major languages, such as English, French,
 Russian, Spanish, etc.
 * Number of people who *don't* know other major languages
 * Gross domestic product
 * Human Development Index
 * The level of usage of this language in the education system (in some
 countries schools function in foreign languages)
 * Amount of published literature in that language
 * Level of censorship and press freedom
 * [[Language planning]] policies (think Catalonia, Ukraine, Quebec, Israel)
 It is quite possible that the size of a Wikipedia is proportional not to
 one of these things, but to a combination of them. It is also possible that
 it is not proportional to any of the above, or to anything at all.
 Did anybody ever try to research this?
 Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
 ‪“We're living in pieces,
 I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
 Message: 8
 Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 18:05:00 -0800
 From: Amir E. Aharoni
 To: wikimedia-l
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] proportion of wiki size to what?
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
 (And yes, I know that Language planning and some of the other items are not
 measurable as numbers. I'm throwing ideas around.)
 Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
 ‪“We're living in pieces,
 I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
 2015-01-25 17:57 GMT-08:00 Amir E. Aharoni
 It is well-known that the size of a Wikipedia in a given language is not
 proportional to the number of people who speak that language. By size I
 mean the article count and the active editor count.
 This begs the question: Is it proportional to anything else?
 I can think of a bunch of possible things (to most items you can add ...
 in the countries where this language is spoken):
 * Penetration of Internet access
 * Quality of education
 * Number of people who know other major languages, such as English,
 French, Russian, Spanish, etc.
 * Number of people who *don't* know other major languages
 * Gross domestic product
 * Human Development Index
 * The level of usage of this language in the education system (in some
 countries schools function in foreign languages)
 * Amount of published literature in that language
 * Level of censorship and press freedom
 * [[Language planning]] policies (think Catalonia, Ukraine, Quebec, Israel)
 It is quite possible that the size of a Wikipedia is proportional not to
 one of these things, but to a combination of them. It is also possible that
 it is not proportional to any of the above, or to anything at all.
 Did anybody ever try to research this?
 Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
 ‪“We're living in pieces,
 I want to live in peace.” – T. 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Our final email

2014-12-19 Thread WereSpielChequers
Two weeks ago I emailed the fundraising team with the following note, quietly 
and discretely pointing out an error in their messaging. Sadly I haven't had a 
reply and I think that in the UK they are still using the £3 buys a coffee for 
a programmer line:

 Aside from the incidental nature of the appeal, £3 and $3 are very different 
 sums of money. When I saw $3 I thought that was an expensive way to buy 
 coffees and that the WMF should invest in a kettle and some mugs. But £3 for 
 a coffee, now that just looks wasteful, even to someone living in an 
 expensive part of London. I dread to think what it looks like to someone 
 living in other parts of England, let alone cheaper parts of the world. £3 
 gets coffee and biscuits for a potential wikipedian coming to a training 
 session, that I could defend.
 There's also the honesty/credibility factor. I doubt I am the only person 
 seeing different versions of these ads including different currencies, if the 
 sums are this far apart the suspicion has to be that none of the figures are 
 to be trusted. Not a great help to our program of improving Wikipedia quality 
 and getting such details right in our articles.


Jonathan Cardy

 To protect our independence, we'll never run ads. We receive no government
 funds. We survive on donations from our readers. If all our past donors
 simply gave again today, we could end the fundraiser. Please help us forget
 fundraising and get back to improving Wikipedia.
 We are deeply grateful for your past support. This year, please consider
 making another donation to protect and sustain Wikipedia
 Thank you,
 Jimmy Wales
 Wikipedia Founder
 PS: Less than 1% of our readers donate enough to keep Wikipedia running.
 Your contribution counts!
 our final email?
 This is the last email reminder you'll receive?
 Surely that should be qualified with ... this year.??
 If that weren't embarrassing, what about...
   - Using *bold* AND *italics *AND yellow backgroud colouring all at the
   same time in the heading.
   - Sending an email on the 18th of December saying that if ALL past
   donors simply gave AGAIN today [my emphasis] then you wouldn't need to do
   any more fundraising for the rest of the year, i.e. for 2 weeks!!
   - On the one had it says we'll never run ads but in the sentence
   immediately beforehand pleads help to us stay ad-free another year.
   - Does the phrase Less than 1% of our readers donate enough to keep
   Wikipedia running mean a) that less than 1% of readers donate, which is
   enough to keep us running, or b) that less than 1% of readers who have
   donated, donated enough to keep us running (implying that the other 99% of
   donors didn't donate enough)?
   - Finally, this email is addressed from Jimmy, but when you receive a
   thank you for donating email, it's addressed from Lila. [I should note
   that the thank you for donating email IS very positive and
 *Effectiveness != Efficiency*
 One of the official WMF Fundraising principles is *minimal
 disruption*...aim to raise money from donors *effectively* [emphasis is
 I believe that this wording has been interpreted by the fundraising team to
 mean **do the fundraising as quickly as possible. However, I contest that
 less disruption and more effective is not the same as shorter
 fundraiser. i.e.: Effectiveness != Efficiency.
 I am sure that these desperate fundraising emails/banners are *efficient *at
 getting the most amount of money as fast as possible (they have been honed
 with excellent A/B testing), but, they achieve this by sacrificing the core
 WMF fundraising principle of being *minimally disruptive. *In fact, they
 actually appear to be following a principle of being as *maximally 
 as they can get away with, for as short a time as required.
 Can the WMF to say how minimal disruption and effective fundraising is
 defined in practice, and how they are measured?
 *Shareable vs Desperate*
 On the same day that the WMF communications team release this inspiring and
 positive year in review video,
 this fundraising email sounds negative and desperate. It is all about not
 advertising and staying online for another year.
 Couldn't the year in review video have been used in the fundraising email
 to tell a positive story about all we have achieved this 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] MoodBar usage

2014-12-10 Thread WereSpielChequers

 Message: 3
 Date: Tue, 09 Dec 2014 19:21:21 +0100
 From: Federico Leva (Nemo)
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] MoodBar usage
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
 Amir E. Aharoni, 09/12/2014 17:10:
 If anybody in the above projects thinks that the MoodBar is useful then it
 should probably stay enabled, and maybe even revived and installed on other
 But if the feedback left by new users through this tool is not actually
 read and handled, then it should probably be disabled.
 This has already been investigated and documented as part of our routine 
 configuration cleanup.
I hope the test for a feature like this is whether a community has consensus 
for it to be deployed. It is entirely possible that one person finds something 
useful even where the vast majority consider it does more harm than good.

Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] The Lighter Side of the Movement

2014-09-17 Thread WereSpielChequers
Will, there are several areas within Wikipedia or at least the English language 
version where humour exists and is tolerated by most. 

Most obviously humour, especially of the self deprecating variety, is welcome 
on user pages and in usernames.

April fools day accounts for two more of them. The collaborative and 
premeditated one is that on that special day the main page of Wikipedia will be 
full of stories that look like spoofs but are as real as the museum of bad art. 
At this time of the year people are probably already discussing the possible 
featured article for that day. My hope is that some year it will be Heavy metal 
umlaut. One of the beauties of that process is it is the day you are most 
likely to have a featured article that is actually crowd sourced rather than 
largely the work of one individual.

Also on April fools day there are usually an assortment of humorous AFDs MFDs, 
RFAs and on one occasion even a request for signatureship. As long as people 
keep their antics out of article space there is a long tradition of this, and 
of criticising it for lack of originality. There are of course only so many 
ways in which one can argue for the article on the Earth to be deleted.

But while it is tolerated by most, there are people who don't like to see 
humour in the project. I suspect that some see it as a slippery slope to 
vandalism. Certainly there is the common excuse among vandals that they were 
only having a joke. Latitude is obviously cut for people who are primarily here 
to further the project, but editors who are solely or primarily involved in 
humour will soon find their humour at MFD.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] To Flow or not to Flow

2014-09-08 Thread WereSpielChequers
Responding to two comments. Firstly Risker  Newbies have an equally hard time
 editing content, too, and even when they succeed, on many projects they're
 very likely to be reverted and deluged with templated messages in response
 to a good faith attempt.  There is no evidentiary basis to demonstrate that
 new users have a harder time participating in discussion than they do in
 content contribution.

I would go further, reverting newbie edits to talk pages is rare. They may 
occasionally need help with indentation or signing, and if they edit a busy 
page they may get edit conflicts. But unlike in main space actual reversion is 
rare. We do need some system to identify newbie queries that have been left 
longest, as queries on article talk pages can linger for a very long time. But 
we should not treat the need for improvements on talk pages as being as 
pressing as the need to improve the experience for newbies in main space. V/E 
will help a little there, though not till it is ready to be deployed. But there 
are bigger problems, the amount of edit conflicts suffered by the creators of 
new articles and the ongoing train wreck with some of the regulars working to 
the unwritten rule that everything must be verified, while the system doesn't 
even prompt newbies to add a source.

Re Erik's comment I'm open to us putting some short term effort into talk
 page improvements that can be made without Flow -- knowing it's still
 some time out.

That would be great, there are various Won't fix bugs on Bugzilla that should 
be easy to fix. Setting : # and * as paragraph delimiters as far as edit 
conflicts are concerned should resolve a lot of the edit conflicts in talk 
space. Really low hanging fruit.


Jonathan Cardy


Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] To Flow or not to Flow

2014-09-06 Thread WereSpielChequers
Since we already know two of the changes that will come from Flow, the end of 
signature personalisation and only three levels of talk indentation; Surely it 
makes sense for the WMF to put those to the community now and see if it can win 
consensus for those two changes?

On a less contentious note, has anyone costed how much cheaper than FLOW it 
would be to introduce auto sign on talk pages, with all new accounts opted in 
from the implementation date onwards and all new accounts opted out? We would 
need a button on the edit screen marked sign my comment so that people could 
uncheck an edit where they were adding a wiki project tag or fixing a typo in 
their post. But it would make things a lot easier for newbies. The indentation 
is relatively easy to pick up, but currently every welcome message has to 
introduce the concept of four tildas. It would be much easier and the site much 
more welcoming if that no longer had to be explained to newbies.


WereSpielChequers/Jonathan Cardy

Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] personally communicating with new editors (was: Re: editor retention initiatives)

2014-08-26 Thread WereSpielChequers
Re Todd Allen's remark about raising the threshold for article creation to auto 
confirmed: Copy-pasters, spammers, and vandals will probably largely be put 
off by that requirement rather than bothering to fulfill it is an interesting 
theory, the counter view is that vandals and other bad faith editors will do 
the minimum necessary to commit their damage, but a proportion of good faith 
editors will be lost if you make it more difficult for them.

From my experiences in Wikimedia sites and elsewhere I find the latter theory 
much more convincing than the former. So i judge proposals such as ACTrial on 
the assumption that they would be a significantly greater deterrent to good 
editors than to bad ones. Of course I may be wrong, as might be those who 
disagree with me. 

This is one of those things where a controlled scientific test would be useful 
- another is the ongoing divide between those who think it important to 
template new editors and their articles as fast as possible in order that they 
know the flaws in their editing before they stop editing, and those like me who 
would like to slow down or better re channel the effort of templaters on the 
assumption that the faster they  template the newbies the quicker the newbies 
will leave.

It is very difficult to achieve consensus for change where large parts of the 
community work on diametrically opposed assumptions. Independent neutral 
research might make it easier to build consensus and better decisions.


Jonathan (WereSpielChequers)

 On 26 Aug 2014, at 17:06, wrote:
 Copy-pasters, spammers, and vandals will probably largely be put off by
 that requirement rather than bothering to fulfill it

Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Next steps regarding WMF-community disputes about deployments

2014-08-22 Thread WereSpielChequers
Proposing a solution to the community should not be the start of the process 
of involving the community.

Developers are better qualified than non-developers to say whether a prom can 
be solved, and how it can be solved. But the most important steps in the 
process include deciding what could be improved or replaced, and crucially what 
priority various changes could have. Developers aren't necessarily the best 
people to decide that, sometimes their view is an outlier. For example someone 
took the decision that the Article Feedback Tool was a higherh. How many 
developers feel bitten when they have an edit conflict?

The first stage in the dialogue should be to discuss the coding philosophy. 
Currently we have some coders who believe that our mission is global, and that 
we need to support anyone who can get onto the internet; lets call that the 
EBay/Amazon/Facebook strategy. Others believe that our software should be the 
best that it could bewe are only going 


Jonathan Cardy

 Message: 3
 Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:48:14 +0200
 From: Dariusz Jemielniak
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Next steps regarding WMF-community
disputesabout deployments
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
 one more general level solution would be having more steps: proposing a
 solution to the community (checking for support), inviting willing testers,
 after positive feedback introducing to all logged in users, and after
 positive feedback propagating on the site as a whole.
 Once the initial support for an idea is established, we can take for
 granted that the change should happen - but it should be up to feedback to
 see if the solution is ready, and not up to the developers' calendar (we've
 all seen what happens when the schedule is the in the case of visual editor
 premature launch).
 I think that WMF perhaps takes way too little use of our community as
 testers, commentators, supporters. If the community was more involved in
 development plans, it would also not be surprised by solutions which
 perhaps are important and wise in the log term, but still should not jump
 out of the box and be perceived as forced.
 I don't think it makes any sense to perceive WMF as just a servant. But how
 should we perceive the community? Is it a disorganized mass with no uniform
 voice, that should be shepherded into accepting solutions? Is it a valuable
 resource? Is it a full partner in planning, testing and implementing the
 solutions? I think that a lot of the latter is missing, and the fault is on
 both sides. But it is mainly up to WMF to change it, as WMF has the
 structures, staff, and resources to propose procedures there.
 just my two cents, anyway.
 dj pundit
 On Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 7:54 AM, rupert THURNER
 Am 22.08.2014 04:18 schrieb Erik Moeller
 On Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 12:32 AM, Pine W wrote:
 I am curious to hear your thoughts about the proposed Technology
 That idea has some community support and had been discussed at some
 on the WMF Board Noticeboard.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Compare person data

2014-08-21 Thread WereSpielChequers
re the birth anomalies, we have been running a process for several years now 
that looks for people alive according to certain wikipedias and dead according 
to up to 80 others. The format works well and has been broadened to various 
other anomalies such as being dead but not born.

The key thing to remember is that when Wikipedias differ you need reliable 
source to settle the difference.

Wikidata may or may not make this sort of thing easier, but my suspicion is 
that resolving anomalies will improve Wikidata as well as Wikipedia.


Jonathan (WereSpielChequers)

 On 19 Aug 2014, at 22:05, wrote
 Message: 1
 Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:04:17 -0400
 From: MZMcBride
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Compare person data
 Content-Type: text/plain;charset=UTF-8
 Gerard Meijssen wrote:
 What is needed is a report that looks good enough for now and a public ie
 visible place to put it.
 Neat idea!
 There's, of
 course. In my experience, users don't really care what the report is
 titled or how it looks; they're much more concerned with accurate and
 up-to-date (read: actionable) report data.
 One of the benefits of using a wiki page is that wiki pages have pre-built
 notification structures (watchlists, RSS feeds, IRC feed, and e-mail).
 To this end, depending on who the relevant audience is of this report,
 updating multiple pages on local wikis may be a lot more fruitful.
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Thanking anonymous users

2014-01-20 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Erik,

Thanks for the charts,

The pattern though not the quantity of declining reverts since the 2007
peak certainly fits the theory that as the anti vandal bots and edit
filters have got more efficient so our level of vandalism has fallen. As
well as the theory that the drift to mobile is turning us from an
interactive medium to a broadcast one. But I don't buy the idea that
reverts are less than 1% of mainspace edits. Looking at a few random
screens of recent changes in recent days I always see at least 1 revert in
far fewer than a hundred mainspace edits. Is it possible that your stats
are only picking a subset of them such as not including reverts by bots, or
those that using undo rather than rollback?

One of the changes in EN Wikipedia has been the increase in non-mainspace
article edits, in particular the promotion of Articles for Creation and in
future the draft namespace as places for creating new articles. Also
userspace, when I train newbies I always advise them to start new articles
in sandboxes rather than run the gauntlets of NPP or AFC, I doubt I'm the
only one who does this. Am  I correct in assuming that these statistics
look at edits according to their namepace at the time when the statistics
run? If so it would be more accurate if we could include articles for
creation within mainspace. Otherwise one of the skews that will be in the
data will be the extent to which we steer new article creators towards AFC,
and of course the stats at any one moment in time will be skewed towards
some very recent edits being in AFC or sandboxes, whilst the same edits
from earlier months will now count in mainspace.

It would also be good to know whether these are surviving edits or total
edits. We have a very large number of articles deleted on the English
language wikipedia every day, and the de facto standards for deletion are
probably rather more deletionist than in 2007. The only big policy change I
can remember that effects this is the decision to make unreferenced new
BLPs a 7 day deletion criteria, but if these are surviving edits as opposed
to raw ones then one of the factors in the change will be the extent of

PS I really like the way those charts show the bot spike in early 2013 when
the intrawikis moved to Wikidata



 Message: 1
 Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2014 23:07:08 +0100
 From: Mark
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Thanking anonymous users
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed

 On 1/17/14, 3:55 AM, Erik Zachte wrote:
  Here are some charts which breakdown edits into several categories,
 reverts are counted separately. Of course edits is not editors, but it
 could be indicative of changed behavior patterns/policies. In the ongoing
 reassesment of metric definitions one thing discussed is whether we should
 count productive editors separately (I think we do), and if so on what
 basis (e.g. x edits per week/month which survived y days of not being

Wikimedia-l mailing list

[Wikimedia-l] effect of edit filter on editing levels, (was thanking anons)

2014-01-15 Thread WereSpielChequers

It isn't just the vandalism and reversion of vandalism that we've lost as a
result of the edit filters (originally known as abuse filters) there is
also the lost userpage warnings, AIV reports, block messages and removal of
AIV reports:) But yes the majority would have been vandalism and its

Supporting this theory, we have as one would expect a drop in the number of
editors clearing the five edit a month threshold - typically any vandal who
got through the whole four level warning cycle and then did something block
worthy would have made it into the 5 or more edits count for that month.

I suspect we've also seen a some of our active vandal fighters drop away or
shift to things that involve fewer edits per hour. Unfortunately I don't
think we yet have any sort of estimated editor hours donated figure, for
example one could do this crudely by only counting unique hours in which an
editor has made at least one edit. It would be salutary to see how that was
changing over time.

Also the pattern of decline in raw edit count fits with a steady refinement
of the edit filters from 2009 to the present day. The exception of course
being the decline from 2007-2009, but I suspect much of that comes with
Huggle et al speeding up vandalism reversion. Once you start blocking
people after half a dozen edits rather than a couple of dozen you are bound
to have a drop in total editing,

Of course there remains the issue that our audience is still growing faster
than the Internet whilst  nobody really knows whether the underlying rate
of goodfaith editing is increasing or stable. I suspect that much of this
is the growth of mobile where we are much more of a broadcast medium than
an interactive one. But that is a rather more tenuous theory than the known
effectiveness of the edit filters.

I wrote an essay about this last
I'd be interested in your take on it. Erik Zachte tweeted it and I don't
think that anyone has rebutted the main points.




 Message: 4
 Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2014 23:38:15 -0500
 From: Marc A. Pelletier
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Thanking anonymous users
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

 On 01/13/2014 11:20 PM, Tim Starling wrote:
  The English
  Wikipedia edit rate has been declining since about January 2007, and
  is now only 67% of the rate at that time. A linear regression on the
  edit rate from that time predicts death of the project at around 2030.

 That's...  come /on/ Tim!  You know better than to say silly things like

 The abuse filter alone could very well account for this (the prevented
 edits and the revert that would have taken place).  :-)  I used to do a
 lot of patrol back in those years and - for nostalgia's sake - I tried
 doing a bit over a year ago.  The amount of surface vandalism has gone
 down a *lot* since.

 -- Marc

Wikimedia-l mailing list

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Has the underlying level of edits risen or fallen since the Edit Filters came in in 2009?

2013-08-28 Thread WereSpielChequers
Thanks Nemo,

Just because the edit filter is enabled by default doesn't mean that every
wiki has people optimising it to find vandalism in their language.

I'm trying to work out what the underlying real level of editing has been
since 2009.  The problem with measuring either unreverted edits or edits by
active users is that the edit filters don't just lose us a large proportion
of the vandalism that we used to get, they also lose us a lot of goodfaith
edits that have ceased to be necessary, including the vandalism reversions,
 warnings and block messages that have been automated away by the edit

The stats at get
round part of that by only measuring mainspace edits, so they don't count
the warnings and block messages that we've lost. Though they presumably
have lost the reversion of vandalism that has now been prevented by the
edit filter. But measuring article space edits has its own problems - the
more article creation has shifted to sandboxes in userspace  and especially
to on EN wiki to  WP space as part of Articles for creation,
less meaningful it is to measure the different spaces as if their
boundaries were immutable.

I appreciate that some of these things are difficult to measure, but
sometimes it is the difficult  stuff that is important. A case in point
being the increasing  tendency to revert unsourced edits on EN Wiki. The
stats you quote treat all reversions the same, so the rise in simply
reverting unsourced edits would appear to be more than masked by a
combination of  the loss of vandalism reversions to the edit filter, and
the inreasing speed and sophistication of the vandalfighting bots.



On 28 August 2013 13:49, Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:

 The question can't really be answered without knowing what you want to
 achieve; I'll start from the end.

 WereSpielChequers, 28/08/2013 14:13:

  This is of more than academic interest, if we simply ignore this effect
 make decisions based on the remaining raw edits after the edit filter,
 the more efficient the edit filter gets at preventing vandalism the more
 would be beating ourselves up for losing edits.

 Usually we consider the number of active users, which is less affected by
 this. Editing activity should be measured using**PlotsPngEditHistoryAll.htm
  allows to check for unreverted edits (just updated by Erik after a
 few years it had been dormant).

 If your aim is measuring the impact AbuseFilter in reducing patrolling
 efforts, then it's another matter. I've requested some reports in
  there are already some DB queries but we lack a visualisation.
 You can also use**wiki/Abuse_filter
  find what wikis used (or not) the abuse filter and how, before it was
 enabled by default on all wikis.


Wikimedia-l mailing list

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Has the underlying level of edits risen or fallen since the Edit Filters came in in 2009?

2013-08-28 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Fae,

I hadn't factored in the spam
filter, that's
a separate process that just focusses on sites which we don't want more
links to - presumably because people have tried spamlinking them on
wikipedia. The edit
known as the abuse filter is more complex and among other uses
doesn't allow certain types of edits.. Both are generally deployed but can
be tailored per wiki, I'm assuming that the edit filter is more heavily
tuned by language, not least because a rude word in one language will often
have innocuous meanings in another. Hence my question here, I am hoping for
cross wiki input as this won't just be an EN wiki issue but some others may
have very different experiences with them and may even have found a way to
measure their effect

Hope those links give the info you requested.



Message: 2
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2013 13:42:22 +0100
From: Fæ
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Has the underlying level of edits risen or
fallen since the Edit Filters came in in 2009?
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

On 28/08/2013, WereSpielChequers wrote:
 Has anyone  come up with a formulae for the ratio between vandalism
 prevented by the edit filters and lost edits on Wiki?


Could you link to where there is a definition of what the edit filters
are and what they are supposed to do? I recall having problems
including urls like youtube, but I'm not sure if that blacklist is the
same thing. If this was something only implemented on the English
Wikipedia project, it might be more relevant to raise on wikien-l.

Wikimedia-l mailing list

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Has the underlying level of edits risen or fallen since the Edit Filters came in in 2009?

2013-08-28 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Nemo,

Good questions:

I'm trying to work out what the underlying real level of editing has
been since 2009, not because I think it a good metric, I'm aware that edit
count is only a good measure of edit count. But because others are getting
concerned about a drop in edit count, and I'd like to try to come up with a
less bad metric than raw edit count.

As for your critique of the Article For Creation process   I don't
understand. If a page is created in a namespace and moved to ns0, its whole
history is counted. If history is not moved, or even worse it is not moved
AND the creator is not the author of the content, something stinks. But why
would people be doing something which is both wrong and more difficult?
I'm not a fan of that process either, but I'm aware that it does happen on
EN wiki, and that it is steering many edits away from mainspace.



On 28 August 2013 16:45, Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:

 WereSpielChequers, 28/08/2013 17:14:

  Just because the edit filter is enabled by default doesn't mean that
 every wiki has people optimising it to find vandalism in their language.

 This is what the bugzilla link is about. :)

 I'm trying to work out what the underlying real level of editing has
 been since 2009.

 For what purposes? The following sentence seems to be about something else:

  The problem with measuring either unreverted edits or
 edits by active users is that the edit filters don't just lose us a
 large proportion of the vandalism that we used to get, they also lose us
 a lot of goodfaith edits that have ceased to be necessary, including the
 vandalism reversions,  warnings and block messages that have been
 automated away by the edit filter.

 The stats at**PlotsPngEditHistoryAll.htm
  round part
 of that by only measuring mainspace edits, so they don't count the
 warnings and block messages that we've lost. Though they presumably have
 lost the reversion of vandalism that has now been prevented by the edit

 That's fine if we're interested in the editing activity considered as a
 good thing (rather than in how much time is wasted doing X).

  But measuring article space edits has its own problems - the
 more article creation has shifted to sandboxes in userspace  and
 especially to on EN wiki to  WP space as part of Articles for creation,**wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_**

 less meaningful it is to measure the different spaces as if their
 boundaries were immutable.

 I don't understand. If a page is created in a namespace and moved to ns0,
 its whole history is counted. If history is not moved, or even worse it is
 not moved AND the creator is not the author of the content, something
 stinks. But why would people be doing something which is both wrong and
 more difficult?

 I appreciate that some of these things are difficult to measure, but
 sometimes it is the difficult  stuff that is important.

 Yes but if it's important you need to define your goals or you'll never go

  A case in point
 being the increasing  tendency to revert unsourced edits on EN Wiki. The
 stats you quote treat all reversions the same, so the rise in simply
 reverting unsourced edits would appear to be more than masked by a
 combination of  the loss of vandalism reversions to the edit filter, and
 the inreasing speed and sophistication of the vandalfighting bots.

 Again, I have no idea how this relates to all the above. Is measuring this
 specific thing your actual goal? You will never be able to see it in
 aggregated stats about editing activity, whatever filter or definition you


Wikimedia-l mailing list

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wiki-research-l] Research:Anatomy of English Wikipedia Did You Know traffic

2013-08-04 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi Laura and Kerry,

One point to remember when comparing views of DYKs with other processes
such as GAs is that DYKs get a slot on the mainpage. In that sense they are
best compared to in the news items and the Featured Article of the Day.
Though I'm pretty sure they don't individually get as many hits as the

Longer term the things that one would expect would increase readership
would be incoming links, redirects, categories and article completeness. If
you add a section to an article covering a new aspect such as this
particular hill fort being one of the few homes of a particular orchid or
having had a WWII anti aircraft emplacement there in the forties then you
can expect to come up in relevant searches and thereby get additional hits.

Some of this is straightforward, if something has some alternative names
then making sure we have redirects for them will enable more people to find
the article.

Some is more complex. I'm not sure how far down an article the search
engines will go, but I assume that the search engines give most weight to
the first paragraph and therefore the lede and the redirects need to
contain the words that people are most likely to be searching for when they
want to find this article.


On 3 August 2013 17:31, Laura Hale wrote:

 On Saturday, August 3, 2013, Kerry Raymond wrote:

 Hi, Laura!

 Hi Kerry.  Thanks for the comments. :)

 I wonder if a variable worth considering is the number of views of the
 DYK vs the average number of page views of the article(s) (per
 day/week/month or whatever) promoted by the DYK *before* the publication of
 the DYK (obviously this can only measured for expanded articles rather than
 new ones). The hypothesis here is that more popular topics make more
 popular DYKs.

 This is actually one of the areas that is worth looking at further.
  People have attempted to time DYKs to coincide with certain events.
  TonyTheTiger is actually very good at doing this for some his hooks.  It
 can and sometimes does create tension in the project as people try to get
 things timed for these events and not everyone wants to oblige them.  (One
 situation that particulary comes to mine is the Kony2012 article at where the article was stalled at
 DYK because a reviewer did not want to time it to coincide with an already
 large media blitz.)  It just would require a lot of subject knowledge to
 do any indepth research on this topic and looking through T:TDYK to see
 where things are in the special holding areas often to identify some of

 Another interesting variable is number of page views of the article in
 the days/weeks/months after the DYK. It would be interesting to know the
 extent to which DYKs drive additional interest in the topic both in the
 short term and whether any increase in interest is sustained longer term. I
 would hypothesize any initial sharp increase during the DYK, with a sharp
 fall-off after the DYK finishes but with a small sustained elevation.

 Yes, my casual observation has been that historically, articles get an
 average page views per month bump after DYK that they do not enjoy with
 other processes like GA or peer review.  (This casual observation and
 assumption further research would bear it out as likely fact is based on
 the fact that you have rapid content development other processes do not
 require, and then subsequent SEO stengthening by appearing on the front
 page.)  I think having looked at the articles the hypothesis is true, but
 would need a great deal of additional data that you also have two mini
 traffic bumps prior to appearing at DYK, with the first being from the
 contributors working on the article, and the second as a result of the DYK

 It would also be interesting to see if articles mentioned in DYKs show
 any increased edit activity OR the creation of new inbound links to the
 article in the short or long term, but I am less sure about what is the
 baseline for comparison (given that a DYK article will have recently been
 created or expanded, suggesting an abnormally high level of edit activity
 immediately preceding the DYK). Possible proxies are articles in the same

 The possible baseline would be new articles that meet DYK articles that do
 not appear at DYK or conversely comparing the article's editing history in
 several periods: Before DYK work, during DYK expansion, during DYK review,
 the day of and the week after DYK review, and the two month period after
 the DYK.  (I had actually considered doing this type of research to look at
 the contributions and DYK, but it would serve a completely different
 purpose.  Hence, it would need to be retooled.  I think this could
 potentially be one of the strengths of DYK that people fail to consider in
 that it does give new articles of a slightly higher caliber more eyes and
 potential contributors from the established editing pool than the 

[Wikimedia-l] Human-assisted machine translation (it was: The case for supporting open source machine translation)

2013-05-01 Thread WereSpielChequers
Re David's point One of the biggest problems in MT is word
disambiguation. I'm sure that this would be correct, though probably more
strongly in some languages than in others. English for example has many
words with meanings as diverse as bonnet (headware, a type of chili and in
some countries part of a car), faggot (meatballs, a bundle of firewood and
a pejorative term).

I'd add a further problem is that trivial almost cosmetic errors in one
language can become magnified by machine translation. For example one of my
contributions to the English Wikipedia is to hunt for the sort of typos
that a spellchecker won't pickup. I've abolished the entire Olympic Sport
of synchronised ventriloquism (the throwing of discusses), reduced the
choice of Olympic medals from four to three by eliminating sliver medals
and dramatically reduced the number of actors who have been staring in
various films. My assumption is that after machine translation staring and
starring, like cavalry and calvary, posses and possess will in most
languages other than English be very different words.

I think that gives this movement three interesting and relatively easy
routes to improve the quality of any machine translation of our projects.
The first would be to roll out the bot I've been using to find easily
confused words to other languages than English. The second would be to
collaborate with any of the existing machine translation providers and ask
them to give us lists of phrases in our work that they find hard to
translate. My hunch would be that this would be a good source of anomalies
that need fixing. The third would be word disambiguation, for languages
like English and Portuguese there is significant demand amongst our readers
for a choice as to which language variant they are reading. We could quite
easily offer a US/UK choice for registered editors, and default IP readers
in some parts of the world to the most likely variant. But to do this to a
reasonable standard of quality we would need to disambiguate words such as
bonnet, tap, flat and bear.

Of course there is a huge amount of work in doing the above, even if we had
some user friendly apps that showed people a paragraph of text and asked
them to pick the correct meaning of an ambiguous word. But these are
precisely the sort of easy entry level tasks that we need to give a gentle
learning path for new editors. Our edit filters and vandalfighting bots
have taken away vandalism as a way to recruit new editors, and AWB and
other quality improvement programs mean that we aren't recruiting as many
new editors from readers who just spot a typo and fix it. Word
disambiguation, possibly incorrect words and ambiguous sentences would be a
great way to recruit our readers to become editors. We just need a little
advert can you spare a few minutes to improve Wikipedia and we could
crowd source this to our readers.


Message: 7

 Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2013 16:26:44 -0400
 From: David Cuenca
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Human-assisted machine translation (it was:
 The case for supporting open source machine translation)
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 I have been giving some thought to Erik's proposal and while already
 fascinating, I would like to put it in different terms.
 Instead of asking Could open source MT be such a strategic investment?, I
 would ask is there a way to have Wikimedia's technology and people
 involved collaborate with MT systems? The first can be seen as entering
 areas quite out of reach, the second would be more about paving the way for
 other actors that are already in the field. Our strength has always been
 based around human collaboration empowered by technology, and if MT is
 wished, then we should consider approaching it from our areas of expertise.

 One of the biggest problems in MT is word disambiguation. Wikidata's item
 properties could be a way of setting the general context for article
 translation, and if that results not to be reliable enough, users should
 have the opportunity to specify on the source text the intended meaning of
 a certain word. While that could be less than ideal for literary works,
 where double meanings and other subtleties must be taken into account, it
 might be quite useful for Wikipedia, providing MT software a fertile soil
 where to grow. The standards for specifying word meanings for MT software
 are unknown to me, but it might be worth exploring.

 Another interesting hurdle for MT is dictionary building. OmegaWiki seems
 like a system that could be used for bridging the gap between pairs of
 languages, in such a way that if we know the exact use of the word in the
 source language, a user could seamlessly fill in the missing word and
 definition in the target language. That could be a unique way of
 collaboration between 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Adopt a page

2013-03-31 Thread WereSpielChequers
I see several issues/concerns re sponsoring pages.

Firstly it is a form of advertising, even if we don't name the sponsor on
the page (and there will be pressure to do so) then we will have headlines
along the lines of car maker x launches new peregrine car - sponsors
Wikipedia page on Peregine Falcon. A large enough part of the community
don't want to accept advertising, such a large part that any advertising
however disguised as sponsorship is going to be more trouble than its

Secondly there is the argument that sponsorship could help by funding the
buying of sources. We already have microgrants available to help here, why
do we also need sponsorship?

Thirdly there is the vexed issue of paid editing, here the important thing
is to avoid COI. At Wikimania in Gdansk Google's charity arm presented a
relatively uncontentious program they had run to translate medical articles
from English into various South Asian languages.

Fourthly you can expect news stories along the lines of travel company Y
stops sponsoring Wikipedia articles on resorts X and Z, starts sponsoring
articles on resorts A and B  as it moves out of Country Q and expands offer
in Country C.

My concern if you approach these via sponsorship is that you then have to
have a whole new bureaucracy around who is an acceptable sponsor, and
whoever seeks to control that has an impossible task as the sponsors may
not disclose their plans in advance (hypothetical example, a computer game
manufacturer known for science fiction themed games sponsors some unrelated
articles re Roman history and the Magonid dynasty, they then get a lot of
free publicity as the games press correctly speculates that they are going
to launch a swords and sandals type game based on the Punic Wars.

So in my opinion best to not allow sponsorship of articles.



 Message: 1
 Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:04:35 -0700
 From: Mono
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Adopt a page
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 How so?

 On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 5:58 PM, Thomas Dalton

  On Mar 30, 2013 12:55 AM, Mono wrote:
   Yes, but it might be nice if we could let people pay trusted editors to
   improve articles (without a COI and with a NPOV) that normally wouldn't
  Would that be nice? I think that would be very harmful...
  Wikimedia-l mailing list


 Message: 2
 Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2013 02:08:45 +0100
 From: Thomas Dalton
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Adopt a page
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

 On Mar 30, 2013 1:04 AM, Mono wrote:
  How so?

 It would be completely against our culture. Wikipedia is a volunteer
 written encyclopedia.

 You would end up with a two-tier system of paid editors and unpaid editors.
 There would inevitably be a lot of conflict between those groups. The whole
 concept would be extremely divisive.

 Message: 4
 Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2013 01:29:33 +
 From: Thomas Morton
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Adopt a page
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 It's a weird dichotomy.

 I've spent several hundred quid on source material for my current topic
 area. I could easily have spent several grand.

 Paid editing is a major issue, because it conflicts with our culture

 But if someone were able to buy my sources then it would be of huge

 And, controversially, if someone could fund me one day a week to write
 these articles I could likely expand from one GA per month to covering this
 entire field in GAs in a year.

 Without that it will take me a good five years

 I've come recently to see that funding article work is not inherently an
 awful thing. But it needs to be done with extreme care to protect our
 ideals and neutrality. And that is a HARD problem.


 On Saturday, March 30, 2013, Thomas Dalton wrote:

  On Mar 30, 2013 1:04 AM, Mono javascript:;
   How so?
  It would be completely against our culture. Wikipedia is a volunteer
  written encyclopedia.
  You would end up with a two-tier system of paid editors and unpaid
  There would inevitably be a lot of conflict between those groups. The

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Office hour inside out (program evaluation)

2013-03-25 Thread WereSpielChequers
 Message: 5
 Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2013 15:57:44 -0300
 From: Everton Zanella Alvarenga
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Cc:,  Nitika Tandon
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Office hour inside out (program evaluation)
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 Hi, Pine.

 On Sun, Mar 24, 2013 at 3:41 PM, ENWP Pine

  Tom, I'm glad that you studied the IEP.

 I did this in the beginning mainly through Jessie Wild's support, who
 always kept articulating the SF staff for improve the education group
 learnings, and Nitika Tandon, now at CIS - a pity I barely talk to Nitika
 since a long time ago, although I have called her independently to learn
 more once.

 Although I have studied, we should have had more time for that. And I
 believe now with the learning team this will be improved at WMF. I'll share
 here also some thoughts I sent to my colleagues at the former global
 develoment efforts mainling list...

 I discovered some time ago an organization with interesting ideas
 regarding failures, Admiting Failure
 They say in the main page

 We have a conundrum. It is really hard to talk about failure. Admitting
 Failure is here to help. This is a community and a resource, created to
 establish new levels of transparency, collaboration and innovation within
 civil society.

 Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure drives our learning
 underground. No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and
 innovative organizations are those that are willing to speak openly about
 their failures. Because the only truly bad failure is one that's

 Pretty interesting. :)

 Also, I discovered an interesting article of professor Daniel Dennett these
 days, which I would like also to recommend, How to make
 where I quote

 The main difference between science and stage magic is that in science you
 make your mistakes in public. You show them off, so that everybody can
 learn from them--not just yourself. This way, you get the benefit of
 everybody else's experience, and not just your own idiosyncratic path
 through the space of mistakes. This, by the way, is what makes us so much
 smarter than every other species. It is not so much that our brains are
 bigger or more powerful, but that we share the benefits that our individual
 brains have won by their individual histories of trial and error.

 The secret is knowing when and how to make mistakes, so that nobody gets
 hurt and everybody can learn from the experience. It is amazing to me how
 many really smart people don't understand this. I know distinguished
 researchers who will go to preposterous lengths to avoid having to
 acknowledge that they were wrong about something--even something quite
 trivial. What they have never noticed, apparently, is that the earth does
 not swallow people up when they say, Oops, you're right. I guess I made a
 mistake. You will find that people love pointing out your mistakes. If
 they are generous-spirited, they will appreciate you more for giving them
 the opportunity to help, and acknowledging it when they succeed, and if
 they are mean-spirited they will enjoy showing you up. Either way, you--and
 we all--win.

 Which reminded me a TED talk of Igor Nikolic on Complex Adaptive
 Systems I
 saw sometime ago, where he says

 What we really do is make mistakes all the time. The question is, how can
 we make mistakes in such a way we can recover from them? How do we do
 social experiments? [...] How do we do without making a big mess? How do we
 try different things in a environment without distroying it? And how do we
 learn from things that went wrong? That is something that we really have to

 We have to grow. What do I mean by that? It has to be a step-by-step thing
 evolving, adapting, learning. You cannot jump in the future. [...] And
 maybe most importantly, we have to do it together.

 Best wishes,


 Everton Zanella Alvarenga (also Tom)
 A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful
 than a life spent doing nothing.


If we try out a new initiative and it turns out not to work we should  not
regard that trial as a mistake. Rather as something we have tested and
found not to work. Our focus should be on what we should learn from such
experiments, not who we should blame and fire. One of the downsides of a
hire and fire culture is that people who are running a failing project have
a vested interest in keeping it going until they can move on to something
else. It is much healthier if such people have the attitude that ending a
failing project as soon as it is clearly 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Office hour inside out (program evaluation)

2013-03-22 Thread WereSpielChequers
We shouldn't criticise people for coming up with programs such as IEP and
AFT, but we should look at how long it took to stop them after serious
opposition arose and major flaws were pointed out. As a movement we need to
get much better at switching our efforts from blind alleys to things that
we can get consensus for.


Message: 1

 Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 16:19:41 +0100
 From: Federico Leva (Nemo)
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Cc: ENWP Pine
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Office hour inside out (program evaluation)
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed

 ENWP Pine, 21/03/2013 05:48:
  I'd also suggest that people read the report about
  projects that encountered significant problems at
  WMF, particularly the IEP,

 I suppose the past tense here means that should be tagged
 {{historical}} rather than {{draft}}?

  and a more recent example
  is the mixed reception to AFT5. I hope that program
  managers at WMF learn both good practices and what
  to avoid. I also hope that WMF ties program metrics
  to evaluations for the responsible supervisors when
  considering whether to continue or renew
  employment contracts, as well as when
  considering promotions.


Wikimedia-l mailing list

Re: [Wikimedia-l] 15% off merchandise today at the Wikimedia Shop

2013-01-14 Thread WereSpielChequers
 Hi James,

Firstly kudos for trying to get an alternate revenue stream going as
opposed to donations. I'd be surprised if you could get merchandising to
the point where it funds core operations, but it is certainly worth trying.

If you are facing high international transport costs then I'd suggest
working out which countries the USPS does work well for and only using
fedex where post doesn't work, and also trialling the sort of small high
value items like cufflinks and memory sticks where transport costs are less

But if you really want me to get excited about the shop, try stocking flip
flops with modified soles. I'm sure I'm not the only person who'd like to
walk along the beach leaving a trail of [citation needed] tracks.

Wikimedia-l mailing list

[Wikimedia-l] Commons and EN Wiki are slow today

2012-11-05 Thread WereSpielChequers
This afternoon has been another terribly slow one for response from WM
sites, I've tried patience, and wandering off to other faster sites for a
while, but I suspect we have another IT glitch. Or at least we do here in

Wikimedia-l mailing list

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Throttling (was: Re: Please can someone put 50p in the meter)

2012-10-15 Thread WereSpielChequers is well worth
reading, especially the warning that Many users sharing the same IP
address could kick in throttling. Which seems a pretty clear indication to
me that this is working at the IP level and looking at all edits by newbies
and unregistered editors, rather than treating each member of the workshop
separately. Once you get to each trainee you find that previewing and
trying to save again will usually solve the problem, but leave you unable
to replicate the bug.

So I think we have found our problem! Now lets see how many months it takes
to fix it.

One obvious workaround is to use multiple IPs in the same workshop. I think
the cost of Satellite broadband is only a few hundred quid a year per
subscription. I've already proposed a subscription for the UK as it would
enable  people to run editing sessions at big public events such as county
shows, but it would also help counter this bug.



 Message: 1
 Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 10:30:25 +0200
 From: Federico Leva (Nemo)
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Cc: Wikimedia developers
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Throttling (was: Re: Please can someone put
 50p in the meter)
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

 WereSpielChequers, 15/10/2012 09:56:
  60 edits a minute sounds high, and probably faster than most of these
  sessions run at, but not if it is as I suspect, calculated every few

 It's not, as far as I can see. This is how it works:$wgRateLimits (someone please
 expand it otherwise).
 And these are all the existing limits:;a=blob;f=wmf-config/InitialiseSettings.php;h=f814f3b46e996d6cb33d64c43965e807dfaec810;hb=HEAD#l6437
 Does Andrew's experience not fit with this?

  So if the tutor says all save now and ten people hit enter
  simultaneously the attempted editing rate is briefly rather more than 1
  second - hence the throttle kicks in and the tutorial collapses in chaos
  with several students getting throttling errors at the same time. It
  be nice to think that the WiFi we used was going through the same IP as
  rest of the British library and that we merely lifted the normal editing
  rate above 60 edits a minute, but I suspect that the rate is calculated
  rather more frequently than every minute.
  Presumably established users of some sort are whitelisted through this?
  so it could explain a longstanding Cat a Lot problem. I frequently use
  a lot to categorise images on Commons and my personal editing rate there
  has gone far above 60 edits a minute, however I'm pretty sure I'd be on
  commons whitelist. But other editors have complained that Cat a Lot
  work for them and mysteriously hangs or fails, Is it possible that this
  throttling feature could be  the cause of that problem as well?

 noratelimit circumvents all such limits, but on Commons only the
 standard groups plus account creators have it, and you're just
 The only group having serious throttling problems in the past were
 rollbackers on; it shouldn't be too hard for Commons to add
 noratelimit via some group, if that's a problem.

  If so perhaps it would be a good idea to analyse some of the recent
  incidents where this feature has kicked in, see how often it disrupts
  goodfaith editing and how often it disrupts badfaith editing that
  have triggered the edit filter. Maybe this was once a net benefit, but
  the edit filter dealing with most badfaith editing, and increasing
  of editing workshops and tools like Catalot, perhaps this feature has
  transitioned from net positive to net negative? Alternatively could we
  a process where we can whitelist the IP Addresses of places where we are
  running training sessions, and put  note on
  how to spot if your editing has been throttled and how to get
  yourself Whitelisted

 Rate limits have never been a problem with some minimal preparation: (in 6-7
 years of WMIT workshops, I've never heard of big problems with this).


 Message: 3
 Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 10:07:30 +0100
 From: Andrew Gray
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Throttling (was: Re: Please can someone put
 50p in the meter)
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 On 15 October 2012 09:30, Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Please can someone put 50p in the meter

2012-10-13 Thread WereSpielChequers
Thanks everyone, especially Mike and Leslie,

Hopefully these sort of incidents will be so rare that we won't need to
work out how to use IRC and get involved there when they happen. But when
they do occur a little note from IT to mailing lists like this would be

Just because we can't do anything about it, it doesn't mean we don't need
something to say to a room full of newbies who've come for an editing
session. As it is this combined with the throttling feature made for
quite a bit of disruption to a session where we had ten people having an
introduction to editing.


Message: 2
 Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 17:56:06 +0100
 From: Michael Peel
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Please can someone put 50p in the meter
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

 From #wikimedia-tech:

 paravoid: bits was giving us trouble in Europe, we've redirected it to
 the US for the moment at 4:56pm.


 Message: 5
 Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 13:05:23 -0700
 From: Leslie Carr
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Please can someone put 50p in the meter
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 FYI -
 When you notice an outage, jumping on #wikimedia-tech on freenode
 (IRC) is the best way of getting a hold of the people who are
 (probably) already working on fixing this.  If you do not have irc
 access, wikitech-l is a better second notification.

 If you are curious, this was limited to the european region and was
 due to some instabilities in a network upgrade.


 On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 10:27 AM, Richard Symonds wrote:
  My 3G in East London has also gone down. Connected?
  Richard Symonds, Wikimedia UK
  On Oct 12, 2012 4:45 PM, WereSpielChequers
  Does anyone know why Wikipedia and Commons have both gone down?
  Writing from a slightly modified editing workshop in London
  Wikimedia-l mailing list

 Message: 6
 Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 16:30:43 -0400
 From: Newyorkbrad
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Please can someone put 50p in the meter
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 I think WSC was trying to log onto Wikipedia Review by mistake. :)


Wikimedia-l mailing list

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikipedia redefined -- typography and UX and such

2012-08-17 Thread WereSpielChequers

 Message: 2
 Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2012 08:54:38 -0400
 From: Nathan
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikipedia redefined -- typography and UX
 and such
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

 No one will argue these days that the WMF is short of money, so this is a
 good opportunity for it to deploy some of that funding for a real impact.
 The main page on the English Wikipedia is an ideal starting point for a
 conscious effort at design evolution throughout Wikimedia. The Foundation
 should solicit and pay for several design firms to submit efforts to the
 main page contest, which is in dire need of some talented input. The
 community can still select between them, let's just make sure they have a
 number of great options.

We should by now have enough user data to be able to calculate user
retention rates by skin. It would be interesting to see how the
implementation of Vector affected editor retention rates.

Wikimedia-l mailing list

[Wikimedia-l] This afternoon's system outage

2012-08-06 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi, after crashing an hour or so ago EN Wikipedia has started to come back
but with a really strange appearance - less usable than Vector. Rumour has
it that someone cut through a fibre optic cable in Florida, so far none of
the parties to various incidents on the Dwamah boards have fessed up as
responsible. If anyone in the know could give more details it would be nice.


Wikimedia-l mailing list

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] 2012-13 Annual Plan of the Wikimedia Foundation

2012-08-04 Thread WereSpielChequers

 Message: 2
 Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2012 15:02:51 -0700
 From: Tilman Bayer
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] 2012-13 Annual
 Plan of the Wikimedia Foundation
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 On Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 11:18 PM, Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:
  Tilman Bayer, 29/07/2012 18:28:
  Regarding the normal levels, I suppose you haven't yet had a chance
  to look at ?
  Yes and it shows that there's still an increase over the pre-WLM
 Given the size of the normal monthly fluctuations (e.g. July-August
 2011: +0.3K, August-October 2011: +0.2K), and the overall upwards
 trend during 2011-12, I find it hard to understand the objections to
 the interpretation returning to normal levels.

  Actually I was reading
  shows the numbers better but still doesn't have the total number of
  uploaders/ussers with at least one edit in a given month.
 It does show the number of users with at least one upload, and those
 with at least one mainspace edit (look further down). As an aside, it
 also contains numbers for uploads made using UploadWizard, strongly
 supporting the statement that much of the 2011-12 growth was due to
 this usability improvement, cf. the statement on slide 25 you already
 cited below.
  Also, recently Lodewijk, with the help of WMF data analyst Erik
  Zachte, posted this interesting analysis:
  If I read it correctly, from the newbies among the WLM participants,
  61 were still active in May 2012. This compares to altogether 7053
  active editors on Commons during that month (the latter number is from ;
  note that a user who makes just one edit or one upload during a month
  falls below the threshold for the currently used active editors
  metric). But as the blog post notes, there are efforts underway to
  improve retention of new contributors in this year's WLM.
  Thanks, I had indeed missed this post for some reason. 231 or 6,6 % with
  some activity after the end and 61 very active editors
 That's not quite what the blog post said. 61 was the number of all
 *active* editors left during the latest month examined (May), and it
 doesn't say how the average number of edits is distributed among
 these. That being said, it's of course absolutely great that WLM
 appears to have brought in at least some very active contributors,
 among them one who has already done 20,000 edits so far.
  seems to be better
  than what the university students do?
 If what the university students do refers to the Education Program,
 note that boosting the number of active editors by those students
 isn't its primary goal, and neither has WLM been focused on that
  This is also acknowledged later on, at p. 25: ?[...] multimedia is where
  early usability efforts (UploadWizard), especially alongside programs
  Wiki Loves Monuments, have paid off. (Commons is one of the few areas
  active editors are growing -- 25% year over year, with a spike to 9.37K
  6.97K in September 2011 due to the WLM competition.)?.
 Again, I'm not quite sure what This in This is also acknowledged
 later on refers to. See e.g. for
 the meaning of spike.

 Tilman Bayer
 Senior Operations Analyst (Movement Communications)
 Wikimedia Foundation
 IRC (Freenode): HaeB

As Wiki Loves Monuments is an annual competition involving the upload of
photographs in September, I would think we need a couple more Septembers
before we know how successful it is at acquiring a group of additional
regular participants.

However what we already know is that it is pretty successful at getting a
large amount of useful content.

If as a non-participant I could suggest one change it would be to allow
people to upload images at any time of year and submit them to the contest
in September. Aside from the advantages of potentially turning an annual
event into a hobby, there are monuments where we want images of the light
at different times of the year, or that are best seen after the leaves have

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] lauched

2012-07-22 Thread WereSpielChequers

 Message: 5
 Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2012 21:33:31 +
 From: Mike  Dupont
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] lauched
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

 John, and others.

 I have finally figured out a big problem with my plan. The articles for
 deletion are not tagged peoperly at all. There are authors who know for a
 fact that articles are mistagged and have no proper copyvio tagging, and
 now they are accusing me of hosting copyvio articles. I see this a problem
 in the wikipedia deletion system, if an editor knows for a fact that an
 articles is in violation of copyright then they should tag it as Such. I
 have written scripts to strip out artilces that are properly tagged. Lets
 sit down and work out a plan for a proper system of sorting out what is not
 notable, and waht is copyrightvio. I want to host the non notable artilces.
 My argument is that giving non-notable bands and actors etc an outlet to be
 hosted will reduce repeated reposting of articles. I have been sorting
 through all these articles, contacting people and many of them are
 thankful, I would be suprized if any of them would repost the deleted
 article, like the Jack Psyco from .au, someone reposted his article many
 many times.
 Please support me in cleaning up the deletion and tagging process, I am
 willing to put some work into this. I can write code as well.
 Some people have asked me not to use the mailing list, but I wanted to
 bring up this up in response to your mail.

 Please see

 On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 8:00 AM, John Vandenberg wrote:

Hi Mike, with all due respect we don't have the volunteers to do what you
will need, and I doubt you would be able to recruit them yourself. Take one
example, if an article clearly qualifies for A7 deletion as not asserting
importance or significance then please don't rely on us to also check it
for copyvio. An article that asserts that a footballer has only played for
minor clubs, or that a band will be the next big thing on the Great Malvern
Grunge scene as soon as they've recruited a drummer will be deleted per A7.
 Yes we need to check that this isn't the result of vandalism, and yes
there are people not notable for their music career who are otherwise
notable as Prime Ministers etc. But if an article clearly qualifies for A7
deletion then we currently have no need to also check it for copyvio. I'm
sure if someone went through the thousands of pages that I've deleted there
would be quite a few  where copyvio could have been added as an additional
deletion reason.

Please reconsider your project. There is so much that can be done on
Wikipedia to rescue articles worth rescuing that it would be a great waste
to see time and energy diverted to unsalvageable articles.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] O'Dwyer

2012-06-27 Thread WereSpielChequers
Message: 4

 Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2012 18:05:10 +0100
 From: Andreas Kolbe
 To: Wikimedia Mailing List
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] O'Dwyer
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

  Jimmy is not Wikipedia. What about that is hard to understand?

 I would have agreed with you half a year ago. But Jimbo decided there would
 be a SOPA blackout, and a SOPA blackout was had. And every press article
 that mentions his campaign for O'Dwyer has the obligatory Wikipedia
 founder label. Whether you like it or not, Wikipedia is now associated
 with that effort in the public's eye, for better or worse.

 Yes, you can argue it's his right to act as an individual, it's not his
 fault that the press describe him as the Wikipedia founder, etc.


 SOPA is a bad example, not least because those of the community who
expressed an opinion mostly agreed with Jimmy.

Better examples would be the rumour floated a year or so back that Jimmy
was interested in a Senate seat, and  Jimmy's porn purge attempt on
Commons. The senate bid is a good example because the press were able to
differentiate between what Jimmy was planning to do and what Wikipedia was
planning. The porn purge is a good example because it shows what happens
when Jimmy tries to do something on wiki but doesn't take the community
with him. Jimbo decided there would be a SOPA blackout, and a SOPA
blackout was had implies that Jimmy has a merely to make a decision and
the community will dutifully obey. Reality is very different.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] [Announcement] James Forrester joins WMF as Technical Product Analyst

2012-05-17 Thread WereSpielChequers
 Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 18:06:48 +0100
 From: Thomas Dalton
 To: Wikimedia developers
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] [Announcement] James Forrester
joins WMF as Technical Product Analyst
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

 James, you're emigrating? I never thought I'd see that...

 Congratulations, traitor!

 On 17 May 2012 17:52, Howie Fung wrote:
  It?s my pleasure to announce that James Forrester is joining our San
  Francisco office as a Technical Product Analyst, supporting the Visual
  Editor team. James started his work as a remote contractor yesterday
  and will be joining us in San Francisco later this year as a staff
  James will help prioritize the short term and long term work log on
  the Visual Editor, conduct user research, and incorporate community
  feedback into the development process.
  As many of you know, James is a long-time Wikimedian. He started
  contributing to English Wikipedia in October 2002, and was a founding
  member of their Arbitration Committee. He was also the movement?s
  volunteer Chief Research Officer, helping shepherd the predecessor of
  what is today the Research Committee, has for years been the
  ?gopher-in-chief? at the Wikimania community conferences, and helped
  found Wikimedia UK in 2005.
  James joins us following a successful career in the UK government,
  where he implemented key open access and open government initiatives.
  Most recently, he was the acting Head of, and then the
  Digital Engagement Policy Lead in the Government Digital Service, both
  at the Cabinet Office. James holds a Masters of Engineering in
  Computer Science from the University of Warwick.
  Beyond technology, James has strong interests in international
  politics, physics, communications, economics, law, the constitutional
  history of Britain, and education.
  Please join me in welcoming James!
  Wikitech-l mailing list


 Message: 4
 Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 10:14:05 -0700
 From: Michael Snow
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] [Announcement] James Forrester
joins WMF as Technical Product Analyst
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed

 On 5/17/2012 10:06 AM, Thomas Dalton wrote:
  James, you're emigrating? I never thought I'd see that...
  Congratulations, traitor!
 Just wait until he starts speaking like an uhmurricun, I mean American.

 --Michael Snow

 End of Wikimedia-l Digest, Vol 98, Issue 37

I was wondering why his hair was getting longer. Congratulations to our
newest surfer dude!

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[Wikimedia-l] Only IP editing allowed on Wikipedia

2012-04-30 Thread WereSpielChequers
Hi can anyone point me to a write up of the the test plan for this
morning's experiment on Wikipedia? Having been logged off about ten times
I've worked out that you get logged out the first two times you change page.

It will be interesting to see how many editors revert to IP editing.

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