Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Single/2019-06-30

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The Signpost
Single-page Edition
30 June 2019
Technology report
Actors and Bots

Related articles
"Where do we go from here?" (from the editor)
September 30, 2019
"Post-Framgate wrapup" (special report)
September 30, 2019
"New proposals in aftermath of Fram ban" (discussion report)
July 31, 2019
"A month of reintegration" (arbitration report)
July 31, 2019
"A constitutional crisis hits English Wikipedia" (discussion report)
June 30, 2019

On June 10, the WMF Trust & Safety Team (T&S) banned Fram, a long-time editor and administrator on English Wikipedia, without prior consultation with the community, citing unspecified behavioral issues. T&S refused to give details, citing policy. An extensive discussion followed across multiple venues, concerning the relationship between WMF – its Trust & Safety Team in particular – and the volunteer community and its own self-administration. The co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimbo Wales said of the situation:

This is not about individual people, this is a question about our constitutional order. This is not about this specific situation, but a much more important and broader question about project governance.
— Jimbo Wales[1]

Former Arbitration Committee member Risker said:

It's completely unclear what their concern is here, what they want us to change, what they see as problematic.

As of the time of writing, one of the several discussions is over 1 MB in size and growing, with over 450 distinct editors.


Prelude to WMF's recent actions

WMF has a unique role in English Wikipedia under the terms of WP:OFFICE, which stated that the Foundation may "override local policy" for the purposes of "complying with valid and enforceable court orders to remove content that might otherwise comply with policy or in protecting the safety of the Wikimedia communities or the public".[2] The policy was updated by WMF staff in mid-2017 with a list of actionable complaints to include privacy violations, child protection, copyright infringement or systematic harassment.

WMF Trust & Safety has been notifying Wikipedians about revamped policies around harassment since at least as early as 2017. See Wikipedia:Community health initiative on English Wikipedia for example or 2019 Community Health conversation on Meta. Community reaction to the ban of Fram suggests that many of these discussions and notifications were not well known or understood by the community. Many editors in the discussions noted by The Signpost expected office actions to be limited to extremely severe cases with specific legal consequences in the United States. In the words of Newyorkbrad:

It's been pointed out that [WMF attempts at communicating the dialog is open for creation of new civility-related policies and standards] have flown under the radar of many editors.
— Newyorkbrad[3]

Sydney Poore, a Strategist for WMF's Community Health Initiative, described how WMF is moving towards a Universal Code of Conduct for all Wikimedia projects. Poore, who edits as SPoore (WMF) and FloNight, had spoken about this initiative in a June 11 video created by University of Washington. This video – sarcastically called the way Wikipedia communities had to find out about [a new Code of Conduct] by seeing it on Youtube[5] – may have been seen by some as symptomatic of the disconnect between the Foundation and the community.

In April 2019, WMF announced a new user reporting system on meta-Wiki to the following groups:

  • AfroCROWD User Group
  • Art+Feminism User Group
  • Black Lunch Table
  • Gender Diversity Visibility Community User Group
  • Muj(lh)eres latinoamericanas en Wikimedia
  • WikiDonne User Group
  • Wikimedia LGBT+
  • Wikimedians of North American Indigenous Languages User Group
  • Wikitongues
  • WikiWomen's User Group

Beginnings of the current crisis

On June 10 17:56 UTC, Pharaoh of the Wizards posted a note at the Bureaucrats' Noticeboard, which read in its entirety:

Please note admin User:Fram has been banned for 1 year as per Office action policy by user User:WMFOffice.

This came as a surprise to everyone as far as we can tell. As far as the The Signpost is aware, there were no ongoing discussions or Arbitration Committee proceedings regarding Fram in the usual English Wikipedia venues for editor/administrator behavior issues.

The initial statement from Trust & Safety on June 10 stated:

[W]e investigate the need for an office action either upon receipt of complaints from the community, or as required by law. In this case we acted on complaints from the community ... The removal of administrator access is intended as enforcement of the temporary partial Foundation ban placed on Fram. It is the community’s decision what to do with Fram’s administrator access upon the expiration of the Office Action ban.

At this point, Fram became barred from any sort of reply on English Wikipedia, but did make statements at his Wikimedia Commons page. In these comments Fram stated the total prior warnings from T&S came in April 2018 and March 2019 concerning two edits Fram made to an article in development by another member of the English Wikipedia community. T&S followed up with one more comment on June 11, summarized in the statement:

[W]e do not release details about Trust & Safety investigations due to privacy concerns.
— WMFOffice shared account[6]

There were two more communiques from T&S in the main discussion forum, discussed below.

The Bureaucrats' Noticeboard discussion was moved to Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram to avoid clogging response to other administrative matters. It was listed at WP:CENT on June 11.

Wheel wars

Administrator Floquenbeam unblocked Fram at 11 June 19:39 UTC, and was in turn de-sysopped by WMF, who also re-blocked Fram. Bishonen unblocked Fram. Then Floquenbeam was re-sysopped by WJBscribe, a bureaucrat. Notwithstanding Fram's unblocked status, according to T&S's third response (which acknowledged that "a number of community members believe ... [banning] was improper"), they are still banned by WMF for one year and under WMF directive not to edit the English Wikipedia lest the ban become indefinite.

[W]hat the community needs now is diplomacy, not a bunch of cowboy sysops
— Ritchie333[7]

Another incident occurred over Fram's admin status. He or she was de-sysopped in the 10 June office action, then re-sysopped 25 June 2019 by bureaucrat WJBscribe, then de-sysopped again by Maxim. A bureaucrat recall motion against WJBscribe was initiated on 26 June, after which WJBscribe resigned and retired from Wikipedia.

Community expectations

Former Arbitration Committee member Risker summarized why the situation was so problematic for the community:

Until this week, everyone on English Wikipedia understood that an OFFICE action against a user was taken when there was no appropriate local process to address the issue, or the issue needed to be addressed globally. ... [T]he ban on Fram is localized, it is of comparatively short duration, it is unappealable, and it is for reasons that are deliberately not being shared with the community. This is pretty much the opposite of what everyone on this project (and in fact, just about everyone in the global community) understood OFFICE actions were all about. This change in use of the OFFICE power has been completely undiscussed with the Wikimedia community ... It's completely unclear what [WMF's] concern is here, what they want us to change, what they see as problematic. It comes across as a FUD campaign: we'll temporarily ban people who did something wrong according to rules we haven't shared, but we won't tell you what they did, what can be done to prevent similar actions, or whether we'll change the [unshared] rules again without telling you.
— Risker[8]

Blue Rasberry, who has been editing since 2004, had a similar reaction:

I want to see due process and rule of law in opposition to opaque authoritarianism. ... At this point my fear is that the people at the WMF who are operating the levers of power are ignorant of what they are doing and [are] outsiders to [enwp] community values.
— Blue Rasberry

Arbcom involvement and requested case

Prior to the block, WMF conducted a conference call in which one member of the Arbitration Committee participated, Opabinia regalis. She has stated that "an action to do with Fram was under consideration". Other arbitrators have said they were not aware of it.

An Arbcom case was requested by WJBscribe on June 13 concerning WJBscribe's actions, but has expanded to request consideration of the entire relationship between Arbcom and WMF. Arbitration committee member Worm That Turned proposed a request for comment, sponsored by Arbcom in their page space and managed by clerks, to decide how harassment and private complaints should be handled in the future.

WMF Board

Doc James, a Wikimedia Foundation board member, stated on his talkpage that the board did not have further information for the community at 06:05, 15 June 2019 (UTC), at 14:11, 16 June 2019, 15:19, 20 June 2019, 22:29 22 June 2019, and again 16:19, 26 June 2019. This statement was essentially reiterated by Jimbo Wales at his talkpage 10:58, 21 June 2019:

We on the board are in active conversations. ... I am stating my own views directly and clearly [to the board], but it would be inappropriate to share them here and now...
— Jimbo Wales

The board's chairperson, María Sefidari (Raystorm), stated that she "had nothing to do with this decision to ban an enwiki admin", expressing dismay that the on-wiki discussion had put a third party under the microscope with this:

This community, when confronted with the ban of an admin on the grounds of problematic behavior, instead of examining said behavior immediately turned to find another individual to blame ... [T]his pattern of trying to prove, in order to absolve a banned admin, that there must be either something in [a third party's] past, or that [the third party] must have done something wrong or used undue influence for her own personal gain, is sadly familiar to most women in the internet, and has strong textbook reminiscences of for instance gamergate. This is not safe. It's not healthy for this community either.
— María Sefidari[9] wikilink added by editor; see also WP:GamerGate

The invocation of Gamergate was received harshly by some editors. During development of this article, the author's note was met with this reply: [I]s The Signpost REALLY going to drag Gamergate into this??? REALLY? Talk about throwing fat onto the fire.[10] The Signpost is not taking a position here on the Gamergate comparison, merely noting it for the record.

Universal Code of Conduct

WMF's vision of a Universal Code of Conduct may not be achievable according to one side of a hot debate. Administrator Megalibrarygirl, cites her US Army experience and says it is. On the other hand, bonadea stated there is no universal concept of civility. not even in English [speaking communities]. Nishidani criticized the medicalization of speech codes,[11] perhaps reading it in the title of the Community Health Initiative, or the board chair's reference to the health of the community.


Out of this crisis has emerged not just strikes and angry commentary on actions of the WMF office perceived as abrupt and unannounced, but a round of soul-searching on the community's ability to self-monitor. An example is Levivich's comment:

It's a false dichotomy that we either have to totally ignore problematic editors, or we have to hound them.
— Levivich[12]

At the same time, members of the community have sought a rapprochement with WMF. Newyorkbrad proposed a series of de-escalatory actions in a "suggested resolution". The resolution ends with a request that

The [WMF] Office opens, or reopens, or expands a dialog with the community about what it is trying to accomplish and how to get there
— Newyorkbrad

As of writing deadline, nearly a hundred editors have endorsed Newyorkbrad's statement. However, it remains to be seen whether the response from WMF, acknowledging Brad's outreach but reiterating the ban is non-appealable,[13] has already closed the door on the discussion.


Summarizing a novel's worth of words in a column for a monthly newsletter inevitably brings selection bias. The voices selected above were intended to give the reader a flavor of the debate, not to substitute for deeper reading and involvement.

Intra-community and community–WMF discussion is still under way and likely will be for some time. Even when this report was "wrapped" a new debate erupted, resulting in the resignation of a bureaucrat. We hope this is not a new fracture line in the administrator corps. Nineteen have resigned so far, and they are needed more than ever.

We will close this report with a summary of the way forward from a member of the Arbitration Committee:

The community and the WMF will need to address the issue of enduring long-term harassment and incivility. These are not a Wikipedia only problem and it is widely being addressed both online and offline, particularly in legislation and in the workplace. Whether we like it or not, Wikipedia has become an institution and must also adapt to the changing times. If this whole situation has shown us anything, unilateral action is not the way to go. Instead, we must engage in dialogue and consultation on both sides going forward. If we truly believe we are capable of handling these issues locally, then we as a community must be ready and willing to make uncomfortable and even controversial blocks of established (and possibly even well liked) editors who consistently cross the lines of civility through a local governed process.
— Mkdw[14]

Readers are encouraged to review one of the indexes below and decide whether and where to lend their own voices.

Summaries and other notes


  1. ^ Jimbo Wales, June 14, 2019
  2. ^ Linked to revision of WP:OFFICE extant at beginning of June; it has since been changed
  3. ^ Newyorkbrad, June 17, 2019
  4. ^ "Video: The Wikipedia gender gap". UW News. University of Washington. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  5. ^ Boing! said Zebedee, 10:09, 15 June 2019
  6. ^ WMFOffice shared account, June 11, 2019
  7. ^ Ritchie333 07:31, 26 June 2019
  8. ^ Risker, 13 June 2019
  9. ^ María Sefidari (Raystorm), 09:33, 12 June 2019
  10. ^ Special:Diff/903138243
  11. ^ Nishidani 20:12, 16 June 2019
  12. ^ Levivich, 16:09 17 June 2019
  13. ^ Jan Eissfeldt (JEissfeldt (WMF), Lead Manager of Trust & Safety) 14:55, 21 June 2019
  14. ^ Mkdw at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case, 26 June

Reader comments

Mysterious Wikimedia Foundation ban of English Wikipedia administrator

In an official action on 10 June 2019, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) through the special role account User:WMFOffice revoked the administrator rights of English Wikipedia administrator Fram, saying "This user has been banned by the Wikimedia Foundation from editing the English Wikipedia for a period of 1 year, consistent with the Terms of Use. Please address any questions to"[1] At the same time, the WMF blocked Fram for 1 year (including blocking account creation and disabling email and talk page access) with the same summary.[2] This ban was significant for being the first of its kind, outside the usual Wikipedia system of justice, and for various odd other circumstances which the Wikimedia community is currently discussing to all ends. More than 400 commentators have posted at WP:FRAM (Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram), and so far the responses have resulted in Fram being unblocked, reblocked, and unblocked again, as well as having their administrator rights restored and then revoked again. More extensive coverage of the incident, the community's response, and the related arbitration requests are in this issue's Discussion report.

Admin/crat/functionary changes

Wikipe-tan mopping.png
If resignations continue, Wikipedia mascot Wikipe-tan will be the only remaining administrator.

In response to the WMF's ban of Fram, in protest to the responses of others, and for other reasons, a record number of administrators, bureaucrats, and functionaries have resigned in the last few weeks. As of 20:05, 30 June 2019 (UTC), the following administrators have resigned:

  1. 28bytes (also resigned as a bureaucrat)
  2. Ad Orientem
  3. Ansh666
  4. Beeblebrox (also resigned as a checkuser and oversighter)
  5. Boing! said Zebedee
  6. BU Rob13 (also resigned as a checkuser and oversighter)
  7. Dennis Brown
  8. Deor
  9. DoRD (also resigned as a checkuser and oversighter)
  10. Floquenbeam
  11. Gadfium
  12. GB fan (also resigned as an oversighter)
  13. Jonathunder
  14. Kusma
  15. Lectonar
  16. MSGJ (also resigned as an interface administrator)
  17. Nick
  18. Spartaz
  19. TheDJ (also resigned as an interface administrator)
  20. WJBscribe (also resigned as a bureaucrat)

Many of these users also published personal statements on their user talk pages explaining their actions.

Furthermore, Flyguy649, Moink, and Syrthiss were desysopped for inactivity, and Od Mishehu and Rama were desysopped by the Arbitration committee.

English Wikipedia currently has 1,146 administrators. The Signpost routinely reports the coming and going of administrators and community discussions related to the institution. English Wikipedia itself has an article on Wikipedia administrators. The decline of the number of administrators sometimes inspires predictions of the end of Wikipedia among both Wikimedia community members and mainstream media sources as documented in that Wikipedia article. In general, the Wikipedia community expresses gratitude to get even a single new administrator and remarks on the departure of every individual who leaves the role.

Wikimedia Thailand becomes chapter, will host Wikimania 2020

Aerial view of Lumphini Park.jpg
Wikimedia Thailand has membership around the country, but Wikimania 2020 will be in the capital Bangkok.

Wikimedia Thailand became a Wikimedia chapter on 14 June 2019 through a resolution by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and on the recommendation of the Affiliations Committee. Previously the organization was designated as a Wikimedia User Group in the system of Wikimedia Movement Affiliates. In that scheme, groups of 10 people can register a user group, and if their organization grows in participation, administration, and impact, then it may commit to additional responsibility and become a chapter in recognition of Wikimedia community trust and as a prerequisite for access to greater funding.

The difference between a chapter and a usergroup is not entirely documented. In general, user groups have smaller membership, make few reporting commitments, and receive little or no organization funding from the Wikimedia Foundation Grants program. In contrast, chapters demonstrate stability in administration and reporting and usually seek funding through either the Funds Dissemination Committee's Annual Plan Grant process or the Simple Annual Plan Grant process.

The last time a Wikimedia user group became a chapter was in April 2019 when Wikimedia Korea got recognition. Before that, Wikimedia Belgium became a chapter by an October 2014 resolution.

The promotion of Wikimedia Thailand is part of a plan for Wikimedia development in the region, including Thailand hosting the 2020 Wikimania conference. Available information on Thailand at this conference is at meta:Talk:Wikimania 2020. Thailand seems to have not published a Wikimania proposal and perhaps the Wikimania Foundation is assisting in the organization of the event. Organizations which made proposals or bids in the public process were Armenia, Perth, and Indonesia.

Brief notes

Reader comments

In the Information Age, disinformation is all around us: photos in our encyclopedia meant to sell clothing, a spy possibly editing Wikipedia, company names that mean nothing, citogenesis. Is Wikipedia part of the solution or part of the problem?

Information and disinformation

The North Face vandalizes Wikipedia

In May 2019 The Signpost reported that The North Face, a global chain clothing store, paid their marketers to replace Wikipedia's photos of parks, mountains and other nature sites with their advertisements. Media coverage of the scandal continues.

  • Of the dozens of articles covering the vandalism only Fast Company tells it exactly like it is: "This seemingly cheeky move is actually at the vanguard of a pernicious emerging movement that we’ll call asshole advertising."
  • The North Face’s Wikipedia Stunt Goes South by law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips states "The North Face’s manipulation of Wikipedia images is a form of native advertising and may be subject to the FTC’s advertising disclosure requirements."
  • Deseret News "If you want to market your product, don’t mess with Wikipedia to do it." We'd like to think so, but doesn't this kind of editing happen every day?
  • Engadget states that "moderators and the site itself may have to be more prepared for surreptitious plugs like this, even if they're unlikely to happen again in the near future." How unlikely is that?
  • Stephen Harrison on Slate gives a excellent summary of the hack itself, then focuses on a "highly meta" followup "a discussion taking place on Wikipedia about whether Wikipedia should include information within that subject’s Wikipedia article about how that subject covertly and unethically edited Wikipedia."
  • A History of Brands Hacking Wikipedia in AdAge mentions Burger King, SeaWorld and NBC News and links to Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia.
  • PR Week quotes Francis Ingham, director general of the Public Relations and Communications Association, who packs so much right and so much wrong into so few sentences. "It is absolutely and always wrong for PR practitioners to break the PRCA Code of Conduct by posting fake pictures or fake facts on Wikipedia. Sadly, it is also the case that Wikipedia’s procedures are opaque, confusing, and often self-defeating. While the organisation is correct to ask that its customers abide by its rules, it is completely at fault for ensuring that those rules remain quite frankly so strange and so confusing. Wikipedia would be a more reliable source of factual information if it engaged more constructively with those offering to provide those facts." So who is completely at fault?
  • Outdoors emphasizes that TNF Brazil – a licensee, not a subsidiary – ran the program.
  • Travel Weekly quotes TNF Brazil's CEO Fabricio Luzzi's initial statement “Our mission is to expand our frontiers so that our consumers can overcome their limits. With the ‘Top of Images’ project, we achieved our positioning and placed our products in a fully contextualised manner as items that go hand in hand with these destinations.”

Adding and deleting women

External video
Exploring the gender gap in Wikipedia editors, 3:09, June 11, 2019, University of Washington
Rosiestep and FloNight appear in this video about UW research into the reasons for Wikipedia's gender gap. Rosiestep says "Amanda Menking and Wanda Pratt's work is important, so I was happy to participate in this project, and the follow-up video... I'd be interested in hearing feedback from members of the Wikimedia community as well as non-Wikimedians after they view the video."

In brief

For further coverage of Wikipedia in the news see List of articles about Wikipedia
Do you want to contribute to "In the media" by writing a story or even just an "in brief" item? Edit next week's edition in the Newsroom or leave a tip on the suggestions page.

Reader comments

Some time ago, a Wikipedia group on Facebook started to have weekly threads with the title "What's making you happy this week?". I copied the idea and started similar email threads on Wikimedia mailing lists, usually Wikimedia-l and Wikitech-l. (The Wikitech-l distribution ceased this month after a few complaints that the scope of the email threads is too broad for Wikitech-l.) Often I include a translation of the email title into a language that has some relationship to the week's email content. Other members of Wikimedia-l are highly encouraged to participate by sharing what makes them happy this week.

In the interest of encouraging broader participation, I am adapting content from the weekly emails into a monthly version for The Signpost.

There are many opportunities to discuss bad news, problems, and concerns in the Wikiverse, and I think that having candid discussions about these issues is often important. Many days I spend more time thinking about problems than about what is going well. However, also I think that acknowledging the good side and taking a moment to be appreciative can be valuable.

I encourage you to add your comments about what's making you happy this month to the talk page of this Signpost piece.

Week of 2 June 2019: Quid te beatum facit hac hebdomade?

As usual, I am grateful for the volunteer contributors to the most recent issue of The Signpost.

I was happy to see that Wikimedia Canada and Library and Archives Canada announced a collaboration.

Thanks to Brooke Storm (WMF Cloud Services) and Bryan Davis (WMF Technical Engagement), I found an amusing xkcd depiction of successful task automation and unsuccessful task automation.

Here are some recent stories that were published by WMF:

The Word of the Day for English Wiktionary on June 2nd was "rubicon". I was familiar with a fictional ship named Rubicon and I guessed that the name referred to a river, which it does, but I did not know that more than one river is named Rubicon, and I did not know about many other uses for the name. Thanks to Wiktionary, I learned that the word "rubicon" (with a lowercase "r") has its own meanings and an interesting etymology that refers to the the Italian river as a location of a notable event in history, and possibly also refers the red color of the river.

Week of 9 June 2019: ¿Qué te hace feliz esta semana?

Week of 16 June 2019: 今週あなたを幸せにするものは何ですか?

While browsing Japanese Wikipedia, I found this article with beautiful photos. Although I cannot read Japanese, my understanding from an automated translation is that the article describes the Tajima Highland Botanical Garden in Kami, Hyogo prefecture, Japan, and that there are over 2,000 types of plants in this garden.

The botanical garden article reminded me of an English Wikipedia featured article that I enjoyed reading, "Bonshō".

There is a series of photos of a high speed Japanese train that is under consideration for the Featured picture designation on English Wikipedia. By looking at the code for this nomination, I learned about the “frameless” parameter for images, which I think is new to me.

I am a low ranking novice in the subject of software development continuous integration, and I understand merely some of this email, but there appears to be good news regarding MediaWiki CI jobs.

Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 01.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 02.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 03.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 04.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 05.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 06.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 07.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 08.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 09.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 10.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 11.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 12.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 13.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 14.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 15.pngLine scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 16.png

The Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 high speed train traveling at approximately 300 km/h through Himeji Station. This photo was captured with a line scan camera using strip photography.

Week of 23 June 2019: อะไรที่ทำให้คุณมีความสุขในสัปดาห์นี้

These "What's making you happy this week?" threads often mention a smorgasbord of subjects. The English Wiktionary Word of the day for June 22 was "smorgasbord". Wiktionary's definitions of that word are:

"1. A Swedish-style buffet comprising a variety of cold sandwiches and other dishes; (by extension) any buffet with a wide selection of dishes.

"2. (figuratively) An abundant and diverse collection of things."

On a related point, Commons has a smorgasbord of featured images of food and drink.

Also on Commons, I enjoy this recent Picture of the day. The caption for the image is, "Linden trees and the sky with clouds in Planina, Postojna, Slovenia". When I look at this photo, I imagine myself laying on the ground and looking up at the sky.

While this incident was not in the Wikiverse, as someone who has spent time in server rooms I can sympathize with the engineer who was sent to do a chore when almost everything that can go wrong, did go wrong. Perhaps other Wikimedians will appreciate the story too, especially those who support Wikimedia technical products or services.

I am grateful for some recent civil and collegial discussions among Wikipedia/Wikimedia administrators regarding certain problems that we are collectively interested in addressing, such as vandalism and spambots.

Also, I am grateful to people who do maintenance or administrative tasks with little expectation for rewards or thanks. My experience with these people is that frequently they have humble attitudes, are idealistic, and are interested in public service.

The Wikimania Steering Committee recently recommended that Wikimania 2020 take place in Bangkok, Thailand. This Wikimania will be supported by multiple Wikimedia affiliates in the East, Southeast Asia, and Pacific region.

Your turn

What's making you happy this month? You are welcome to write a comment on the talk page of this Signpost piece.

Reader comments
Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-06-30/Special report

Reader comments

This traffic report is adapted from the Top 25 Report, prepared with commentary by igordebraga (May 19 to 25, June 2 to 8, June 16 to 22) and Stormy clouds (May 26 to June 1, June 9 to 15).
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (May 19 to 25, 2019).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (May 19 to 25, 2019)

Ukraine melts, Westeros ends, India votes (May 19 to 25, 2019)

The top spot is taken by a nuclear disaster whose story is currently being told by HBO, who in the meantime contrasted the atomic plant going out with a bang by finishing their biggest hit show with whimper (#4, #5). On television there is also Netflix providing material on a serial killer (#8). From TV to movies, Disney getting heaps of money (#3) out of superheroes (#2) and cartoon remakes (#10), and lesser studios also making profits out of a killer (#7, #9). Closing it off, India went en masse to elect their parliament (#8).

For the week of May 19 to 25, 2019, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image About
1 Chernobyl disaster C-Class article 2,063,994
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.jpg
In 1986, a Soviet nuclear plant had one of its reactors explode, spreading radiation all over Europe and creating enough of a disaster that only the 2011 post-tsunami meltdown in Japan managed to match it. Both the accident at Chernobyl and the contamination cleanup efforts are currently dramatized in an eponymous HBO miniseries (#14).
2 Avengers: Endgame C-Class article 2,022,223
The avengers logo.png
The culmination of the previous 21 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies finally leaves the top slot after a month in the lead. Viewer interest is still pretty high, which should be clear by both the high position and how much money Endgame is making, as it's behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the US and Avatar worldwide. Speaking of that...
3 List of highest-grossing films Featured list 1,746,719
Box Office Lincoln Theatre.jpg
The above entry continues to move closer and closer to finally ending the reign of Avatar (just to show much a phenomenon a movie must be to earn $2.7 billion, no matter if tickets are more expensive now). And maybe our #10 will soon join this list, given there are three of those Disney remakes in the top 50?
4 Game of Thrones (season 8) C-Class article 1,717,867
D. B. Weiss and David Benioff.jpg
"And now my watch is ended." The series finale became the most seen HBO telecast ever. Most of whom were certainly frustrated at what D. B. Weiss and David Benioff (pictured) gave them: on the good side, it wasn't a bleak and depressing gut punch like quite a few GoT episodes; on the bad side, it was a succession of anti-climactic moments that basically felt like a filmed book epilogue. Previous television sensation Lost, whose conclusion was also a point of contention, at least moved me when I watched it. And so Game of Thrones, along with being the biggest show of the decade, also joins fellow 2010s productions Dexter and How I Met Your Mother in the "are you seriously ending with that?" category.
5 Game of Thrones Good article 1,600,763
6 2019 Indian general election C-Class article 1,399,845
Indian General Election 2019 by alliance.svg
The biggest election ever, given a 67% voter turnout translates into 600 million people casting their ballots. No wonder India managed the seemingly impossible: kicked the Deaths in 2019 page out of the report, given six of the involved political parties entered the Top 25.
7 John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Start-Class article 1,054,267
John Wick, Chapter 3 - Parabellum movie advertisement on bus in Brisbane.jpg
The franchise where seemingly everyone either has connections to a secret guild of assassins or doesn't care at the people being slaughtered next to them returns, and seeing Keanu Reeves (#9) killing people left and right is still fun as hell. Critics and viewers agree.
8 Ted Bundy Good article 1,010,258
FBI-360-Ted Bundy FBI 10 most wanted photo.jpg
In-between entries regarding a fictional assassin, a very real serial killer who has both a non-fiction miniseries and a dramatized biopic on him on Netflix.
9 Keanu Reeves C-Class article 961,787
Keanu Reeves at São Paulo, Brazil -- 2019-04-03 (cropped).jpg
The star of our #7, who will also have a voice acting gig this June in Toy Story 4, and whose slow aging probably means there is a painting of a decayed Keanu hidden in his house.
10 Aladdin (2019 film) C-Class article 911,300
Montreal Comiccon 2015 - Aladdin and Jasmine (19292232669).jpg
Ever since Alice in Wonderland made a billion in the box office (it's still 36th in the list on #3!), Disney has decided to not hold back on taking their animated classics and remaking them with actors. The latest one is Guy Ritchie's Aladdin, based on a film released the same 1992 where lead actor Mena Massoud was born and new Genie Will Smith was still just the Fresh Prince (his first movie came out one year later). Reviews were mixed - and as someone who likes the original enough to make a Good Article out of it, this here writer was entertained but had objections to many of the additions\changes to make the movie longer - yet audiences didn't care as the movie already opened atop the box office with a $95 million gross.
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (May 26 to June 1, 2019).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (May 26 to June 1, 2019)

Chernobyl 2: Fukushima Boogaloo (May 26 to June 1, 2019)

Liverpool won the Champions League. This is not on the report (I suppose it is old news when you have done something six times), but I'll be damned if I don't mention it. You're honestly lucky that every entry is not just me talking about the squad, to be frank. Anyway, apparently some other stuff happened in the past week, and some of it is below. Enjoy.

Without further ado, for the week of May 26 to June 1, 2019 the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Chernobyl disaster C-Class article 2,903,001
As documented in #3, on 26 April 1986, during a supposedly routine test on reactor no. 4, the worst nuclear meltdown in the history of mankind occurred at the Chernobyl power plant, with a simulated power outage (and related lack of circulating coolant) leading to an uncontrolled chain reaction and explosion. Radioactive material was released and precipitated over much of the Soviet Union and Europe, leading to thousands of deaths, the establishment of an exclusion zone, and the complete abandonment of a city.
2 Avengers: Endgame C-Class article 1,529,550
Mjolnir metallic.png
You know what this is, even if you are one of the few who haven't witnessed the follow-up to the Snappening. The culmination of eleven years of movies has utterly dominated the pop culture of the past few weeks, and will likely persevere on the report for some more weeks to come.
3 Chernobyl (miniseries) Start-Class article 1,293,067
IAEA 02790015 (5613115146).jpg
Following the disappointing conclusion to Game of Thrones, many at HBO likely feared for their subscription numbers. Luckily, while their fantasy flagship was hitting every script-writing iceberg, it was also airing a fascinating and intricate miniseries investigating the nuclear meltdown of reactor 4 some 33 years ago. The series has evidently captivated Wikipedians and other internet denizens alike, as it now sits atop IMDb's list of highest rated TV shows.
4 Aladdin (2019 film) C-Class article 1,253,745
20160604 AUT NED 8839.jpg
Unless your genie can do this, I am not interested.
5 List of highest-grossing films Featured list 1,124,486
Ever since the gargantuan opening weekend of #2, hordes of people have clamoured to watch the progression of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes up the list, with many hoping the film could best the box office exploits of Avatar a decade ago. It seems now that this is unlikely to happen, owing to the large amount of competition faced by Endgame, and that Jimmy C will continue to rule the list, as he has done for twenty-two years.
6 Naomi Scott C-Class article 1,108,131
Naomi Scott - San Diego Comic-Con 2016.jpg
Previously best known as the Pink Power Ranger, Naomi Scott may just have found her breakthrough role following in the footsteps of Lea Salonga and introducing audiences to a whole new world as Princess Jasmine in the rebooted Aladdin, where she steals the show.
7 Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019 film) C-Class article 1,086,049
Godzilla is coming close a buger joint - panoramio.jpg
Critics have largely lambasted Legendary's second swing at Japan's beloved radioactive lizard. Apparently, it focuses too much on spectacle, and on the various battles of the monsters. Not entirely sure what the critics were expecting, to be perfectly honest, but the film is supposedly visually stunning, and has appeased those in the fanbase who wanted to see monstrous mayhem following the distinct lack of Godzilla in the previous entry to the series. Next on the titan's menu is a certain ape.
8 Kawhi Leonard C-Class article 872,214
1 kawhi leonard 2019 (cropped).jpg
I don't particularly follow the NBA, but even I have heard about the tale of Toronto's hero, who scored a buzzer beater to triumph over the 76ers en route to the Finals, and has continued a resurgence of form, accumulating scores of points both against the Bucks and the Warriors as the Raptors charge towards an illustrious title.
9 Beauty Revealed Good article 801,549
Sarah Goodridge Beauty Revealed The Metropolitan Museum of Art.jpg
An unexpected (and perhaps slightly NSFW) entry into the report comes courtesy of the fine people of r/todayilearned. The 1828 painting (pictured) by Sarah Goodridge and given to her friend Daniel Webster was considered by TIL to be one of the first cases of sending nudes, hitherto erroneously thought by many to be a modern phenomenon.
10 Keanu Reeves C-Class article 752,428
Keanu Reeves - 2019 (47477524302) (cropped).jpg
One of the internet's favourite actors, Keanu's incredibly personable nature and devotion to his roles has endeared him to the masses. Recently, his career has been rejuvenated by his starting turn as John Wick, where he has justifiably received ample plaudits for his expert execution of the gun fu ballet vision of Chad Stahelski.
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (June 2 to 8, 2019).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (June 2 to 8, 2019)

Everything Old Is New Again (June 2 to 8)

The report might be about new events that are bringing in reader interest, but the subjects are mostly very old. The most represented decade are the 1980s: a nuclear disaster from 1986 (#1, #6); a crime from 1989 (#2, #7), plus a boxer from that year (#3); and a movie adapting a comic from 1980 (#5). Also on movies, there's an action star already into his fifties (#10), and superheroes that can go as far back as 1941 (#8) while making loads of cash (#9). And there's an historical event from 1944 (#4)!

Without further ado, for the week of June 2 to 8, 2019 the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Chernobyl disaster C-Class article 3,194,812
HBO just finished a miniseries (#6) about the worst nuclear incident ever, where a simulated power outage instead lead to an explosion in the Chernobyl power plant, spreading radiation across Europe and killing thousands. And yet the show has turned the Exclusion Zone into a hot tourist attraction.
2 Central Park jogger case Symbol question.svg 2,641,123
Trisha Meili.jpg
From a continental tragedy to a localized one, as back in 1989 Trisha Meili (pictured) ran some laps in Central Park before being assaulted and raped to the point of being left in a coma for 12 days. The lives of the five men accused of the crime, all of whom had to spend time in prison without actually being guilty, were documented in a Netflix miniseries (#7).
3 Andy Ruiz Jr. Start-Class article 1,605,524
Everguard Fight Gloves.jpg
The new unified boxing heavyweight champion, having just defeated Anthony Joshua (#11) in an upset many compared to Mike Tyson's first loss.
4 Normandy landings Good article 1,440,387
Into the Jaws of Death 23-0455M edit.jpg
How long, on this longest day, 'Till we finally make it through?
June 6 marked 75 years since D-Day, which helped the Allies turn the tides over in World War II and has been eternized by two movies, The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan (the latter of whom is my favorite movie and could be counted among the victims of Harvey Weinstein).
5 Dark Phoenix (film) C-Class article 1,437,421
Sophie Turner (35994447382).jpg
In 2006, The Dark Phoenix Saga was partially adapted in the contentious but financially successful X-Men: The Last Stand. 13 years later, the X-Men films have another go at it, with Sophie Turner's Jean Grey getting cosmic-level powers through the Phoenix Force in the franchise's last salvo - aside from an already delayed movie that got pushed to next year - before the Mutants are engulfed into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Critics didn't like it (this here writer thought it was OK, no matter if it wasn't anywhere as good as Logan), and box office is slow, with Dark Phoenix being topped at the weekend ranking by The Secret Life of Pets 2 (though international numbers were better).
6 Chernobyl (miniseries) Start-Class article 1,293,067
IAEA 02790015 (5613115146).jpg
The miniseries telling the story of the 1980s incidents topping this list, one for HBO by Craig Mazin (who knew the guy behind dumb comedies such as Superhero Movie had a more serious interest?) and a Netflix one by Ava DuVernay (a quick rebound following the mess that was A Wrinkle in Time).
7 When They See Us Symbol question.svg 1,277,071
Ava DuVernay 2015.jpg
8 Avengers: Endgame C-Class article 1,273,295
SDCC 2017 - Sideshow Collectible's Booth - Thanos Statue 2.jpg
It's been nearly two months since Marvel Studios took the world by storm with the epic conclusion to 11 years of superhero movies, making $1 billion in one weekend and two by the following week. And yet what seemed to be poised to finally take down Avatar as the highest-grossing movie ever might need to settle for second place, given blockbuster season is slowing down the money made by Endgame to the point the $50-60 million necessary seem like a tall order. Not that distributor Disney is complaining, specially as the previous Marvel movie also broke a billion, and the studio is bound to release many other potential candidates in amassing revenues with ten digits.
9 List of highest-grossing films Featured list 1,002,125
10 Keanu Reeves C-Class article 947,092
Keanu Reeves - 2019 (47477524302) (cropped).jpg
Born in Lebanon, raised in Canada, with a name out of Hawaii... and in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Keanu also goes international in his stylish slaughter of people.
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (June 9 to 15, 2019).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (June 9 to 15, 2019)

We've got a city to burn (June 9 to 15)

The technophilic early adopters of society promised that, in the age of social media and YouTube, television would decline in influence. This report, along with several of its immediate predecessors, goes some ways towards dispelling this idea, instead demonstrating that millions of television aficionados are using Wikipedia on a second screen to research their favourite shows and the events that inspired them while absorbing the content, leaving the real life tragedies behind HBO and Netflix's latest hits atop the report. Outside television, we have entries arriving directly from the cinema, from various sporting disciplines, and from video games. It is far from the most diverse report ever produced, with an abnormal number of holdover entries, but it was nonetheless a joy to compile, curate, and comment upon. Enjoy.

Without further ado, for the week of June 9 to 15, 2019, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Chernobyl disaster C-Class article 2,623,668
Chernobylreactor 1.jpg
The 1986 nuclear disaster that has captured the attention of millions of Wikipedians for several weeks continues to preserve its exclusionary grip at the apex of the report. As you are doubtless aware, #7 has restored the catastrophic meltdown to the zenith of the zeitgeist, with millions investigating the accuracy of the excellent miniseries, and discovering, as the Soviets did, that RBMK reactors do explode, to the detriment of Eastern Europe.
2 Keanu Reeves C-Class article 1,828,525
Keanu Reeves (crop and levels) (cropped).jpg
You're breathtaking.
3 Central Park jogger case B-Class article 1,485,634
Southwest corner of Central Park, looking east, NYC.jpg
Another real life tragedy that has been propelled back into the spotlight by an acclaimed miniseries, albeit a vastly more localised one than fatal fission mistakes at Pripyat. In 1989, Trisha Meili was raped while jogging through the famed New York park, and five teenagers with minority backgrounds were infamously wrongly convicted of the heinous assault, amidst a campaign proposing capital punishment orchestrated by (sigh) You Know Who. The imprisonment of the Central Park Five, and there subsequent exoneration, is explored in-depth by Ava DuVernay in #8.
4 Kawhi Leonard C-Class article 1,464,897
1 kawhi leonard 2019 nba finals (cropped).jpg
A certified memelord, Kawhi Leonard has become a surprising hero as he led the Raptors to the NBA Finals, scoring a vital buzzer beater against The Process and the Sixers, aiding in the hunting of the Bucks, and then racking up vital points against the Golden State Warriors to become MVP for the second time in his career, joining the ranks of LeBron, Kareem, and #21.
5 Avengers: Endgame C-Class article 1,046,535
Captain America Shield.svg
When Captain America throws his mighty shield,
All those who oppose his shield must yield.
If he's led to a box office fight, and a Na'vi duel is due,
Then the red and the white and the blue will fall $40 million short of coming through.
So if you are fond of the ocean, then you may need to yield.
6 Dark Phoenix (film) C-Class article 1,031,137
A 1395571552 furrytiger - na konkurs sobolya animaciya.gif
Sophie Turner has developed quite a knack for delivering abject, abominable endings to beloved series in recent weeks, hasn't she? In fairness to Mrs. Jonas, she does her best in the latest, and final, installment of the X-Men series as the eponymous fallen hero, but unfortunately cannot redeem a fundamental atrocious film. Kudos to Simon Kinberg for butchering the storyline again - he at least ensured, by scorching the series irredeemably, that fans won't object to the inevitable MCU reboot.
7 Chernobyl (miniseries) C-Class article 857,950
Dana Delany 1992 Emmys retouch.jpg
Two acclaimed miniseries by the current powerhouses of television programming dominate the report (again), reigniting public interest in horrific incidents of the Eighties (so, reverse nostalgia?). This recent spare of incredibly gripping miniseries, coupled with the prior release of the engrossing Sharp Objects, means that the Emmy race for Limited Series will be hotly contested, to a much greater extent than other categories.
8 When They See Us Symbol question.svg 851,319
9 List of highest grossing films Featured list 816,874
Millennium Falcon in LEGO.jpg
Take down the bunting and throw out the cake, box office enthusiasts, as, barring some freakishly late resurgence in ticket sales, the top spot on this list will remain unobtainable, even for Earth's Mightiest Heroes, as it appears the aftermath of the annihilation of half the universe is a less enticing cinematic experience than Ferngully, but with aliens and borderline bestiality (gotta say James, that hair connection thing is suspect)
10 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup C-Class article 774,642
Ecuador women's national team with Women's World Cup trophy (16897290865).jpg
The women's version of FIFA's premiere international tournament is underway en France currently, with the foremost nations in women's football doing battle on the pitch for the eternal glory that triumph will provide. The defending champions, the US, got their campaign underway with a 13-0 trashing of minnows Thailand, where they courted controversy for goal celebrations which many deemed to be excessive.
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (June 16 to 22, 2019).png
Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (June 16 to 22, 2019)

A nuclear error, but I have no fear (June 16 to 22)

Wikipedia Calling to the faraway towns
Now movies (#3, #5, #7, #11, #20, #24) and the dead (#2 - who brought along #14 - #15, #25), are plenty when you come down
London calling, in the political world (#22, #23)
Come out to play in the grass, you boys (#9, #10, #13) and girls (#4)
Wikipedia calling, Chernobyl (#1, #17) and When They See Us (#6, #17)
Their stay up on the list hasn't yet bit the dust
Wikipedia calling, we got some assorted things
Google (#19), holidays (#8), nudes (#12), and people in the court (#16) and ring (#18)

I never felt so much alike alike alike. For the week of June 16 to 22, 2019, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the WP:5000 report were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Chernobyl disaster C-Class article 1,728,190
Chernobylreactor 1.jpg
For the fifth week in a row, the top article is the nuclear power plant explosion that happened back in 1986, currently documented by an HBO\Sky miniseries (#17).
2 Gloria Vanderbilt C-Class article 1,492,191
Gloria Vanderbilt 1959.JPG
A socialite who accomplished much in life - even before things such as becoming a fashion model and then designer and being the mother of Anderson Cooper, she was subject of a high-profile child custody trial - Mrs. Vanderbilt ("What's the use of worrying? What's the use of hurrying? What's the use of anything?") died at the age of 95.
3 Toy Story 4 C-Class article 1,464,897
Woody Annecy 2019.jpg
The living toys that launched off Pixar's feature career return for another go at a grand finale: part three had them moving onto another owner (their lives there earned some fun shorts), and now there's another go at "feeling useless" as Sheriff Woody starts getting neglected. It's the same emotional entertainment that Pixar (almost) never fails to deliver, scored glowing reviews and scored a massive $118 million to open atop the box office (followed by the revival of another franchise based around a living doll, but one much less family friendly).
4 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup C-Class article 993,457
Futebol feminino olímpico- Brasil e Suécia no Maracanã (29033096805).jpg
Doesn't matter if the biggest winner of this tournament calls it "soccer", here we refer to it as football! And unfortunately the championship's all time top scorer Marta again fell short given that her team just got eliminated to France in a goal by Henry (oh no, not again). For all its love of the sport, Brazil has a tendency to neglect the females who play it, and the national team suffers as a result.
5 Keanu Reeves C-Class article 979,420
Reunião com o ator norte-americano Keanu Reeves (cropped).jpg
It's been quite the summer for Keanu, who is killing people in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, showed up at E3 to reveal he's starring in a video game, and now voices a funny Evel Knievel-esque doll in our #3.
6 Central Park jogger case B-Class article 970,560
Southwest corner of Central Park, looking east, NYC.jpg
If the 1986 tragedy told by HBO at #1 hasn't left the list, why shouldn't the 1989 one told by Netflix remain for another week as well?
7 Avengers: Endgame C-Class article 890,592
Comic-Con 2013 (9375237280).jpg
Kevin Feige won't settle for second place in the list of highest-grossing films and just announced that the conclusion of the first 22 Marvel Studios productions will return to theaters with added scenes (extended cuts used to be something reserved for the Blu-Ray, but when it's about taking down Avatar, getting them earlier seems fair).
8 Juneteenth C-Class article 823,109
American Flags of Freedom.png
On June nineteenth, 1865, Texas abolished slavery, two and a half years after they were supposed to. 46 states celebrate this late liberation as a holiday, also known as Emancipation Day.
9 Gary Woodland C-Class article 816,782
Gary Woodland 2019 US Open.png
After more than a decade as a professional, this golfer won his first major at the U.S. Open.
10 2019 Cricket World Cup C-Class article 795,890
Cricket ball and wicket at Takeley Cricket Club ground, Essex, England 01.jpg
India's favorite sport (also beloved in England, who is hosting, and many of its former colonies) continues to have its quadrennial tournament pretty high on our list.


  • These lists exclude the Wikipedia main page, non-article pages (such as redlinks), and anomalous entries (such as DDoS attacks or likely automated views). Since mobile view data became available to the Report in October 2014, we exclude articles that have almost no mobile views (5–6% or less) or almost all mobile views (94–95% or more) because they are very likely to be automated views based on our experience and research of the issue. Please feel free to discuss any removal on the Top 25 Report talk page if you wish.

Reader comments

Actor migration

Early this month, the mediawiki databases underwent a significant change, with 8 database tables each dropping 2 columns and gaining a new one, and a new database table being created. Each of the 8 tables formerly held references to both the user_ids, and user_names of the users/IPs that had performed the relevant log entry / edited the relevant revision / had been blocked / etc. Storing this information in each of the 8 tables, in addition to its existence in the user table, was a waste of storage and led to performance issues. Accordingly, these references were replaced with references to the relevant actor instead, and a new table, the (coincidentally named) actor table, was created. The new table associates an actor_id with a user_id and a user_name, and different revisions or log entries need only refer to the relevant actor. This change is also forecasted to dramatically speed up global renames, since, rather than changing the user_id and user_name associated with all of a user's edits and log entries, only the information in a single actor row needs to be updated.

For more information, see:

Bot tasks

Recently approved tasks

Current requests for approval

In trial
Trial complete

New user scripts to customise your Wikipedia experience

Installation code

  1. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
  2. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:
    {{subst:iusc|1=User:DannyS712/Global watchlist.js}}
  3. ^ Copy the following code, click here, then paste:

Latest tech news

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community: 2019 #23, #24, #25, & #26. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available on Meta.

  • You can now write all special letters in all African Wikipedia languages. This works in the desktop version. [1]
  • There is now a field called depicts on Commons. This is a way to show what is in a picture with the help of Wikidata. It is still in development. [2]
  • Some tools on Toolforge may break on or after 3 June because of database changes. Maintainers should update their tools to use the new schema. [3][4]
  • Some wikis have one tab for the visual editor and one tab for a wikitext editor. Others wikis just have one tab. If your wiki has two tabs, clicking a link to create a new page has always opened a wikitext editor. It will now open the editor you used the last time you edited. [5]
  • When you create a PDF from a page on the wiki this is now done by Proton. Before this we used Electron. It should look the same but work better. Both use Chromium. This is a different system from when you collect several articles into a book and make a PDF from them. [6][7]
  • Most wikis were slow and then briefly read-only last week due to one of the database servers having a problem. It is now replaced. [8]
  • You can watch or join the Wikimedia Language showcase. It was about the usage of Machine Translation in Wikimedia projects. The showcase was on 26 June at 13:00 (UTC). A recording was kept for later viewing.
Flagged Revisions
  • The Flagged Revisions extension now uses the standard OOUI icons. There will be additional minor fixes for positioning in the next deployment. [9]
  • Advanced item Bots and other scripts that do not set an identifiable User-Agent may find their requests strictly rate-limited until they identify themselves properly. [10]
  • Please check if the Flagged Revisions configuration on your wiki is as you expect (or as it was a few weeks ago). If not, please report it. [11]
  • MIDI files can soon be played without the Score extension. You can then add them with [[File:Filename.midi]]. Later override_midi and override_audio will stop working. Instead you will need to add the MIDI file below the music score. [12]
  • A new video player will soon replace the old one. You will be able to enable it as a beta feature in your preferences. It will later be enabled for everyone if there are no big problems. [13]
  • Advanced item Some gadgets and user scripts still use the old wgEnableAPI and wgEnableWriteAPI values. These values are always true. They will soon be removed. This might break the gadgets and scripts. You should fix your gadgets to not use these values. [14]


  • Recurrent item Advanced item You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting takes place every Wednesday from 4:00–5:00 p.m. UTC. See how to join here.

Reader comments

Wikimedia Commons publishes 50 million media files including many photos of famous parks and natural features. Wikipedia editors sometimes forget to update our articles as new photos arrive at Commons. Annually since 2013, the Wiki Loves Earth campaign has invited people around the world to share images showing the natural environment. The 2019 campaign is at Commons:Wiki Loves Earth 2019 is scheduled to run in May and June. Early statistics report that in the campaign, 8,000 people from 36 countries uploaded 80,000 images. Of those images, 4,000 are currently inserted into Wikipedia article as illustrations. Anyone may browse this year's image uploads at Commons:Category:Wiki Loves Earth 2019.

No love for either wiki or earth

The Wikimedia community invites anyone who enjoys images of nature to browse available images in Wikimedia Commons and insert favorites into Wikipedia articles. Alternatively, browse Wikipedia articles in Category:Parks and Category:Protected areas to identify articles which could use better illustration, then search Wikimedia Commons for an appropriate illustration. In general, Wikipedia editors are more familiar with the text and prose of Wikipedia articles and are less aware of available illustrations in Wikimedia Commons' complementary media repository. Likewise, many people with talent to create photos and who share them in Wikimedia Commons are themselves unable to match them to the relevant Wikipedia articles or categories where those photos could be illustrations.

In May 2019 The Signpost reported that The North Face, an international chain clothing store, paid their marketers to remove nature photos which Wikipedia volunteer editors had used as illustrations in Wikipedia articles. They then inserted their own photos of people wearing their branded clothes showcasing their logo, but with the natural environment as a secondary aspect of the illustrations. As listed "In the media", this month yet more third-party mainstream journalism has covered The North Face's ad campaign and their undisclosed paid editing.

Below is a list of Wikipedia articles which North Face edited and available photos from Wikimedia Commons which are not currently being used as illustrations in these Wikipedia articles. The North Face conspired to prevent Wikipedia readers from viewing these photos, passing all these over to surreptitiously direct attention to their own advertising. Wikipedia has a community editorial process. For these and other places anyone can chose to change the illustrations. This is supposed to happen in the spirit of editorial collaboration among article editors, photographers, and people with good intent to showcase the best available media that we have available in the free and open global media commons. Please consider these photos, visit Commons to see yet more photos, and change images in the Wikipedia editorial process as you like.

Cape Point, South Africa

Guarita State Park, Brazil

Pedra do Baú, Brazil

Pico das Agulhas Negras, Brazil

Pico dos Marins, Brazil

Reader comments

Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png
A monthly overview of recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, also published as the Wikimedia Research Newsletter.

"Trajectories of Blocked Community Members"

Reviewed by FULBERT

In Chang and Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil’s study "Trajectories of Blocked Community Members: Redemption, Recidivism and Departure",[1] presented at The Web Conference last month, the authors explored the effectiveness of temporary editor blocks imposed as acts of moderation for inappropriate conduct on Wikipedia. The researchers wanted to understand how effective these blocks were as a tool intended to reform editors whose online conduct was problematic enough to warrant discipline, but not so egregious as to impose an indefinite block, i.e. where there was hope that this action may help reform the editors who demonstrate evidence they can be productive ongoing contributors to Wikipedia.

Slides from a Wikimedia Research Showcase presentation about the paper

The researchers limited their study to the first block received by users, beginning with a total sample of 104,245 blocks over the history of English Wikipedia. They focused on four types of blocks that enforced community norms — personal attacks and incivility, harassment, edit warring, and disruptive editing — arriving at a dataset comprising 6,026 blocked users. They were particularly interested in editor departure, which they defined as the time of the last comment a user makes on community talk pages, in part because they focused their attention on community engagement. Likewise, they explored recidivism, which is when a previously-blocked user is blocked again for any additional breach of community rules, compared to those who reform and are never blocked again.

Linguistic indicators of how fair the blocked user perceived the sanction to have been (from showcase presentation slides)

They found that "users are much more likely to depart if they were blocked before, especially in the first months of their life in the community (p. 4)”. Indeed, users are more likely to depart during the month of their block, and this is compounded by the finding that users who were blocked a first time had an increased probability of being blocked again. These findings were impacted by the length of time one was an active member of the user community, where the greater the length of one's involvement, the less likely blocks were to occur, especially through recidivism. The authors then explored user activity level and activity spread, learning that recidivist users engage in interaction with members of the community with more depth than breadth, involving a smaller set of users while continuing more prolonged engagement. Finally, the researchers explored blocked users' perception of fairness, focused through blockage appeals. Those who apologized for their infractions were less likely to suffer from recidivism, while those who directly questioned their blocks or claimed a lack of fairness instead faced a moderate increase in recidivism.

The authors concluded that working toward a "more nuanced approach to moderation that more broadly accounts for the tradeoffs between possible outcomes and that considers how the affected individuals might perceive the moderators and their actions (p. 10)” is something that should be considered when moderators (administrators) consider blocking users for transgressions to community standards.

Conferences and events

See the research events page on Meta-wiki for upcoming conferences and events, including submission deadlines, and the page of the monthly Wikimedia Research Showcase for videos and slides of past presentations.

Other recent publications

Other recent publications that could not be covered in time for this issue include the items listed below. Contributions, whether reviewing or summarizing newly published research, are always welcome.

Compiled by Tilman Bayer

Hilbert and Newton top the "Wikipedia Network of Mathematicians"

From the abstract:[2]

"We look at the network of mathematicians defined by the hyperlinks between their biographies on Wikipedia. [...] We illustrate how such Wikipedia data can be used by performing a centrality analysis. These measures show that Hilbert and Newton are the most important mathematicians."

Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard top the "Wikipedia Ranking of World Universities"

From the abstract and paper:[3]

"We present Wikipedia Ranking of World Universities (WRWU) based on analysis of networks of 24 Wikipedia editions collected in May 2017. With PageRank and CheiRank algorithms we determine ranking of universities averaged over cultural views of these editions. The comparison with the Shanghai ranking gives overlap of 60% for top 100 universities showing that WRWU gives more significance to their historical development. [... Our] approach also determines the influence of specific universities on world countries. We also compare different cultural views of Wikipedia editions on significance and influence of universities." " The top 3 places of WRWU are occupied by Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard while for ARWU [the Shanghai ranking] it is Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge."

An earlier, related preprint[4] by some of the same authors was covered by Technology Review under the headline "Wikipedia-Mining Algorithm Reveals World’s Most Influential Universities".

C is the top programming language and Cambridge the top university for computer science, according to (some) Wikipedia network ranking

From the abstract and paper:[5]

We construct 10 different networks from Wikipedia entries (articles) related to the chosen domain. The goal of the experiment is to extract domain knowledge in terms of identifying entries that are centrally positioned and entries that are strongly related. [...] the first task is the construction of a web scraping program which would extract hyperlinks from a Wikipedia entry’s text. The hyperlinks are extracted using a Python package for HTML parsing called Beautiful Soup which parses the HTML structure of a given HTML document into a parse tree. By navigating the tree we locate the tag ID which corresponds to article content ("mw-content-text") and proceed to extract the hyperlinks which themselves are found within paragraph (<p>) tags and finally inside link (<a>) tags in that section of the page. "

The various resulting rankings place e.g. "University of Cambridge" 2nd (after "human") by degree centrality in the article network for "computer science", and "C (programming language)" 2nd by closeness centrality in the article network for "programming language" (after "programming language" itself).

"Top 100 historical figures of Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[6]

"The top 100 historical figures of Wikipedia are determined on the basis of statistical methods and mathematical algorithms like PageRank, CheiRank and 2DRank applied to networks of Wikipedia in up to 24 languages. ... This short popular note presents overview of results and methods of different [research] groups..."

"Wikipedia network analysis of cancer interactions and world influence"

From the abstract:[7]

"We apply the Google matrix algorithms for analysis of interactions and influence of 37 cancer types, 203 cancer drugs and 195 world countries using the network of 5 416 537 English Wikipedia articles with all their directed hyperlinks. The PageRank algorithm provides the importance order of cancers which has 60% and 70% overlaps with the top 10 cancers extracted from World Health Organization GLOBOCAN 2018 and Global Burden of Diseases Study 2017, respectively. [...] We argue that this analysis of knowledge accumulated in Wikipedia provides useful complementary global information about interdependencies between cancers, drugs and world countries."

The resulting ranking is lead by lung cancer, breast cancer and leukemia.

See also earlier coverage of a related paper by the same authors: "World Influence of Infectious Diseases from Wikipedia Network Analysis"

Facebook AI researchers construct the "Wizard of Wikipedia: Knowledge-Powered Conversational agents"

From the abstract:[8]

"We collect and release a large dataset with conversations directly grounded with knowledge retrieved from Wikipedia. We then design architectures capable of retrieving knowledge, reading and conditioning on it, and finally generating natural responses"

See also OpenReview discussion

"The dynamics of Wikipedia article revisions: an analysis of revision activities and patterns"

From the abstract:[9]

"We identify four revision patterns: 1) revision actions at the sentence and link levels appear in similar paces; 2) the numbers of revision actions at sentence and link levels comparatively evenly grow with the article's age prior to the last time period; 3) the paces of media and reference-level actions tend to be lagged behind sentence and link-level actions; 4) before being promoted to the GA or FA rank, articles nominated to the GA or FA rank exhibit a significant rising pattern in amounts of revisions and revision actions."

"Interactive Quality Analytics of User-generated Content: An Integrated Toolkit for the Case of Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[10]

"Great efforts have been invested in algorithmic methods for automatic classification of Wikipedia articles (as featured or non-featured) and for quality flaw detection. Instead, our contribution is an interactive tool that combines automatic classification methods and human interaction in a toolkit, whereby experts can experiment with new quality metrics and share them with authors that need to identify weaknesses to improve a particular article. A design study shows that experts are able to effectively create complex quality metrics in a visual analytics environment. In turn, a user study evidences that regular users can identify flaws, as well as high-quality content based on the inspection of automatic quality scores."

"The Impact of Topic Characteristics and Threat on Willingness to Engage with Wikipedia Articles: Insights from Laboratory Experiments"

From the abstract and paper:[11]

"We presented the introduction parts of 20 Wikipedia articles and asked participants to rate each article with respect to familiarity and controversiality. In addition, we experimentally manipulated participants’ level of mortality salience in terms of the amount of threat they experienced when reading the article. Participants also indicated their willingness to engage with a particular article. The results revealed that willingness to engage with a Wikipedia article was predicted by both topic familiarity and controversiality of a given article. Although mortality salience increased accessibility of death-related thoughts, it did not result in any changes in people’s willingness to work with the articles. [...] Sixty-one participants reported that they read Wikipedia articles at least once a week. They indicated an average reading time of M = 1.57 h per week (SD = 1.11)."

"With Few Eyes, All Hoaxes Are Deep"

From the abstract:[12]

"we describe a long-standing set of inefficiencies that have plagued new page patrolling by drawing a contrast to the more efficient, distributed processes for counter-vandalism. Further, to address this issue, we demonstrate an effective automated topic model based on a labeling strategy that leverages a folksonomy developed by subject specific working groups in Wikipedia (WikiProject tags) and a flexible ontology (WikiProjects Directory) to arrive at a hierarchical and uniform label set. We are able to attain very high fitness measures [...] and real-time performance using word2vec-based features. Finally, we present a proposal for how incorporating this model into current tools will shift the dynamics of new article review positively."

"Finding Prerequisite Relations using the Wikipedia Clickstream"

From the abstract:[13]

"Where should the learner start? What should the learner know before tackling a new course? [...] we present a new method for identifying prerequisite relations based on naturally occurring data, namely the navigation patterns of users on the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. Our supervised learning approach shows that the navigation network structure can be used to identify dependencies among concepts in several domains."

"Query for Architecture, Click through Military: Comparing the Roles of Search and Navigation on Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[14]

"...we study large-scale article access data of the English Wikipedia in order to compare articles with respect to the two main paradigms of information seeking, i.e., search by formulating a query, and navigation by following hyperlinks. To this end, we propose and employ two main metrics, namely (i) searchshare -- the relative amount of views an article received by search --, and (ii) resistance -- the ability of an article to relay traffic to other Wikipedia articles -- to characterize articles. We demonstrate how articles in distinct topical categories differ substantially in terms of these properties. For example, architecture-related articles are often accessed through search and are simultaneously a 'dead end' for traffic, whereas historical articles about military events are mainly navigated."

"How Article Topic, Quality and Dwell Time Predict Banner Donation on Wikipedia"

From the abstract:[15]

"In this work, using a dataset of aggregated donation information from Wikimedia’s 2015 fund-raising campaign, representing nearly 1 million pages from English and French language versions of Wikipedia, we explore the relationship between the properties of contents of a page and the number of donations on this page. Our results suggest the existence of a reciprocity mechanism, meaning that articles that provide more utility value attract a higher rate of donation. We discuss these and other findings focusing on the impact they may have on the design of banner-based fundraising campaigns."


  1. ^ Chang, Jonathan; Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Cristian (2019). "Trajectories of Blocked Community Members: Redemption, Recidivism and Departure". Proceedings of the Web Conference 2019. WWW '19. San Francisco, CA, USA: ACM Press: 184–195. arXiv:1902.08628. Bibcode:2019arXiv190208628C. doi:10.1145/3308558.3313638. ISBN 9781450366748. closed access
  2. ^ Chen, Bingsheng; Lin, Zhengyu; Evans, Tim S. (2019-02-20). "Analysis of the Wikipedia Network of Mathematicians". arXiv:1902.07622 [cs.DL].
  3. ^ Coquidé, Célestin; Lages, José; Shepelyansky, Dima L. (2019-01-09). "World influence and interactions of universities from Wikipedia networks". The European Physical Journal B. 92 (1): 3. arXiv:1809.00332. Bibcode:2019EPJB...92....3C. doi:10.1140/epjb/e2018-90532-7. ISSN 1434-6036. closed access, supplementary page:
  4. ^ Lages, José; Patt, Antoine; Shepelyansky, Dima L. (2015-11-29). "Wikipedia Ranking of World Universities". arXiv:1511.09021 [cs.SI].
  5. ^ Matas, N.; Martincic-Ipsic, S.; Mestrovic, A. (May 2015). "Extracting domain knowledge by complex networks analysis of Wikipedia entries". 2015 38th International Convention on Information and Communication Technology, Electronics and Microelectronics (MIPRO). 2015 38th International Convention on Information and Communication Technology, Electronics and Microelectronics (MIPRO). pp. 1622–1627. doi:10.1109/MIPRO.2015.7160531.
  6. ^ Shepelyansky, Dima (2015). "Top 100 historical figures of Wikipedia". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Rollin, Guillaume; Lages, José; Shepelyansky, Dima (2019-01-23). "Wikipedia network analysis of cancer interactions and world influence". p. 527879. bioRxiv 527879.
  8. ^ Dinan, Emily; Roller, Stephen; Shuster, Kurt; Fan, Angela; Auli, Michael; Weston, Jason (2018-11-03). "Wizard of Wikipedia: Knowledge-Powered Conversational agents". arXiv:1811.01241 [cs.CL].
  9. ^ Ma, Zhongming; Tao, Jie; Hu, Jing (2017-01-01). "The dynamics of Wikipedia article revisions: an analysis of revision activities and patterns". International Journal of Data Mining, Modelling and Management. 9 (4): 298–314. doi:10.1504/IJDMMM.2017.088415. ISSN 1759-1163. closed access
  10. ^ Sciascio, Cecilia Di; Strohmaier, David; Errecalde, Marcelo; Veas, Eduardo (March 2019). "Interactive Quality Analytics of User-generated Content: An Integrated Toolkit for the Case of Wikipedia". ACM Trans. Interact. Intell. Syst. 9 (2–3): 13–1–13:42. doi:10.1145/3150973. ISSN 2160-6455. closed access
  11. ^ Yenikent, Seren; Holtz, Peter; Kimmerle, Joachim (2017). "The Impact of Topic Characteristics and Threat on Willingness to Engage with Wikipedia Articles: Insights from Laboratory Experiments". Frontiers in Psychology. 8. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01960. ISSN 1664-1078.
  12. ^ Asthana, Sumit; Halfaker, Aaron (November 2018). "With Few Eyes, All Hoaxes Are Deep". Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 2 (CSCW): 1–18. doi:10.1145/3274290. ISSN 2573-0142.
  13. ^ Mohsen Sayyadiharikandeh, Jonathan Gordon, José Luis Ambite, Kristina Lerman: "Finding Prerequisite Relations using the Wikipedia Clickstream"
  14. ^ Dimitrov, Dimitar; Lemmerich, Florian; Flöck, Fabian; Strohmaier, Markus (2018). "Query for Architecture, Click through Military: Comparing the Roles of Search and Navigation on Wikipedia". WebSci '18 Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Web Science. Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 371–380. arXiv:1805.04022. Bibcode:2018arXiv180504022D. doi:10.1145/3201064.3201092. ISBN 978-1-4503-5563-6.
  15. ^ Kocielnik, Rafal; Keyes, Os; Morgan, Jonathan T.; Taraborelli, Dario; McDonald, David W.; Hsieh, Gary (November 2018). "Reciprocity and Donation: How Article Topic, Quality and Dwell Time Predict Banner Donation on Wikipedia". Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 2 (CSCW): 91–1–91:20. doi:10.1145/3274360. ISSN 2573-0142.

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Andrew Lih at Wiki Conference USA, 2015.jpg
Andrew Lih at WikiConference USA

Reader comments

For more than a decade, I have worked with clients of all kinds to help improve the quality of information about them on Wikipedia. I began by offering simple changes at my employer's behest, applying my experience as a volunteer, and later started my own digital marketing and PR firm, Beutler Ink, which counts Wikipedia engagement as one of its key services.

Given this background, readers may be surprised to learn that I am not a proponent of "paid editing" as such. I agree very much with editors concerned that COI editing poses a risk to Wikipedia's credibility and reputation for neutrality. That is not to say I've never edited client articles myself, but I have long preferred sticking to discussion pages, making suggestions for volunteer editors to consider on the merits. My last direct edit for a client was in late 2011.

When the Wikimedia Foundation announced its update to the Terms of Use prohibiting undisclosed paid editing in June 2014, I was a prominent advocate. Earlier that same month, I had helped to create a statement signed by ten major PR agencies committing to follow Wikipedia's rules, and I had already been publicly supportive of the WMF's decision.

From my perspective as a guideline-compliant COI editor, the Terms of Use change was the best endorsement that I could have asked for, and the dynamics surrounding disclosed paid editing have since improved. The COI guideline now recommends using the "request edit" template, and a small group of volunteers have largely kept up with the resulting queue.

But in another sense, both the Terms of Use change and PR agency statement that I led have fallen short. Though there is no reliable estimate for how much undisclosed paid editing occurs, it obviously remains a problem. Even Wiki-PR, the company whose undisclosed sock puppet operation inspired both initiatives, simply rebranded as Status Labs and kept right on going.

Indeed, undisclosed paid editing is notoriously difficult to detect and impossible to stamp out entirely. Despite the valiant efforts of volunteers on the COI Noticeboard, it's long seemed clear to me that the whack-a-mole approach is not a solution, but a stopgap.

What should be done now? I am careful to offer suggestions, as I realize some Wikipedia volunteers disapprove even of the disclosed, hands-off style of Wikipedia engagement that I specialize in. Caveat in place, I have years of experience with this topic, and strongly believe there are actionable steps the community and WMF can take to create meaningful change.

First, I believe that many COI contributors do not intentionally set out to break Wikipedia's rules. The problem is that they know little about the rules if they even know they exist, and certainly don't know how to follow them. Of course there will always be bad actors, especially those who view Wikipedia from a purely SEO perspective—*cough* The North Face *cough*—so the COI Noticeboard's role is assuredly safe.

Second, it's a mistake to think COI contributors will ever learn to engage with Wikipedia exactly as the community would like. The rising number of queries on the edit request queue proves that the interest is there, but it's simply too difficult for most outsiders to learn how to ask effective questions. Unfortunately, too many of these requests are TLDR or have unrealistic goals. This wastes volunteer time, and doesn't resolve the underlying issues.

The current edit request system, wherein someone with a COI posts a message on a talk page, affixes a template, and the request goes into a queue for a volunteer to consider at an unknown date according to unspecified criteria, is confusing to uninitiated outsiders and frankly not even that user-friendly for experienced volunteers.

Making matters worse, Wikipedia currently maintains approximately a dozen pages that serve as a possible starting point for advice to COI contributors. Should one follow the "Plain and simple conflict of interest guide" or "Best practices for editors with close associations" or "Suggestions for COI compliance"? Who's to say?

To improve the situation, Wikipedia should simplify the process and meet outsiders halfway. And to be effective, the solution will have to look less like a Wikipedia project page and more like a customer feedback form.

At the very least, the public-facing advice pages should be streamlined and the edit request system turned into a full-fledged WikiProject. Another solution might be the development of a "wizard" tool asking COI contributors to fill out input fields explaining their issue or problem, proposing a solution, and providing links to journalistic sources.

A predictable and transparent process would be helpful not just to COI contributors with realistic goals, but perhaps even more so to those whose requests cannot be satisfied. For them, simply feeling that they were heard and the system worked, even if it didn't achieve the desired result, may soften the blow and reduce the likelihood they will turn to the dark side.

Since amending the Terms of Use, the WMF has mostly shied away from COI topics, yet it still has a role to play here. After all, the WMF is used to working with outside organizations in a way that individual Wikipedians are not. It could appoint a small team to help the community evolve the process, and be a powerful voice to recommend its adoption to the broader public.

Finally, although the PR industry and communications field is no monolith, and the types of COI actors are as varied as the Wikipedia pages that concern them, I can vouch that there is considerable demand for an accessible, reliable means of interfacing with Wikipedia.

Wary as Wikipedians may be to normalize or publicize the fact that outside interests can influence Wikipedia, there's little to be gained by avoiding the obvious. And as much as I agree that direct paid editing is problematic, I hope I can persuade skeptical volunteers that a well-organized system for reviewing and adjudicating COI requests can be part of the solution.

Reader comments

3 WikiJournals logos.svg

WikiJournals are an experiment applying scholarly peer review to improve Wikimedia content. From professors to students, all authors are treated the same. Their work is sent out to experts in the topic for comments, criticism and recommendations. Articles that pass through this process are published as citable 'versions of record', assigned a DOI, formatted up into a PDF as a permanent read-only version separate from any associated Wikipedia article, and indexed like articles in other science journals in the major scholarly databases.

Started in 2012 with the medical journal (WikiJMed), the group has expanded to include two additional sister journals that cover science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics (WikiJSci) and Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences topics (WikiJHum). WikiJournals were profiled in The Signpost back in 2016 and in 2017, with similar projects mentioned in 2012 and in 2014.

Many WikiJournal articles become Wikipedia pages - some written from scratch (e.g. a two-sentence stub expanded into a full article), and some submitted straight from Wikipedia (e.g. Rosetta Stone). As well as these articles that can form Wikipedia pages (or sections of pages, e.g. table of pediatric medical conditions and findings named after foods), the WikiJournals have also published original research (e.g. A card game for Bell's theorem and its loopholes), medical case studies (e.g. acute gastrointestinal bleeding from a chronic cause: a teaching case report), images and galleries (e.g. cell disassembly during apoptosis and medical gallery of Blausen Medical).

Radically open

WikiJournal of Science publishing pipeline (wiki first).svg
Outline of publication process for WikiJSci. Articles can be written from scratch (via the preprint server) or adapted from existing Wikipedia material (via the nomination page). External, academic peer review is organised by the journal editors and comments published to the talkpage. If published, the article is assigned a DOI, typeset as a PDF, and suitable material is integrated back into Wikipedia to improve the encyclopedia.

The journals use a radical form of academic publishing - they are free both for readers and for authors (an extreme rarity in the academic world). Other journals are paid for either by their readers, who subscribe to a journal or belong to an institution like a university or a library which pays a subscription, or by their authors, who are obliged by open access journals to pay for the cost of review and publication. With the WikiJournal model, open access publishing becomes affordable for all authors, including researchers from less wealthy countries, early career researchers, and even students.

Not only that, but parts of the academic publishing process that are usually done behind closed doors are also published openly, such as peer reviewer comments and author responses. Indeed, more than 75% of WikiJournal peer reviewers choose to forgo anonymity, reviewing openly under their names. Even much of the journal's organisation and planning is done publicly: for example the assessment of whether the journals will be Plan S-compliant (here), and indexing applications for Free Journal Network (here), ASAPBio ReimagineReview (here), or SCOPUS (here).

Building bridges

The WikiJournal format is a good way of getting outside expert feedback on existing Wikimedia content (as peer reviewers), as well as attracting contributions from academics who'd otherwise have been unlikely to contribute (as authors). At scale, a more developed platform could even improve knowledge equity by lowering the cost and technical barriers to academic publishing.

Within the wiki ecosystem, these have a number of unusual features. Firstly, peer reviewers are specially contacted based on their expertise, so often it is their first ever contribution to a Wikimedia project. There is also a large amount of partnership with outside organisations. The journals' publication ethics statement has been audited by the Committee on Publication Ethics. There is also thorough vetting in order to be added to included in academic indexes (e.g. the Directory of Open Access Journals).

WikiJournal of Medicine Poster.pdf

The WikiJournal model aims to be complementary to Wikipedia's existing Featured article and Good article review systems. These systems involve review by an editor (in the case of GA) or 5-15 editors (in the case of FA) who are not necessarily subject-specialists, but implement extensive criteria checklists to assess citations, comprehensiveness, and readability. A WikiJournal review is more formal, in that the journal editors invite external experts in the field, who may review anonymously if they wish, and the decision to accept is made by the editors on the basis of those reviewers' comments and author responses. Another major difference is that the reviewed article is then stable; its text may well be used to update the corresponding Wikipedia article, but even if the Wikipedia article drifts away from the reviewed version, the journal article's text remains as the reviewed, approved and citable WikiJournal version. New versions can be made but have to remain as preprints until they've been peer reviewed and assigned an updated DOI. This may be particularly useful for attracting additional contributors for some of the high/top importance stubs, articles in need of expert attention, or articles in need of rewriting.

Recent growth

2018/19 has seen particular growth, with the creation of WikiJSci and WikiJHum and expansion of WikiJMed to bring the joint editorial boards up to 63. In 2018, of the 27 articles submitted, 9 were published, 3 were declined, and 1 was withdrawn from consideration. The turnaround time still varies pretty widely, but is improving. Readership from DOI-clicks is reaching levels typical of academic journals (800 per article) and is increasing. Journal articles that have been incorporated into Wikipedia unsurprisingly dwarf this readership, at 4.2 million during 2018 (WikiJMed, WikiJSci, WikiJHum).

External links

RSS WikiJMed | WikiJSci | WikiJHum
Twitter WikiJMed | WikiJSci | WikiJHum
FB WikiJMed | WikiJSci | WikiJHum

Proposal for the future

So what're the plans for the future? Well, one major question is whether it is beneficial for the initiative to become a full sister project. Please take a look and comment in the discussion section.

Proposal: WikiJournals as a new sister project

This would entail new technical features better suited to the journals' workflow, their own dedicated website, and increased visibility and support from the WMF.

The journals also aim to stay agile and experimental, looking at new ways to tackle peer review, assessment, community engagement and integration with other Wikimedia projects. Perhaps closer partnerships can be formed with existing academic journals to help find reviewers. The platform could even compete with non-free platforms like google scholar and ResearchGate by integrating multiple free services like Scholia academic profiles, Wikicite's bibliographic indexing, the machine reading of ContentMine or hosting for author self-archived 'green open access' articles through commons/wikisource.

Reader comments

In June 2018, I came across the biography of Martin Shanahan, the CEO of IDA Ireland, the state body who brings US firms like Google and Facebook to Ireland. The bio was created by a single purpose account called Corecontent, who later disclosed they were paid by the IDA. The article was promotional, and was given a conflict of interest tag by Kudpung.

The references showed a different picture than the article did. For example, Shanahan did not have extensive industry experience prior to his appointment, and his record of attracting financial services firms to Ireland as a result of Brexit was very poor. Another user appeared, IDAComms, who attacked me and my work on other Irish tax-related Wikipedia articles, on the Martin Shanahan talk page.

Public escalation

Things took a dramatic turn in April 2019 when Irish technology entrepreneur, Paddy Cosgrave, tweeted that the IDA was caught paying people to edit Wikipedia articles related to taxes, as well as the article for their CEO. The story was picked up by the Irish and UK media.

The IDA spun the story to journalists that they had to hire editors to combat my "negative" edits and that I was a "paid agent" with over "40,000 edits attacking Ireland's tax system"; however, it was likely they had been using hired editors for some time, to edit WP articles relating to Irish tax and their CEO. These newspaper stories led to vandalism of Irish tax-related articles, a Wikipedia incident report (AN/I) (which cleared me of WP:PAID), and some unpleasant reddit threads (showing some used WP:SOCK accounts on Irish tax articles).

Tax is a complex topic; it helped I could show my re-writes of Irish tax-related articles were well-received off-wiki. Leprechaun economics, was cited in a tweet by Nobel-prize winner Paul Krugman, while Double Irish arrangement, was cited by the Council on Foreign Relations blog as the "best source" for the topic.

The Washington Post

Cosgrave decided to go to war with the IDA and created a fake company called "The Irish Tax Agency" offering low rates of taxation through a Facebook marketing campaign. His ads linked to several of Wikipedia's Irish tax-related articles (e.g. QIAIF and Double Irish arrangement), which resulted in even more media coverage of the IDA's unfair allegations against me: Irish Times Irish Times The Times The Times Bloomberg News

IDA Ireland was able to obfuscate what they had been doing on Wikipedia through their relationships in the Irish media, casting me as a paid villain. The newspaper stories inspired apparent meatpuppets to go after me; one new SPA, Renmap0o, created a huge attack page on me in their sandbox, and tried to recruit meatpuppets from Irish Wikipedians to "build a case" against me (see here); they failed.

The affair only died down when The Washington Post wrote an article, stating: "Politicians, policymakers, and the legal-finance profession responded vigorously and tried to discredit the Wikipedia articles. But none of these critiques have challenged their substantive truth".

Can a volunteer editor survive when attacked by a paid state-level editor? In this case I did.

Reader comments

Wikimedia Conference 2013 portrait 031.JPG
Nataliia Tymkiv, user:antanana in English or Ukrainian
Shani Evenstein with Wikipedia Logo.jpg
Shani Evenstein, user:Esh77 in English or Hebrew

The election for the 2019 Affiliate Selected Board Seats to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has ended. The result is that Nataliia Tymkiv and Shani Evenstein are each selected for a 3-year term on the board. Nataliia is appointed to her second term in this seat, while Shani is replacing outgoing board member Christophe Henner who was elected in 2016. Although this instance of the election is over, the Wikimedia governance process continues, and everyone is invited to participate!

Why this matters

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Among other responsibilities, these elected officials will guide the investment of Wikimedia community funds through the Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan, such as shown here for 2018-19.

The Signpost previously described the significance of this year's election in February and April articles. The two selected candidates will serve as two of the ten members of the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees. In this role they will oversee the activities of Katherine Maher, director of the Wikimedia Foundation, and vote to approve or return the proposed Wikimedia Foundation US$100 million annual budget each year. Board members accomplish this through regular communication with each other including an in-person meeting and public presentation at the international Wikimania conference. For further details, anyone feeling curious should write to a former board member, interview them, and publish in The Signpost.

Have conversations about the results

The easiest way that anyone can constructively respond to these election results is by discussing them online with others. Discussion on the election's own talk page is best the record there is public, permanent, and easy for future election facilitators to find. Anyone who is a stakeholder in the well being of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects can share their reactions, hopes, and even criticisms. Many experienced Wikimedia editors, regular financial donors, institutional partners, and Wikimedia readers are unaware of the Wikimedia political process and its ambition for global community participation in governance. The Wikimedia community is proud to host this, "the most important election on the Internet" as called by organizers, to offer a practical and accessible communication channel into the people conducting the highest management of the Wikimedia community's resources.

New standard of transparency for Wikimedia elections

Asbs presentation matches with stv py results.pdf
For the first time all ballots are public based on wiki values and past demand.

As part of the wrap-up of this election, the facilitators have published all the ballots revealing how everyone voted, the notes of their meetings, the code of the algorithm which tabulated voting results, and debrief reflecting on this year's election to use as guidance for future elections. Consider joining in the curation of media about this election by reviewing these publications, suggesting and supporting changes for future elections, and asking whatever questions come to mind about the process or outcome. The documented procedure of this election is likely to be the starting part for planning future elections. Because documentation creates a precedent, any community members who review this election during wrap-up will be making for better future elections. Anyone can edit any part of Wikimedia projects, including the rules of the election process. Anyone may create outreach materials to encourage broad community participation in Wikimedia governance, reflect on the ballots and algorithm, and describe their feelings on seeing this collection of media.

Confirmation pending

The selected candidates are not yet on the board of the Wikimedia Foundation. The present board of the Wikimedia Foundation will consider the results and discussion, then tentatively confirm the selected board members. The selected candidates will join the Wikimania 2019 conference in Stockholm in August, where the board of the Wikimedia Foundation will confirm them as new board members. The result seems settled but until confirmation there is a period of scrutiny where anyone can examine the ballots and contest the election results.


The Signpost encourages readers to thank and acknowledge the following

  • all candidates, for boldly standing to the personal scrutiny of the election
  • Wikimedia community patriots and volunteers who, a generation ago, established this democratic process and the Wikimedia community empowerment which it represents
  • the 140 voting delegates, each of whom represented a Wikimedia affiliate organization in casting the vote on behalf of the membership in that community
  • the membership of those Wikimedia affiliate organizations who deliberated the candidate selection and served their obligation to vote
  • the many Wikimedia community electioneers who got out the vote encouraging everyone to participate in the election
  • the people who, right now, are organizing community discussions and petitions to submit to the current and future Wikimedia Foundation boards in an effort to enact movement-wide change through policy and community mandate
  • the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees for continued recognition and respect of the will of the Wikimedia community as the highest and most competent authority for guiding the Wikimedia Foundation as the steward of the assets for the Wikimedia Movement
  • the election facilitators, for 3 months of weekly video chats which have notes published online in the open

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