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Year: 2009 Week: 29 Number: 108
An independent internal news bulletin
for the members of the Wikimedia community
=== Technical news ===
[LiquidThreads] - One of the few things that has not changed since the
start of the projects in 2001 is how the talk pages work. Correction:
the name has changed, it is now "a discussion page". Besides that,
that can change. The MediaWiki extension "LiquidThreads" is again in
development by order of the Wikimedia Foundation. LiquidThreads makes
from a discussion page more a forum, but in a good way. It is not like
a traditional php-forum, it remains very wiki.
http://wiki.werdn.us/test/view/Talk:Main_Page -- LiquidThreads in action
http://blog.werdn.us/2009/06/discussion-threading-on-wikimedia-sites-with-liquidthreads/ -- if interested about this: read
[Code updates] - In the past, the Wikimedia sites were updated roughly
every week with the new code from Wikimedia's revision (or version)
control system (SVN). But recently, this has not been taking place
due to the developers being busy elsewhere -- the last update was on
March 25, months ago! To help with this, Erik announced that the
Foundation is planning to hire a full-time "QA engineer to help with
code review, bug triaging and deployment". *Update*: After the
writing of this entry, a code update took place to r51904 (r51864 for
extensions). But as of publication, SVN's latest revision was r25015,
so help is still needed.
-- mailing list post
http://svn.wikimedia.org -- SVN
[MW 1.15.0] - MediaWiki 1.15.0 was released, this is the first stable
release of the 2009 Q2 branch of MediaWiki.
-- release notes
-- mailing list post
=== Request for help ===
[New study] - There is a new research study about effects of a
modification to the Wikipedia editing interface. Participants will
test an experimental change to one aspect of the Wikipedia interface.
All that you have to do is edit Wikipedia as you would normally. After
the observation is complete, you will be asked to fill out a
questionnaire and you'll be able to continue using the interface
modification if you like.
http://wikipedia.grouplens.org/NICE/consent/index.html -- consent form
mailing list post about the subject
[Greenspun] - The Greenspun project, an initiative that tried to fund
the creation and improvement of illustrations for Wikimedia, has been
stalled and is currently looking for ideas on how to better go about
the project. Suggestions and discussion are appreciated on the
blog post describing what went wrong
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Greenspun -- project page
-- mailing list
=== Foundation ===
[LU] - The licensing update is in progress. The license of the WMF
website and the English Wikipedia is updated. Help is going to be
needed for translations, please watch translators-l for details.
[BLP] - After the Wikimedia Board of Trustees released a statement
about content on living people, a new global policy is being created
that attempts to deal with those issues in the spirit of that
resolution. Comments and help is appreciated on Meta.
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/BLP -- proposed policy
[WMF openings] - The Wikimedia Foundation is still looking for a
software developer to help with the Usability Project, as well as a
Communications intern. Both positions are based in San Francisco, but
remote work is possible for the software developer position.
[OTRS Stats] - The Foundation is currently looking for a volunteer
interested in evaluating and analyzing how the response system
("OTRS") has been working for the English Wikipedia.
=== Legal ===
[Privacy violation?] - There was a bit of drama on the Foundation
mailing lists when a KnowPrivacy study - a research project by the
School of Information from University of California in Berkeley - hit
the German media. It showed findings that Wikipedia, among many other
websites, used "web bugs" like Google Analytics on its pages. Further
investigation revealed this was triggered by content on vlswiki &
huwiki. The former was added to confusion that it was a privacy
violation and it turns out the Hungarian Wikipedia was just a false
alarm (it was a private stats generator)
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/Studie-Google-fuehrend-bei-Web-Bug-Nutzung--/meldung/139841 -- newspaper article
=== Agenda ===
[Wikimedia Canada] - There is a planning meeting for Wikimedia Canada
being organized for June 18, interested users and Canadians should
meeting sign up page
[Wiki-Conference NY] - The 1st Wiki-Conference in New York will be
held over the weekend of July 25-26, 2009 at New York University, and
hosted by Free Culture @ NYU and Wikimedia New York City. Jimmy Wales
will be giving a keynote, and there will also be panels, lightning
talks, and open space technology. There's also the Central Park picnic!
=== Community ===
[WMDE-5 years!] - Happy 5th birthday WMDE! Wikimedia Deutschland, the
German chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation celebrated 5 years of being
an organization with a party in Berlin.
[Paid editing?] - The English language Wikipedia has started a
"Request for comment" on whether or not to allow paid editing, or
under what circumstances to allow it.
[IRC GCs] - There are new IRC Group Contacts -- the group of people
who help manage the Wikimedia Foundation IRC channels (setting cloaks,
fixing access issues, etc.). More information can be found in the
[Commons] - After some drama surrounding a "fight" between Wikimedia
Commons community member and a Wikimedia Israel project, a large
number of discussions have sprung up about the problems with Commons
and whether it's a service project or a more independent one. The
discussions can be found on foundation-l, commons-l, and the Commons
[Toolserver outreach] - The Wikimedia Toolserver is trying to increase
its communications with local wiki communities by (1) creating short
page describing the toolserver, with the relevant links, (2)
increasing the use of the blog, and (3) encouraging people to
document/explain their tools. Feedback on this plan, as well as
suggestions and offerings for help are appreciated!
http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.org.wikimedia.toolserver/1405 -- start
of the thread
[AR Wikinews] - probably inspired by the English Wikinews who added
social bookmarking links to the story's has the Arabic Wikinews also
done that. Probably most Wikinews editions will follow.
=== Media ===
[WP as a book] - An artist puts all 5,000 of Wikipedia's featured
articles in one book.
http://www.rob-matthews.com/index.php?/project/wikipedia/ -- picture
of the book
-- newspaper article on subject
[Wikipedia in Google News] - Google News has been experimenting with
links to EN Wikipedia on its homepage. The appear as a link for more
information related to the news topic itself. So Wikipedia is not
listed as news source, what is good because Wikipedia is not a news
site. But it can provide much-needed context and up-to-date
information that static news articles cannot always offer. The stories
of the English language Wikinews, what indeed a news site is, does
appear in Google News as news articles.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiropractic/3601011581/ -- example
http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/06/google-news-experimenting-with-links-to-wikipedia-on-its-homepage/ -- blog post on the
[Sam Blacketer] - An English Wikipedia Arbitrator turned out to be a
controversial politician who had been blocked before for editing his
opponents' articles. A few British newspapers picked up on this story.
[Colbert Report] - The English Wikipedia's blocking of the Church of
Scientology was picked up by American "spoof" news program The Colbert
[Testimony to Congress] - not very Wiki-related but nevertheless
interesting reading (only 3 pages). Statement from Marissa Mayer, Vice
President of Search Product and User Experience of Google, about the
internet changes the way people read news.
=== Stats ===
[ko.wp] - the Korean Wikipedia has reached 100,000 articles.
=== Did you know ... ===
... that Google has released a very handy tool for translating a
Google offers since long a free automatic translation service. Based
on that Google Toolkit is released. You have a personal overview page,
"a desk", where you can upload text from files or websites.
For text from (the English) Wikipedia is there a special interface
designed for translating Wikipedia content. The source text must be
English, the target language options are limited but there is a fair
The basic idea is that the toolkit will automatically translate the
text for you and then you can make fixes to the text. Not only does
this help you get the translations done but it also helps Google
Translate to learn from your changes and become better and better.
That translation in progress can be shared with other people so the
can also work on it.
How good the automatic translation is will probably differ from
language to language. Translations from English to Arabic should be
fair because Google used that explicitly as in example in there press
This tool can make it very easy to translate an article from the huge
English Wikipedia to one of the many small wiki's in other languages.
The toolkit may change the way Wikipedia grows in other languages. If
used correctly. It can also be used to import a lot crappy new
articles to a wiki.
Google Toolkit could also be useful for making translations of
Wikizine, if one is interested in doing so.
http://translate.google.com/toolkit -- google translator webkit
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7W2NJFdoIg -- short video-overview of
how it works, Wikipedia is used as example
http://blog.wikimedia.org/2009/06/09/google-translator-toolkit-supports-wikipedia/ -- Wikimedia Blog post about the
=== Quote ===
?The automobile has practically reached the limit of its development?
? Scientific American, 1909
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Thanks to: Avatar, shimgray, Jay, Erik, Brianna, MZMcBride, Henriette,
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