An expert edits Wikipedia’s War on Terror article
15:48, Tuesday, 26 2021 October UTC

Kevin Schwartz.
Image courtesy Kevin Schwartz, all rights reserved.
As an expert on the culture, history, and politics of the Middle East, Kevin Schwartz noticed something as he read the Wikipedia articles on September 11, the War on Terror, or those related to Iran’s political and military involvement in the Middle East.
“The articles tend to focus on describing military operations, rather than provide a fuller picture of the less obvious cultural and political aspects,” Kevin says.
It’s a common problem across Wikipedia, where the volunteer community includes many military history experts — but few experts like Kevin. He received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Kevin writes academic articles and published a book on the literature, culture, and history of Iran and the Persianate world, as well as opinion pieces on US foreign policy in the Middle East and Iran for US and international outlets, such as Al Jazeera, The Hill, Responsible Statecraft, and others. Kevin also co-founded and co-directs the 9/11 Legaciesproject, which launched in September 2021.
“The project seeks to map the ways in which the Global War on Terror has impacted language, societies, and politics around the world, focusing on many of the untold and under-studied legacies, particularly as they relate to countries beyond the US, Afghanistan, and Iraq,” Kevin explains.
This expertise is what led him to the ReThink Media Wiki Scholars course Wiki Education ran — a course designed to bring subject matter experts like Kevin to Wikipedia’s articles about 9/11 and other related topics, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the event.
Kevin primarily edited three articles. Two, Liwa Fatemiyoun and Holy Shrine Defender, are related to his scholarly work.
“In both cases, I tried to add more texture and nuance, primarily by focusing on the non-military aspects of the entries,” he says. “I also sought to complicate some of the aspects of these topics that often mimic state-sponsored narratives and talking points, such as that of Iran and the United States.”
The third article he worked on was the War on Terror article itself.
“Along with the article on the 9/11 attacks, this is probably one of the most heavily read on the topic of the 9/11 and global war on terror (GWOT) era. The challenge here was different, namely, how to present a coherent entry and narrative that didn’t veer off into too many directions, so much so that the purpose of the entry and its topical focus is lost,” he says. “Someone in the talk history page called this a ‘coat rack’ article, which is absolutely correct: many editors simply ‘hung’ reams of material about tangential (or less important) topics related to the GWOT in this article.”
As Kevin started editing, he found several challenges. Some sections were overly detailed, with information that should be in separate articles. Other sections included text copied and pasted from the main article on that topic.
“The first challenge was trimming these superfluous aspects of the entry and (when applicable) returning the information to its natural place (i.e., main article). The second aspect was to reconfigure the internal organization of the article. A lot of information on similar topics was scattered throughout the article, so I brought it together in one place and rearranged some of the subheadings,” Kevin says. “Finally, like the articles on Iran, I tried to add some information that was less focused on describing military operations related to the GWOT and, instead, add information related to its cultural and political impacts.”
As many Wikipedians know, this kind of real editing work to an article is hard! It takes a subject matter expert like Kevin with a good grasp of the literature about a topic to be able to identify what’s extraneous detail, what belongs in a sub article, and what belongs in the main article. His expertise in the topic gave him the insight in what the article should say — and Wiki Education’s Wiki Scholars course gave him the skills to do the Wikipedia editing part.
“Approaching Wikipedia as an editor can be daunting,” Kevin says. “There is certainly a start-up cost in learning how to edit articles, interacting with other editors, and understanding Wikipedia’s mission and policies. The class beautifully helped us understand what at the outset seemed like an arcane and impenetrable world.”
While the course has now wrapped up, Kevin has continued editing. He says he likes the instantaneous nature of Wikipedia, especially in contrast to academic articles that sometimes take months to get published. He encourages more experts like him to get involved in editing Wikipedia.
“As academics and researchers, one of our main tasks is to present detailed and well-researched information on a topic in the most coherent and accessible way to educate people,” Kevin says. “Wikipedia and its mission, dovetails quite nicely with this professional path and skill-set.”
Image credit: Cpl Colby Brown, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
UK based Punjabi artist opens up his archive
13:18, Tuesday, 26 2021 October UTC
Written by the Punjabi Wikimedians User Group
UK based Punjabi writer and photographer, Amarjit Chandan opened up images from his archive. Aside from images photographed by him, the archive includes images from his father, Gopal Singh Chandan, a full-time photographer and other public domain images. 
Amarjit Chandan has a Wikipedia account of his own and has tried himself adding images to Commons in the past years. Punjabi Wikimedians User Group approached him to see what help he needed, also asking if he’d be interested in releasing further content. 
Punjabi Wikimedians User Group collaborated with Wikimedia UK to execute this project. As the collection had a connection to both affiliates, it felt like a great opportunity to collaborate. Amarjit Chandan was more than glad to give his photographs but he needed support to create multilingual Metadata regarding the photographs, handling the captions and helping with the upload. Multilingual metadata was important to include as it helps the Punjabi community to search and access the data easily. User:Gurdeepdali who is an independent photographer worked as an online Wikimedian-in-Residence for the project.

File:Amarjit Chandan-Chandigarh-1979-Pic Dev Inder. CC BY-S.A 4.0.
As of 19 June 2021, a total of 471 images have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and at least 54 distinct images (11 % of the total images) are being used across languages and projects with the maximum images being used on Punjabi Wikipedia followed by English Wikipedia and Wikidata. More photos followed. 
Aside from helping illustrate articles on Punjabi personalities on Punjabi and English Wikipedias, the images help capture lives of Punjabis across three continents. Chandan was born in Kenya where his father was a political activist as well. He moved to India at the age of eleven in 1957 and eventually migrated to the UK in 1980. He has also lived in Philippines, Canada, USA and Tanzania.
In 2020, both collaborators were excited to start work on it then in 2020, but the pandemic, COVID-19, meant we couldn’t run in-person events that were planned for this. We still went ahead with the wiki content work, and Punjabi Wikimedians are currently planning to organise an online editathon to add more photographs to relevant Wikipedia articles. You can get in touch with or for any future plans, and we welcome any multilingual editors who can help add the images to articles in various languages.
If you’re interested in how you can get started with your own cultural heritage project as part of a GLAM organisation, we’ve got a series of free webinars for any cultural heritage professionals. There’s just two more webinars in 2021, on the 9th November and the 2nd of December, sign up here.
Wikimedia Foundation launches Wikimedia Enterprise: the new, opt-in product for companies and organizations to easily reuse content from Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects
16:56, Monday, 25 2021 October UTC
October 25, 2021, San Francisco, CA, USA ―  The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, today formally launched a new commercial product, Wikimedia Enterprise, for large-scale reusers and distributors of Wikimedia content. The opt-in product, operated by Wikimedia, LLC, is designed for companies and organizations who want to more easily reuse content from Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects at a high volume. 
“In its 20 years, Wikipedia has grown to become one of the most trusted resources for knowledge in the world,” said Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, Wikimedia’s Chief Advancement Officer. “As people and companies increasingly seek to leverage its value, we created Wikimedia Enterprise to address the growing number of ways people encounter Wikipedia content outside of our sites and further support our free knowledge mission. The product meets the growing needs of commercial content reusers, making it easier for people to discover, find, and share content from our sites, while also providing commercial companies an avenue to support and invest in the future of Wikimedia’s knowledge ecosystem.” 
First announced in March earlier this year, Wikimedia Enterprise makes the process of leveraging, packaging, and sharing content from Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects more efficient for large scale content reusers. In most cases, commercial entities that reuse Wikimedia content at a high volume have product, service, and system requirements that go beyond what Wikimedia freely provides through publicly available APIs and data dumps. The  information panels shown in search engine results and the information served by virtual home assistants are examples of how Wikimedia content is frequently used by other websites.  
Wikimedia Enterprise aims to address this challenge through a product that offers service level agreements with companies, including guaranteed uptime, customer service support, and more efficient access to Wikimedia content through a series of new APIs, designed specifically for high volume content reuse. 
Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects will continue to be funded primarily by reader donations from individuals around the world. Wikimedia Enterprise helps to diversify the Foundation’s financial support, but is expected to be a small portion of the organization’s revenue. This will not impact smaller content reusers who can continue to leverage Wikimedia’s data dumps and APIs freely for their own use. 
“Wikimedia Enterprise is designed to meet a variety of different content reuse needs,” said Lane Becker, Senior Director of Earned Revenue at the Wikimedia Foundation. “From big to small, nonprofit to for profit, we want to work with organizations that find value in Wikipedia content and want to support our mission of making free knowledge more accessible to everyone.”   
The creation of Wikimedia Enterprise arose, in part, from the recent Movement Strategy – the global, collaborative strategy process to direct Wikipedia’s future by the year 2030 devised side-by-side with movement volunteers. By making Wikimedia content easier to discover, find, and share, the product speaks to the two key pillars of the 2030 strategy recommendations: advancing knowledge equity and knowledge as a service. 
Interested customers are encouraged to visit the Wikimedia Enterprise website for more information on the product offering, pricing, and other important details. 
About the Wikimedia Foundation 
The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Wikimedia Enterprise is operated by Wikimedia, LLC, a wholly owned limited liability company (LLC) of the Wikimedia Foundation. The Foundation’s vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. 
The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive donations from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.
For more information on Wikimedia Enterprise:
See also:
Frequently Asked Questions
Technical documentation
Strategy and principles essay 
Logos (SVG & PNG)
Homepage on wiki
How we deploy code
16:55, Monday, 25 2021 October UTC

Last week I spoke to a few of my Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) colleagues about how we deploy code—I completely botched it. I got too complex too fast. It only hit me later—to explain deployments, I need to start with a lie.
M. Jagadesh Kumar explains:
Every day, I am faced with the dilemma of explaining some complex phenomena [...] To realize my goal, I tell "lies to students."
This idea comes from Terry Pratchett's "lies-to-children" — a false statement that leads to a more accurate explanation. Asymptotically approaching truth via approximation.
Every section of this post is a subtle lie, but approximately correct.
Release Train
The first lie I need to tell is that we deploy code once a week.
Every Thursday, Release-Engineering-Team deploys a MediaWiki release to all 978 wikis. The "release branch" is 198 different branches—one branch each for mediawiki/core, mediawiki/vendor, 188 MediaWiki extensions, and eight skins—that get bundled up via git submodule.
Progressive rollout
The next lie gets a bit closer to the truth: we don't deploy on Thursday; we deploy Tuesday through Thursday.
The cleverly named TrainBranchBot creates a weekly train branch at 2 am UTC every Tuesday.

Progressive rollouts give users time to spot bugs. We have an experienced user-base—as Risker attested on the Wikitech-l mailing list:
It's not always possible for even the best developer and the best testing systems to catch an issue that will be spotted by a hands-on user, several of whom are much more familiar with the purpose, expected outcomes and change impact on extensions than the people who have written them or QA'd them.
Now I'm nearing the complete truth: we deploy every day except for Fridays.
Brace yourself: we don't write perfect software. When we find serious bugs, they block the release train — we will not progress from Group1 to Group2 (for example) until we fix the blocking issue. We fix the blocking issue by backporting a patch to the release branch. If there's a bug in this release, we patch that bug in our mainline branch, then git cherry-pick that patch onto our release branch and deploy that code.
We deploy backports three times a day during backport deployment windows.  In addition to backports, developers may opt to deploy new configuration or enable/disable features in the backport deployment windows.
Release engineers train others to deploy backports twice a week.
We deploy on Fridays when there are major issues. Examples of major issues are:
We avoid deploying on Fridays because we have a small team of people to respond to incidents. We want those people to be away from computers on the weekends (if they want to be), not responding to emergencies.
Non-MediaWiki code
There are 42 microservices on Kubernetes deployed via helm. And there are 64 microservices running on bare metal. The service owners deploy those microservices outside of the train process.
We coordinate deployments on our deployment calendar wiki page.
The whole truth
We progressively deploy a large bundle of MediaWiki patches (between 150 and 950) every week. There are 12 backport windows a week where developers can add new features, fix bugs, or deploy new configurations. There are microservices deployed by developers at their own pace.
Important Resources:
More resources:
Thanks to @brennen, @greg, @KSiebert, @Risker, and @VPuffetMichel for reading early drafts of this post. The feedback was very helpful. Stay tuned for "How we deploy code: Part II."
Wikipedia in a first-year writing course
16:05, Monday, 25 2021 October UTC
Mary Isbell is an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Haven.

Mary Isbell
I first started teaching with Wikipedia in 2014, after learning that a colleague had taught an entire course in which students read about Wikipedia and composed and edited articles on the site. I was intrigued, having only very recently set aside the “stay away from Wikipedia” lecture that I’d developed as a graduate student teaching first-year writing. I cringe as I admit this, but I defaulted into positioning Wikipedia as a gateway drug to plagiarism; this was my response to students regurgitating summaries of assigned texts from sites like Wikipedia and Sparknotes instead of developing their own ideas. But I was starting to realize that engaging directly with Wikipedia was more impactful than steering students away from it. I had started to pull up plot summaries in Wikipedia articles as an activity during class, asking students what they thought was missing. When I realized that instructors were encouraging students to actually edit the articles, I created a single Wikipedia assignment to use at the end of my first-year writing course. I invited students to use the sources they’d gathered for their research project to improve a Wikipedia article of their choosing. 
Over the years, students have entered my courses with many different perspectives on Wikipedia. Some are surprised that it is possible to edit a site that they so regularly turn to for knowledge. Others are a little put off that I would encourage them to engage with the site, directly contradicting previous teachers who had taught them to avoid it. This variety of student perspectives isn’t a bad thing; the beauty of teaching with Wikipedia is that the site itself is always changing. In what follows, I share some of the ways I’ve learned to harness the power of Wikipedia to teach first-year writing. 
Gaps in Understanding
I have realized that my context for teaching with Wikipedia is different from the scenarios one hears about most often: students collaborating with faculty to fill content gaps in Wikipedia while enrolled in a course they’ve chosen to take. On the Wiki Education blog, we can read articles about students creating or contributing to articles onIslamic Art, Archaeology of Africa and Invertebrate Zoology. I have plans to incorporate Wikipedia into courses like this, but my strategies have been different when teaching first-year students in a required course focused on academic inquiry and writing. Instead of positioning students as partners in correcting a gap in coverage on Wikipedia, I am using Wikipedia first and foremost to help students fill any gaps that might exist in their understanding of how knowledge is created and consumed in our culture. 
It perhaps goes without saying, but Wikipedia’s pedagogical power comes from its centrality in our culture. There is no other writing context I can create for my students that puts their writing in such a highly trafficked space. The WordPress sites I build collaboratively with my students, while public, are not attracting much attention and I am the primary editor of those sites. With Wikipedia, I send students out into the world and I do not control what will happen. I help students prepare and navigate, but when they engage with Wikipedia, their work stands on its own. I repeatedly proclaim the importance of clarity and reliable sources (the “eat your vegetables” of the first-year writing classroom), but the interactions students have with Wikipedians are what truly help them see why and how these things matter. 
To harness the power of Wikipedia for this sort of foundational learning, I give students freedom to explore their interests. The work of improving a Wikipedia article comes at the end of the semester, after students have completed a research project that they have designed based on their own interests. I encourage them to build on that research project, but they’re also free to work on something entirely different. I’ve found that Wikipedia can absolutely meet students where their interests are, from PT Barnum to Machinima, Piscoto the Icelandic Christmas Book Flood
Giving this sort of freedom does leave open the possibility that students will choose to improve articles on their hometown or favorite sport (a bit of a Wikipedia assignment cliché). Even when they pursue the cliché, I’ve found, the experience is more powerful than anything I might have accomplished by pre-selecting a topic. For example, though trainings provided by Wiki Education cover the importance of independent sources and we discuss this in class, one student chose a tourism website as a source to add to an article on her hometown. A longtime Wikipedian reinforced, a bit grumpily, what I had covered in class. It clicked. A student seeking census data to improve the article about his hometown discovered that anyone can create a profitable website by including freely available census data on their site and surrounding it with advertisements. Once he recognized the advertisements and looked into the site it was published on (the first in the list of google results), he decided instead to cite in his revisions. Another student found, as she looked for sources to improve “Volleyball,” that there was a website that had the same content as the article, word for word. I had explained in class that sometimes new editors mistakenly incorporate source material into Wikipedia articles without proper citations and she thought she’d found plagiarism. It was actually someone reusing Wikipedia’s openly licensed content on a Weebly site; this was completely fine because they had given proper attribution to Wikipedia. This provided the perfect opportunity to explore how openly licensed content circulates in our culture. Indeed, the Wiki Education training on plagiarism and its overlap with copyright is one of the best tools I’ve found to help students understand the tricky difference between attribution and citation; I always take time to play the video from the training in class. 
I have found that students who select topics because of their interests often end up correcting a gap in coverage, even when this isn’t their goal at the outset. Their work often involves defending the inclusion of reliable sources that present challenging or disruptive perspectives on the article’s topic. For example, while editing “Call of Duty: WWII” to address controversies surrounding the sparse use of the swastika and the game creators’ choice to create black and female avatars, one student had to defend the reliability of the sources she’d found. Her contributions, much revised and rearranged, remain to this day. One student worked tirelessly to improve “Women in the Military” and actually made some hard-fought headway in improving the “Women in the Armed Forces” section of “United States Armed Forces;” the pushback she received was, again, on the reliability of her sources. She took care in crafting her contributions to the talk page to show other editors of the article that her sources, though less typical, were strong and necessary. I can’t manufacture these experiences. In all of these cases, the learning came through the actual or anticipated interaction with other Wikipedians.
As many educators have realized, Wikipedia assignments invite students into a much more dynamic and engaging experience than submitting a more traditional paper to a teacher. I’ve had students who did the bare minimum on more traditional assignments spend hours talking with other editors on an article’s talk page. I’ve also had students who excel in academic argumentation find it frustrating that original research is not allowed on Wikipedia. Students who struggled to develop their own original claims for writing assignments have reported feeling encouraged that on Wikipedia their ability to describe, in clear prose, what others have already written is in high demand. Some students boldly make many changes to articles (maybe announcing on the talk page first, maybe not) and others approach the talk page as a space to ask for permission. This is all fascinating for me as a writing teacher. The reflections my students have written at the end of the assignment reveals how their contributions to Wikipedia have prompted them to think about their relationship to writing in terms of confidence, community, audience, and their own identities as authors.
An Example Timeline
I love concluding the semester with our Wikipedia assignment, but I’ve learned that scaffolding throughout the semester can make the final weeks that we devote to the assignment much more enjoyable (and much less stressful). This realization has come entirely from my students, whose reflections have revealed the need for more time. Luckily, I’ve realized that Wikipedia is not a departure from the work of the course, but a new lens through which to view it. This means that, more and more, I am using Wikipedia throughout the semester to support other assignments while also preparing students to make edits at the very end of the semester. Over the years, I have combined Wiki Education trainings, remixed Wiki Education trainings, and my own in-class activities to scaffold the final project. I include the plan below, with notes on how things are typically structured.
Assignment 1 (multiple weeks): Responding to a Single Text
No explicit mention of Wikipedia unless a student references an article during class discussion
Wiki Day 1: Getting Acquainted with Wikipedia
Before class, students are asked to read (and annotate with hypothesis, if they choose) a remixed version of the “Wikipedia Policies” training. In class, I guide students through an activity of my own creation (“Digital Presence”), focusing on helping students get acquainted with Wikipedia, Wiki Education, and their own presence on the Internet before creating accounts.
Wiki Day 2: Getting Acquainted with Wikipedians
Before class, students are asked to complete one Wiki Education training (Sandboxes, Talk Pages, and Watch Lists). In class, I guide students through an activity of my own creation (“Contributing to a Talk Page”), which prompts them to explore Wikipedians who have contributed to an article on a topic they find interesting.
Assignment 2 (multiple weeks): Entering an Academic Conversation
We might discuss Wikipedia a bit as we work on this assignment, perhaps referencing existing Wikipedia articles as we work collaboratively to build a library of reliable primary and secondary sources for the assignment. 
Wiki Day 3: Contributing to a Talk Page
Before class, students are asked to complete two trainings (Evaluating Articles and Sources and How to Edit). In class, we revisit “Contributing to a Talk Page” and focus together on an article related to the assignment we just completed. Students work together to brainstorm suggestions for improving the article and they are invited to share their suggestions on the talk page for the article. I encourage students to do what they think is best, which means some choose to bypass the talk page to make a change directly to the article. I don’t discourage this, but I do comment on it and try to get them all thinking about the various styles of editing that are emerging. 
Wiki Day 4: Finding an Article
Before class, students are asked to complete one training (Finding Your Article). In class, I invite students to explore the Article Finder Tool as they make decisions about the research project they will pursue. Wikipedia has always been a useful tool when students are brainstorming research topics, but this has the added benefit of helping them see how particular research projects might put them in a position to improve a Wikipedia article.
Assignment 3 (multiple weeks): Research Project
Typically, some students work on their project with an eye toward revising a Wikipedia article and some students set that assignment aside completely to focus on research questions they developed without reference to Wikipedia. 
Assignment 4 (multiple weeks): Improve Wikipedia
We begin the final project with four Wiki Education trainings that are best completed when students are ready to think of themselves as contributors to Wikipedia (Drafting in the Sandbox, Adding Citations, Moving Work out of the Sandbox, and Plagiarism). Students typically also revisit earlier trainings, and we spend each class period looking at the articles students have selected, planning how they will engage other editors on the talk page, and strategizing about the best ways to handle challenges as they emerge. I make sure that students who decide to contribute to Wikipedia publish their revisions to the actual article (not just their sandbox) by the last day of class at the very latest. This gives them an opportunity to see how other editors respond before the final exam, when their project reflection is due.  
Concluding Thoughts
I think Wikipedia is the perfect way to conclude a first-year writing course. At the end of a long, stressful semester, it is different and fresh. It takes skills students have been honing all semester and puts them to a new use. It also takes original research–something I’ve been teaching and celebrating all semester–off the table. At the start of the semester, many of my students have a difficult time imagining how they could make an original contribution to an academic conversation. As students complete their research projects, I have successfully convinced most of them that it is valuable and even enjoyable to find a creative angle or an unexplored question to explore an issue that they care about. Most are proud of the arguments they have presented. The Wikipedia assignment complicates things in a very useful way. As we enter the final assignment, I remind students that while talk pages are filled with editors’ arguments (about article organization, the validity of sources, the proper word choice), editors do not get to put their own original research into articles. This frustrates students in a useful way. They have to consider how they can improve their chosen article without bringing original research into it. We discuss why original research is not allowed and what would need to happen for their original argument to be mentioned in the article. In the best semesters, the assignment creates a scenario in which, on the final exam day, some students feel strongly that the world needs their original arguments and I’m able to encourage them to seek publication (somewhere reliable!) so those ideas can reach a wider audience. I think that’s a nice place to be at the end of a required first-year writing course.
Tech News issue #43, 2021 (October 25, 2021)
00:00, Monday, 25 2021 October UTC
Tech Forum
Tech News
Tech Ambassadors
Wikimedia Technology
Wikimedia Product
The Tech News weekly summaries help you monitor recent software changes likely to impact you and your fellow Wikimedians. Subscribe, contribute and give feedback.
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Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available.
Recent changes
The Coolest Tool Award 2021 is looking for nominations. You can recommend tools until 27 October.
Changes later this week
The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and from 26 October. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 27 October. It will be on all wikis from 28 October (calendar).
Future changes
You can join a meeting about the Community Wishlist Survey. News about the disambiguation and the real-time preview wishes will be shown. The event will take place on Wednesday, 27 October at 14:30 UTC. See how to join.
Tech news prepared by Tech News writers and posted by bot • Contribute • Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe.
Wikipedia as science communication
15:38, Friday, 22 2021 October UTC
Yug Chandra Saraswat is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University. He recently took an Wiki Scientist course sponsored by the American Physical Society.
My inspiration to become a Wiki Scientist and support unheard voices through biographies came after reading Brenda Maddox’s excellent biography of Rosalind Franklin “Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA” and sadly realizing the long time it took for the scientific community to give Dr Franklin the due credit for her ground-breaking work in the discovery of double helix structure of the DNA.
I believe that by providing scientists from minority and marginalized communities with their due recognition, we can reiterate the idea that a scientific contribution can be made irrespective of sex, race, and religious identity. I was also motivated to participate in this course because of my personal belief in promoting open access to credible and vetted scientific information to public. In the current environment, much of the technological development is hidden behind expensive archives and riddled with jargons that are incomprehensible to people without any field expertise. I strongly believed that education in this course would teach me how to communicate new scientific information in a responsible and comprehensive manner to the public.
In my opinion, the time I committed to this course was well spent as it provided me with an excellent opportunity to highlight the scientific contributions made by female scientists in the field of physics and engineering. I was very happy to see the commitment of Wikipedia users toward disseminating credible information and maintaining communication (via the ‘Talk’ pages) with other users in a respectful and professional manner thereby encouraging informative and thought-provoking discussions.
The course is well-organized and provides all the necessary information in a succinct format to become a responsible member of the Wikipedia community. I would like to mention our instructor Will Kent, who patiently showed us the complex albeit open and welcoming world of Wikipedia. His feedback on my multiple drafts helped me publish an article that I am proud of.
I devoted my time toward writing about an Indian physicist, Dr Shobhana Narasimhan, who is currently working at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research and specializes in computational nanoscience. It was especially inspiring to research about her because in addition to being a professor and a successful researcher, she is also an advocate for increasing women participation in STEM research and a member of the Standing committee on Women in Science and National Task force on Women in Science in India. I was fascinated to read about her contribution toward developing innovative pedagogical techniques and her recommendations to the Indian government on promoting female participation in STEM.
After finishing my PhD, I plan to pursue a career in academia as a professor, and I strongly believe that this course taught me how to become an effective and responsible communicator and has inspired me to contribute toward promotion of diversity and inclusion in the STEM field. I hope that my testimonial can inspire other students and members of the STEM community to do the same.
To take a course like the one Yug took, visit
Image credit: SMR 94, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Production Excellence #36: September 2021
15:11, Friday, 22 2021 October UTC
How’d we do in our strive for operational excellence last month? Read on to find out!
We've had quite an eventful month, with 8 documented incidents in September. That's the highest since last year (Feb 2020) and one of the three worst months of the last five years.
Remember to review and schedule Incident Follow-up work in Phabricator, which are preventive measures and tech debt mitigations written down after an incident is concluded.

Image from Incident graphs.
The month of September saw 24 new production error reports of which 11 have since been resolved, and today, three to six weeks later, 13 remain open and have thus carried over to the next month. This is about average, although it makes it no less sad that we continue to introduce (and carry over) more errors than we rectify in the same time frame.
On the other hand, last month we did have a healthy focus on some of the older reports. The workboard stood at 301 unresolved errors last month. Of those, 16 were resolved. With the 13 new errors from September, this reduces the total slightly, to 298 open tasks.

For the month-over-month numbers, refer to the spreadsheet data.
Did you know
💡 The default "system error" page now includes a request ID. T291192
💡 To zoom in and find your team's error reports, use the appropriate "Filter" link in the sidebar of the workboard.
Outstanding errors
Take a look at the workboard and look for tasks that could use your help.
View Workboard
Summary over recent months:
Jan 2021 (50 issues)3 left. Unchanged.
Feb 2021 (20 issues)5 > 4 left.
Mar 2021 (48 issues)10 > 9 left.
Apr 2021 (42 issues)17 > 10 left.
May 2021 (54 issues)20 > 17 left.
Jun 2021 (26 issues)10 > 9 left.
Jul 2021 (31 issues)12 left. Unchanged.
Aug 2021 (46 issues)17 > 12 left.
Sep 2021 (24 issues)13 unresolved issues remaining.
301issues open, as of Excellence #35 (August 2021)
-16issues closed, of the previous 301 open issues.
+13new issues that survived September 2021.
298issues open, as of today (19 Oct 2021).
Thank you to everyone who helped by reporting, investigating, or resolving problems in Wikimedia production. Thanks!
Until next time,
– Timo Tijhof
One million Wikipedia articles by translation
06:29, Friday, 22 2021 October UTC
I am happy to share a news from my work at Wikimedia Foundation. The Wikipedia article translation system, known as Content Translation reached a milestone of creating one million articles. Since 2015, this is my major project at WMF and I am lead engineer for the project. The Content Translation system helps Wikipedia editors to quickly translate and publish articles from one language wiki to another. This way, the knowledge gap between different languages are reduced.
My teleconf setup
22:41, Thursday, 21 2021 October UTC
Several friends have asked about my camera/videoconferencing setup, so some notes on that.

Picture from my desktop camera. Lighting isn’t quite as even as I’d like (and as always in stills, my smile is goofy) but you can see the background blur clearly.
I’ve joked that for lawyers, a good videoconferencing setup is now like a good suit—sort of pointless but nevertheless can help make a good impression in a field where impressions, for better and for worse, matter.
I picked up the new book “Presenting Virtually” from Duarte and it starts with something that’s pretty basic, but also not always obvious—you can’t control networks, and often don’t control what presentation software you’re using. What you do control is your hardware, so make that the best you can.
I bought a Canon 77D to take baby pictures and… it was in a closet when the pandemic hit. I use it with a 24mm pancake lens. Canon provides a driver that lets you use the camera as a webcam.
Given the cost, I’m not sure this makes sense for most people to do unless they already have a compatible Canon laying around. But if you do have a supported one it works great!
As an alternative, friends speak very highly of this new Dell camera.
I cheat by having good natural light in my office and then supplementing it, rather than having to blast light all over to make up for the gap. This means my light was cheap; the primary criteria was being able to change the color (from a bright white to yellow-ish) so that things looked right.
The exact model I got is no longer available, but is basically similar to this one.
Pro tip for new-ish home workers: if you have two rooms, one dark and one bright, make your bedroom dark and cramped and your office big and light. The previous residents of our place made the reverse choice and I don’t understand it at all.
I have a Blue Yeti mic. I’m not sure I’d recommend it for most people. The audio quality is very good, but positioning it over a desk is finicky. (I use these for both my camera and mic, and they work once you get them set up, but they’re a pain.) In addition, it has a headphone jack—which is fine except it insists on reporting to the operating system that it is live even when it has nothing plugged in, so I frequently have to say “no, bad zoom, use the speakers that are actually speakers”.
If I were doing it over again, I’d get something designed more specifically for the home office use case. A friend swears by their Jabra 510, and this new thing from Logitech looks pretty interesting.
What I’m not doing (at least not yet)
I’m sorely tempted to get a teleprompter, but Stephen has mostly convinced me not to. In my experience, at this time, the bar is pretty low—having a good camera and light really does make things noticeably better for people on the other end, even if your eye contact isn’t perfect while doing a slide deck. So you can get a lot of bang for a lot less effort than Stephen spent. Still, tempting some days :)
Hope this is helpful!
Production Excellence #35: August 2021
23:01, Wednesday, 20 2021 October UTC
How’d we do in our strive for operational excellence last month? Read on to find out!
Zero documented incidents last month. Isn't that something!
Learn about past incidents at Incident status on Wikitech. Remember to review and schedule Incident Follow-up in Phabricator, which are preventive measures and other action items to learn from.

Image from Incident graphs.
In August we resolved 18 of the 156 reports that carried over from previous months, and reported 46 new failures in production. Of the new ones, 17 remain unresolved as of writing and will carry over to next month.
The number of new errors reports in August was fairly high at 46, compared to 31 reports in July, and 26 reports in June.

The backlog of "Old" issues saw no progress this past month and remained constant at 146 open error reports.

Unified graph:

💡 Did you know:
You can zoom in to your team's error reports by using the appropriate "Filter" link in the sidebar of our shared workboard.
Take a look at the workboard and look for tasks that could use your help.
View Workboard
Last few months in review:
Jan 2021 (50 issues)3 left.
Feb 2021 (20 issues)6 > 5 left.
Mar 2021 (48 issues)13 > 10 left.
Apr 2021 (42 issues)18 > 17 left.
May 2021 (54 issues)22 > 20 left.
Jun 2021 (26 issues)11 > 10 left.
Jul 2021 (31 issues)16 > 12 left.
Aug 2021 (46 issues)+ 17 new unresolved issues.
156issues open, as of Excellence #34 (July 2021).
-18issues closed, of the previously open issues.
+17new issues that survived August 2021.
155issues open, as of today (3 Sep 2021).
For more month-over-month numbers refer to the spreadsheet.
Thank you to everyone who helped by reporting, investigating, or resolving problems in Wikimedia production. Thanks!
Until next time,
– Timo Tijhof
“Fly, little item, and be useful to someone!”
16:39, Wednesday, 20 2021 October UTC

Julia Novakovic
At a conference a few years ago, Julia Novakovic got inspired by the idea of linked data. As an Archivist for the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, Julia is responsible for the preservation of, and providing access to, primary source documentation relating to the study of play, artifacts of play, and video and electronic game history. So when an opportunity came her way to join one of Wiki Education’s Wikidata Institutecourses through the New York Data Carpentries Library Consortium (NYDCLC), Julia remembered her earlier dreams of linked data — and set out making them a reality.
“The Women in Games Initiative at The Strong shares the ever-evolving story of women’s contributions to the video game industry, and I thought that using linked data to map this initiative would be a very useful resource,” she says. “If we could create a visualization showing that this woman worked for X company, which also employed this woman, who collaborated with this other woman, and so on, it could really show impact on, and growth of, the video game industry. We could then also link people to related collections materials—whether museum objects (like games or hardware), or archival collections (like primary source documentation or oral history interviews). While I’ve since been preoccupied with other duties and projects at The Strong, I realized that getting involved with Wikidata might just be the boost I need to learn more and be able to see this idea come to fruition.”
Wiki Education’s Wikidata Institute course provided that boost for Julia. Through twice-weekly Zoom sessions for three weeks led by Will Kent, out of class online tutorials, and a plethora of tools and visualizations to explore, Julia quickly became immersed in the world of Wikidata. And because she was part of a cohort of fellow NYDCLC participants, Julia got even more out of the course.
“It was actually pretty useful for me to have classmates in the same region because we had a lot of topics and questions in common,” she says. “I had also met a handful of them in person at previous events or conferences too, and it was nice to see familiar faces!”
As part of the course, she added references to items in Wikidata related to her areas of expertise at the museum. This led her down the Wikidata wormhole of creating items for publications, then linking those items as a reference for another item. She spent some time on the Monopoly article, as The Strong’s archives have lots of materials related to the Parker Brothers games.
“My favorite part is the satisfaction that accompanies a new item going out into the ether,” Julia says. “Fly, little item, and be useful to someone!”
Since the class wrapped up, she has connected with colleagues at the museum to do more work on Wikidata items related to an upcoming Women in Games celebration. And she’s planning to incorporate Wikidata into a new website her museum recently launched, the Sid Sackson Portal.
Julia encourages more librarians and archivists to contribute to Wikidata
“As information professionals, it should be second nature for us to want to help make data out there better,” she says, “whether that’s by creating items, making edits when needed, or providing references for users.”
The New York Data Carpentries Library Consortium sponsored this course for librarians in Western and Central New York, thanks to financial support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. To bring together librarians, data professionals, and others at your institution for a similar learning experience, contact
Image credits: עדירל, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Jnovakovic09, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Iterating on how we do NFS at Wikimedia Cloud Services
19:27, Tuesday, 19 2021 October UTC
By Arturo Borrero González, Site Reliability Engineer, Wikimedia Cloud Services Team
The current situation
NFS is a central piece of technology for some of the services that the Wikimedia Cloud Services team offers to the community. We have several shares that power different use cases: Toolforge user home directories live on NFS, and Cloud VPS users can also access dumps using this protocol. The current setup involves several physical hardware servers, with about 20TB of storage, offering shares over 10G links to the cloud. For the system to be more fault-tolerant, we duplicate each share for redundancy using DRBD.
Running NFS on dedicated hardware servers has traditionally offered us advantages: mostly on the performance and the capacity fields.
As time has passed, we have been enumerating more and more reasons to review how we do NFS. For one, the current setup is in violation of some of our internal rules regarding realm separation. Additionally, we had been longing for additional flexibility managing our servers: we wanted to use virtual machines managed by Openstack Nova. The DRBD-based high-availability system required mostly a hand-crafted procedure for failover/failback. There’s also some scalability concerns as NFS is easy to grow up, but not to grow horizontally, and of course, we have to be able to keep the tenancy setup while doing so, something that NFS does by using LDAP/Unix users and may get complicated too when growing. In general, the servers have become ‘too big to fail’, clearly technical debt, and it has taken us years to decide on taking on the task to rethink the architecture. It’s worth mentioning that in an ideal world, we wouldn’t depend on NFS, but the truth is that it will still be a central piece of infrastructure for years to come in services like Toolforge.
Over a series of brainstorming meetings, the WMCS team evaluated the situation and sorted out the many moving parts. The team  managed to boil down the potential service future to two competing options:
Then we decided to research both options in parallel. For a number of reasons, the evaluation was timeboxed to three weeks. Both ideas had a couple of points in common: the NFS data would be stored on our Ceph farm via Cinder volumes, and we would rely on Ceph reliability to avoid using DRBD. Another open topic was how to back up data from Ceph, to store our important bits in more than one basket. We will get to the back up topic later.
The manila experiment
The Wikimedia Foundation was an early adopter of some Openstack components (Nova, Glance, Designate, Horizon), but Manila was never evaluated for usage until now. Our approach for this experiment was to closely follow the upstream guidelines. We read the documentation and tried to understand the different setups you can build with Manila. As we often feel with other Openstack components, the documentation doesn’t perfectly describe how to introduce a given component in your particular local setup. Here we use an admin-controller flat-topology Neutron network. This network is shared by all tenants (or projects) in our Openstack deployment. Also, Manila can use many different driver backends, for things like NetApps or CephFS—that we don’t use…, yet. After some research, the generic driver was the one that seemed to better fit our use case. The generic driver leverages Nova virtual machines instances plus Cinder volume to create and manage the shares. In general, Manila supports two operational modes, whether it should create/destroy the share servers (i.e, the virtual machine instances) or not. This option is called driver_handles_share_server (or DHSS) and takes a boolean value. 
We were interested in trying with DHSS=true, to really benefit from the potential of the setup.​, By Arturo Borrero González, CC-BY-SA 4.0
So, after sorting all these variables, we moved on with our initial testing. We built a PoC setup as depicted in the diagram above, with the manila-share component running in a virtual machine inside the cloud. The PoC led to us reporting several bugs upstream:
In some cases we tried to address these bugs ourselves:
It’s worth mentioning that the upstream community was extra-welcoming to us, and we’re thankful for that. However, at the end of our three-week period, our Manila setup still wasn’t working as expected. Your experience may change with other drivers—perhaps the ZFSonLinux or the CephFS ones. In general, we were having trouble making the setup work as expected, so we decided to abandon this approach in favor of the other option we were considering at the beginning.
Simple virtual machine serving NFS
The alternative was to create a Nova virtual machine instance by hand and to configure it using puppet. We have been investing in an automation framework lately, so the idea is to not actually create the server by hand. Anyway, the data would be decoupled from the instance into Cinder volumes, which led us to the question we left for later: How should we back up those terabytes of important information? Just to be clear, the backup problem was independent of the above options; with Manila we would still have had to solve the same challenge. We would like to see our data be backed up somewhere else other than in Ceph. And that’s exactly where we are at right now. We’ve been exploring different backup strategies and will finally use the Cinder backup API.
The iteration will end with the dedicated NFS hardware servers being stopped, and the shares being served from within the cloud. The migration will take some time to happen because we will check and double-check that everything works as expected (including from the performance point of view) before making definitive changes. We already have some plans to make sure our users experience as little service impact as possible. The most troublesome shares will be those related to Toolforge. At some point we will need to disallow writes to the NFS share, rsync the data out of the hardware servers into the Cinder volumes, point the NFS clients to the new virtual machines, and then enable writes again. The main Toolforge share has about 8TB of data, so this will take a while.
We will have more updates in the future. Who knows, perhaps our next-next iteration, in a couple of years, will see us adopting Openstack Manila for good.
About this post
Featured image credit: File:(from break water) Manila Skyline – panoramio.jpg, ewol, CC BY-SA 3.0
The Wiki Education Wow Moments
16:06, Monday, 18 2021 October UTC
Jay. F Bolin is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Biology Department at Catawba College, Salisbury, North Carolina.

Jay Bolin Image courtesy Jay Bolin, all rights reserved.
As a college professor I’m fortunate to teach subjects I love at Catawba College and teaching with Wiki Education I can confidently say has made my teaching even more satisfying. Since 2016, I’ve used Wiki Education in three Plant Taxonomy courses (one that I’m offering this fall) and one Dendrology Course (for those not into esoteric -ologies, that’s a course on the biology of trees). I’ll admit I was not a Wikipedia editor before learning about Wiki Education at a scientific conference and still haven’t been fully transformed into a late night Wikipedian. But, I do dabble on occasion, since I’ve been learning about editing Wikipedia right along with my students.
In my courses where I employ Wiki Education the implementation is incredibly straightforward, I have students find stubs (sad nubbins of Wikipedia pages) for native plants in my home state of North Carolina. With over 4,000 plants in the Tar Heel state, the student’s task of finding a stub for a plant that is interesting to them and developing a reasonable Wikipedia species page is a challenging but still reasonable ask. They explore and write succinct and dispassionate descriptions in Wikipedia of the plants themselves, their ecology, taxonomy, and any other area that the students choose with adequate references. I love the self-directed aspect of Wiki Education assignments; for example, if a student is interested in Native American uses of a plant they follow that path, if they are biochemistry nuts they can describe medicinally active compounds.
Mince no words, implementing Wiki Education in your classroom is work, but it is rewarding for so many reasons. Just this week, I was on a nerdy iMessage thread with two other academic botanists about the identification of a particular maple tree in Kentucky. We were discussing possible options then when I intuited that he was reading from a Wikipedia page that my student primarily authored! There aren’t a lot of student assignments that you work on with your student and spend time carefully editing that make an impact like Wiki Education outside of the classroom. Just so you know, the popular “facepalm” emoticon on the right is more of a mind-blown happy thing than the traditional usage.
Another “Ah-Ha” or Wow teaching moment that I had a few years ago was in a Plant Taxonomy Class. While students were doing some revisions and research on their own Wikipedia plant species pages in class, a student just yelled out “NOOOOOO, NOOOOOOOO” and gesticulated wildly, alarmed I walked over and asked what the issue was. He shook his head and showed me his phone. He had the astute idea of doing more research on his focal plant species using a very widely used photo identification phone app called iNaturalist.  When he pulled up the description of the plant species in iNaturalist, what he saw was his own writing, talk about circular: He had written nearly all of the Wikipedia page, already made it “live” and was looking for guidance from his own writing. As many natural historians know Wikipedia is an invaluable source of freely available taxonomic information,  iNaturalist (funded by the California Academy of Science and National Geographic) and the Encyclopedia of Life (funded by the Smithsonian Institution) both feed some or all of their descriptive data from Wikipedia. Soon all the students whipped out their phones (OK I’m lying they were already out on the lab tables), and looked up their focal Wiki Education species on the iNaturalist app, and were one by one blown away and shaken, that the inviolable fount of knowledge, their phones, were linking their own writing, for class! After that they realized that they were the experts and took their tasks of editing and researching “their plant pages” with solemn seriousness.
A few protips from a somewhat seasoned Wiki Education professor (78.K words & 926 references added by students and an astounding 611k plant species page views! (this is how Wikipedians talk)): If you aren’t using Wiki Education in the classroom I suggest giving it a whirl, as long as 1) your class is relatively small, 2) your students are mostly Junior or Seniors, and 3) you have time (I know) to edit your student’s short Wikipedia entries. As a final thought, if you are preparing a new course, that would be a good time to introduce a Wiki Education assignment. Mashing the well thought out Wiki Education training and modules into an existing course may not work unless you can take a paring knife to the precious content you have developed for a course that you’ve taught a few times. I enjoy teaching with Wiki Education and I think you will too.
Image credit: Kharris0317, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Tech News issue #42, 2021 (October 18, 2021)
00:00, Monday, 18 2021 October UTC
Tech Forum
Tech News
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The Tech News weekly summaries help you monitor recent software changes likely to impact you and your fellow Wikimedians. Subscribe, contribute and give feedback.
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Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available.
Recent changes
Toolhub is a catalogue to make it easier to find software tools that can be used for working on the Wikimedia projects. You can read more.
Changes later this week
The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and from 19 October. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 20 October. It will be on all wikis from 21 October (calendar).
Future changes
Tech news prepared by Tech News writers and posted by bot • Contribute • Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe.
weeklyOSM 586
10:33, Sunday, 17 2021 October UTC

Daniele Santini‘s Open Etymology Map [1] © Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, Mapbox | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
OpenStreetMap Foundation
Local chapter news
Christian Quest wrote

about the creation of OpenStreetMap France on the occasion of its 10th birthday.
Pista ng Mapa (Festival of Maps) is an annual open and geo conference held in the Philippines. Registration is open until Sunday 31 October.
Humanitarian OSM
Open Etymology Map shows the etymology of names based on OSM and Wikidata.
LySioS wondered if the OSM copyright notice might not be better clarified by a word-picture mark rather than plain text to indicate OSM’s contribution. Various people in the thread pointed to earlier discussions on the theme.
Did you know …
Other “geo” things
Upcoming Events
OSMF Engineering Working Group meeting
LyonMissing Maps CartONG Tour de France des Mapathons – Lyon
Bonn144. Treffen des OSM-Stammtisches Bonn
BerlinOSM-Verkehrswende #28 (Online)
LüneburgLüneburger Mappertreffen (online)
Olomoucříjnový olomoucký mapathon
BudapestSurvey around the University of Óbuda (please vote!)
Hlavní město Praha“50 years of MSF” mapathon with Missing Maps CZ community 2021 #6
Code for Toyama City シビックテックナイト#33 参加できるデジタル地図づくり
BremenBremer Mappertreffen (Online)
San JoseSouth Bay Map Night
Bruxelles – BrusselVirtual(?) OpenStreetMap Belgium meeting
DüsseldorfDüsseldorfer OSM-Treffen (online)
Decatur CountyOSM US Mappy Hour
[Online] OpenStreetMap Foundation board of Directors – public videomeeting
AmsterdamOSM Nederland maandelijkse bijeenkomst (online)
Prévessin-MoënsCartographie dans le Pays de Gex
[Online] OpenStreetMap Foundation – Board of directors and advisory board public videomeeting
Greater LondonMissing Maps London Mapathon
Landau an der IsarVirtuelles Niederbayern-Treffen
Nordrhein-WestfalenOSM-Treffen Bochum (November)
OSM Local Chapters & Communities Virtual Congress
If you like to see your event here, please put it into the OSM calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM.
This weeklyOSM was produced by Nordpfeil, PierZen, SK53Strubbl, TheSwavu, arnalielsewhere, conradoos, derFred.
Improving Wikipedia’s biographies of underrepresented physicists
15:51, Thursday, 14 2021 October UTC

Nick Geiser
Like most people, Nick Geiser uses Wikipedia every day. As a PhD candidate in theoretical physics at the University of California, Los Angeles, Nick studies string theory and uses mathematics to solve problems in quantum gravity. Outside of research, he works with a variety of organizations to support under-represented minority groups in STEM fields.
When he first saw information about an American Physical Society (APS) Wiki Scientists course, where participants would learn to edit Wikipedia with instruction from Wiki Education, Nick was intrigued, but work and other distractions kept him from applying.
“A few months after that, I read an article about the course itself and the experiences of the Wiki Scientists who took it. I then enthusiastically signed up for the latest iteration of the course and received a scholarship from the APS to attend,” he says. “I specifically wanted to learn how to edit Wikipedia and to spend time improving the biographical pages for minority physicists.”
Nick joined other APS members in a six-week course over Zoom, led by Wiki Education’s Will Kent. As a scientific researcher, Nick says he was familiar with technical writing, but the idea of editing Wikipedia was still daunting to him.
“The weekly meetings and homework assignments were a perfect format to learn the particular skills of editing Wikipedia that I might have never learned on my own,” he says. “Frankly, Wikipedia is overwhelming, and Will broke things down so that I could learn the ropes in manageable steps.”
Following those steps led Nick to improve the biography of Argentine theoretical physicist Miguel Ángel Virasoro, whose work laid the mathematical groundwork for Nick’s field. The article was a stub, meaning it was comprised of a handful of sentences but lacked detail.
“I am also Latino, so I found Virasoro as a fitting first subject for my Wikipedia journey,” Nick explains. “Through writing this article, I learned that a prominent Argentine philosopher with the same name was the father of the physicist Virasoro, but there was no reference to this connection on English language Wikipedia! I disambiguated the two Wikipedia pages and added the fact that they were father and son. I was incredibly surprised that such an important fact was missing from the two Wikipedia pages, and I was happy to have added that particular bit of information.”
Having learned to edit Wikipedia through this course, Nick plans to keep contributing content. He loves how focused he becomes when editing Wikipedia — to the detriment of his other projects, a statement many Wikipedians all over the world can identify with. In the future, he plans to both improve biographies of under-represented physicists as well as regularly editing more technical articles he’s engaging with as part of his own research.
“Improving the open-access reservoir of knowledge on Wikipedia will now be part of my regular work as an academic,” Nick says. “I think all academics, including physicists, should learn the basics of editing Wikipedia. We all write academic papers which may be read by only a few other researchers. Wikipedia articles, however, may be read by millions of people. Just a few hours of edits can tangibly improve a primary source of information for much of the globe.”
“Moreover, STEM in particular has real problems of representation, and improving the biographical articles on Wikipedia for under-represented minority scientists can help turn the tide,” he adds. “Aspiring young scientists are influenced by scientists who look like them, and the biographies of these scientists will not write themselves.”
Image credits: Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Quant Mechanic, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
This Month in GLAM: September 2021
22:34, Tuesday, 12 2021 October UTC
How 500 Women Wiki Scientists are working to change the face of science
15:38, Tuesday, 12 2021 October UTC
“So often, we hear that girls in science need more role models and inspiration. We’re asked, ‘Where are the women in science?’, as if we’re not already here.”
Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam and Dr. Jess Wade,Nature
500 Women Wiki Scientists is a project between Wiki Education and 500 Women Scientists to increase visibility of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine (STEMM) through Wikipedia’s vast reach. Since May 2020, we’ve partnered to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of women and other historically excluded scientists. 500 Women Scientists has given 75 members—predominantly early career scientists—the opportunity to work with Wiki Education’s Wikipedia experts to learn how to join the Wikipedia community and ensure the encyclopedia reflects the most accurate and equitable representation of STEMM.
In three Wiki Scientists courses to date (with a fourth one starting this week), scientists affiliated with 500 Women Scientists have collaborated with each other and Wiki Education’s team to add and expand STEMM biographies on Wikipedia. Over 6 weeks, they’ve learned how to use Wikimedia projects as tools in their work to preserve and share knowledge with the public. By embedding Wikipedia know-how within their institution, 500 Women Scientists has developed a network of Wikipedians to continue this important work both through their own editing and through coordinating Wikipedia-editing events.
This is the story of how this group has become an integral part of the Wikipedia movement, and how other organizations can make that happen for their faculty, staff, or members.
There are two key components to this ongoing project:
1.  we expand public knowledge of notable scientists who have been historically excluded from the narrative;
2. scientists learn how to edit Wikipedia, later applying their learning outcomes to teach others.
1) The public benefits from more inclusive information about scientists
The US Department of Education says that women earn 57.4% of bachelor’s degrees and 62.6% of master’s degrees. But only 31% of degrees and certificates in STEMM fields go to women.
This gap has an uneasy, well-known counterpart on Wikipedia. Roughly 83.7% of the volunteers writing Wikipedia are men. It’s perhaps no coincidence that Wikipedia’s biographies of women are often lacking in quality (sometimes highlighting a woman’s work through her husband’s career), and some are missing altogether, as only 19% of biographies on Wikipedia are of women. Wiki Education and 500 Women Scientists celebrate the idea that access to knowledge is a game-changer. We believe the same holds true for young future scientists. The gap in Wikipedia’s coverage of women reflects worrisome stereotypes of women in science, especially when we know that women already “do groundbreaking work and pave the way for more like them to join the ranks of the scientific workforce,” as Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam of 500 Women Scientists puts it.
That’s where the 500 Women Wiki Scientists come in. The participants in our courses have added more than 373,000 words to Wikipedia, primarily to biographies, and they’ve created 92 brand new articles. This is a feat for any group, but especially first-time editors who are new to Wikipedia’s technical and procedural nuances. They’re able to do this work because the publications about these scientists’ work already exist—notice they’ve added 1,400 references—but nobody else has taken the initiative to add it in to Wikipedia.
Participants’ hard work has reached over 7 million people curious to learn more about these scientists. Now, anyone with access to the internet can learn about Jean Langenheim, a plant ecologist and pioneer for women in the field. Perhaps they’ll read about Angela Christiano, a molecular geneticist whose research shows promise for treating hair loss, or Mercedes Concepcion, a Filipino social scientist whose outstanding work in population studies in Asia has earned her the nickname “Mother of Asian Demography.”
Thanks to the 500 Women Wiki Scientists, there are dozens of other stories like this now waiting for the world to discover them. We’re excited to continue this partnership, sharing stories that better represent the existing diversity among scientists, especially to encourage even more diversity in the coming generations. As Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam and Dr. Jess Wade have said, “If we can inspire enough editors to take to Wikipedia and fill in the gaps forged by gender bias, we will improve our scientific record, celebrate the outstanding science done by scientists from underrepresented groups and, maybe, inspire a new generation of girls in science who can find stories of girls just like them who grew up to do and discover incredible things.”
2) Wiki Scientists courses teach scientists how to edit Wikipedia, and alumni pass their new skills to other newcomers
Over 6 weeks, Wiki Education’s team of Wikipedia experts facilitates collaborative group sessions among 500 Women Scientists’ members to immerse them in Wikipedia’s technical, procedural, and cultural practices. Wiki Education helps these scholars incorporate published information about notable and underrepresented scientists from their field of study to Wikipedia.
Upon course completion, participants receive a shareable, electronic certificate issued by 500 Women Scientists and Wiki Education, designating them as 500 Women Wiki Scientists. At this stage, they have developed the technical skills and Wikipedia know-how to disseminate their knowledge to the public and facilitate Wikipedia-editing activities among their peers.
We’re proud of our Wiki Scientists course curriculum and the ability to bring “newbies” into the community in a relatively short period, and we’re especially thrilled with how much participants enjoy the whole experience. One participant said, “I was hoping to create two new Wikipedia pages – which was a huge stretch for me, since I had very limited editing experience before this program. I ended up creating three pages and participated in two additional edit-a-thons during the program. I plan on continuing to edit and make contributions. The course set me up to succeed.” When asked how they would describe the benefit of learning how to edit Wikipedia to someone else, another participant said, “Having the tools to contribute and improve one of the most visited sources of information is pretty empowering. Especially if you have a niche you’re excited to work on/learn more about. Editing Wikipedia is also a good exercise to become a better writer.”
And, of course, we love seeing that all post-course survey respondents reported satisfaction and that they would recommend this course to a colleague.
To date, we have trained 55 members of 500 Women Scientists how to edit Wikipedia, and we’re starting a new course this week, which will bring 20 new scientists into the community. The new cohort will join their peers in moderating virtual events to bring more scientists to Wikipedia. Check out their ongoing impact as they train others how to add biographies of historically excluded scientists to Wikipedia.
How organizations can partner with Wiki Education around a training course
Amplify reliable information to the public
Our team works personally with organizations like 500 Women Scientists to set up Wikipedia and Wikidata training courses that align with their mission and expand the public’s access to high quality knowledge. In conversations with one of 500 Women Scientists’ executive leaders, Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam, we identified what Wiki Education could help their members achieve, and we built the first course to ensure it would be an excellent learning experience for 500 Women Scientists’ participating members and would contribute to the public scholarship about women in STEMM.
Give your team the skills they need to train others
500 Women Scientists has been active for a few years in running Wikipedia edit-a-thons, events where trained Wikipedia editors guide interested newcomers through the early stages of contributing content to Wikipedia. Though they originally held events in regional “pods,” the COVID-19 pandemic shifted their events into a virtual space. These events proved engaging for members and have long had a high turn-out, but we determined that a more in-depth Wiki Scientists course would provide a deeper learning experience for anyone who prefers structured assignments and milestones as a part of their learning process. That way, 500 Women Scientists could expand their pool of members who were competent in Wikipedia editing and confident enough to train others, thus passing on their new skills to other members.
Help make open knowledge more inclusive and equitable
500 Women Scientists’ mission to make science more inclusive aligns with Wiki Education’s initiative to make Wikipedia more equitable. Not only do their members bring more inclusive content about scientists to the public through Wikipedia, but they represent a much more diverse group of editors than the existing community on English Wikipedia.
98% of the 500 Women Wiki Scientists alumni report their pronouns as “she/her” or “they/them,” which means this partnership is bringing more diverse voices to Wikipedia, as the existing editor base is 83.7% men. Additionally, we can compare the reported race and ethnicity of Wiki Education’s participants in the 500 Women Wiki Scientists courses to the Wikimedia Foundation’s 2021 Community Insights Report and see how much more racially diverse the 500 Women Wiki Scientists are compared to the existing Wikipedia community within the United States.
Join our movement!
Together, 500 Women Scientists and Wiki Education are working together to improve Wikipedia’s breadth, quality, and equity. We’re eager to continue this work, both with 500 Women Scientists and other partners. 500 Women Scientists has sponsored 75 seats since May 2020, creating a free, engaging learning opportunity for their members. This unique, fun professional development experience is fulfilling for scholars as they share knowledge with the world, and we can’t wait to bring more subject-matter experts into our community.
If you’re interested in beginning a conversation about buying out a customized course for members or staff of your organization, contact us at
You Shall Not Pass! Wikimedia Foundation Denied Observer Status At WIPO
14:22, Tuesday, 12 2021 October UTC
The fight over the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market has shown that European copyright rules affect the operation of Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. Global rules are equally important. Negotiations take place in Geneva, at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Wikimedia Deutschland and the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group are committed to increasing transparency around WIPO negotiations on international copyright law, and shaping WIPO-level policy outcomes, especially facing the pressure by rightsholders’ to expand the scope of copyright protections. This is the third installment of a series on Wikimedia’s involvement at WIPO (see part I and part II).
China blocked the Wikimedia Foundation’s bid for observer status at WIPO. This is the second time this has happened after the Foundation’s initial application in 2020. Wikimedia’s exclusion sets a worrying precedent and should alert European lawmakers who are concerned about the democratic governance of intergovernmental organizations.
Unsurprising yet still disappointing
China’s move during last week’s general assembly session didn’t exactly come as a surprise. It was again the only country to explicitly object to the accreditation of the Wikimedia Foundation as an official observer. Since WIPO is generally run by consensus, any one country may veto accreditation requests by NGOs. The Foundation will reapply for official observer status in 2022, but it will only be admitted by WIPO if China decides to change its mind.
Like last year, China’s statement suggested that “affiliated websites of Wikimedia contain a large amount of content and disinformation that run counter to the ‘One-China-Principle.’” It’s unclear whether this claim was made in reference to the independent, volunteer-led Wikimedia Taiwan chapter or the Wikimedia projects, such as Wikipedia. The government has blocked access to all language versions of Wikipedia in China for a number of years.
No consensus in sight
The United States and the group of industrialized countries at WIPO (Group B) — which also includes a number of Western European Union member states, Australia, Canada, the Holy See, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom — expressed their support for the Foundation’s application. Yet Iran, Pakistan, and Russia in their respective statements insisted on the observance of the consensus principle.
A wide range of international and non-profit organizations as well as business associations are accredited as observers by WIPO. These outside groups offer technical expertise, on-the-ground experience, and diversity of opinions to help WIPO carry out its global mandate. It’s not at all unusual for observers to have members, partners, or affiliates in Taiwan. So far, the only organization that unsuccessfully applied for observer status has been Pirate Parties International due to being a political party.
Civil society united
In a statement released on Tuesday, Amanda Keton, General Counsel of the Foundation noted that “the Wikimedia Foundation’s absence from these meetings deprives our communities of an opportunity to participate in this process.” Keton added: “We renew our call to WIPO members, including China, to approve our application. The international community must ensure meaningful civil society participation in UN fora.”
“We renew our call to WIPO members, including China, to approve our application. The international community must ensure meaningful civil society participation in UN fora.”
Amanda Keton, General Counsel of the Wikimedia Foundation
The French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Swiss Wikimedia chapters joined in on this call. In addition, Creative Commons released a statement of support and Communia sent a letter to WIPO delegates co-signed by 55 civil society organizations, asking for the Foundation’s admission as an observer organization.
The EU needs to do more to uphold democratic principles
China is already using its influence to choke NGO participation at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WIPO is at risk of falling prey to the same mechanism of capture and becoming an arena for battles unrelated with intellectual property. The EU has a responsibility to uphold democratic principles in global governance and particularly in the UN system. While the statements by the United States and Group B are certainly welcome, it’s clear that we need more support.
2021 Palestine-Wales editathon
12:29, Tuesday, 12 2021 October UTC
By Robin Owain, Wales Programme Manager for Wikimedia UK
Wikiproject Palestine-Wales was a month-long editathon, which took place in August 2021, between Wikimedia UK and Wikimedia Levant. The event generated a total of 242 new articles.
Wikipedians from both communities listed the most important articles from their respective languages and translated them as a token of friendship. The wikiproject contributed to reducing the cultural as well as content gap on Wikipedia, and strengthened the bond between the State of Palestine and Wales, both Levantine and Welsh communities.
Half way through the programme, the organisers reached out to the Cornish editors who flocked over to the project in droves. They created a list of subjects based on Cornwall (for example, King Doniert’s Stone (Cornish, Welsh, Arabic, English, Stargazy pie and an article on the Cornish language revival) which were subsequently translated into Arabic and Welsh. This was their first Wikiproject and 7 editors participated; all in all, 32 editors contributed. There’s a Welsh saying that it’s easier for two mountains to get together, than two people; in this case we got three mountains!
The themes were mostly cultural: food, places of interest, women of note, education and COVID-19. Among the articles written in Arabic and Cornish on Wales were, Gwenno Saunders (English, Arabic, Welsh, Cornish), bara brith loaf and Aberystwyth University. The Cornish editors created 44 new articles, just shy of the Palestine editors who wrote 57 articles, and the Welsh community created 142 new articles.
In the context of languages, perhaps the winners are the Cornish speakers. There are 300 million Arabic speakers, 750,000 Welsh speakers and around 2,000 Cornish speakers. However, the number of articles per language was:
Cornish – 44
Arabic – 57
Welsh – 142
So the winner is… all 3 communities!
Communicating physics through Wikipedia
15:55, Monday, 11 2021 October UTC

Roxanne Hughes.
Image courtesy Roxanne Hughes, all rights reserved.
Roxanne Hughes uses Wikipedia all the time. So when Roxanne, the director of the Center for Integrating Research and Learning at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, saw a call from the American Physical Society to take one of our Wiki Scientists courses aimed at improving biographies of underrepresented physicists on Wikipedia, she signed right up.
“I realized that Wikipedia was such a valuable place to highlight biographies of STEM women who might not be known,” she says. “I work in diversity, equity, and inclusion within STEM and Wikipedia’s efforts to give voice to scientists and engineers who have been ignored is incredibly valuable.”
In the six-week class, Roxanne met with our instructor, Will Kent, and her classmates once a week via Zoom, as well as taking our online trainings outside of class. Roxanne says she enjoyed both the trainings and the synchronous instruction.
Roxanne chose to work on Dorothy Toplitzky Blum‘s Wikipedia article. Blum was an American computer scientist and cryptanalyst.
“She worked for the National Security Agency and its predecessors from 1944 until her death in 1980,” Roxanne explains. “I find the period during WWII to be such an interesting time period for women to gain opportunities in the workforce. So her story particularly intrigued me.”
In addition to improving Blum’s biography, Roxanne is also contemplating how she can engage more with Wikipedia. In her work, she runs or oversees programs for K-12 students/teachers, undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs. She says she thinks a similar course for these age groups could have a profound impact on students and postdocs. Roxanne calls it an “empowering experience” to give credit to an underrepresented scientist on such a big platform like Wikipedia. And of course, she adds, it’s not just Wikipedia’s biographies that need expanding: physics topics themselves are important too.
“When people Google physicists or physics concepts, they will most likely be taken to a Wikipedia page,” she says. “Physicists need to be part of the communication of their science, and that happens through Wikipedia.”
To take a course like the one Roxanne took,
Image credit: NationalMagLab, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Tech News issue #41, 2021 (October 11, 2021)
00:00, Monday, 11 2021 October UTC
Tech Forum
Tech News
Tech Ambassadors
Wikimedia Technology
Wikimedia Product
The Tech News weekly summaries help you monitor recent software changes likely to impact you and your fellow Wikimedians. Subscribe, contribute and give feedback.
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Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available.
Changes later this week
The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and from 12 October. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 13 October. It will be on all wikis from 14 October (calendar).
The "auto-number headings" preference is being removed. You can read phab:T284921 for the reasons and discussion. This change was previously announced. A JavaScript snippet is available which can be used to create a Gadget on wikis that still want to support auto-numbering.
You can join a meeting about the Desktop Improvements. A demonstration version of the newest feature will be shown. The event will take place on Tuesday, 12 October at 16:00 UTC. See how to join.
Tech news prepared by Tech News writers and posted by bot • Contribute • Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe.
weeklyOSM 585
07:06, Sunday, 10 2021 October UTC

Chetan_Gowda’s map in Kannada [1] © Chetan Gowda | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Mapping campaigns
The OrganicMaps team asked users to help fix issues with subway mapping using this validator. Brandon suggested that the makers of the recently released new app for Jungle Bus could perhaps initiate a collaboration?
MapSpot has created several maps detailing the progress of the river modernisation project, which replaces waterway=riverbank with natural=water and water=river.
OpenStreetMap Belgium’s Mapper of the Month for October is Donat Robaux (gendy54) from France.
foxandpotatoes explained, in detail, how to use official sources related to Belgian cadastral boundaries to complete and/or correct OpenStreetMap data for administrative boundaries.
OpenStreetMap Foundation
Local chapter news
Did you know …
Other “geo” things
Upcoming Events
NantesÀ la découverte d’OpenStreetMap [Fête de la science 2021]
2021-10-09 – 2021-10-10
ZürichOSM-Treffen Zürich
ToursOSM Tours (FR) fête les 10 ans de OSM_Fr
DRK Missing Maps Online Mapathon
MünchenMünchner OSM-Treffen
HamburgHamburger Mappertreffen
San JoseSouth Bay Map Night
MannheimEinführung in der humanitären Kartographie
OpenStreetMap Michigan Meetup
Bonn144. Treffen des OSM-Stammtisches Bonn
LüneburgLüneburger Mappertreffen (online)
Olomoucříjnový olomoucký mapathon
Hlavní město Praha“50 years of MSF” mapathon with Missing Maps CZ community 2021 #6
BremenBremer Mappertreffen (Online)
San JoseSouth Bay Map Night
Bruxelles – BrusselVirtual(?) OpenStreetMap Belgium meeting
DüsseldorfDüsseldorfer OSM-Treffen (online)
[Online] OpenStreetMap Foundation board of Directors – public videomeeting
AmsterdamOSM Nederland maandelijkse bijeenkomst (online)
If you like to see your event here, please put it into the OSM calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM.
This weeklyOSM was produced by Nordpfeil, PierZen, SK53, TheSwavu, derFred.
Herbivory and fire. Automate citations to display them in @WDscholia
05:58, Saturday, 09 2021 October UTC
When what is there does not easily burn, a fire will be not that damaging. In a forest, a prairie particularly those with wild grazers and browsers, the damage by a wild fire is substantially less. Science describes this effect and science describes the effect of beavers who have a similar beneficial effect.
For the paper "Effects of large herbivores on fire regimes and wildfire mitigation" Wikidata has an item, it links to its eight authors but there are no citations. Like any quality article there are plenty of references on the website for the article but we do not know them yet in Wikidata. There is a bot that goes around and adds citations in its own sweet time but when volunteers like me take an interest, it would be great to tool up for attention for a single paper.
What it would look like is easy; it would show the papers that are known to be citations and enable a one click solution to add them as a citation. Then it would show the papers not known to Wikidata but with a DOI. They can be added one at a time. What is left is the stuff that is cited but takes more effort to annotate. 
The benefits are obvious; science connects what is said before to what is said in a paper and eventually it will be linked to those citing a paper. As more papers from more authors get this royal treatment, Scholia as a tool will become even more relevant for those who care about the references in related Wikipedia articles; its references are referenced.
It is easy to suggest that it should not be hard to implement; there is a bot and it only needs to function for only one paper in stead of serially. It then has to find its way as a tool in Scholia and that opens up a box of user interface related issues. Well worth it (I think) but it then we also need to get the message out that Scholia is very much an active as well as a passive tool.
Thanks, GerardM
Why donate to Wikipedia?
22:39, Friday, 08 2021 October UTC
Nonprofit organizations across the world are vibrant and diverse with wide ranging missions and objectives. One thing that ties them together is the goal of fundraising and awareness – something each organization approaches differently. At the Wikimedia Foundation, your generous donations help us maintain our independence, serve our diverse and global community, and––unlike many other major websites––guarantee that Wikipedia will never have to rely on advertising. In short, your donations help keep free knowledge free.
We are grateful to be funded primarily by readers around the world who give an average of €10, responding to appeals in banners and email. Reader donations are the best and most important support that the Wikimedia Foundation receives, because they are a reflection of the value that people feel Wikipedia brings to their lives. These donations have allowed the Foundation to provide the infrastructure, world-class technical engineering, and community support that a top ten global website requires.
Every donation we receive is effectively and transparently spent to support our mission. It is important to know that donations do not fund the editing of Wikipedia by Foundation staff. The Foundation does not write, edit, or determine what content is included on Wikipedia or how that content is maintained––editorial policy is determined by Wikipedia’s global community of volunteer editors who strive to deliver neutral and reliable information and prevent and revert inaccurate information on the site. 
Here are just some of the ways we do use donations to sustain Wikipedia and free knowledge:
Providing international technology infrastructure
Our dedicated engineering staff work to ensure you can securely and quickly access Wikipedia on your preferred device no matter where you are in the world. Donations also ensure people around the world can access Wikipedia in their preferred language. While most major websites support an average of 50–100 languages, Wikipedia supports over 300 and counting.
Supporting community-led projects to increase access to trusted information
We support numerous initiatives and projects, including various volunteer-led events and workshops that enrich content on Wikimedia sites and invite new editors to join. We collaborate with Wikipedia volunteers around the globe to support their ideas and help them bring more free knowledge to the world. Every year, about 10% of our budget is specifically dedicated to supporting community projects that enrich, grow, and improve knowledge on Wikipedia.
Defending and protecting free access to information globally
Our legal team works to protect free knowledge, working to prevent censorship, advocating for free licenses and the reform of copyright laws, as well as defending our volunteers from the threat of reprisal. In addition, while Wikipedia remains an example of the good the internet can provide, governments are looking for new models to curb the influence of larger tech companies. Tech companies that operate in the for-profit area have significant financial resources to respond, but we need the help of our supporters to protect our movement’s efforts from these and other looming challenges. 
Empowering French communities
The Wikimedia Foundation supports and promotes the direct impact our free knowledge projects have on French communities. The French language edition of Wikipedia receives nearly one billion pageviews each month, with half of those views coming from France. Wikimedia Commons, our free media repository, has hundreds of thousands of photos and videos sharing the sites and sounds of France with people around the world – including nearly 20,000 files showcasing the Eiffel Tower. Finally, the Foundation provides support to Wikimedia France, the independent movement affiliate working on the ground in France everyday.
We see the impact of these efforts in the messages we receive from French donors:
“Thank you for your kind return email. I am a grandmother over 70 who loves Wikipedia, it helps me a lot when I want or need to know something important to me.”
“Your work is masterful, universal. A huge thank you for allowing us, indeed, without effort, to access your encyclopedia on a daily basis or nearly. Your appeal for financial support is also useful so as to remind us that we are all members of a common world, a common history.”
“I use Wikipedia almost daily. I have the chance to have free access to the French and English pages, which multiplies the field of possibilities. Wikipedia is a gold mine, long live free knowledge! Thank you for what you do for the good of humanity.”

It takes a village to successfully operate a global free knowledge platform, and your donations help by sustaining Wikipedia and our numerous other open source projects. We hope to keep Wikipedia primarily funded by our readers long into the future. Please consider making a donation to Wikipedia to ensure it continues to thrive and remain independent for years to come.
Wikimedia Foundation appoints new Vice President of Communications, Vice President of Product Design
16:31, Friday, 08 2021 October UTC
8 October 2021, San Francisco, California — The Wikimedia Foundation today announced the appointment of two new Vice Presidents: Anusha Alikhan as Vice President of Communications, and Margeigh Novotny as Vice President of Product Design. The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. With this news, both Anusha and Margeigh build on their established tenure at the Foundation and step into expanded leadership roles supporting the broader free knowledge movement.
“I’m thrilled by this opportunity to recognize the deep bench of leaders we’re developing at the Wikimedia Foundation,” said Robyn Arville, Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Talent and Culture. “Anusha and Margeigh both excel at articulating long-term strategy for their respective functions. They are creative thinkers who have the experience and the operational skills to work across rapidly expanding teams and broaden the ways in which Communications and Product support our global movement.” 
Anusha Alikhan brings more than 14 years of communications experience spanning the areas of human rights, technology, international development, journalism and media innovation. She started her career as an employment and human rights lawyer in Toronto, Canada. She expanded her focus on advocacy by building a career around social good with communications leadership roles at the UN, the National Parkinson Foundation, and Knight Foundation. Technology has been core to her focus in communications; at the UN her work centered on promoting technology solutions to advance global peacekeeping, and at Knight Foundation she led strategies that emphasized the power of technology to inform and engage.

Anusha Alikhan, Wikimedia Foundation Vice President of Communications
In her two years at the Foundation, Anusha has led an expanding team and strengthened Wikimedia’s strategic communications focus. Her emphasis on targeted-campaign building has increased the Foundation’s media impact, particularly around key initiatives including Wikipedia’s 20th birthday, the Foundation’s partnership with the World Health Organization and our approach to misinformation. She also stewarded the restructuring of the Foundation’s digital strategy to expand its visibility, increase brand alignment, and attract new and global audiences. Her focus on diversity, equity and inclusion has advanced new approaches to engagement and outreach, combining storytelling with data-driven insights.  
As the new VP of Communications, Anusha will oversee communications activities across media, brand, marketing, movement and internal communications functions, with the goal of educating and engaging global audiences on Wikimedia work. She will move forward the department’s strategy to expand communications within regional markets, advancing the Foundation’s equity, advocacy and growth goals, and creating campaigns that meet people where they are. 
“Communications has a vital role to play as the Wikimedia Foundation seeks to grow and support a diverse, global movement, while pushing the understanding of what it takes to keep knowledge free,” said Anusha. “Wikimedia is a technology and social good organization working to advance a movement that is human at its core; our stories and unique perspective have the power to connect and influence. I could not be more excited to collaborate with a talented group of staff to continue and expand this work.” 
Anusha has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, a law degree from Queen’s University in Ontario and an honors bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto. She is also a Board member at the Communications Network, First Draft News, and Awesome Foundation Miami, and a member of the Communications Network working group for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Margeigh joined the Wikimedia Foundation in 2018, building on an expansive career as a product strategist, designer and inventor. An architect by training, she has led the development of many first of category consumer technology products, including  the design of polite intelligent systems that are able to build trust through transparency with the users they serve. She is also the first inventor on several patents related to user-centered machine learning, video content delivery and other hardware-software interfaces.

Margeigh Novotny, Wikimedia Foundation Vice President of Product Design
During her tenure at the Foundation, Margeigh has led the Product Design and Design Strategy teams, with an emphasis on modernizing the reading experience across Wikimedia products, and streamlining the editing experience to make it more accessible for newcomers. She has expanded design research capabilities to make it possible to reach users in emerging contexts, and to engage with them in their preferred language. Margeigh has also co-led the development of Wikimedia’s Product Platform Strategy and been an active contributor to the broader Movement Strategy effort, working closely with Wikimedia volunteer communities on recommendations for the future of the Wikimedia movement.  
In her new role as the VP of Product Design, Margeigh will focus on making inclusive product development methodologies a best practice at the Wikimedia Foundation. She will expand the department’s capability to design with, not for – prioritizing products and features which will empower emerging communities to scale. She will ensure that human-centered design continues to influence organizational practice at the Foundation, and will continue to support design thinking in the free knowledge movement.
“I joined the Foundation because I believe the Wikimedia projects are critical cultural infrastructure,” said Margeigh. “I want to help ensure the resilience and relevance of the projects in these times of global uncertainty and change. I’m honored and grateful to work with such a talented and mission driven team on products that truly welcome all people to participate in the sum of all knowledge.”
Margeign has a Bachelor’s of Architecture, Philosophy minor, from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She did her masters’ studies in architecture, anthropology and continental philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and University of California, Berkeley. She is a registered Architect in the state of California.
About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. 
The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive donations from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.
Roundup: Google Summer of Code 2021 and Outreachy Round 22
14:27, Friday, 08 2021 October UTC
Edited by Sarah R. Rodlund and Srishti Sethi
Wikimedia technology participated in two major outreach programs this year: Google Summer of Code 2021 and Outreachy Round 22.
According to the program websites, “Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. Students work with an open source organization on a 10 week programming project during their break from school,” and “Outreachy is a diversity initiative that provides paid, remote internships to people subject to systemic bias and impacted by underrepresentation in the technical industry where they are living.”
Both programs provide the students and interns with the opportunity to work with experienced mentors on technical projects that benefit Wikimedia technical projects.
In this post, you’ll find summaries of each of this year’s outreach projects.
mwsql is a Python library that makes it easy to work with Wikimedia SQL dump files. Its simple and user-friendly interface is ideal for exploratory data analysis and conversion to other data and file types commonly used in data science in just a few lines of code.
Slavina Stefanova
Mentors: Sarah R. Rodlund and Isaac Johnson
Synchronising Wikidata and Wikipedias using pywikibot
Synchronizing Wikidata and Wikipedias using Pywikibot: Wikidata is a structured data repository that holds organized data of contents in Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects – and this project aims to write scripts for Pywikibot to create new Wikidata Items and extract relevant information from Wikipedia articles and import them to Wikidata once the scripts are accepted through bot requests (example: Niraibot). This ensures access to only the important information from Wikimedia projects in an organized way.
Nirali Sahoo
Synchronizing Wikidata and Wikipedias using Pywikibot project focuses on automating the process of extracting data from Wikipedia articles and exporting them to Wikidata as structured data items. Having the data in Wikidata structured form helps automated tools as well as all Wikimedia projects by allowing them to be able to pull information from the same central place and thus helps in reducing the time outdated/wrong or inappropriate information remains publicly on wikis, especially on projects with a smaller editor base.
Ammar Abdulhamid 
Mentor: Mike Peel
WikiNav is a tool that processes the Wikipedia clickstream data to generate statistics and visualizations that help make this data more accessible to folks with varying levels of programming and data wrangling experience. Alternatively, users can invoke the WikiNav API to perform quick lookups on the clickstream dataset and use the results to power their own analyses and visualizations.
Muniza A
Mentors: Martin Gerlach and Isaac Johnson
The Userscript Tour
The Userscript Tour: A guided tour that helps users learn about userscripts, and how they are created using ResourceLoader, MediaWiki Action API, and Object-Oriented User Interface (OOUI). It primarily focuses on newbie developers and existing Wikimedia community members who have a little bit of JavaScript knowledge. If someone does outreach, then every participant would go in the same flow.
Devyansh Chawla
Mentors: Jay Prakash, Krishna Chaitanya Velaga, Enterprisey
Wikidata-Complete-Gadget​: The WikidataComplete Gadget is a Wikidata gadget that is intended to help users in adding more facts to the Wikidata knowledge base. The tool is fetching suggestions from an API and shows them to the user directly within the Wikidata Web frontend, s.t., adding more facts is becoming convenient. The suggestions are computed automatically from other sources (e.g., Web Content, Knowledge Bases). 
Dhairya Khanna
Mentors: Dennis Diefenbach, Andreas Both, Gabin Guo, Aleksandr Perevalov
Cypress tests for Wikipedia Preview
Cypress tests for Wikipedia Preview: Wikipedia Preview provides Wikipedia content in the form of contextual information to be available on 3rd party sites. This involved writing a quality level of tests that checks the preview on different parameters. This helped in identifying the fallback conditions and in delivering better Preview to the end-users.
Shailesh Kanojiya
Mentors: Gabriel Pita, Vidhi Mody, Soham Parekh
Custom Picture Selector for commons android application
Custom Picture Selector for commons android application: A custom picture selector for commons upload. It has the ability to show differently the images which have already been uploaded. The feature indicates an already uploaded image with a Commons icon overlay, thus saving time and improving the user experience. Find the GitHub issue here.
Aditya Srivastav
Mentors: Nicolas Raoul, Madhur Gupta
Bernard – WMFDBBackups Dashboard 
Bernard – WMFDBBackups Dashboard: This is a user-friendly dashboard that can be used by the Wikimedia Data Persistence Team to easily find out the status of the daily MariaDB/SQL database backups that are executed on various databases used by Wikipedia. This would help the team to monitor backup operations and easily pinpoint where backup operations issues are, thus helping members of the Data Persistence Team to resolve any issues relating to daily backups. Daily backups are essential to help Wikipedia recover from any database failures. A lot of work remains to help this prototype become useful in production.
Hari Krishna
Mentors: Jaime Crespo and Manuel Arostegui
Add zoom and pan to the Wikisource Pagelist Widget
Add zoom and pan to the Wikisource Pagelist Widget: The Wikisource Pagelist Widget is an OOUI based widget that streamlines the process of creating a pagelist for new (and existing) users of Wikisource.
While using the Pagelist widget, the user is presented with the picture of a scanned page and is asked to identify the page number on the scan. However, there is no option to zoom or pan the scanned image inside the Pagelist widget. Adding the option to zoom and/or pan the image will allow users to see the page number for scans that have a tiny font, or have lots of text (for example newspapers scans).
Yash Agrawal
Mentors: Sohom Datta, Sam Wilson, Satdeep Gill
Update the front-page of Wikimedia projects
Update the front-page of Wikimedia projects: The main aim of this project is that all the sister portals use the same build system and resources ( By Using (templates, scripts, styles) of, we can get the same build system to all sister portals.
Bhaarat Kumar Khatri
Mentors: Jan Drewniak
Autocompletion in Page Forms Spreadsheet display
Autocompletion in Page Forms Spreadsheet display: The Page Forms extension provides a spreadsheet-style editing display in two places-
1.     In Special Pages: MultiPageEdit – Using this user can edit multiple pages using a particular template in a spreadsheet-style display, making it easier to modify the pages or add new pages.
2.     In regular forms, with the form definition setting “display=spreadsheet”- Using this user can edit the values of different fields of multiple instances of the template within the same page in a spreadsheet-style display.
This auto-completion will make users use all possible forms of autocompletion that are present in Page Forms like “values from category,” “values from external data,” “values dependent on,” etc.
Most importantly, the autocompletion is not enabled using Select2 or jQuery, but rather OOUI’s Text Input Widget has been used for maintaining the consistency among the MediaWiki.
Yash Varshney
Mentors: Yaron Koren and Sahaj Khandelwal
Upgrade WebdriverIO to v7 in all repositories
 Upgrade WebdriverIO to v7 in all repositories: Testing of software is important since it discovers defects/bugs before the delivery to the client, which guarantees the quality of the software. It makes the software more reliable and easy to use. Thoroughly tested software ensures reliable and high-performance software operation. Now to ease regression testing time and for better efficiency to validate complex scenarios automation is preferred.
Sahil Grewal
Mentors: Vidhi Mody and Soham Parekh
Retraining models from ORES to be deployable on Lift Wing
Retraining models from ORES to be deployable on Lift Wing: This project consisted of a renewed attempt to retrain the existing ores architecture and build new deep learning based techniques and how it improved the performance. This was a pilot project and revealed a lot of flaws in the existing pipelines of the ORES architecture. 
Anubhav Sharma
Mentors: Christopher Albon and Chaitanya Mittal
Thank you!
A big thank you to everyone who participated in the outreach programs this year: mentees, mentors, and organizers! Thank you for sharing your time, effort, and expertise to make this one of the most successful years ever!
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File: Dülmen, Brachliegendes Feld mit Wildblumen — 2021 — 9774.jpg, Dietmar Rabich, CC BY-SA 4.0
Join us at WikiConference North America!
23:09, Thursday, 07 2021 October UTC
This weekend is WikiConference North America, a virtual gathering of Wikimedians who will share our experiences. Wiki Education board, staff, and program participants are featured prominently in the schedule.
Board member Carwil Bjork-James is a plenary speaker. We also extend our thanks to our board members Richard Knipel and Bob Cummings, both of whom have helped to plan the conference.
Sessions Wiki Education’s staff are running include:
Program participants are also well represented in these sessions, all involving instructors who teach in our Wikipedia Student Program:
We’re looking forward to the conference; we hope to see you there!
Image credits: Geraldshields11, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; KevinPayravi and Outstandy (source work), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Welcoming Lorraine Hariton to Wiki Education’s Advisory Board
17:56, Thursday, 07 2021 October UTC

Lorraine Hariton.
Image courtesy Lorraine Hariton, all rights reserved.
Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO of Catalyst, has volunteered to help Wiki Education in a new capacity as a member of our Advisory Board. Lorraine previously served on Wiki Education’s Board of Directors, and is greatly valued for her fundraising expertise and knowledge in STEM.
She advocated for Wiki Education’s successful Year of Science in 2016, which helped young scientists learn about science communication, while improving Wikipedia’s science coverage for millions of readers worldwide. In 2016, more than 6,200 students contributed nearly 5 million words to science articles seen more than 262 million times.
As the leader of Catalyst, Lorraine is dedicated to accelerating positive change for women. Her extensive career includes senior-level positions in Silicon Valley, as well as leadership roles across the private, nonprofit, and government sectors. She served as CEO of two Silicon Valley start-ups and held senior executive roles at IBM and other public companies.
In 2009, she was appointed by President Obama to be Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the US Department of State. Most recently, Lorraine was Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships at the New York Academy of Sciences. She was instrumental in creating the Global STEM Alliance and its 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program, a global mentoring initiative to help girls pursue careers in STEM.
Wiki Education is focused on promoting two initiatives in our Wikipedia Student Program: Communicating Science and Knowledge Equity. I’m excited to work with Lorraine to broaden Wikipedia’s content of women and other historically marginalized groups in the STEM fields and beyond.
“I look forward to continuing to help Wiki Education achieve its vision of representing the sum of all human knowledge in this new advisory capacity,” Lorraine says. “Women, people of color, and those of different sexualities deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments on Wikipedia. I’m happy to spread the word of Wiki Education’s equity work in making that possible.”
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