Year: 2012 Week: 53 Number: 133

Wikimedia News

Technical news

  • [Wikidata] – the new sister-project Wikidata is growing fast. By year’s end the will get up to 2 million records. In the works is now the interwiki language information, later on infoboxes and lists will follow. At present the data of Wikidata is not yet used on any of the projects. The plans are to switch over the Hungarian language Wikipedia over to Wikidata for the use of there interwiki language links on January 14th 2013.
What will that actually mean in practice? – When this function is enabled on a wiki the interwiki language links will be augmented with sitelinks injected in the Wikipedia article. It is unclear what will happen in the future for sitelinks in non-wikipedia articles. At least if there are sitelinks available at Wikidata about that topic. The current local language links must be removed otherwise they will override the Wikidata sitelinks. You will be able to edit these sitelinks on the local wiki with JavaScript. Changes made on the Wikidata sitelinks that effect a local Wikipedia will propagate to them, and also show up in the recent changes of that wiki. If for some reason a local wiki does not want that the injected interwiki language links show up on a specific page the parser function {{Noexternallanglinks}} can be used. When this function is active the net result is that the interwiki links will show up as usual if set, but the maintenance of sitelinks in the Wikipedia-projects will go away.
  • [Visual Editor (Alpha!)] – The wikisoftware that the projects are using – MediaWiki – has come far from the basic wiki it started with. But when you click on the “edit” button is still looks very the same, at least on not to complicated pages. Since very long there is talk about getting on the Wiki a so called WYSIWYG editor, like MS Word. Maybe not a function for everybody but it could get the less technical minded people on the wiki. At he English language Wikipedia – and only there – an early version of a Visual Editor that does that can be switched on in the users preferences. If you go to your “Preferences” screen and click into the “Editing” section, it will have an option labeled “Enable Visual Editor”. Please be careful, it is still buggy and you are not allowed to use it on the sandbox page.
  • [Mobile WP] – the version of the website for use on phones is getting more functionality. As a logged in user you can edit pages if you enable the “beta” options. And if you enable the “Here be dragons mode” you can upload an image if you use a “webkit browser” like Google Chrome.
  • [Translate] – Translation of MediaWiki and documentation, policies, newsletters and any sort of page on our multilingual wikis is powered and made easy for thousands of translators by the Translate extension, born on A translation memory feature was recently enabled on all Wikimedia wikis after a long work. The translation interface is now being rebuilt to meet translators’ needs: test it and give feedback!



  • [Wikimania 2013] – The – already – 9th Wikimania will be in Hong Kong next year. It will be from 7 to 11 August 2013. The call for participation is open now! So, if you an idea for doing some sort of presentation at Wikimania then it is now the time to enter you proposal.


  • [Uploads] – It is proposed to start a new RfC to approve a new Local uploads policy. Local uploads need a big policy and template infrastructure; most wikis don’t and can’t have it, and at least a hundred wikis are currently breaking the WMF licensing policy. Additionally, only Commons has the UploadWizard. It’s proposed to make uploads more effective and legal by switching them to Commons-only by default, so that only the wikis which have an EDP will keep or get local uploads.


  • [WikiVoyage]“the free, worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit.” will be joining the Wikimedia Foundation family officially on Wikipedia Day, January 15th 2013. The have there origin at, also a project with the same mission. The German language Wikitravel split off in 2006 and became Wikivoyage. The Wikimedia Foundation Wikivoyage will be the “fork” Wikivoyage in German and Italian and the content and most of the userbase of Wikitravel’s remaining language editions. This results in the following languages that are supported in the new WMF-project; English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Russian and Swedish. The interwiki link to link to Wikivoyage is “voy:”. Example; the link for the page about “Bolivia” on the Dutch language Wikivoyage is voy:nl:Bolivia
  • [WMF annual audit 2011-2012] – The annual audit of the Wikimedia Foundation, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 and the corresponding FAQ have been posted on the financial reports page of the Wikimedia Foundation web site. The report shows that from a financial POV it goes very well with the WMF. Cash increased from $12 million to $21.8 million. Investment in technology has gone up by $2.6 million and net assets increased by $10.7 million. Expenses for the fiscal year increased from $17.9 million to $29.3 million. The total assets of the WMF are now over $ 37 million.
  • [WMF annual plan 2012-2013] – is published. It is fairly extensive and summarizing it in 3 sentences does not does it justice. Anyhow; focus will be in getting more people to edit and to keep the current editors. This by making it more easy for potential editors to do it, like the VisalEditor. The WMF also will continue to push to get access to Wikpedia by means of mobile data networks in developing country’s free of charge. That is the “Wikipedia Zero” program.


  • [Wikipedia almost 12-years old] – Currently we are in the middle of the Christmas & new-year holidays. But once again the most important holiday of the calender is coming up; Wikipedia Day. On January 15th 2012 Wikipedia turned eleven years old. So it comes at no surprise that Wikipedia will now turn twelve. And do not forget, at January 25th there is also of course “Magnus Manske Day”. Wikipedia day is the day the first Wikipedia – the English one – started. Magnus Manske Day celebrates the launch of the Phase II wikisoftware; a Wikipedia specific wiki, a very early version of MediaWiki.
  • [Project proposal] – Wikifocus; “to describe everything related to Wiki technology (wikis and their members, wiki softwares and their capabilities).” The proposal to add this project to the WMF family is open for discussion at Meta. Interesting about this is that there is already a small active Russian group of 20 users running a Russian independent Wikifocus wiki. Communication between these Russian speakers and English language users at Meta seems to be problematic.
  • [Wikizine] – At the end of 2005 a news newsletter was started. The intention with it was to inform the community of all the projects across all languages about what was going on. To break the language barriers. For this a network of volunteers across the projects and languages was envisioned to make of Wikizine an information exchange hub. The years up to 2008 where the most successful years of Wikizine. There was a weekly publication rate and frequently extra editions. Wikizine existed also in German, Spanish and Indonesian. But it could not truly deliver the universal projects news as was intended. Wikizine was not able to attract and maintain the necessary people to make that happen. Due to the staff shortage quality could not be guaranteed. And from 2009 on also not the publication rate. It became more monthly then weekly. The other language editions where closed. The publication of Wikizine became an exception. Since 2010 Wikizine is virtually a dead newsletter. In August-September 2011 it suddenly came back to life under the direction of a new editor-in-chief with many different Wikizine versions. The new editor disappeared and so also the revival. And Wikizine continued in zombie mode until now. Wikizine 133, this edition, will be the final Wikizine. Thank you. Walter (talk)
  • [Wiktionary] – is one of these projects of our WMF family that gets less space in the sun then others, the dictionary project. But it is more then a dictionary. It is a community building the absolute, the final dictionary. Offering translations from all languages to all languages is only a small part of its mission. There are around 150 active Wiktionary languages editions but the contain words in many more languages. Wiktionary has at least some words in 1029 different languages out of the over 6900 that exist.
And Wiktionary has just celebrated its 10th anniversary as a project on December 12th. The full report and scope of the celebrations can be found at the link below. Media coverage of these celebrations could not be found unfortunately.


  • [Jimmy Wales & Kazahkstan] – In August the WMF awarded by means of Jimmy Wales the first ever “Global Wikipedian of the Year” award to Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, a Wikipedian from Kazakhstan who founded a non-profit organization WikiBilim. With help of this organization the Kazakh Wikipedia grew from 7000 articles to 70,000 in 3 months time. (currently the are over 200,000 articles). Concerns are now raised that this Wikipedia of year is actually a government puppet of the dictatorial government of Kazakhstan. This because of the previous functions in the government service, especially in the propaganda department. And because the WikiBilim organization is funded with the money of state oil.
Jimmy Wales responded with; “The Wikimedia Foundation has zero collaboration with the government of Kazakhstan. Wikibilim is a totally independent organization. And it is absolutely wrong to say that I am “helping the Kazakh regime whitewash its image.” I am a firm and strong critic. At the same time, I’m excited by the work of volunteers, and I believe—very strongly—that an open and independent Wikipedia will be the death knell for tyranny in places like Kazakhstan.”
  • [Wikitube] – no, there is not (yet) a project Wikitube. But the WMF does have an account at Youtube. You can find some video’s about how to edit. And also videos of users who explain what Wikipedia mean form them in there live. Those are interesting to watch because it gives a face behind the recent changes.


  • Wikimedia Commons has reached 15,000,000 files, 73 days after reaching 14,000,000.
  • The Low German/Low Saxon Wikipedia has reached 20,000 articles.
  • The Turkish Wikipedia has reached 200,000 articles
  • The Tamil Wikipedia has reached 50,000 articles.
  • The Romanian Wikibooks has reached 500 book modules.
  • [Wikiquote books and booklovers] – The Italian Wikiquote continues its expansion on the main booklovers social network of Italy: its group on aNobii has 1300+ members (one of the biggest groups). ISBNs of quoted books were extracted from it, en, fr.quote and experimentally added. The Italian has about 4500 ISBNs and 10 thousands books identified in total, English and French about 2500 ISBNs. Italian seems to quote all the books that English does, plus many more; a third of fr.quote’s books are quoted also on en and it.

Other news

  • [WMF shop] – since a while there is WMF webshop. You can buy a T-shirt and other clothing, stickers and pins and quality bags. Shipment is from the US but the are offering a flat fee of $10 for the shipping costs to all destinations. Nevertheless if you only wanted to buy a key-chain it gets very expensive. When a local wikimeet is coming up you could do a group order and divide the costs that way.

Did you know …

… that the edits of experts make an article harder to read?

“The reason is clear, they say: articles on difficult topics are written by experts who sacrifice readability for accuracy – and that is compounded as other experts weigh in with further accuracy-obsessed edits that remove “simplifications, generalisations or intuitive explanations” that might have served to aid readability.”


“So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”

– Last message of the dolphins to the people of Earth before leaving it,_and_Thanks_for_All_the_Fish

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