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Posts Tagged ‘wikipedia signpost’

WikiProject Report: Indigenous Peoples of North America

A Zuni girl with a pottery jar on her head, photographed in 1909. Most Zuni live in Zuni Pueblo in southern New Mexico.

Wikipedia’s community-written newsletter, The Signpost, recently talked to a number of participants in WikiProject Indigenous Peoples of North America. Encompassing more than 7,000 articles, the project currently boasts sixteen featured articles—articles that have gone through a thorough vetting process and are considered some of the best on the encyclopedia—as well as 63 WikiProject good articles, which have been through a similar, though less rigorous, process. The WikiProject aims to improve and maintain overall coverage of the indigenous peoples of North America on Wikipedia.

Members CJLippert, Djembayz, RadioKAOS, Maunus and Montanabw were asked for their thoughts on various aspects of the project. All five have a strong interest in the topic, though not all have direct ties to the indigenous peoples of North America. CJLippert, who works for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, a federally recognized American Indian tribe in Minnesota, comes pretty close. “Minnesota is a cross-road of where the Indian Removal Policy ended and Reservation Policy began and where the old and small Reserve system and the new and large Reservation system intersect,” he explains.

He adds, “As I work for a Native American tribal government, though not Native but also not ‘White’, I have the privilege of participating as the third party between the two. This also means I get to see both the strengths and weaknesses of both in regards to the relations between the Native Americans and the majority population. As that third party, trying to help to close some gaps in understanding is what led me to participate in Wikipedia and then to join the WikiProject.”

Maunus, a linguist and anthropologist, focuses on Mexican indigenous groups, which he feels is an underrepresented topic area on Wikipedia. “I am one of the only people doing dedicated work on these groups, but I have been focusing on languages and I agree that Mexican indigenous people require improved coverage compared to their Northern neighbors,” he says. “There are some articles on the Spanish Wikipedia of very high quality, mainly because of the work of one editor, but likewise other articles that are of very poor quality, with either romanticizing or discriminatory undertones. They also tend to use very low quality sources.”

Wikipedia Signpost report: WikiProject Cities

Rotterdam in the Netherlands, seen during a commemoration of the Rotterdam Blitz in a featured picture from Trebaxus.

Last week, the English Wikipedia community-written newsletter, Wikipedia Signpost, interviewed two members of WikiProject Cities, users Student7 and JonRidinger. A WikiProject is a team of contributors who wish to improve Wikipedia. Every WikiProject has a special focus area (for example, medieval history) or a particular task (such as, proofreading recently created pages). WikiProject Cities aims to provide up-to-date information in a consistent format across Wiki articles. The term “Cities” is used generically and encompasses towns, villages, hamlets, townships, unincorporated communities, sections of municipalities and neighborhoods.

Interested in cities and motivated by the desire to produce more articles in a standardized format, Student7 and JonRidinger saw WikiProject Cities as a great opportunity to contribute to articles on a subject they were passionate about. The amount of effort put forth by many contributors usually leads to extensive contributions to specific articles, as JonRidinger explains. “I was largely responsible for getting Kent, Ohio to FA [featured article] status and helped with Stephens City, Virginia too.” Naturally, this level of commitment and scrutiny can have its drawbacks, “The issue I faced was burn-out…(but) yes, there were some genuine improvement that were made by going through the process, plus I learned more about what kind of content to include and how to word things better, says JonRidinger.

Deciding which city merits an article or integration into an existing article is a common question. “If It has sources that cover it specifically, it can have a decent article, though if it’s not a large amount of info, I typically don’t see the point of having an article separate from the city article,” says JonRidinger. Student7 adds, “If a country has aggregated people, it should be using these Project standards for the article. A village has to be ‘noticed’ to be ‘notable’ I suppose.”

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Wikipedia Signpost report: WikiProject Neuroscience

Fast fission brain

Last month, the English Wikipedia community-written newsletter Wikipedia Signpost ran a feature on WikiProject Neuroscience, a project which began in September of 2005. It currently boasts fourteen Featured Articles (FAs) among the 1,700 total articles under its umbrella, including topics like areas of the brain, stimulants and the central nervous system. It counts some highly-qualified editors among their ranks, including no fewer than three PhD holders.

The Signpost spoke to Looie496, Mark viking and Tryptofish, three editors who are active participants in the project. Looie has been a member since 2008 and holds a doctorate in neuroscience. He has more than 22,500 total edits, a large proportion of which have been on articles under this topic. Most of the articles covered by the WikiProject have been primarily his work.

“My first motivation was the poor condition of the article on the hippocampus, the brain area that I worked on,” he said. “I started editing it very tentatively, and then when nothing bad happened, I ended up doing more and more, until eventually the article was completely rewritten.”

Mark Viking is no slouch either. A scientist by trade, his work revolves around theoretical physics — a subject in which he holds a PhD in — and computational neuroscience. Much of his editing has been in the background but he still performs a vital role in the running of the project.

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Wikipedia Signpost report: WikiProject Chess

The other day, the Wikipedia Signpost – the English Wikipedia’s community-written newsletter – provided an update on Wikiproject Chess, which was founded in 2003 and counts over 100 Wikipedians as members.

ChessSetWikiProject Chess editors have written extensively on a cornucopia of chess topics like strategies, endgames and notable players, including four Featured Articles (FAs) and 15 Good Articles. The project’s main article, “chess,” is actually one Wikipedia’s oldest FAs, achieving this quality rating back in 2002 when the FA process was still called “Refreshing Brilliant Prose.” Over the following decade, the article has had to be reviewed a few times to meet the rising FA standards.

The Signpost interviewed one of the project’s members, Sjakkalle, who is no slouch of a chess player himself, as he is an active tournament player and has a FIDE rating of 1944.

“I started working on chess articles shortly after I joined Wikipedia in 2004-2005,” explained Sjakkalle, who has created nearly 40 chess articles. “At the time, there were a number of good chess-related articles, but many were underdeveloped and many significant topics lacked articles altogether.”

On his user page, Sjakkalle self-deprecatingly recalls losing a game in his first international chess tournament last year, starting his international career by committing a blunder of exactly the kind that he himself had warned Wikipedia readers about two years earlier by making this edit to the article blunder (chess). “I should have known better,” he said. “Apparently, I didn’t.”

Even though there is no shortage of literature on chess—Sjakkalle says it’s possibly the most studied game ever—WikiProject Chess does have its challenges. According to Sjakkalle, they are missing a number of articles on the games’ grandmasters—particularly the Russian ones—and while there are many articles on openings and endgames, coverage of the middlegame tends to be underdeveloped. He also says that although many articles are well-illustrated with diagrams of chess positions, finding missing images of some of the game’s legendary players can be difficult.

Although they have already done a ton of great work, Sjakkalle is quick to put the word out that WikiProject Chess is always looking for new contributing members. “Anyone who wants to contribute will be a most welcome addition to the project!”

For more info on WikiProject Chess, read the full interview on the Signpost.

Darrin Fox, Communications Intern