War and awards
An intensely busy week, as a confluence of celebratory, curious and urgent topics pushed typical residents like Facebook and Deaths in 2014 out of the top ten entirely. The Academy Awards didn't quite have the presence they did last year, with only six topics in the top ten (rather than seven) and failing to claim the top spot. Unsurprisingly, that dubious honor was taken by the increasingly frantic region of Crimea, with it and the wider Ukraine bringing back uncomfortable memories of the darker days of the Cold War, and even managing to colour the Oscars thanks to Jared Leto. On a more positive note, the start of Lent and its associated feasts were again popular this year, with Ash Wednesday rounding out the top ten.
For the full top 25 list, see WP:TOP25. See this section for an explanation as to any exclusions.
For the week of 2 to 6 March, the ten most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the report of the 5,000 most viewed pages, were:
||The evil of a strategic position is to be the plaything of great powers, and, 160 years after inspiring the war that gave us the Charge of the Light Brigade, the Siege of Sevastopol,* the balaclava, and Florence Nightingale, the hapless peninsula has become so again.
*The first one, anyway
||To the surprise of absolutely no one, this handsome onetime My So-Called Life actor won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. To quite a few people's surprise, however, he then used his acceptance speech to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine and the LGBT community, which of course had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Russia's sudden decision not to broadcast the Oscars. No siree.
||This virtually unknown Kenyan/Mexican actress won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in 12 Years A Slave, and set the media abuzz with her red-carpet style.
||Things are moving fast in the country, from protest to revolution to armed hostility. It has now reached the point where anything I say will probably be obsolete by the time this is published. But it's fair to say things are getting pretty hairy; the last time Vladimir Putin asserted his manhood to his near neighbours, the conflict lasted a week. Here's hoping a similar outcome prevails now.
||12 Years a Slave (film)
||Although it only won 3 Oscars on the night, one of them was Best Picture, ensuring that Solomon Northup's account of his captivity in the antebellum American South would generate massive interest from the public.
||86th Academy Awards
||Many of the wins may have seemed predestined, but the down-to-the-wire marathon for Best Picture between box office hits Gravity and 12 Years A Slave generated the show's highest ratings since The Return of the King walked away with the shop, proving once again that audiences want to see the films they watched win.
||Again to no one's surprise, the Hollywood hunk once thought slightly adrift won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club
||Dallas Buyers Club
||This film drew attention to a much-neglected part of history (the botched response of the American authorities to the early spread of the AIDS epidemic) but was noted in the end mainly for the committed performances it inspired.
||True Detective (TV series)
||This HBO police procedural stars Woody Harrelson and actor-of-the-moment Matthew McConaughey
||There was a time, not so long ago really, when this moveable feast marking the first day of Lent would have been the main topic of discussion among the public. Times have changed. Most people don't even fast for Lent any more, let alone show their devotion by marking their foreheads with ash. That said, people are still curious about what it all means.
Wikimedians celebrate International Women's Day and Women's History Month
Editors at the Petrie Museum's editathon, hosted on 8 March. Another editathon, focusing on women in science, will be held on the 18th at the Smithsonian Institute Archives.
Wikimedians around the world gathered to celebrate Women's History Month and the associated International Women's Day by holding editathons. If you lived in the United Kingdom, you had the opportunity to attend Wikimedia UK's event at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, part of University College London and host to one of the largest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese artifacts in the world.
Eleven to twelve participants gathered with five provided laptops, two trainers, and refreshments to edit Wikipedia topics related to the museums. Four articles (Margaret Stefana Drower, Violette Lafleur, Elinor Wight Gardner, and Veronica Seton-Williams) were created, and four additional articles (Winifred Brunton, Margaret Murray, Gertrude Caton-Thompson, and Hilda Petrie) were updated with information from the museum.
Email questions sent to Wikimedia UK were not returned as of publishing time.
Coming up, there will be a women in science editathon that is currently asking for more remote participants. Hosted by the Smithsonian Institution Archives on 18 March, the event has a lengthy to-do list populated by important female figures in science—many of which do not have a Wikipedia article at the present time. Individuals watching over the Internet will have access to "live stream of a behind-the-scenes tour and a discussion on the Science Service collection and the portrayal of women in the media by Archives' research fellow, Marcel LaFollette."
Chicagoans interested in the event can attend remotely with other Wikipedians at Loyola University by contacting Keilana.
On 30 March, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC will host its second annual Women in the Arts meetup and edit-a-thon.
- Wikimania submissions closing: Submissions for Wikimania 2014 in London are closing on 31 March. Wikimania is the annual conference of the Wikimedia movement; it was held in Hong Kong last year. The conference organizers are also compiling a list of specialist libraries that Wikimedians can explore while attending.
- GLAM: Wikimedia UK has a dozen tickets to the Tank Museum in Dorset, England, which has the largest amount of tanks and second-largest collection of armored vehicles in the world. The chapter is looking for editors active in the topic area to request photographs of specific vehicles, along with photographers willing to travel there.
- Google Summer of Code: The Wikimedia Foundation has put out an "urgent" call for more applicants to their Google Summer of Code program. All of the current candidates are from India or Sri Lanka, leading Quim Gil (the WMF's Technical Contributor Coordinator) to remark that "While we are very happy seeing how popular Wikimedia is among technical students in the Indian subcontinent, we are concerned about the lack of candidates from anywhere else." Last year's participants numbered 69 from eight countries.
- National Wikipedia Forum: Azerbaijni media is reporting that "Wikimedia Azerbaijan"—a non-incorporated chapter, which raises serious trademark issues for the Wikimedia Foundation—has held a "National Wikipedia Forum", with a member of parliament and administrator Aydin Mirzazade leading the first panel.
- GAC: The Grants Advisory Committee is calling for applications. According to the call, "The GAC are community volunteers who are explicitly invited to review and evaluate grant proposals made in the Wikimedia Foundation Project and Event Grants Program, and offer advice to both grant applicants and the Foundation."
- Signpost suggestions: Tips and pointers to additional news items are always welcome on the Signpost's suggestions page.
Examining the Russian Wikipedia's Entomology Project
This week, we took a look at the Russian-language WikiProject Entomology. Started in October 2008, WikiProject Entomology builds and organizes articles about insects. We interviewed Anaxibia
- What motivated you to join WikiProject Entomology? Do you have an academic background in entomology?
- Hello, my name is Andrey. I'm from Ukraine, but writing on the Russian Wikipedia. I'm 27 years old and am a surgeon. I do not have an academic education for entomology, but I've been interested in it and collecting insects from age seven. My interest in insects began after I read the Extraordinary Adventures of Karik and Valya, where in a fascinating adventure the writer educates about plants and insects. This children's book is probably little known to Western readers, but it is widely read in the post-USSR territories. I first joined WikiProject Entomology four or five years ago. I was prompted by several factors: the very poor quality of featured articles (at that time), the many important topics without articles—even about some common species, the desire to share information not only about common insects, but many ordinary and extraordinary, rare species for which information is not sufficiently accessible to Russian-language readers, and the generally poor, untrue, and frankly low-grade information on scientific topics on the Internet, TV, and newspaper articles written by semi-literate journalists not versed in the topics. Wikipedia is perfect for me because it is designed for a very wide range of people—nature lovers, naturalists beginners or students, as well as professional ecologists and conservationists and many others.
- Have you contributed to any of the project's Featured or Good Articles? What are some of the challenges involved with improving articles about insects to Featured or Good Article status?
- I have personally written two featured articles (Coleoptera and Lepidoptera), three good articles (Cerambycidae, Lucanus cervus, Death's-head hawk moth), and three featured lists (about insects of the red book of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus). In collaboration with Lasius, I've helped write two additional featured articles: ant and insect). These two articles were elected "article of the year" on biological topics in the Russian Wikipedia in 2011 and 2013, respectively. I want to add that the article Beetles, Insects and Ants at this moment are one of the best among similar articles of all language wiki projects—for complete information, on the degree of novelty, full disclosure issues.
- Challenges involved with improving articles about insects to Featured or Good Article status are having only a small number of active users in the Entomology project, few scientific publications are published in the Russian language, the need to translate information from other languages, and missing out on necessary illustrations.
- Do your Wikipedia contributions focus on specific taxonomic orders of insects? How well has insect taxonomy been covered by articles at the Russian Wikipedia?
- My Wikipedia contributions focus on lepidoptera & coleoptera species, and on unusual, extraordinary, and interesting insect species. In general taxonomy is satisfactorily covered as there are articles about all major taxonomic groups. Not all of them are perfect, some needs work, but they are complete. I also review and update articles to conform to the latest information. But systematics and classification in some cases remains controversial.
- Has it been difficult to find images, videos or audio recordings of insects for Wikipedia articles? Can the average Wikipedia editor help contribute illustrations of insects?
- Wikiconmmons images exist for many known species. Some of them, unfortunately, are of poor quality, others are pictures from old books about nature. Deficit images available for little-known wide range of readers, or rare species. Big help in searching for images has Flickr - Photo Sharing. Many quality photos were uploaded from the Museum de Toulouse collection of entomology by Didier Descouens (Archaeodontosaurus), and from Flickr - photos of Udo Schmidt (). I have a collection of tropical butterflies and beetles, and also by ability upload photos of species that are not found on the Commons.
- Do you collaborate with scientific institutions, societies or journals in the field of entomology?
- I personally do not have the opportunity to collaborate with scientific institutions, societies or journals in the field of entomology, but I do communicate with several professional entomologists from Ukraine, Russia, England, France and Thailand.
- Does WikiProject Entomology collaborate with any other WikiProjects? What can be done to increase collaboration between WikiProjects on the Russian Wikipedia and beyond?
- We collaborate with many other WikiProjects, including WikiProject Biology and WikiProject Chemistry.
- Have you contributed to any other language editions of Wikipedia or to other Wikimedia projects? Are there any articles or resources the Russian Wikipedia could share with them?
- I regularly fix errors and mistakes on the English Wikipedia and mistakes species names on the Wikimedia Commons. The articles on beetle, insect, and ants at this moment are among the best for similar articles of all language wiki projects—for complete information, on the degree of novelty, and full disclosure issues.
- What are the most urgent needs of WikiProject Entomology? How can a new contributor help today?
- WikiProject Entomology most urgently needs to create missing articles (including articles on entomology that the English Wikipedia has and the Russian Wikipedia does not) and add more quality photos of insects. New contributors can help today: create the missing articles, improve stubs, identify insects on photos, and add new photos.
Next week, we'll revisit a project we featured seven years ago. Until then, explore our long and storied history in the archive
This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted from 2 March 2014 to 9 March 2014.
The Sega 32X
: "In the world of video games, there's no stranger story". It's also a new featured article.
, king of the English and ruler of the whole of Britain", to quote how he chose to describe himself, was a 10th century monarch and is now a featured article.
Five articles were promoted to featured status this week.
- Ontario Highway 71 (nominated by Floydian) is a highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. Part of the Trans-Canada Highway, Highway 71 "opened up a large section of Ontario to the rest of Canada for the first time", according to the nominator. It connects with the United States via the privately owned Fort Frances–International Falls International_Bridge.
- Æthelstan (nominated by Dudley Miles) was an Anglo-Saxon king in the 900s. Thanks to his conquering of the Viking kingdom in York, historians consider him the first King of England, and he played a crucial role in mainland Europe: the article tells us that "no other West Saxon king played as important a role in European politics".
- E. W. Hornung (nominated by SchroCat) was an English author of a series of stories about fictional gentleman's thief A. J. Raffles in London. Living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he abruptly quit writing fiction after the loss of his son in the First World War. Hornung's Wikipedia article was the recent target of a contentious move request: should there be a space between the initials EW?
- Streatham portrait (nominated by Crisco 1492) is a copy of a portrait of Lady Jane Grey. The original was most likely made during her lifetime, but the copy is of poor quality and is currently damaged. Despite this, it was bought by the British National Portrait Gallery for a large sum, rumored to be £100,000.
- Sega 32X (nominated by Red Phoenix) was an add-on for the Sega Genesis video game console. The nominator tells us that "In the world of video games, there's no stranger story, I believe, than the Sega 32X":
||It was one of the most unique concepts in video gaming—the idea that a video game console's life could be expanded by adding a piece of hardware to boost the system's power, more so than the Sega CD and its addition of a CD-ROM drive. What resulted was a commercial failure that caught few by surprise because of its incredibly poor timing and support, and it served as a lesson to the entire gaming industry. I think this article is so neat because it features so many aspects of the 32X's short lifetime and how it's seen today, even by Sega's former executives who were a part of its development.
Two lists were promoted to featured status this week.
Old and new windmills in Eemshaven
, the Netherlands.
Fifty-two pictures were promoted were promoted to featured status this week.
- Theodore Roosevelt (created by Pach Brothers, restored and nominated by Crisco 1492) was a President of the United States, the inspiration for the name of the teddy bear, author, cowboy, and war veteran.
- United States Silver Certificates set (prepared from Smithsonian Institution collections and nominated by Godot13) – A massive set of 47 images—though seven were previously featured—of historical United States banknotes from the silver certificate era.
- Burning of the Euromaidan headquarters and accompanying close-up image (created by Amakuha and nominated by Adam Cuerden) – The Wikimedia movement is lucky to have many Ukrainian Wikipedians attempting to document the recent horrors their country had fallen into. Amakuha, a photojournalist, has produced quite a few images documenting the recent revolution. In the nomination, Amakuha noted the background behind the images: "this building witnessed all the recent major fights for [the] independence of Ukraine ... seeing this building burnt down marks new age in [Ukraine's] history".
- Mary I of England (created by Antonis Mor and nominated by Crisco 1492) – The Catholic Mary I of England became known as Bloody Mary due to her execution of large numbers of Protestants, after successfully seizing power from her cousin Lady Jane Grey.
- Balzhinima Tsyrempilov (created by Аркадий Зарубин [Arkady Zarubin] and nominated by Tomer T) – A closeup of former number one ranked Russian archer Balzhinima Tsyrempilov.
- A dominostein (created by Alchemist-hp, nominated by Crisco 1492) is a sweet treat commonly sold at Christmastime.
- Drill instructor (created by John Kennicutt, U.S. Marine Corps and nominated by Theparties) – Attending boot camp requires both physical and mental endurance as the service attempts to break you down and build you into an effective soldier. The person in charge of doing so is known as a drill instructor, and this is an example of one verbally correcting an officer candidate.
- Windmills in Groningen, The Netherlands (created by Uberprutser and nominated by Editør) – The traditional Goliath Windmill in Eemshaven with a modern wind farm behind it.
- SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II (created by Hugo Graf, scanned by Mr.Nostalgic, restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden) – Another entry in Cuerden's German warship painting restorations, which is running concurrently with Parsecboy's work on pre-WWI German ironclad articles. In this case, Kaiser Wilhelm II is currently a featured article candidate and now the subject of a featured picture.
- Armenian illuminated manuscript (created by Toros Roslin and nominated by Ètienne Dolet) – An example of an illuminated manuscript from 1256 entitled Canon Table Page.
- Monoceros, Canis Minor, and Atelier Typographique (by Sidney Hall and Richard Rouse Bloxam, after Alexander Jamieson; restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden) – is Plate 31 from Urania's Mirror, a series of star charts meant to have holes punched in them so that they could be held up to the light and reveal what the constellation looks like.
- Centre Block (created by Saffron Blaze and nominated by Crisco 1492) is the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex.
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