Wikisource:News/2013-04

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Sue Gardner to step down[edit]

Photograph of a woman with short, brown hair
Sue Gardner in December 2012

Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner has announced her decision to step down from her position.

Gardner started working for the Foundation in June 2007, from her previous position running CBC.CA, the news site of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and became Executive Director in December of the same year. The Foundation has grown a lot while Gardner has been in charge. In 2007 it was a small organisation, barely able to support the various Wikimedia projects. Now it is a healthy and thriving charity. In financial terms, it spent US$3.5M in 2007, which had risen to US$22.3M by 2012. Gardner herself is now ranked by Forbes magazine as the 70th most powerful woman in the world.

Stating her reasons for stepping down, she mentioned first that "the movement and the Wikimedia Foundation are in a strong place now" and second that "[i]ncreasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the internet’s developing," citing powerful organisations threatening to infringe upon and undermine the free internet.

In her announcement she described where where she is going next: "I’ve always aimed to make the biggest contribution I can to the general public good. Today, this is pulling me towards a new and different role, one very much aligned with Wikimedia values and informed by my experiences here, and with the purpose of amplifying the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet. I don’t know exactly what this will look like — I might write a book, or start a non-profit, or work in partnership with something that already exists. Either way, I strongly believe this is what I need to do."

The Wikimedia Foundation Board has appointed a Transition Team to recruit a new Executive Director, chaired by Board Vice-Chair Jan-Bart de Vreede. The first physical meeting of the team is scheduled for mid-April in Milan as part of the Wikimedia Conference. Sue Gardner will remain in post until a new Executive Director is found.

Featured text for April 2013[edit]

Black and white portrait photograph of a bearded, Caucasian man
Theodor Herzl

This month's featured text is "A Jewish State" (Der Judenstaat), a 1917 edition of an 1896 book by Theodor Herzl, translated from the German by Sylvie d'Avigdor and Jacob De Haas.

This book, subtitled "An attempt at a modern solution of the Jewish Question", is one of the most important texts of early Zionism; and popularised the term itself. Herzl proposed the creation of a Jewish State as a way to solve the widespread anti-Semitism encountered in Europe. He opposed the "gradual infiltration of Jews" into Palestine by immigration, which he felt would be resisted by the native population. Instead, he advocated a diplomatic agreement with either the Ottoman Empire, the colonial rulers of Palestine at that time, or the sparsely-populated republic of Argentina. Herzl's book does more than present the idea; it also sets out a practical method of accomplishing his goal, through the creation of a Society of Jews and a Jewish Company.

16th April 2013 marks the 65th Israeli Independence Day. This work demonstrates Wikisource's dynamic layout function.

It is astonishing how little insight many of the men who move in the midst of active life possess of the science of economics. Hence it is that even Jews faithfully repeat the cry of the Anti-Semites: "We depend for sustenance on the nations whose guests we are, and if we had not hosts to support us we should die of starvation." This is a point that shows how greatly unjust accusations may weaken our self-knowledge. But what are the true grounds for this statement concerning the nations which take us in? Where it is not based on limited physiocratic views it is founded on the childish error that commodities pass from hand to hand in continuous rotation. We need not wake from long slumber, like Rip van Winkle, to realize that the world is considerably altered by the production of new commodities. The technical progress made during this wonderful era enables even a man of most limited intelligence to note with his short-sighted eyes the appearance of innumerable new commodities. The spirit of enterprise has created them.

Collaborations for April 2013[edit]

Colour drawing of a flowering, red Japan Pear
Japan Pear from The Romance of Nature

April is poetry month for proofreading project and so the Proofread of the Month is The Romance of Nature; or, The Flower-Seasons Illustrated (1836) by Louisa Anne Meredith. Not only will this expand the Wikisource library of poetry, this work will also add many illustrations (which can be reused in other Wikimedia projects) and increase the number of works by female authors. Meredith was a British poet, from Birmingham, and the book was her second published collection of poetry. Three years later, she married and emigrated to Tasmania, where she continued to write and paint.

The Maintenance of the Month covers Proposed policies and guidelines. There are several outstanding proposals that may just be unfinished or not agreed; or may have been abandoned. This task should resolve some of that.

First Lua-based template[edit]

Wikisource's first Lua-based template was created in March by Hesperian. The template {{raw image}} now makes use of the Lua module RawImage.

Raw images[edit]

Thanks to Hesperian, Wikisource currently hosts 6,300 raw page scans for missing images as at the end of March. These largely replace the old {{missing image}} message boxes with an unprocessed version of the image. Each raw image comes with a discreet invitation to improve it. Once an image has been fully processed, it can be migrated to Wikimedia Commons like any other Wikisource image. In the meantime, about 200 texts display the "good enough" raw images.

In a related development, the Index page status X, "Source file must be checked before proofreading commences," has been repurposed to indicate works that have not be checked for complete page lists. Many indexes have been switched automatically to this status if there was no indication that the page list has ever been modified. If the automatic page numbering is correct, this can be indicated with the code <pagelist 1=1 />, which will prevent similar status changes in the future. This practice was adopted to prevent images being automatically downloaded for broken or bad scans; which have sometimes only been discovered late in the proofreading process when it is harder to solve. The new index status should budge users towards checking the page list before commencing with proofreading.

Annotation and derivative works debate[edit]

Should Wikisource host user-generated content? May Wikisource users annotate, deannotate, translate, create comparison pages, add illustrations, amend errata? What counts as an annotation? The various language editions of Wikisource treat derivative works in various ways. The Hebrew Wikisource has got a separate namespace for them. The Italian and the Norwegian Wikisources ban them. So far, the English Wikisource has included them due to the lack of agreed policies.

Consensus is that some kinds of derivative works may be within the scope of Wikisource. Thus a Request for Comment was opened to define the details.

Agreed points:

  • Published annotated works are accepted.
  • Comparison pages of any kind are not accepted.
  • Annotations in general are allowed.
  • Translations of single words or phrases and added illustrations count as annotations.
  • Wikilinks count as annotations. Further discussion is needed to decide what kinds of wikilinks are accepted.
  • User-written translations will be hosted in a new Translation namespace. Published translations are hosted in the main namespace with the appropriate copyright tag.

A lot of points are still waiting for agreement.

Individual Engagement Grant results[edit]

The following projects have been approved. The highlighted project is of particular interest for Wikisource.

Project Summary Funding
Build an effective method of publicity in PRChina Build an effective method of publicity in unique Chinese social environment. 350 USD
Consolidate wikiArS to involve art schools WikiArS is an initiative to involve art & design schools in the Wikimedia movement's projects and goals that was launched in 2011. The purpose is to further develop the wikiArS initiative by dedicating more time more regularly during 2013, attending to interested schools, expanding the number of contributors and consolidating the experience. 7310 EUR
Elaborate Wikisource strategic vision Research new integration paths between Wikidata, Wikisource, Wikipedia and Commons. Create a mockup of a simpler user interface that will allow users to interact with this projects more easily. Define an user-friendly "information flow" for metadata usage. 10,000 EUR
MediaWiki data browser A JavaScript framework that can be used to navigate through the structured data of Wikipedia and other MediaWiki wikis. 15,000 USD
Replay Edits It seeks to visualize the page edits by showing the evolution of the page through the edits. 500 USD
The Wikipedia Adventure An online guided journey, a learning tutorial, and an educational game designed to make an editor's first 100 edits a positive and encouraging experience. 10,000 USD
The Wikipedia Library Expansion and improved management of research database donations allowing active Wikipedia editors to seamlessly utilize high quality sources for free. 7500 USD

Administrator confirmations[edit]

Four administrators have been confirmed in March 2013:

An administrator will have his/her confirmation discussion in April 2013:

Milestones[edit]

Catalan Wikisource reached 20,000 text units (which includes chapters and articles as well as whole texts) on the 10th March. The next day the Icelandic Wikisource reached 2,000 text units. Min Nan Wikisource and Faroese Wikisource both welcomed their thousandth registered user in March, on the 5th and the 27th respectively. On 20th March, the Russian Wikisource had its one millionth page edit.

Technology notes[edit]

  • MediaWiki, the software that powers Wikisource, has been upgraded to version 1.21/wmf12 (the 12th batch of version 1.21).
  • Formatting template {{blackletter}} has been changed to make use of web fonts.

Sister project notes[edit]

  • Wikidata is entering phase two, allowing Wikipedias to insert data from the Wikidata knowledge base directly into article text. This rolled out on eleven Wikipedias at the end of March and will be rolled out on English Wikipedia in early April. Wikisource will not be involved with Wikidata until a hypothetical phase four at the earliest.
  • Opinions are being sought about closing down all Wikinews projects.
  • Wikivoyage has a new, improved main page.