Il Post published a "flash" article (in Italian) highlighting American photographer Gage Skidmore, starting from a question made by a Reddit user in the Wikipedia-related thread of the site last October: “Why is everyone's photo on Wikipedia a picture of them at San Diego Comic-Con?” The reason is actually Skidmore’s work: as mentioned by Il Post, since 2009 the Indiana-native photographer has been to each year’s Comic-Con to take pictures of guest actors and actresses (including Tom Holland and Scarlett Johansson, among many others), before publishing them on Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons license.
Throughout the years, the dozens of thousands of pictures taken by Skidmore, who is also well-known for his photos of candidates for the American presidential elections, have been used not only on Wikipedia, but also on many media, such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Associated Press and NPR. Those who want to help out themselves can consult Wikipedia:Uploading images. – O
Russian propagandist accused of plagiarizing Wikipedia in thesis
The music video starts without music. We look down on a yellow wheat field, otherwise only seeing a young man walking away from us. Five seconds in, the view jumps so that the horizon divides the screen in half — the blue sky above, the yellow wheat below — a tableau of the Ukrainian flag. At the same time, the young man screams "I'm Russian", seeming to say that Ukraine (or its flag) is part of Russia. Strangely, that position is Vladimir Putin's justification for the invasion: that Ukraine was, is, and always will be part of Russia. Of course, the pop patriotic anthem genre is not unique to Russia. But some artists handle it very differently.
The singer Yaroslav Dronov, better known as Shaman, first became popular with the song Встанем ("We rise up"), released on February 23, 2022. Befitting any song released on Defenders of the Fatherland Day, it praises Russians who sacrificed themselves to rid the world of fascism, and calls upon today's Russians to be prepared to take up the same cause. The next day, Russia invaded Ukraine, and suddenly the song had a different meaning. Five months later, he had another huge hit in Russia, the pop patriotic anthem discussed above, Я русский ("I'm Russian").
The Moscow Times wrote on November 7 that "critics (are) accusing the singer of acting as part of the Kremlin’s wartime propaganda machine." MT also wrote "According to Dissernet, more than half of Shaman's 2016 thesis, which earned him the equivalent of a Ph.D. in art history at the Gnessin Academy of Music, contained excerpts lifted directly from other sources." Out of 35 total pages in the thesis, 6 were plagiarized from Wikipedia, 13 other pages plagiarized other sources, leaving only 16 pages (including the title page, the table of contents, and some appendices) which did not contain plagiarism. One should note that Dissernet only publishes preliminary reviews, that can be re-evaluated or deleted at any time. The review MT cited was deleted on November 8.
Putin is getting ready to declare his re-election campaign for the Russian presidency in mid–December according to The Bell. Shaman, who "has become the latest symbol of Russian military propaganda", is expected to be part of a small group of influencers acting as key campaigners and supporters for Putin. – S
Wikipedia's billion-year lunar backup to be updated
According to a press release, the Arch Mission Foundation's "second installment of the historic Lunar Library will launch to the Moon's surface later this year aboard Astrobotic's Peregrine Lander." The library's "foundational components" include "the Wikipedia" alongside "collections from Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive, and the Long Now Foundation's Rosetta Project and PanLex datasets." Stored in the form of laser-etched analogue images on thin sheets of nickel, the library is assumed to be "capable of lasting for up to billions of years on the Moon." In 2019, transportation of the first installment of the library onboard the Israeli Beresheet mission had ended in a crash landing, but Arch Mission stated at the time that the contents likely survived intact (Signpost coverage: "Vital Articles backed up on the Moon").
The "Lunar Library" project is not to be confused with the "Wikipedia to the Moon" effort championed by Wikimedia Germany, which was envisaged to bring a disc with a community-selected collection of articles to the Moon by 2017 (Signpost coverage in 2016: "Mixed reactions to Wikipedia's lunar time-capsule"). The chapter's partner (now called Planetary Transportation Systems after several renames and a bankruptcy) does not yet appear to have launched or participated in a Moon mission at the time of writing. – H
- Take Notes: The conservative newspaper Washington Examiner invokes O'Sullivan's First Law in "Is it possible to save Wikipedia?", giving a sharp critique of Wikipedia's NPOV while covering politically charged topics. They propose a solution akin to X's Community Notes.
- ChatGPT alarmism : Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales says ChatGPT is "pretty bad" in the Hindustan Times's coverage of Web Summit 2023 in Portugal. Wales compared hype on ChatGPT to other "alarmist" coverage by media. HT links directly to the opening night session where former WMF CEO and current Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher welcomes the audience (18:00–29:30). Jimmy Wales is then interviewed (59:30–1:17:30).
- Ten years behind: Wales was interviewed by CNBC at the summit on many of the same topics "Europe could put itself 10 years behind by regulating AI, Wikipedia founder says" (CNBC, video).
- Wales covers a lot of ground. He's looking at AI for Wikipedia to identify errors. AI can help Wikipedia community do a better job. It shouldn't be used in place of human-mediated encyclopedia due to its propensity for errors / confabulation. 200,000 startups can't be effectively regulated, "I don't see a role for regulators that makes any sense". Incredible positive things are coming, but there are real threats. Material on EU regulation starts at 03:45.
- Trolls and lunatics: In another part of the same CNBC interview (but with a different url) Wales discusses Elon Musk, X, and Jimbo's improved Twitter-style site Trust Café.
- Lourdes in Spanish: Un editor de Wikipedia se pasó años simulando ser Russian Red. En realidad era un estafador indio This very detailed account at times follows and even surpasses Annie Rauwerda's story on Depths of Wikipedia.
- Reading Harrison in Spanish: Spanish literary magazine Letras Libres is continuing to work with Slate, New America , and Arizona State University on their Future Tense project in Spanish. The best part of this cooperation for Wikipedians may be that Stephen Harrison's English-language articles on Slate, such as this one about Israel and Gaza, are regularly available in Spanish.
- Gaza edit wars: Haaretz reports on edit wars and notes the discrepancies between language versions in their coverage of the Israel–Palestine conflict.
- Movies ≠ Wiki: Another pair of critical biopic reviews lambasts the screenwriters for seeming a bit too much like Wikipedia. This time it's in The Film Stage reviewing Napoleon, and The New York Times reviewing Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind. Back in January we reported on similar criticism of several others, including a Pelé biography.
- Who do you trust? An opinion piece in The Michigan Daily asks "Should you trust Wikipedia?", contrasting it to the FAANG "digital hegemons". The author covers undisclosed conflict-of-interest editing, bias on Wikipedia, lack of credibility in academia, and other ills, but still finds the devotion of the "group of active global citizens" behind its creation and upkeep "impressive" (we're blushing).
- Mary Beard Wikipedia'd the plot to Medea: New Zealand's The Spinoff gives us a tantalizingly short description of an encounter between Lyndsey Fineran, artistic director of Auckland Writers Festival, and a well-known author. Mary Beard – presumably this Mary Beard – prepped for a debate about Medea – presumably this Medea – by reading the plot in Wikipedia just before going on stage.
- Skeptic applauds fringe decline: In a YouTube video and blog post titled "Study: Why Wikipedia is the Last Good Website", Rebecca Watson aka Skepchick discusses an academic paper that analyzed English Wikipedia's increasingly hardline stance against fringe views and pseudoscience: "Thanks to a recent issue of Wikipedia’s Signpost newsletter, I learned about a really interesting study on Wikipedia itself. [...] it's interesting that while Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook continue to circle the drain on their inevitable descent to the sewer, Wikipedia has only seemed to get better."